STA, 22 March - As the Slovenian tourism industry has not yet bounced back from the Covid pandemic while it expects to be also hit by the war in Ukraine, its representatives propose a set of 15 measures the government should immediately take to help the most severely affected companies. They argue the situation is "very serious".
The Tourism and Hospitality Chamber and 15 tourism associations argue in a statement on Tuesday that despite Slovenia having relaxed coronavirus restrictions, the epidemiological situation in the country is not good, which makes its tourism industry less competitive on the global market.
The situation will be further aggravated as a result of the war in Ukraine, which the chamber would like to end as soon as possible.
In 2021, Ukrainian and Russian tourists generated 101,300 nights in Slovenia, while tourism firms expect a 30% drop in March-May and up to a 25% drop in June-August.
"In some destinations which have been focussed on these two markets in recent years, the loss will be 50%," the chamber quoted results of a survey among tourism firms.
Recovery on the two markers is expected to take several years, the war has made tourists in other countries more cautious about travel plans, and the industry is further affected by rising prices of energy, goods and services across Europe.
The chamber thus proposes a one-off bonus for tourism, noting the measure was included in a draft emergency coronavirus bill in March 2021.
The government should also immediately reintroduce the short-time work scheme; the chamber says the Labour Ministry is working on a systemic measure to be ready by the end of the year, which is much too late for the industry.
The chamber also proposes extending the period in which companies which performed better than initially estimated during the coronavirus must return state aid.
The proposal also features several measures regarding staff recruitment, while the chamber welcomes a tender to subsidise air carriers to fly to Ljubljana airport.
"Further delays in adopting these urgent measures will result in countries with more business-friendly practices (Austria, Czech Republic, Italy) to further outperform us and push us to the margin of tourist Europe," the statement reads.