Slovenian tourism: New records, old challenges
Arrivals and nights by foreign tourists grew this year until August, by 7.1% and 3.5%, respectively, and revenue from foreign tourists rose by 3% to EUR 1.9 billion until the end of August, Economy Minister Zdravko Počivalšek told the press in Ljubljana on Tuesday.
This means two goals were already achieved in 2018, arrivals and nights, he said at the Days of Slovenian Tourism, the main tourism industry event in the country.
However, "the main goal of the strategy is EUR 3.7-4 billion in revenue from foreign tourists, which means a lot of hard work until the end of this period," he added.
Compared to the baseline year 2016, revenue from foreign tourists rose by 24% to EUR 2.7 billion in 2018, and only by another 3% since last year.
Počivalšek also presented some other priorities: efforts to restructure state-owned tourism companies; making hospitality legislation more flexible; and public calls.
He said everything had been done to prepare the ground for the transfer of ownership and management of state-owned tourism companies to a state-owned fund.
Nevertheless, the minister said it was hard to say when this would actually happen, noting a plurality of different interests.
As for legislation, he said the hospitality sector needed simpler and fresher legislation that would enable it to develop gastronomy.
The ministry is also planning new calls for applications to distribute EUR 5.5 million to leading destinations in the coming two years.
Three million euro will be available for new products, EUR 21 million to make tourist accommodation and restaurants energy efficient and another EUR 5 million for the same purpose for mountain cottages.
Počivalšek also said that in 2017-2018, the state spent EUR 17.3 million on 121 projects that should bring 185 new or upgraded tourist products plus 190 new jobs.
Speaking at the same news conference, Slovenian Tourism Association head Pavle Hevka stressed tourism was the most important sector of economy for Slovenia.
He believes it facilitates quality development to the capital city, as well other smaller and bigger towns, villages and even more remote parts of the country.
Slovenian Tourist Board (STO) director Maja Pak said the STO would continue to focus on digital advertising, working with journalists and influencers.
It will moreover present Slovenia at global tourist and other events, including Expo in Dubai and the Olympic Games in Tokyo, while also planning to use Slovenia's EU presidency in 2021 as a promotional opportunity. Gastronomy will also be an area in the focus in the next two years.
This year's Days of Slovenian Tourism are organised by all leading partners in the industry under the wing of the STO.