In recent years, Slovenia has been developing sustainable and non-mass offer for unique experiences, which is a very good starting point for the post-pandemic recovery.
The STB is aware of the situation and has thus prepared and implemented a number of projects and activities for 2021 with an even greater emphasis on responsiveness, adaptability, agility and, above all, innovation and creativity, with a strong focus on digital and sustainable transformation.
MSc. Maja Pak, Director of the STB, says that “tourism is the industry which has been most affected by the pandemic. The crisis is 11 times bigger than the financial crisis in 2008 and 2009 and has caused the loss of as many as 7 million overnight stays in Slovenian tourism, thus returning to the numbers from 10 years ago. We managed to mitigate the large decline in the number of foreign overnight stays with a strong increase in the number of domestic overnight stays, which was one third higher than in 2019. Regardless of the fact that the recovery will be long-lasting, it is crucial that the changes that will help tourism after the crisis are introduced today. Throughout the years, we have intensively systematically promoted Slovenia as a green boutique destination focused on sustainable development. This has resulted in rankings of the world's most prestigious media and in great exposure. Therefore, we believe that we will soon be able to regain trust of international tourists.” She also pinpointed that “the Slovenian Tourist Board adapted activities to new conditions immediately after the outbreak of the pandemic and strengthened the contact with nearby and domestic markets. For this very reason, virtual platforms have been launched and 75 online business workshops and webinars for foreign business partners were conducted. We also boosted social media network communication and marked a record of almost 5 million interactions based on almost 6,000 posts. Additionally, we also strengthened the effectiveness of the promotion through partnerships with renowned athletes and major events. An important step in upgrading sustainable development was made last week, when the call for the Slovenia Green Cuisine label was published within the Green Scheme of Slovenian Tourism. Next month, we are also publishing a call for Slovenia Unique Experiences. Slovenia has received the prestigious title of European Gastronomic Region 2021 on the basis of a clear vision of stakeholders for the development of sustainable gastronomy, and a major shift in the visibility of Slovenian gastronomy was made last year with the arrival of the recognizable Michelin gastronomic guide to Slovenia. We are aware that the economy is in a very difficult situation, so we have designed several tenders to co-finance the promotion, and we also work on constantly providing education and training and informing stakeholders about the current situation. In order to restart tourism, it is necessary to adapt to the situation at all levels and to provide clear and intensive promotion to the target groups we want to address. The competition will be very strong when tourism restarts."
The attitude towards travel is changing dramatically, security and trust are becoming key values. When choosing destinations, tourists are expected to give preference to destinations that are not overcrowded and allow contact with nature, and ensure safe travel and vacation. Given its long-term focus on sustainability, Slovenia has a good starting point for strengthening its position as a green boutique destination for unique experiences throughout the year. Vision of Slovenian tourism, i.e. the vision of a green boutique destination for five-star experiences for demanding guests, remains unchanged.
As a national tourism organization that plans and implements the comprehensive tourist offer of the country and takes care of tourism development, the STB also has a responsibility to mitigate the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the tourism economy by responding quickly to changes and proactively planning activities needed to recover.
The key milestones on the path to the recovery of Slovenian tourism have been identified, i.e. the gradual revival of travel in line with the epidemiological picture in Europe and wordlwide, and the resumption of tourism and hospitality and the meetings industry. Major role will be played by the nearby and domestic markets and a tailor-made offer for them, as well as the gradual restoration of air connections. The STB will continue paying great attention to strengthening the visibility of Slovenia as a destination that, based on high security standards, takes care of safe experiences and remains sustainable boutique destination for innovative 5-star experiences.
On the way to recovery, Slovenian tourism will face many challenges, primarily connected with the survival of companies and the preservation of as many jobs as possible. Companies will face limitations related to safety standards when marketing their offer and operating on a reduced scale. With the reopening of borders, destinations will face stiff international competition. Re-establishing air connections will be crucial for the return of guests from air-accessible destinations (especially the UK, the Russian Federation and overseas markets). The economic situation will affect lower consumption of foreign and domestic guests. We are also witnessing changes in the attitude of tourists, the choice of destinations and the type of accommodation establishments. Due to the difficult economic situation, companies are delaying investments in infrastructure and in the digital and sustainable transition.