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Slovenia Urged to Help Serbia in Tourism

Ljubljana, 13 May (STA) - Participants of a business conference held at the Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GZS) on Thursday agreed that Slovenia and Serbia should enhance cooperation in tourism. Slovenia could help Serbia by sharing its good practices, especially in spa tourism, Serbian officials stated.

Deputy director of the Slovenian Tourist Board (STO) Dejan Podgorsek told the conference that Slovenia was putting all its bets on the country's natural treasures - the seaside, karst caves, mountains, forests and rivers.

Slovenia has a long tradition of spa tourism, Podgorsek said, adding that the infrastructure was well developed while the quality of service was increasing.

Slovenia also boasts good food and wine. Visitors can explore 24 gourmet regions and 20 wine routs, he noted.

Podgorsek said that Serbia failed to make it among the top ten countries with the most overnight stays in Slovenia in 2008, but that the number of Serbian guests was increasing.

Dragana Sabic of the Association for Tourism and the Hospitality Sector at the Serbian Chamber of Commerce and Industry pointed out that the two countries had plenty of good reasons to boost cooperation in tourism.

The number of overnight stays by Slovenian tourists in Serbia has been increasing since 2001, Sabic stressed. Currently, they rank third.

Serbia has decided to invest into tourism as one of the main economic activities, she said. Last year, the tourist sector generated US$900m in revenues, which is 2% of GDP, Sabic highlighted.

She noted that Slovenia had recored great success in a very short time in this respect, which is why Serbia would like to share its good practices. The country is hoping for some assistance, either in the form of strategic partnership or in foreign investments into Serbia, Sabic said.

Her colleague, Dragica Samardzic, underlined Vojvodina, an autonomous province in Serbia, as an area with great potential, especially for spa tourism.

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