The Trnava Regional Tourism Board is actively working to attract Middle Eastern travelers to the Trnava region in Slovakia. While the region’s natural spa waters have long been recognized for their healing properties, the tourism board is now working to develop a range of new strategies to promote tourism sustainably for the region. Besides its wellness attractions, the region is also famous for its natural landscapes, historic and medieval castles, folk architecture, vineyards, ski resorts and local cuisine, offering so much more for visitors to see and experience.
To ensure its presence among its more popular neighbors, representatives from the Trnava Regional Tourism Board participated at the recently concluded Arabian Travel Market in Dubai along with AVIAREPS, their first-ever foreign promotional office in Dubai.
Speaking to ArabiaTravelNews.com, Jozef Viskupič, President of the Self-Governing Trnava Region, Slovakia said that the decision to launch their promotional office in Dubai was made after studying the tourism potential from the region.
“Wellness travelers from the Gulf countries are no stranger to the Trnava region, as we are home to some of the best health-giving natural springs and spas and the Middle Eastern guests love their wellness holidays.”
While natural springs are found throughout central Europe, those in Trnava Region are unique as they are naturally geothermally heated, with all the health properties that geothermally heated springs offer.
One of the most popular in the region is the spa town of Piešťany with its Spa Island – a whole island dedicated to healing, beauty, health, and wellness. Piešťany and its Spa Island are world-famous for its healing geothermal water and sulfur mud. Their spa complex is one of Europe’s largest and most exceptional wellness retreats. Famous for its hot mineral springs (67 to 69°C) and sulfur mud that have an extraordinary healing effect on inflammatory diseases due to extremely high content of sulfur, hydrogen sulfide, bromine, and magnesium.
“The Piešťany have been receiving Arab guests for over 60 years. These guests have discovered the many benefits of our natural healing waters and return to enjoy them year after year. Now, we are keen to boost these tourist arrivals and invite travelers from the region to come and experience this natural wonder and reap its many healing benefits.”
Viskupič adds that over the years, they have understood that travelers from Arab region are one of the best in the world for wellness and medical tourism, as they tend to stay for extended periods, travel with immediate and extended families, and spend much of their stay touring and exploring the surrounding cities and communities.
“Whether it is for older guests looking to relieve their health concerns like back or joint pains or for younger guests looking to unwind and de-stress among our natural landscapes, there is something for everyone at Trnava. Besides being home to some of the most luxurious wellness, medical, healing, and natural spa hotels and resorts in Central Europe, Trnava region is also known for its castles, medieval cities and towns, our local cuisines, and adventures experiences that will attract the most avid explorer and tourist,” added Viskupič.
“Together with AVIAREPS, our goal is to educate and raise awareness about the region’s attractions to visitors as well as developing our travel agent and consumer engagement and demand. The networking done at ATM provided us the opportunity for the same,” he added.
Dubai is also a popular destination for Slovak visitors. With no visa requirements, year-around sunny weather, easy and many flight options, and its wide options for luxury and family vacations, it has been a favorite for years.
With stronger representation in the region now, the Trnava region will promote itself to nationals and residents throughout the Gulf states of Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the U.A.E. as a new and upcoming European destination for Middle Eastern guests to visit for enhanced wellness, health, beauty, and healing in 2023.
“This is a very important market for us. The Arab traveler travels for an average of 14 nights and in larger groups, and this means strong economic benefits for us. Even for those choosing to stay in larger cities, easy access to Trnava means the region has the potential to cater to weekend stays or short wellness and spa breaks. So, we see a lot of potential for tourism.”
With summer approaching and Arab travelers ready to travel again, we are ready to welcome guests with a number of festivals planned for young people, an event for veteran car lovers called the Concours d’Elegance, medieval experiences in the ancient castles, and lots of possibilities for sports lovers like water rafting and paddling and more,” he added.
“Another new product that we showcased at ATM this year was the ‘Taste of Slovakia‘ – a tasting event that will introduce guests to Slovak traditional meals while visiting our breathtaking landmarks across the country. Guests can also learn about the traditional Slovak cheeses, honey, mead while enjoying our traditional folklore and way of life.”
Over 40 per cent of Slovakia is covered in forests. The region is also home to several UNESCO World Heritage Sites- Spiš Castle and its surroundings, Banská Štiavnica and Vlkolínec; the wooden churches of the Carpathian mountain area, the Spiš town of Levoča, caves and abysses of Slovenský kras karst , the Gerulata Roman military camp in Bratislava-Rusovce and more, allowing for excellent day trips in these untouched and unexplored areas across the country. The region is also looking to entice travelers, not only as a standalone destination but also as an ideal itinerary inclusion to those visiting the neighboring capital cities of Bratislava, Vienna, and Budapest, all lying on the Danube River and within a couple of hours’ drive from Trnava.
“This is ideal for our Arab guests who like to travel in larger groups and visit multiple destinations with their family or friends.”
The tourism board is also looking to establish strong partnerships with Middle East tour operators, travel agencies, and airlines to promote the region as a top tourist destination. They have also developed targeted marketing campaigns that highlight the region’s attractions and culture, with a particular focus on showcasing the region’s Muslim-friendly offerings, such as Arabic-speaking staff, halal food, and prayer facilities.
Additionally, steps have been taken to ensure local businesses and tourism providers are trained for cultural sensitivity and awareness.
“We are now actively working on a communication plan to ensure continuous promotion to build destination awareness. This includes regular distribution of press releases, e-newsletters with the latest news from the destination, organizing media interviews and webinars for travel agents, the organization of fam trips for media, influencers, and travel agents, as well as promotion through social media campaigns,” added Viskupič.
Looking ahead, Viskupič says that he hopes to soon see direct flights to and from the region.
“This is our goal, and we will continue to speak to our partners, boost our marketing activities, together with our representative office in Dubai to garner more interest and more visitors from the region, and eventually, we hope to see a direct flight connection by 2024.”