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Slovenia's tourism figures reach a new record in 2023
Photo: STO, Andrej Tarfila

Slovenia's tourist destinations attracted more than six million visitors last year, who spent more than 16 million nights in the country's hotels and other establishments, setting a new record. The capital Ljubljana recorded the strongest growth.

The statistical office announced that 2023 was the most successful year in terms of tourism, with 2% more overnight stays than in 2019, the previous record year for tourism.

Compared to 2022, visitor numbers rose by 5.5% to 6.19 million and overnight stays by 3.5% to 16.13 million. Foreign tourists accounted for 72% of all overnight stays. Domestic tourists stayed overnight 17% less than in the previous year, foreign visitors 15% more. Compared to 2019, the numbers of both Slovenian and foreign visitors increased by 4% and 2% respectively.

Most foreign visitors came from Germany. They spent 1.9 million nights, accounting for 16% of all overnight stays by foreigners. Other important source markets for Slovenian tourism were Italy, Austria, the Czech Republic, the Netherlands and Croatia. Compared to 2022, 27% more Croatian tourists, 18% more Italian tourists, 16% more Czech tourists and 11% more Austrian tourists were counted.

The mountain municipalities and the capital were the most popular destinations. Ljubljana recorded the highest annual increase in visitor numbers (20%). Urban municipalities in general recorded an increase of almost 14% and mountain municipalities also recorded an increase, while the number of visitors to spa towns and coastal towns decreased.

All types of municipalities, with the exception of municipalities outside the largest cities and coastal municipalities, recorded an increase in overnight stays in accommodation establishments. Most overnight stays were recorded in the mountain municipalities. Most tourists stayed in hotels, but the largest year-on-year increase was recorded in private rooms, apartments and houses, followed by hotels and apartment complexes.

In December, accommodation providers reported 329,000 arrivals and 795,000 overnight stays, an increase of 10.6 % and 8.7 % respectively compared to the same month in 2022. Foreign tourists accounted for 216,000 arrivals and almost 493,000 overnight stays, an increase of 14% compared to the previous year. Thirty percent of these overnight stays were spent in Ljubljana.

The record figures were welcomed by Matjaž Han, Minister of the Economy, Tourism and Sport, and the Slovenian Tourist Board (STO), with Han pointing out that they were achieved despite the floods that hit the country during the peak season. This shows the resilience of the tourism industry, he said, pointing to an extensive investment cycle to improve tourism facilities, including mountain areas, over the past two years. The head of the STO, Maja Pak Olaj, said that Slovenian tourism recovered faster than European and global tourism last year. The STO also expects slight growth this year. The STO emphasised the record number of American tourists last year. Their arrivals exceeded those of 2022 by 31%.

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