January 29, 2022 – Meet Monika Šrajbek, the head of tourism at the Vu Life Center, a one-stop shop for medical tourism in Vukovar.
With creativity flowing, amazing products that need to be heard of, and most importantly energy to do something significant for tourism in Vukovar, this small business strives to keep up with the times and always offer something new. Vu Life Center is one of the rare attempts of medical tourism in the city, offering aesthetic procedures using modern technology. What once was a private ob-gyn practice became a practice for aesthetic medicine and eventually grew into an agency in its own right. Today, it encompasses Vu Life Journey as a travel agency, as well as Vu Life Shop where you can buy souvenirs and amazing local products such as honey, lavender, toys, and more. We spoke to their head of tourism, Monika, who is in love with Vukovar and is on a mission to spread positivity and make everyone feel just the same as she does about it.
Tell us about your business, what do you do exactly?
My job is to manage the tourism department of our (still) small business. I take care of our accommodation facilities, which include booking, welcoming, and caring for our guests. I recently became the head of the travel agency which we opened last year. Because I enjoy my job so much, I do many different things, and I don’t call any of it work.
Where did you get the idea and what makes your offer unique?
Our director Mirjana Semenić Rutko started off with a private gynecological practice. Perfecting her services, she acquired modern technology for medical aesthetics. This way, unique medical treatments for the face and body became possible in Vukovar and Slavonia. If you want to “iron out” some wrinkles or get rid of annoying cellulite, we’re here for you! In 2017, we opened 2 facilities for tourist accommodation. To make things run more smoothly and elevate our services, we opened Vu Life Center in 2018. With the development of the business came the idea that it would be nice to round up all the work that the company is engaged in. We ended up doing that through our travel agency Vu Life Journey. To create an even more special offer, we bought some VR glasses and got software developed to feature the stories of our museums: the City Museum, the Vučedol Culture Museum, the Vukovar Water Tower as well as one presenting a cruise on the Danube. Our VR stories provide a truly extraordinary experience – during your visit you can touch (and even break) dishes and objects that you would not find in a classic tour. Or imagine looking at paintings in the museum while Count Eltz himself plays the piano for his beloved…
And if you happen to visit and forget to buy a souvenir, don’t worry. You can order it in our webshop!
What was it like starting a business in Vukovar? What were the main challenges?
It was not easy (not that it is anywhere in Croatia), and there were some obstacles, especially with paperwork. The main challenges now include creating a quality, interesting offer, networking, connecting, positioning ourselves on the market.
Do you think that the fact that you are in the east of Croatia influenced your success?
Doing business in eastern Croatia is actually a big advantage. We are the only ones in this part of the country with such an offer so our competition is minimal, if at all existent. Vukovar is in an excellent geographical position and is only a few hours away from big cities such as Zagreb, Budapest, Belgrade…
Are you satisfied with how your business is developing? What is your perspective for the future?
We are more than satisfied! To us, it is clear that we are moving in the right direction, and we hope that we will stay on that path.
What opportunities are there in our city and region?
There are many possibilities just waiting to be recognized. Some willpower goes a long way.
What is your view on other small businesses in Vukovar?
We are connected with many small businesses at the core of our existence. Our work is related to both private and public services. In my opinion, the essence of tourism lies in everyone coming together to market their best products – winemakers, food producers, renters, museums.
One of the reasons why we started a webshop is to sell locally produced souvenirs. That part of our story is a bit slower, but we are happy with the progress.
If we were to implement the Vukovar Card, would you support the initiative?
Of course, we would! We support every idea that brings positivity to all.
Finally, tell us something about life in Vukovar. What do you like most, what would you say to all potential visitors?
From the moment I moved to Vukovar, I fell in love with it. It’s a beautiful city with a long and rich history. Almost every street has its own story. The people I met here have enriched my life (probably because positivity always attracts positivity). I would say to all visitors to come with an open heart and really get to know this special city and its surroundings!
Where can we find you?
On our main website, our travel agency as well as our webshop.
For more, check out our dedicated lifestyle section.