Looking back, the 2002 tourist season in Slovenia can be considered very successful. Last year…
Looking back, the 2002 tourist season in Slovenia can be considered very successful. Last year over 2 million tourists chose Slovenia as their vacation destination. According to the Statistical Institute of the Republic of Slovenia, the total number of tourists that visited Slovenia this year was 3 percent greater than in 2001. Out of these 2 million, foreign tourists made up 1.3 million in total, or 7 percent more than at the end of the previous year.
Breaking down the statistics into national groups, we can see that the highest number of foreign tourists this past year were from our neighbouring Italy, at a total of 274,585, which is 2 percent more than at the end of 2001. The second largest portion of foreign tourists came from Germany, totalling 229,018, conversely a 2 percent fall from this time last year. Following these, the next largest group of foreign tourists in 2002 was from Austria, at 193,265 in total, the equivalent of an 11 percent growth from 2001. In addition, there were almost 94,000 Croatian tourists in Slovenia in 2002, a small 2 percent decrease from the previous year. Awareness of Slovenia may have been higher in the United Kingdom, as many British tourists decided to visit Slovenia this past year and discover her natural beauty: in fact there were more than 46,000 British tourists in Slovenia this year, which is approximately 14 percent more than last year. Important to note is also the statistic showing that a large number of Israeli visitors chose Slovenia as their vacation spot. This particularly gorgeous and safe destination hosted a little less than 32,000 Israeli tourists in total – twice as many as last year. Similarly, there were many tourists from the United States in 2002, approximately 30,000 in total or a 6 percent rise from the total number of American tourists in Slovenia during 2001. More than 20,000 Swiss tourists and almost 28,000 French tourists visited Slovenia in 2002, showing a rise in statistics from 2001 of 17 and 19 percent respectively. Meanwhile there was no significant change in the number of Hungarian tourists in Slovenia between 2001 and 2002 – of which there were almost 33,000 in both years. Finally another surprising statistic showing heightened awareness of Slovenia abroad, the number of Belgian tourists in Slovenia in 2002 was approximately 24 percent greater this past year than in 2001, adding up to 23,634 in total.
Other statistics similarly show positive growth, such as the number of overnight stays, which totalled to 7.3 million in 2002, a 3 percent increase from the previous year. Out of these, 4 million overnight stays belonged to foreign tourists – equivalent to a 5 percent increase from the previous year. Out of these, German tourists stayed overnight most often at a total of 847,911 – a 3 percent increase compared to the same statistic from the previous year. Italian guests also took advantage of Slovenia`s accommodation offers staying overnight more than 718,000 times or 4 percent more than in 2001, sighting the daily excursion and nightly casino opportunities as the most common reasons for visiting Slovenia.
Slovenia has become increasingly more recognisable also on the Austrian market, since there were 9 percent more overnight stays by Austrian nationals this year as compared to last: a total of 676,741 overnight stays in Slovenia by Austrian tourists. There was a small 2 percent fall in overnight stays by Croatian tourists, totalling 255,534. Regardless, Slovenian tourism has seen improvement in sales on the Croatian market with improved promotion – a heightened interest in tourist farms and short vacation breaks. U.K. tourists made up almost 194,000 of all overnight stays, up more than 2 percent from last year. Following the Brits, our Dutch guests stayed overnight more than 150,000 times, up 8 percent from 2001. There were also many Belgian guests staying overnight, 95,000 in total – a 29 percent increase from last year. Following them were guests from Russia contributing with a little more than 92,000 overnight stays (level with the statistics for 2001). Our Hungarian neighbours stayed overnight approximately 90,000 times, making a 1 percent increase from last year. Tourists from Bosnia and Herzegovina increased their portion of overnight stays by 5 percent, contributing with a total of 80,000 overnight stays. A similar number of overnight stays, this time by tourists from the United States, increased by 3 percent and totalled almost 70,000 in 2002. And as noted before, Israeli tourists who were large in number in Slovenia, also took advantage of the accommodation arrangements on offer, making up 64,000 of the total overnight stays, which is a remarkable 74 percent increase from last year!
While predictions for 2003 are optimistic, they are still uncertain and highly dependent on global tourist trends governing Europe in the upcoming tourist seasons.
Theodore is the Co-Founder and Managing Editor of TravelDailyNews Media Network; his responsibilities include business development and planning for TravelDailyNews long-term opportunities.