Minister says investments aimed at enabling year-round tourism

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Tourism and Sport Minister Nikolina Brnjac said on Friday that the purpose of investing in tourism was not to count arrivals or break records but enable year-round sustainable tourism.

"We should not focus on counting arrivals or thinking how to break records but rather enable sustainable tourism, with guests arriving throughout the year," Brnjac said at an international conference on year-round tourism, held in Tuhelj, in the northwestern Krapina-Zagorje County.

Speaking of labour shortages in the tourism sector, she said that her ministry was planning more funds for scholarships next year, underlining the importance of attracting as many business people as possible to join in talks between business people, ministry officials and scholarship holders.

Attending the conference in Tuhelj was also Slovenia's Economy and Technology Minister Zdravko Počivalšek, who said that Slovenia had started developing sustainable tourism before the COVID-19 crisis.

Slovenia invested more than a billion euros in the tourism sector during the pandemic, having to decide whether to give the money to companies or to citizens in the form of vouchers, he said, adding that in 2020 vouchers were introduced for overnight says with breakfast while this year there were vouchers for cultural, sports and catering services.

"We believe that after the COVID-19 crisis tourism will be different and we must do a lot to make it more resilient to crises," he said.

Krapina-Zagorje County head Željko Kolar said that year-round tourism had been present in the county for years.

"Unlike tourism along the Adriatic coast, continental tourism requires much more effort, energy, additional products to attract visitors. Zagorje is at 85% of the arrivals and 81% of the overnight stays of 2019, which is an excellent result considering what the year 2020 was like," Kolar said.