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Green destination tells tourists - treat tourism like our living room or don’t come

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Region implements new tourism destination management model - with environment first policy.

Slovenia’s Bohinj region, an industry-leading green destination, has asked tourists planning to visit to treat the destination like a living room or otherwise avoid the region altogether.

The message comes as the destination, which has won a number of green industry awards and is home to the award-winning Bohinj International Wild Flower Festival, sets out a new strategy that includes a ‘living room’ model for tourism in which a unique environment is curated by the destination and treated with respect by those visiting.

Bohinj’s new destination first sustainable tourism model, which was created by Director of Tourism Klemen Langus, is based on the premise that tourism should not be the primary concern for any destination. Instead, tourism should be seen as a secondary consideration behind the wellbeing and livelihoods of the local population.

A ‘Living Room’ Tourism Model
This approach likens tourism to a living room - in a living room the owner combines items to create a pleasant environment for both himself and his guests. The Bohinj team believe that tourism destinations should offer the same sense of place, and that mutual trust between local people and respectful travellers will lead to uniquely special travel experiences. 

Klemen Langus, director at Tourism Bohinj believes, “Humans have always felt a hunger to travel for hundreds of thousands of years. Time and time again, it has enabled us to survive and adapt to an array of different, sometimes extreme, environments. It’s important to question why there has been such a big change in 30 years and why humans need to go back to their roots?” says. “What went wrong in this developing process, is that travelling “by bus or train” has suddenly become an experience ‘per excellence’. I think that mobility - which must be sustainable - is still the core of our future, just as it was thousands of years ago.

Bohinj doesn’t want to see it’s environment be destroyed by visitors leaving their trash or footprints and not respecting our home. This is why we are focused on a new ‘Living Room model’. We would love for you to visit our beautiful destination, but treat it like you would treat the most important room in your house.”

 Summary of the new tourism strategy:

  • Tourism should come second, not first. The primary concern for any destination must be the local population  
  • Tourism as a 'living room' - in a living room the owner combines items to make the room pleasant for both himself and his guests. Tourism destinations should offer the same sense of place 
  • Tourism products should support local life - tell stories from your daily lives, turn them into products and offer them to guests
  • A tourist destination should be a place-  where the local community coexists with the environment, removing the need for new and innovative tourism products
  • Mutual trust between local people and respectful travellers will be crucial in the post-COVID tourism landscape, leading to special experiences and minimises pressure on the ecosystem 

Bohinj is already considered an industry leader in sustainable tourism and won the award in the category “Best in Responsible Tourism” at the International Travel and Tourism Awards 2019.

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