The A to Z of tourism vouchers
Eligible for tourism vouchers are all persons with permanent residence in Slovenia as of 13 March 2020, who will have their credit recorded in the electronic system of the Financial Administration (FURS).
Vouchers can be spent on accommodation or accommodation and breakfast in registered tourism facilities, which will also have access to the FURS system, while beneficiaries will be able to keep track of the state of their credit through a mobile app.
Vouchers do not need to be spent at one facility and in one go, but can also be used in several instalments and at different providers - hotels, self-catering units, lodges, agri-tourism farms, private homes, mountain huts, camps and other facilities.
Those who want to use their vouchers will need to show their identification documents to the provider and fill in a relevant form available at the reception desk of the facility. On this basis, providers will be able to access and use the credit.
Providers will be refunded by FURS within 30 days from the day the service was provided.
Vouchers are transferable, but only within the immediate family, with siblings and cousins excluded. The transfer is made by means of a special signed statement, and it can be made only once, and the entire amount of credit needs to be transferred.
If a beneficiary has already used some of the credit on the voucher, the rest cannot be transferred to another person. Violations related to the transfer are subject to fines ranging from EUR 200 to EUR 600.
Vouchers can be cashed in only for accommodation or accommodation with breakfast, while tourists need to pay for other services, for instance additional meals, and tourist tax, out of pocket.
The price of the service paid by vouchers must be the same as if the service were paid in cash or with a payment card, otherwise the provider is liable for a fine. Tourists are urged to report such cases to the relevant inspection service.
The Market Inspectorate, which is in charge of supervising the use of vouchers, will impose fines ranging from EUR 3,000 to EUR 40,000 on providers which use a voucher for a service which has not been provided or if a higher price is charged.
Providers are not obliged to accept tourism vouchers, and they also can decide to accept them only within a specified period. Tourists are thus advised to check whether they will be able to cash in their vouchers in advance.
If the provider does not have internet access, the guest will pay for the service and will get a receipt, which will be used to get a refund from FURS, which has to be done within three days after check-out. Refunds will be paid within 30 days.
If vouchers are not cashed in until 31 December, they cease to be valid, and their holders will not be compensated in any form.
A beneficiary will be able to use their voucher to pay for accommodation (and breakfast) for other persons under the condition that they accompany these persons and spend the night at the same facility on the day the voucher is used.
It will be possible to use vouchers to pay a service which was booked before the epidemic, but not paid for already. Providers are not obliged to refund the payment which was already made and accept vouchers in return, but may do so.
There are some 2.05 million people with permanent residence in Slovenia eligible for vouchers, of whom around 1.7 million adults and 350,000 minors (under 18).
The government thus expects that vouchers will cost the budget around EUR 345 million, and it is expected that their users will spend an additional EUR 172 million on services they will not be able to cover with vouchers.
However, the Fiscal Council, a government advisory body, has estimated that only around EUR 254 million in vouchers will be actually spent.
Another option for helping the sector was extending subsidies for furloughed workers and shortened working time, but the government opted for vouchers as they are expected to create an added value as people spend extra money on additional services.
According to the government, a positive effect will also be that Slovenian residents will get to know the country better and perhaps spend more future holidays at home.