Analysis: Slovakia lacks competitive tourism

Neither Slovakia nor the Czech Republic are countries in which tourism could be viewed as the bedrock of their economies, an analysis by UniCredit Bank finds.

Štrbské plesoŠtrbské pleso (Source: Sme)

“With tourism accounting for just over 6 percent of Slovakia's GDP, the figure is the eighth-lowest in the EU in this respect,” UniCredit analyst Ľubomír Koršňák informed the TASR newswire. The EU average is 10 percent, according to figures by the World Travel & Tourism Council.

“The low contribution of tourism to the GDPs of Slovakia and the Czech Republic boils down to their low competitiveness in the sector,” Koršňák said.

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The two countries have also been placed in the bottom half of EU countries’ tourism rankings by the World Economic Forum. In their survey, among EU countries, only Romania placed lower than Slovakia, and the Czech Republic held the 19th place.

Reasons behind ranking

Four components make up the competitiveness index - a country's (un)favourable business conditions, policies, infrastructure and natural and cultural resources.

“While countries hold some sway over the first three areas, natural and cultural resources are more or less given and determine the natural potential of a country in tourism,” said Korsnak, as cited by TASR.

Slovakia was ranked as the 12th best in the EU in terms of natural potential but took a lowly 115th place among all 136 countries under review in the category of business environment in tourism. The areas in which Slovakia was found lacking primarily relate to how effective the country's legal framework is in resolving disputes, the length of procedures regarding construction permits and the effect of taxation on the motivation to work.

Deficiencies were also noted in the level of importance that government policies place on tourism, particularly regarding public expenditures, effective promotion, air transport development, availability of a qualified labour force and the flexibility of labour law.

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