The Banská Bystrica based Slovak Travel and Tourism Agency (SACR), a state institution run by the Tourism Section of the Slovak Economy Ministry to support Slovak tourism, made several important contracts with Western and Central European partners, links that could help reverse the decline in Slovakia's tourist industry.
One of the key contracts, according to Ján Bočkay, SACR Director, is a partnership in Die Donau, an association of tourist agencies from the countries of the Danube Region (nations through which the Danube flows). Slovakia will host the association's annual exchange in 2000.
A membership in the American Society of Travel Agencies (ASTA) allowed SACR to participate in the travel and tourism world congress in Glasgow last year. In the future, SACR would like to intensify its attempt to enter the European Travel Commission, an association of national organizations that work on travel promotion in European countries.
A partnership with the ETC, according to Bočkay, would help raise interest in Slovakia overseas. This year SACR will also participate in presenting Slovak travel and tourist organizations at 15 international fairs, as well at the EXPO '98 world exhibition in Lisbon, Portugal.
Lux Hotel Is Best
The Lux Hotel in Banská Bystrica won prestigious awards for both the "Hotel of the Year '97" and the "Restaurant of the Year '97" in a competition organized by the Union of Hotels and Restaurants (ZHR).
According to ZHR officials, only a few of the approximately 440 hotels and restaurants in Slovakia took part in the competition. The awards committee assessed each hotel's exterior and interior, its range of facilities and equipment, its accessibility as well as the professional quality of its service and staff.
Earlier this year the hotel suffered from a shortfall in capital needed for planned reconstruction of the heating and air-conditioning systems. Lux owner Ján Bočkay, who incidentally is also the ZHR President, said that the cost of reconstruction would be 12 million Sk ($350,000) at the very least. "The hotel requires a much larger reconstruction, but with the current loan policies in Slovakia, [to raise substantial capital] is extremely difficult," said Bočkay.
Compiled by Ivan Remiaš from TREND and Daily News Monitor
23. Apr 1998 at 0:00