The Days of Slovenian Tourism 2023: The Largest Tourism Professional Event in Slovenia, November 13-15 in Nova Gorica
The Days of Slovenian Tourism 2023: The Largest Tourism Professional Event in Slovenia, November 13-15 in Nova Gorica
The 2023 edition of the Days of Slovenian Tourism (DST) is set to take place in Nova Gorica from November 13 to 15, making it the most significant professional event in the Slovenian tourism industry. This event is organized by the Slovenian Tourist Board (STB) in cooperation with the Ministry of the Economy, Tourism, and Sport, along with industry partners. DST is celebrating its 13th anniversary this year and, during a press conference in Ljubljana today, details about the main topics were unveiled. The central theme of DST this year is "Artificial Intelligence and New Business Models in Tourism".
DST offers a unique opportunity to bring together all the key players in Slovenian tourism with the primary objective of promoting the growth of Slovenian tourism while staying updated on the latest trends and industry challenges.
At this year's DST, special emphasis will be given to artificial intelligence and its transformative impact on business models within the tourism sector. Artificial intelligence is already profoundly altering the way tourists travel and experience destinations, bringing about equally substantial changes on the side of destinations and service providers. DST will delve into the impact of artificial intelligence on tourism and explore how destinations and companies can leverage these changes as opportunities while avoiding potential dangers.
The details of this year's DST were revealed at today's press conference in Ljubljana by representatives of key institutions in Slovenian tourism.
Dubravka Kalin, Director General of the Tourism Directorate at the Ministry of Economy, Tourism, and Sport, commented: "The Days of Slovenian Tourism serve as the annual central gathering for the primary stakeholders in this crucial economic sector. I eagerly anticipate the presentation of best practices, competitions, awards, and all the valuable professional contributions. The central theme of this year's plenary session, 'Artificial Intelligence in Tourism and the Use of Modern Information Technology,' holds particular relevance for us. In tourism, we've set ambitious goals that require a shift in business models, where modern technology assumes a pivotal role. Despite the integration of digitalization and automation in Slovenian tourism, we continue to prioritize warm, interpersonal relationships. We view modern technology as a tool to enhance business processes, facilitate analysis, aid in planning, and optimize operations, all while effectively managing the capacity of our destinations."
MSc. Maja Pak, Director of the STB, expressed her outlook by stating: "Despite numerous challenges, everything points towards 2023 becoming another prosperous year for Slovenian tourism. The Days of Slovenian Tourism stand out as a remarkable opportunity for knowledge exchange, networking, and exploring fresh prospects in the tourism sector. This time around, our focus is on artificial intelligence, a force that will dramatically reshape the tourism landscape. Artificial intelligence promises to boost our competitiveness and drive significant advancements in various domains, including product enhancement, process refinement, guest experience, marketing, data-informed decision-making, sustainability, tourist flow management and security. However, we must always keep in mind that human interaction remains an indispensable element in tourism. I'm confident that the Days of Slovenian Tourism will prove to be a captivating event, shedding light on emerging trends and promoting the intelligent incorporation of new technologies in the industry."
Andrej Prebil, Chair of the Tourism and Hospitality Chamber of Slovenia (TGZS), brought attention to the 70th Hospitality and Tourism Chamber Assembly organized by TGZS, which is celebrating its 115th year in 2023. He noted: "Over 150 representatives from companies, professional schools, and primary schools will participate in various competition categories. High interest surrounds competitions for hotel and venue receptionists, housekeepers, dish preparation, coffee service, and burger crafting. We will host final competitions for the Golden Kitchen, featuring elementary school students. This year introduces the Slovenian youth cooking team dinner, a prelude to next year's Olympics, and the Round Table on Education and Work in Tourism - Hand in Hand. Additionally, we've prepared two exhibitions to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the Association. These exhibitions take you on a journey through the association's history and showcase postage stamps with culinary themes. All of this emphasizes the importance of nurturing our staff, facilitating their development, and elevating the prestige of professions within the tourism and hospitality sector."
Patricija Furlan, Chair of the Catering and Tourism Section at the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Slovenia (OZS), introduced the upcoming professional gathering of caterers. This event, scheduled for the first day of the Days of Slovenian Tourism, will combine tradition and innovation, as well as tie into the European Capital of Culture 2025. She commented: "Over the past decades, Slovenia has made significant strides in developing its culinary offerings, positioning itself among the world's gastronomic elite. However, the identity of a typical inn in Slovenia (the so-called gostilna), its development, and its future remain open questions. The time has come to proudly showcase our traditional cuisine for both viewing and tasting, and it can be equally innovative. It's our collective responsibility to promote and develop these inns further, with the goal of increasing their numbers in Slovenia. We count on continued cooperation and support from the authorities, especially concerning the enhancement of traditional inns offering higher value and addressing staffing challenges."
Dominik S. Černjak, Chair of the Tourist Association of Slovenia (TZS), brought up the Moja dežela – lepa in gostoljubna (My Country - Beautiful and Hospitable) competition, highlighting its increased challenges due to recent weather-related issues. He stated: "Despite these difficulties, our state evaluation commission managed inspections in 28 cities, 19 city and village centers, 35 excursion sites, 21 tourist destinations, 10 youth hostels, 18 campsites, glamping sites, and 25 thematic routes. These routes are vital, both for preserving nature and dispersing tourist traffic. With a comprehensive view of 700 thematic routes in Slovenia, TZS is actively working on unified certification and the creation of a single registry, promoting both five-star nature and five-star people. Community engagement, along with empowering active organizations and individuals who create genuine tourist experiences, is our only guarantee that tourism will continue to flourish on a solid foundation and not lead to local dissatisfaction. There can never be too many tourists, as long as we guide them thoughtfully and keep local residents informed of the benefits generated by tourism revenue."
Marjana Grčman, Chair of the Association of Tourism Journalists of Slovenia, emphasized: "The Days of Slovenian Tourism hold significant importance for the Association of Tourism Journalists of Slovenia. We view this event as a rare opportunity for professional growth and a deeper understanding of the trends that will shape the future of tourism in the upcoming year. Given the turbulent global situation, the next few months will present critical challenges in terms of energy, security, and artificial intelligence, which will significantly influence travel patterns and activities in the tourism sector. Artificial intelligence, in particular, is opening new avenues for creativity while simultaneously leading to job transformations and the creation of new roles. I interpret artificial intelligence and digitalization as means to diversify tourist traffic, shift the spotlight towards lesser-known destinations beyond the traditional tourism hubs, and alleviate the workload of tourism professionals, empowering them to focus on authentic human interactions and innovation. It's vital to remember that, at its core, tourism remains a people-centric endeavour, with technology serving as a tool to enhance the analog experience rather than a replacement for the individuals in the industry. Nonetheless, I would like to emphasize that, amidst all the digitalization and artificial intelligence, the articles and reports produced by tourism journalists should not be reduced to mere marketing messages. They should delve deeper into the destinations, shedding light on the social and environmental impacts of tourism. By doing so, we can all gain a better understanding of the complexity of the world we inhabit and travel more responsibly. Tourism is fundamentally a human narrative that promotes sustainability, responsibility, and cultural awareness."
The Days of Slovenian Tourism (DST) 2023 will take place from November 13 to 15 in Nova Gorica. The hosts of the event are the Municipality of Nova Gorica and Hit d.d.
Samo Turel, Mayor of the Nova Gorica Municipality, commented: "We are honoured that the Days of Slovenian Tourism will be held in Nova Gorica this year, where we anticipate a substantial turnout. We are committed to providing an outstanding accompanying programme, with Martin's Day festivities launching in the city later this week. We are entering the new year with great enthusiasm, setting the stage for 2025, when Nova Gorica, together with Gorica, will proudly hold the title of European Capital of Culture. This symbolic designation embodies boundlessness, extending to include tourism offer in the broader Goriška area and the Friuli-Venezia Giulia region. Coordinated efforts are already underway to present a united front on both sides of the border in 2025, encompassing tourism, gastronomy, culture, history, and the overarching concept of a borderless region. Simultaneously, I welcome the decision by the Slovenian Tourist Board (STB) to highlight culture, alongside historical sites, as the central promotional and developmental focus of Slovenian tourism in the coming two years."
Tomaž Repinc, Chair of the Board at Hit d.d., highlighted: "After eight years, the Days of Slovenian Tourism are returning to Nova Gorica, signifying a mayor recognition of our company's contributions to the development of Slovenian tourism. Through our casino and entertainment offer, we've made a substantial impact on raising Slovenia's profile, with the multiple effects of our activities directly benefiting the local community and economy. The majority of DST events will be hosted at the Perla casino and entertainment centre, celebrating its 30th anniversary this year. Next year marks the 40th anniversary of the opening of Hit's first casino in Hotel Park, commemorating four decades of Hit's presence. Let's not forget the 70th anniversary of the first hotel in Goriška, Hotel Sabotin in Solkan. We share in the celebration of the 70th anniversary of the Tourism and Hospitality Chamber of Slovenia and eagerly await all DST attendees."
Plenary Day with Top Experts
The central event of this year's DST is the plenary day, scheduled for November 14. It will feature enlightening speeches by top experts, alongside insights from key representatives of central institutions in Slovenian tourism.
Maarten Verschuere, founder of Cleverland.io, will provide an update on the current state of generative artificial intelligence and its applications in the tourism sector. Simone Puorto, a visionary and futurist, as well as the organizer of the Polybius, will unveil how chatbots, pricing models, language translation tools, and other technological advances are reshaping the travel industry. Sascha Dalig, an expert in hotel business management, will share his perspective on how technological innovations are impacting guest-host interactions in the hospitality sector. A moderated discussion will then delve into whether the introduction of new technologies in tourism signifies an evolution or a revolution.
The plenary day will culminate with an evening gala, where prestigious awards in tourism will be awarded to individuals and organizations that have made remarkable contributions to the development of Slovenian tourism and hospitality.
Professional events with diverse content
In addition to the plenary day, several other significant events will take place, including the 70th Jubilee Hospitality and Tourism Assembly organized by the Tourist and Hospitality Chamber of Slovenia, the professional meeting of caterers organized by the Chamber of Crafts and Enterprises of Slovenia, the Moja dežela – lepa in gostoljubna (My Country - Beautiful and Hospitable) awards ceremony and the Meeting of Tourist Associations organized by the Tourism Association of Slovenia. The programme also features IT Tour and JRE professional workshops.
The STB extends a special invitation to the IT Tour, which is being prepared together with the Strategic Innovation Partnership for Tourism (SRIPT) on November 15. This event will spotlight the practical applications of artificial intelligence in tourism, with discussions on its use, real-world examples, and steps for successful AI implementation. The event aims to connect stakeholders in tourism with solution providers in the field of artificial intelligence for tourism.
Photo by Jošt Gantar for STB.
In the cover photo (from left): Samo Turel, Mayor of the Municipality of Nova Gorica, Patricija Furlan, Chair of the Section for Hospitality and Tourism, Dubravka Kalin, Director General of the Directorate for Tourism, Andrej Prebil, Chair of the Tourism and Hospitality Chamber of Slovenia, MSc. Maja Pak, Director of the Slovenian Tourist Board, Dominik S. Černjak, Chair of the Tourist Association of Slovenia, Marjana Grčman, Chair of the Association of Tourist Journalists of Slovenia, Tomaž Repinc, Chair of the Management Board of Hit d.d., Fedja Pobegajlo, Director of the Tourism and Hospitality Chamber of Slovenia.