We have been introducing various measures to ease economic development and create an attractive and supportive business environment. Our opportunities lie in the area of tourism, the wine industry, outdoor activities, small businesses, entrepreneurship and agriculture, says Ajdovščina Mayor Tadej Beočanin.
Considering the variety of actions, you can really boast of being capable of creating programmes and projects that improve the lives of all citizens and the economic environment. What are the main characteristics that form the basis of your tourism and the development of industry and entrepreneurship?
– Fertile soil, the strong influence of the Mediterranean climate, an abundance of water resources, coupled with a favourable transport position, create ideal conditions for the development of agricultural activities, industry and entrepreneurship. Our favourable natural conditions are perfect for growing vines (which in turn produce premium wines), indigenous Vipava cherries, apricots and peaches, which ripen earlier here than elsewhere in Slovenia.
As a result, a strong food processing industry developed in this region that is growing continuously. So, considerable opportunities lie in the area of tourism linked to the wine industry (wine tasting and gastronomy) and outdoor activities (paragliding, hiking, downhill cycle racing etc.). The Vipava Valley, in which the municipality is located, was declared a Top 10 Best Europe destination by Lonely Planet. In the first six months of 2018, tourist visits were up 46% compared to the previous year, though there is a shortage of hotels, facilities for outdoor activities and additional restaurants.
Ajdovščina has a favourable geographical and transport location – with close proximity to the border and large markets – and knowledge of the Western Balkan markets
What about your local economy? How did you create a supportive business area following the economic recession?
– We have been introducing various measures to promote and facilitate economic development and to create an attractive and supportive business environment. It is for these reasons that the Municipality allocates substantial funds each year for subsidies and grants… For example, the Municipality offers subsidised compensation for superficies of up to 100% for production, research and development facilities that are newly erected on land owned by the Municipality of Ajdovščina, [thereby] stimulating new investors and promoting new businesses, and consequently creating new jobs. The small size of the municipality (20,000 inhabitants) and its constant need to strive for recognition and promotion are key factors hindering faster growth. Moreover, banks are cautious in financing large projects due to the recent restructuring of the Slovene banking system.
The development of the City of Ajdovščina is based on the excellent integration of small business zones. In which part does the Municipality invest the most?
– Due to economic growth, the municipality has envisaged the building of a residential housing complex with 280 apartments, for which it is seeking investors both locally and internationally. The Municipality also invites hi-tech companies to the region. The excellent integration of small business zones into the transport system enables dynamic operations at reduced operating costs. These small business zones boast modern transport infrastructure linking them to Ljubljana to the east and Italy to the west, promoting the swift movement of goods and people. All small business zones are within a kilometre of motorway access and the local railway station, ensuring connections to all four corners of the world. Ours is an export-orientated economy that nurtures a supportive environment for new businesses that’s conducive to entrepreneurship, small business and, ultimately, job creation.