See What’s Been Happening With Melania’s Birth Country Since She Became FLOTUS

LJUBLJANA, Dec 19 (Reuters) – Slovenia, birth country of U.S. First Lady Melania Trump regards jump in revenues from foreign tourists as likely to happen by about 9 percent this year and by at least 5 percent in 2018, Economy Minister Zdravko Pocivalsek reported on Tuesday.

In a news conference Pocivalsek stated that 2017 will be the fourth record year in a row for Slovenian tourism after revenues from foreign tourists extended to some 2.3 billion Euros ($2.71 billion) last year.

The wide-ranging increase of tourism in Europe and successful advertising of Slovenia as a safe country has contributed for the tourism to Slovenia experienced a strong growth.

According to officials, it also received an improve from Melania Trump having been born in the city of Sevnica in southeastern Slovenia before becoming a fashion model and moving to the United States.

“We received a lot of attention from (international) journalists because of the U.S. First Lady and we managed to present Slovenia as an attractive, green country,” Maja Pak, head of the Slovenian Tourist Organization, told the same news conference.

About 60 percent of Slovenia is covered by forests while the country has some resorts on the Adriatic Sea as well as a number of Alpine and spa tourist resorts.

Pocivalsek also said Slovenia has an intention to progressively privatize all tourist accommodation infrastructures which should led to additional improve tourism business. Currently, about 40 percent of hotels in Slovenia are in state hands.

“I want a well-considered privatization … which will be in favor of the state and the companies that are being sold,” Pocivalsek said.

Within the first 10 months of 2017 the number of foreign tourists has risen to almost 17 percent year-on-year, the statistics office stated last month.

Within the first nine months of the year, the latest data available, the number of tourists from the United States climbed to 23.4 percent, it added.

According to the government’s tourism strategy the revenues from foreign tourists are likely to experience an increasing of at least 3.7 billion euros per year by the end of 2021. ($1 = 0.8472 euros) (Reporting By Marja Novak Editing by Jeremy Gaunt)