Rural development projects financed through various European funds under the Community-Led Local Development (hereinafter: CLLD) approach brought numerous innovations to the Slovenian countryside, which enable a better quality of life in villages and in urban settlements, and build on an area’s basic tourist programme. In some places, this is crucial for the development of local boutique tourism.

 

Community-led local development

Community-Led Local Development (CLLD) is a tool to promote an integrated and balanced development of local areas following a bottom-up approach. Through creation of Local Action Groups (hereinafter: LAG), this approach allows local population to actively decide on the local area’s priorities and development objectives, including the funding sources for achieving these objectives.

The CLLD approach aims at promoting social inclusion, creating and preserving jobs, combating poverty and discrimination of any kind, reducing regional development disparities, and fostering the economic development of areas. In addition, the aim is to contribute to natural conservation and the protection of the environment, cultural heritage, and the cultural landscape and its elements.

 

A contribution of European funds earmarked for LEADER/CLLD

  • The European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (hereinafter: EAFRD) under the LEADER measure: EUR 56.4 million
  • European Regional Development Fund (hereinafter: ERDF): EUR 37.5 million
  • European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (hereinafter: EMFF): EUR 7.6 million

Up to October 2020, around 500 projects in Slovenia have been co-financed by the EARDF, a quarter of which are related to tourism. There are also several tourism-related projects co-financed by the ERDF (around 330 projects) and the EMFF, which also has some 35 projects approved.

In the 2014-2020 programming period projects related to tourism are those projects that have been carried out most frequently, and among which the most popular themes are creating and maintaining hiking and cycling routes, building rental points for electric bicycles and constructing charging facilities (digitalisation). LAGs also focus on the promotion of tourist destinations and the creation of local brands, which often link together local cuisine, wines, the tradition of beekeeping and other traditional local products. Such projects combined with the revitalisation or setting up of local markets and the creation of short supply chains also help to support local self-sufficiency. Moreover, projects related to tourism are aimed at supporting the production of promotional materials and other promotional activities or at supporting tourist information points. In order to revitalise and develop villages, projects have been carried out to create areas for leisure activities, a number of children’s and sports playgrounds, outdoor fitness facilities and common areas for local population activities, which we are sure have enriched many hours to lots of people in rural areas.

LEADER/CLLD map

In the 2014-2020 programming period, 37 LAGs were created in Slovenia, covering the whole country with all its municipalities.

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Development of tourism in a particular area

Projects under the CLLD approach have significantly contributed to the development of tourism and tourism products of local development in some areas.

 

LAG Dolenjska and Bela Krajina (LAS Dolenjska in Bela krajina)

As a consequence of the spring coronavirus crisis, the number of tourists visiting Bela Krajina has increased significantly. Krajina A mosaic of boutique tourism was created through small-scale projects in the area covered by the LAG Dolenjska and Bela Krajina. A special Tourist Programme is aimed at visitors who want to experience something traditional, homemade, with a taste of nostalgia. Many of these gems, which would otherwise have been forgotten, have been "polished" through EU funding. One of them is certainly a black human fish. At the Zupančič farm in Jelševnik na Krupi, an info centre for the black human fish was set up. A group of enthusiasts has undertaken to comprehensively fix up the Lahinja Landscape Park, which was neglected for many years. The projects of Interpretation of natural and cultural heritage in the Lahinja Landscape Park and Establishing and interpreting the educational trail Nerajski Lugi were carried out. The entire trail takes about three hours and is appropriate for children as well. Interactive tables present various water resources, caves, animals and special plants in the park in a playful way. The wooden floor platform takes you to the extraordinary world of wet meadows, which you can observe through the openings of the bird observatory. The wool, flax and hemp project brought the development of new textile and food products. Many of these products can be purchased in Bela Krajina’s House of Delicacies in the centre of Metlika. Shelves are stacked full by nearly 30 providers, who are also interconnected through the CLLD approach.

statue of a black human fish

Photo: Tina Štefanič

House of Delicacies Bela Krajina

Photo: Mojca Bercko Kralj

 

Interactive tables on the way

Photo: Tina Štefanič

 

 

LAG of Upper Savinja and Šalek Valley (LAS Zgornje Savinjske in Šaleške doline)

Tourism, self-sufficiency and wood are the three priority areas for the development and implementation of the CLLD programme of the LAG of Upper Savinja and Šalek Valley. They developed a joint tourism brand, i.e. “Visit Savinjska”, and issued a catalogue of the offered special tourist programme. At various workshops, tourism providers exchanged know-how and information, and held two tourist hackathons, special sprint-like tourist events. They refurbished several facilities for tourist activities and built, among other things, a sports and recreational facility, the Mozirje Tourist-Information Centre and tourist apartments promoting mountain wood. They set up a herbal shop in Gornji Grad and an event venue in the Vrbovec Castle in Nazarje. They bought 40 bicycles for rent. Moreover, several tourism products were developed, such as the interpretation plan of the Kamnik-Savinja Alps, Water Stories, Herbal Stories, and programmes such as hortitherapy and apitherapy

sports and recreational activities Photo: Tomo Jeseničnik

 

 water surface

Photo: Tomo Jeseničnik

 

cycling with a view

Photo: Tomo Jeseničnik

 

 

LAG Notranjska (LAS Notranjska)

LAG Notranjska is part of the Primorska-Notranjska region, whose development priorities include the development of sustainable tourism. Various tourism providers have come together to develop new programmes, products and services. Some providers have joined their forces around the intermittent Lake Cerknica, where they have developed and upgraded "accessible" tourism, which ensures access to physically and sensory disabled people and older people. In Loška Dolina the first hostel in Slovenia (Ars Viva Institute) adapted for disabled people on wheelchairs and other disabled persons was established with a CLLD project.

They also rent adapted bicycles and tricycles for the physically disabled, the blind and the elderly. Their range of products also includes one- and multi-day programmes, augmented by 3D glasses to enhance the experience of the natural and cultural heritage of such visitors.

Lake Cerknica

Photo: Tinkara Primožič

 

LAG Administrative Unit Ormož (LAS Upravne enote Ormož)

Near the LAG Administrative Unit Ormož, a study was conducted on upgrading the programme of experiences and quality of life, along with a collective brand development plan and a corporate identity development plan for the period 2017-2020. Three new camper stops, a mobile market and three stationary markets were set up. This operation also launched the “Jeruzalem Slovenia destination brand. In order to develop the tourist and natural programme in the area of Središče ob Dravi municipality, the Study plan for guiding organised groups was prepared, INFO points and interpretation boards were set up, horse-drawn carriages were bought and brochures with a map were printed. Currently, the project of Jeruzalem educational free of packaging destination is in process, aimed at promoting sustainable tourism. The operation contributes to increasing environmental awareness and improving conditions for the faster development of the economy, agriculture and tourism, as it is a boutique rural destination.

view of the vineyard

 Photo: LAG Administrative Unit Ormož

 

vineyards on the hill

Photo: LAG Administrative Unit Ormož

 

wine tasting

Photo: LAG Administrative Unit Ormož

 

 

LAG Goričko 2020 (LAS Goričko 2020)

The key objective of the Goričko region development is to increase the tourist attraction of Goričko, which is why the majority of the funds was dedicated to the development of tourism by integrating natural and cultural heritage. The LAG Goričko has prepared an innovative tourist programme document where tourist vouchers can be cashed-in. The focus is on rural providers outside the established tourist centres. They also brought together other supporting tourist infrastructure.

The mobile geomatic application "Explore Prekmurje" with information about local and traditional food and drink providers, events and presentations of natural and cultural heritage in the area of LAG Goričko 2020 and LAG With the kind people 2020 was developed.

qr code LAG Goričko

Photo: LAG Goričko 2020

 

 

LAG With the kind people 2020 (LAS Pri dobrih ljudeh 2020)

In the area of the LAG With the kind people 2020, tourism is closely linked to natural and cultural heritage. There is a great number of vineyard cottages in the wine-growing area. Some have been abandoned, but with the number of tourists increasing over the years the idea to revitalise the empty vineyard cottages has emerged. This is how a new tourism product, the Dispersed Vinarium Hotel, which includes 12 vineyard cottages, was created. The area is now richer by five daytrip programmes and ten tourist attractions, which have been relabelled with QR-codes. The “Pomelaj” brand, which brings together all the project partners’ products, has been established. In the adventure park at Lake Bukovnik, a new zipline adventure was set up. The Dokležovje Boatmen’s Association leads rafting down the Mura River with a rafting boat. An innovative children's playground was set up in front of the Tropical Garden in Dobrovnik. Near the swamp meadow and the black alder forest in Žižki, the thematic trail Medovita was created, which encourages passers-by to engage in recreation and reminds them of their coexistence with bees and the area’s natural heritage. In the municipality of Odranci, a barn or "gümla" was added to the Prekmurje House, a typically shaped and thatch-covered house in Prekmurje, as it is an important artefact of the rural architectural heritage. A new tourism product also includes Roma intangible cultural heritage.

 

LAG Obsotelje and Kozjansko (LAS Obsotelje in Kozjansko)

Tourism is one of the main economic activities around Obsotelje and Kozjansko region. An automated bike rental system was constructed, connecting the municipalities of Podčetrtek and Rogaška Slatina, and contributing to the development of sustainable tourism. A camper stop was set up in the municipalities of Šmarje pri Jelšah, Rogatec and Rogaška Slatina. Moreover, a therapeutic riding programme has been developed, and sports and recreational surfaces, thematic trails and a sensory park have also been built. Furthermore, a website offering the opportunity to purchase local experiences has been set up, the apiculture programme has been upgraded and the Kneipp Park opened, as well as a wooden tree house built and a new mobile application developed.

a therapeutic riding through Kozjansko

Photo: Katja Šket

 

a couple enjoying local foods

Photo: Katja Šket

 

bike rental Kozjansko

Photo: Katja Šket

 

LAG Soča Valley (LAS Dolina Soče)

In the area of the LAG Soča Valley, the “Soča Valley” (“Dolina Soče”) collective brand has been developed, which helps to connect rural providers within the Soča Valley and increase the area’s reputation. A new fish product was launched through retail chains, which was chosen by consumers as the best food product in 2020. The Blending of Soča Valley tastes project has thus helped to form an innovative partnership of local companies – the Planika Dairy and the Faronika Fish Farm. The Soča Valley also boasts a new processed sheep meat plant in Drežnica. Moreover, the LAG has contributed significantly to the revival of old town centres. Many events in that area spurred visitors, tourists and locals to start visiting old town centres again and thus feel the spirit of cultural heritage.

LAG Soča Valley stand

Photo: LAG Soča Valley

 

 

LAG Prlekija (LAS Prlekija)

The partners of LAG Prlekija have put tourism at the top of the priorities in the Local Development Strategy. The Municipality of Križevci built the Adventure Park and the Marianum Institute from Veržej completed a comprehensive tourist programme with several projects. The accommodation facilities there are oriented at family tourism, which is upgraded by a wide range of trade skills and products.
Ljutomer’s Trotter Museum contributes greatly to the town’s tourist programme, which, like the windmill on Stara Gora, attracts lovers of cultural heritage. In Radenci, where the famous poet Kajetan Kovič lived for many years, an attractive family festival called The Cats’ Town was created. The tourist programme in Prlekija is connected by a free Klopotec application for mobile phones. Visitors can use this application to find information about providers and events in Prlekija. Spa/thermal resorts Radenci, Banovci and Mala Nedelja all beckon visitors to come to Prlekija, and their tourist programme has been richly improved with diverse and attractive tourism products in the countryside.

clay design workshop

Photo: LAG Prlekija

 

LAG Karst and Brkini (LAS Krasa in Brkinov)

Three projects contribute significantly to the development of the tourist visibility of the LAG Karst and Brkini. The revival of the former fairground in Hrpelje included the reconstruction of the once liveliest part of Hrpelje. As part of this operation, the municipality has set up the most modern camper stop in this part of Slovenia, as well as an innovative children’s playground. The operation Stone and Cuisine in Kras was launched by caterers who want to improve and unify the visibility of their activities in the Karst region. In doing so, they take into account the well-known karst tradition of stoneworking and focus on sustainable tourism, which, with new products such as dinner at the quarry, enables the creation of new jobs in catering, stonemasonry and tourism. KraSmeet connects the agricultural and tourist industries and offers visitors the experience of the ecological and original Karst. Visitors can conclude their visit to a specific location with a photo session for a personalised photo album, which they will take home after their vacation.

 

Hrpelje Kozina before

Photo: Hrpelje-Kozina Municipality - before

Hrpelje Kozina

Photo: Hrpelje-Kozina Municipality - after

 

 

 

This content is under the responsibility of the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Food, which is also the managing authority designated for the implementation of the Rural Development Programme 2014-2020.

 

 

 

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