The Slovenia Times

Panel urges addressing tourism growth through good management


Good management is possible only through know-how and cooperation, the panellists stressed at the panel themed Tourism for All Destinations: Dispersal over Place and Time.

Slovenian Economy Minister Zdravko Počivalšek noted that tourism is an important part of the Slovenian economy. 2018 was another record year for Slovenian tourism and the trend continued in the first eight months of this year, he said ahead of the panel.

Much like the panellists, he highlighted excessive tourism growth as a major challenge. Digitalisation has created new services, information travels faster, travelling has become cheaper and more accessible, he said. "We need know-how and skills to address these challenges."

Maja Pak, the head of the Slovenian Tourist Board, offered Bled, the town hosting the BSF, as a textbook example of an iconic destination that everyone wants to visit to take a photo and put it on social media.

Daniela Wagner, regional director for Europe, the Middle East and Africa at the PATA travel association, said people visit the so-called Instagram destinations, because they had been heavily promoted. It is therefore up to tourist organisations to promote other, less exposed destinations.

Wagner believes the destinations which have a clear long-term vision built on solid foundations are more likely to achieve sustainable tourism growth and prevent excessive tourism. She thinks Slovenia is doing very well in addressing these challenges.

Slovenian Economy Ministry State Secretary Eva Štravs Podlogar argued that Slovenia succeeded by building on know-how and connectivity, but that there was a lot more potential, which could be unleashed if all stakeholders worked together.

Tanja Mihalič, a professor at the School of Economics and Business at the University of Ljubljana, stressed that numbers were not the only indicator of excessive tourism. Locals and tourists will say when a destination becomes too crowded and loses appeal, she said.

Valeria Duflot, co-founder and CEO of Venezia Autentica and Overtourism Solution from Italy, said Venice was close to reaching that point. Locals do not benefit from tourism much, and the experience is not pleasant for tourists either. They do not stay long in Venice, they do not take the time to enjoy the food, history.

Andrew Agius Muscat, secretary general of the Mediterranean Tourism Foundation from Malta, argued that tourism was good news. When people talk about tourism, they put political and religious differences aside and look for opportunities for cooperation, he said. Tourists are not a problem but protagonists for good stories.


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