Mixed Fortunes for Top Tourism Spots
Slovenia's top alpine tourism spots have had mixed fortunes this year. While hotels in Bled report a 6% rise in overnight stays for the first half of the year, those in Kranjska Gora saw a 18% fall in July on the same month a year ago.
The first half of the year was good in terms of overnight stays with a 6% increase compared to the same period last year, Eva Štravs Podlogar of the local tourism board in the lakeside town of Bled has told the STA, adding that July turned out well too.
The hotels are satisfied with the occupancy rates, and the campsite has been full most of the time. Bookings are going up sharply also at guesthouses at the beginning of August, so that it will be virtually impossible to get a vacancy in Bled around 15 August.
"On the downside, it should be noted that visitors spend much less than they used to a few years ago," Štravs Podlogar says. Since the visitors' purchasing power has decreased pressures on prices are substantial. Bookings are made at a short notice which calls for greater adaptability of those offering accommodation.
After a poor winter season, business is now on the up also for another lakeside village, Bohinj. The hotels there report a 15% growth in visitors, especially those from abroad. However, business is down in private rooms and apartments.
The head of the local tourism board Klemen Langus is moderately satisfied with the peak season. Turnout in July was on a par with last year's figure, while somewhat better results are expected for August. Bohinj has been impacted by falling numbers of domestic visitors. Their percentage among all guests is down to 50% from 55%.
The alpine village of Kranjska Gora is not all pleased with the overnight figures so far this year. Local tourism official Mirjam Žerjav says that hotels reported around 18% lower occupancy rates for June and July compared with the same months a year ago, while guesthouses recorded growth.
"Considering the recession, we may be satisfied with the results," Žerjav says pointing to the many daily visitors. Overnight stays are at the 2007 levels after record figures in the past two summers, which she says will be hard to achieve in the future.
"We are currently all anxious about August, which is by tradition the Italian month," says Žerjav, adding that tourism workers have been trying to make up for the expected fall in the turnout of visitors from Italy with additional promotion campaigns on other markets so that she expects the figures in August to be at least as high as last year.
The importance of promotion is also underscored by Štravs Podlogar from Bled, who expects a negative impact of fiscal austerity and lower investment in Slovenia's promotion. "Despite all the expertise, tradition and the beauty of our country, Slovenian tourism will not be a success story without investment in promotion, marketing and human resources."
Overall, Slovenia saw a 3% increase in visitor arrivals and 1% growth in overnight stays in the first half of the year compared with the same period last year, according to official statistics. While the figures for domestic visitors were down by 1% and 3%, respectively, those for foreign guests were up 6% and 4%.
The latest data for tourism from the Statistics Office are for June when arrivals at accommodation facilities were up by 2% year-on-year, while overnight stays were down by the same percentage. Sixty percent of the overnights were generated by foreign visitors, chiefly from Germany (15%), Austria and Italy (12% each), Russia (7%), and the UK and the Netherlands (5% each).
Overnight stays increased most in Ljubljana and Maribor (each up by 10%), while the biggest proportion of them in the first half of the year was recorded at municipalities with spas (30%, down 4% y/y), followed by those in the alpine region and on the coast.
The municipality of Piran, which also includes the seaside town of Portorož, saw a 7% fall in overnights in the first half of the year, and a 3% drop in June year-on-year. This is because last year's shoulder season was above average. As many as 71% of overnights were by foreigners.