identified as the destination management organization and the main stakeholder of Slovenia’s tourism. The suggestion developed in this chapter is based on the framework of strategic communication in the country branding with the main purpose to create a positive and appealing of the destination image and to correctly broadcasting and positioning it to the potential tourists (Cai , 2002). The “water” element which was included “Lake Bled”, “Lake Bohinj” and the “River” are main characters to capture the attraction of tourists in the natural landscape perspective, we strongly suggest STB to continually highlight “Lake Bled”, “Lake Bohinj” and the “River” elements, though their media tools as these elements are likely to become the strong point of Slovenia’s image compared to other elements in the physical features and hydrology perspective which was not gained enough attention by tourists which we believe due to the uniqueness of the landscape itself compare to other destination.
The insight data has as well revealed “the Pletna boats” and “church” are proving to be unique and caught the tourist ‘s attention, therefore these elements should be more promoted by STB. While overall natural landscape perspective compared between the destination image and the destination identity is aligned in this research, which suggested tourists have admired the natural landscape of Slovenia. This overall aspect has a potential to be developed into one of a very strong factor for Slovenia’s tourism competitiveness and therefore, would be a great opportunity for the Slovenian Tourist Board (STB) to promote tourism activities related to “sustainability” and “nature” together. However, most activities promoted by STB are related to sports activities which the deep investigation in their “Sport” promotion need to be done as there is a clear conflict between the certain activity promoted such as “Skiing” or Ski world cup competition event and the promotion of “preserved” and “unspoiled” nature in Slovenia or the uniqueness of Slovenian horses promoted by STB and horse farms and horse-riding activities. As was pointed out in the previous section of this study that tourists have neither mentioned, nor emphasized any sustainable practices during their travel, this study has looked into the sustainable tourism model with the objective to make suggestions for the Slovenian Tourist Board (STB) to improve their strategic communication regarding creating the tourists’ awareness of sustainability in Slovenia and introducing sustainable practices to tourists. In terms of environmental sustainability aspect, STB should promote and encourage tourists to travel around the city by bicycle, local mass transportation, create the green map and promote walking and cycle routes as parts of the sustainable practice. Our further investigation regarding this issue has found out the use of bicycles to tour around Ljubljana has been promoted on the Visit Ljubljana official website by Visit Ljubljana as the local DMO (Gale, n.d.
; “Ljubljana Bike”, n.d.). However, this plan is not emphasized by STB as the national DMO which should be in line with these stakeholders. In Socio-cultural sustainability aspect, we suggest STB promote the “sustainability” along with “Local”, “Cultural” and “Heritage” elements under the “Human settlement” category where these elements have already gained attention from tourists. The shortage of emphasizing and encouraging tourists to learn about the local hood and create the interaction with the locals should be fulfilled. As it is important to involve all stakeholders including DMOs, the tourism organization, locals and tourists, that clearly the strong relationships between stakeholders, will create the tourists’ awareness of sustainability in Slovenia.
Furthermore, “Cuisine”, “Wine”, and “Beer” elements under Landscape interaction have been recognized by tourists as the destination image should be strongly promoted and STB should consider promoting these elements together in the sustainability aspect. The case study of the “How the Food Economy Drives Sustainable Tourism Development” by The Catalan Tourist Board (CTB) would be the clear guideline for STB to study and promote the “sustainable food system” to tourists. The encouragement to promote and support local cuisine and locally grown products is the sustainable practice, we are recommending for STB (Skift Research, 2017). Another reason to support this sustainable practice, including the attention given by tourists to the local vineyard as we have seen from the result in the analysis of the destination image section. The promotion and support of local producers will as well create the good impact in the economic sustainability aspect which will not be discussed further in this report. However, in terms of the promotion the “sustainability”, STB need to be careful not to overdo, since it might be perceived as the greenwashing marketing.
Lastly, STB as the national DMO also has the main responsibility to make sure the communication has been communicated consistent and aligned with stakeholders in Slovenia ‘s tourism. In summary, it has been shown from the previous section of the gap between the destination image and the destination identity of Slovenia. It seems that the STB be able to promote and create an appealing destination image in “natural landscape” aspect. On the other hand, there are several tourists perceived related to “Cultural landscape” which should receive more attention from STB, which has mainly promoted “sustainability” elements and “Sports activities” element in this aspect. This section has introduced some suggestion for STB to reduce the indifference between the destination image and the destination identity.
The limitation and suggestion for further research will be discussed in the conclusion of this paper.