Article by Visit Košice
As the project Off-The-Beaten-Track continues to promote the importance of the Sustainable Development Goals, namely: SDG3 regarding healthy well-being for all ages, SDG4 emphasizing equal learning opportunities, and SDG8 which aims to maintain sustained economic growth and decent work opportunities for all, we invite you to take a look at the short story interview with Andrea Bobbová, one of the representatives of tourism in Košice, Slovakia, who serves as a great example of female changemakers in the sphere of creative industry & tourism.
Andrea Bobbová believes in the saying “Unity is strength”, and alters it according to her own work-related setting—“Team is strength.” No wonder, running 14 different escape rooms scattered across the city of Košice definitely requires more than just one person to manage. Having said that, Andrea and her husband are the initial building stones behind the idea of, today very much favored, The Rooms—distinctive escape rooms depicting many famous cinematic and literary motifs, such as Harry Potter, Pirates of the Caribbean, Sherlock Holmes, or Lord of the Rings.
Andrea takes care of the managing, administrative, and HR responsibilities of their business project, and emphasizes the importance of the collaborative efforts of 10 business owners, 20 gamemasters, and other managers who create the system of more than ten unique escape rooms, all highly demanded by local residents and visitors of Košice for leisure-time activities.
When talking about female changemakers, and business owners in Slovakia, what is your opinion on their representation nowadays, primarily in the field of tourism?
First and foremost, I view any business as flourishing because of the communal efforts and collaborations with partners and the whole team. As for women, I see them in these fields as responsible hard workers. The only negative I would like to point out is almost a nonsensical amount of red tape, which requires a lot of our time and energy, too.
On the other hand, there is a general feeling of mutual support between Slovak women in business—something I highly appreciate and which pushes me forward as a huge inspiration.
Since you entered the area, have you noticed any change coming in this direction in the last several years when it comes to female business leaders in the creative industry and tourism?
Definitely yes. I believe that female entrepreneurship has become a generally very modern concept. However, I don’t want to differentiate between genders much—these are not only women that can be productive, and no one should be underestimated.
Regarding your further education in the field, what means of information tools are you using to progress or is there something new you’d welcome for the future development of your business skills? Are these tools Slovak-based or international?
As for our business, we were using the educational system MLM—it is not a Slovak one, but one can connect to it from Slovakia easily. It must be said the United States of America is not Slovakia, so some of the information has to be slightly altered. I would also say that, nowadays, there is definitely an informational abundance, which means, it may not always be about the amount of information—rather knowing what to choose from and when to use it.
What else would satisfy the needs for progress and personal development of women in the sphere of tourist, cultural, and creative industries?
We are glad to take part in many free EU-funded projects and trainings, everything is available and easily accessible online. If there was something that could be changed for female business leaders, or any other entrepreneur in our country, I would say the excessive amount of the red tape—legal administrative obligations one must fill out and always keep in mind in order to run a business.
These are often complicated questionnaires, fill-out forms, and bureau office visits which always demand something and, in the long run, slow us down, especially in the last three years. I hope it will change in the future.
Andrea Bobbová is one of the great examples of Women Changemakers—an invented category by the EU project Off-The-Beaten-Track which aims to help, support, and enable women from the areas of culture, tourism, and creative industry to pursue their passion for work in terms of employability who are or have been at risk of using their jobs due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Read more articles about empowered female changemakers here.