25th June 1991 marks the day when the National Assembly declared Slovenia`s independence. To mark its 20th anniversary, Slovenia has drawn up a “Homecoming” project, through which it is addressing Slovenians living around the world, as well as their relatives, descendants and friends, to visit Slovenia and to discover its heritage. The main event is to be held on 1st July.
Throughout the centuries of turmoil at the European crossroads of Germanic, Roman and Slavic worlds, the Slovenians have managed to preserve their national homogeneity, which was far from easy. During this time, some Slovenians also left their original family homeland and moved to other countries or even continents. The last few decades have also been characterised by the opening of borders, and systemic changes and membership in the European Community have made Slovenia an even more interesting destination for foreign visitors. Learning Slovenian in summer schools is becoming increasingly popular, many descendants of former emigrants and expatriates are re-discovering the cultural and other characteristics of this incredible country with a very versatile landscape. In this jubilee year, Slovenia will be especially hospitable.
The biggest event will take place in Ljubljana on 1st July 2011. The event is entitled WELCOME HOME and will host Slovenian associations, media and other Slovenian organisations from all parts of the world; it will also feature music, dance, theatre and other performances, as well as several workshops, educational and other presentations, and sports games will take place. More details can be found at www.twenty.si, where a calendar of all events to celebrate this important anniversary is also posted. Other activities will be presented on the web portal of the Republic of Slovenia for Slovenians abroad and around the world.
In cooperation with a number of travel agents, the Slovenian Tourist Board has prepared a range of promotional packages and offers in the hope of making it easier for people to decide on a visit to Slovenia, and making the travelling here more attractive. The offer is regularly updated at Slovenian Tourist Board’s website at www.slovenia.info/homecoming and is available throughout the jubilee year.
The site is also intended as a forum for exchanging impressions and memories of the original ancestral homeland, and includes a variety of interactive sections and rewards, while expatriates are also invited to visit Slovenia via various social networks (Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare) and other activities by Slovenia’s tourism sector. The INTERACTIVE QUIZ at www.slovenia.info/homecoming/quiz about Slovenia will last all year, and 30 participants will be drawn to win attractive prizes. Online catalogues and other materials, including the latest – I FEEL PROUD, list a number of good reasons to visit Slovenia.
Moreover, other websites, including the Feel-Slovenia profile on Facebook (with a special web game), offer information and attractive prizes. News on Twitter via the @SloveniaInfo official profile and on the Foursquare social network are regularly posted; emails and notifications will be sent out directly to those interested in the jubilee year and all activities related to people who are linked to Slovenia and to those who have decided to explore their roots in 2011. Slovenian tourism will also be presented at various events (e.g. fairs).
We should also point out that special website involved in the 20th anniversary of Slovenian independence, http://www.twenty.si/first-20-years/, gives a cross-section of 20 years of Slovenian independence, where you can read various stories, views and thoughts contributed along the way by a range of prominent Slovenians.