Accepted Paper:

Tourism in the Karst region in Slovenia: redevelopment after the decline during the Socialist period  


Jasna Fakin Bajec (Research Centre of the Slovenian Academy of Science and Arts)

Paper short abstract:

The paper explains the redevelopment of tourism in the Karst region in Slovenia after its decline in the socialist era. In the post-socialist period local people have encountered numerous problems with the revival of tourism due to a different post-modern economy and globalization processes.

Paper long abstract:

The Karst region in Slovenia has been known worldwide for its natural and cultural phenomena, especially its underground world with numerous caves, ever since the 16th century. Initially of interest primarily for scientists, after the public opening of the caves (1633), it began to attract tourists as well. With the development of larger towns in the near vicinity (Trieste, Monfalcone, Gorizia) in the 19th and 20th centuries, the Karst became a tourist center for the bourgeois, who spent their summer holidays in rural Karst villages.

When Slovenia became part of socialist Yugoslavia, Karst tourism in villages declined. The socialist policy neglected small villages on the pretext of modernizing the countryside and building urban centers. Moreover, with nationalization they gradually reduced or prohibited private tourist infrastructure in villages, and supported tourism in bigger towns, so-called mass tourism.

With Slovenia's independence and ensuing transition problems (many people lost their jobs) the state and local government recognized tourism as an opportunity to solve the inhabitants' social problems. Local people have faced lots of personal and administrative problems with the development of tourism. Firstly, they were not used to a market economy, then, until recently they have not appreciated and valued the cultural and natural heritage of the Karst as an important tourist attraction.

The main aim of my paper is to present the redevelopment of tourism in the Karst region, to analyze local problems which were the consequences of socialist policy or economy and of exposure to the contemporary market economy and globalization processes.

Panel W104
Eastbound: perspectives on tourism in Central and Eastern Europe