The Economy Ministry and the Slovenian Tourist Board (STO) presented today in Ljubljana the recently-launched central tourist booking system, which brings together everything that Slovenia has to offer to tourists in terms of accommodation at

"The introduction of a central tourist booking system is one of the most important projects of the Economy Ministry in tourism," Minister Andrej Vizjak told the press today.

He explained that the system would provide a common promotion platform to all tourism players in the country, notably also to small companies, whose offer had been dispersed so far. According to the minister and Marjan Hribar, the head of the Economy Ministry Tourism Directorate, it will enable smaller companies to access the global market and make Slovenian tourism more competitive globally.

Hribar also highlighted as an advantage of the system the possibility to upgrade it with new content and integrate it into larger tourist booking systems as the site is also available in English, French, German and Italian versions.

Dimitrij Piciga of the STO meanwhile summed up the reasons for the introduction of the system by describing it as a response to new trends that see tourists putting off the decision on their destination as long as possible and preferring to make their reservation in as few steps as possible.

The system currently includes just over 320 providers, who can offer accommodation to around 12,500 visitors. By 2008 it is expected to cover 65 per cent of Slovenias accommodation capacity, which is estimated at 65,000. The system was set up by the Austrian Feratel company and will be operated by the Kranj-based travel agency Odisej. The costs of the project totalled EUR 388,132.