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."
All our stories on Slovenia’s tourism vouchers