The threat of terrorist attacks or problems accompanying the migration crisis have caused Slovaks to abandon tourist destinations popular in previous years. At the same time, the number of people who spent their holidays within the country in 2015 reached a record high and the trend is expected to continue this year.
“Slovakia will benefit from the current security situation in Europe as it is perceived as a more or less safe country,” Poštová Banka analyst Jana Glasová told The Slovak Spectator.
Slovaks travel abroad less
Together 4.3 million people spent their holiday in Slovakia in 2015, which has been the most since the country became independent in 1993. Compared with the previous year, it rose 16 percent. Of these, 2.6 million were Slovaks, which is also 16 percent more than in the previous year.
Every fifth Slovak changed their holiday plans due to the migration crisis or terrorist threats last year, according to the Eurobarometer survey released in March. Some 10 percent of respondents named the migration crisis as the main reason for changing their holiday plan, which placed Slovakia first among European countries, the Denník N daily reported in mid-April.
Up to one-third of Slovaks spent their holiday last year in Slovakia, while 17 percent travelled to Croatia and 10 percent to the Czech Republic, according to the analysis by Poštová Banka using data from the March Eurobarometer survey.
As for this year, one-third of Slovaks again plan to spend their holiday mostly at home.
“From the point of tourism and development of regions it is very positive news as the finances of holidaymakers are not ‘exported’ abroad, but spent in the domestic economy,” Glasová wrote in the analysis.
Some 14 percent of holidaymakers plan to travel to Croatia, while 6 percent plan to go to Italy, 5 percent to the Czech Republic and just 2 percent to Greece, Hungary and Spain.
Even if Slovaks decide to travel abroad for their holiday, their preferences changed compared with last year, the travel agencies confirm.
“In previous years the deciding factor when choosing the holiday was its price, while this year clients take the security situation and risk of terrorist attacks into consideration first,” Hana Ivanová of Firo-tour told The Slovak Spectator.
Slovaks are less interested in former popular destinations, like Tunisia, Egypt and in some cases also Turkey, which was the most popular among holidaymakers last year. Altogether 100,000 Slovaks visited the country last year, but it is not expected the number will be similarly high this year, head of the Slovak Association of Travel Agencies (SACKA) Stanislav Macko told the press conference in late May.
“The interest in holidays to Turkey has significantly increased in the past few weeks,” Macko told The Slovak Spectator. “We, unfortunately, do not see a similar trend in case of Tunisia and Egypt.”