Martin Sloboda (born 1974 in Bratislava) is the publisher and author of books on Bratislava and Slovakia, a photographer, owner of a tour guide agency, lecturer and events organiser. The aim of his work is to “sell” Slovakia.
Martin Sloboda grew up in a traditional Pressburg family, where a good upbringing meant speaking, in addition to “foreign languages”, also German, Hungarian and Slovak. Thanks to the guidance of his grandparents and parents, his interest in the rich history of Bratislava and Central Europe was kindled from an early age. The godfather of his first book was no other than well-known Bratislava character, actor Július Satinský.
In 1999, he received an MA in British and American Studies and German studies, specialisation in Translation and Interpreting at Comenius University in Bratislava. While still studying, he took additional courses in schools in Germany (Universität Würzburg, Universität Tübingen), Great Britain (International Language Academy, Cambridge), France (École Azurlingua, Nice), Italy (Instituto Linguistico Bertrand Russell, Padova) and Australia (Australian College of English, Sydney).
Martin got his tour guide license for Bratislava while still a student and started working for travel agencies guiding foreign tourists. Shortly after that, he went it alone, with guided tours for tourists soon complemented by more demanding corporate clients and top-level state visits. In 2000, he set up MS Agency s.r.o., which among its many activities specialises in private tours. He co-operates with a small group of personally selected top tour guides, whose level of expert knowledge, language skills and personal charisma guarantee a special experience. When there’s time, he accompanies top state visits of key embassies and corporations, and helps generate a positive image of Slovakia in the eyes of the most influential people in the world from politics, business and tourism. He included book publishing to the range of his company’s activities from the very start. This meant he could combine his interest in history, architecture and photography and start to issue successful guidebooks and postcards. Later on, his activities incorporated organising social events for corporate clients with the aim of presenting Bratislava’s rich history. At present, the creation of his own quality photobank www.slovakiastockphotos.com is gaining in importance, as is the publication of e-books, because there is still too little information about Slovakia abroad.
Other activities undertaken by Martin include consulting for TV stations CNN, BBC, ARD, ORF and SRF, as well as radio stations and printed media from around the world that are preparing programmes on Bratislava or Slovakia, with the aim of positively influencing their content, scenarios and overall wording in Slovakia’s favour. He lectures regularly about the Slovakia “success story” on board luxury American cruise ships anchored in Bratislava and gives presentations to foreign corporate clientele. Every year, thousands of influential people therefore receive positive information about Slovakia and then spread its good name.
Since 2006, he has been a member of the Rotary club Bratislava Danube and in 2014 he was elected club president. Rotary affiliates leading figures from various fields with the aim of helping their surroundings, supporting humanitarian work, establishing goodwill and peace in the world in the spirit of the motto “Service above self”. Since 2013, he has been a member of the Bratislava Enhancement Society (BOS), which has its mission in the protection of cultural heritage, the revival of traditions and the enhancement of Bratislava. As one of the founding members of the Bratislava Tourist Board, Martin endeavours to contribute actively also to promoting the city as an attractive destination.
In 2003, he led a fam trip of Slovakia for a group of renowned Finnish journalists, which at the Matka Mieli tourism trade fair in Helsinki was declared the best fam trip of the year by the Finnish Guild of Journalists, beating tough competition from some of the top destinations in the world. In 2007, Martin was selected by the German ambassador to the project EU Panorama – “27 True Europeans,” on the 50th anniversary of the establishment of the European Union in Berlin, where he presented Slovakia among 27 EU member states.