Sustainability is the key of tourism growth in Slovenia

Tourism in Slovenia is a growing, profitable segment which is recording performing results each year. As reported by the Slovenian Tourist Board, 2017 was a new record year for tourism, as 4.7 million tourists were registered (+13,4% yoy). In particular, Slovenia welcomed 3.4mn international arrivals, representing a 17% growth yoy, compared to a +8% of Europe.

In its “Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Report 2017”, the World Economic Forum ranks Slovenia 41st out of 136 Countries analysed for their tourism competitiveness. The strong points of the destination are the Country brand strategy (25th), the price competitiveness and, in particular, the hotel price index (20th), the tourist service infrastructure (25th), the quality of ground and port infrastructure (20th) and the attention paid to environmental sustainability (10th). In fact, under the name “sLOVEnia GREEN Destination”, the Country won the WTM Responsible Tourism Award during the last WTM held in London. On the other hand, weaker points are the openness of bilateral Air Service Agreements (128th) and the number of operating airlines in the Country (114th).

According to the World Travel & Tourism Council’s report “Travel & Tourism Economic Impact 2017”, in 2016 the direct contribution of the Travel & Tourism industry to Slovenian GDP was 1.375mn euros, namely 3,5% of total GDP. In the same year, the total contribution was 4.955,3mn euros, namely 12,6% of GDP.
The same report underlines that in 2016 the tourism expense in the leisure segment (both by domestic and international tourists) represented 87% of the direct contribution to the Travel & Tourism industry GDP. In fact, the Slovenian Tourist Board reports that 28% of tourists visit Slovenia for its spa and health facilities (+4%), 26% for its mountains (+17%), 20% for its beaches (+9%).

Spas are one of the main tourism attractions in Slovenia, and 2017 was one of the most performing years in this sector. This success is attracting new investments, and new projects are being realised to enhance spa facilities and health tourism. The Sava Hotels & Resorts group, for example, is planning to allocate 14mn euros in strategic projects, and one of them will include the renovation of the Hotel Golf in Bled. Another portion of its investment has gone into refurbishing the indoor thermal pool at Terme 3000 in Moravske Toplice. Terme Olimia invested in expanding and renovating a part of its wellness centre, in order to attract more families and young people. On the health sector, the Rogaška Medical Centre is planning to expand its healthcare services to enhance the quality of offered treatments.

With Bloomberg defining Slovenia as one of the must-see Countries in 2018, the Slovenian Tourist Board has recently announced a new project with Expedia in Austria, Germany, Switzerland, UK and USA markets, which includes new digital campaigns to promote the destination. Moreover, the tourist board is promoting Slovenia as a green destination towards different tourism segments, such as cycling tourism. Thanks to its particular attention towards slow tourism, this year Slovenia gained the prize for Best Mountain Hiking Community in Europe, given by IMBA Europe, the International Mountain Bicycling Association.

As reported by the Slovenian Government, last year the Republic of Slovenia adopted the Sustainable Development Strategy for Slovenian Tourism 2017-2021. Among the main objectives to achieve, there is 5-5.5 million arrivals, 16-18 million overnights, 18,000 to 22,000 new tourist rooms, of which 8,500 renovated and 6,500 new rooms in the hotel sector and increasing full-time employment in the tourism sector from 8,000 to 12,000 employees.

As we have already reported, Slovenia has also been actively cooperating with the Croatian National Tourist Board since 2010. The agreement includes the joint presentation of the Countries on target markets such as China, Japan, South Korea and Brazil. Slovenia and Croatia also collaborate during fairs and workshops, which are considered to be one of the main promotional tools for long distance markets.

At Twissen we observed that Slovenia’s key of success lays in the promotion of the Country as a sustainable and green destinations. Moreover, there is room for investments in health and wellness tourism, as they are strong sectors of the destination and one of the main reasons why travellers decide to visit the Country.