The Slovenia Times

Minister promises liberalisation of tourism


Speaking on the first day of the three-day event, Počivalšek pointed to the excellent results of Slovenia's tourism this year - the country is recording a 12% growth in tourist arrivals, which is well above the European (5%) and global (4%) averages.

The country remains ambitious, as it wants to increase annual revenue generated by foreign tourists from two to three billion euros in less than five years, the minister added.

The Slovenian Tourism Board (STO) is expected to contribute greatly to this, as its budget for the promotion of Slovenia's tourism almost doubled compared to last year to EUR 12m, Počivalšek noted.

According to the minister, Slovenia needs a systemic solution for financing of tourism promotion and bolstered competitiveness, which could be achieved with diversification of supply.

"Slovenia is too small to be similar to others. We want to find our place with innovative, different products, which will satisfy the demand from modern guests," Počivalšek explained.

Slovenia also needs to improve its accessibility, including with new airline connections, the minister said, promising that the state would improve the business environment with debureaucratisation and liberalisation.

"I can use the word drastically. We want to create such conditions that you do not have to deal with bureaucracy, but with business, development of new products and sales," he concluded.

Prime Minister Miro Cerar also pointed to the great importance of tourism for Slovenia's economy, which represents one of the strategic sectors with a 12.8% share in the country's GDP.

"The government is aware that we have extensive potential left," Cerar said, adding that further development of tourism and economic growth required a favourable business environment, adequate infrastructure and efficient education system.

Eva Štravs Podlogar, the acting head of the Tourism and Internationalisation Directorate at the Economy Ministry meanwhile stressed that while the number of tourists in Slovenia was growing, revenues had failed to follow suit.

"Our marketing is not right, our self-confidence is too low, and we prefer quantity to quality," she said, adding that this was one of the issues that needed to be addressed in the emerging strategy of Slovenian tourism.

Some of the main points of the strategy were discussed by STO acting director Maja Pak, including boosting of digital presence. "We intend to create a new, modern tourism portal in two years," she announced.

The state will continue promoting the "I feel sLOVEnia" brand and Slovenia's image as a green, active and healthy country. The brand is getting increasingly recognised abroad, which needs to be capitalised, Pak stressed.

When it comes to markets, Slovenia will focus on the key markets in its vicinity and will also look to develop new markets, in particular Turkey and the Persian Gulf countries. In the remote markets, the STO will cooperate with the neighbouring countries and other Central and East European countries.


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