Summer season expected to be “saved” by domestic tourists

Bohinj – Domestic tourists are expected to spend the rest of tourists vouchers, dominate this year’s tourist season in Slovenia and make for the bulk of tourist nights, a survey into travel trends of Slovenians in 2021 shows.

“This year we expect the tourist vouchers to be again a big success after they saved our season in Bohinj last year,” said the author of the survey, Anže Čokl, the head of two hotels from the area around the Alpine lake of Bohinj, north-west.

The number of foreign tourists will meanwhile heavily depend on vaccination rates, which will be key to restrictions easing, border reopening and an air travel rebound.

Domestic and foreign experts expect tourism to first recover at the local level where destinations can be reached by car.

Tourists are expected to book shorter holidays and closer home, while domestic tourists will expect to get even more for their money, the survey shows.

The problem are foremost destinations which are tightly linked to large groups from more distant parts of the world, such as Asia, Čokl explained.

However, as soon as it is possible, people will get back to old travel ways.

High hygiene standards are meanwhile there to stay and will play a major role in choosing accommodation, there should also be a rise in boutique accommodation and interest in less visited destinations.

With all hotels closed during the epidemic, there is a bit more time for education and preparations for next season, so I was interested to learn what Slovenian experts expect from this year’s summer season, Čikl explained the motivation behind the survey. He thus talked to hotel directors, tour operators, researchers and other experts.

He said the structure of tourists in Bohinj completely changed last year, with the number of Slovenian tourists up from 8% in the pre-coronavirus year 2019 to 90%.

“Slovenians are good guests, but have different habits and the manner of travel than tourists from abroad.”

The experience at Bohinj Eco Hotel shows that they like to spend much more time outdoor, while staying in Bohinj fewer days than foreigners, only 2-3 as opposed to 5-7.

Although he is not worried about the summer season, the problem is the events industry, a source of revenue in autumn and spring, which the pandemic has severely hit.

“When it comes to recovery in business events, we are unfortunately talking about years, not months,” Čokl said.