Wednesday 23 June 2010

The influence of Soccer WC 2010 on Slovenia

If a relatively young country has an ambition of becoming a popular tourist destination, it usually has to work hard to achieve such a goal. It is important to try to promote the country through as many different channels as possible.

Slovenia definitely falls into that category (Slovenia has been an independent country since its separation from Yugoslavia in 1991). Slovenian Tourist Board is trying hard to raise the level of worldwide awareness but that is not enough.
In my opinion, sports can also help at least a little bit. In some cases much more then just a little bit.
Recent qualification of Slovenian national soccer team for the FIFA World Cup 2010 in South Africa is an excellent example of just that. Many people started wondering where this soccer team, competing with English and US teams is coming from. Slovenia? Where the heck is Slovenia?
You might think I am exaggerating. How can a couple of soccer matches be compared to years of work of a bunch of politicians, diplomats and tourist promoters?

Well it actually can be... and I've got proof of that. It is called Google trends.

For those of you who haven't heard of this before, "with Google Trends you can compare the world’s interest in your favourite topics", as Google puts it. In other words, with this tool you can compare what people were searching for through Google.
For instance if you enter "where is slovenia, slovenia map" you get the below graph.

You can notice a strange change of pattern at the far right-hand side of the graph. If you take a closer look at that period of time - for instance the last month of data, you can see something similar to the screen-shot bellow.

I guess some of you already know where this is heading... Those two peaks in the graph mean that on the 13th and 18th of June 2010 there were an unusually high number of people entering those two queries into Google search engine.
If you take a look at the last screenshot you can see the final hint. It says: "Slovenia, US draw 2-2". In this case I have added "slovenia" to previous two search strings and got an even more explicit result.

Yes, it was football (or soccer as Americans tend to call it). Slovenia was playing with Algeria on 13th of June and USA on 18th of June. Interesting isn't it?

Let me end this with a prediction. Since today (23th of June) the Slovenian national team is playing with the English, I expect a similar rise to be seen on the graph. I don't dare to even speculate what would happen if we make it to the Round of 16 or even to the Quarter-finals. Let us just wait and see.



Friday 23 April 2010

African thunderstorm in Slovenia

As you might have already guessed, not much has been going on lately. At least concerning me and my travels.
The only fun thing I did lately was a rock concert I attended last weekend. Kind of sad isn't it?

Quite a few people I know are planning some kind of travel adventures. As it seems, Africa seems to be the destination of choice at this moment. I would also be happy to do it but there are just so many things waiting for my attention... unfortunately some of them are already seriously behind schedule. I guess this means travel will just have to wait for some time. At least those more distant destinations.

Next week I am hoping to be free from work for a few days. I just might seize the opportunity and at least go for a one- or two-day trip. Somewhere nearby probably. Let us just wait and see.

In Slovenia the weather in April is usually changing all the time. It can go from warm sunshine to heavy rain and back for ten times in a single day. As a consequence it is quite hard to plan any weather dependent activities even a couple of days in advance.

All these things - music, Africa and thunderstorms remind me of a song I just can't get tired of listening to. That is why I decided to post this video for a change.
The song is titled Africa and is performed by Perpetuum Jazzile, a jazz choir from Slovenia. They are really, really good.
Two separate Youtube videos of their performance of "Africa" had more than 9.2 million views combined since first publishing in May 2009. Since there are only 2 million Slovenians, I suppose some other folks must have liked it too.

Those of you who haven't seen this thing yet... well, I suggest you pump up the volume, lean back for a few minutes and just enjoy the performance.


Monday 22 March 2010

Winter just won't go away

This year winter obviously decided to hang around for a bit longer. Well at least here in Slovenia.
Most of the hills are still covered in deep snow. Fortunately for the last week or so the weather has been reasonably warm at lower altitudes.

Two weeks ago or so we had the first sunny and quite warm day. Unfortunately that didn't last long. After that day cold northern winds started to blow and for the next week it was really cold and windy around here. In some places wind speed was even over 200 kilometers per hour (that is over 125 mph)! All sorts of things were flying around and many roads were occasionally closed due to overturned trucks. Here you can see how a fellow Slovenian blogger documented the situation.

I hope now we are done with that and spring is finally coming. I have spotted some snowdrops in front of the house trying to break free from the snow. I am sure this is a good sign.

It seems now we are looking at some warmer days at last. However if you are planning a trip to Slovenia and want to see some snow, it is still the right time to do it.
If you prefer a bit warmer weather, you might want to wait a while longer. I suppose in a month most of the snow will be gone even in higher areas. However, high in the Alps it is quite common for the snow to last until the beginning of summer.

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