Re: Talking back; foreigners speak their minds, By Eric Smillie and Marta Ďurianová, Apr 19 - 25, Vol 10, No 15
Slovakia's biggest mistake will be missing the boat on tourism. Why Slovak officials don't see this is a mystery to me. Surely they must see what is lacking to attract tourists to their lovely country. But lovely or not, if they don't put it into high gear they will surely get passed over as a great tourist spot for foreigners.
Where are the maps? Where are the signs? English is the main language used in tourism and the rest of the world is not going to change to suit Slovakia.
I just can't understand the Slovak government's approach at this critical time when Slovakia has just joined the EU and is being accepted as a progressive nation. All their diplomats should be on them to proceed with a blitz advertising Slovakia.
Now is the time to act: Hit all the major travel newspapers with Slovakia package trips, and advertise, advertise, advertise. Slovaks have to promote their country.
Then, if you want people to return, you have to cater to them. They are the ones bringing in the money to your country. If you do you will be rewarded tenfold. And charging foreigners extra or double has to stop. What do they think they are doing?
And yes, by all means clean up all of that graffiti on the buildings. I couldn't believe how many buildings I saw with all that garbage written on them when I visited Slovakia. And that was almost four years ago. Buy some paint and cover up the filthy looking buildings. There are a lot of jobs to be had if they just start with the clean-ups and getting people experience to go work as spokespersons, etc.
I'm proud of my Slovak heritage but it makes me sick to see what goes on sometimes. No place is perfect, and it is not simple to change things for the better, but many of these issues (tourism, communications, fair pricing, advertising, etc) can be changed for the good of all people in Slovakia.
Let's hope for the best for Slovakia.
26. Apr 2004 at 0:00