Kranjska Gora counting on long-term benefits of sport events

Kranjska Gora – Kranjska Gora has had a dismal winter tourist season, but it is alone among Slovenia’s winter sports resorts to have hosted several major international sporting events. While the proceeds have not been high, the community is banking on their promotional impact and the lessons learned in Covid-safe tourism.

“We’ve taken maximum advantage of the given situation to bring more major sporting events to Kranjska Gora than we had planned,” says Blaž Veber, the head of the local tourism organisation.

Kranjska Gora offered accommodation to ski jumpers competing in the Ski Flying World Championship in Planica in December, and hosted two women’s Skiing World Cup races in January and two races in the men’s World Cup last weekend.

At the end of March Planica will host the World Cup season finale in ski jumping.

Veber says the events have no doubt had a promotional impact that may serve the resort in the long term, but they have not managed to offset the steep decline in tourism figures given that they were held without spectators and that hotels, except those where athletes and staff stayed, remained closed.

“The negative revenue-side effect will no doubt be significant… But it would be worse if accommodation facilities had been open and visitors were not allowed.”

Milan Sajovic, the head of hotel chain Hit Alpinea, says that the company was happy “to operate at least a little bit” given the epidemiological situation.

It is good for hotels to open at least briefly, and it is beneficial for staff to return to work to interrupt the long furlough.

Another major benefit is that the hotels now know very well how to implement anti-coronavirus restrictions in practice.

“The guests will have different expectations now, they will be more attentive to measures to protect health. And, once tourism starts reopening, we’ll have a great advantage.”