Transport is key
Converting passion in an international company has proven to be a successful strategy for Marjan Beltram, the Executive Director of Mobility at Nomago. The biggest travel organiser, as they call themselves, was built on the foundations of several transport and travel companies - such as STA Travel, the travel agency Marjan and his wife Anuška created 18 years ago. Mobility was always intertwined with exploration, the main reason why traveling will never go out of style.
You have an extensive background in the field of tourism. What makes an excellent tourist experience? How vital is transport in this equation?
As with anything in this day and age, an excellent tourist experience has everything to do with what we call customer experience in general: how well travel can be conducted, what kind of information travellers get, how smooth their travel is and so on. In my opinion, transport is key. At Nomago, we say that your vacation starts once you walk out of your front door, which means we include traveling to your chosen destination in the vacation time. It has to be well organised, smooth and cater to the passenger's needs.
How progressive is Slovenia regarding transport? What are the main challenges in the region?
Slovenia is one of the few countries with a really well-organised, safe, cheap and convenient public transport system. Passengers can travel not only between larger cities but can also use buses or trains to visit smaller towns and villages. This isn't very common elsewhere. Besides, tourists who travel to Slovenia by plane can see a lot of Slovenia just by using our system of public transport.
In my opinion, one of the biggest issues is the Schengen system and the closing of the borders within the Schengen system. This creates unnecessary traffic jams and hinders mobility. I would say that, at this point, the issue is political rather than operational.
Nomago and similar companies are making bus travel trendy again. What are the benefits of such a way of travelling?
Travelling by bus has really made a comeback in recent years. It definitely has its benefits - for one, it's environmentally much friendlier than many other means of transport, and unlike air travel, it delivers you right in the centre of the city you want to visit. In the coming years, we will see a massive change in short to medium travel of up to 600 kilometres towards mass land transport with buses that are a very good alternative to air travel.
Sustainability is becoming an urgent priority in the 21st century. Will the future bring more or less traveling, regarding the imprint that many journeys leave on the planet?
People will always travel, but the way we travel will definitely change. I predict less one-man-band travel, there'll be more shared and mass transportation, and on ultrashort hauls buses, shared transportation and trains which will replace planes.
However, air travel will still be the backbone of long distance travel and people will always, not only dream of, but also visit exotic faraway destinations. Aeroplanes will remain the most suitable means of transport to fulfil this need.
What is the 50:1 initiative?
The 50:1 initiative is an initiative we created in Nomago because we feel that changing people's habits by getting them to use public transport more would benefit our environment greatly. Traffic jams are something we can't prevent just by building one more lane on our highways, but we can prevent them by convincing people to take the bus to work instead of their cars. And the numbers 50:1 in the initiative mean exactly that - 50 people on 1 bus take approximately 50 cars off our roads.
What we also encourage is for the government and companies to change their policy and include a part of the time their employees spend on public transport into the working hours, since they could actually use it to finish some work tasks. I'm sure that way more people would decide to use public transport, since they spend at least an hour (but usually more) on their way to and from work.
Planes are still leading the way for longer distances. As an executive director you travel a lot, what are your secrets for a swift and comfortable journey?
At Nomago, we're all about good customer experience and that's what I'm looking for when I'm travelling myself. Since I like everything to run smoothly because I am usually in a hurry, I appreciate a good and seamless transport experience, and there are some operators that just never let me down such as, for example, Air France. I enjoy Air France's Sky Priority service which proves a smooth airport and travel experience.
Where will your next far-off destination be?
My family and I love New York any time of the year, but this incredible city is especially charming during the autumn months. This is where we're heading next and we can't wait for the Air France plane to take us there again!