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.