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Tourism Industry Expected to Grow 4%, Generate EUR 2Bn in 2012

Ljubljana, 30 March (STA) - Slovenia expects tourism-related revenues to grow by up to 4% this year to approximately EUR 2bn, Slovenian tourism officials said Friday after the European Travel Commission said that the number of tourists will rise by 1.3% globally this year.

Marjan Hribar, the head of the government Directorate for Tourism and Internationalisation, said statistics for 2011 showed tourism was a key sector of Slovenia's economy.

Tourism encourages the development of regional economies and is a major contributor to national GDP, said Hribar, who is however careful in his predictions for 2012 considering the persisting economic crisis.

"In the field of tourist arrivals and overnight stays, I expect between 2% and 4% growth compared to the record year 2011. Revenue generated by tourists is projected to exceed EUR 2bn, 4% higher than in 2011," he added.

Last year foreigners generated a total of 9.3 million overnight stays, up 5% year-on-year. Slovenia was visited by more than 3.2 million tourists, which is 7% more than in 2010, according to the Statistics Office.

Maja Pak of the Slovenian Tourist Board (STO) expects that Slovenian households will dedicate a smaller share of their budget to travelling than in 2011 because of the difficult economic situation in the country and the consequent decrease in purchasing power.

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