STA, 18 April 2018 – Representatives of most parties present supported the guidelines set down in the strategy of sustainable development of Slovenian tourism until 2021 that was passed in October last year.
Some of the key things that they argued needed to be done was to improve the business environment, keep boosting promotion and getting the stakeholders to cooperate better in implementing the strategy.
Tomaž Gantar, an MP for the Pensioners' Party (DeSUS) and former mayor of Piran, believes that securing better cooperation between government departments will be a major challenge.
This kind of cooperation is also seen as a potential issue by Peter Vesenjak, a tourism entrepreneur and former state secretary at the Economy Ministry who spoke for New Slovenia (NSi).
He approves of the goal of creating a more stimulating business environment, which he believes is now stifling business initiative. He would like greater emphasis placed on local management of tourism.
Economy Ministry State Secretary Eva Štravs Podlogar, who spoke for the Social Democrats (SD), noted that tourism was contained in the party's platform, arguing that strategy goals were achievable.
Speaking for the Democrats (SDS), Marjan Hribar, a former long-serving head of the Tourism and Internationalisation Directorate at the Economy Ministry, lauded that improvements made in tourism in the past had been built on in recent years.
However, he called for faster restructuring and privatisation of what are now mostly state-owned tourism companies, which he believes would open doors to investors and international tour operators.
Outgoing Economy Minister Zdravko Počivalšek, who spoke on behalf of the Modern Centre Party (SMC), was happy to report that parties had mostly agreed on tourism in the past few years.
He pledged for the SMC to implement the strategy if it was elected into government. He emphasised the need for a gradual but full privatisation of the remaining state-owned tourism enterprises.
Most of the speakers did not support creating a separate ministry for tourism, while they argued it was important that tourism should be set high among government priorities.
Turning to promotion, Počivalšek noted that the amount of budget funding for tourism promotion rose from EUR 4-5m during crisis to EUR 12m, which a special promotion tax that had recently been passed by parliament would increase to close to the target EUR 20m.
Everyone present backed the increase in promotion funds, but there were some objections against the Ljubljana city council's decision to raise the tourist tax to the maximum EUR 2.50 a night plus a promotion tax of amounting to 25% of the tourist tax.