From Business Events to the Basketball Court: Slovenia Continues Intensive Promotion in the US Market

Published: 31.1.2024

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From Business Events to the Basketball Court: Slovenia Continues Intensive Promotion in the US Market

In the US market, Slovenia continues with activities to enhance its visibility as a country with a thriving and dynamic economy, appealing investment opportunities, and a rich tourist offer.

From Business Events to the Basketball Court: Slovenia Continues Intensive Promotion in the US Market

Last week, as the Slovenian business and development delegation visited Dallas and Austin, business forums targeting the establishment and deepening of business ties were scheduled, alongside visits to American companies and institutions. American basketball enthusiasts were introduced to Slovenia as an enticing tourist destination with a big sporting heart at the 'I Feel Slovenia Night' during the Dallas Mavericks basketball game.

The Ministry of the Economy, Tourism and Sport, together with SPIRIT Slovenia, the Slovenian Tourist Board (STB), the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs, Government Communication Office and program partner AmCham, has once again organized a business and promotional event in Dallas. The USA remains a top-priority market for increasing trade, promoting the export of Slovenian products and services, and attracting serious capital and industry-appropriate investors. Simultaneously, the USA holds a paramount position as the most significant distant market for Slovenian tourism.

In this vast market with 332 million inhabitants, it is crucial for the Slovenian economy to increase its visibility in areas where it already holds a certain presence. The state of Texas, housing 30 million people and often referred to as the "engine" of the American economy, stands as the second-largest economy in the States and the 10th largest in the world. What is more, Dallas is the current residence of one of Slovenia's basketball prodigies, Luka Dončić. Coupled with the presence of numerous already successful Slovenian-origin businessmen, this makes Texas, and Dallas in particular, an inviting gateway for Slovenia. Meanwhile, Austin, the capital, serves as the cultural and economic hub of Texas, witnessing the recent relocation of crucial American technology companies' headquarters.

MSc. Maja Pak Olaj, director of STB, emphasized: "At the STB, we have consistently targeted potential American tourists through various channels, focusing especially on discerning guests seeking authentic, personalized experiences. The record number of American tourists and their overnight stays in Slovenia in 2023 is a testament to the success of our efforts in enhancing the visibility and reputation of the country in the US market. Events like 'I Feel Slovenia Night' and STB's partnerships with top athletes and organizations such as the Dallas Mavericks club and our basketball star Luka Dončić have effectively brought Slovenia closer to the global audience, reinforcing its image as an active, green, and friendly destination."


Rok Capl, acting director of SPIRIT Slovenia, stated: "This visit to Dallas and Austin marks the continuation of a successful and high-profile story in the multi-year intensified promotion of Slovenia, its economy and tourism in the American market. Through our activities, we aim for the American businesses to recognize Slovenia as a vital business destination, offering opportunities for new partnerships and investments. I am confident that this year we will firmly establish Slovenia on the map of business and tourist destinations for Americans, opening up numerous opportunities for cooperation between companies from both countries."

MSc. Ajša Vodnik, general director of AmCham Slovenia and president of AmCham in Europe, shared her opinion: "Our inspiration for building strong business and friendship ties between Slovenia and Texas undoubtedly stems from Luka Dončić, who has captured the hearts of the people there and elevated Slovenia's visibility. The potential connection between Texas and Slovenia is immense. As a thriving business center, Texas provides Slovenian companies access to a vast market and new avenues for growth. Simultaneously, we aim to showcase Slovenia as a gateway to the region and Europe, positioning it as an enticing country for investments. As a leader in the network of 49 European AmChams from 47 countries, AmCham Slovenia recognizes the strength of transatlantic ties, advocating for Slovenia and its companies to strenghten their presence in the American market. The joint delegations, organized with Spirit Slovenia for several years, serve as a crucial avenue for Slovenian companies to enter the US market, offering American partners insights into our country and the opportunities in Slovenia."

'I Feel Slovenia Night': Dallas Mavericks and STB join forces for greater visibility of Slovenia

In an ongoing partnership with the Slovenian Tourist Board (STB) and the Dallas Mavericks basketball club, featuring the globally recognized Slovenian star Luka Dončić, continuous promotional activities are taking place. A unique promotional spectacle, 'I Feel Slovenia Night,' once again turned the American Airlines Center in Dallas in Slovenian green during the NBA match between the Dallas Mavericks and the Boston Celtics. Through an array of promotional activities, basketball enthusiasts immersed themselves in the essence of Slovenia, the homeland of the exceptional and widely admired Luka Dončić.

Throughout the event, the 'I Feel Slovenia' brand prominently adorned the hall, featured on LED screens alongside and on the court, as well as across all levels of the arena. Additional promotional activities, including a Slovenia-themed quiz during halftime, captivated the fans. Attendees received promotional fan props, while the acrobatic stunts of the Slovenian Dunkin' Devils awed the audience. Before entering the hall, fans could delve into everything Slovenia has to offer as an outstanding tourist destination for discerning guests at the information desk. The Dallas Mavericks club extensively spotlighted the event across all its communication channels.

In the preceding weeks, the Slovenian Tourist Board (STB), in collaboration with the Dallas Mavericks, executed a digital campaign on the club's website, complemented by posts on the social networks of both partners. Participants engaged in online prize quizzes, providing an intriguing and interactive way to discover Slovenia and its tourist attractions, all while vying for enticing prizes, such as Luka Dončić's basketball jersey and a ticket to the game. The campaign culminated at the match with the presentation of the main prize: a journey to Slovenia for two lucky Dallas Mavericks fans.

Slovenia on the NBA Floor: Elevating Visibility Through Sports

In a two-year partnership with the Dallas Mavericks basketball club, the Slovenian Tourist Board (STB) is enhancing the visibility of Slovenia and the national brand 'I Feel Slovenia', not only in the USA but also on the global stage, as the NBA league enjoys a vast following worldwide. Presenting Slovenia as a country with a big sporting heart, the initiative highlights the country's economic, investment and tourist opportunities. Beyond the 'I Feel Slovenia Night' and the digital campaign, this collaboration entails the promotion of the national brand at a total of 60 home games of the Dallas Mavericks in the NBA, spanning both the past and current years.

For numerous years, the STB has been dedicated to strengthening Slovenia's image as an active, green, and healthy sports destination, achieved through strategic partnerships with top Slovenian athletes.

Recognizing the USA as the most crucial distant market for Slovenian tourism with immense growth potential, 2023 marked a historic milestone. American tourists generated a record-breaking 332,000 overnight stays in the first 11 months of the year, surpassing the previous record set in 2019 (323,000 overnight stays). The number of American tourist arrivals also hit a record, exceeding 149,000 in the same period, surpassing the entire year of 2019.

In the initial eleven months of the preceding year, American tourists favoured the Municipality of Ljubljana for their stays, totaling almost 138,000 overnight stays. Other popular destinations included Bled, Piran, Bohinj, Kranjska Gora, Bovec and Maribor.

American tourists in Slovenia are drawn to boutique, personalized and authentic experiences, encompassing cultural and active pursuits in nature and particularly gastronomy. The appeal of Slovenia lies in its authentic natural environment, warm hospitality and commitment to safety, aspects highly valued by American visitors. 

Continuous Activities in Key Overseas Market

SPIRIT Slovenia has systematically carried out a number of activities on the US market over the course of several years, steadfastly working towards facilitating the entry of Slovenian companies into the US market. This includes organizing business delegations, hosting business-investment conferences and implementing a targeted direct marketing, designed to position Slovenia as a prime destination for foreign investments, actively seeking potential investors with well-defined investment plans or expansion goals and considering Slovenia within a select set of locations for their ventures. Over the past two years, SPIRIT Slovenia has successfully executed two impactful advertising campaigns on the US market in collaboration with the global media giant CNN. These campaigns have resonated with an extensive audience, reaching around 200 million viewers and fostering a positive image among 80% of businessmen and investors across Europe, the USA, Asia and the Middle East.

Complementing its collaboration with the Dallas Mavericks and Luka Dončić, the Slovenian Tourist Board (STB) maintains a broad and continuous presence in the American market. This includes the implementation of a global digital campaign aimed at promoting Slovenian tourism. The STB strategically collaborates with esteemed associations such as the American Tour Operators Association (USTOA) and luxury tourism associations Virtuoso and Signature. Furthermore, partnerships with influential media outlets like National Geographic and CNN enhance the STB's outreach efforts. Hosting American tour operators and journalists in Slovenia is another facet of their engagement strategy, providing firsthand experiences of Slovenia's tourism offer. Last year, STB collaborated with the Croatian Tourist Organization (HTZ) in a joint promotional campaign, further solidifying its presence and influence in the competitive US market. This autumn, Slovenia will proudly host the prestigious Virtuoso Chairman's Event, a pinnacle gathering of global luxury tourism leaders.

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