Re: Previous article
Ivan, I wonder if it should be viewed this way. The government would need the co-operation of the public involved in tourism and probably doesn't get much.
I own a large stake in a travel agency in South Africa and I thought it might be a good idea to bring South Africans to the Tatras for winter sports. The cost of living in Slovakia is on a par with South Africa, so it should be very affordable for those South Africans who feel the skiing urge.
Alas, the first problem I encountered was getting these tourists there. They would have to fly to Vienna via another European city (there is no longer a direct link between Johannesburg and Vienna), after having obtained a Schengen visa for the short time they would pass through Austria there and back. They would then have to travel from Vienna to Bratislava and from there to Poprad. In all, a very expensive and exhausting journey. That could still be overcome, but in the Tatras one finds that the hotels and guest houses are perfectly happy with their Polish and Ukranian clientele, who also pay with US dollars, so getting a suitable booking (to blend in with the South African holiday period) is virtually impossible.
I won't give up, but not only is Slovakia quite unknown, it is also difficult to reach (the Austrians and the EU have a big hand in this, at least where tourists from South Africa are concerned).
8. Jul 2002 at 0:00