Martin Sloboda (born in 1974 in Bratislava, Slovakia) is a Bratislava-based author, guide, photographer, lecturer, travel consultant and event coordinator. He focuses on promoting Bratislava and Slovakia as an attractive tourist destination.
Sloboda was born into an old Bratislava family, where speaking German, Hungarian and Slovak was part of every-day life. Thanks to his grandparents’ and parents’ guidance, he developed, at an early age, his passion for Central Europe’s rich history in general and for Bratislava’s in particular.
In 1999 Sloboda obtained MA from British and American Studies, and German Studies, specialization Translation & Interpreting, at the Comenius University in Bratislava, Slovakia. Simultaneously, he took further courses at schools in Germany (Universität Würzburg, Universität Tübingen), England (International Language Academy, Cambridge), France (Ecole Azurlingua, Nice), Italy (Istituto Linguistico Bertrand Russell, Padova) and Australia (Australian College of English, Sydney).
Martin Sloboda and his products. With foreign ministers of Slovakia and Austria. Accompanying US Ambassador in Slovakia. Making of a film about Bratislava with ARD team.
While student, Sloboda obtained the city of Bratislava’s official license and started working for travel agencies in Bratislava as a tour guide. Before long he had become independent and had made his way from guiding tourist groups to corporate clients and eventually accompanying top-level state visits.
Following his graduation, Sloboda established MS Agency in 2000 specializing in high quality Guided Tours. He has been continually expanding the team by carefully selecting guides with personality, language skills and charisma in order to deliver highest quality service. Among his clients are some of the worlds most luxurious tour operators. Simultaneously, he added Publishing to his business. He combined his passion for history, touring and photography and started publishing successful guidebooks and postcards. In 2004 he added Event Planning, which has since developed into an important part of the business. The Stock Photography business has been steadily gaining importance hand in hand with the rising interest for Slovakia in the world. Ever since his images of Slovakia have been published in renowned international magazines and newspapers.
Sloboda’s other activities include Travel Consultancy for foreign travel writers covering Bratislava and Slovakia, TV stations working on documentaries about Slovakia, radio stations, newspapers and magazines. He gives regular Lectures on Slovakia on board luxury American cruise ships as well as for special interest groups. Thus, annually thousands of influential North Americans learn about the country and become Slovakia's "ambassadors" abroad. One of his most emotionally rewarding activities is Genealogy. He assists North American Slovaks in searching for their roots, rediscovering their ancestral land, locating living relatives and finally bringing families back together after more than a century.
In 2007, during European Union's 50th Anniversary in Berlin, Sloboda was selected into the European Union Panorama of " 27 True Europeans" representing Slovakia among 27 member states.
Sloboda lives in Bratislava, Slovakia with his wife and two children. As an active Rotarian he helps to raise funds for handicapped children in Slovakia. He acts as an "ambassador" of Slovakia and continues to do what he believes he was born for.
Rick Steves about Martin Sloboda
"One of the big surprises of my travels this summer has been Bratislava, the capital of Slovakia. I spent a day visiting Bratislava with Martin Sloboda, a local tycoon of a guide. He writes the town's dominant guidebook, shoots the photos for postcards, organizes the visits of the luxurious Tauck tour groups when their Danube cruise ships dock in town, and is the local tourist board's choice for an escort when a VIP visits. He's a fine example of the youthful energy and leadership responsible for the success story of Slovakia."
RICK STEVES, American author, historian, and television personality
Spotlight on Slovakia, Site of Bush-Putin Meeting
All Things Considered, February 24, 2005
President Bush and Russian President Vladimir Putin meet in Slovakia. This high profile event is a golden opportunity for this small country to showcase its charms. Michele Norris talks with Martin Sloboda, the owner of a tour guide agency in Bratislava, about what there is to see and do.
Verborgener Schatz Europas
VHS, ca. 45 Min.
Auf den Spuren verborgener Schätze
Seit dem 1.Mai 2004 ist die Slowakei EU-Land. Wir gehen mit Martin Sloboda auf Entdeckungstour durch sein Heimatland. Er fühlt sich mit der Slowakei stark verbunden, seit der Wende hat er sich auf Führungen spezialisiert: Er führt Staatsbesucher genauso wie Touristengruppen durch die Slowakei und brachte jetzt den ersten umfassenden Reiseführer über das neue EU-Mitglied heraus.
Martin Sloboda zeigt uns in dem Film ein Land, das reich an Kultur und Natur und seit seiner Unabhängigkeit im Jahr 1993 ständig im Wandel ist. Unsere Reise beginnt in der Haupstadt des Landes und in der Heimatstadt Martin Slobodas: Bratislava, eine Stadt mit wechsellvoller Geschichte. Auf unserer Wegstrecke Richtung Osten besichtigen wir Schlösser und Burgen, tauchen ab in unterirdische Höhlensysteme, erklimmen einen Gipfel im höchsten Gebirge der Slowakei, der Hohen Tatra, unternehmen eine atemberaubende Canyon-Wanderung durch den Nationalpark Slowakisches Paradies und geben Einblicke in die Tradition des Landes.
During the EU’s 50th Anniversary in Berlin in March 2007, Martin was selected into the EU-Panorama of “27 true Europeans“ representing Slovakia.
From March 22 through June 30, 2007, when Germany’s EU Council presidency ends, the EU Panorama “27 True Europeans” will be on view in the civic plaza in front of the Paul Loebe House (opposite the Federal Chancellery). On its outside, the “27 True Europeans” installation conveys the development of the European Union (EU) in historical and contemporary quotes by public figures in politics, business and the arts. On the inside, the portraits and biographies of 27 Europeans from all EU member states give the political union a human face.
Martin Sloboda was always passionate about showing his home country of Slovakia to visitors from elsewhere in Europe.
Now he has turned his passion into a business and has set up a tourism firm.
Martin Sloboda knows what it takes to impress people when showing them his native city and country. It began when he took a part-time job as a tour guide while studying German and English. However, this dynamic young man quickly realised that Bratislava and Slovakia needed to be presented in a much more targeted manner than was previously the case if they were to be taken seriously as a European tourist destination. So he combined his communication skills, linguistic talent, an obvious assion for photography and organizational ability by forming his own firm called MS Agency. "I introduce Slovakia to other Europeans" says the fashion- conscious Sloboda (born March 14, 1974). "In practice, my company is both a publisher of travel and guide books as well as a tour-guide company and events agency."Sloboda's firm offers everything from picture postcards to convenient pocket city and travel guides as well as organizing all kinds of events for firms - basically, anything that brings the visitor closer to Slovakia.
For quite a while, Sloboda has been the first port of call for the German embassy and other countries when it comes to guiding presidents, prime ministers and other dignitaries around the Slovakian capital and country.However, he still finds time to take most of the photographs that are used in his books on Slovakia.The fact that he is constantly showing journalists around his country has made Sloboda quite well known in his own right. After a programme about him was shown on German television, a steady flow
of tourists made their way to Slovakia to enjoy the tours with the "nice man from the television."
The 33-year-old, who speaks fluent German and English, is always passionate and optimistic when talking about his plans and future and he regards the opening up of Europe as a huge opportunity. "In my view,
the borders have practically disappeared" he says. "I can travel everywhere with my passport."Sloboda
is old enough to remember that when he was a youth the Iron Curtain was still in place and located not far from Bratislava. His tourism business is only possible because of the opening up of Europe's borders.
"Even the travelling times have got much, much shorter," he says happily. "The actual distance has remained the same but it's easier and quicker to cross borders."