Η ακτογραμμή της Σλοβενίας είναι μόλις 46 χιλιόμετρα, στριμωγμένα μεταξύ Κροατίας και Ιταλίας, στην Αδριατική θάλασσα. Οι υποδομές είναι όμως καλά οργανωμένες. Σπα, λασπόλουτρα, ξενοδοχεία πολλών αστέρων, καζίνο, εστιατόρια πάνω στο κύμα.
Κινητήριος δύναμη για όλα αυτά είναι οι Ρώσοι τουρίστες που φέτος όμως έχουν μειωθεί αισθητά.
Η κρίση στην Ουκρανία, οι κυρώσεις της Δύσης στη Ρωσία, τα αντίμετρα της Μόσχας αλλά και το γεγονός ότι έπεσε το ρούβλι, έχουν κρατήσει τους Ρώσους μακριά από τη Σλοβενία.
Στο γραφικό, παραθαλάσσιο ψαροχώρι Πιράν όλα είναι προσαρμοσμένα στα γούστα των Ρώσων επισκεπτών. Τα στοιχεία όμως δείχνουν ήδη μείωση των αφίξεων κατά 20% σε σχέση με το 2013.
ourist resorts in Slovenian coastal towns in the northern Adriatic are recording drops in the number of visitors from Russia amid political tensions over the Ukraine crisis and a drop in the value of the ruble.
The coastal towns of Portoroz and Piran, located on the 46 km-long Slovenian coastline sandwiched between Italy and Croatia, and frequented by visitors from all over Europe thanks to the well developed spa and mud bath hotels, have also become popular with Russian visitors over the past few years.
“I am on holidays in Slovenia not for the first time. I like the country a lot, I like the people, I like the attitude. And I like the treatments here. There are mud baths, thermal waters, climate. Everything is very good,“ said a tourist from Moscow, Natalia Bazhenova.
But the ongoing crisis in Ukraine threatens to overturn the trend, as growing political tensions between Russia and the European Union - which Slovenia joined in 2004 - could make Slovenia a less attractive destination for thousands of Russian holidaymakers.
“My personal opinion is that if someone wants to come to Slovenia, they will come. I think politics has nothing to do with it. Everything is fine and well,“ Bazhenova added.
But director of LifeClass hotel group, which runs six large hotels in Portoroz, was less optimistic, with a recorded drop in numbers of guests from Russia at about 20 percent in July compared to the same month the year before.
Jager said that the lower numbers were first recorded in March this year, when the Russian ruble hit an all-time low due to the crisis in Ukraine and Russia’s annexation of Crimea, as markets reacted to condemnations from the international community.
“Since March this year we have recorded a drop in the numbers of Russian visitors, which is a result of the weakening of the ruble, and also, of the Ukrainian crisis, which is only getting worse at the moment,“ said director of LifeClass hotel group, Janez Jager.
“No doubt, both of these factors caused a drop in Russian tourists, but in our experience the more important cause was the crisis (in Ukraine) and the increasing tensions between the European Union and Russia,“ Jager added
The United States and European Union first imposed sanctions after Russia annexed Crimea from Ukraine in March and have since tightened them.
Last month the EU froze five state-controlled banks out of its capital markets in measures targeted at Russia’s financial industry, stoking fears of inflation and possible recession in Russia.
In spite of tensions, tourist from Moscow Natalia Spitsyna was optimistic about Russian arrivals to Slovenia.
“We will definitely keep on coming to Slovenia because you have a great country, I think that the problems that exist now should not continue and everything will be good. People are the most important,“ said Spitsyna.
Franc Svegl, a restaurant owner from Piran, said he was concerned about tightening of sanctions against Russia, as well as the effects the already imposed measures might have on the next 2015 summer season.
Svegl said Russian tourists were important for the local economy as they tend to be good spenders, interested in good quality services.
“Of course, we are afraid of sanctions. Russian guests are very good guests, they are always welcome and we believe the sanctions would have a very negative effect on their arrivals and also their spending,“ said Svegl.