The Economic Development Minister in First Lady Melania Trump’s native Slovenia held a press conference on Tuesday to tell reporters the good news about increasing tourism in the Eastern European nation.
Zdravko Pocivalsek said 2017 would be the fourth record year in a row for Slovenian tourism after revenues from foreign tourists reached some 2.3 billion euros ($2.71 billion) last year, Reuters reported.
Although the increase is not solely tied to the first lady, Pocivalsek said Slovenia received a lot of international attention after the 2016 election of President Donald Trump, including because of its native daughter taking up residence in the White House.
Tourism in Slovenia rose strongly because of a general increase of tourism in Europe and a successful promotion of Slovenia as a safe country.
Officials say it also got something of a boost from Melania Trump having been born in the city of Sevnica in southeastern Slovenia before becoming a fashion model and moving to the United States.
Pocivalsek also said Slovenia has plans to privatize the tourism infrastructure. At present, about 40 percent of hotels in the once-communist country are in state hands, Reuters reported.
In the first ten months of 2017, foreign tourism jumped by almost 17 percent year-on-year, according to Reuters.
In the first nine months of 2017, the number of tourists from the United States increased by 23.4 percent, Reuters reported.
Breitbart News reported in July that Sevnica, the first lady’s hometown, put in place tours focused on her childhood there and her impact as an international figure.
The walking tours include visits to the elementary school she attended and the apartment where she grew up with her parents and sister.
The tours also feature a stop at a bakery that sells “Torta Melanija” cake and the tourism office, which offers Melania-themed wine made from local grapes.
Visitors can also see the factory where the first lady’s mother once worked making children’s clothing and where Melania Trump first walked a runway as a model.