It is no secret that music festivals have been representing the driving force of modern tourist destination marketing, but in Slovenia so much more as this Alpine country on its small surface of around 22,000 square kilometers with only 2 million residents hosts several music festivals. The biggest and most successful festivals are organized by company Music Holidays whose manager and the main wheel is Slobodan Milunović – Boban. The festivals in question that bring to Slovenia huge numbers of international fans, are Metaldays, Rock Holiday, Overjam Reggae Festival, Mötorcity, and Winter days of metal.
Some of the festivals can bring to towns for three times more people than the town’s infrastructure capacity. However, despite the fact on festivals being an important engine of tourism development as well as an economic contributor to the local community, particularly when it goes for festivals that are located away from the capital of Ljubljana or from other most visited tourist attractions, there is still some doubt from the supporters of the classical tourism that festivals could be taken as a serious tourism business.
To prove them wrong, one can find online published results stemming from a survey that agency Valicon prepared for Music Holidays. The survey was carried on more than 1,500 festival goers that visited previously mentioned festivals in organization of Music Holidays in 2018. All of the festivals are located in and around Tolmin, a small town of 3,5 thousand residents in northwestern Slovenia, gorgeously located on a terrace above the confluence of the Soča and Tolminka rivers, positioned beneath steep mountainous valleys on the southern rim of the Julian Alps.
Surveyed visitors were in 63% cases between 20 to 34 years old, and 20% of them were 35 and more. Only 5 % were less than 19 years old. There were 62% men, and 38% women. They were coming from more than 50 different countries, among them 27% from Slovenia, 16% from Germany, 9% from Austria, 6% from UK, 5% from Italy, 28% from other EU countries, 5% from other countries of former Yugoslavia, and 5% from the rest of the world.
Most of them (82%) arrived with cars, 14% with buses, 13% with planes, and 11% with trains. Majority (87%) styed in the festival’s camp, while 6% in apartments or private rooms, while 3% in hotels and tourist camping sites. Almost 70% of the visitors spent between 100 to 500 euros during the festival (keeping in mind that these festivals last from a couple days to the whole week), the cost not including the festival entrance fee, travel arrangements, and accommodation. On average, an individual visitor spent 350 euros during the festival, while 100 euros from 350 were spent outside the festival venue.
The festival goers, shows the analysis, are in significant part potential tourists, as most of their activities either before, during or after the festival are visits to rivers and lakes, going to restaurants and bars outside the festival venue, visiting the town and its centre, visiting natural attractions and discovering the region. Results also show that more than 40 % of the visitors stay in Tolmin and Slovenia after the festival. Around one quarter of all visitors (24%) prolongs their stay in Tolmin and Slovenia for at least 3 more days. Almost 50% of the visitors who stay after the festival, find other accommodation (and don’t stay in the festival’s camping site), in most cases apartments, private rooms, hotel rooms and tourist camping sites.
Surveyed foreign visitors listed as the first associations on Slovenia its landscape and natural attractions. Exactly this, Slovenia’s nature and natural attractions, are the main reasons that foreigner visitors described Slovenia as an attractive destination. A good quarter of the foreign visitors have already been to Tolmin and Slovenia in the past regardless of the festival attendance. This proportion is slightly higher among surveyed visitors over 30 years of age. The analysis showed that some visitors from abroad also take the opportunity to visit other places in Slovenia, like Ljubljana, Bled, Kobarid, Bovec, Bohinj Lake, Postojna Cave, Most na Soči, Triglav National Park, appearing most often among them.
Among visitors from abroad who already have experience in visiting Slovenia as tourists, there is also a greater degree of intention to visit the country again, which indicates that it is not a tourist destination for a single visit, but there is rather a significant tendency to return. The analysis also showed a high level of willingness of foreign visitors to recommend Tolmin / Slovenia as a tourist destination. More than a quarter of surveyed foreign visitors (28%) stated that they would visit Slovenia even if there were no festivals, and a quarter said that they would probably not visit Slovenia, or that festivals were the only reason to visit.