Slovenia at ITB Berlin: a safe destination for excellent active experiences in pristine nature

Published: 10.3.2022

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Slovenia at ITB Berlin: a safe destination for excellent active experiences in pristine nature

Slovenia is an excellent destination for active holidays and sports tourism based on sustainability and unique natural resources. Since active outdoor experiences and sports tourism are the umbrella communication themes for 2022-2023, this was also the red thread of today's press conference.

Slovenia at ITB Berlin: a safe destination for excellent active experiences in pristine nature

At the press conference, Simon Zajc, State Secretary at the Ministry of Economic Development and Technology, Ilona StermeckiMSc., Acting director of the Slovenian Tourist Board (STB), Rebeka Kumer Bizjak, Director of the STB's Representative office in Germany, and Marko Lenarčič, expert associate of the Active Slovenia – Slovenia Outdoor Association, presented the trends in Slovenian tourism and the reasons why Slovenia ranks among the top recommended destinations for excellent active holidays. Outdoor experiences in pristine nature are also the central communication topic of the STB for 2022-2023. Franci Petek, head of the Nordic Center, also addressed the audience, inviting journalists to the 2023 Nordic World Championships in Planica. Additionally, the easing of covid restrictions and the developmental and promotional activities of the Ministry of Economic Development and Technology (MGRT) and the STB have been addressed. The journalists were also addressed by top Slovenian skier Ilka Štuhec.

Simon Zajc, State Secretary at the Ministry of Economic Development and Technology, emphasized: "The door to Slovenia is wide open for tourists and other visitors; RVT is no longer required to use most services. Although, some security restrictions and rules related to living in Slovenia still apply, such as wearing masks, hand disinfection, distancing and RVT conditions in healthcare facilities. The tourism ecosystem was clearly among the most affected economic branches during the covid-19 pandemics. The Slovenian government has quickly responded to this challenging situation and has adopted ten packages of measures to help the tourism industry and other companies. Moreover, it has allocated a total of one billion euros in aid to the hospitality and tourism sector. We estimate that the measures taken have preserved many jobs that are successful in the tourism industry and further business. In addition, the pandemics served as a magnifying glass for Slovene tourisms’ advantages, since secure, healthy, guest-oriented, and outdoor tourism has gained its popularity."

Ilona Stermecki, MSc., Acting director of the STB, highlighted key activities and topics that will inspire guests to visit Slovenia: “At the Slovenian Tourist Board, activities for 2022 focus on active experiences and sports tourism. In recent years, Slovenia has greatly strengthened its international visibility as one of the most competitive destinations for active holidays and international sports events. At the same time, this is one of the most important and the most promising tourist products of Slovenian tourism, which makes an important contribution to the deseasonalisation and diversification of tourist flows. We will continue to strengthen Slovenia's visibility by forming partnerships with top athletes and ambassadors of Slovenian tourism and by highlighting the I feel Slovenia brand at international sporting events in Slovenia. The same goes for the partnerships with global influential media and brands such as National Geographic, Lonely Planet, Conde Nast Traveler, Eurosport, Michelin, Gault & Millau, 50 Best Discovery, Google Arts & Culture and others, which have repeatedly highlighted Slovenia as safe, green, boutique and non-mass destination. This builds on the story of a green, active and healthy Slovenia and encourages the production of tourist products with higher added value. We are also working on upgrading the Green Scheme of Slovenian tourism and setting key milestones on Slovenia's path to one of the most digitally advanced tourist countries in Europe.” 

Rebeka Kumer Bizjak, Director of the STB's Representative office in Germany, emphasized that the German market has remained the most important emitting market for Slovenian tourism even during the crisis: "In 2021, German tourists generated more than a million overnight stays, which represents a 22% share of foreign guests and ranks them first. Compared to 2020, the growth of overnight stays of German tourists was 32%. German guests also lead in the number of arrivals, where they represent a 23% share with 400,000 arrivals. According to the latest tourism analyses, trends in the German market are short-term reservations, reservations through travel agencies and tour operators, and online reservations for services. Sustainability is emphasized, both among tourists and the travel industry. Germany remains their number one travel destination, followed by the Mediterranean and Alpine destinations. There is an increasing demand for health and wellness products, caravanning and outdoor experiences. Travel by car is still on the rise. Overall, Slovenia has a great competitive advantage over many other destinations."

When it comes to marketing, communication and development activities connected with outdoor and sports tourism, which is among the six tourist products in the STB’s 2022-2023 work programme, the STB works closely with the Slovenian tourism industry and the Active Slovenia – Slovenia Outdoor AssociationMatej Kandare, director of the Active Slovenia–Slovenia Outdoor Association drew attention to the fact that the whole Slovenia is an outdoor destination: “There is no place in Slovenia, which would not be suitable for at least some form of outdoor activity. Slovenia is developing four main pillars of outdoor products, which are hiking, cycling, winter activities and water activities with other adrenaline experiences such as paragliding and zip-line. We have natural resources for 365 days of activity, we are working on connecting the products and thus raising their quality and visibility. By enforcing the standards for outdoor destinations, guests will also find it easier and faster to find a suitable activity for themselves, which we believe will be one of the main reasons for visiting Slovenia in all seasons."

Slovenian top athletes, who rank among the best in the world, make an important contribution to creating a unique story of Slovenia as a green country, which encourages active and healthy experiences. Among the athletes who are also ambassadors of Slovenian tourism is also Ilka Štuhec, who explained how the country shapes world-class athletes: "Slovenia offers exceptional opportunities for professional and recreational sports activities. We have clean air, pristine nature, and at the same time quick access to various environments – the sea, mountains, valleys … When we travel around the world and compete, we realize that what we have at home is really valuable. For the second year in a row, I will be going on a week-long trip around Slovenia, and I can say that getting to know different parts of Slovenia is also exciting for Slovenians. And wherever I go, there are opportunities for me to spend my time actively. In addition to all this, I must highlight two other key issues - one is safety and the other is the friendliness of the locals and their hospitality. It is invaluable to be able to walk around the city without any worries, hang out with friends, visit different places without fear of anything happening to you."

With their success, athletes like Luka DončićPrimož RogličTadej PogačarJanja Garnbret and Ilka Štuhec attract the attention of the global media, professional and general public and put Slovenia into the spotlight as a non-mass destination with exceptional natural resources that enables great active holidays.

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