Slovakia is still a little known European destination for the Chinese traveller, but the nation’s tourism authority is working on changing that, thanks in part to ITB China.
The country had a colourful stand at the show, with high-ranking staff such as Igor Paule, Director of the Department of Strategy and Analyses, Ministry of Transport and Construction of the Slovak Republic, present to answer queries by Chinese TOs and TAs.
“Of course, we have not been so visible up to now. They know Vienna, which is just 40 km from Slovakia, but they don’t know Slovakia. So that has been the main aim of our presence at ITB China. The reaction has been very positive because what the Chinese tourists are looking for is good food… and as Slovakia never had enough money for pesticides over the past decades we have a lot of organic food and wine and we have very good high-quality water,” says Mr Paule.
The air is not polluted which, for people coming from cities like Shanghai or Beijing is a big plus according to the Slovakian strategist: “60% of the land is covered by forest and forests are a natural filter for the air, so this is what I always highlight for Chinese people. We are a safe, clean country, and much of the food is organic. In Slovakia, travellers can have the same quality service as in Austria, with much lower prices.”
Mr Paule’s Impressions of this show? “I am satisfied with the organisation and also with the meeting schedule which was very tight. We had lots of meetings, some of them only very short but we had between 15 and 20 useful meetings a day so I think the organization of these meetings in advance was very good.”
Slovakia was at ITB China partly in support of the EU China tourism year, with a rise in Chinese visitors of +40% in 2016 and +60% in 2017 to tat nation. The official web site has thus now seen a sixth language added: Mandarin.
Photo: Igor Paule – Director of the Department of Strategy and Analyses, Ministry of Transport and Construction of the Slovak Republic