Sustainable tourism between India and Slovenia

Business Potential in Sustainable Tourism Between India and Slovenia in 2024 

India and Slovenia promote sustainable tourism, responsible travel, natural resource conservation, and cultural heritage preservation. Slovenia has developed the Green Scheme of Slovenian Tourism (GSST), a national-level certification program, and is recognised as the first Green Country and one of the 12 most sustainable destinations. India and Slovenia have signed an Agreement on Scientific and Technological Cooperation to foster collaboration in renewable energy and clean technologies.

Let's explore the potential partnership between India and Slovenia in sustainable tourism, along with the significance of sustainable tourism for economic growth and environmental conservation.

Table of Contents

Importance of Sustainable Tourism

Economic Growth

Sustainable tourism boosts local economies by promoting responsible practices, attracting travellers seeking authentic experiences, and contributing to local livelihoods through revenue generation and job creation.

Environmental Conservation

Sustainable tourism promotes eco-friendly practices, wildlife protection, and natural habitat conservation, ensuring long-term tourism viability by preserving ecosystems.

Cultural Preservation

Sustainable tourism promotes eco-friendly practices, wildlife protection, and natural habitat conservation, ensuring long-term tourism viability by preserving ecosystems.

Resilience and Adaptation

Sustainable tourism promotes resilience against climate change by diversifying offerings, supporting local businesses, and practising responsible behaviour, resulting in adaptable and robust tourism sectors.

Sustainable tourism is crucial for economic prosperity and protecting our planet's natural and cultural treasures. India and Slovenia can serve as partners in this endeavour, inspiring other nations towards a more sustainable future.

India and Slovenia Relations

India-Slovenia Bilateral Trade

India and Slovenia have a strong trade relationship, with India being a significant Asia foreign trade partner. Bilateral trade has consistently grown, with India's exports to Slovenia reaching $610.87 million in FY 2022-23 and India's imports from Slovenia increasing positively. The total bilateral trade reached $908.07 million in FY 2022-23.

Recent Agreements and Collaborations

India and Slovenia have signed several Memoranda of Understanding (MOUs) focusing on scientific and technological cooperation, business councils, standardisation, mutual investment promotion and protection, sports cooperation, joint ventures, export credit guarantee cooperation, and avoiding double taxation.

Image source: Tax Time 

Growing Business Opportunities

Indian companies Tata Consultancy Services, Tech Mahindra, and Wipro have established operations in Slovenia, focusing on developing new technologies and expanding business horizons.

India and Slovenia are enhancing their economic ties through trade, investment, and collaborative initiatives, presenting immense potential for growth and mutual benefit.

Sustainable Tourism 

India: A Green and Sustainable Destination

Let's explore why India is increasingly recognised as a green and sustainable destination:

Rich Biodiversity and Natural Beauty: India's diverse ecosystems, spanning from the Himalayas to the Western Ghats, feature unique landscapes like lush forests, pristine beaches, and vibrant wetlands.

Renewable Energy Revolution: India leads global renewable energy adoption, setting ambitious targets for solar and wind power capacity expansion and promoting clean energy collaboration through initiatives like the International Solar Alliance.

Eco-Friendly Accommodations: India is renowned for its eco-lodges, boutique hotels, and sustainable resorts, which prioritise energy efficiency, waste reduction, and local sourcing.

Wildlife Sanctuaries and National Parks: India boasts renowned wildlife sanctuaries like Ranthambore, Kaziranga, and Jim Corbett, and responsible wildlife tourism is crucial for promoting conservation efforts.

Image source: Kaziranga National Park, India

Cultural Heritage and Spiritual Tourism: India's rich history, ancient temples, and spiritual sites attract travellers seeking authentic experiences, and preserving cultural heritage is a priority.

Yoga and Wellness Retreats: India, the birthplace of yoga and Ayurveda, is known for its wellness retreats, which provide holistic healing, meditation, and rejuvenation.

Community-Based Ecotourism: The initiative involves local communities in tourism planning and management, offering homestays, guided village tours, and handicraft workshops to benefit residents.

Green Certification Programs: India is actively promoting sustainable tourism through certification programs and the Incredible India campaign, which highlights eco-friendly destinations.

India's commitment to sustainability, natural beauty, and cultural heritage makes it a green destination for responsible travellers.

Slovenia: A Green and Sustainable Destination

The Slovenia Green Scheme of Slovenian Tourism (GSST) is a national program promoting sustainable tourism practices in Slovenia, evaluating and improving sustainability efforts across destinations and service providers.

Green Practices of Slovenian Cities: Slovenian cities prioritise sustainability and quality of life, implementing key green principles such as soft mobility, local food, green spaces, and a clean environment. These include developing cycling paths, footpaths, and electric car-sharing systems to reduce air pollution and traffic noise. Ljubljana, the European Green Capital in 2016, exemplifies successful green practices.

Slovenia Green Label and Awards: Slovenia Green Label recognises sustainable destinations, accommodations, parks, and attractions. Recognised as the first Green Country, Lonely Planet tops, and European Green Capital, Slovenia is a sustainable destination.

Case Studies of Successful Practices

Image source: Jeruzalem, Slovenia

Jeruzalem: Known for sustainable practices in tourism.

Ljubljana: European Green Capital in 2016, implementing various green initiatives.

Logar Valley - Solčavsko: Focuses on shortening supply chains and promoting local food.

Rogla-Pohorje: Strategically manages a combined destination of four municipalities.

Miren Kras: Promotes culinary heritage (e.g., asparagus).

Soča Valley: Successfully recovered after the COVID-19 epidemic.

Ajdovščina: Offers an online market for local products.

In summary, Slovenia's commitment to sustainability, green initiatives, and successful practices make it an exemplary destination for responsible travellers seeking authentic experiences in unspoiled nature. 

Sustainable Tourism Projects in India

India, with its diverse landscapes, cultures, and traditions, has become a sought-after destination for travellers worldwide. However, the growth of tourism has also led to environmental and social challenges. To address these concerns, several sustainable tourism practices and initiatives have been developed across the country. Here are some sustainable tourism projects and destinations in India that travellers can visit to support responsible tourism:

Spiti Valley, Himachal Pradesh: Spiti Valley, located in the Himalayas, offers a unique culture and traditions supported by initiatives like Spiti Ecosphere, which promotes conservation and economic opportunities for local communities.

Chilika Lake, Odisha: Chilika Lake, Asia's largest saltwater lake, is home to diverse bird species and aquatic life, with sustainable tourism initiatives promoting conservation and supporting local livelihoods.

Image source: Kabini River Lodge, Karnataka

Kabini, Karnataka: The Kabini River Lodge, an eco-friendly resort in southern India, is a sanctuary showcasing the diverse wildlife of elephants, tigers, and leopards.

Sikkim: Sikkim, renowned for its natural beauty and cultural heritage, has banned plastic bags and is actively promoting eco-friendly practices.

Andaman and Nicobar Islands: The Bay of Bengal Islands, home to diverse wildlife and pristine beaches, are the focus of initiatives like the Mahatma Gandhi Marine National Park for marine ecology conservation.

Swadesh Darshan Scheme: The government has launched an initiative aimed at creating sustainable tourism products and assisting rural communities.

Image source: Swadesh Darshan Scheme

By choosing these sustainable destinations and supporting responsible practices, travellers can contribute to the preservation of India's natural and cultural heritage. 

Sustainable Tourism Projects in Slovenia

Slovenia has been actively promoting sustainable tourism through various projects and initiatives. 

Slovenia Green Scheme of Slovenian Tourism: The Slovenia Green Scheme promotes sustainable tourism development in Slovenia by providing tools for destinations and service providers to evaluate and improve their sustainability practices and promoting these efforts through the Slovenia Green brand.

European Destinations of Excellence (EDEN): Slovenia is part of the EDEN project, a European initiative focusing on small, unique European destinations that offer authentic experiences and sustainable tourist services, aiming to improve the quality of life for residents.

Image source: Kočevsko, Slovenia

Learning Journey to Three Destinations: Kočevsko, a former mining community, is Slovenia's Green Bronze Destination, promoting sustainable tourism for post-industrial regeneration. Bella Krajina, an activity tourism destination on the Kolpa River, drives socioeconomic development and improves residents' quality of life. Soča Valley addresses overcrowding.

Green Destinations Top 100 Stories: Seven Slovenian destinations were included in a list of cultural heritage sites, including Miren Kras promoting local gastronomy, Maribor introducing a VR experience at Stara trta House, and Ljubljana digitising Plečnik's cultural heritage.

Other Notable Projects

Bohinj: Promoting sustainable mobility.

Logar Valley - Solčavsko: Efforts to shorten supply chains and promote local food.

Rogla-Pohorje: Strategic management of a combined destination.

Ajdovščina: Operating an online market for local products.

These projects demonstrate Slovenia's commitment to sustainable tourism, environmental conservation, and community well-being. 

Challenges Faced by India and Slovenia in Implementing Sustainable Tourism Projects

Challenges Faced by India 

India, like many other countries, has encountered several challenges in implementing sustainable tourism projects. Let's delve into some of these hurdles:

Environmental Degradation: Tourism growth poses a significant challenge to environmental conservation, as increased footfall in sensitive areas can lead to habitat destruction, pollution, and strain on natural resources.

Cultural Commodification: The commercialisation of cultural heritage can compromise its authenticity, leading to the commodification of traditional practices, rituals, and art forms for tourist consumption.

Lack of Awareness Among Tourists: Many travellers are unaware of sustainable practices and their impact, making it crucial to educate them about responsible behaviour, waste management, and cultural sensitivity.

Infrastructure Development: Sustainable infrastructure for tourists requires proper waste disposal, energy-efficient facilities, and eco-friendly transportation to ensure environmental sustainability.

Balancing Economic Growth and Conservation: Tourism generates revenue and employment, but balancing economic development with conservation is challenging, as overdevelopment can harm fragile ecosystems and cultural sites.

Climate Change: Climate change, including rising temperatures, extreme weather events, and sea-level rise, poses significant threats to tourism destinations, necessitating the implementation of adaptation strategies for long-term sustainability.

Image source: Climate change

Community Involvement: The involvement of local communities in decision-making processes is crucial for the equitable distribution of tourism benefits and the preservation of their cultural heritage.

Overcrowding: Overcrowding in popular tourist destinations can cause congestion, degradation, and strain on resources, making it challenging to manage visitor numbers while maintaining quality experiences.

Policy Implementation: Effective implementation of policies is a challenge, necessitating coordination among government departments, NGOs, and private stakeholders.

Balancing Mass Tourism and Niche Tourism: India's tourism sector must strike a balance between mass tourism, which generates revenue, and niche tourism, such as ecotourism, which prioritises sustainability.

India must persist in promoting responsible tourism, safeguarding natural and cultural resources, and fostering a positive influence on local communities to tackle these challenges.

Challenges Faced by Slovenia

Slovenia, despite its commitment to sustainable tourism, has encountered several challenges during the implementation of these projects:

Insufficient Transport Infrastructure: India must persist in promoting responsible tourism, safeguarding natural and cultural resources, and fostering a positive influence on local communities to tackle these challenges.

Image source: Slovenia infrastructure

Seasonality: Seasonal changes significantly impact tourism demand, making it challenging to balance year-round tourism with minimal environmental impact.

Lack of Investment: Sustainable tourism projects often require substantial investment, but attracting private and public funding for infrastructure development remains a significant challenge.

Unsustainable Practices by Tour Operators: Despite efforts, some tour operators continue to engage in unsustainable practices, making it an ongoing challenge to ensure responsible behaviour in the industry.

Balancing Tourism and Environmental Conservation: Slovenia's natural beauty is a significant attraction, but tourism can also negatively impact the environment, emphasising the need for a balance between economic growth and conservation.

Slovenia, despite facing challenges, is renowned for its sustainable development and proactively addressing environmental concerns through responsible tourism practices for long-term benefits.

Ongoing Research Initiatives to Address the Eco-Tourism Issues


Ongoing research initiatives in India aim to address eco-tourism issues and promote sustainable practices. Here are some key areas of focus:

Impact Assessment and Mitigation: Researchers are evaluating the environmental and socio-cultural impacts of tourism in ecologically sensitive regions, assessing visitor footfall, waste generation, and habitat disturbance on local ecosystems.

Community-Based Approaches: The study investigates the effectiveness of community-led ecotourism initiatives in enhancing conservation efforts by involving local communities in decision-making and benefit-sharing.

Policy and Regulation Analysis: Researchers are examining existing eco-tourism policies and suggesting policy reforms to balance economic growth with environmental protection.

Tourist Behavior Studies: Researchers are studying visitor preferences, awareness levels, and willingness to adopt sustainable practices to design effective conservation strategies.

Climate Resilience and Adaptation: Research explores the effects of climate change on tourism destinations and explores strategies for climate-resilient tourism.

Some research projects are highlighted here.

Image source: Solar energy project

The GEF Project in Tamil Nadu aims to promote ecotourism as a livelihood option while preserving biodiversity in the Gulf of Mannar region, focusing on sustainable practices that benefit local communities and conserve marine and coastal ecosystems. The Sikkim Biodiversity and Ecotourism Project aims to promote biodiversity conservation and generate income through ecotourism initiatives in Sikkim, fostering collaboration between the Travel Agents Association of Sikkim, local organisations, and communities.

By advancing research in these areas, India can develop evidence-based solutions to mitigate eco-tourism challenges and promote sustainable practices. 


Slovenia, known for its natural beauty and commitment to sustainability, has several ongoing initiatives to address eco-tourism challenges. Let's explore some of them:

Green Scheme of Slovenian Tourism (GSST): The Green Scheme of Slovenian Tourism is a strategic program that aims to promote sustainability by certifying eco-friendly businesses and destinations, encouraging responsible travel and equitable distribution of travellers across seasons and regions.

Slovenian Research Agency Project: Slovenia's Ministry of Economic Development and Technology is working on enhancing tourism competitiveness by identifying key employee competencies and proposing updates to education programs. The project aims to transform tourism into sustainable, higher-value tourism through investments in accommodation, public infrastructure, and cultural heritage restoration.

Ljubljana's Urban Sustainability: Slovenia's capital, Ljubljana, is a model for sustainable urban development, promoting car-free living and reducing over-tourism by enhancing nearby towns with new attractions and thematic products.

Image source: Soca Valley

Soča Valley: The alpine destination prioritises sustainability by attracting investors, improving transport infrastructure, and enhancing service quality, aiming to balance economic growth with environmental conservation.

G-Guides: The initiative trains tour guides in sustainable and responsible tourism, empowering them to promote responsible travel, act as cultural brokers, and educate others, contributing to positive change.

Urška Tourist Farm: Slovenia's first certified organic farm stay, serving 80% of its farm-grown food, exemplifies responsible practices and supports local communities.

Slovenia is demonstrating its commitment to sustainable tourism, focusing on economic, environmental, and social well-being through various initiatives.

Community-Based Ecotourism Initiatives 

Community-based Ecotourism Initiatives in India

Community-Based Ecotourism (CBET) initiatives in India have gained prominence as a sustainable development strategy, particularly in rural areas. These initiatives focus on the intersection of environmental conservation and economic empowerment. Let's explore how community-based ecotourism contributes to both aspects:

Environmental Conservation: CBET involves local communities in tourism planning and management, promoting responsible practices to minimise negative impacts on natural resources and promoting eco-friendly behaviour to preserve biodiversity and protect ecosystems.

Economic Empowerment: CBET generates income for local residents through guided tours, homestays, handicraft workshops, and cultural experiences, supporting livelihoods and improving rural quality of life through economic benefits.

Image source: Handicrafts of Slovenia

Community Engagement and Participation: CBET initiatives involve local communities in decision-making, planning, and managing tourism activities, fostering ownership and responsibility towards environmental conservation through active participation and empowerment.

Preserving Cultural Heritage: CBET promotes indigenous knowledge, traditions, and cultural practices, educating visitors about local customs, folklore, and heritage, contributing to cultural preservation.

Holistic Approach to Sustainability: CBET aims to balance environmental, social, and economic dimensions, promoting a harmonious balance between nature conservation and community well-being.

Community-based ecotourism initiatives in India are crucial for promoting sustainable practices, supporting local economies, and protecting natural and cultural heritage.

Community-Based Ecotourism Projects in India

India has successfully implemented community-based ecotourism (CBET) projects to promote sustainable practices, empower local communities, and conserve natural and cultural heritage.

Image source: Konkani Ranmanus, Maharashtra

Konkani Ranmanus is a sustainable tourism initiative on India's west coast, focusing on local initiatives in villages and hills. It attracts tourists by promoting the lifestyle of locals, allowing them to live and eat like locals, connect with nature, and help in the fields. The initiative encourages sustainable practices, such as walking, eating locally-grown food, and using earthen homestays. It attracts around 140-150 visitors annually, promoting sustainable rural development.

The Velas Turtle Festival, a successful ecotourism initiative in Velas, Maharashtra, began in 2007 to conserve olive ridley turtles. It involves turtle hatchling releases, conservation efforts, and local cultural experiences. The festival is led by NGO Sahyadri Nisarg Mitra and generates funds that support turtle conservation and local livelihoods.

Khonoma Village in Nagaland, India, became India's first community-led conservation project in 2001. It implemented sustainable practices such as indigenous culture preservation, forest-based dry cultivation, and eco-friendly daily life. Hunters became conservationists, and the village became a model for sustainability.

Sahyadri Nisarg Mitra promotes turtle conservation and ecotourism, Mangrove Foundation supports mangrove safaris in Maharashtra, and Community-Based Tourism empowers locals, preserves culture, and improves livelihoods.

Community-based ecotourism projects in India promote responsible travel, cultural preservation, and sustainable rural development, showcasing the positive impact of tourism on both people and the environment.

Community-Based Ecotourism Initiatives in Slovenia

Community-based ecotourism (CBET) is a sustainable tourism approach that combines environmental, cultural, social, and economic aspects through community participation, ensuring local communities have significant control over activities and benefit from them.

Here are some key aspects of CBET:

Integration of Sustainability: CBET projects aim to balance environmental conservation, cultural preservation, and economic development by involving local communities in a holistic and sustainable tourism approach.

Community Participation: CBET promotes community involvement in decision-making, empowering them to plan, implement, and manage tourism activities, fostering a sense of ownership and responsibility.

Benefits for Local Communities: CBET initiatives focus on local residents' well-being, generate income through tourism-related activities, and offer social benefits like capacity building, cultural exchange, and improved infrastructure.

Conservation Focus: CBET promotes responsible tourism behaviour and sustainable practices to minimise environmental impacts, contributing to biodiversity conservation and ecosystem protection.

Image source: Wildlife of India

Cross-Cultural Understanding: Ecotourism initiatives showcasing traditional crafts, cuisine, and customs foster cross-cultural understanding, deepen relationships, and encourage collaborative action to preserve Earth's resources.

Challenges and Opportunities: Despite progress, gaps persist in indigenous population inclusion, quantitative research methods, biodiversity conservation evaluation, and addressing disparities between academic production countries and CBET initiatives.

CBET is a promising approach towards sustainable tourism, involving local communities in shaping their future while preserving natural and cultural heritage.

Community-Based Ecotourism Projects in Slovenia

Slovenia, with its pristine landscapes and commitment to sustainability, offers several community-based ecotourism projects. Let's explore some of them:

The Green Scheme of Slovenian Tourism (GSST) is a national-level certification program that promotes sustainable tourism in Slovenia. It evaluates and improves the sustainability practices of destinations and service providers under the Slovenia Green brand. Over 100 destinations, accommodations, parks, agencies, attractions, restaurants, and beaches have been awarded the Slovenia Green certificate, contributing to Slovenia's reputation as a green and safe destination with unspoiled nature.

The journey explores three sustainable tourism destinations in Slovenia: Kočevsko, a former mining community, which is a Slovenia Green Bronze Destination, promoting regional regeneration; Bella Krajina, an activity tourism destination on the Kolpa River, enhancing socioeconomic development and improving residents' quality of life; and Soča Valley, an established alpine tourist destination addressing overcrowding.

Eco-tourism experiences include volunteering at organic farms, learning sustainable practices, and exploring Slovenia's cycling trails to promote eco-friendly transport.

Slovenia has been recognised for its commitment to sustainable tourism, receiving awards for its promotional film "Slovenia Green" and its commitment to sustainable tourism. It was declared the first Green Country in the World at Global Green Destinations Day in 2016 and ranked 5th among the top 10 countries to visit in 2022 by Lonely Planet. Slovenia also received recognition from Conde Nast Traveller as one of the 12 most sustainable destinations for 2022.

Slovenia is a remarkable destination for travellers seeking natural beauty and responsible travel practices due to its commitment to sustainable tourism.

Challenges Faced by CBET Initiatives 

Challenges in India

Community-based ecotourism has gained prominence as a sustainable development strategy, particularly in rural India. Let's delve into the challenges faced by these initiatives:

Lack of Awareness and Understanding: Many local communities are unaware of the benefits of community-based ecotourism (CBET), necessitating education on its positive impact on conservation and livelihoods.

Marketing and Promotion: CBET projects often face challenges in marketing and promotion, necessitating effective communication to attract tourists and generate revenue.

Government Support and Funding: The growth of CBET initiatives is hindered by insufficient government backing and financial resources, necessitating the need for adequate funding and policy support.

Security and Pro-Poor Management: Proper management practices are crucial for ensuring tourist safety and distributing benefits fairly among community members.

Conflict in Leadership: Community leaders' disagreements or conflicting interests can significantly hinder the smooth functioning of Community-Based Enterprises (CBET) projects.

Monitoring and Planning: Regular monitoring and adaptive planning are crucial for addressing emerging issues and ensuring sustainability.

Limited Scope for Income Generation: CBET plays a crucial role in local economies, but the income generated may not always be substantial, highlighting the need for diversification.

Gap Between Theory and Practice: The effective implementation of CBET requires a bridge between academic definitions and practical implementation by practitioners.

Community-based ecotourism can balance environmental conservation and economic empowerment in rural India, fostering a mutually beneficial relationship between local communities, their natural surroundings, and sustainable development.

Challenges in Slovenia

Community-Based Ecotourism (CBET) initiatives in Slovenia face several challenges despite their positive impact. Let's explore some of these challenges:

Balancing Conservation and Economic Development: CBET aims to balance environmental, cultural, and economic sustainability, but balancing resource conservation and local community income requires careful planning and management to prevent harm to ecosystems or disrupt traditions.

Community Participation and Empowerment: Successful CBET requires active community involvement in decision-making, capacity building, and benefit-sharing, while challenges include overcoming apathy, building trust, and ensuring equitable distribution of benefits.

Marketing and Visibility: CBET initiatives face challenges in marketing and visibility, competing with larger tourism operators. Effective promotion, branding, and reaching the right target audience are crucial for success.

Infrastructure and Services: Investing in eco-friendly infrastructure like lodges and trails is crucial while ensuring quality services like guides and transportation while minimising environmental impact is a challenge.

Image source: Environmental Impact

Seasonal Variability and Overcrowding: CBET relies on seasonal tourism, requiring careful planning to balance visitor numbers without overcrowding natural sites during peak seasons.

Conservation Education and Awareness: Educating tourists on responsible behaviour, conservation efforts, and cultural sensitivity is crucial while raising awareness about CBET's impact on local communities and ecosystems remains a continuous challenge.

Financial Viability and Funding: CBET projects require sustainable funding sources like grants, donations, or private investments to generate revenue while minimising environmental impact.

Policy and Regulatory Support: CBET initiatives require government support, regulations, and incentives, but aligning these with sustainable tourism goals and ensuring enforcement can be challenging.

Addressing these challenges necessitates stakeholder collaboration, adaptive strategies, and a long-term commitment to sustainable practices.

Overcoming Challenges by Stakeholders 

The success of community-based ecotourism (CBET) in India and Slovenia hinges on the cooperation of various stakeholders.

Let's explore strategies for addressing these challenges:

In India

Capacity Building and Training: Stakeholders, including local communities, tour operators, and government agencies, are being encouraged to offer training programs on sustainable practices, business management, and hospitality for effective ecotourism management.

Policy Support and Implementation: Stakeholders, including government bodies, NGOs, and industry associations, are urged to develop and enforce policies promoting responsible tourism and fostering community participation in decision-making processes.

Community Engagement and Ownership: Stakeholders, including local communities, NGOs, and tour operators, should be involved in planning, designing, and managing ecotourism initiatives to encourage ownership and pride in preserving natural and cultural heritage.

Infrastructure Development: Stakeholders, including government agencies, private investors, and local communities, should urge investment in eco-friendly infrastructure, waste management systems, and renewable energy sources while also improving connectivity and access to ecotourism sites.

Marketing and Awareness: Stakeholders, including tour operators, media, and local communities, should be encouraged to promote CBET through digital marketing, storytelling, and community-led campaigns.

In Slovenia

Community Involvement and Empowerment: Engaging local communities, NGOs, and policymakers in decision-making, planning, and implementation is crucial for empowering them to take ownership of ecotourism initiatives.

Collaboration Across Sectors: Stakeholders include government, academia, and the private sector, who should focus on fostering partnerships to address infrastructure gaps, funding challenges, policy alignment, research, capacity building, and marketing efforts.

Research and Data Collection: Stakeholders, including researchers, universities, and local communities, should be urged to conduct studies on the economic impact, environmental sustainability, and social well-being of CBET.

Balancing Conservation and Livelihoods: Stakeholders include environmentalists, tour operators, and local communities. Action requires developing models prioritising conservation while ensuring economic benefits and exploring innovative financing mechanisms.

Promoting Niche Tourism: Stakeholders include tour operators, travel agencies, and media, who should promote lesser-known destinations, cultural experiences, and community-led initiatives to encourage travellers to explore beyond popular spots.

India and Slovenia are collaborating to address CBET challenges by promoting education, adaptive strategies, and a harmonious balance between nature conservation, community well-being, and sustainable tourism.

Support by Travellers for Community-Based Ecotourism Initiatives in India and Slovenia

Travelers can play a crucial role in supporting community-based ecotourism initiatives in both India and Slovenia. Here are some ways to contribute:

In India

Choose Responsible Destinations: Choose destinations that prioritise sustainability, like Spiti Valley in Himachal Pradesh, Chilika Lake in Odisha, or Kabini in Karnataka.

Image source: Spiti Valley, Himachal Pradesh

Stay in Community-Run Accommodations: Book local-run homestays, guesthouses, or eco-friendly resorts, as it directly benefits them and promotes responsible tourism.

Participate in Local Activities: Participate in community-organized cultural exchanges, workshops, and guided tours to promote mutual understanding and support livelihoods.

Respect Local Customs and Traditions: Discover local customs, dress codes, and etiquette, and exhibit respect for cultural heritage and natural surroundings.

Contribute to Conservation Efforts: Participate in conservation projects, tree-planting drives, and wildlife monitoring initiatives to directly support environmental protection.

Buy Locally Made Souvenirs: Purchase local artisans' handicrafts, textiles, and products to boost their income and preserve traditional craftsmanship.

In Slovenia

Explore Lesser-Known Destinations: Explore off-the-beaten-path locations, as they often have community-led initiatives that benefit local residents.

Volunteer and Advocate: Volunteer your time and skills to support local projects, participate in conservation efforts, community development programs, or raise awareness about responsible travel practices.

Learn About Local Culture and History: Engage with locals, attend cultural events, and learn about Slovenia's rich heritage while respecting local customs and traditions.

Choose Eco-Friendly Accommodations: Choose eco-lodges, farm stays, or guesthouses that prioritise sustainability, often involving local communities in their operations.

Image source: Farm stay, Slovenia

Support Local Businesses: Spending at local restaurants, buying from neighbourhood markets, and using services provided by local entrepreneurs directly benefits the community.

Practice Responsible Outdoor Activities: It is crucial to adhere to designated trails, avoid littering, and respect wildlife habitats when hiking, cycling, or exploring nature.

Responsible travel involves not only enjoying the beauty of destinations but also positively impacting the environment and local communities.

Economic Benefits of CBET for India and Slovenia

Community-led initiatives have a long tradition in Slovenia, often organised within non-government organisations (NGOs). Here are some notable examples.

Economic Benefits of CBET for India  

Community-Based Ecotourism (CBET) offers several economic benefits for India. Let's explore these benefits:

Local Income Generation: CBET promotes local communities' involvement in tourism, generating employment opportunities and directly benefiting local guides, homestay owners, artisans, and service providers.

Diversification of Livelihoods: CBET reduces dependence on traditional livelihoods like agriculture or forestry, offering an alternative income source, particularly in rural areas.

Multiplier Effect on Local Economy: Tourist spending generates local revenue, supporting local businesses, markets, and services, thus enhancing the overall economy.

Conservation Incentives: CBET promotes conservation efforts by encouraging tourists to appreciate natural beauty and wildlife, thereby turning them into advocates for conservation.

Infrastructure Development: CBET projects often result in infrastructure development, including roads, trails, and accommodations, which benefit both tourists and locals.

Image source: Indian Art

Cultural Preservation and Revival: CBET promotes cultural heritage by recognising and valuing traditional practices, crafts, and customs.

Government Revenue: CBET taxes and levies generate government revenue, which can be reinvested in local development and conservation.

CBET not only improves economic well-being but also promotes environmental stewardship and cultural pride.

Economic Benefits of CBET for Slovenia

Plan B for Slovenia: Plan B for Slovenia is a coalition of 37 NGOs promoting sustainable development, focusing on ecological, climate change, environmental protection, zero waste, biodiversity, and alternative energy, promoting positive change in Slovenia.

Umanotera Foundation's "Dovolj za vse" (There is enough for everyone): Umanotera Foundation, Slovenia's oldest environmental NGO, has created a web platform called "Dovolj za vse" that showcases 44 community-led action practices in sustainable spatial planning, mobility, food self-sufficiency, local circular economy, energy efficiency, renewable energy sources, and participatory resource management. These practices demonstrate bottom-up approaches to sustainability and community well-being.

EU Funding for Community-Led Local Development (CLLD): The Slovenian Ministry of Cohesion and Regional Development has approved €40.1 million in ERDF funding for 37 community-led initiatives, empowering communities to drive sustainable development at the grassroots level through Local Action Groups.

Slovenia's community-led initiatives significantly contribute to environmental protection, social cohesion, and sustainable practices despite its unique challenges.

Jointly Addressing Climate Change Through Clean Energy Solutions

India and Slovenia can collaboratively address climate change through clean energy solutions by leveraging their respective strengths and fostering strategic partnerships. 

The objective of promoting renewable energy Investments is to encourage private investments in renewable energy sources like solar and wind and to create an environment conducive to clean energy entrepreneurs. Joint Research on Climate Solutions aims to collaborate on mid-century, long-term strategies for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and share knowledge on mitigation and adaptation solutions.

India and Slovenia should restructure their Strategic Clean Energy Partnership (SCEP) to accelerate sustainable energy solutions, prioritise electrification and decarbonisation, and expand emerging technologies. The modernisation of the power sector involves strengthening the electric grid for renewable integration, investing in smart grids, energy storage, flexible resources, and distributed energy.

Image source: Smart Grid

The main objective is to enhance energy efficiency and conservation in the industrial sector by implementing super-efficient appliances, smart buildings, and robust energy management systems. The initiative aims to establish joint research programs to advance clean energy technologies, focusing on emerging solutions like solar, wind, and energy storage.

The Civil Nuclear Power Innovation initiative should aim to explore net-zero solutions in civil nuclear energy and foster collaboration in research and development in this area. Private sector engagement should be promoted to involve private companies, startups, and investors in clean energy projects, promoting technology transfer, investments, and knowledge sharing.

Image source: Krsko Nuclear Power Plant, Slovenia

Climate finance mobilisation should explore funding mechanisms for clean energy projects, aiming to align them with global climate goals and secure financial support. Capacity Building and Training program aims to foster the exchange of expertise, best practices, and professional training in clean energy technologies and policy implementation.

India and Slovenia aim to drive innovation, reduce emissions, and contribute to global climate action by deploying technical solutions for sustainable clean energy growth.

Practical Collaboration in Eco-Tourism

Practical collaboration between businesses from India and Slovenia in the field of sustainable tourism can yield mutual benefits. Here are some actionable steps they can take:

Knowledge Exchange and Workshops: The initiative could involve hosting workshops, seminars, and webinars to promote sustainable tourism practices, discussing best practices, case studies, and innovative eco-friendly tourism approaches.

Bilateral Trade Missions: The initiative could involve hosting workshops, seminars, and webinars to promote eco-tourism practices, discussing best practices, case studies, and innovative eco-friendly tourism approaches.

Joint Marketing Campaigns: The teams can collaborate on marketing campaigns promoting sustainable tourism, showcasing destinations, cultural heritage sites, and responsible travel.

Research and Development (R&D): The initiative seeks to collaborate on research projects focusing on sustainable tourism, waste management, energy efficiency, and conservation.

Capacity Building: This program can offer training programs for local communities, tour operators, and hospitality staff, focusing on sustainable practices, customer engagement, and community involvement.

Image source: Capacity building

Investment and Funding: The initiative seeks to encourage sustainable tourism infrastructure investment and explore funding options via bilateral agreements or international organisations.

Collaborative Projects: The initiative aims to promote eco-tourism projects, sustainable accommodation, transportation, and guided tours through collaboration.

Image source: Glamping Resort, Slovenia

Certification and Standards: The initiative aims to establish shared sustainability standards, encourage businesses to obtain eco-certifications, and promote responsible tourism practices.

Public-Private Partnerships: The initiative encourages collaborations between government agencies, private enterprises, and NGOs to address policy issues, promote sustainable practices, and create a conducive business environment.

Networking Events and Trade Fairs: Participate in international tourism expos and trade fairs to showcase sustainable tourism products and establish partnerships with potential partners.

Indian and Slovenian businesses can collaborate on sustainable development by leveraging their strengths, fostering commitment, communication, and a shared vision for economic and environmental benefits.

Policy Framework

Let's delve into the policy framework for sustainable tourism in both India and Slovenia, along with recommendations for policy harmonisation:

Policy Alignment and Regulatory Support 

Slovenia's Commitment to Sustainability: The Slovenia Green label recognises sustainable destinations, accommodations, parks, and attractions. Recognised as the first Green Country, Lonely Planet tops, and European Green Capital, Slovenia is a sustainable destination.

India's Policy Landscape: India has several policies and initiatives promoting sustainable tourism, including the National Tourism Policy, Eco-Tourism Guidelines, Clean India Mission, and Swadesh Darshan Scheme. These policies focus on responsible tourism, conservation of natural and cultural heritage, community participation, eco-friendly practices, cleanliness, sanitation, and supporting rural communities.  

Recommendations for Policy Harmonization

Bilateral Cooperation: India and Slovenia should collaborate on sustainable tourism best practices, research, and policy frameworks through joint workshops and knowledge exchange to improve policy alignment.

Image source: United Nations Sustainable Development Goals

Common Sustainability Goals: Both countries should align their tourism policies with the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals, prioritising environmental protection, poverty reduction, and community well-being.

Certification and Labeling: India can learn from Slovenia's GSST and establish a certification program to recognize and promote sustainable tourism providers through a national label.

Capacity Building and Training: Exchange programs for policymakers, tourism officials, and community leaders can improve sustainable practices while training workshops on sustainable tourism management can empower local stakeholders.

Research and Data Sharing: Collaborate on sustainable tourism research studies, share visitor demographics, environmental indicators, and economic benefits, and collaborate on trends and success stories.

Public-Private Partnerships: The initiative aims to promote sustainable tourism by encouraging private sector involvement and promoting green practices through tax benefits and recognition.

Climate Resilience Strategies: The proposed strategy involves the creation of joint strategies to mitigate the effects of climate change on tourism, which should be integrated into policies and action plans.

Policy harmonisation between India and Slovenia can enhance sustainable tourism, promote cultural exchange, and contribute to global conservation objectives.


India and Slovenia have established diplomatic ties since 1992, fostering a strong trans-continental partnership in trade, investment, science, technology, and culture, with plans to expand collaboration beyond current areas.

India and Slovenia can collaborate to exchange knowledge and implement best practices for eco-friendly tourism, leveraging their respective expertise in renewable energy and sustainable practices. Slovenia's Green Scheme of Slovenian Tourism can serve as a model for India, demonstrating its commitment to sustainability, and by adopting similar tools and certification programs, India can enhance its sustainable tourism efforts.

India may encourage Slovenia to join the International Solar Alliance, promoting global solar initiatives, and in return, Slovenia could assist India in improving waste recycling technology.

Strengthening ties between the two nations can foster economic growth, job creation, and sustainable development while also contributing to global environmental goals.

India and Slovenia could collaborate in areas such as eco-tourism, heritage tourism, adventure tourism, capacity building, and marketing and promotion to promote eco-friendly travel, preserve cultural heritage sites sustainably, leverage India's diverse landscapes, and build capacity through training programs and workshops.

India and Slovenia should partner to promote sustainable tourism, combining renewable energy, waste management, and nature conservation. This partnership benefits both countries economically and contributes to environmental protection.

Usha Menon

With over 25 years of experience as an architect, urban designer, and green building consultant, Usha has been designing sustainable, and visionary spaces. She has published a book, has been actively blogging, and is on social media. Now, her journey is transitioning to full-time writing. Her words will continue to craft stories, not brick and mortar, but in the realm of ideas, fostering a better, more inspired world.

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