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AROUND SLOVAKIA: NITRA

Arboretum tops Nitra Region’s tourist sites

THE MOST visited tourist attraction in the Nitra Region is the arboretum in Mlyňany, according to a poll by the EPS Agency.

THE MOST visited tourist attraction in the Nitra Region is the arboretum in Mlyňany, according to a poll by the EPS Agency.

In 2006, about 45,000 people visited it. The Slovak Agricultural Museum in Nitra, which received 44,000 visitors, came in a close second, the SITA newswire reported.

Among castles, Levice Castle had the largest number of visitors: 23,300. Entry to Nitra Castle is free, so its volume of visitors numbers is not monitored. But according to statistics from the castle’s Diocesan Museum, and based on the number of people brought there by tourist coaches, Nitra Castle probably received about 25,000 visitors. That number is considered something of an achievement, since almost nothing at the site was accessible to tourists for many years.

In recent years, the castle’s casemates and Vazil Tower have opened, as well as the museum. Daniel Balko, head of the EPS Agency, thinks that the site could be even more attractive if paired with performances and festivities, which have boosted the number of visitors at other Slovak castles.
Nevertheless, none of the Nitra Region’s historical or cultural sites attracted more than 50,000 visitors.

“This is a huge problem, as we have people coming to the thermal spas here, but we aren’t able to tap into this potential,” Balko stated.

In contrast, the region’s spas are visited by more than a million people each year.

“It is unfortunate, for instance, that the Nitra Museum has only 19,000 visitors, while the Museum of the Slovak National Uprising in Banská Bystrica 246,000. The Nitra Regional Gallery had 6,600 visitors, but the Orava Gallery in Dolný Kubín 53,000,” Balko said.

Nitra holds the title “Mother of Slovak Towns,” as some of the country’s earliest historical sites are found there. However, many monuments have been hard to access, especially churches. Another problem, according to Balko, is the slow cooperation between tourist operators and businesses. For example, hotels in Nitra require payment if promotional materials are left at their reception desks.
In 2006, accommodation facilities in the region hosted 215,000 guests, while the Žilina Region had 650,000 and the Banská Bystrica Region about 423,000.

One of the Nitra Region’s tourist strengths is its fairs at the Agrokomplex fairground, which keeps a steady flow of customers to hotels. The most popular event is the Autosalón Nitra car show, which was visited by 179,000 people in 2007. The Agrokomplex agricultural exhibition, which used to be the biggest attraction, now gets about 80,000 visitors.

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