Nordic World Ski Championships in Planica: the links between tourism and sport

Published: 2.3.2023

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Nordic World Ski Championships in Planica: the links between tourism and sport

The Nordic World Championships in Planica are accompanied by a number of events. This week, the Minister of the Economy, Tourism and Sport, Matjaž Han, attended a panel discussion, while STB's representatives took part in three expert panels.

Nordic World Ski Championships in Planica: the links between tourism and sport

The Nordic World Ski Championships in Planica is also a great opportunity for a number of expert events, including discussions on the importance of sport for the economy, sustainable development and the I feel Slovenia brand. 

On Tuesday, 28 February 2023, the Slovenian Government Communications Office (UKOM) organised a panel discussion at the Planica Media Centre, where guests discussed the impact of sport events on the economy and promotion, as well as sustainable infrastructure, using Planica as an example. The Minister of the Economy, Tourism and Sport, Matjaž Han, the President of the Slovenian Volleyball Federation and Vice President of the Slovenian Olympic Committee, Metod Ropret, and Dr Franci Petek, former world champion ski jumper, PhD in Geographical Sciences and now Director of Planica, discussed various aspects of sport.

Minister Matjaž Han took the opportunity to point out that "Slovenia is well connected and recognised as one of the safest countries. It is a sustainable country that allows good development, and it is an export-oriented society, and on this basis, the integration of business and sport is extremely important and meaningful. We also have world-class ambassadors, athletes who make our name proud in the world. We love sports. As Minister responsible for sport, I want to give back to sport what it gives to our country."


Maša Klemenčič from the STB also attended the Expert Panel on sustainable events, which took place in the context of the Nordic World Championships in Planica on 1 March, as a side event in the field of promoting sustainable development. Sport events are one of the most visible and effective mechanisms for promoting a country or a region, including as a tourist destination, Maša Klemenčič pointed out. She stressed that events are an important part of the offer of any destination, which is why the STB is paying more and more attention to them through various projects. "For Slovenia, sporting events that take place in pristine nature are particularly important, as they reflect our way of life and also the way we try to position Slovenia abroad - as a green, active country for a healthy lifestyle and well-being," she pointed out.  In 2022 and 2023, the STB has identified sports tourism and active leisure as a central development and communication theme, thus giving this important and promising tourism product additional attention. In line with the central commitment to sustainability, significant attention is paid to the development of sustainable activities, measures and events that will bring long-term economic, social and promotional effects to Slovenian sport and tourism. For example, several major sporting events with a particular focus on sustainability have been held in the last year with the partnership of the STB, such as the 2022 European Handball Championships for Women, which set 41 sustainability objectives to be followed for a more sustainable event delivery. Klemenčič also highlighted the guidelines for sustainable STB events, the partnerships in the field of promoting sustainable development, the measurement of CO2 at national and destination level through the national information system that will be in place by 2024, and the project to implement the commitment to less plastic and more sustainability in Slovenian tourism. The awareness about reducing the environmental impact of events at local level through the Green Scheme of Slovenian Tourism is also beeing spread, where the Slovenia Green destinations, play a key role.

A panel discussion on the Slovenian national brand I Feel Slovenia, which Slovenia uses to represent itself at home and abroad, took place on 1 March. The panel discussion was attended by Petra Bezjak Cirman, Director of the Slovenian Government Communications Office, Rok Capl, Director of SPIRIT Slovenia, and Maša Puklavec, Deputy Head of the Content Digital Marketing Sector at the Slovenian Tourist Board (STB). 

All participants agreed that a strong country brand can be a great opportunity, as it gives additional strength to products and services coming from that country, while at the same time playing an important distractive role. They agreed that the story of the I Feel Slovenia brand goes beyond tourism promotion and natural beauties, as it is also a story about the people of Slovenia, Slovenia's sporting success, outstanding culture, art, science and lifestyle in general. They stressed that with a nationwide brand, Slovenia can show the world that it is an innovative, creative and credible country and tourist destination.   

Maša Puklavec (STB) pointed out that the Slovenian Tourist Board started using the brand in the field of tourism immediately after the launch, which is reflected in the fact that the brand is already well-known in the tourism world. "Back in 2007, we started promoting unforgettable unique experiences in pristine nature and stressed the numerous possibilities for active holidays in an authentic natural environment.... This was true 16 years ago and it is still true today." She added that "Slovenia's story, as told by the brand, is a story of love for nature, of the commitment to preserving the pristine environment and of the remarkable diversity packed on a relatively small area. We present it through four macro-regions and 35 flagship destinations, as well as through key tourism products. In the last two years, the emphasis was given to the field of sport and internationally renowned sports events, and we promoted Slovenia in partnership with sports ambassadors, among whom we proudly count the most famous names of Slovenian sport: Luka Dončić, Tadejo Pogačar, Primož Roglič and Janja Garnbret, who share our values and love for Slovenia, which are successfully intertwined in our communication."

On Friday (3 March) ADVANTAGE AUSTRIA Ljubljana is organising a meeting of Slovenian and Austrian tourism, sport and leisure providers, called Planica 2023: The Future of Tourism and Sports, which aims to exchange views and experiences from both sides of the border, present interesting projects and advanced solutions, bring together leading players from the industry and encourage new partnerships. The event will be attended by the STB's Head of Corporate Communications, Karmen Novarlič, who will introduce Slovenia as a successful sports and tourism destination.

Cover photo: Franci Petek, Matjaž Han and Metod Ropret at a panel discussion on the impact of sport events on the economy and promotion. 


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