A new lifestyle and way of consumerism, called LOHAS, also brings changes to the tourist market. We are more and more often dealing with a society where the following is important: community, nature, authenticity and selfness - indulgence where one is closer to nature, as some sort of an antidote against everyday stress. Consequently, natural destinations that base their development on the balance of the natural, social and economic aspects are increasing their tourist visits. EDEN destinations are such destinations. This is also demonstrated by the extremely good statistics of the Slovenian EDEN destinations.
The Slovenian EDEN destinations almost all, as a rule, record above-average growth levels of overnight stays, especially by foreign tourists. The Soča Valley, the Solčavsko Region, the Kolpa River and Idrija are destinations that have strengthened their position in Slovenia in the last decade, especially in recent years, through the EDEN network and its promotional support.
These are destinations that will never directly compete with larger and more established tourist destinations in Slovenia (mostly represented by spas, the coastline and Alpine tourist centres, such as Bled and Kranjska Gora). Namely, these destinations have smaller accommodation capacities, mostly in smaller accommodation facilities (farms, family hotels and smaller hotels, as well as campsites); however, they represent an important segment of the offer that addresses today`s consumers, who prefer nature and social responsibility, authentic stories and usually like to discover less touristy destinations.
This time we have closely examined the 2010 EDEN destination – the Kolpa River. In the area of the municipalities Črnomelj, Metlika, Semič, Kočevje and Kostel that are included in the area, 66,125 overnight stays were recorded in 2011, which represents a 20-percent increase in comparison with 2009. The levels of growth are even higher if we review the foreign guests and their overnight stays. In comparison with 2009, these have increased by three times in 2011 – in 2009, they represented 8.6% in the entire structure of overnight stays, while in 2011, they represent 21.6%.
The above-average growth levels of overnight stays (in comparison with Slovenian tourism that recorded 5.4% more overnight stays in 2011 in comparison with 2010) were also recorded in Bovec (+13%), Kobarid (+19%), Tolmin (+18%) and Solčava (+15%).
LOHAS is an acronym for Lifestyle of Health and Sustainability (lifestyle oriented towards the health of an individual and the environment).