dr. Dejan Križaj
Once a mechatronics engineer, always a fan of humanities and expeditions.
Dejan is teaching, researching, and consuming tourism innovation at the University of Primorska, Faculty of Tourism Studies – Turistica.
Co-founder of UP FTŠ sTOUdio Turistica, the TourismFromZero initiative and AIRTH – Alliance for Innovators and Researchers in Tourism and Hospitality.
Since 2006 the chairman of the Slovenian National Tourism Innovation Awards Commission on behalf of the Slovenian Tourist Board, and Ministry of Economic Development and Technology. Since 2020 member of the Slovenia Unique Experiences Commission, selecting the best 5* tourism experiences of Slovenia..
“Of the many ideas we have received through the TourismFromZero initiative, LocalsFromZero and its successor FromZero have been the most passionate from the beginning. It is a combination of good deeds, good vibes, and multidirectional learning for all participants, so it captivates me as a learner and as a mentor.”
Never leave him without a coffee.
Tadej is a PhD student and assistant at the Faculty of Tourism Studies Turistica in Portorož. He is the idea leader and co-founder of the social Start-Up LocalsFromZero and the association ŠKT društvo Farjovca for local tourism development, an active member of the pilot R&D study program sTOUdio Turistica, the international post-Covid initiative TourismFromZero and the global association AIRTH – Alliance for Innovators and Researchers in Tourism and Hospitality.
His research area and expertise focus on tourism innovation, e-tourism and digitalization, customer journey mapping, microentrepreneurship and mainly on issues of uneven tourism development in peripheral (marginalized) areas. He is an active investor, user and supporter of the decentralized crypto scene.
“The best way to predict the future is to invent it.” ~ Alan Kay
He takes a cold shower every morning.
Rudi is currently finishing his MSc at the Faculty of Tourism Studies – Turistica in Portorož, Slovenia. Since starting his studies, he has worked in various areas of the tourism and hospitality industry, gaining extensive experience in communication and problem solving. He is the co-founder and editor of the podcast TourismFromZero, one of the independent media channels in Slovenia dedicated to tourism and its specifics. Through sTOUdio Turistica and building a social start-up called LocalsFromZero, he has gained extensive project management skills and leadership experience. He is an avid learner, reading books and listening to podcasts are part of his daily routine. He played handball for 10 years and now mostly enjoys hiking, running, and walking his dog.
He can watch an entire cycling Etape of Tour de France without falling asleep.
Jaka is currently finishing his Bachelor’s degree at the University of Primorska, Faculty of Tourism Studies in Portorož, Slovenia. His professional interests focus on e-tourism, innovations, new business models, experience design and marketing. In his free time he enjoys all kinds of sports, especially cycling. He is also an avid geocacher, where he finds inspiration for gamification of tourism experiences. He has won a gold medal in the AEHT tourism destination competition. During his time as a student, he worked on a variety of tourism-related projects where he further developed his research and project skills. He spent his summers working at the camp’s front desk, where he gained valuable insight and experience in the hospitality industry.
Director of AIRTH and supporter of everything FromZero
Janja has experience in running a municipal administration, development agency, company and institute, both private and public. Having served as director of the Development Agency Slovenske Gorice she took the reins of Maribor-Pohorje Tourist Board. For several years she worked with NGOs in the framework of the Slovenian Tourist Board and served as its vice-president, active member of the Regional Chamber of Craft and Small Business Maribor as well as president and vice-president of numerous committees and supervisory boards. Janja has experience with smart villages and cities in the context of creativity and innovation building and promotion of stakeholder participation for improved competitiveness and visibility.
Katja Beck Kos
Provoking curiosity, creativity and awakening the potentials that lie all around us, without being seen.
Katja is a cultural studies graduate and a leader in the Maribor community. She returned to Maribor from a more stable Germany in 2010 with a goal of revitalizing the city and showcasing its potential. Through her initiatives “Živa dvorišča” and “Živa mesta”, she has opened doors and brought together disconnected actors to create new opportunities. With a strong belief in creativity, perseverance, hospitality, and the city’s unique assets, Katja and her team have been working to establish creative tourism programs in Maribor.
Co-founder and supporter of AIRTH and TourismFromZero
Vinod Sasidharan, Ph.D., serves as Director of Transborder and
Regional Faculty Engagement for San Diego State University’s
International Affairs and is also Associate Professor of Sustainable
Tourism Management in the School of Hospitality and Tourism
Management.. He has served as Director of Interdisciplinary Studies in the Office of Faculty Advancement and Student Success (FASS). He brings extensive professional contributions to interdisciplinary global education at SDSU, which exemplify his solid commitment to curriculum internationalization through sustained, long-term, and intentional global partnerships.
Vinod’s teaching and scholarship are grounded in the pedagogy of faculty-and-student-driven international participatory action research in Sustainable Development, integrating transborder and global engagement and collaboration and resulting in the enhancement of global civic engagement and citizenship outcomes and capacities for students and faculty alike. He has actively advanced professional engagement in advancing interdisciplinary, sustainable development-related global education at SDSU, working collaboratively with faculty members/scholars, students, practitioners/scientists, non-profit community partners, and university- and college-level administrative leaders/units on both sides of the border.
Substance over form, minimum input for maximum output.
Miha is a seasoned tourism e-commerce strategist, backed by years of experience with Booking.com & Bookassist, then turned academic, lecturer, and consultant. He postulates the plurality of thought, which is clear from his educational background, spanning law, business, tourism, sustainability, and online marketing. The adoption and use of new technologies, digital platforms and distribution channels in tourism & hospitality are his primary focus of interest, with occasional dips into the territory of tourism destination smartness and innovation.
An analytical thinker, a creative soul and an avid explorer of urban lifestyles, he can hardly resist hedonic settings and thrives in a creative, chaotic and less-than-punctual environment. However, he’s compensating these supposed faults with charming straightforwardness, putting complex constructs into simple words, strategic thinking & zero tolerance for entrepreneurial daydreaming caused by the lack of logical reasoning.
Co-founder and supporter of AIRTH and TourismFromZero from ground zero.
Florian Zach, PhD is an Assistant Professor in the Howard Feiertag Department of Hospitality and Tourism Management, Pamplin College of Business, Virginia Tech, USA. He received his PhD in Business Administration from Temple University, USA and his Master in International Economics and Business Studies from the University of Innsbruck, Austria.
Florian is a management researcher and focuses his research on innovation in tourism and hospitality, mostly on innovation adoption issues. His research interests include drivers of innovation adoption such as interorganizational relationships and impacts of innovation adoption on firm value as well as firm and destination performance. This includes event studies at the firm level and social network analysis studies at the destination level to understand collective innovation development effects among several stakeholders and identifying successful business models that support innovation at tourism and hospitality organizations.
I am extremely persistent, so no obstacle can stop me from completing a project that I am passionate about.
Undergraduate student at the Faculty of Tourism – Turistica, Slovenia. I work for one of the biggest charity rock festivals in Slovenia – Gora Rocka – as a digital marketing manager. I am still searching for my true passion, but I love organizing events, working on unconventional projects and learning about innovation and people’s dynamics. As a certified ski instructor, hiker and nature lover, my goal is to make tourism more sustainable and better for the environment and the people living and working in tourist destinations.