Smartdest

LJUBLJANA CASE STUDY

ADDRESING SOCIO-ECONOMIC EXCLUSION IN LJUBLJANA'S TOURISM SECTOR

2010 - 2021

Immagine3

WICKED PROBLEM

Over the past few decades, Ljubljana has witnessed eventful and progressive country-specific tourism development, coupled with its strong commitment to green and sustainable practices in recent years. While these advances have undoubtedly brought positive changes, they have also posed challenges to many traditional lifestyle entrepreneurs – those on the periphery of the tourism market.

The main drivers to tackle:
• Socio-economic exclusion
• Economic inequality
• Institutional exclusion

RESEARCH FOCUS & METHODOLOGIES

The study focused on micro – lifestyle entrepreneurs in Ljubljana’s tourism sector, socalled peripheral tourism service providers.

We conducted 12 in-depth interviews with local key informants: 5 young professionals, 5 lifestyle entrepreneurs (mostly from CCI sector), 1 tourism expert, and 1 liaison and gatekeeper. Additionally, we conducted a thorough desk review, analyzing numerous data sources relevant to the topic.

Drivers of institutional exclusion and socioeconomic inequality
• Monocultural specialization
• Economic exclusion (access
to markets, finance, regulation and policy, etc.)
• Institutional exclusion (promotion, perceptions, stereotypes, etc.)
• Skill gaps (digitalization,
administration, etc.)
• Lack of Covid-related
financial support

RESEARCH RESULTS

Monocultural specialization in city center led to generic tourism products and local actor displacement, with case study respondents voicing a desire for more involvement in tourism planning and decision-making processes. Apartments and rooms on offer per 1,000.

The COVID-19 crisis significantly impacted micro-Airbnb induce to increase rental inhabitants in the neighbourhood inadequate government financial support and fewer providers in the tourism industry, emphasizing (2019) income gaps 2016-2019 opportunities, particularly for the youth. The crisis, alongside a tourism model focusing on the city center, compounded pre-existing challenges for peripheral actors, exacerbating their exclusion from the public policies.

Micro-providers interviewed believe that the underutilized potential of cultural and creative industries could provide unique experiences for tourists, aiding the diversification of Ljubljana’s post-pandemic tourism and shifting tourist mobility away from the city center.

IMPLICATIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS

The research emphasizes the significant role and potential of microtourism providers (traditional micro – lifestyle entrepreneurs) in Ljubljana’s tourism sector. It suggests a shift in strategic tourism planning towards more inclusive policies that prioritize and promote local businesses over larger tourism players. These shifts in strategies could help retain tourism benefits within the community, resulting in a fairer distribution of income and better tourism experience.

PARTNER

University of Primorska
Faculty of Tourism Studies – Turistica 
Obala 11a, 
SI-6320 Portorož,
Slovenija
Tel.: +386 5 617 70 00 
E-mail: info@fts.upr.si

RESEARCH GROUP

Assoc. Prof. Dr. Dejan Križaj
M.Sc. Miha Bratec 
Peter Kopić
Tadej Rogelja, M.Sc.
Daša Okrožnik

Immagine7

The Ljubljana Smart Tourism City Lab

PARTNER

The Ljubljana CityLab as a community of practice to add layers of creativity and smartness to the solid sustainability foundation for the revitalized, more intelligent tourism governance in Ljubljana.

HOW?

Four pillars of intervention:
1. Kick-starting by in-depth interviews with entrepreneurs and policymakers followed by reflection Interviews with
government officers
2. Action-research phase focusing on experience design to develop the creative experiences.
3. Hackathon
4. Throughout the City Lab, focus on networking, policy
formulation workshops and actionplan structuring

CO-DESIGN PROCESS

EXPLORATION STAGE

(Spring 2021 -Autumn2022)
Outlining key informants and agents
of change) and partnering with key institutions
• Ljubljana Technology Park
• SRIPT
• CCI association Hiša!
• Circular Change NGO

IDEATION STAGE

(Summer 2022 -Spring 2023)
• Co-design of experiences
• Hackathon with academics,
students and the tourism industry
• Policy Workshops design & and execution

EVALUATION STAGE

(Spring-Autumn2023)
• Launch of bookable experiences
• Collective evaluation and recommendations for future collaboration
• Wrap-up and reporting

CITYLAB’S OUTPUTS 

Repositioned the role of “responsible DMMO” in destination resilience building

  • Pathway towards maintaining a healthy entrepreneurial ecosystem
  • Coordinating function of DMMO linking the support schemes with knowledge upgrades
  • The need for “crisis funds”

8 Creative handcraft workshop experiences

Popularised the term Smart Tourism

  • An unknown academic term becomes the centreof attention through the hackathon
  • The public discussion surrounding tourism governance becomes familiar with the smart approach

Smart Tourism Action Plan

  • First strategic document for Ljubljana including smart tourism strategies for the destination developed following a participatory approach
  • Smart Tourism Hub: working group set

OUTCOMES: INNOVATION AND LEGACY

End-Beneficiaries

• DMMO: strategic insights and
support towards smart transition; new marketable experiences
• Tourism Businesses: networking
and generation of knowledge and ideas
• CCI providers: support in
unlocking the tourism potential; coaching
• Tourists & Locals: high-quality
creative experiences available for those looking to dig deeper into Ljubljana’s handcraft traditions

LEGACY

• DMMO is determined to
continue with the transition towards smart tourism governance.
• Formulation of SMART tourism
hub will continue.
• Plan to make SMART Tourism
Hackathon a repeating yearly activity with preparations for 2024 edition already in progress.

CITYLAB PARTICIPANT’S EVALUATION
Knowledge-sharing
Intellectuallystimulating Useful
Enjoyable
Participation
Representative
and balanced
Proactive
Commitment ofdecision-makers
Organisation
Efficient, practical, informed
Productive collaboration