One thing is left to do before i say goodbye to this place; (Note to self: I am not really saying goodbye to this place. I will be back for sure) and that is to write my opinion on what Metlika is really about and how people here could easily use some of the assets here to enhance the flow of visitors or prolong their stay. As an outsider to this place I had the chance through the last year to see things from a very different angle than the locals and things that often seemed lame to the locals really got me excited and happy. It is like Athenians and the Acropolis; some of the locals have never been up to the monument because it is always there and it becomes nothing special, but then every time I have friends from another country visiting I see that for them it is a big thing and maybe that applies everywhere.
So what I think Metlika can profit from is families. Apparently a lot of families in Europe like to drive their campers across the countries and settle down somewhere peaceful for their holidays and Metlika could be the place for them. The key in this situation is to make what the place has to offer more special than other similar places. Various aspects that apply can be introduced to the traveler:
- Easy going lifestyle: People are always looking to escape from the busy city life and Metlika is for sure a quiet place filled with people that appreciate the joys of life.
- Excellent food and mostly wine: No one will ever repeatedly visit a place where the food is not satisfactory. I think with a bit of attention to local ingredients and culture Metlika could offer an excellent culinary experience to its visitors. And here I must add that food does not have to be fancy and poss it just have to be tasty.
- Pristine nature: This is one part of the local area that I believe is not taken advantage almost at all. Ecotourism, wildlife tourism, green tourism, sustainable tourism are all parts of the tourism industry that are on the rise and that can easily be introduced to the visitors here. The largest part of the tourists here are spending their time along the river, but there’s far more that they can see. I once went on a wolf tracking trip across Sweden and of course I never came even close to seeing a wolf but let me tell you that was one of the best things I have ever experienced. Similar things can be applied here; berry picking, mushroom picking, chestnut picking are easy activities that can easily be implemented and you can even take it to the next level and provide your visitors with food from the materials they gathered. The list of similar ideas is endless and therefore too long for the purposes of this blog but you possibly get an idea of what I mean.
- Agriculture: Agriculture is lately taking a very active role in tourism and Metlika has a lot of it. Farms that are accessible to tourists might have a lot to earn from them. Some tourists even like to work on farms during their holidays. The easiest thing a farmer can do here is to allow visitors to go and gather the food that they want to buy, or if we are talking about processed products to show them how the product is being made. Things like that don’t have to be available on a daily basis but once a week people could have an open farm day and invite people to visit.
- Safety: Metlika is definitely a very safe place and that could be advertised, especially if the target group is families. Parents can enjoy life while their children are safely playing around and explore the area.
- Mobility and adaptability: I think that one thing that can also be applied here is that Metlika is suitable for people who want to settle in one spot for two weeks but can also serve as the point zero for people who want to explore. There are numerous attractions within tops an hour away from Metlika. These attractions should also be advertised. I have noticed that the efforts of the locals are concentrating on promoting what is good within the municipality. That is good but at the same time there is no harm in admitting that there are beautiful places to visit within a short distance from here.
- Social Media/ Internet: the worldwide web is maybe the category that Local businesses need to use more. The digital era has long come and everything is valued through their online presence. The internet is something that can work in your advantage and with good marketing you can convince anybody to make a trip to metlika. In order to make profit you firstly need to provide something that creates profit whether it is a service, a nice lodging or just an experience. The world wide web can be easily used in order to attract people to come and give you the profit that you desire, if you post regularly on your facebook, twitter and webpage anything from photos, videos, things you find interesting, thoughts or even promotions of the activities and services you provide you can make a big difference. People are looking to go to places where they can feel special, the internet can be used as a reminder of how special they felt when they visited you so it will be very probable that they will visit you again or suggest you to their circle.
I think I could be writing endless pages about what could be done, but I will stop here because the more I write the more it might seem like I don’t appreciate this place or that I know everything about the locals and the way they operate. Truth is that most of the above points are gravely related to my own opinion. I would need much more data in order to make a complete report on how to attract visitors and which is the right target group for a place like Metlika. The one thing that is definite is that Metlika is not associated with a specific image as a destination. Maybe it does for the Slovene tourists but when it comes to foreigners they probably have never heard of the place. Therefore, the local population has the advantage of creating this image for themselves and it is you who will decide which aspects of the local surroundings to showcase.