Statistics & predictions: Cautious, but optimistic

Published: 27.5.2021

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Statistics & predictions: Cautious, but optimistic

The pandemic has influenced changes in the travel habits. Tourists now increasingly show interest in destinations with sustainable development. Slovenian tourism was based on sustainability already before the pandemic and will also continue to be also in the future.

Statistics & predictions:  Cautious, but optimistic

The revitalization of domestic and foreign tourism will be influenced by several factors: general vaccination of the population and its health situation, release of restrictions, opening of capacities and safety standards at the destination, travel intentions of guests, flight connections, attractiveness of tourist offer and of course, appropriate promotion.

According to the European Travel Commission (ETC), the share of Europeans planning to travel in the next six months is currently at the highest level of all surveys, at 56%. A good fifth plan to travel from May to June, and additional 36 % are considering traveling in the summer. 41 % plan to travel to another European country and 36 % plan their holidays within their home country. The main motive for travel is leisure activities (66 %), Europeans who planned travel in the spring and summer season show greater interest in holidays at sea (21 %) and in nature (15 %).

For travel planning and booking, digital sources are prefered. A fifth cited health and safety as the most important element for travel this year. A major factor when deciding to travel, however, remains the destination’s success in tackling the pandemic, followed by flexible cancellation policies. As many as 6 7% stated that strict health and safety protocols at the destination are key to a safer and more relaxed travel experience.

The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) has prepared two scenarios for 2021, which address the possible re-development of international travel in the second half of the year. The scenario is based on a number of factors, notably the easening of travel restrictions, the success of vaccination programs or the introduction of harmonized protocols, such as the digital green certificate planned by the European Commission.

The first scenario shows a recovery in July, which would lead to a 65 % increase in international arrivals in 2021 compared to 2020. In this case, arrivals would still be 55 % lower than the levels recorded in 2019.

The second scenario envisages a potential recovery in September, which would lead to a 30 % increase in arrivals compared to last year. Nevertheless, this would be as much as 67 % below the 2019 level.

The UNWTO predicts a more visible recovery in world tourism in 2023-2024.

Research by the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) shows that, if travel and mobility are restored by June, a significant increase in global GDP and thus new jobs are expected.

ETC data for January show an 85 % decline in international arrivals in Europe. In the observed period, as many as half of the destinations recorded a decline of more than 90 %. UNWTO data for January show an 87 % decrease in international tourist arrivals compared to 2020. In February, as many as 32 % of all world destinations were completely closed to international tourism. Based on current trends, the UNWTO expects that the number of international tourist arrivals in the first quarter of 2021 will decrease by about 85 % compared to the same period in 2019. This would mean a loss of about 260 million international arrivals compared to the pre-pandemic period. According to the WTTC, the sector's contribution to global GDP in 2020 fell to 4.7 trillion US dollars (5.5 % of GDP) from almost 9.2 trillion US dollars in 2019 (the sector accounted for 10.4 % of GDP). Compared to 2019, international travel expenditure decreased by 69.4 %.

From January to April, 87.2 % less tourist arrivals and 80.4 % fewer tourist overnight stays were recorded in Slovenia compared to the same period last year. In the first four months, compared to 2020, a 85.3 % decrease in overnight stays of foreign guests and a 73.5 % decrease in tourist overnight stays of domestic guests were recorded.

In this period, domestic guests generated 48,645 tourist arrivals (57.7 %) and 206,130 tourist overnight stays (56.2%), which represents 81.2 % less tourist arrivals and 73.5 % fewer tourist overnight stays than in the same period last year.

According to the Bank of Slovenia, the value of travel exports in January–March amounted to EUR 76.08 million, which is 80 % less than in the same period in 2020.

The pandemic has strongly influenced changes in the travel habits of tourists, who are now looking for active holidays in unspoiled nature and increasingly show interest in destinations with sustainable development. Slovenia is recognized as an example of good practice and this is also the capital, on which Slovenian tourism has been based before the pandemic and will also continue to be also in the future.

Slovenian tourism is facing another demanding tourist season. Although the forecasts are uncertain, the STB estimates that this year will be similar to 2020 in an optimistic scenario. A slightly lower number of domestic guests is expected compared to last year, but this would still represent approximately 9 % more arrivals and 15.8 % more overnight stays of domestic guests than in 2019. The fact is that last year, an above-average growth in the number of domestic guests was recorded (according to Eurostat Slovenia has recorded the highest growth of domestic guests in 2020), who otherwise like to travel abroad on holiday. Therefore, some Slovenians will travel abroad as soon as the conditions allow. Some will also decide to spend their holidays in Slovenia thanks to high-quality tourist offer. A survey on the assessment of the potential of a domestic guest conducted by the STB in November 2020 showed that domestic guests are fond of the idea of taking vacation at home: in the next 12 months, as many as 83 % of Slovenians who travel intend to choose Slovenia as a holiday destination. The research thus showed that Slovenia ranks among the top destinations for domestic guests, recognizing it as a green destination for relaxation in nature, which offers a rich wellness and spa offer.

An estimate of arrivals for 2021 for Slovenia:

  • In total: 3.5 million; compared to 2020 a 12.8 % growth; compared to 2019 a 44.5% drop
  • Domestic: 1.7 million; compared to 2020 a 10% decline; compared to 2019 a 9% growth
  • Foreign: 1.8 million; compared to 2020 47.4% growth; compared to 2019 a 61.9 % drop

An estimate of overnight stays for 2021 for Slovenia:

  • In total: 10.2 million; compared to 2020 a 10.7% drop; compared to 2019 a 35.4 % drop
  • Domestic: 5.1 million; compared to 2020 a 12.8 % decline; compared to 2019 a 15.8% growth
  • Foreign: 5.1 million; compared to 2020 a 51.8% growth; compared to 2019 a 55.2% drop

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