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Gradual opening of borders for tourists might start in May

Ljubljana, 24 April - Economy Minister Zdravko Počivalšek, who is in charge of tourism, expects that the restrictions affecting tourism, chiefly closed borders, could gradually be relaxed in May. The government is thus working on "a corona standard" to provide for the safety of tourists and tourism workers.

Ljubljana
Zdravko Počivalšek, the minister of economic relations and technology, speaking to the press at the government's daily coronavirus briefing.
Photo: Nebojša Tejić/STA

He said the government was trying to define protocols for individual sectors of tourism in collaboration with businesses and the National Institute of Public Health.

"We'll set a corona standard so that both guests and staff feel safe," he said at the government's coronavirus briefing in Ljubljana on Friday.

With over 70% of tourists coming to Slovenia from abroad, the focus is on convincing them that tourist services are provided in a safe manner.

"This is a prerequisite for thinking about opening the borders. I gather the first steps in this respect would be taken in May."

EU ministers in charge of tourism will discuss the matter on Monday, to be followed by a meeting of ministers of Central European countries which can be reached by car.

On Wednesday or Thursday, Počivalšek will meet his counterpart from neighbouring Croatia and a meeting with the Austrian side is also planned.

The Covid-19 crisis severely affected March figures for tourism, with accommodation facilities recording a 75% drop in arrivals and 67% fewer night stays over March 2019, the latest Statistics Office figures show.

The number of tourists from Italy, one of Europe's major coronavirus hotspots, plummeted by 85%, followed by Austrians (-71%) and Croatians (-64%).

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© STA, 2020