SLOVENIA NAMED AS EUROPE’S BEST COUNTRY FOR SUSTAINABLE TOURISM
The World’s Top 10 Sustainable Destinations have been unveiled at ITB Berlin, at the end of its Opening day, March 7. From 100 top-sustainable destinations, the international jury first selected 32 finalists and among them, destinations carrying the label Slovenia Green Destination as well as Ljubljana and Podčetrtek as Slovenia Green Destination Gold were awarded “Best in Europe” in the category Best of Planet. With this award, Slovenia ranked among the top 10 most prestigious destinations in the World’s Top 10 Sustainable Destinations 2018 category.
The award show was organised by Green Destinations, TravelMole, ITB Berlin and another ten leading global organisations and networks in the field of sustainable tourism, as they wished to highlight successful stories, exchange best practices, and contribute to the upgrade of tourism and its improvement. This way, they encourage individual destinations to be even more dedicated to sustainability.
The Slovenian Tourist Board developed the strategic guidelines for green tourism in 2009 and 2010 and made it its principal goal to make Slovenia one of the most sustainable countries in the world. At the first Days of Slovenian Tourism in 2011, the Declaration on the Partnership for Sustainable Development together with various stakeholders was signed, committing themselves to take over the responsibility for a competitive and sustainable development of Slovenian tourism. The 2012–2016 Slovenian Tourism Development Strategy was also based on the principles of sustainable development, but the Slovenian Tourist Board defined its sustainable focus as the only true development opportunity for Slovenia and its tourist offer. It also additionally highlighted its commitment to the sustainable development of tourism at last year’s Days of Slovenian Tourism by signing the Declaration on the Partnership for the Sustainable Development of Tourism, which is in line with the 2017–2021 Strategy for the Sustainable Growth of Slovenian Tourism.
The attractive tourist offer based on a sustainable concept and the development of high-quality and innovative tourist products with high added value is becoming an essential element of competitiveness, which distinguishes Slovenia and its tourist offer from other destinations. The Slovenian Tourist Board made a significant step in this direction by developing the unique national programme called the Green Scheme of Slovenian Tourism, which combines all efforts made at various levels in the country that are focused on the development of sustainable tourism. It is based on global criteria, on the Green Destinations standard in combination with the European Commission’s ETIS tool. The evaluation of providers and destinations is carried out on the basis of more than one hundred criteria; if these criteria are met, they can be awarded the Slovenia Green quality label. It was first granted by the Slovenian Tourist Board in 2015, and so far there are already 44 holders of this label, of which there are 23 destinations, 16 accommodation providers, three national parks, and two travel agencies. Soon, they will be joined by 14 new destinations that were evaluated last year. 15 new stakeholders are currently undergoing the evaluation procedure on the basis of this year’s call for applications.
The selection of this renowned and globally recognised award, Green Scheme of Slovenian Tourism, provides all destinations with the SLOVENIA GREEN label with great promotion and an additional positioning as a tourist destination focused on sustainability.
Other awards and recognitions also confirm that Slovenia is truly at the forefront of sustainability.
A total of 76,163 visitors from the GCC visited the Slovenia in 2016, resulting in a 10 percent increase compared to 2015 figures. Amongst those, the number from Saudi Arabia was the highest at 43,483 travelers, which was an increase of 11.5 percent compared to the year before. Visitors from the United Arab Emirates were the next highest, followed by visitors from Kuwait.