Tucked away behind the Houses of Parliament in London, the Slovenian Embassy was the venue for our sixth Destination Dialogue. Selling Short Breaks & Holidays’ publisher fronted a discussion on all things Slovenia with Tine Murn, from the Embassy’s tourism department, and Verica Leskovar from Ljubljana Tourism as part of our We're Backing Agents campaign.
SLOVENIA IN CONTEXT
Beyond short breaks in the capital, Ljubljana, Slovenia has struggled to raise the profile of its many other tourism products. However, the popularity of beaches in neighbouring Croatia, city breaks to other regional cities like Vienna and Prague and ski breaks to resorts in Serbia and Bulgaria means lesser-known Slovenia is a viable alternative – once awareness of what it offers starts to build.
- Understanding what lies beyond Ljubljana and how accessible this is.
- Airlift is currently only from London, which means northern-based travellers are faced with a trip south or an inconvenient two-flight journey – persuade them that it’s worth it!
- Slovenia is sandwiched between Croatia, Italy, Austria and Hungary and the challenge is to cement the fact that you can receive the same 'quality' of tourism product in Slovenia. Slovenia has a small slice of the Mediterranean coastline but places like Koper and Piran have some fascinating Venetian history; Slovenia’s lakes are just as beautiful as Italy’s (and more reasonably priced) and Ljubljana offers as much culture and nightlife as Vienna and Budapest.
- One survey pitched the country as the eighth cheapest destination in Europe. Book now whilst this lasts!
- As Tine Murn said: “You can’t escape Slovenia if you go to Ljubljana!” In other words, it’s compact and you can reach almost any part in two hours (35 minutes to Lake Bled 1.5 hours to the coast). • Suggest a longer stay beyond Ljubljana, with car hire.
- Sell activities like white-water rafting, hiking in alpine areas, cycling through vineyards or mountain biking, canyoning, fishing, sailing, exploring caves, 10 golf courses and skiing and 'ski paragliding'.
- In 2012 the eastern city of Maribor will be the European Capital of Culture. 2012. Known for its many festivals, Maribor has a 3000-year-old cultural tradition, museums, galleries and surrounding forests and vineyards. This is the time to push Slovenia’s second city!
- Slovenia has a long tradition in wellness tourism, with 87 natural thermal springs and competitive prices.
- Suggest Slovenia as part of a twin-centre. Croatia particularly, has a greater range of flight options.
Adria Airways, a Star Alliance member, flies five times a week between Gatwick and Ljubljana; easyJet flies from Stansted five to seven times a week, depending on the season. You can also fly into Trieste in Italy, or Croatia.
“I’m a huge fan of Slovenia and have worked closely with it for 20 years. I’ve been on a golf weekend, skiing in Kranjska Gora, to Ljubljana with the lads – relaxing with a beer by the river and clubbing. There's also great beaches. Slovenia really has got everything."
Rupert Diggins, Balkan Holidays
Slovenia has all-season appeal and is a compact country offering cities, coast and mountains. Knowing what to offer outside easy-to-sell Ljubljana means agents can cash-in on longer breaks. “The Destination Dialogue was a wonderful, informative experience, especially for those who have not visited Slovenia. What a surprise to win a trip to Ljubljana!” Jay Chavda, CMC Travel
“I sell short breaks to stag and hen groups and I wasn’t aware of all the activities there are to do in Slovenia and how close they are to Ljubljana's nightlife.“
Gita Zala, CMC Travel
SLOVENIA - FAST FACTS
Size: At a little over 2,250 square kilometres; you can get to most places in two hours
Top two destinations: The capital, Ljubljana is perfect for a quality city break, and nearby Lake Bled is ideal for a more rural and scenic holiday – they could well be the perfect twins!
When to go: Recommend Slovenia at any time of the year! The county has four distinct seasons, with a Mediterranean climate in the south and an alpine climate in the north. The cherry season in May and June is recommended, and don’t forget the ski season and its festive Christmas appeal.
Flight time: Around two hours
Average costs: The average cost for a meal in Slovenia is €15-20 Euros per head, wine €15-25 per bottle and a beer €2 to 2.5.
Nightlife/Entertainment: Ljubljana has vibrant and varied nightlife, including trendy clubs. Slovenia has festivals based around food, wine, music and culture, especially in the summer.
Accommodation: Five-star accommodation in Ljubljana and Lake Bled, with smaller properties elsewhere. Groups in Slovenia include Kempinski and Best Western.