IN SHORT

Tourists love Slovak spas but hate services

FOREIGNERS visiting Slovakia enjoy the country's mountains and spas but are generally unhappy with the quality of service, said local travel agents.

Travel agents who bring Western tourists to Slovakia agreed that their clients were complaining about restaurant services that often leave tourists clueless as to what food is on the menu. Tourists would also welcome a wider choice of activities while on vacation in Slovakia.

"Visiting some castle is not enough. Everyone wants to see something of curiosity, something additional," Ivana Magátová, head of the Slovak tourism agency said to the daily SME.

While in the West it was common for tourist information centres and travel agencies to organise a whole day with activities and trips to various sights, such services remain rare in Slovakia.

Travel agents also said that the level of Slovak tourist facilities ranged from luxury common in Western states to "total despair", Martin Burnovský from Limba travel agency said.

Many foreigners also face complications with local customs officers often intentionally slowing down border checks in order to get bribes from the tourists in return for quicker service. Other problems included hygiene in toilets, and frequent car thefts, an infamous phenomenon in this central European state.

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