Travel

18 May 2020, 18:30 PM

STA, 18 May 2020 - Tourism companies can largely resume doing business from today, and travel seems to be in demand again, although agritourism providers, campsites and beaches are still relatively empty. A path to recovery is expected to be long after a two-month lockdown, so the hospitality chamber has urged the government to extend state aid measures.

The Slovenian Hospitality Chamber (TGZS) called on the government on Monday to extend until the end of the year the measures designed to help tourism cope with the coronavirus epidemic.

It said there had been indications the subsidies for idled workers would be extended only by a month, or by the end of June, which would push the industry into a dire situation.

"Under this scenario, the companies will not be able to survive, so massive layoffs will follow in tourism on 1 July," the chamber said in a release.

If the measures applying to idled tourism workers are not prolonged until the end of 2020, some 20,000 workers will lose jobs, according to the chamber's estimate.

The TGZS meanwhile welcomed the planned EUR 200 vouchers for adult Slovenian citizens to be spent on a vacation in Slovenia, which it believes would help the industry start what is expected to be a years-long recovery.

Operators of campsites and beaches on the Slovenian coast are meanwhile largely ready to accept guests although the swimming season has not yet started.

The main beach in Portorož is to open on 15 June, or as early as 1 June if the weather is fine, Okolje Piran direktor Gašpar Gašpar Mišič told the STA.

The Strunjan Camping Site does not yet have any guests, and cannot predict how the situation develops in the coming weeks, although potential guests are already making enquires.

The situation is similar in agritourism, which can also start welcoming tourists as of today, but the majority of farms offering such activities will relaunch their business in June.

The Češnjice Tourist Farm in Cerklje na Gorenjskem, NW, told the STA they had no guests nor queries, while the first tourists will arrive at the Urška Tourist Farm near Zreče,E, on Thursday.

"We get lots of queries by e-mail and mobile phone, Germans are also interested in when we're opening," said the farm owner Urška Topolšek.

The pandemic has also hit hard tourist guides, most of whom are self-employed and largely depend on tourists from abroad.

Just like the rest of the tourism industry, they are now trying to attract Slovenian tourists, the Argos Regional Association of Tourist Guides said in a release.

Argos has thus joined the My Slovenia campaign launched by the Slovenian Tourism Board (STO) to encourage Slovenians to spend their holidays in Slovenia.

"The borders are slowly opening, but we share the view that this season, domestic guests will be in the focus. Which is right," said its president Mateja Kregar Gliha.

Skiing was relaunched at Kanin, Slovenia's only high-altitude ski slopes, where Slovenian professional skier Ilka Štuhec relaunched her training today.

"It's great to ski in Slovenia in May," said Štuhec, whom the pandemic has deprived of several weeks of training for the new ski season.

Slovenian travel agencies have however not yet opened their doors, but are providing information to potential clients online or over the phone.

There are still many uncertainties about the border crossing regime, protocols about bus and air travel, and about the reopening of hotels in Slovenia and abroad, Jože Režonja, Relax Turizem director, told the STA.

"We expect everything will be clear by 31 May at the latest, in which case we will open our offices on 1 June."

If things clear up earlier, the offices will open sooner. "We're ready," he said, adding that some 80% of their employees are on furlough.

Similarly, travel company Palma provides information to its potential clients over the phone and plans to open its offices on 1 June, said sales director Leni Petek Rovšnik.

She said people were eager to start travelling again, so she is quite optimistic that business could soon be revived.

The only tourism facilities that could not yet open today are accommodation facilities with over 30 rooms, accommodation for spa guests, wellness and fitness centres, pools and water parks.

All our stories on coronavirus are here

18 May 2020, 10:08 AM

Updated at 13:20, 18 May

STA, 18 May 2020 - Three days after opening Slovenia's borders to EU residents almost without exception, the Slovenian government opted for a more gradual approach by determining that only citizens of EU and Schengen Zone countries with which bilateral technical agreements are reached will be allowed to cross without restrictions.

Related, from Total Croatia News: Who Can Cross the Croatia Slovenia Border? Who Cannot? A May 17, 2020 Border Visit

Under a government decree that was adopted roughly an hour before it took effect at 10pm on Sunday, all Slovenian nationals and foreigners with residence in Slovenia are allowed to cross into Slovenia freely.

Whether EU and Schengen Zone nationals may cross without being subject to a mandatory quarantine will be contingent on the epidemiological situation in neighbouring countries "and the conclusion of bilateral technical agreements with neighbouring and other EU or Schengen Zone countries or a general agreement at EU level if it is adopted earlier," according to the decree.

The government will determine the list of eligible countries by decree and the list will be published on the websites of the National Institute of Public Health and the Foreign Ministry. The list will be updated on an ongoing basis.

As of Monday midday such a list was not yet available, which was also confirmed by Melita Močnik, the head of the border police at the General Police Directorate, at the government's daily coronavirus briefing.

The Health Ministry is now examining the epidemiological situation in neighbouring countries based on documents prepared by the National Institute of Public Health, while Economy Minister Zdravko Počivalšek was expected to discuss the matter today with his Austrian and Hungarian counterparts.

"We expect that Austria will open borders relatively soon and we're sure Slovenia will not be the last," said the government's coronavirus spokesman Jelko Kacin told the press.

He said Slovenia wanted reciprocity and did not want to be discriminated against by any neighbouring country which may allow the arrival of tourists from major countries but "not from a southern border". "We are treating all of our neighbours on the same basis - their epidemiological status."

The latest decision marks a walk-back from the original plan, a move that had already been indicated by Prime Minister Janez Janša in a Twitter post on Saturday, when he said there was no general opening of the border with Italy or Austria and Hungary. He said this could only be a measure taken by both sides.

The original decree, which took effect on Friday, abolished mandatory quarantine for EU nationals and residents provided they had not been outside the Union for more than 14 days. For others, a 14-day mandatory quarantine was instituted, with exceptions for persons such as diplomats, hauliers and emergency staff.

But while making crossing contingent on bilateral deals, the amended decree also marks a for now theoretical expansion of the quarantine waiver to all Schengen Zone countries, which includes some non-EU countries, provided technical agreements are reached with them.

Moreover, it makes it easier for third-country nationals in transit as it stipulates that "persons who travel through the Republic of Slovenia into another country in the same day" do not need to go into 14-day quarantine.

The decree also fixes an issue with the previous decree which appears to have excluded lorry drivers from the Balkans who work for Slovenian hauliers. This is also the reason why it entered into effect almost immediately.

17 May 2020, 10:43 AM

STA, 16 May 2020 - As practically all business meetings and conferences planned for the first half of the year have been cancelled, the meetings industry, one of the key sectors of Slovenian tourism, does not expect to recover from coronavirus anytime soon. First events are planned to be held again this autumn.

"The meetings industry is faced with a very hard situation because this year's events were arranged several years ago. Some have been rescheduled to this autumn or next year, but many are lost for good," Slovenian Convention Bureau director Miha Kovačič has told the STA.

Business meetings and events are one of the three primary products of Slovenian tourism, he explained.

"They take place practically across entire Slovenia, the majority of them in Ljubljana. In the Slovenian capital, they are the most important product."

Their scope is smaller than classic tourism but business guests spend much more and business events largely take place outside the main summer season, he said.

Since such events are planned long in advance, they are not expected to resume as soon as lockdown measures affecting airports and borders are lifted.

Domestic companies, organisations and state institutions are major organisers of such events, and provided that conference centres, hotels and similar venues reopen, they are expected to return to business the first.

But international events are more lucrative as they also bring revenue from accommodation, are larger and involve more organisers. "These will return later."

Much will also depend on protective measures that will have to be observed, so Kovačič hopes the wearing of face masks indoor will soon no longer be required.

He however expects more online meetings, although it is already clear that they cannot replace live meetings.

Kovačič believes that "live events will have to become even better and with more added value to convince participants to attend".

Ljubljana and Bled, two major venues for the meetings industry in the country, are happy the majority of planned events have not been cancelled but rescheduled.

Turizem Ljubljana, the capital city's tourism board, told the STA that delegates of international conferences and other business meetings are the most desires visitors.

They spend three times more than an average leisure tourist; such a visitor spent an average 1,450 euro during a three-day stay in Ljubljana.

Some 20 international events for professionals with 100 to 1,500 participants scheduled for the first half of 2020 have been rescheduled to autumn or to 2021 and 2022.

The situation is similar in the lake-side resort of Bled in the north-west, where participants of such events account for 10-15% of all tourist nights.

Turizem Bled, the local tourism board, expects this segment of tourist to pick up fastest, as was the case after the 2008 financial crisis.

15 May 2020, 12:44 PM

Updated at 18:15 with response by tourism officials, with the added text here

STA, 15 May 2020 - The National Institute of Public Health (NIJZ) has issued a set of recommendations for the tourism and hospitality sector to make sure that both staff and guests will be safe as bars and restaurants again start serving food and drinks indoors on Monday, and tourist accommodation with up to 30 rooms reopens.

Restaurants are urged to exclude all self-service options from their offering, including salad buffets, salad dressings, spices and bread baskets, while spoons, forks and knifes should come in a cotton bag or wrapped in a napkin for each guest individually.

Related: Slovenia Declares End to Covid Epidemic, Borders Open to EU Nationals

The NIJZ believes it would be best if physical obstacles were placed between tables, while playgrounds for children, toys, newspapers and magazines should be off limits.

All staff and guests will be required to wear face masks or other type of protection covering nose and mouth at all times, except when sitting at the table. Communication between the waiter and guests should be reduced to a minimum.

To avoid contact with other guests, it will be best to make reservations, while those arriving at a restaurant unannounced will be requested to follow markings on the floor.

The NIJZ has also prepared detailed recommendations for cleaning and disinfecting all surfaces and kitchenware, so guests should not be surprised to see tables without tablecloths and waiters dressed in cotton clothes.

Similarly, guests who will stay at small hotels that will reopen on Monday, should not be surprised to see changes in rooms decor as all textile decorative elements will have to be removed.

Tourist accommodations will also have to adjust their check-in procedure to minimise contact among guests. Hand sanitisers will also be used before and after handling any documents, and using pens.

Promotional material will only be available upon request, while rooms with multiple beds will only be available for members of the same household, which will be checked during check-in.

Updated text below

Gregor Jamnik, the head of the Slovenian Association of Hotels, welcomed the guidelines, urging his colleagues to act in line with both mandatory and voluntary standards.

He deems safety precautions a new trend in tourism that should be welcomed as soon as possible to remain competitive.

Meanwhile, Fedja Pobegajlo, director of the Tourism Chamber, said today that the recommendations were expected. He has expressed satisfaction over the institute releasing guidelines for all the tourism sectors that are currently in the process of reopening.

Moreover, he has called on NIJZ to provide a set of recommendations for those that are yet to relaunch business as usual and thus help them get ready. Apart from large hotels, spas, swimming pools and casinos remain closed for now.

All our stories on coronavirus and Slovenia are here

12 May 2020, 14:25 PM

STA, 12 May 2020 - Although the ban on international air passenger transport with Slovenia was lifted today, passenger flights from Slovenia's airports are not expected before June as most air carriers have cancelled their flights until the end of May. However, Lufthansa, Swiss and Brussels Airlines have already opened bookings on June flights.

Currently, it is possible to book flights connecting Ljubljana with Frankfurt, Munich, Brussels and Zurich by the three carriers, all part of the Lufthansa group, which plans to restart at 20% of capacity as of 1 June, according to the European Union Aviation Safety Agency.

The business newspaper Finance says that the three airlines will probably offer one flight per day.

Serbian flag carrier Air Serbia, which will restore flights on 18 May, is also expected to start flying to Ljubljana in June, but in a limited scope at first, writes the web portal Ex-Yu Aviation.

Easyjet is also expected to gradually start flying again in June but its plan to launch a new route between Ljubljana and the Luton airport this summer has been abandoned.

Turkish Airlines, which was one of the most active foreign carriers at Ljubljana airport, will also start flying again in June and then gradually increase operations until October.

Finish Finnair and British Airways have suspended their plans for summer flights to Helsinki and Heathrow for the time being.

Ljubljana airport expects more action in July, but everything will depend on the epidemic-related developments in Europe and the economic recovery.

The airport stresses that it will take a long time before it returns to last year's passenger numbers.

The government decided last night not to extend restrictions for air travel again, allowing resumption of passenger flights from the EU and third countries to Slovenia's international airports.

In a press release, the Government Communication Office said the ban, which was imposed on 17 March, was no longer necessary or sensible because following strict safety measures in individual countries air carriers were not providing flights anyway due to a lack of demand.

Slovenia does not have an air carrier since Adria Airways went into receivership last year.

Fraport Slovenija, which operates Ljubljana airport, welcomed the decision, saying that the lifting of the ban would help airlines plan flights.

Before the epidemic, 17 carriers were expected to operate 22 routes to 15 countries in the summer.

12 May 2020, 13:08 PM

Ljubljana Castle reopened 4 May, and another of Slovenia’s most visited sites, Bled Castle, will be welcoming visitors again from 14 May on. However, note that you’ll not be able to visit the island until 18 May.

In other news, Postojna Cave, by some counts the most popular tourist attraction in the country – since Ljubljana Castle gets multiple visits from locals each year – will not be opening until at least 1 June, although this date remains to be confirmed.

11 May 2020, 17:01 PM

Yesterday it was announced that Slovenians who own property in Croatia, as some 100,000 do, will be able to enter the country without a 14-day quarantine period. But what does that mean for you?

Joe Orovic, of Total Croatia News, dug into the facts and found out the following.

First up, rather than “Slovenians” alone this applies to all EU residents, although “foreigners hoping to enter Croatia must provide proof they either: own real estate or a vessel in Croatia; are attending a funeral; or have been invited to the country by some business entity to conduct economic activity.”

But what if you book a room in a hotel and the hotel invites you stay for some economic activity? Well, that remains unclear, although the Croatian Interior Minister, Davor Božinović, did say that the Border Administration has created a special email address where non-Croats can ask if they meet the conditions for entry into the country: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

There’s further confusion as to what you can actually do in Croatia, with Božinović saying that people should stay in their accommodation as much as possible.

What’s more, at present those entering Slovenia are supposed to self-isolate for seven days, although there are claims Slovenia is considering dropping this requirement for those who leave the country for no more than 72 hours.

In short, if you must go to Croatia then send an email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and state your case, but otherwise we recommend using any vacation or wanderlust you have to explore Slovenia, revisit old favourites, and spend some money in local restaurants and bars.

11 May 2020, 11:32 AM

STA, 11 May 2020 - Public transport started running in Slovenia again after nearly two months on Monday. The relaunch will be gradual and restrictive measure have been put in place to ensure social distancing is observed.

Passengers have to disinfect their hands upon entry, wear a face mask and keep a safety distance of at least 1.5 metres to each other.

Buses are outfitted with special barriers for drivers and unless these are in place, passengers are not able to enter through the front door.

In Ljubljana, they are entering through the second door, where they are provided with a hand sanitiser dispenser. Tickets are validated at the validation port near the second door, and only by those with single-ride cards.

Bus passengers are not able to buy tickets on the bus. Ticket purchase are possible at bigger stops and stations, online and at ticket machines. The same is also advised by railways operator Slovenske Železnice.

The enforcement of the rules could prove a challenge, with Slovenske Železnice saying their staff will only be able to warn passengers that they need to wear masks, while only police have the power to take action.

The director of Ljubljana's public bus transport provider LPP Peter Horvat announced a more radical approach, saying drivers were instructed not to continue driving if they notice a passenger entering without a mask.

"The driver will notify the police or health inspectorate, let the other passengers off the bus and take the vehicle to the garage for disinfection, while we will sent a replacement bus," Horvat told the daily paper Dnevnik.

About every other seat on train is off limits, so as to ensure social distancing, Slovenske Železnice said on Friday, while a similar arrangement has been secured for buses.

At their last stop, the buses and trains will have to be aired out and disinfected.

Most public transport operators are planning a gradual restart, with Slovenske Železnice planning to dispatch only 30% of their coaches today.

International passenger transport remains suspended. Infrastructure Minister Jernej Vrtovec has previously mentioned 1 June as a possible date of relaunch.

Vrtovec told the TV Slovenija news show Dnevnik last night that passenger air transport may also be relaunched this week.

The minister symbolically reopened public transport today by taking the Domžale-Ljubljana train in the company of Slovenske Železnice director general Dušan Mes.

Mes said everything was running smoothly and that passenger numbers were modest so far in line with expectations. He said supplementary bus transport was planned if the number of passengers rises too quickly.

"Public transport is the backbone of our transport system, which is why I'm happy to see this day finally arriving. I want to thank the passengers for eight weeks of patience," Vrtovec told the press.

Very modest numbers are also reported by LPP, with Horvat citing for TV Slovenija a driver as telling him the atmosphere in the morning had been like at 4am on New Year's Day.

Horvat, who said he was in a way happy people remained careful, announced the number of active buses would be stepped up according to needs. A special challenge will be the gradual return of school children, who account for around 60% of LPP passengers.

All our stories on coronavirus and Slovenia are here

11 May 2020, 10:35 AM

Slovenia is slowly easing the coronavirus lockdown, with bar, café and restaurant terraces already back in business, along with smaller stores, public transport and Ljubljana Castle. More specifically, the building that’s watched over the city for centuries – and competes with Postojna Caves as the most visited attraction in the country – is now open every day from 10:00 to 18.00, including the exhibitions and Viewing Tower, plus the terrace of the Castle Café and Castle Wine Bar & Shop – although the latter are closed when it’s raining, as it is this morning in the capital.

Related: 25 Things to Know about Ljubljana Castle

There are also some restrictions to note under the current conditions at what. For one, the funicular isn’t yet working, so you’ll need to walk or drive up. For another, you’ll need a mask when entering enclosed spaces, such as the exhibitions, Viewing Tower or bathrooms. Finally, there are hand sanitizers everywhere that visitors are encouraged to use, plus further instructions and safety protocols at every checkpoint.

More details on the situation as it evolves in the days and weeks ahead can be found on the Castle’s website.

04 May 2020, 10:03 AM

In this short  (we hope) series before things re-open, we’re looking at what things local tourist offices want to promote for their town or region, starting with the capital. If you’re a tourist office and would like a similar, free-of-charge story for your area, please get in touch me with me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., subject Virtual Tourism + PLACE NAME, and let me know why people should be planning a visit, plus links to anything you want to promote.

People can’t travel now, but they can daydream and plan, so we got in touch with Nina Kosin at Ljubljana Tourism to find out what she’d recommend. She wanted to highlight four broad areas of what Ljubljana offers visitors and residents – a green, active city, vibrant culinary scene, wealth of museums and galleries to explore, and tours and trips to take within the city or nearby. There's a lot of videos, so relax, let them load and start planning your next trip Slovenia.

A green and active city

In 2016 Ljubljana won the title of European Green Capital, a fact that will come as no surprise to anyone who knows the city, with its trees and parks, large pedestrianised area, good public transport, clean flowing river and many, many cyclists. This year the city is tying this clean, green and active image even more closely to its tourist offer, with a clear focus on active holidays.

Cycling in Ljubljana

If you want to on a bike to explore the city like a local then you can easily rent one from the Biciklj system or the tourist centre – with four hours free if you have a Ljubljana Tourist Card – which also offers entrance to city and national museums and galleries, free public transport, a boat ride, trip to the castle, wi-fi and more.

By bike you can follow a one of several thematic routes through the city, take a tour or just explore your interests – with the Castle and river as easy reference points to find you way so you’re in no danger of getting lost.

If you prefer to cycle away from the streets, then Ljubljana Bike Park and the hill known as Golovec offer mountain bike trails to bounce along, while there are also pump tracks in the Spodnja Šiška, Bežigrad and Fužine districts. In short, if you’re looking for a city break that’s good on two wheels then consider Ljubljana – and if you want to see more of the country, then take a look at the Bike Slovenia Green tours that can take you from the mountains of Kranjska Gora to the coast of Koper.

Hiking in Ljubljana

Of course, not everyone feels comfortable on two wheels, so it’s good that Ljubljana is small enough to enjoy on foot, with many paths to hike or jog along through nature if you want to get more exercise and pump more of the city’s fresh air into your lungs. Simply head to Castle Hill or Tivoli Park and then up to Rožnik Hill for a commanding views the city in a forest. These two forested areas are quickly reached from the centre of town, and throughout the year offer residents and visitors a green escape into the wonders of nature.

Running in the city is fun, with lanes and bridges, hills and forests

Further from the centre there’s the more extensive Šmarna gora, while if you’d like to get out of the city then there are numerous hiking trails nearby with different levels of difficulty and landscapes to enjoy – the official details are here.

If mobility is an issue, then don’t worry – Ljubljana is an increasingly accessible city with ramps and facilities for people with disabilities, as well as a free electric vehicle (an electric kavilir) to move you around. A great app called Ljubljana by Wheelchair also highlights cafés, attractions and so on with ramps, disabled bathrooms and Eurokey facilities, which you can read about and download here. Manual wheelchair users can also borrow, for free, an attachment that will motorise their equipment, as reported here.

Food and drink in Ljubljana

With all that movement you’ll be hungry, and when Ljubljana reopens there should be plenty to eat, which is why Nina Kosin of Ljubljana Tourism recommends adding the city’s culinary scene to the reasons you’ll be making a visit.

Slovenian cuisine has been on a steep rise the last few years, with Ana Roš, food & wine tourism, farmers markets, and festivals building on each other to spread the word and create the networks needed to connect producers with consumers.

book cover cook eat slovenia.jpg

If you want to cook Slovenian food, then I recommend taking a look at the Cook Eat Slovenia book – beautiful produced, with clear recipes that cover all seasons and regions. Here’s the recipe for potica.

Gault & Millau published their first guide to a Slovenia in 1998, Michelin’s book is set to be released late 2020, and Ljubljana Tourism have put together their own list of restaurants with the “Ljubljana Quality Mark”, along with some recommended places to sample traditional Ljubljana dishes, artisanal products, and even international food (details here).

Whatever your budget, you’ll want to check out are the excellent central market, where you can pick up everything you need for a picnic from local farmers and producers – and perhaps find yourself shopping next to a top chef or two. If in town on a Friday in the warmer months then a must visit is Open Kitchen, which from 11am till late has stalls selling food and drink from some of the best restaurants in the city, and certainly has the most variety in one place.

Museums, galleries and performances in Ljubljana

OK, that’s movement and food, now to consider art and culture, with Ljubljana’s museums and galleries offering very manageable collections of artworks and artifacts from around the country and all over the world. Whether you prefer natural history or contemporary art, ceramics or science and technology, puppets or Roman remains, the city has more than enough variety to keep you entertained, educated and enlightened.

Virgin and Child 1450 - 1460.jpg

The city has everything from sacred art at the national Gallery..... (Photo: JL Flanner)

372f618903d0920b0acb7adfe2db4816.jpg

...to more colourful shows, like this from the Japanese artist Saeborg at Galerija vzigalica (photo from the gallery website)

If you prefer your art live then you’re also spoiled for choice in Ljubljana. Classical music, opera, ballet, pop, rock, electronic, jazz, folk and so on, as well as a vibrant street performance scene, mean you can easily take in a show from local or international names, with all the major venues in the heart of the city. When things reopen, we’ll start our regular what’s on in Ljubljana guides again, so you can plan your trip – here are all the previous editions if you want to see what’s usually in town.

How well do you know the city? Test your knowledge with 25 things to know about the green city of dragons

Tours in Ljubljana

So that’s green, active, culinary and cultural– what else did Nina Kosin recommend? That would be the experiences you can have in Ljubljana. While most of these will be the ones you make yourself on the streets and in the buildings of the city – which is small and welcoming enough that you’ll feel at home by your second day – you can always go on a more organised endeavour and be more certain of the outcome. There are (usually) many tours on offer, with focuses on history, architecture, food, wine, beer, street art and more. The city itself promotes these tours, but there are many others available in a competitive market.

Here’s Martin, an official tour guide, filming himself giving a tour during lockdown

All of this, and a lot more, is waiting for you in Ljubljana when travel is possible again, and you’re looking for a clean, green and active place to escape from wherever you are now.

If you’re a tourist office and would like to a similar story for your area, please get in touch me with me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., subject Virtual Tourism + PLACE NAME, and let me know why people should be planning a visit.

29 Apr 2020, 15:16 PM

STA, 29 April 2020 - The Slovenian and Croatian ministers in charge of tourism, Zdravko Počivalšek and Gari Cappelli, met in Zagreb on Wednesday to discuss the possibilities for relaunching the sector in the face of the coronavirus pandemic. They agreed that a solution should at least be found for Slovenian owners of real estate in Croatia.

Počivalšek, the minister of economic development and technology, noted that around 110,000 real estate units in Croatia were owned by Slovenian citizens and that it would be appropriate if they were able to visit their holiday homes.

Slovenia is optimistic about the possibility that cross-border traffic with Croatia is at least partially re-established, at least by the late summer, if not earlier, under special medical protection conditions, he added.

The press release from the Croatian Ministry of Tourism also said that the Slovenian minister labelled Slovenia and Croatia as traditionally tourism-oriented and friendly countries, with both nations being good hosts.

Počivalšek later told the press that Slovenia and Croatia had a good epidemiological situation, which allowed the countries to think about gradually opening the tourism sector and borders, which would be implemented in two phases.

In the first phase, which would start by the end of May, Slovenian owners of real estate and boats in Croatia and vice-versa would be allowed to cross the border.

In the second phase, which is the most likely to start in the second half of June, travel by other tourists would also be allowed, the Slovenian minister said, adding that he and Cappelli would propose this to their respective governments.

Počivalšek said it was too early to speak about specific dates, as the opening of borders must be based on epidemiological criteria. A protocol for crossing the shared border and accommodation in tourist destinations needs to be laid down first, he added.

"The National Public Health Institute will contact next week the relevant Croatian centre so that the protocol is drafted, because it will not be possible to cross the border without it," the Slovenian minister said.

Cappelli meanwhile said as he met Počivalšek that Slovenians were among the most numerous tourists in Croatia, and the countries cooperate very well in tourism. Croatia last year recorded almost 1.6 million visits and just under 11 million overnight stays by Slovenians.

Cappelli added that the relevant bodies were already discussing the possibilities to open borders and on how to secure all needed measures and procedures so that Slovenian citizens could spend their summer holidays in Croatia.

Slovenian citizens who own real estate and movable property in Croatia are a special issue, he said, adding that a solution was being sought under which they would be able to visit their property while respecting all epidemiological measures.

Cappelli and Počivalšek assessed that such an agreement could serve as a case of good practice in the EU, with Croatia as the current EU presiding country having already launched an initiative for a similar solution to be implemented at the EU level.

The ministers also stressed the need to improve the state of tourism, especially in the light of the availability of funds for the sector in the future financial frameworks of the EU.

They also discussed the current state and options for maintaining the stability of tourism companies and jobs in the sector.

It was agreed that both national tourism organisations should prepare for the coming period together. "So that we jointly promote this party of Europe in remote markets when airline transport gets revitalised," Počivalšek said.

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