Cave tourism

This course is part of the programme
Karstology (Third Cycle)

Objectives and competences

Cave tourism is part of tourist destination karst. On the Slovenian territory cave tourism is one of the oldest forms of tourism. Our oldest show caves had long, this is a centuries-old, stay strong influence and often serious consequences. The student must know the motives which influenced people that wanted to visit the underworld. Through the historical development of cave tourism the student needs to know how the parallel with the development of tourism and tourist infrastructure the awareness of the protection and preservation of the cave environment had developed and strengthened. Based on the knowledge of natural resources, tourism and technical possibilities, the student will be able to assess the possibility of cave tourism potential for a certain cave or for specific area of the caves. In the case of an already arranged show caves the student will be able to advise actions for the protection and preservation of certain caves, to improve the regulation and integration of the full range of the cave. This course is especially recommended for "lifelong learning" tourist workers and managers of show caves in the broadest sense.




• History of cave tourism in the world and in Slovenia
• The basic characteristics of cave tourism, strengths and weaknesses
• Show caves in the world
• A more detailed presentation of the world's most important show caves
• Cave tourism in Slovenia
• Cave and environment protection
• Infrastructure and visitors impact on the cave environment

Intended learning outcomes

The student will learn the basic concepts of connections to the cave tourism and protecting the cave environment, learn about the history of cave tourism, specifically in Slovenia, the importance of cave tourism and its institutions around the world, learn about the basic advantages and disadvantages of show caves, the impact of tourism on the underground and actions to protect the cave from the limit number of visitors to the protective actions and rehabilitation.


• Gunn, J., (editor) 2004: Encyclopedia of Caves and Karst Science.- Fitzroy Dearborn, 902 p., New York, London.
• Hamilton-Smith, Elery & Eberhard, Stefan, 2000: Conservation of cave communities in Australia.- Ecosystems of the World 30, Subterranean Ecosystems, Chapter 33, 647-664, Amsterdam etc. (1295).
• Cigna, Arrigo A., 2000: Development, Management and Economy of Show Caves.- International Journal of Speleology, Preprint for ISCA 2001, 29B, 27 pp., (1285).
• Cigna, Arrigo A., 1993: Environmental management of tourist caves. The examples of Grotta di Castellana and Grotta Grande del Vento, Italy.- Environmental Geology, 21, 173-180, s.l. (696).
• Cigna, Arrigo A., 2000: Engineering problems in developing and managing show caves.- Journal of Nepal Geological Society, 22, 85-94, s.l. (1286).
• Zupan Hajna, N., (editor) 2002: Use of Modern Technologies in the Development of Caves for Tourism. 4th International ISCA Congress, Postojna 21-27 October 2002, 195-199, Postojna.
• Šebela, S. & Turk J. 2014: Natural and anthropogenic influences on the year-round temperature dynamics of air and water in Postojna show cave, Slovenia.- Tourism Management, 40, 233-243.
• Culver, D.C., Debevec B., Knez M., Kovačič G., Kranjc A., Mulec J., et al. 2012: Karstology and development challenges on karst II, construction, tourism, ecology, protection. Postojna-Ljubljana, ZRC Publishing
• Mulec, J. 2014: Human impact on underground cultural and natural heritage sites, biological parameters of monitoring and remediation actions for insensitive surfaces: Case of Slovenian show caves.- Journal for Nature Conservation, doi: 10.10116/j.jnc.2013.10.001
• Šebela S. & Turk, J. 2014: Sustainable use of the Predjama Cave (Slovenia) and possible scenarios related to anticipated major increases in tourist numbers.- Tourism Management Perspectives, 10, 37-45.
• Kranjc, A. (editor) 1989: Cave tourism, Proceedings of International Symposium at 170-anniversary of Postojnska jama, Postojna (Yugoslavia), November 10-12, 1989, Postojna.
• Muri, G., Jovičić A. & Mihevc A., 2013: Source assessment of deposited particles in a Slovenian show cave (Postojnska jama): evidence of long-lasting anthropogenic impact.- International Journal of Speleology, 42/3, 225-233.


Oral or written examination is intended to control the knowledge attained by a student through a lecture as well as his capacity of understanding. A student can apply for the examination if requiring 50 % presence at seminars and after making short written report (5-10 pages) on a narrow question of the basis of karstology or on a source touching his seminar or doctoral work.

Lecturer's references

Adjunct Professor of Karstology, geologist, Fulbright post-doctoral grant holder in 1998


ŠEBELA, Stanka. Natural and anthropogenic impacts on cave climates : Postojna and Predjama show caves (Slovenia), (Earth and planetary sciences). 1st ed. Amsterdam; Oxford; Cambridge: Elsevier, cop. 2022. 274 str., ilustr. ISBN 978-0-12-822954-5., doi: 10.1016/B978-0-12-822954-5.00001-9. [COBISS.SI-ID 64999683]

ŠEBELA, Stanka, BAKER, Gretchen M., LUKE, Barbara. Cave temperature and management implications in Lehman Caves, Great Basin National Park, USA : Stanka Šebela, Gretchen Baker, Barbara Luke. Geoheritage, ISSN 1867-2477, Sep. 2019, vol. 11, no. 3, str. 1163-1175, ilustr., doi: 10.1007/s12371-019-00367-0. [COBISS.SI-ID 44575533]

PIPAN, Tanja, PETRIČ, Metka, ŠEBELA, Stanka, CULVER, David C. Analyzing climate change and surface-subsurface interactions using the Postojna Planina Cave System (Slovenia) as a model system. Regional environmental change, ISSN 1436-3798, Feb. 2019, vol. 19, iss. 2, str. 379-389, ilustr., doi: 10.1007/s10113-018-1349-z. [COBISS.SI-ID 42929197]

PRELOVŠEK, Mitja, ŠEBELA, Stanka, TURK, Janez. Carbon dioxide in Postojna Cave (Slovenia) : spatial distribution, seasonal dynamics and evaluation of plausible sources and sinks. Environmental earth sciences, ISSN 1866-6280, 2018, vol. 77, iss. 7, str. 1-15, ilustr., doi: 10.1007/s12665-018-7459-6. [COBISS.SI-ID 42840877]

ŠEBELA, Stanka, TURK, Janez. Črna Jama as a cold air trap cave within Postojna Cave, Slovenia. Theoretical and applied climatology, ISSN 0177-798X. [Tiskana izd.], Nov. 2018, vol. 134, iss. 3/4, str. 741-751, ilustr., doi: 10.1007/s00704-017-2304-5. [COBISS.SI-ID 42090285]