Tourism card as cross-border cooperation project between Austria and Slovenia

This project was carried out by L&R Social Research in cooperation with the WISDOM institute on behalf of the Federal Ministry of Labour, Social Affairs and Consumer Pro-tection (BMASK) in the project period from 1-5-2009 until 31-4-2011.

In the framework of this project significant preparations were made for introducing a cross-border tourism card on the basis of the Carinthia tourism card (“Kärnten Card”) model.

With this project the Austrian partner has launched an initiative which, while continuing to pursue the objective, opens up sustainable opportunities in employment market policy:

  • An enhancement of the attractiveness of the region as a whole, which results from the targeted use of offers both in Carinthia and in the Slovenian areas close to the border, increases the capacity utilization of Austrian tourism businesses and at the same time helps secure existing employment as well as providing incentives for additional employment.
  • This tourism card, which also serves to promote leisure facilities, contributes to a prolongation of the season as well, which is known to be regarded as especially relevant for employment by the interest groups in the tourist industry. This perspective is reflected, for example, in the following statement by the Austrian Hotel Association (ÖHV): “Low seasons and the ensuing higher unemployment rates are a burden for Austria’s employment market. The situation on the employment market and the in-ternational trend towards year-round tourism demand alternative strategies for the use of future markets.”
  • Therefore the tourism card Carinthia/Slovenia is not only directly relevant for employment market policy, but is at the same time a model of successful cross-border cooperation in the field of tourism, which will after all also gain importance in the co-operation between Austria and its other neighbouring countries. The case of the greater region Burgenland/Western Hungary shows a number of existing starting points for a common tourism strategy. Similarly the transfer of the Carinthia tourism card to Slovenia could be exemplary of the feasibility and usefulness of cross-border innovations in tourism.
  • The recruitment of experts from Carinthia and Vienna for the consulting, guidance and support activities needed for the launch of a tourism card will result in direct ef-fects on the employment market. This way existing jobs in the field of tourism devel-opment can be secured and, in the long term, enhanced in the consulting sector. Successful cross-border cooperation in the tourism sector will also serve as an in-centive for other Austrian regions and their respective neighbouring countries.

One long-term development option is the launch of a tourism card for the Alpine-Adriatic region, encompassing Carinthia, Styria, the southern Burgenland, Slovenia, northern Croatia and northern Italy. However, this extension was expressly not the task of this Austrian-sponsored project and demands a separate project proposal following this initiative which will have to be jointly sponsored by all partners.

On 7-8 April 2011, a conference on “Tourism card as a cross-border cooperation project between Austria and Slovenia” was held in Klagenfurt.