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Slovenia Business Week no. 30: STO Happy with Tourism Trends at Half-Year

Figures from the Slovenian Tourism Board show the number of arrivals rising in the first half of the year by 10% to 1.14 million, while the number of overnight stays increased by 7% to 3.33 million

The Slovenian tourism sector has witnessed a continuation in the rise of visitor numbers and overnight stays by domestic and foreign tourists in the first half of this year. Figures from the Slovenian Tourism Board show the number of arrivals rising in the first half of the year by 10% to 1.14 million, while the number of overnight stays increased by 7% to 3.33 million.

The STO has told the STA that there was an 8% increase in the number of foreign tourists visiting Slovenia in the first half of the year. Meanwhile, 6% more Slovenian visitors are visiting Slovenian tourist destinations.

According to the data, Italians continue to lead among foreign tourists, clocking up 8% more arrivals than in the same period the year before. Also among the most frequent visitors to Slovenia are Austrians (up 2%), Germans (up 3%) and Croatians (up 4%).

STO general manager Dimitrij Piciga is confident that the figures from the first half the year are a good omen for the rest of 2007. He expects that the goal to achieve 6% annual growth in the number of visitors and 4% growth in the number of overnight stays will be achieved and even surpassed.

The STO points out that the biggest increase in tourists is from the markets where it has been running advertising campaigns. Slovenia has witnessed a 43% rise in the number of Spanish tourists, a 23% increase in visits from Russian tourists and a 35% jump in the number of Ukrainian visitors.

The STO has focused on these markets by promoting Ljubljana city break holidays in Spain, spa and wellness facilities in Russia and Slovenia's coast in Ukraine.

Whereas tourist numbers from most countries is on the rise, the STO says that there has been a 1% decline in the number of British tourists. According to the board, this is a result of the peaking of the boom that followed the launch of cheap flights between Ljubljana and London. However, the STO expects the trend to pick up again with the launch of the new London-Maribor route.

Slovenia has in the first half of the year also seen more by tourists from northern European countries, including Finland (108%), the Netherlands (14%) and Belgium (9%).

Slovenian spa operators are happy with the first half of the year, reporting increases in both visitor numbers and the number of overnight stays. Spa resorts were filled to two-thirds capacity in July, an indicator of a good season, the Association of Slovenia Spa Resorts told STA.

The association said the number of visitors from Germany and Austria rose by 7%, from Italy by 4%, from the Netherlands by 16%, from other European countries by 19%, from Israel 9% and from Russia 47%. The total number of visitors to Slovenian spa resorts increased by 5.6% in the first half of the year, with 5.5% more domestic visitors and 5.8% more foreign visitors.

Hotels from the Slovenian coast are also reporting a busy summer season, with capacities fully filled in August (as has been the case for the last 20 years) as well as nearly fully filled in July. According to Ivan Silic of the Portoroz Tourism Association, a 14% jump in overnight stays was registered in July compared to the same period last year.

Italian tourist lead the way on the Slovenian coast among foreign visitors, followed by Austrians, Germans and Russians. However, the bulk of the overnight stays are still generated by Slovenian tourists.

Slovenian Alpine resorts are also not complaining about the tourism season, with most of the lodgings in the best known resorts - Kranjska gora, Bled and Bohinj - nearly booked out at the moment. According to the director of Turizem Bled Eva Stravs Podlogar, Bled tourism operators are happy with the number of visitors.

Stravs Podlogar added that Bled was experiencing a shortening of the peak season, but was nevertheless expecting large number of visitors even after the end of the summer holidays as conference tourism picked up.

Italians dominate among foreign guests, while there are also many tourists from England, the US, Germany and the Netherlands, she said. Domestic tourists account for only 2% of overnight stays in Bled.

Tourism operators in Bohinj are reporting a good summer season, despite a slight drop in the number of people staying in camps due to the unstable weather. However, most of the operators are still down on the year because of the poor winter, representatives of the Local Tourism Board in Bohinj told STA.

Slovenian visitors, whose numbers have increased this year, account for 30% of all tourists in Bohinj. English, German, Dutch, Scandinavian and Czech visitors are the most prominent among foreign tourists.

Source: Slovenian Press Agency STA

Author: STA, Slovenian National Press Agency