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U.S. first lady Melania Trump dances with army services member at the Armed Services Ball in Washington, U.S., January 20, 2017. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas

(reuters_tickers)

LJUBLJANA (Reuters) - The Slovenian tourism industry has been boosted by the fact that

it is the home country of new United States First Lady Melania Trump, preliminary figures of the national Statistics Office showed on Tuesday.

The number of overnight stays in Slovenia by American tourists jumped by 15.4 percent in December and 10.2 percent in the whole of 2016.

The total number of tourist overnight stays in Slovenia rose by 7.6 percent to some 11.1 million in 2016 versus a rise of 7.2 percent in 2015.

The overall number of foreign tourist stays was up by 10.3 percent in the whole year with most visitors coming from Italy, Austria, Croatia, Germany and Serbia.

Slovenia's government expects tourism to help towards a further boost to the country's economy which is seen expanding by 2.9 percent this year versus some 2.3 percent in 2016.

(Reporting by Marja Novak, editing by Ed Osmond)

Reuters