The Slovenia Times

Next Exit for Slovene Tourism



When entering Slovenia by road, be sure to take one of the green brochures offered by some nice girls at the border. What they want is to persuade you to get off the highway and explore the secret beauties of the country, the spots that are most likely missed by people who take the road trough Slovenia. It is a major campaign of the Slovene Tourist Board called "Next Exit", targeted at passengers in transit who might stay in Slovenia for another day before hurrying elsewhere. The awarded marketing campaign presents six thematic routes to cover 36 of Slovenia's most interesting cultural and natural sights, displayed on a map that's being delivered to tourists. With the map, a catalogue of 300 natural and cultural monuments as well as information on accommodation, food and sports is enclosed. Trends in Tourism As presented by Bojan Meden, the STO Director, this year's tourist business in the markets worldwide is quite specific. The demand seems to be determined by "last minute" offers which once sold the remaining offers, but today instead make too many tourists wait for the "last minute" offers to appear. This caused a "pricing slaughter". That notable trend is reported from Germany, but it seems like other countries are coping with the same situation. STO says their promotion campaign in Germany did well which results in improved demand. Reports from Italy, which is, according to the numbers, Slovenia's major tourist source, show that Italians are planning holidays in their home country more than ever before in the last 20 years. Estimated 4,5 millions Italians who intend to go abroad decided to choose the "safe" destinations: Greece, Spain and Croatia rather than previously more popular Tunis, Morocco and Turkey. After all, at least some of them will certainly drive through Slovenia where they can be seduced by taking the "Next Exit". USA and Canada expect a lower rate of overseas holidays. In the current situation co-operation among travel agencies and local tourist organizations seems crucial. While travel magazines promote holidays in Europe and emphasize that the recent split of opinions on war in Iraq did not make Europeans unfriendly, the most obvious reason for fewer visits to Europe seems to be the domestic economic situation and the low dollar exchange rate. As reported by Darja Gacnik of STO Information Board, New York, the first four months indicated a 12% rise of arrivals to Slovenia by US citizens, predicting the highest visit in June and September. It is, however, estimated that 75% Americans who come to Slovenia also visit Croatia, especially Dubrovnik. The same STO representative made some critical notes regarding the expensive and underdeveloped air connections causing visitors to use airports in neighbouring countries. Another comment was pointed at the Slovene administration, which was slowing down foreign investments and thus caused no big international hotel chain to be present in Slovenia. Beside the recession, everyone is fighting the "apocalyptic horsemen" of tourism - terrorist threats, conflicts in the Middle East, SARS etc. Obviously this year cheap sells well, and this is also what many Slovene tourism providers can experience. Regardless of these factors, tourist workers still hope for a fruitful season.


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