Croatia and Slovenia’s tourism boards have revealed their goals for 2019, with keeping it green and expressing culture high on the list.
Addressing the media at the Experience Croatia, Feel Slovenia briefing on Friday in Sydney during its week-long roadshow to Australia and New Zealand, a combined tourism executive presence from Slovenia and Croatia revealed the countries objectives for the year.
For Slovenia, that means promoting the country’s recognisability as a green, boutique global destination for visitors seeking active five-star experiences, under its I feel Slovenia brand. And by ‘active’, Slovenian Tourist Board project coordinator Živa Vincetič said that means getting outside.
“In Slovenia, all the best things happen outdoors,” Vincetič said, adding that the country had been recognised as the green heart of Europe.
In fact, Slovenia is the world’s first country to be declared a Global Green Destination, owing to:
- more than 60 per cent of the country being covered in forest (with around a third of it protected)
- eight UNESCO listings of natural, cultural and intangible heritage
- more than 10,000 caves, and
- connections between the Alps and Mediterranean, and the Karst and Pannonian basin.
Moreover, the country’s capital Ljubljana has also been recognised for its sustainability by being awarded Europe’s Greenest Capital in 2016.
Other accolades for the country include the title of European Region of Gastronomy 2021.
“Everything you love about Europe is waiting for you in Slovenia,” Vincetič told Travel Weekly.
The country continues to grow in popularity, with 18 per cent more travellers visiting last year.
For the Croatian National Tourist Board, who presented officially in Australia for the first-time last week, the goal for the year ahead is to improve tourist offerings all over the country under its Full of Life brand.
Croatia received nearly 20 million tourists last year, with 90 per cent coming from Europe. Out of the remaining 10 per cent of non-European visitors, Australians accounted for 243,000 arrivals and more than 745,000 overnight stays.
This was a 15 per cent increase in arrivals and 12 per cent increase in overnight stays from the previous year.
“People are looking for new experiences, new destinations,” Croatian National Tourist Board general director Kristjan Staničić told Travel Weekly, adding: “There are may destinations outside of Dubrovnik improving and becoming high quality.”
Of these new, high quality destinations and attractions is Rijeka – Croatia’s third-largest city – an art and music hub, and the European Capital of Culture 2020. Another more time-sensitive attraction for the coming year is the Zagreb Christmas markets, voted the best Christmas markets in Europe.
When it comes to great food experiences, Staničić’s personal recommendation is to visit the nation’s best, Slavonija, which is home to generous hospitality, top-notch wine produced in the area’s fertile lowlands and amazing local dishes like čobanac and fiš paprikaš.