Around Slovakia

Bratislava feared to be "cheap destination"

BRATISLAVA is turning into "a cheap destination" mostly visited by tourists from economically poorer countries of Europe, said the executive director of the Bratislava Hotel Association, Igor Kuhn.
Low tourism sales in the capital have been caused by the low number of tourists and the capital's reputation as a cheap vacation spot, Kuhn told a press conference in Bratislava on September 21.
The number of tourists from Germany dropped by 41 percent from last year, Kuhn told the TASR newswire. Meanwhile, the number of tourists from poor countries like Ukraine went up by 73 percent.
Kuhn said the tourism decline is a result of state bodies' neglect of tourism, a lack of funding and insufficient promotion of the Bratislava Region as a tourism destination.
The Bratislava Region head, Vladimír Bajan, and the marketing director of the Slovak Tourist Board, Alžbeta Melicharová, said they share this opinion.
The authorities' general view of tourism needs to change, Kuhn said.
"Systemic legislation for tourism is missing," he told SITA. "It is necessary to create an organisational structure and suitable promotion."
Bratislava creates the image of Slovakia abroad and is a barometer of its development, Kuhn said.
It is the most important tourism destination in Slovakia, as more than one-third of the nights foreigners spend in Slovakia are spent in Bratislava.
"This is also why we should focus on Bratislava, because otherwise this will be reflected in revenues within the whole country," said Kuhn.

Twin City Liner increasingly popular

SOME 88,000 passengers rode the Twin City Liner between Bratislava and Vienna from April 1 to August 31 this year the company told the TASR newswire on September 24.
Twin City Liner also confirmed that it has acquired a second catamaran, which will start running the route as of next year.
"We expect to be transporting some 120,000 passengers by 2007," Danube Region Marketing and Development project manager Oľga Kanioková told TASR.
The liner's main season ends on October 28, but the trips will continue until Christmas.
"During the winter, we will be running on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, mainly because of the Christmas market in Bratislava," Kanioková said.
The Vienna to Bratislava route is more frequented than its counterpart because Austrian pensioners have more money than Slovaks, who prefer to buy material things, Kanioková said. However, this is expected to change in the future, she said.
Twin City Liner started running trips between Bratislava and Vienna in June 2006. During last year's season, which lasted five months, it transported more than 70,000 passengers.

Dolný Lopašov
Exotic orchids to bloom near Piešťany

A MODERN orchid-growing facility bound for the village of Dolný Lopašov will give work to up to 100 local women.
Belgian company PPS plans to hire between 70 and 100 women, the TASR newswire wrote.
PPS, which has its Slovak headquarters in Bratislava, plans to build the facility on an area of eight hectares.
The technologies to grow up to 15 million orchids are expected to be up and running by the end of June 2008.
"Currently the investor is seeking an appropriate supplier to begin to build the site in September," said Jozef Petušík, mayor of Dolný Lopašov.

Spišská Belá
Record spud weighs in at 1.5 kilos

The potato market in Spišská Belá featured many potato varieties.
photo: SITA

A POTATO weighing 1.517 kilograms has claimed the record for Slovakia's biggest potato.
The red-skinned spud won the biggest potato competition at the potato market in Spišská Belá on September 22, and beat the previous national record by 133 grams.
The Dutch company HZPC grew the potato during its testing of new varieties. It was grown without any special treatments or fertilizers.
"This (variety) is a promising one, even though it does not have a name yet," the representative of HZPC's Slovak branch, Milan Toma, told the TASR newswire.
HZPC is testing 28 varieties of potatoes on fields below the High Tatras.
At the market, farmers introduced to the public their products from the latest season. The event was held to give thanks for the harvest and promote the importance of potatoes, dubbed the second bread in the Spiš region.
"Potatoes are a typical commodity for the town as well as the region, and the potato market should point out their importance," Spišská Belá Mayor Štefan Bieľak told TASR.
Slovak farmers grow 119 registered varieties of potatoes. Within Europe there are about 2,000 known varieties, while there are a total of 8,000 to 9,000 varieties around the world.

Zvolen cinema fades to black

THE LAST cinema in the central Slovak town of Zvolen, the Mier (Peace) cinema, closed its doors on September 24.
The Czech movie Vratné Lahve, directed by Jan Svěrák, was the last film screened there, the TASR newswire reported.
Zvolen residents could have to wait up to two years for a new cinema. A new shopping and recreation centre, Europa Shopping Centre, is planned for the property where the cinema stands. The centre will include two theatres, each seating 100 people.
The Mier cinema opened in 1988 as a modern building with an underground shelter. After November 1989 there were three other cinemas in the town of 45,000: Slovan, Živena and Podborová. But over the years, all of them stopped screening films.
Slovan was turned into a mega-disco. Živena was reconstructed and it did not continue screening films after it re-opened. The cinema at the Podborová estate stopped screening years ago, but its owner, the Town of Zvolen, is considering showing films there again.

Four electrocuted in workplace mishap

FOUR men were electrocuted in Ilava after the metal platform they were using to insulate the outside of a factory hit a high-voltage power line.
The accident occurred close to the local football stadium.
At the end of their shift, the men pushed the platform away from the worksite, and it caught on the high-voltage power wires, Milan Trnka, the head of the Firefighting Brigade in Dubnica Nad Váhom, told the TASR newswire.
All the men died on the spot. They were between 31 and 49 years old.
Police are investigating the case. There is a high suspicion that occupational safety rules were violated.

Mobile operator wakes up wrong clients

ALMOST 400 clients of a Slovak mobile operator got a mobile wake-up call on the morning of September 20 - even though they did not order it.
An automatic service of the Orange Slovensko operator called 394 clients between 4:30 and 4:45, in spite of the fact that they never asked for the early-morning wake-up call.
Orange Slovensko spokes-person Richard Fides told the SITA newswire that there was a mistake in the system.
"We apologise to the 394 clients we woke up by mistake," Fides said.

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