At the ITB Berlin NOW, Slovenian destinations have been awarded for their sustainable efforts with the prestigious Green Destinations Story Awards 2021. Also, new destinations and providers have joined the Green Scheme of Slovenian Tourism (GSST).
Three Slovenian destinations awarded for outstanding sustainability stories at the ITB Berlin NOW
The strengthening of the Green Scheme of Slovenian Tourism (GSST) also brings recognition in the international area, as several Slovenian destinations today received Green Destinations Story Awards 2021 at the ITB Berlin NOW. Brda, Ljubljana, Miren-Kras and Kočevsko were among the nominees, while three of them (Brda, Ljubljana and Kočevsko) also managed to get to the final round in the Nature&Ecotourism and Covid&Tourism categories. The awards are given by Green Destinations in partnership with GLP Films and ITB Berlin. The aim is to highlight success stories, exchange good practices and encourage upgrades and improvement of the sustainability in tourism. In this way, destinations encourage an even greater commitment to sustainability, which has a positive impact on both the local population and tourists.
This time, the selection was based on unique stories and good practices carried out by destinations in the past year. The nominees were chosen from among the destinations that ranked among the 100 most sustainable in the selection of Green Destinations (Sustainable Destinations Top 100). .
Miren-Kras was one of the six nominated destinations in the ITB Earth Award category with the Tree for Cerje project, which helped restore the forest around the Peace Monument on Cerje, which was engulfed in a large-scale fire in August 2019.
Among the finalists were three other Slovenian destinations; Kočevsko took the 2nd place in the Nature& Ecotourism category, with the experience of observing bears in their natural environment.
In the Covid & Tourism category, Ljubljana took the 2nd place with the 'Culture Online' project, and Brda took the 3rd place with the 'Cherries from Brda to each home' promotional campaign.
Awarded Slovenian destinations further strengthen Slovenia's position as a country that offers unique experiences that will be especially sought after in the post-epidemic times. These experiences are based on natural and local heritage and provide a safe experience. The awards will strengthen the visibility of the awarded destinations in the international space.
The awards were announced online as part of this year's ITB Berlin NOW. The finalists were selected by a 12-member commission chaired by Albert Salman, president of the internationally renowned Green Destinations, and the most important criteria were innovative approach, efficiency in addressing challenges for more sustainable tourism and the possibility of transferring them to other environments.
Already 133 providers and destinations included in the Green Scheme of Slovenian Tourism
The Green Scheme of Slovenian Tourism (GSST) now includes two new destinations that have received the gold Slovenia Green label – Kranj and Gorenja vas-Poljane. During the last year, both destinations successfully implemented steps for obtaining the label and proved that it is possible to achieve good results in the field of sustainability even in extremely demanding conditions. The destinations have thus joined 55 other Slovenia Green destinations, in addition to 58 accommodation providers, 4 parks, 8 agencies, 3 restaurants, 2 attractions and 1 natural swimming pool.
MSc. Maja Pak: “I am glad that two more destinations have received the gold Slovenia Green Destination label and thus joined the Green Scheme of Slovenian Tourism. Slovenia Green and the Green Scheme of Slovenian Tourism have certainly gained on importance during the epidemic, as guests are looking for destinations that ensure safe holidays away from the crowds and destinations that develop environmentally friendly tourism. The trend has also been recognized by Slovenian destinations and providers; last year we welcomed the 100th member, and now already more than 130 have joined. A large number of destinations and providers that follow international standards on which the green scheme is based, represent a good foundation for further sustainable development and promotion of Slovenia as a green and safe country. We upgraded the green scheme with the Green & Safe brand, which informs guests that Slovenia offers sustainable and safe experiences, and added the Slovenia Green Cuisine brand. Congratulations to Brdo, Ljubljana and Kočevsko for the Green Destinations Story Awards 2021, which they received today for excellence in sustainable efforts and products."
In Kranj, one of the two new destinations in the Scheme, the focus lies on a committed approach to destination management as well as the protection and conservation of natural and cultural resources. Last year, despite the short season and many limitations, great attention in the procedure for obtaining the Slovenia Green label was given to surveys, which included a large number of residents who had the opportunity to express their (dis)satisfaction with the development of tourism. At the same time, they created attractive tips for greener behavior for the locals, visitors and providers.
Gorenja vas–Poljane performed extremely well in the categories that assess destination management, nature and landscape, as well as culture and tradition. A local strategic plan for tourism development, based on a regional strategy, made a significant contribution to the high assessment of the destination management as well. This serves as a good example of adapting the regional development document to the local level.
In the coming weeks, two more destinations, Izola and Renče-Vogrsko, will complete the procedure for obtaining the Slovenia Green Destination label, and the first steps are already being taken in Portorož and Piran, Šmarje pri Jelšah, Murska Sobota, Žirovnica, Krško and the Lahinja Landscape Park. With this, the vast majority of Slovenian destinations and almost all leading destinations will be included in the GSST next year, which is of key importance for further positioning of Slovenia as a green and safe country. In this way, the GSST is also becoming a central platform for the development of new, more sustainable models of operation in Slovenian tourism, among which gastronomy and the elimination of single-use plastics will be at the forefront this year.