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The Fifth Record Year for Slovenian Tourism

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Last year, more than 5.6 million tourist arrivals and almost 15.3 million overnight stays by tourists were recorded in Slovenia; foreign guests accounted for 4.2 million arrivals and 11 million overnight stays. Provisional statistical data indicate another record year in Slovenian tourism and show that the goals of the 2017–2021 Strategy for the Sustainable Growth of Slovenian Tourism are being fulfilled.

The Fifth Record Year for Slovenian Tourism

Last year, more than 5.6 million tourist arrivals and almost 15.3 million overnight stays by tourists were recorded in Slovenia; foreign guests accounted for 4.2 million arrivals and 11 million overnight stays. In the period from January to November, the value of travel exports amounted to EUR 2.52 billion. Provisional statistical data by the Statistical Office of the Republic of Slovenia indicate another record year in Slovenian tourism, the fifth consecutive at that, and it also indicates that the goals of the 2017–2021 Strategy for the Sustainable Growth of Slovenian Tourism are being fulfilled.

The key goal of the strategy is to increase income generated by travel exports; another reason for satisfaction is the fact that, according to the Bank of Slovenia, the value of this income increased by almost 12% from January to November 2018 compared to the same period in 2017, thus reaching a record EUR 2.52 billion

According to the number of arrivals, the most guests came from Italy, i.e. more than 570,000, accounting for almost 14% of all guests, followed by guests from Germany (more than 480,600; 11%), Austria (almost 370,000; 9%), Croatia (more than 206,000; 5%), the Netherlands (more than 173,400; 4%), Hungary (almost 170,000; 4%), the United Kingdom (more than 154,000; almost 4%), Czechia (more than 150,000; just over 3%), other Asian countries (almost 145,000; more than 3%), and the Republic of Korea (more than 142,000; 3%).

Most overnight stays were generated by guests from Germany, i.e. more than 1.33 million, accounting for just over 12% of total overnight stays, followed by guests from Italy (more than 1.32 million; 12%), Austria (more than 1 million; 9%), the Netherlands (more than 580,000; 5%), Croatia (more than 500,000; just under 5%), Hungary (more than 460,000; 4%), the United Kingdom (almost 460,000; 4%), Czechia (more than 414,000; just under 4%), Serbia (more than 360,000; 3%), and France (more than 327,000; almost 3%).

In 2018, the average length of stay by guests increased compared to 2017, i.e. to 2.72 days (2.54 days the previous year).

Most tourist overnight stays were generated by guests in hotels, i.e. more than 7.82 million, accounting for 59% among accommodation facilities, followed by holiday apartment and vacation settlements (more than 2.29 million; 17%) and private rooms, apartments, houses (more than 1.81 million; 14%).

The municipalities with the greatest number of overnight stays are mountain municipalities (more than 4.27 million overnight stays, accounting for 28%), followed by spa municipalities (more than 3.32 million; 22%), and coastal municipalities (more than 2.93 million; 19%).

According to the World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO), there was a 6% increase in tourist arrivals at a global level last year (+7% in 2017), with a total number of arrivals amounting to 1.404 billion. Europe also experienced a 6% increase in tourist arrivals (+8% in 2017), while there was a total of 713 million tourist arrivals. The European Travel Commission (ETC) is predicting that, this year, the increase in tourist arrivals at a global level will be almost 4% and almost 3% in Europe. 

“We are satisfied with the results, but I must say that we also expected them, as a lot of effort was invested in tourism by the Ministry of Economic Development and Technology. The great statistics also confirm the fact that our tourism strategy was developed well. The essence of the tourism strategy is added value. In the future, we will be mainly focused on tourist products, raising the quality of life of those who are employed in tourism and the satisfaction of local communities. This will be achieved by creating high-quality, innovative, and authentic tourist products; the Slovenian Tourist Board has just selected 9 experiences with the Slovenia Unique Experiences label through a call for applications, which is open and awaiting new applications. We are aware that PEOPLE are the essence of tourism. Neither capital, investors nor promotion are the primary focus – although all of this is extremely important – but I would like to stress that without PEOPLE and without local communities where tourism takes place, there is nothing, there is no tourism and there can be no tourism. It is mainly people that create added value, give something more,” commented Zdravko Počivalšek, Minister of Economic Development and Technology, on the published statistics.

“It is the strategic vision of Slovenian tourism, which is recorded in the 2017–2021 Strategy for the Sustainable Growth of Slovenian Tourism, that Slovenia is a global green boutique destination for high-end visitors seeking diverse and active experiences, peace, and personal benefits. The key advantage of Slovenian tourism is our wonderful nature, so all active forms of holidays in nature are among the key products of Slovenian tourism. Even the Alpe Adria trade show, which recently took place in Ljubljana, chose ‘Jump into nature’ as this year’s slogan, reflecting our common efforts to position Slovenia as a green, active, and healthy destination for five-star experiences. All of this indicates that, in recent years, the significance of tourism has increased and that local communities and tourist providers in particular are increasingly more aware of its significance. Every year, there are more of the latter, they are more innovative, and every year they are increasingly more aware of the importance of integration and cooperation, which I am very excited about. Only together can we create experiences and make memories that will last long after they have been experienced,” said Eva Štravs Podlogar, State Secretary at the Ministry of Economic Development and Technology.

“In cooperation with various stakeholders in Slovenian tourism, the Slovenian Tourist Board carried out numerous promotional activities last year, by way of which it increased the recognisability of Slovenia as a green, active, and healthy destination for five-star experiences. Together, we contributed to excellent results, which we also expect this year. For this reason, in order to present Slovenian tourism in our key markets and boost its competitiveness, activities within the framework of digital content marketing will be intensified, various business events for foreign tour operators and journalists will be carried out, focusing on markets with greater consumption, we will cooperate with business associations targeting high-end tourists, attend the most important international trade shows and other presentations, enhance the development and marketing of key products, such as congress, spa, and outdoor tourism, gastronomy, culture, and five-star experiences within the project Slovenia Unique Experiences, and much more, as foreseen by the Strategy for the Sustainable Growth of Slovenian Tourism, all with the purpose of continuing to increase income generated by travel export” emphasised Maja Pak, Director of the Slovenian Tourist Board (STB).

Activities of the Slovenian Tourist Board planned for 2019 

Slovenia is a boutique destination for five-star experiences, it is different from mass tourism, it is a unique destination providing peace and relaxation, and its boutique elements are mainly reflected in gastronomy, special accommodation, such as glamping, in its individual approach, contact with nature, in including authentic and local features into experiences, diversity, etc. Slovenia has great potential for developing tourism for visitors with high expectations, so, this year, the Slovenian Tourist Board is once again focusing its activities on its development and promotion in accordance with the 2017–2021 Strategy for the Sustainable Growth of Slovenian Tourism, which foresees the upgrading and development of such tourism.

In the field of digital content marketing, the Slovenian Tourist Board will, among other things, once again carry out a global digital campaign, which will be carried out, by way of a new creative solution called My Way, in 16 foreign markets, and within which Slovenia’s leading destinations will be particularly highlighted. It will also carry out a campaign called ‘Two Million Reasons Why We Feel Slovenia’, while another, multi-channel digital content campaign in cooperation with National Geographic, which is showing the incredible beauty of Slovenia, is already being performed until 21 April. It will host representatives of globally influential media outlets and social media influencers; among other things, it will organise fourInstaMeets, i.e. meetings of Instagram influencers.

In the field of communicating with the business public, this year the focus will once again be on organising business events, workshops, and study tours for foreign tour operators. Together with the Slovenian tourism sector, the Slovenian Tourist Board will, among other events, also attend major trade shows, such as ITB Berlin and WTM London. The presentation at ITB Berlin this March will be carried out in accordance with the My Way communication platform, which was presented last year and focuses on authentic experiences with higher added value – these experiences are exciting for visitors seeking unique stories and authenticity in their travels, but they also actively involve them. The Slovenian Tourist Board will also highlight these stories at events which will be organised in Slovenia for Slovenian and foreign business representatives: the Slovenian Incoming Workshop (SIW), a tourism panel within the Bled Strategic Forum (BSF), Days of Slovenian Tourism, etc. This year, the main event focusing on sustainable tourism will once again be the Green Day of Slovenian Tourism, at which the Slovenian Tourist Board will award the Slovenia Green label and hold various courses dealing with sustainable tourism.

In accordance with the tendency to boost up the presence of Slovenian tourism in renowned and influential associations, the Slovenian Tourist Board will hold a meeting called Connections Wellbeing for a global association of experts in luxury tourism, wellness, business events, and interesting adventures. The Slovenian Tourist Board is developing a special platform for the online education of foreign tour operators and travel agencies, which is based on the latest digital technologies.It will include a gamification process, through which participants will be able to learn even more about Slovenia in an interesting and playful way. Furthermore, the Slovenian Tourist Board will make efforts to intensify promotional support for new air connections.

The Slovenian Tourist Board will be involved in major sporting events, such as the Tour of Slovenia, a major cycling race which will once again be broadcast on Eurosport this year, the I FEEL SLOVENIA IRONMAN 70.3 Slovenian Istria, the FIS Ski World Cup for Women competition Golden Fox Maribor-Pohorje, the FIS Alpine Ski World Cup for Men competition Vitranc Kranjska Gora, the FIS Ski Jumping World Cup competition in Planica, the Biathlon World Cup competition in Pokljuka, Eurovolley 2019, and many others.It will also once again carry out the Cycling Ambassadors of Slovenia project with social media influencers and support the promotion of Slovenian tourism within Eurosport’s global media. 

The Slovenian Tourist Board will carry out various activities related to enhancing the development and marketing of the key products of Slovenian tourism, such as convention, spa, and outdoor tourism, gastronomy, and culture. This year, the latter is still the central communications topic within the promotion of Slovenian tourism; it will be followed by gastronomy, and both topics are products that can be used to address high-end visitors seeking special experiences and that can also contribute to de-seasonalisation and directing tourist flows. The Slovenian Tourist Board will highlight gastronomy at all of its business events and within the project European Region of Gastronomy 2021. The Slovenian Tourist Board will also highlight communicatio n regarding other five-star experiences gathered within the Slovenia Unique Experiences development and marketing platform, which it presented last year.

The Slovenian Tourist Board will be able to carry out many of the activities for the promotion and marketing of Slovenian tourism devised this year due to the systemic funding enabled by the new tourism promotion fee. This additional source for the promotion and marketing of Slovenian tourism in foreign markets will contribute to achieving the main goals of Slovenian tourism in the current strategic period, i.e. increasing the financial income generated by tourism, developing Slovenia as a boutique five-star destination for high-end visitors, and boosting its recognisability as such. In order to more easily plan activities and to assist Slovenian tourism, the Slovenian Tourist Board will carry out four surveys among foreign visitors this year, with the help of which it will determine their travel habits and expectations and discover what they find exciting about Slovenia and what impression our country will make on them. Information on their consumption in Slovenia is particularly eagerly awaited.

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