In May 2022, Turizem Bohinj hosted a structured course in Triglav National Park, Slovenia, for those working in Scotland in the natural and cultural heritage sectors. We travelled to various parts of Triglav National Park and Ljubljana to explore the wildflower festival, national park management, sustainable tourism destination management, developing brands in a high biodiversity area and heritage interpretation.
Our guide Lucija Gartner manages a farm with her family and balances traditional farming with some diversification techniques. They have converted one of their old farm buildings into tourist accommodation and offer guided tours and cheesemaking workshops for visiting tourists. The cheesemaking workshop was one of the highlights
Faced with a crowded national park and local communities and crafts struggling to survive from traditional activities, their strategy is to encourage and promote tourism as a way to help the communities thrive. Educating the local communities (from school children to farmers) is key to the success of the programme. Tourism is seen as the generator of sustainable change.
It was interesting to hear that their Slovenia Green Platinum Scheme was inspired by the Green Tourism Scheme in Scotland. The Triglav National Park and more particularly Bohinj have now taken it a step further by creating a Triglav Quality Mark and a specific Bohinj brand .
The Wildflower Festival provided a way to encourage locals to keep the meadows uncut for longer periods of time, reduce pressures on the local communities by offering a tourism package that moves away from ‘lake, sun, beer’ model, outside of the peak season. It futher, spotlighted the cultural/social dimensions of nature, which is something I’ve been wanting to build more experience in as it is an important aspect of my current role, helping to develop an ecosystem health approach to protected area monitoring, which involves incorporating society and people into measuring the health of a given ecosystem.