Tourism Oscar Goes to Postojna Cave

Published: 21.2.2011

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Tourism Oscar Goes to Postojna Cave

The Postojna Cave is known as one of the greatest tourist attractions in Slovenia. It had as many as 23 million visitors in the last 200 years, and now it can boast another extraordinary achievement: it will receive the Golden Apple Award, the highest recognition for extraordinary achievements in the field of tourism.

Tourism Oscar Goes to Postojna Cave

The Postojna Cave is known as one of the greatest tourist attractions in Slovenia. It had as many as 23 million visitors in the last 200 years, and now it can boast another extraordinary achievement: it will receive the Golden Apple Award – also known as the Tourism Oscar –, the highest recognition for extraordinary achievements in the field of tourism.

At the initiative of the Slovenian tourism journalist association FIJET Slovenija, the World Federation of Travel Journalists and Writers (FIJET) will award the recognition, which dates back to 1971, to the cave operator company Postojnska jama. The FIJET explained the choice of this year`s winner as follows: "The Postojna Cave is the most important natural attraction in Slovenia and the most visited tourist cave in Europe. The operator of the underground world has introduced the concept of sustainable tourism development so as to preserve this outstanding tourist attraction for future generations." This will not be the first Slovenian tourist attraction to receive the Golden Apple. Two years ago, the prestigious award was also given to the Walk of Peace in the Soča Region Foundation. The foundation organises guided tours providing active relaxation in the unspoiled nature surrounding the Soča River. The experience is complemented by observing nearby mountains, walking across mountain pastures and learning about the local history of World War I.

There is no doubt that the Postojna Cave deserves this award, for it is probably the most well-known tourist cave in the world, the greatest tourist attraction in Slovenia, and one of the most important karst heritage sites in the world. It is also the only cave, where up to 140 visitors can board a special tourist train, which takes them under magnificent underground vaults and through the staggering landscape into the heart of the cave. The cave ceiling is adorned with stalactites, chandelier-like calcite formations. Until 1818, only some 300 metres (300 yards) were open to visitors. But today you can see over 5 kilometres (3 miles) of underground passages during a 90-minute guided tour. Apart from this, the Postojna Cave is home to a special creature: the olm, or proteus, arguably the most well-known cave animal in the world. There are two species living in Slovenia: the white olm (Proteus anguinus anguinus), and the black olm (Proteus anguinus parkelj), which lives only in the Karst of White Carniola. The proteus is 25–30 cm (10 inches) long, which makes it the largest cave animal in the world and the only vertebrate in Europe that lives solely underground.

According to the economic performance assessment published by the Slovenian magazine Manager, the cave operator company Postojnska jama is among the top ranking companies in the field of tourism. Its business performance is above average; its revenue increased from EUR 11.3m last year to over EUR 12m, while its net profit is expected to reach EUR 1.8m.

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