Publishers, magazines and travel agencies from abroad are still presenting Slovenia as the green heart of Europe, with a diverse range of products to convince even the most discerning tourist. Additional impetus is given by special recognitions, such as the 2021 European Region of Gastronomy.
A few years ago, Slovenia was often confused with Slovakia in foreign promotional materials. This mistaken substitution is now far rarer. In recent years, Slovenia has become one of the most desired tourist destinations.
Much of the credit for this change may be attributed to an increased global concern for safety and security. Slovenia is no longer only recognized as the green heart of Europe, but as an oasis of peace and safety. The most convincing aspects of Slovenia for visitors are the pristine nature, cultural and culinary experience, and the many opportunities for active outdoor experiences.
According to the forecasts of local tourist organizations, Slovenia is witnessing a growth in tourism this year, as a result of more guests extending their stay. This has been prolonged at most destinations in recent years, and at the national level in 2017 – the last period for which annual data are currently available – averaged 2.5 days. In 2017, 12.6 million overnight stays were recorded, while by the end of November last year, according to partial data, there were over 14.4 million overnight stays. When comparing the data, it should be noted that the methodology for monitoring the number of overnight stays has changed.
Overnight stays are most frequent by Germans, with Italians in second place, then Austrians and Croatians, followed by the British, Hungarians, Czechs, Serbs, Americans and Israelis.
Among the most visited destinations are Ljubljana, the Postojna Cave, Bled and Piran. Green and sustainable destinations are increasingly popular, with active destinations that offer visitors plenty of leisure activities coming to the forefront. Last year’s hit destination were the Julian Alps, which received a series of awards and recommendations from the most respected tourist guides.
+ FOTO OF LJUBLJANA
The trend continues this year, with the British newspaper Guardian reporting a 300 kilometre hiking route in the Julian Alps to be finalized by summer, in its list of the hottest tourist destinations for 2019. The first parts of the route, divided into 12-20 kilometre stages along the Alpine valleys around Triglav, have attracted hikers since October of last year.
The route begins at the state border between Slovenia and Italy in Rateče, and then leads through the quieter corners of the Julian Alps, avoiding the over-burdened heart of the Julian Alps and Triglav.
+ FOTO OF THE JULIAN ALPS
According to the international criteria for Green destinations, Slovenia is the first country to become Green Destination of the World. Bohinj is ranked 10th among the best European destinations, as selected by the Brussels European Best Destinations Organization.
A richness of nature and culinary arts
Among the top recommendations for the Julian Alps, ranking third in the top ten Lonely Planet destinations of 2017, Slovenia was recognized as one of the most respected by tourist guide publishers for its wealth of off-the-beaten-path offers, outside of the most popular tourist routes.
In addition to the traditional emphasis on Lake Bled and the town of Bled, Bohinj was added, along with magical Ljubljana, highlighting catering, the richness of the karst underground, headed by the Postojna Cave and the Unesco Monument, the Škocjan Caves, Piran and the adrenalizing activities of the Soča river valley.
They also recognized Slovene wineries among the places worth visiting, including wine tasting in the Vipava valley, which, like the rest of the Slovenian wine regions, is gaining in importance among recognized oenologists. In the British Guardian, the Vipava zelen and Briška rebula varieties are among the largest hidden jewels. According to the opinions of a number of experts, Slovenian wines compare with those of Italy and France.
+ FOTO OF BLED / POSTOJNA CAVE / PIRAN
Among the many advantages of Slovenia’s tourist offer are the culinary arts, despite the fact that the best Slovenian restaurants cannot boast Michelin stars. The IGCAT International Institute of Gastronomy, Culture, Art and Tourism has nevertheless chosen Slovenia as the 2021 European Region of Gastronomy. The Institute’s commission tasted the Slovenian gastronomic offer, met with 16 providers who joined the project and became acquainted with the Taste of Slovenia guide. The Taste of Slovenia is represented by Luka Jezeršek from the Jezeršek courtyard, Uroš Štefelin from the Podvin villa, Luka Košir from the Grič guest house. Igor Jagodic from Strelec selected the Slovene wines of Mira Šemić, and presented the beekeeping tradition, the Potica cake, the first six-star glamping Garden Village in Bled and so, was able to entice the commission.
+ FOTO OF FOODS / WINES
The selection of Slovenia is among the final recognitions on the American online travel page Fanthom, where 13 teams of travel experts selected the best destinations for 2019, while the Virtuoso team selected Slovenia as the destination to visit in 2019, saying: “Why visit Slovenia now? Because this hidden gem of Europe holds all the history and culture of the old world, without mass tourism”.
A palate of genuinely unforgettable experiences
This year, the market will include authentic Slovenian experiences selected by the Slovenian Tourist Board, among which are: A night in a tree house in the middle of a forest with its own gardens, Short Natural Science Holidays in Slovenia, Prophet of the Soča Front, Ljubljana Castle for you – an individual experience, a Vintage gourmet tour, a kayaking tour through a mine, Along the tracks of Luka Čeča, an unforgettable day by the riverside and the Ljubljana Brko tour.
Among the main reasons given by the tourist agencies that suggest visiting Slovenia are pristine nature, friendly and hospitable people, a rich offer of extreme sports from canyon Zip-lining to Bungee jumping from the Solkan bridge, a rich and diverse history, fine wines, karst caves, excellent foods – visitors are often quite surprised by the size of Slovenian portions – green forests, a short but beautiful sea shore and thermal springs.
Trends for the coming years predict a continuation of growth, which is visible in the increasingly diverse offer on the AirBNB platform.
According to the plans of the Slovenian Tourism Organization, which guides the development strategy of the entire Slovenian tourist offer, continual focus will be placed on:
– health tourism.
Despite record results, Slovenian tourism still holds much untapped potential. Revenues grow more slowly than the number of tourists, there is still room to increase the funding of reconstruction and for the development of capacities and infrastructure, as well as the development of new products with high added value. There is also an increasing demand for personnel in tourism.