Prof. Dr. Müfit Zeki Karagülle
Dr. Karagülle is professor of medicine and the emeritus director of the Department of Medical Ecology and Hydroclimatology at Istanbul Medical Faculty of Istanbul University. Aside from directing undergraduate and post-graduate education and training programs, Prof. Karagülle has published research articles and has written and edited books and chapters on spa therapy, balneological therapies, health resort/thermal medicine and balneology.
He is an internationally well known expert and scientist in medical balneology and climatology and health resort/thermal medicine. He has organized, contributed, attended and lectured in various meetings, panel discussions, and workshops and national, international and mutual balneology and thermal medicine congresses and symposiums including Balkan Spa Summits. As a qualified medical specialist in medical ecology and hydro-climatology in Turkey, Karagülle is current president of Turkish Association of Spa Medicine and Balneology.
Prof. Dr. Laszlo Pucko
László has been working in the field of travel, hospitality, leisure and health for 25+ years. László is an experience engineer, strategist, mentor and trainer, and wellbeing intelligence expert. He has gained experiences in private as well as in public sector environments. László is one of the very few people in the world who has been active in every aspect and domain of the health, wellbeing and travel spectrum, i.e. medical and wellness tourism, wellbeing and hospitality, spas and leisure experiences.
He is an economist and art & design manager, and holds master degrees, a PhD, and is a Certified Management Consultant. László has been lecturing and running tailor-made trainings and masterclasses in over 40 countries all around the world. He has been actively involved both in industry as well as academic arenas and authored numerous industry reports, specialist books and publications. He was the project lead on the path making report for UNWTO & ETC titled Exploring Health Tourism, as well as a pioneering study for Global Spa Summit titled Wellness Tourism and Medical Tourism: Where do spas fit?
László is a hot spring and wellness enthusiast and holds a Diploma in Forest Bathing!
He is Faculty Member of the Medical Wellness Association and Member of the FEMTEC’s Commission of Tourism & Health, Member of the Global Experts Network of IGCAT, and Research Associate at the Wellness Tourism Association.
Prof. Dr. Jovan Popesku
From March 2004 to October 2021, he was a full professor at Singidunum University in Belgrade, Faculty of Tourism and Hotel Management. He taught at undergraduate, master and doctoral studies. He was a professor (1984-2008), as well as a director (1992-1995) of College of Tourism, Belgrade.
He was the first general director of the National Tourism Organisation of Serbia (1994-2001).
He has been the president of the Centre for Responsible and Sustainable Tourism Development - CenORT for many years (since 2002), and since 2021 he is the president of the Institute for Peace through Tourism (International Institute for peace through Tourism - Serbia Chapter).
His field of research includes tourism destination management, sustainable tourism development management, tourism marketing and special interest tourism. He published a large number of books and textbooks, as well as papers in magazines and participated in national and international conferences.
He was the author, leader and supervisor of domestic and international projects primarily related to management and marketing, especially at the level of tourist destinations. He is an expert in tourism development and tourism marketing, especially for projects that focus on local and regional tourist destinations and specific tourism products.
He is a member of AIEST (International Association of Scientific Experts in Tourism).
I started my career in 1991 at the Hyatt Regency Belgrade 5* hotel, and for more than 30 years I have only been involved in hotel management.
My international career from 1994-2003 was in Cyprus - Blue Island Restaurant, Four Seasons Hotel 5* Limassol, and Le Meridian Hotel 5* Limassol.
In 2003, I returned to Serbia and started working at the Jolly Travel travel agency as a New Business Manager with the idea of expanding the range of activities. This was followed by the opening of Cigar shop & bar Julieta in 2003, the opening of Jolly travel 021 in Novi Sad in 2006-2007, the construction of Jolly Kop apartments on Kopaonik in 2007-2008. and as a crown, the construction of the Crystal Hotel in Belgrade in 2008-2010.
2011-2013 Kovilovo resort hotel President 5* Belgrade - organization of the European and World Archery Championships, the best shooting range in the world officially for 2011 and 2012, training camp of FK Crvena Zvezda, base of the men's and women's handball teams of Serbia, base of the men's and women's basketball teams , congress center 350 seats. - General Manager
Hotel Zira 2013-2018. - work organization, planning, management, analytics, cooperation with agencies, defining strategy, price policy, marketing activities, positioning, promotion and representation in associations, coordination and supervision of the complete operation, improvement of standards, maximization of profit and optimization of business. - General Manager
Mona hotel management and construction of the Mona Plaza hotel in Belgrade - 2018-2021 - complete pre-opening, construction and commissioning of the Mona Plaza hotel in Belgrade - CEO
From 2021. Resort Fruške Terme - General Manager
Resort Fruške terme, (hotel Fruške terme 4*, hotel Premier Aqua 5*, tourist resort Vrdnička kula 4*) recorded fantastic results in 2021 and 2022 despite all the limiting factors caused by inflation, the lack of qualified labor in our sector, energy insecurity and events in Ukraine.
Last year, our largest facility, the Fruške terme hotel, received an offer to join the Premium brand Movenpick within the Accor group.
I am personally recognized by the professional public and I am the holder of the award "Leader of the Serbian hotel industry" by the Good Service Ambassador. I have been the vice president of the national association of hotels and restaurateurs HORES for many years.
In my business, I am guided by the philosophy that people are the most important success factor and that every problem has a solution, it only matters how much time and energy we invest in solving it.
We must always go one step further than expected - that's the formula for success. Concentration on a certain segment and persistence in work must always lead to results.
Mrs. Iuliana Tasie
Vice-President of OPTBR – Owners’ Organization of Spa Tourism in Romania and Vice-President of the European Spas Association (ESPA). With a master's degree in inter-European transactions and one in accounting and auditing, as well as studies in Hospitality Management at the Ecole Hôtelière de Lausanne, took over the position of Vice-President of the OPTBR in 2020.
She has over 20 years of experience in the field of hospitality, joining the Ana Hotels team in 2003, first as Sales & Marketing Director of Ana Hotels Europa Eforie Nord, in order to hold the position of General Manager of this hotel complex from 2010. Since the opening of the spa Ana Health Spa, she has been actively involved in shaping the offer of therapies and packages and promoting it on the national market, but especially on the international market. Both in the capacity of Sales Director and as General Manager, she paid special attention to the medical and spa tourism market, which allowed her to contribute to the permanent success of Ana Health Spa, recognized by multiple national and international awards, but especially by the guests’ loyalty who cross its threshold since the opening. In the last 3 years, Mrs. Iuliana Tasie has been actively involved in the spa industry in Romania, taking on the mission of promoting national spa tourism at the international level, but also in permanent collaboration with the national authorities with a clear objective for this tourism to become a national priority.
Managing Director of Terme Sveti Martin, Croatia
Acomplished Managing Director with an extensive background in various fields of hotel management. Over her 15-year-long career, she has excelled in overseeing sales, marketing, business development, and quality enhancement for prominent hotel establishments in Slovenia and Croatia. Nuša's journey commenced in sales and marketing at The Pohorje Resort in Slovenia, a leading hotel and ski company with multiple ownership of the biggest Slovenian ski resorts. Transitioning to Thermana Laško, a renowned and one of the largest Slovenian spa resorts, she progressed to an executive management role overseeing all departments connected to sales and marketing and after 5 years she decided to take over the position of The Director of Sales and Marketing at Terme Sveti Martin where she ultimately became the Managing Director. With a strong academic foundation in tourism management and destination development, Nuša's dedication to the industry is evident, especially her passion for new wellness trends, sustainability, and responsible tourism.
Currently, Nuša is in charge of Terme Sveti Martin, a popular and leading thermal resort in continental Croatia. She and her team have pioneered sustainable practices and innovative approaches through all kinds of company business segments and made the Terme Sveti Martin resort known for their unusual, innovative, and alternative approaches to hospitality as well as wellness and Healthness practices. Their entire business philosophy is based on the works of Dr. Rudolf Steiner, the founder of anthroposophy and most of the foundations of their business are tied to his areas of work. They place a significant focus on business development through a strict ESG strategy and in addition to securing numerous ecological certificates and standards they are for the time being the only Croatian hotel to hold the prestigious EU Ecolabel Certificate. In addition to alternative approaches in creating programs for guests, they also pave the way in creating favorable working conditions for their employees thus they have earned several certificates to enhance employee well-being and work-life balance, such as the Family Friendly Enterprise certificate, the Company Friend of Health certificate, and the LGBTQ Equality in the Workplace certificate.
In addition to her professional achievements, she is a dedicated wife, mother, and sports enthusiast. Her engagement in humanitarian initiatives for many years underscores her dedication to making a positive impact. With a fervor for interior design, architecture, travel, gastronomy, and literature, Nuša discovers solace in these interests, providing a sense of balance amidst the demands of her dynamic business career.
Assoc. Prof. dr. Constantin MUNTEANU, PhD in Biology
Assoc. Prof. (Bioclimatology, Hydrothermotherapy, and Physiology), University of Medicine and Pharmacy „Gr. T. Popa ”, Iași
President of the Romanian Association of Balneology,
Vice President of the Romanian Society of Physical Medicine, Rehabilitation and Balneoclimatology,
Editor-in-Chief of the Balneo and PRM Research Journal
Scientific Researcher III, Principal Biologist, “Bagdasar - Arseni” Emergency Clinical Hospital, Bucharest, Rehabilitation, Physical Medicine, and Balneoclimatology Research Center,
Scientific researcher III, Principal Biologist, “Ovidius” University of Constanța, Cell Biology Platform, Research Center for Morphological and Genetic Study in Malignant Pathology
Managing Director – Slovenian Spas Association
Iztok was appointed to the position as the Managing Director at the Slovenian Spas Association (SSA) fourteen years ago, after he spent most of his career in the tourism business. Before this position, he was the CEO of Globtour, one of the leading Slovenian Tour Operators at that time. He spent also several years in the Slovenian Tourist Board holding the position as the Manager of Sales and Marketing. He founded the Slovenian Incoming Workshop, still today recognized as the leading tourism Incoming event in the Slovenia.
In his years of work in the SSA, Iztok established strong connections to the Spa, Health and Wellness industry in the Region, holding and running many presentations and events. He is a regular speaker at conferences and in 2017 he was one of the speakers during ITB Experts Forum Wellness. One of the most important projects he is leading and running is yearly “SPA-CE” – Specialized Workshop and Meeting place of Spa & Wellness in Central Europe, the first and only business event of its kind in Central Europe. In 2017 he organized on the occasion of the 60 Anniversary of The Slovenian Spas Association ENSPA – The European Natural Spas and Wellness Conference. This leading event of the Region gathered the leading Associations in the field of Balneology, Hydrology, Spa and Wellness business, as FEMTEC, ESPA, ISMH, OMTH and the prestigious GWI.
During Iztok’s work, The Slovenian Spas Association joined ESPA and he is the Founding Member of the Balkan Spa Institute.
As a graduate of an esteemed hospitality school, I am deeply committed to the principles of sustainability and am driven by a passionate vision to develop Bulgaria into a thriving tourist destination. My educational journey has instilled in me a profound appreciation for the intricacies of the hospitality industry. Having honed my skills, I now serve as an Assistant General Manager at the prestigious Five Elements Hotel, where I apply my knowledge to create eco-conscious guest experiences. I aspire to see Bulgaria transform into a coveted and eco-conscious travel hotspot, where sustainable practices harmoniously blend with unparalleled guest experiences.
dr Nena Stevanovic
Employed at Special hospital for medical rehabilitation “Merkur” since July 2014, head of department for physical medicine and rehabilitation. Certified antiaging doctor since 2015. Since 2008, she worked as Sales and then as District sales manager at Adoc d.o.o. She graduated from the Faculty of Medicine in Niš in 2006. During her studies, she completed her internship in Padova/Italy, department of dermatology. Graduated from the Gymnasium in Pirot, majoring in language in 2000. 2021 Participant at the II Thermal Congress with the topic: The contribution of Thermal Medicine to Public health in Serbia, March 2022 participant at the 12th regional CEI forum with the topic Post-covid rehabilitation in SB Merkur Vrnjačka Banja. Participant of numerous foreign and domestic congresses.
Doc. dr. sc. Marko Jurakić
Searching above all for his own path of change and improvement of the quality of life, he devoted his life and working life to the study and improvement of relations between people. In addition to regular learning and training in the field of social sciences, he underwent many educations to improve the quality of life, on a physical, emotional, mental and spiritual level. He shares his learnings and experiences gained in the field of a holistic approach to life with students as a lecturer and therapist in several countries. He devoted his doctoral dissertation to the development of holism and the support of opening new paths in business and family life. He currently holds the position of head of the development and higher education sector at Vimal Academy - an international center for the development of human resources. Since 2019, he has been appointed as the president of the organizing committee of the international scientific and professional conference for the development of rural tourism (RRT).
Markos Danas was born in Thessaloniki in 1973. He is a manager with great experience in private and public sector, specialized in marketing strategies and business administration.
He has been since 2013 the Secretary-General of the Hellenic Association of Municipalities with Thermal Springs (HAMTS) and he is also a member of the Committee for the Protection of Thermal Natural Resources and a member of the working team for the distribution of thermal water of the Greek Ministry of Tourism. Since 2017 he has been a member of the Executive Council of the European Historic Thermal Towns Association (EHTTA) and from 2007 to 2010 he served as CEO of the thermal springs of the municipality of Lagkadas. He is also qualified as trainer for adults from EOPPEP
Markos Danas has given many lectures for the thermal springs all over Greece and has written many articles about this specific issue. He has graduated from the Technological Institute of Thessaloniki, School of business administration and economics, department of Marketing and holds an MBA from the Hellenic Management Association. He also holds a diploma in e-tourism (m-commerce and e-marketing in tourism) from the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens.
He is a member of the think tank for political and social issues "INTERVENTION".
Dejan Veselinov gained knowledge and experience in the field of management of tourist destinations during twelve years of work since 2002 in the position of manager of the PR department and director of the Tourist Organization of Belgrade. He is the winner of the most prestigious award of the Tourist Organization of Serbia "Tourist Flower" in the category "Organization or individual for contribution to the improvement of tourism in the Republic of Serbia" in 2010.
Today, he is the founder and owner of the company Veselinov Tourism Consulting, with which he has implemented significant European projects, development programs, conferences and international events.
Ljupcho Janevski, PhD
Director at Agency for Promotion and Support of Tourism of the Republic of North
Focused and curious supporter of the concept of “long life learning”. Self-initiated and
devoted to personal development towards better tomorrow, with special interest in research
and analysis, active citizenship and enhanced social inclusion. Adaptable to change with
sharpened abilities for managing and leading people. Tourism Consultant that is passionate
about Marketing, Branding and Positioning, with well-developed Strategic Management
skills and extensive experience in Product Management for over 20 years.
- Project Management of variety of Governmental and NGO projects in Tourism;
- Event Management of international events and B2B meetings;
- Data Analysis and Forecasts of Tourism Trends;
- Branding and Positioning of Tourism Destinations;
- Significant Academic and Research contribution through different reports, books, journals
to the Tourism industry;
- PhD in Tourism.
Predrag Peđa Filipović
He was born on May 5, 1966 in Supetar on the Brač island.
Massage teacher and creator, senior physiotherapist, body psychotherapy student, yoga and Ai Chi method instructor, trained and specialized in wellness and therapeutic techniques in thermal water, Healing dance and Watsu. He graduated in acting at the Academy of Arts in Belgrade. Before defending his doctoral dissertation in the field of health tourism and innovative wellness techniques.
He is the author of the School of Massage "Professional" in Belgrade in the business system "Đuro Salaj" and an educator, where over 30,000 students were educated in 34 years. Peđa is the founder of the Wellness Academy Peđa Filipović.
Peđa is a pioneer of wellness tourism in Serbia, laying the foundations of medical wellness, creating the first concept for the royal Spa Koviljača in 2005, which is also the first complete wellness concept in a health care facility for rehabilitation in the Republic of Serbia. He creates and lays the foundation for the first national wellness brand of Montenegro, Mediteran - Montenegro wellness concept at the Mediteran Hotel.
He holds the title of Wellness Ambassador of Serbia since 2015 and Wellness Ambassador of Montenegro since 2018. Peđa Filipović created wellness concepts and educated therapists in the most eminent institutions, both in Serbia and in the region - Banja Koviljača, Prolom, Lukovska, Ribarska banja, Niška banja, Institute "Dr. Simo Milošević" in Igalo - Montenegro, Terme Olimia and Laško in Slovenia, Terme Tuhelj in Croatia, Banja Vrućica - Kardial in Bosnia and Herzegovina. He also made a significant contribution to tourism by creating the first self-concept "Get to know yourself!" who has been living in the Kraljevi Čardaci Spa hotel on Kopaonik for five years.
Peđa is a frequent guest and lecturer to students of physiotherapy at the Pan-European University APEIRON in Banja Luka, students at the College of Cosmetology and Wellness in Ljubljana, and holds specialized certified training courses continuously in Belgrade, Zagreb, Rijeka, Sarajevo, Banja Luka, and Podgorica.
Ernest Svažić spent most of his career in the field of spa tourism in Krapina-Zagorje County. He ran the sales department of Terme Jezerčica for six years and after it he was a marketing manager at Terme Tuhelj. In the year 2012 he was appointed the director of the Krapinske Toplice Tourist Board, and in the 2013 and 2017 elections, he was elected Municipal Mayor of Krapinske Toplice.
During 2011 and 2012 he served as the President of the Croatian Wellness Association of Croatian Chamber of Economy – Tourism Department. Ernest Svažić was the moderator of the second and fourth HTI Conference (Health Tourism Conference). In the year 2014 he was the moderator of 4. Balkan Spa Summit in Terme Tuhelj.
Founder and CEO at ERNEST SOLUTIONS d.o.o.
Coordinator of the “Kovilje” wellness center within the Special hospital for Medical Rehabilitation “Banja Koviljača”
-2004. High medical school Belgrade - title of Occupational Therapist
-2001. massage course at the Vocational Medical School - earned title in Massage Basics.
- was a regular participant in the Congress of Physio and Occupational Therapists
-School of Massage Professional Pedja Filipovic continuous education from 2005 until today
-2015 and then in 2018. was trained as an Expert Europa Spa & wellness EuroSpa Expert in Potsdam, Germany
-2016. she received the of Good Service Ambassador Award, Wellness and Spa Manager, in the organization of the Tourism World magazine and the Chamber of Commerce of Serbia.
Since 2003, he has been the director of the Tourist Board of Međimurje County.
The main activities are promotion, tourism product development and strategic planning.
He is the winner of numerous awards, such as:
Recognition of employee of the year in the category Employee in the system of Croatian tourist boards, Croatian Tourist Board 2014.
Recognition of the European Federation Touristic Press - special contribution to the development of tourism
Charter: Municipality of Sv. Martin na Mura for special contribution to the development of tourism, (2018)
City of Mursko Središće for special contribution to the development of tourism (2019)
Simply the best award - for successful long-term work in tourism - Association of Croatian Travel Agencies and Way to Croatia magazine (2021)
In the period 2003-2022. created and managed ten projects co-financed from EU funds in the field of sustainable tourism, nature protection and cultural heritage protection.
2022/23. managed the Međimurje County certification project for the global Green Destinations tourism sustainability certificate.
He speaks and writes English, German and Slovenian.
Danijel Pavlovic, PhD
Dr. Danijel Pavlović is an associate professor at Singidunum University in Belgrade, Faculty of Tourism and Hotel Management. He received his doctorate in the field of management in tourism on the topic "Measuring competitiveness as a basis for improving the position of a tourist destination". He is the co-author of the book entitled: "Management of travel agencies and tour operators". His main areas of research include tourism management, the competitiveness of tourist destinations and the business of travel agencies and tour operators.
He is a member of SeMA - Serbian Marketing Association. He is a member of the Coordination Commission for Inspection Supervision - Working Group for Tourism and Hospitality at the Ministry of Youth and Sports, Government of the Republic of Serbia and a member of the Sectoral Council for the Trade, Hospitality and Tourism Sector (NOKS) - Republic of Serbia, Agency for Qualifications. He is a member of the editorial board of the International Journal of Religious Tourism and Pilgrimage (IJRTP), regional editor for Europe of the Journal of Islamic Tourism (JIT) and a member of the Scientific Board of the SITCON (Singidunum International Tourism Conference). He is an active reviewer in several journals: The European Journal of Applied Economics; Themes; Industry; Hotel and Tourism Management; International Journal of Religious Tourism and Pilgrimage; Environment, Development and Sustainability; Tourism Management Perspectives; Tourism and Hospitality Research; magazine Tourism and others. He was the guest editor of a special issue of the International Journal of Religious Tourism and Pilgrimage. He is a member of the Organizing Committee and coordinator of the SITCON conference (2015-2021). He is a member of the Scientific Committee of the International Religious Tourism and Pilgrimage conference (IRTPC), and he also participated in the organization of the 11th IRTPC 2019 conference as a coordinator and member of the Organizing Committee. He also successfully coordinated the organization of two forums at Singidunum University on the topic "Human resources and tourism of the future" and "Improving the management system of tourist destinations in Serbia".
He is the author of several papers at international conferences as well as papers in magazines of the M20 category. He participated in several projects, among which stand out: Education of employees in tourism, Master plan for sustainable development of rural tourism in Serbia, EDEN - Exceptional destinations of Europe. He is currently engaged in the project TOURCOMSERBIA - Tourism destination competitiveness - evaluation model for Serbia, financed by the Science Fund, Republic of Serbia.