Romanian stock indices start week in the green, TeraPlast shines
IMS Gear to invest 6 mln euro in new plant in Croatia's Osijek - mayor
Most Bulgarian stock indices rise, AmonRa Energy shines
Albania's gross foreign debt rises 2.4% y/y in Q3
Bulgaria's Puldin Holding acquires TIZ Invest
Dec 21, 2007 15:03 EEST
LJUBLJANA (Slovenia), December 21 (SeeNews) – Slovenia’s presidency of the European Union next year is expected to showcase the country’s attractions abroad, attract more visitors and contribute to an over 8.0% rise in its tourism revenue in 2008, analysts say.
The small Alpine country of two million people will be in the focus of the global media in the first half of 2008 when it will hold the rotating presidency of the bloc. Its tourism industry plans to take advantage of the media spotlight to promote the country’s beauty, cultural heritage and tourist resorts. In the long-term, it expects the country to become more recognizable and popular and as a result to attract a large number of foreign tourists. Slovenia joined the EU in 2004.
Tourist industry representatives, however, say that Slovenia will not be able to benefit from the presidency to the highest extent due to inadequate accommodation.
Slovenia offers tourist attractions year round with ski and spa resorts, luxury hotels and a 46.6-kilometre Adriatic coastline. The tourism industry offers some 80,000 beds, including 35,000 in hotels. The tourism sector accounted for some 5.5% of the country's gross domestic product (GDP) in 2006.
Analysts value highly the promotional effect of the presidency for the country.
“We are convinced that Slovenia’s presidency of the European Union will mainly have significance for the promotion of our country and Slovenian tourism,” Marjan Hribar, director general of the Tourism Directorate at the country’s Economy Ministry, told SeeNews
“We think that the Slovenian tourism industry will successfully use the opportunity which will be offered to it with the presidency," he added.
The Slovenian Tourism Board agreed: “It is an excellent and almost one-off opportunity for raising the presence of Slovenia in the European and global media, which can significantly contribute to raising the popularity of our country on a global level and in locating Slovenia on the global map, also on the tourism map,” it told SeeNews in a statement.
The tourism board and Hribar expect more tourists, as well as senior EU officials, to visit the country in the first half of 2008 when it will hold the presidency.
“Because of the presidency we will hold a few events, which will be attended by delegations of the EU-member states and associated members, representatives of the European Commission and other institutions. We are convinced that during the presidency Slovenia will become an interesting destination for some tourists as well,” Hribar said.
He expects hotels in the capital Ljubljana and the Bled tourist resort to be the most occupied as most of the events will be staged at the conference centre nearby, at Brdo pri Kranju in northwestern Slovenia, which was built exclusively for the presidency. “Some events will be carried out also at some other locations in Slovenia which is welcome from the tourism point of view,” he said.
“According to our estimates, the number of tourists and overnights will rise in the first half of 2008 by some 10%,” Hribar said, adding that the reason for the rise will not only be the presidency.
“We estimate that only because of the opportunity of the EU presidency the country will be visited by 20,000 to 30,000 more tourists,” the tourism board said.
It has set a target of 8.0% annual growth of tourism revenue in 2008. “We think that in 2008, when in the first half of the year Slovenia presides at the EU, this target will be not only achieved but also exceeded,” it said, adding that the increased foreign visitors because of the presidency will definitely contribute to the rise.
Hribar agreed that the presidency will have positive effects on the revenue of hotels and restaurants. “We expect that tourism revenue in 2008 will rise by an average 10% because of the EU presidency. In our strategic plan we have forecast an average rise of 8.0% in tourism revenue, but we think that it will be exceeded,” he said.
Hribar expects the country to register a rise of some 20% in its tourism revenue this year following major investments in capacity and the development of new products. He added that the revenue figures for the last two years were not fully comparable due to changes in the methodology for their calculation by the country’s central bank.
Slovenia registered a 3.7% rise in tourism revenue to 1.5 billion euro ($2.2 billion) last year.
In the short term the EU presidency, however, is expected to have a major impact on tourism only in specific areas.
“My opinion is that it will influence positively Slovenia’s popularity for sure [...] but in this six months the rise will not be so significant and to the extent we would expect [...] the demand and the visits during the presidency will be focused in Ljubljana, Brdo and Bled,” director general of Slovenian consulting and engineering company for the tourism and hospitality industry Hosting, Peter Vesenjak, told SeeNews.
He does not expect a significant impact on the sector in the short term.
“In the long term for sure it will have some positive influence on demand for tourism offers in Slovenia. But in the short term nothing drastic will happen, excluding the destinations where the events will be,” Vesenjak said.
“Only the kind of tourists will change [...] there will not be a rise in the number of tourists and overnight stays in Slovenia as a whole,” he added.
Vesenjak said that the sector’s development will be hindered by the limited accommodation capacity.
“I think that there is too little high quality accommodation capacity in Slovenia and there is too little accommodation capacity as a whole [...] That’s why Slovenia will not be capable of benefiting from the positive impulses of the EU presidency in the short term, " he said.
“Let’s hope that this EU presidency will also positively influence that capacity and the quality of the capacity to be raised,” he added.
However, Vesenjak said that Slovenian companies can contribute to the correct positioning of Slovenia on the EU tourism market.
He thinks that visitors to Slovenia will leave the country with positive impressions.
“I think that the visitors, political or business, who will come to Slovenia during the time of the presidency and who don’t know Slovenia or haven’t been here for a long time, will be surprised positively by the good image, regulation, greenness, preserved nature and diversity,” he said.
($ = 0.68 euro)
You have run out of free articles this month.
Sign up in for
and get ten (10) free articles per month or sign up for
and get unlimited access.
Browse our free newsletter options