News

24 Jul 2020, 09:56 AM

STA, 23 July 2020 - Slovenia will not put Croatia on the red list of countries from which travellers must quarantine, Health Minister Tomaž Gantar said on Thursday. While he acknowledged the number of infections there has been rising, he said it was "encouraging they adopted quite a few measures after the election".

Gantar said that the National Institute of Public Health (NIJZ) had not yet proposed that Croatia be red-listed, and anyway the criteria for putting countries on one of the three lists had changed.

Get the latest from the Slovenian Police on the situation at the borders

Slovenia no longer considers just the number of infections per 100,000 inhabitants over a 14-day period, it also assesses the possibility of the infections spreading or being transmitted into other countries.

Gantar also said Slovenia would stop rapidly changing the status of countries, instead the decisions will be taken in conjunction with other countries.

Croatia is currently on Slovenia's yellow list. Citizens of those countries except for those residing in Slovenia are required to undergo a 14-day quarantine on entering Slovenia unless they are just passing through or fall under one of 18 exemptions. Slovenian arrivals are also checked more closely, as they need to prove they have not come from a red-listed country.

See more statistics on coronavirus and Slovenia here

Finland puts restrictions on those coming from Slovenia

STA, 23 July 2020 - The Finnish government has placed Slovenia on a list of countries for which restrictions apply on arrival due to the coronavirus outbreak. From Monday, the restrictions will also apply on arrivals from Austria and Switzerland.

According to a post on its web site, the Finnish government today decided to reinstate internal border controls for traffic between Finland and Austria, Slovenia and Switzerland. This is because these countries have seen an increase in the number of coronavirus infections since the previous assessment.

The Finnish government updates the list of countries for which restrictions apply about once a fortnight. EU countries already on the list are Spain, Luxembourg, Portugal, Poland, France, Sweden and the Czech Republic.

The restrictions entail a 14-day self-isolation on arrival. They can be lifted once the incidence of coronavirus has not exceeded eight new cases per 100,000 residents in the previous 14 days.

Data from Slovenia's Covid-19 tracker site, which pools official data, shows that the country with a population of two million has 257 active cases as of 22 July, out of a total of 2,033 so far confirmed.

Slovenians can travel to virtually all EU and EEA/Schengen countries restriction free, one rare exception is Ireland.

24 Jul 2020, 04:05 AM

Check the date at the top of the page, and you can find all the "morning headlines" stories here. You can also follow us on Facebook and get all the news in your feed.

This summary is provided by the STA:

Furlough scheme extended until end of August

LJUBLJANA - The government extended the subsidised furlough scheme by another month until the end of August with Labour Minister Janez Cigler Kralj saying the measure was still deemed needed despite an improvement in the labour market. The minister said that more than 24,000 employees were still on furlough, which meant that some sectors were not yet showing signs of recovery. Under the fourth stimulus package the furlough scheme was extended until the end of July, while giving the government the option of extending it two more times by decree, but not beyond the end of September.

Govt gearing up for EU recovery funds drawing

BRDO PRI KRANJU - Meeting a day after the EU leaders approved the pandemic recovery fund expected to yield EUR 10.5 billion for Slovenia, the government set up on Wednesday two task forces to make sure the country phases all the funds available to it. Mayors and regional development agencies will be involved in the drafting of the national recovery plan, which the government intends to adopt by the end of August. One task force will be headed by PM Janez Janša and will feature government ministers and tax advisor Ivan Simič. They will be meeting once a month. The second task force will bring together experts, including state secretaries, who will be meeting weekly.

EU Commission concerned about media pluralism in Slovenia

BRUSSELS, Belgium - The European Commission is concerned about the media legislation planned by the Slovenian government, Values and Transparency Commissioner Vera Jourova said as she presented the most recent Media Pluralism Monitor report. She said Slovenia should not follow in Hungary's footsteps when it comes to media ownership. The report says that "high media concentration, lack of transparency in ownership, the small amount of diverse local and regional news production (including correspondents), poor working conditions, verbal public attacks, frequent insults by politicians on social media and a lack of clear digital regulation are still some of the main issues of the Slovenian media landscape".

27 new coronavirus infections confirmed on Wednesday

LJUBLJANA - A total of 935 tests for Covid-19 were performed in Slovenia on Wednesday, which confirmed 27 new infections, the latest government data show. There were 24 patients hospitalised yesterday, including two in intensive care. One person was meanwhile discharged from hospital, while there were no Covid-19 related deaths, so the death toll remained at 115. The new 27 cases from Wednesday bring the national total of cases so far confirmed to 2,033. The care home in Hrastnik in eastern Slovenia remains one of the largest hot spots as nine residents and two employees tested positive yesterday.

Slovenia to sign joint declaration on 5G security with US

LJUBLJANA - The government was briefed on the intention for Slovenia to sign a Joint Declaration on 5G Security with the United States, which could curb the involvement of China's Huawei in the deployment of the fifth generation wireless communication networks in the country. The government submitted the declaration, along with explanations, to the National Assembly to be acquainted with it. It said the declaration followed from the commitments already accepted by Slovenia within the EU and NATO with a view to enhancing information security and reducing the risks entailed.

Good relations with Poland confirmed as foreign minister visits

WARSAW, Poland - Foreign Minister Anže Logar met his Polish counterpart Jacek Czaputowicz and EU Affairs Minister Konrad Szymanski. The officials reaffirmed good relations between Poland and Slovenia. Logar thanked Czaputowicz for Poland's assistance in repatriating Slovenians stranded abroad in the midst of air travel restrictions during the Covid-19 pandemic. The pair highlighted successful economic cooperation between Poland and Slovenia and pointed to the untapped potential of collaboration in terms transport infrastructure in central Europe. Logar also expressed interest in continuing and strengthening cooperation between the Visegrad Four and Slovenia in the future.

Slovenia and Austria to trial joint technical border surveillance

VIENNA, Austria - Slovenia and Austria agreed to try out joint surveillance of the shared border using technology such as cameras and drones, as Interior Minister Aleš Hojs held talks with his Austrian counterpart Karl Nehammer at a conference on migrations along the Balkan route. The trial will examine the possibility of effective cooperation in joint border surveillance and the transfer of these practices to the Slovenian-Croatian border. The meeting came at a conference on migrations featuring the home ministers of 18 countries at which it was decided to set up a platform to fight illegal migration on the Balkan route.

Sunday shopping ban revoked

LJUBLJANA - The government revoked a temporary ban on Sunday shopping that had been put in place during the earliest stages of the epidemic in mid-March. It said shops were now free to set their opening hours as they see fit. The decision comes just a week after legislation that would permanently close shops on Sunday stalled in parliament. The legislation had been tabled by the Left and appeared to be slated for passage, but last-minute amendments made it impossible to pass the bill outright so it had to be sent into third reading. The government voiced opposition to the legislation and urged retailers and trade unions to find common ground.

Finland imposes entry restrictions for Slovenians

HELSINKI, Finland - The Finnish government placed Slovenia on a list of countries for which restrictions apply on arrival due to the coronavirus outbreak. From Monday, the restrictions will also apply on arrivals from Austria and Switzerland. This is because these countries have seen an increase in the number of coronavirus infections since the previous assessment. EU countries already on the list from before include Spain, Luxembourg, Portugal, Poland, France, Sweden and the Czech Republic.

Carinthia plebiscite centenary to send out message to all Europeans, says Pahor

KLAGENFURT, Austria - President Borut Pahor announced that the centenary of the Carinthia plebiscite to be marked on 10 October would be an important day for all Europeans, not just Austrians and Slovenians, as he discussed preparations for the centenary in Austria's Carinthia. "It'll be an event, a day that will matter not only to Klagenfurt, to Slovenians and Austrians, it will be an important day for all of Europe and Europeans," Pahor said at a joint press conference with Carinthia Governor Peter Kaiser.

New energy efficiency bill to expand car charging infrastructure

LJUBLJANA - New buildings with more than ten parking spaces will need to have plug-in car charging infrastructure in place under a new bill adopted by the government. Another major provision will be the requirement that all new buildings with central heating or cooling systems or those connected to district heating and cooling systems will need to have individual metres installed to monitor consumption of heat for heating, cooling and hot water separately. The energy efficiency bill will extract provisions pertaining to energy efficiency and efficient energy use from the energy act and adapt it to European law in the field.

Petrol shareholders endorse record dividend

LJUBLJANA - The shareholders of energy company Petrol endorsed a record dividend payout of EUR 22 per share, which means nearly all, or EUR 45.22 million of the EUR 45.36 million in distributable profit will be paid out. The state owns almost one third of the shares in the company directly or indirectly, which means it will be the biggest beneficiary of the payout. The shareholders' meeting also appointed Janez Pušnik to the supervisory board to substitute for Nada Drobne Popovič, who took over as Petrol CEO in February.

Third of country to get 5G network by end of year

LJUBLJANA - Telekom Slovenije has started setting up the country's first commercial 5G networks using its existing base stations and within the existing 2600MHz frequency spectrum used in 4G. The national telecommunications operator said that coverage will initially be provided in about 25% of the country but is expected to exceed 33% by the end of the year. It added that the upgraded 4G/5G network will allow for data transfer speeds faster than provided by the LTE/4G network. However, the full potential of 5G will become available only after additional spectres are awarded.

Gen-I sells EUR 25m in commercial papers, half-year EBIT 20% above plan

LJUBLJANA - The energy group Gen-I has successfully completed the sale of 12-month commercial papers in the total nominal value of EUR 25 million to repeat a similar borrowing operation from a year ago. Announcing the news, Gen-I said the purpose of the issue is financing working capital and dispersing the structure of short-term financing sources in comparison with bank crediting. It also announced that its half-year EBIT exceeded plans by 20% to EUR 11.1 million. By the end of June, the group sold 65 terawatt hours of electricity and natural gas, which is almost 80% of sales in 2019.

Ruling on Teran case to be given in September

LUXEMBOURG, Luxembourg - The General Court of the EU will hand down its ruling on a case related to a derogation enabling Croatia to use Teran as the name of a red wine protected by Slovenia on 9 September, the Agriculture Ministry confirmed for the STA. Slovenia's Teran is protected under the EU Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) quality logo sign, however in mid-2017 the Commission granted the derogation allowing Croatian producers in Istria to use the name on the label as long as the name of the region was featured more prominently. Slovenia is challenging the exemption granted by the EU Commission.

Celje win national football championship for first time ever

CELJE - The football club Celje was crowned on Wednesday evening the new Slovenian champions after drawing 2:2 with Olimpija Ljubljana in what is its first ever national championship. Celje climbed to the top in the 2019/20 season, which was interrupted due to the coronavirus epidemic, by defending the home turf in the last, 36th round of the premier league, drawing a thriller with the rivals from the capital. Olimpija finished third in the standings and was leapfrogged by Maribor, the champions from the previous season, due to the better head-to-head record.

Dutch man pulled over with 29 illegal migrants in his van

LJUTOMER - The police pulled over near Ljutomer (NE) on Wednesday a van driven by a Dutch citizen, in which he transported 29 illegal migrants - 24 citizens of Afghanistan and five women from Somalia. The Murska Sobota Police Department said the Dutch suspect would be brought before an investigating judge, while the foreigners would be returned to the Croatian authorities once the official procedure was concluded.

If you're learning Slovenian then you can find all our dual texts here

23 Jul 2020, 16:58 PM

Recently one of the most exciting new luxury cars on the market, the all-electric Porsche Taycan, has joined the fleet of the Slovenian car rental agency Actinia. The car is thus now available to sports and luxury car enthusiasts for a short- and long-term rental.

porsche taycan for rent in slovenia.jpg
Photo by Tine Kušar
 

The long-term car rental business was developed as a way of avoiding the responsibilities of car ownership and leasing, with significantly lower monthly rates that include all services such as basic and full comprehensive insurance, regular servicing and maintenance, winter and summer tires, vignette, roadside assistance, a replacement vehicle and alike.

All of this proves useful for companies and individuals, who would prefer not to deal with the responsibilities of car management and service or would like to know a car better before making a purchase. The latter is perhaps much more important with regard to luxury cars, a growing market which also includes the sharply growing, albeit much smaller, market for supercars.

porsche taycan on slovenian road.jpg
Photo by Tine Kušar
 

In this respect, certain interesting things are happening in the luxury car market, with Porsche Taycan representing the latest of exciting development. Firstly, Taycan won the 2020 World Car Awards in two categories, as the World Luxury Car and World Performance Car of the Year. Secondly, Taycan is the first all-electric Porsche, and thus has inspired much debate as to how it compared with the Tesla Model S, as it may emerge as challenger to Tesla’s current dominance in the field of luxury electric vehicles. 

Although Porsche R&D boss Michael Steiner has tried to avoid such comparisons by stating that Porsche does not compete in the same segment of “targeting the volume” Tesla does with more mass-market vehicles like the Model 3, and therefore he doesn’t consider Tesla a direct competitor to Porsche, the comparisons with Tesla Model S continue.

It is therefore even more exciting to know that Porsche Taycan 4S has most recently been added to the fleet of cars available at the Slovenian car rental service Actinia.

taycan for rent in slovenia.jpg
Photo by Tine Kušar
 

Price? With Actinia the Taycan will cost you €207 for a three-hour rental which includes 30km mileage, or €414 per day (100 km), €828 per weekend (300 km), €1,680 per week (700 km), €4,976 per month (3000 km) and €3,900 a month for two year rental.

Other expensive luxury cars, such as Porsche Panamera Turbo S E-hybrid, are also available at Actinia. The company also serves the other end of the market, with more affordable vehicles like Škodas and Volkswagens.

For more information on the full range of options you can visit Actinia’s luxury and supercar websites, or contact them at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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23 Jul 2020, 16:49 PM

STA, 23 July 2020 - The Slovenian government revoked a temporary ban on Sunday shopping that had been put in place during the earliest stages of the epidemic in mid-March. It said shops were now free to set their opening hours as they see fit.

The decision, adopted at the government session on Thursday as part of amendments to a decree that limits the sale of goods and services to consumers, comes just a week after legislation that would permanently close shops on Sunday stalled in parliament.

The legislation had been tabled by the Left and appeared to be slated for passage, but last-minute amendments made it impossible to pass the bill outright so it had to be sent into third reading.

The government had initially indicated it might end Sunday shopping for good, but then appears to have changed course.

The Sunday shopping ban has been wholeheartedly endorsed by trade unions, but retailers warned it could lead to massive layoffs and permanent shop closures.

23 Jul 2020, 13:54 PM

STA, 23 July 2020 - Telekom Slovenije has started setting up the country's first commercial 5G networks using its existing base stations and within the existing 2600MHz frequency spectrum used in 4G. The company says that coverage will initially be provided in about 25% of the country but is expected to exceed 33% by the end of the year.

The national telecommunications operator said in a press conference on Thursday that the upgraded 4G/5G network will allow for data transfer speeds faster than provided by the LTE/4G network. However, the full potential of 5G will become available only after additional parts of the spectrum are awarded, it added.

So far, Telekom has upgraded 150 base stations, which covers about a fourth of the country. But as upgrades continues, the company expects coverage to exceed 33% by the end of this year. It will also soon start selling mobile phones with 4G/5G capabilities.

Listing the advantages of 5G networks, the company pointed to considerably higher download and upload speeds and connectivity of a large number of devices, allowing the development of smart industries and smart cities and communities, among other things.

Telekom plans to build the 5G networks in the form of campus networks, a concept allowing multiple virtual networks divided by purpose operating on the same physical infrastructure.

The company also said the setting up of the 5G networks is being conducted in complete compliance with the law, adding that Slovenia's environmental impact legislation was among the strictest in the world.

"The measuring of potential effects on the environment is conducted by independent expert institutions that have been licensed by the Environment Agency. The measurements of the upgraded base stations show that they are safe and far below limit values," Telekom said.

23 Jul 2020, 11:15 AM

STA, 22 July 2020 - The focus of the 15th Bled Strategic Forum (BSF), scheduled to take place on 31 August, will be on cooperation among Central and East European EU member states post-coronavirus. Katja Geršak, Centre for European Perspective (CEP) executive director, says the event will be strongly marked by Covid-19 in both topics and organisation.

Slovenia's annual top foreign policy event will run under the slogan Challenges and Opportunities in the Post-Covid-19 World; Neighbours - Regions - Global World: Partners or Rivals?. Instead of two days, it will last only one day.

The epidemiological situation prompted the organisers to invite to Bled mainly guests from neighbouring and Central and East European EU countries, Geršak told the STA, something that she said was due to the favourable epidemiological situation in those countries.

The focus of BSF debates will be cooperation in the region which the guests come from.

"The main topic will be how the coronavirus has reshaped the world and what challenges we are now faced with in business and society," she said.

"We've noticed a shift towards enhanced cooperation, regional ties and we'll focus on these regional initiatives which unite us in energy, mobility, digitalisation, artificial intelligence and at the same time on strengthening trans-Atlantic cooperation.

"Of course we'll also have to say a word or two about the contentious efficiency of multilateralism and how to proceed. And also about the EU's response to these challenges," said Geršak, whose CEP co-organises the event with the Foreign Ministry.

The debates will be informed by the Three Seas Initiative, she said, adding the BSF will be one of a few forums this year where these topics will be discussed at such a high-level.

The BSF will get under way with a business breakfast hosted by AmCham Slovenia, followed by the formal opening in the Alpine lake resort of Bled featuring the leaders' panel and the foreign ministers' panel.

Fewer participants than in the previous years are expected to attend, and they will be divided in three groups.

One group will feature guests who will actually arrive at Bled, another will follow the event on a special digital platform which will enable them to take part in debates, while all the others will follow the debates by live stream.

"In this way we're in a way expanding the forum not only in Slovenia but also abroad. We'd like such participation to be as broad as possible."

Geršak said that providing a safe environment will be an absolute priority, so protective masks, hand sanitiser and social distance will be the order of the day.

In case of force majeure, Slovenian authorities would decided whether to go ahead with it or now, she said. "We would not want to expose people to unnecessary risks."

23 Jul 2020, 07:50 AM

STA, 22 July 2020 - After a year and a half of calls for redefining rape in the penal code, the Justice Ministry said on Wednesday that legislative changes had been drafted. Their aim is to embed the consent standard in criminal law.

The changes would make every non-consensual sexual act a punishable offence, including those during which the victim did not physically resist the perpetrator or say no out of fear or shock or any other circumstances preventing such action

Related: Shock Case Shows How Coercion Defines Rape in Slovenia, Not Lack of Consent

The amendments thus enable a transition from the coercion-based definition of rape to the consent-based standard, including the affirmative consent and veto models. Coercion or force would become aggravating circumstances.

The ministry's statement came in response to claims by a feminist NGO, March 8 Institute, that in a year and a half no progress had been made to amend the definition of rape in the penal code.

The ministry said this was not the case as it had held meetings with a number of NGOs, the most recent one in June, with all the participants agreeing that the consent-based standard had to be implemented.

Related: Statute of Limitations for Sex Offences Extended to Between 30, 90 Years

But in response, 8 March Institute pointed out that the participating NGOs had insisted to scrap the veto model and enforce only the affirmative consent standard, known as "only yes means yes", which the ministry did not green-light.

In January 2019, March 8 Institute launched a petition, signed by more than 6,000 people, demanding a redefinition of rape. The effort came as a response to a court case in which a man was acquitted of rape because the victim was asleep and unable to resist.

The public consultation period for the amendments runs until 25 August.

23 Jul 2020, 03:46 AM

Check the date at the top of the page, and you can find all the "morning headlines" stories here. You can also follow us on Facebook and get all the news in your feed.

This summary is provided by the STA:

Pahor, Čaputova hail EU budget deal

BRATISLAVA, Slovakia - The presidents of Slovenia and Slovakia, Borut Pahor and Zuzana Čaputova, welcomed the EU budget deal as they held talks dominated by the situation in the EU in the aftermath of the pandemic. Pahor said the deal was a timely response to the challenges that are appearing in Europe after the first wave of the Covid-19 epidemic. The president's discussed bilateral cooperation with a focus on protection of the environment given that Slovakia has pledged to become carbon neutral by 2050. After their official talks, they opened a business forum focusing on green technologies that featured 34 companies and institutions from both countries.

Several joint infrastructure projects with Hungary to start soon

BUDAPEST, Hungary - Infrastructure Minister Jernej Vrtovec visited Budapest for talks with Hungarian ministers of foreign affairs and innovation and technology, Peter Szijjarto and Laszlo Palkovics. Even though economic cooperation between the two countries is good, he said it could be further upgraded with energy and road infrastructure projects. One such is the Cirkovce-Pince electric power line, which will create the first cross-border link between the countries' grids. Construction could begin in September. The countries are also planning a gas pipeline between Nagykanizsa and Kidričevo.

Slovenia's Covid-19 death toll climbs to 115, 29 new cases

LJUBLJANA - Slovenia's Covid-19 death toll increased to 115 after another fatality was reported for the fourth day running on Tuesday, along with 29 new coronavirus infections, an 11-day high. The latest cases bring the national case count to 2,006, of which 243 are active cases. A total of 22 Covid-19 patients are hospitalised, two of them in intensive care, government data show. Tuesday's cases include three more at the Hrastnik care home, where 20 residents and eight staff are now infected.

Slovenia to redefine rape in consent terms

LJUBLJANA - After a year and a half of calls for redefining rape in the penal code, the Justice Ministry said that legislative changes had been drafted. Their aim is to embed the consent standard in criminal law. The changes would make every non-consensual sexual act a punishable offence and mark a transition from the coercion-based definition of rape to the consent-based standard.

Bled Strategic Forum to be strongly marked by coronavirus

LJUBLJANA - The focus of the 15th Bled Strategic Forum, scheduled to take place on 31 August, will be on post-pandemic cooperation between Central and East European EU member countries. Katja Geršak, the executive director of the Centre for European Perspective, said the event would be strongly marked by Covid-19 in both topics and organisation. Owing to the pandemic, the invitees are mainly those from countries in Slovenia's neighbourhood and Central and East Europe.

Four smugglers of migrants apprehended

LJUBLJANA - The police apprehended four smugglers of illegal migrants on Tuesday. A man from Ljubljana was caught transporting 28 illegal migrants in a van, while a foreign citizen and two accomplices were apprehended near Ljutomer in the northeast for transporting 17 illegal migrants. The smugglers are in custody pending their appearing before an investigating judge, while the illegal migrants are to be sent back to Croatia after the relevant procedures are completed, the police said.

Vouchers rescuing Kranjska Gora tourism

KRANJSKA GORA - Hit Alpinea, the biggest accommodation provider at the alpine resort of Kranjska Gora, is fairly happy with the occupancy rates this summer given the situation. Most of the guests come from Slovenia. Between 85% and 90% of them are paying with the government vouchers. The company's director Milan Sajovic welcomed the vouchers and the furlough scheme as two very good measures in an interview with the STA, calling for their extension. Foreign visitors are expected to account for 30-40% of nights spent at Kranjska Gora this summer.

u're learning Slovenian then you can find all our dual texts here

 

22 Jul 2020, 17:34 PM

STA, 22 July - Slovenia's Covid-19 death toll has increased to 115 after another fatality was reported for Tuesday, along with 29 new coronavirus infections, an 11-day high, fresh data from the government show.

The latest cases come from 1,150 tests for Sars-CoV-2 conducted yesterday. They bring the national total of cases so far confirmed to 2,006, of which 243 are active cases.

A total of 22 Covid-19 patients are hospitalised, two of them in intensive care, after one patient was discharged yesterday and one intensive care patient died, a fatality for the fourth day running.

Tuesday's cases include three at the Hrastnik care home in central Slovenia, two among the residents and another staff member, the facility's director, Drago Kopušar, has told the STA.

There are now 20 of the 128 elderly residents and eight of the 75 staff infected at the care home. Nine of the infected residents have been moved to the Šempeter hospital in the west of the country.

Another hotspot in the Hrastnik municipality, which has a population of 9,000, is a housing estate Log nad Hrastnikom, where disinfection measures are being reimposed. Inspectors are also checking whether quarantine orders are being complied with. Hrastnik had 34 active cases as of Monday.

22 Jul 2020, 14:55 PM

STA, 22 July 2020 - The police arrested four smugglers of illegal migrants on Tuesday. A man from Ljubljana was caught transporting 28 illegal migrants in a van, as he was pulled over by the police, while a foreign citizen and two accomplices were apprehended near Ljutomer in the northeast for transporting 17 illegal migrants.

The 24-year-old from Ljubljana, driving a van along the Ljubljana ring road refused to pull over when ordered to do so. After he eventually did, a group of people fled the vehicle, the Ljubljana police said in a press release on Wednesday.

The police discovered that the 24-year-old had been assisted by another person, whose identity is yet to be established. They had been smuggling 28 illegal migrants in the van, citizens of Afghanistan and Pakistan; all were apprehended shortly after fleeing the van.

The smuggler is in detention, while procedures involving the migrants are ongoing, the police said.

Across the country, in the village of Veščica near the Croatian border, the Murska Sobota police arrested a van driver transporting 17 illegal migrants.

The driver is a foreign citizen and was arrested alongside two accomplices and the trio will be brought before an investigating judge.

The illegal migrants will be sent back to Croatia after the relevant procedures are completed, the police said.

22 Jul 2020, 13:44 PM

STA, 22 July 2020 - Hit Alpinea, the biggest provider of accommodation at the alpine resort of Kranjska Gora, is fairly happy with the occupancy rates this summer considering the situation. Most of the guests come from Slovenia with between 85% and 90% of them paying with the government vouchers.

The company's director Milan Sajovic has hailed the vouchers and the government furlough scheme as two very good measures in an interview with the STA. He would like both to be extended, the redemption of vouchers by the end of the 2020/21 winter season and the furlough scheme by the end of 2020.

Hit Alpinea, a subsidiary of the Nova Gorica-based gaming and tourism company Hit, employs over 200 people. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, it did not hire seasonal workers this year, so it currently has some 20 staff fewer than last summer.

From the second half of March until the end of May, 90% of the staff was on furlough before the share gradually decreased as hotels started to open in June. By 17 July, all four Alpinea hotels reopened, providing a total of 418 rooms.

Hotel beds were initially well occupied at weekends, but now the rates have also improved during the week. "The occupancy rates are much lower than last year's when he had between 80% and 100% during the summer season, but we're glad the occupancy is good considering the situation," said Sajovic.

On the downside, the guests are spending less. "The bulk of the demand is generated by tourist vouchers," a measure that Sajovic described as excellent for Kranjska Gora as well as the coastal and spa resorts, but less so for Ljubljana and some other destinations.

He believes the vouchers could have a long-term positive effect. Many Slovenians are holidaying in Kranjska Gora for the first time and hopefully they will return, having realised that the alpine resort is an excellent alternative to the crowded seaside resorts.

There are few foreign visitors in Kranjska Gora at the moment, but the situation is getting better. Sajovic estimates that Slovenians will generate between 60% and 70% of the nights spent in tourism accommodation in Kranjska Gora this summer and the rest will be foreigners.

Those come mostly from the countries within the 1,000-kilometre radius of Kranjska Gora. Most visitors at this time are Hungarians, Czechs, Germans, Austrians and Italians. The hope is that the coronavirus situation in those countries does not deteriorate and that border restrictions are not stiffened.

While Sajovic understands the gravity and unpredictability of the situation, he believes the government could ease border restrictions for groups of athletes on preparations, who do not mix with other guests and travel in some sort of quarantine anyway. Such groups are a major market segment for destinations such as Kranjska Gora.

Hit Alpinea has been operating at a profit in recent years. "After growth, we were doing better than average in the past years," a trend Sajovic says has been interrupted by the pandemic this year. "The situation this year is unique, but we're looking into the future, we need but to survive this year."

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