STA, 2 August 2020 - Growing interest in wine tourism in the south-eastern Dolenjska region among Slovenians, sparked by introduction of holiday vouchers, will help improve the tourist season in the region, Dolenjska tourism providers who base their services on vineyard cottages known as zidanice have said.
The zidanice, regionally well-known simple houses with wine cellars surrounded by rolling hills and vineyards, have been the mainstay of the region's tourism for years, apart from spa resorts.
The increased interest, brought about by the vouchers, the government measure designed to boost Slovenian tourism in the wake of the Covid-19 epidemic, will have a long-term positive effect in terms of promoting these rural retreats.
Petra Štukelj, a representative of the Zidanice Tourism Consortium Association, told the STA that at the beginning of the epidemic, up to 90% of zidanice bookings were cancelled, mostly by foreign tourists, who had accounted for the majority of guests in previous years.
Launching the vouchers has mitigated the situation, with Slovenians opting for discovering their own country amid coronavirus concerns and travel restrictions, she said.
In April, vineyard cottages were virtually empty, whereas in May, the situation started turning for the better. June compared to the same period last year and in July, the occupancy rate increased by as much as some 40% on July 2019.
The providers expect to see the upward trend carry on into the following months.
The share of domestic guests was less than 25% last year, whereas this year it has climbed to 75%. Summer months and September are the busiest, with the zidanice being perfect for smaller groups of visitors.
Apart from Dolenjska, the consortium also provides accommodation services in wine-growing regions of Posavje, Bela Krajina and Obsotelje in south-eastern and eastern Slovenia.
Holidaying zidanice-style comes with wine-tasting and culinary experiences, countryside hospitality, gorgeous views of rural landscape and a plethora of sports activity options, the association said.g