Travel Leaders reports the success of its 13th Annual International Summit in Dubrovnik, Croatia. The International Summits serve as the franchise network’s annual exploration of key destinations, Travel Leaders notes.
Travel Leaders Franchise Group President Roger E. Block met with officials, including U.S. Ambassador to Croatia James B. Foley and Croatia’s Minister of Tourism Veljko Ostojić. Ostojić also provided the Croatian government’s official welcome to International Summit attendees.
“Travel and tourism has the capacity for serving as the greatest catalyst for peace,” explained Block. “Summit meetings have long held the connotation of world leadership conferring with one another. In that spirit, this year’s Travel Leaders International Summit certainly aspired to a much loftier mission of enhancing peace through tourism. My meetings with both Ambassador Foley and Minister Ostojić were designed to foster better understanding of whom we represent and to build bridges for peaceful purposes through what we can provide from the private travel and tourism sector as work in concert and partnership with them. "
In a message to Travel Leaders attendees, Croatian Minister of Tourism Veljko Ostojić thanked attendees on behalf of the Croatian Ministry of Tourism: "Soon to join the European Union, our country’s appeal is the stunning beauty of our coastline, our unique combination of culture, history, and cuisine and increasingly our accessibility and affordability."
Echoing the tourism minister’s comments was Nikola Dobroslavic, Dubrovnik County prefect, who said he was pleased that Travel Leaders selected Dubrovnik as the site for its International Summit. "I hope you will re-visit and promote Dubrovnik and our region in the U.S. market which is very important to us.”
Block noted the Dubrovnik event was “perfectly timed” since Travel Leaders members had named Croatia as the “top up-and-coming” European destination they’re booking for 2012 by a wide margin in Travel Leaders’ 2012 Travel Trends Survey.
Travel Leaders reports attendees were not only able to enjoy access to Dubrovnik’s famous city wall after first experiencing official entry through the UNESCO World Heritage Site’s spectacular Ploče Gate, but they were also invited into private events at the city’s renowned Rectors and Sponza Palaces. Additionally, summit participants had numerous optional tours stretching from Ston, Croatia, to Kotor, Montenegro.
“We truly appreciate your picking Dubrovnik for your annual International Summit,” stated Pave Zupan Ruskovic, Dubrovnik DMO, in a message to Travel Leaders. “Dubrovnik has had a centuries-old relationship with America and now, more than ever, the American market is very important to us."
A number of participating Travel Leaders agents reacted to the summit.
“We had a wonderful time in Dubrovnik and learned about yet another destination that I can say pretty confidently we had never really considered going to on our own or recommending until this trip – but now we would go back in a heartbeat and are sharing with everyone we know, as well as our staff, all of the great things about it as a destination for our clients,” said Ann Waters, president of Travel Leaders locations in Fort Wayne, Bloomington, Carmel, Marion and Warsaw, Indiana.
“Even more important to us is the chance to further our network and friendships with the other Travel Leaders Associates, vendors and headquarters staff who attend this event – that aspect of the trip is certainly a big reason we make sure the International Summit gets on our calendar almost every year no matter where it is," Waters said.
Dora Bitsos, general manager of Travel Leaders in Omaha, Nebraska commented, “There is so much to see and experience within the city and surrounding area that you can easily spend seven to ten days touring and continue to be amazed by its beauty. The city’s complete recovery from the recent war of 1991 has justifiably earned its name as ‘Pearl of the Adriatic.’”
“Croatia is a fabulous option for those people looking for a unique destination to travel in Europe – the people are friendly and very interested to show you their country and tell you about its history,” explained Denise Petricka, vice president of Travel Leaders locations in Eau Claire and Black River Falls, Wisconsin.
“The opportunity to travel to Montenegro was a highlight, but the Dubrovnik City Wall Tour was magnificent. The group learned about the recent war and Croatia’s declaration of independence. Croatia and the neighboring nations are some of the most beautiful European countries I have ever seen," Petricka said.
Travel Leaders’ 2012 International Summit marked the groups first time in the Balkans. Previous Travel Leaders International Summits have been mounted in London (2000), Hong Kong (2001), Paris (2002), Barcelona (2003), Budapest (2004), Dublin (2005), Rome (2006), Dubai (2007), Berlin (2008), Santiago (2009), Jerusalem (2010) and Sydney (2011).