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Slovenia Weekly

Tourism: Slovenia's biggest advantage is its people

16.10.2015

Editorial

Autumn is a time for reflections on the tourist season - it is time to find inspiration and innovation. Photo: Dunja Wedam/STO
Where there’s a will, there’s a way. Slovenian volley players understand that very well: they caused a sensation at the European championships in Sofia in a fairy tale win against Poland, the current world champions, to make it into the semis of Europe’s premier competition.

The energy of the Slovenian athletes is also shared by the tourism professionals who design Slovenia’s tourism promotion policy, who met this week to find answers to the current challenges in Slovenian tourism from a different perspective, with various speakers and through examples of good practice. "Slovenia is too small to be like other countries. We want to find our place with different, innovative products that meet the needs of contemporary guests," said the minister for the economy, Zdravko Počivalšek. According to the Slovenian Tourist Board, it is time to press the reboot button – to think about how to continue, and to find inspiration and innovation.

Tourism is one of the most important strategic sectors in the country, as it is creating new jobs and has contributed significantly to balanced regional development in Slovenia. The country has seen an increase in the number of foreign and domestic visitors, and tourism is a major industry, generating two billion euros annually, which is 13 per cent of GDP. According to an international survey of the competitiveness of tourism in 145 countries, Slovenia ranks 20th in terms of the sustainable development of the environment.

At the 5th annual Days of Slovenian Tourism, Prime Minister Miro Cerar stressed that we need to make Slovenian tourism more competitive, further sustainable development and create a business environment more favourable to economic growth for providers of tourism services, develop appropriate infrastructure, an effective education system and a tourism offer which enables Slovenia to maintain a competitive advantage. The Slovenian government is aware that this area still holds great potential, but also that tourism has a certain impact, so everyone should behave responsibly towards the environment and society. According to PM Cerar, tourists’ perception of Slovenia’s image is the responsibility of the whole country. The famous traveller and writer, Stephen Fallon, co-author of the forthcoming Lonely Planet guide to Slovenia and the ambassador of Slovenian tourism for 2015 agrees with this view. He believes that Slovenia's biggest advantage is its people, which he describes as self-confident, open, tolerant and extremely hospitable.

Slovenia and Croatia have also succeeded in joining forces, proving this week that agreement between two countries is possible where they once had differences of opinion. The neighbouring countries reached an agreement on applying jointly to protect "Istarski pršut"/"Istrski pršut" in the EU.

Slovenia is also firmly decided to actively contribute to fighting human smugglers, who take refugees and migrants across the Mediterranean. This afternoon, the Triglav multi-purpose patrol boat will set off towards the Southern Mediterranean, where it will spend the next three to four months participating in EU’s international Operation Sophia.

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Slovenia and Croatia jointly protect "Istarski pršut"/"Istrski pršut" dry-cured ham

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