The Sava Dolinka and Sava Bohinjka confluence in Lancovo by Radovljica has been a local recreational and fishing spot for as long as people can remember, helping to maintain the high quality of life for the those who live there.
The area is not only a place of great natural beauty, but also an ecologically important one and a spawning ground for indigenous fish.
Now an investor has shown up who is planning to “develop” the spot into a profitable tourist centre. Within the confluence area the investor plans to construct an artificial lake, apartment blocks, catering facility, picnic places, toilets, 62 spaces for caravans and parking lots. The plan also includes multi-purpose playgrounds and recreational facilities.
These plans did not make the locals very happy, so they started a "Save the confluence" petition, whose purpose is to stop the Tourist and Recreation Center Lancovo project, which would deprive the public of access to the natural attractions. The goal of is for concerned citizens to gain the right to participate in the planning of construction projects that will interfere with their living space and thus prevent the destruction of nature, and so protect the quality of life in the area.
To add your name to the petition click here.
Why are people getting “free money” to go on vacation?
Slovenia is attempting to restart its tourism industry by spending up to €345 million on tourist vouchers (turistični boni) for all permanent residents, with people being encouraged to have a domestic vocation and do their patriotic duty by then going out and enjoying meals, activities and so on to make up for the expected loss in foreign visitors.
How much will I get?
All permanent residents of Slovenia aged 18 and over in 2020, including foreigners with that status as of 13 March 2020 and those whose 18th birthdays are later this year, will a get €200 tourist voucher. Those under 18 will get €50.
When can I use the money?
The vouchers can be used from today, 19 June, until the end of the year. If you haven’t used the money by 31 December, then you’ll lose it, with the government expecting around €100 million will remain unclaimed.
How can I get my voucher?
The vouchers are not actual pieces of paper, but will be paid to the place you book accommodation based on your tax number and identification details (perhaps only the latter, but we recommend having your tax number with you, if an adult, to avoid disappointent), which you’ll need to show, along with completing a form, at the reception desk. But note that providers do not have to accept the vouchers – so check before making a booking.
Do I need to spend all €200 at once?
No, you can use the money in installments, and you can check your balance online - find out how here.
Where can I spend the money
In short, any registered tourist facility that offers accommodation, with or without breakfast, such as hotels, self-catering units, lodges, tourism farms, private homes (aka Airbnb), mountain huts, camps and other facilities.
What if I don’t want to travel?
Then you can transfer the money to a relative within the immediate family, with siblings and cousins excluded, with more details here. Note that the entire amount must be transferred at one time.
I run an accomodation provider – when will I get paid?
FURS – the tax office – should pay you within 30 days of the guest checking in and using a voucher.
What about fraud?
If you violate the rules on transferring your voucher to another person then there are fines from €200 to €600. If a tourist provider commits fraud, the fines are from €3000 to 40,000 – see here.
Anything else I should know?
Yes, the provider will need internet access to validate your voucher at the reception desk. While this shouldn’t be a problem with most places, mountain huts may have unreliable connections. In which case the guest will need to pay, get a receipt, and then apply fro a refund from FURS within three days of checking out. The refund should then be delivered within 30 days.
Can I bring a guest?
Yes, but the person with the voucher will need to be traveling with the guest and stay overnight at the same place.
The bathing season, which officially begun this week, will be somewhat different to what we’ve been used to. Last Tuesday the National Institute of Public Health finally announced the new preventive measures that managers of pools, beaches and seawater areas will have to implement. Concerns have been raised that the requirements for social distancing will be difficult to put into practice.
According to the new pandemic prevention regulations, 1.5m social distance should be kept among visitors on shore, and 2m in water. Only members of the same household can sunbathe or swim in groups.
Some of the measures taken to ensure social distancing on the central beach of Portorož are floor markings, warning signs and greater distance between umbrellas, explained Jana Pines from Piran Environment for RTV Slovenia. Furthermore, she explained, contact surfaces such as toilets will be regularly disinfected, for which they will need more staff than they planned. Most difficulties, however, are expected with regard to keeping visitors at the requested social distance, especially in the sea, “where it is practically impossible to verify whether swimmers come from the same household or not”.
Duško Madžarović, the director of the Koper Public Sports Institute, which manages the swimming pool in Žusterna, also pointed to this problem. In a statement for RTV Slovenia he emphasized that staff do not have the authority to ask for the guests’ identity to find out whether they are from the same household or not.
STA, 12 June - The coronavirus epidemic and the vouchers that permanent residents will receive to spend on accommodation seem to prompt Slovenians to largely spend their summer holidays in Slovenia this year. A survey by the Slovenian Tourist Board shows that 52% of all respondents intend to spend their summer holidays in the country.
Only 32% of the respondents will go abroad, which compares to almost two thirds of all private trips by Slovenians in 2019 being made abroad, mostly in neighbouring Croatia.
The Tourist Board wanted to identify the trends of Slovenian tourists for this year's summer season, as tourism has suffered a major blow due the Covid-19 pandemic.
Over 40% of those who intend to holiday in Slovenia will make several shorter trips around the country, a quarter will afford one such trip and a fifth a mix of both.
Almost a half of them (49%) will go to the seaside, followed by spas (37%) and mountains (36%).
Of the 52% who intend to go on their holidays in Slovenia, as many as 94% plan to use the holiday vouchers to pay for accommodation, a state aid measure to kick-start tourism.
Every adult with permanent residence will receive a EUR 200 voucher to spend until the end of 2020 on bed and breakfast or just bed, with minors receiving EUR 50.
As many as 42% have decided to spend their summer holidays in Slovenia because they will receive the vouchers.
The majority will opt for accommodation at private rooms, self-catering units or cottages, 15% at hotels and 12% at camping sites.
The Tourist Board said vouchers seem to have a major impact on deciding whether to holiday in Slovenia or abroad, as 33% said they were the main reason for staying in Slovenia.
The survey also shows that Slovenians are not terrified of catching Covid-19, with a half not afraid of contracting it at all.
As many as 16% of the respondents meanwhile do not intend to go on holidays this summer, with the majority (34%) citing financial reasons, 23% concern for safety and health and around 10% closed borders.
STA, 3 June 2020 - The Slovenian Tourism Board (STO) presented on Wednesday a new concept of attracting guests to Slovenia. The country will be promoted as Green&Safe, committed to responsible, safe and green tourism.
Tourist destinations and tourist services providers in Slovenia will carry the Green&Safe label, which means that they follow the standards for responsible travelling.
Thus, the STO would like to preserve and increase trust in the I Feel Slovenia brand and attract guests to the country, whose tourism could see about 70% drop in demand this year.
"In these times of uncertainty because of the new coronavirus, the success of the tourism sector depends on guests' trust, their knowing that they can spend their holidays here without jeopardising their health and safety," the STO wrote.
The standards for responsible travelling had been drawn up by the STO in cooperation with the Economy Ministry, the Slovenian Hospitality Chamber (TGZS) and the National Institute for Public Health (NIJZ).
Posters and flyers are already available for tourist facilities to use and distribute.
Slovenian tourist sector largely depends on foreign guests, who generate 75% of revenue, but this year, efforts have been made for it to be salvaged by domestic guests, who will receive tourist vouchers to be used in Slovenian accommodation facilities.
Borders are also gradually opening, so an increase in foreign guest arrivals is expected soon as well. This year, the tourist sector is mainly counting on guests who will be arriving by car.
With every adult in Slovenia about to get €200 to spend on tourist accommodation to help kickstart the post-corona summer, we thought we’d take a look at various properties around the country to consider. Since the coast came top in a survey of Slovenes asked to state where they’d like to stay – just after Croatia – we got in touch with Olga Mostepanenko, who runs Piran Vacations offering short-term rentals of various sizes and asked a few questions, which she kindly replied to.
Tell us something about your background.
I’m Canadian, living and working in Switzerland for the last 10 years. I run a consulting company for small business owners. In 2012 I came to Slovenia on vacations and it was love at first sight: breathtaking nature, lovely people and so many cultural and natural treasures to explore!
When did you start renting properties? How has the market changed in this time?
I’ve been renting vacation properties for seven years: from the very early days of Airbnb in Slovenia, all the way into the enormous boom of 2018-2019, followed by complete shutdown of travel industry in March 2020 due to coronavirus – a true roller-coaster! That said, the beauty of the Slovenian seaside hasn’t changed. If anything, it only increased, as new beaches, hiking trails and dining experiences came to life in recent years.
What do you like about life in Piran?
I have many interests: art and science, travel, friends, nature hikes and historic architecture, the sea and stars... All of these are reasons to come to Piran, and I come as often as I can! As a host I’m happy to welcome you to Piran and help you plan a perfect seaside stay: get lost in the winding cobblestone streets of our medieval town, climb Piran’s ancient town walls, enjoy our many music festivals, discover the best beaches, sea lookouts, nature walks and bike trails – and, of course, just soak in the sun and enjoy delicious local fish, seafood, olive oil, truffles, fruits, ice-cream... I’m sure anyone who visits will keep coming back, this is the magic of Piran!
What effect has coronavirus had?
This is one of those once in a lifetime events that puts our resilience to a test. For sure, most of us are facing a big, negative impact on our businesses and employment. Fortunately, health-wise the situation on the coast is very much back to normal after just two months: the epidemic in Slovenia is over, Piran is full of happy holiday-makers, so let’s be thankful for that! As business people, we have to work smarter and better to compensate for the lost months and to brace ourselves for the recession ahead for Europe and the world. We want to serve each guest in the best possible way to bring back consumer confidence and smiles.
What do you think will happen this summer?
Thinking positively, the seaside is the best place to be in times of health concerns: sea breeze, sunshine, high-quality locally grown food – there are no better things to help build immunity! The Slovenian coast is a short drive from anywhere in the country and neighboring nations, and so many people have great access to the natural treasures of Piran, soaking in the history and culture as an added benefit. Private apartments are also well-positioned to serve as safe havens, creating your own “family bubble” where you don’t have to mix with strangers so much.
What is your opinion of the tourism voucher plan?
People were saying that seaside vacations outside Slovenia, especially Croatia, seem more affordable, and the government has done something about that. Now more locals can benefit from amazing holidays at home, as opposed to going somewhere cheaper destinations, where healthcare or hygiene standards may be not as high as in Slovenia. It’s a great opportunity for Piran, but also for other destinations in the country.
With that said, can you tell us about some of your properties on the coast?
We believe everyone – a solo traveler, couple, family or larger group – deserves a welcoming home in Piran. So we offer a variety of apartments and houses, all in the very heart of historic Piran and within 1-3-minutes’ walk from the beach. And it’s our pleasure to recommend activities to help you become a temporary local: shopping at the farmer’s market, enjoying the sea, people-watching at the grand Tartini Square, eating at the best local restaurants.
Thinking about specific properties, for a couple or family with young kids we offer two-room apartments (here and here) in a comfortable house right off Tartini Square: watch festivals from your window or enjoy a sea view from the common roof terrace! Feel immediately at home:
- clean and disinfected private apartments
- Wi-Fi, air con, bed linens & towels, washing machine
- kitchens with large fridge/freezer, stove, oven, plates, pots & pans, cooking supplies
- fully renovated bathrooms, free toiletries
- two-minute walk to swimming, supermarket, restaurants, farmers' market
For a family of 4-6 we are happy to offer a private apartment directly on the sea, with a gorgeous view – just walk out to the beach and seaside promenade! Enjoy a spacious living room, fully equipped kitchen, two bedrooms, beautiful bathroom and two balconies.
- the kitchen is custom-made from Slovenian oak and includes a large fridge/freezer, dishwasher, stove, oven, coffee machine, tea kettle and cupboards full of chinaware, cutlery, pots & pans, kitchen utensils, basic cooking supplies
- the fully renovated bathroom is equipped with a shower cabin, sink, toilet and a washing machine; enjoy complementary toiletries & laundry detergent
- the bedroom comes with a king-size bed and is facing a quiet street, while the kids’ bedroom has bunk beds and a sea view.
For a larger group (up to 12 people) we offer your own house with terrace and sea view
It’s all yours: a historic renovated house with four bedrooms, three bathrooms and a spectacular private roof terrace - ideal for a family! 150 m2. of living space over five floors of a historic Piran house, a registered monument.
- free Wi-Fi, air conditioner on each floor, bed linens & towels, washing machine
- clean and disinfected
- fridge/freezer, stove, oven, chinaware, pots & pans, cooking supplies
- private roof terrace is spacious and offers amazing views of Piran & the sea
- perfect Old Town location: 2-minute walk to swimming, supermarket, restaurants
Anything else you would like to say?
STA, 26 May 2020 - The Slovenian government has added new exemptions to the quarantine requirement for EU and Schengen zone nationals that in effect allow nationals from across the EU to enter the country as tourists, as long as they have a confirmation of booking. The same applies to owners of property in Slovenia.
The new regime took effect on Tuesday after the government late on Monday adopted a new decree that governs the border crossing regime not just with neighbouring countries but also on airports and ports.
Under the latest rules, EU and Schengen Zone nationals are required to quarantine for 14 days on arrival unless they qualify for what are now 17 exemptions.
Most of the exemptions are for business purposes. These include tourists with confirmation of booking and persons who own real estate, boats or airplanes in Slovenia (together with their family members), daily cross-border commuters, international hauliers, and persons hired to perform urgent services (in energy, health care, transport and utility services).
Some of the exemptions are for educational or health purposes. Persons crossing to get health services, those conducting humanitarian transport, students entering Slovenia or the EU for educational purposes, and EU researchers and teachers working in Slovenia may thus enter without quarantining.
Diplomats, those attending a relative's funeral, those with close relatives or spouses in Slovenia, and persons entering for a day to maintain contact with close relatives, are also exempted from quarantine. There is a special exemption for farmers who own property on both sides of any of Slovenia's borders.
The exemptions are a kind of stop-gap measure as EU countries gradually reopen borders based on bilateral or multilateral agreements in lieu of an EU-wide agreement that has so far proved elusive.
Slovenia has so far signed such an agreement with Croatia, which means its nationals are allowed to enter without restrictions.
Third-country nationals (except if they are residents of Slovenia) must undergo 14-day quarantine, but here too there are exemptions. These include hauliers, diplomats, those attending a relative's funeral, persons performing urgent commercial services, and persons in transit who enter and exit Slovenia the same day.
STA, 25 May 2020 - The Covid-19 lockdown meant Slovenia recorded no tourist arrivals in April, while the number of recorded overnight stays was 11,000. This is 99% less that in April 2019 and was mostly accounted for by ongoing student exchange programmes. The lockdown for tourist facilities was in place from mid-March to 18 May.
According to preliminary figures, released on Monday by the Statistics Office, the January-April period saw slightly over 660,000 tourist arrivals, a 52% decrease year-on-year. Overnight stays totalled at 1.8 million, a fall of 46%.
Arrivals by domestic tourists stood at 259,000, a 44% drop, and overnight stays at 777,216, a 39% decrease. For foreign tourists the drops were 56% and 51%, respectively, to 402,000 and 1.1 million.
More details on this data can be found here
STA, 20 May 2020 - The government will include in the upcoming stimulus package for the economy an estimated EUR 345 million worth of vouchers to be spent in Slovenian tourism facilities, for which all Slovenian citizens will be eligible to spend expectedly as of 1 June.
Announcing the vouchers, Economy Minister Zdravko Počivalšek said the measure was aimed at helping the Slovenian tourism sector recover from the coronavirus epidemic.
Minors will get EUR 50 vouchers and adults EUR 200 vouchers in electronic form, which may be used to pay for accommodation and breakfast in hotels, apartment complexes, camps, agritourism farms and other similar facilities.
Slovenian citizens will be able to use them by producing their tax numbers when visiting the selected provider, Počivalšek told the press.
The Financial Administration (FURS) will reimburse the provider's costs in eight days, and vouchers will have to be spent in their entire sum at once, and not later than on 31 December.
If the National Assembly manages to pass the third anti-coronavirus legislative package in time, it will be possible to use the vouchers as of 1 June.
The measure will cost the state EUR 345 million, said Počivalšek, who expects that visitors who cash in their vouchers will spend an additional EUR 172 million for services they will not be able to cover with vouchers.
The minister stressed that the tourism sector would feel the consequences of the epidemic for a long time and that it could not be compared with automotive or any other industry in this respect.
"Tourism has practically ground to a halt during the epidemic, while other industries, including manufacturing, carried on without disruptions," Počivalšek said.
Government spokesman Jelko Kacin added that the third stimulus package, which the government was expected to confirm as early as today, would also include aid to companies from other industries.
Among them, Počivalšek mentioned extension of subsidies for temporary lay-offs only for certain industries, and subsidies for shortened working time for all industries.
Eligible for the former will be companies in the tourism and hospitality industries whose estimated drop in revenue is more than 10% compared to 2019.
Počivalšek said that the eligible entities included hotels, lodges, camps, restaurants, travel agencies, organisers of exhibitions and fairs, operators of buildings for cultural events, gaming resorts and tour operators.
The new package will also serve as legal basis for notification of state aid under the EU rules, based on which the Economy Ministry will draft a financial incentive programme intended for tourism and border problem areas.
Počivalšek moreover pointed to efforts enabling EUR 40 million-worth of favourable liquidity loans for around 900 micro and small companies. He also mentioned a temporary relaxing of conditions for incentives related to investment and a mechanism for monitoring direct foreign investment in Slovenia.
Slovenian tourism was doing well until the coronavirus outbreak. The sector recorded last year a sixth record year in a row, with the number of tourists reaching 6.23 million and overnight stays 15.79 million.
The number of all tourists was up by 5% and the number of overnight stays by 0.6%, show preliminary statistical data for last year.
Foreign tourists, whose number reached 4.7 million, last year represented 75% in the total number of tourists. The share of overnight stays they generated (11.4 million) was somewhat smaller, at 72%.
The Slovenian Tourist Board (STO) has estimated that the decline in demand in tourism will be 60-70% this year, under the assumption that restrictive measures in the region will be relaxed in June.
The Economy Ministry meanwhile expects a 40% decline provided that all measures aimed at stimulating consumption are implemented.
An updated version of this story, confirming the details, is here
The government is expected to release more details later today of the third stimulus package to help businesses and households recover from the coronavirus crisis and lockdown. Among the measures, which were discussed late into the night on Tuesday, are tourism vouchers that would be given to all citizens, including children. Under the proposal, each adult would receive a €200 voucher to spend on domestic tourism, while children would receive €50. As yet, however, it remains unclear whether the scheme will also include foreign residents.
A tweet from the Prime Minister announcing the proposal yesterday suggested that the vouchers will be approved today.
Pomoč in vzpodbuda ljudem, industriji, turizmu in razvoju. #PKP3 pod streho. Turistični boni 200€ za vse polnoletne, za mlajše 50€. Po predstavitvi poslancem #K4 v potrditev na @vladaRS in v #DržavniZbor Odpravljanje in blaženje posledic epidemije #koronavirus. pic.twitter.com/ejuUeRylVY— Janez Janša (@JJansaSDS) May 19, 2020