Slovenian tourism achieved record results once again last year. Tourist numbers were up by 9% on the previous year and overnight stays – which in 2015 exceeded ten million for the first time since Slovenia became independent – increased by 8%. The biggest contribution to this improvement came from foreign visitors.
The excellent figures for 2016 show that tourism is an increasingly important economic sector for Slovenia which at the same time shows great potential for further growth. Tourism currently contributes close to 13% to Slovenia's GDP and represents 8% of total exports and 37% of exports of services.
The positive results were presented on Tuesday by economic development and technology minister Zdravko Počivalšek and Slovenian Tourist Board director Maja Pak. Tourism is a sector that makes a key contribution to raising Slovenia's profile, positioning it as a sustainably oriented, green, active and healthy country, said Ms Pak. Mr Počivalšek announced that Slovenia will continue with the measures and activities necessary to increase the competitiveness of Slovenian tourism, in this way increasing added value in the sector.
Slovenia and Slovenian tourism received numerous accolades in 2016, appearing at the very top of lists of popular and must-visit tourist destinations and receiving coverage in a range of prestigious global publications. Slovenia was declared the world's first green country, Ljubljana was European Green Capital, and Slovenia was ranked the fifth greenest country in the world according to the Environmental Performance Index (EPI).
With 11% more foreign tourist arrivals and 10% more overnight stays by foreign tourists in 2016, Slovenian tourism once again scores above the European and global average. In December 2016 foreign tourists generated 58% of tourist overnight stays in Slovenia. The largest share came from Italy (34%), followed by Austria (13%) and Croatia (8%). Over a third of the tourists visiting Slovenia last December stayed in spa municipalities. These were followed by mountain municipalities (20%), Ljubljana (15%) and coastal municipalities (14%).