Slovenia in Numbers

Key points

  • Did you know that:
  • recently Slovenia has received the prestigious National Geographic World Legacy Award for promoting sustainable tourism?
  • between 2008 and 2016 the number of tourists from non-European countries visiting Slovenia more than doubled?
  • the United Nations General Assembly declared 2017 the year of sustainable tourism?
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Tourists
2016 was a record year for Slovenian and global tourism. However, more tourists and more tourism infrastructure bring a larger burden on the environment and people. Tourism as an activity must adjust to the situation and take care of a more sustainable development. Foto: Reuters

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World Tourism Day: Sustainable tourism, a tool for development

27 September
27. September 2017 ob 13:16
Ljubljana - MMC RTV SLO

27 September has been celebrated as the World Tourism Day since 1979. This year the World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO), which gave the initiative for this day, draws attention to the importance of sustainable tourism as a tool for development. The importance of tourism in Slovenia cannot be neglected; ever since Slovenia won independence tourism has proven to be an important and promising industry.

Responsibility and respect are the two words that best describe sustainable development. Respectful and responsible behaviour towards natural and cultural assets and a responsible attitude towards residents and visitors distinguish Slovenia as a country focused on sustainable tourism. This is also our competitive advantage, which reflects in Slovenia being an increasingly popular destination. The Ministry of Economic Development and Technology is aware of that, so it prepared the strategy of sustainable development of Slovenian tourism, which will spearhead the development of tourism by 2021.

Sustainable development does not depend only on the destination
Tourists are also the agents of respect and responsibility. Sustainable tourism development is largely adjusted to a responsible tourist who appreciates and respects the nature, culture and residents of a country (including their own) that they visit. At the World Tourism Day, which focuses of sustainable development with the slogan “Travel. Enjoy. Respect.” the UNWTO calls on tourists to treat the selected destinations respectfully.

Record tourism numbers
That tourism is truly a promising industry is shown by the data on arrivals and overnight stays of domestic and foreign tourists. The number of overnight stays in Slovenia has been growing since 2010. In 2016, 11.2 million overnight stays were recorded in accommodation establishments in Slovenia, which is 26% more than in 2010. As many as 66% of overnight stays in 2016 were generated by foreign tourists.

The number of overnight stays is growing. Results for 2017 indicate a new record year, since in the first six months (before the high season) of 2017 tourists generated almost 5 million overnight stays. The number of arrivals is also growing. In 2016 Slovenia was visited by over 3 million foreign tourists wich is 42% more than in 2010.

A similar situation was recognised by the UNWTO. The World Tourism Barometer shows that in the first half of 2017 tourists generated 598 million international tourist arrivals worldwide, which is 6% more than in the first half of 2016. The highest growth was recorded in the Mediterranean: North Africa (by 16%), Southern and Mediterranean Europe (by 12%) and the Middle East (by 9%).

Sustainable tourism supply
In 2016, 692 hotels and similar establishments were operating in Slovenia, which is on average three hotels or similar establishments per 100 km2. In the same year over 45,000 rooms and over 130,000 beds were available to tourists in Slovenia. Half of the rooms were available in hotels and similar establishments, 17% in camping sites, and the rest in other types of accommodations. The situation is similar as regards the shares of overnight stays in accommodation establishments. Most tourists spend their nights in hotels and similar establishments. In 2016 the share was 63%, while 13% of tourists stayed in camping sites and the rest stayed in other accommodation establishments.

Tourists are also aware of the importance of sustainable tourism as they seek green, active and healthy supply offered by tourism providers in Slovenia. With this and the idea of sustainable tourism in mind we must mention the positive response of providers of overnight stays and services regarding sustainable tourism development in Slovenia.

In recent years Slovenia has been striving for sustainable tourism supply supporting the preservation and protection of natural and cultural assets and heritage. This trend is followed by the European Union, which awards the EU Ecolabel to accommodation establishments dedicated to sustainable tourism. By 2016 the EU Ecolabel was awarded to three accommodation establishments in Slovenia.

In a similar way the Slovenian Tourist Board (STO) is promoting awareness about the importance of sustainable tourism. The STO awards the Slovenia Green award to tourist destinations and providers of sustainable tourism activities in Slovenia. By June 2017, 13 accommodation establishments, 22 destinations, three parks and two tourist agencies were awarded. In total, according to STO data, there are more than 250 specialised tourist accommodations taking care of sustainable tourism development in Slovenia.

An internationally recognised destination of sustainable tourism
In 2016 Slovenia was the 5th greenest country in the world according to the Environmental Performance Index (EPI) and the world’s first green country according to the Global Green Destinations. In 2016 two destinations in Slovenia were inclouded in the Top 100 Green Destinations. Such awards are very important since they recognise Slovenia as a country that takes care of the wellbeing and safety of tourists, nature and local population. Slovenia leaves a good impression on tourists, which is proven by the data showing that over half of tourists visited Slovenia in 2015 on the recommendations of friends and relatives or due to good personal experience.
Matija Prijatelj, Marko Vovko, Statistical Office of the Republic of Slovenia