35 / 2012
Miha Koderman, Lydia Mihelič Pulsipher

Social and Spatial Aspects of Roots Tourism in Slovenia: The Case of the Slovene-American Diaspora


Roots tourism describes the phenomenon of return visits of emigrants to the country of origin or the country of their ancestors. This term has gained widespread academic attention but remains relatively unknown in Slovenia despite the country’s considerable diaspora with over 300,000 persons of Slovene origin. The article focuses on roots tourism in the Slovene context and examines the social, cultural, and spatial aspects of visits by members of the Slovene-American diaspora to their homeland. The research, based on data collected by online questionnaires, included 150 respondents from 25 US states. As the analyzed data show, their visits had a significant impact on their sense of family/ancestral heritage and in some cases became an emotional ‘pilgrimage’ rather than a ‘tourist journey.’

KEY WORDS: roots tourism, Slovene-American diaspora, Slovenia, visit characteristics