Slovakia Remains Popular Even in Crisis

A total of 1.53 million foreign tourist visited Slovakia last year, up 4.6 percent year on year and the highest number since the breakup of the global economic crisis in 2009, according to data from the Slovak Agency for Tourism and the Slovak Statistical Office, reports The Daily Slovakia.

Czechs were the most numerous group of foreign tourists in Slovak hotels as 491,000 of them sought accommodation in Slovakia last year, nearly 3 percent more than in 2011. However, their stays were shorter so the number of their overnight stays dropped. The number of Polish tourists, the second most important group of foreign visitors in Slovakia, fell last year.

In particular the country’s largest tourist regions are trying to attract guests with a wider offer of services and entertainment. Entrepreneurs in tourism have also started to offer more frequently packages, regional cards and all kinds of rebates. However, even last year’s growth in the number of foreign tourists did not help Slovakia to reach the pre-crisis level. In 2008, Slovakia welcomed 1.77 million foreigners and a year later their number sank by over a quarter.

Experts attribute the decline partly to the weakening of the currencies of the neighbouring countries to the euro, which made stays in Slovakia more expensive for tourists from the Czech Republic, Poland and Hungary, for example. Slovakia introduced the euro in 2009.

Slovak hotel operators registered also an increase in the number of domestic tourists. In total, the number of tourists staying in Slovak hotels grew by 5.6 percent yr/yr in 2012. However, occupancy of the accommodation facilities sank to a new bottom because the offer of hotel beds grew even faster.

UniCredit Bank Slovakia analysts earlier this year pointed at the fact that average occupancy of the country’s accommodation facilities is one of the lowest in the EU.



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