The aim of the ESPON Targeted Analysis is to develop a methodology for measuring the carrying capacity of tourist destinations. The methodology is tested in four case study destinations located in Slovenia (Bled, Brežice, and Divača) and one cross-border destination of Gorizia/Nova Gorica at the Italian and Slovenian border. The methodology development is based on a review of existing approaches to measuring carrying capacity. It builds on the existing work in order to provide a useful and a realistic methodology to measure carrying capacity and provide meaningful statements for stakeholders.
The methodology consists of five steps that involve desk research, interviews, two workshops, quantitative data collection as well as calculations and visualisations provided by the developed dashboard. These methods allow investigating the destination’s needs and policy objectives, identification of causal loops between tourism and territorial context, measurement of tourism flow, identification of tourism impact based on tourism and territorial context. In the final step, findings are discussed with destination stakeholders in order to commonly formulate actions and recommendations. The lessons learnt during the case studies will allow the methodology to be applied universally in tourist destinations all over Europe. It offers an excellent way how to deal with the challenging situation of tourism to cope with Covid-19 and explore sustainable ways into the future.