Izola is an increasingly more popular tourist destination

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The official statistical data for 2019 show that the number of tourist arrivals and overnight stays in the municipality of Izola is still increasing in comparison to previous years. We have kept pace with the digital world, carried out successful social media campaigns, created new stories related to the rich cultural and natural heritage, as well as cuisine. 

Performance indicators continued to grow in 2019
In 2019, we have surpassed the half million milestone with a record 521.505 overnight stays and 143.989 tourist arrivals. Compared to the previous year, this represents a 6% increase in overnight stays and a 12 % increase in arrivals. As in previous years, the largest share of tourists in Isola is Slovenian (49%), followed by Germans and our Austrian neighbors, each representing a 9% share, Italians (8%), Czechs (4%), Hungarians (3%) and others.

There are 400 registered accommodation providers in Izola with a total capacity of 5170 beds. 52% of all guests opted for hotel accommodation, 19% chose to stay in apartments, 11% in campsites, 6% in lodging establishments and 12% in other accommodation facilities.

In 2019 we saw the largest increase in Czech tourists with + 40 %, followed by 33 % increase in German tourists. The data that stands out is also the number of arrivals from the Italian (+ 13%), Belgian (+ 25%), Dutch (+ 27%) and Polish (+ 22%) markets. The data also show greater growth in the number of arrivals than the growth in the number of overnight stays, which indicates a reduction in the average length of stay. In 2019 this was 3.6 days, while the year before the average stay was 3.8 days.

Izolana – House of the Sea tells stories in diverse way
Izolana opened its doors in July 2017 and has since welcomed diverse guests. It is especially interesting to children, as it offers an insight into marine heritage and history in an original way through the game Museum Detective. The game is designed for curious children between the ages of 7 and 12. Izolana is currently open for groups upon prior notice.

Small boat 2 successfully reached its destination
In March, the final press conference of the cross-border project Mala barka 2 (Small boat 2) was organized in Lošinj. The aim of the project was promoting the destination of the Upper Adriatic in an appealing way. In addition to meeting with the media, there was a solemn inauguration of a new interpretation center for the maritime heritage of the island of Lošinj. Before its opening, the project partners presented the key results of their 30-month work. In collaboration with our Croatian partners, we have created 10 cross-border itineraries, linking the destinations of the Upper Adriatic, which have a rich maritime heritage, and at the same time providing a narrative of the stories of the sea. Special markings have been set in all participating destinations, indicating the material and immaterial heritage associated with the sea. 70 markings have been set in total, 20 of them can be found in Izola. The Academy of Maritime Crafts and Skills and a network of centers of excellence were established as part of the project. There were also numerous seminars and training courses, various cultural events related to the marine heritage, new promotional materials, etc. Regarding Slovenia, relocation the of Tourist Information Center in Izola to the renovated office in Sončno nabrežje was carried out as part of the project.

Presenting Istria - #LoveIstria
The destination Slovenian Istria has presented itself at many fairs and business encounters throughout Europe in the past year. The activities proved to be very successful as they were, in addition to the picturesque promotion, a meeting point for various tourist service providers. In April, Izola was one of the main participants in the Slovenian Tourist Board campaign entitled Two Million Reasons Why We Feel Slovenia, in which the promotion of posts on social networks was crucial. With tags such as #VisitIzola, #LoveIstria and #ifeelsLOVEnia, visitors spread the word about Izola online.

Creating a diversified media network
Collaboration with the media and bloggers is also very important in the work of the Izola Tourist Board. 2019 was a year of fruitful collaboration with the domestic and foreign media as well as with study groups of journalists. We hosted a group of Hungarian journalists and a Russian TV team (Russia TV). We also recorded part of the program “O moru” (About the sea) for Croatian national television. We were also visited by Austrian agents and representatives of tour operators, who got closely acquainted mainly with our hotel facilities and gastronomic and oenological offer. We also hosted a group of Czech journalists, but we cooperate extensively with the Slovenian media as well. Izola was presented in the show “Na lepše” (Going to beautiful places), with the emphasis on Isolana, fishing and cuisine. In November, in cooperation with the Center for Culture, Sport and Events of Izola and the Slovenian national TV, the Izola Tourism Association organized a special culinary experience for the program “Dobro jutro” (Good morning), paying homage to the Istrian local dish Bobici (corn stew).

Keeping up with the digital world
As part of the Isola Digital project, a new website was established. After a complete makeover, the website also contains an interactive city map and an online store. We have also invested in education in the field of online marketing, which was very well received among tourism service providers. For the first time, we conducted an analysis of the personas of Izola in order to identify the target groups of our destination. The results will help us create an offer of activities for the guests we want at our destination.

Gastronomic journey through tastes of Izola
In 2019, we continued the story of the restaurateurs of Izola, whose stories were united in the Tastes of Izola campaign. As part of the campaign, 6 multimedia stories of our restaurateurs were created during the past year. The success of the campaign was highlighted by the increase in the number of guests. In addition to the storytelling, we also offered various culinary experiences presented through themed days: Days of asparagus, Days of local mussels, Days of cod and Days of the kingdom of fish.

Tips on how to fully experience Izola
With the campaign of Top IG locations - Izola Views, in which we marked the most beautiful spots for photographing the place, we encouraged visitors to promote the location on social networks, especially IG. The result was excellent as over 100 photos were created. With a variety of video and photo material we marked our essential products, which we included in the summer campaign, which took place in key markets (Slovenian, Austrian, Italian, German, and for the first time in the Czech Republic and Poland). In addition to the aforementioned campaigns, the SUP in Izola campaign also proved successful, helping to increase the demand for SUPs.

Concluding the story of 2019 at the Ice Island
Between 30 November and 19 January, children and adults were able to have fun at the skating rink in the Pietro Coppo park. The events were enriched by a musical program, a children's program, and a varied culinary offer.

In 2020, we aim to digitalize new content
In the current year we would like even more content to be available in digital form, so we are planning to digitize cultural heritage. We will also work on the development of new tourism products with particular emphasis on 5 * experiences. We would like to further improve the skills of our providers and continue our digital activities in foreign markets.

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