While relatively unknown on the international stage, the central European nation of Slovenia could become Europe's next trending destination, thanks to its abundance of mountains, ski resorts and lakes, says data and analytics company GlobalData.
“Slovenia’s tourism product naturally fits in with emerging traveller trends, which could see international arrivals rebound quickly post-pandemic," said Ralph Hollister, travel and tourism analyst at GlobalData.
One such trend is sustainable tourism — which saw Slovenia sweeping the world’s most sustainable country by National Geographic’s World Legacy Award, and its capital Ljubljana being awarded the title of ‘European Green Capital’ by the European Commission, both in 2016.
Hollister added that GlobalData research suggests "42% of global consumers are now ‘often’ or ‘always’ influenced by how environmentally friendly a product or service is, hinting that Slovenia could become a primary destination for responsible travellers post-pandemic".
With more than one third of Slovenia lying in the EU's network of specially protected sites, this means nature lovers can enjoy 10,000 km of marked hiking trails and going ‘off the beaten path’ — another post-pandemic trend where more travellers are now seeking a connection with nature.
For travellers looking for destinations "unspoiled by tourism", Slovenia ticks the checkbox even before the pandemic set in.
It received 4.7 million international visitors in 2019 — falling outside the top 25 most visited European countries. Even then, a major percentage of these arrivals are from source markets that are geographically connected to the nation, the likes of Austria, Italy, Hungary or Croatia.
With travellers now stuck at home and spending more time on research online (37%), Hollister said this could translate to increased awareness of Slovenia as more consumers search for their next holiday destination.
"Putting more time into creating trip itineraries increases the likelihood of consumers choosing more niche destinations due to higher levels of research. This could result in Slovenia’s tourism product being revealed to more consumers around the globe."
Although Hollister conceded that Slovenia "has a long way to go to compete with the likes of Spain and France, what the country can offer directly fits in with emerging traveller demands," and tremendous potential for Slovenia to tap into untouched source markets further afield.