The 2019 edition of the Slovenia Incoming Workshop (or SIW for short [or the Slovenska turistična borza in Slovene]) was held at the beautiful, award-winning Terme Olimia thermal spa resort in the lovely little town of Podčetrtek. More than 400 participants took part in some 3500 meetings, with buyers coming from a record 37 countries around the world, and In Your Pocket was there to witness all the happenings, speak with the leading figures of Slovenian tourism and eat quite a bit of free food (including our first ever taste of potica flavoured ice cream, which was even better than it sounds).
This year's SIW paid special attention to informal meetings and experiences, as Slovenian exhibitors had the chance to join foreign tour operators and travel agents on various study tours, pre-tours, field visits and other experiential programmes representing the tourist board's 'green, active and healthy' slogan in the real world. The full day of B2B meetings that comprises the meat and potatoes of SIW saw representatives from Slovenia's leading tourism and hospitality companies, from hotels and travel agents to health resort, public agencies and congress centres present their activities and conclude concrete deals with buyers.
At the opening press conference, the Minister of Economic Development and Technology, Zdravko Počivalšek, State Secretary Eva Štravs Podlogar, and director of the Slovenian Tourist Board, Maja Pak, spoke about the significance of SIW, the importance of the tourism sector for economic development and various current topics of interest for Slovenian tourism. Minister Počivalšek said that he was “delighted that more foreigner tour operators than ever are participating in this year's SIW, which is of utmost importance for the Slovenian tourism industry.”
State Secretary Podlogar went on to detail some of the impressive economic figures from the sector, stating that “in 2021 we will achieve four billion euros of revenue from the export of travel. In two years we have already increased revenue by some half a billion euros, to 2.7 billion euros last year,” pointing out that over the past two years the Ministry has supported 117 projects with 16.7 million euros of funding, which has encouraged the development of new tourism products and the creation of new jobs.
Speaking of SIW, director Pak said that for Slovenia it is “the most important business event in the field of tourism, which is an incredible opportunity for concluding deals, strengthening partnerships and establishing new contacts.” She added that the event is unique in that it allows “foreign participants to learn about our country through genuine and unique experiences on first-hand study tours” and this year the informal gatherings reinforced the fact that Slovenia is committed to being a sustainable destination for authentic and unique experience. We couldn't agree more!
Lots more info about SIW can be found on the official site of the Slovenian Tourist Board here (Slovene language).