Slovenia at the WTM London: an active green destination offering a broad range of culinary and cultural experiences

Published: 30.10.2019

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Slovenia at the WTM London: an active green destination offering a broad range of culinary and cultural experiences

The 40th jubilee edition of WTM, one of the most important hubs of the global tourist industry, will take place in London from 4 to 6 November. The presentation of Slovenia as an attractive destination developing sustainable tourism will be based on products for active leisure, as well as culinary and cultural experiences.

Slovenia at the WTM London: an active green destination offering a broad range of culinary and cultural experiences

The central theme of Slovenia's stand organised by the Slovenian Tourist Board (STB) and featuring 32 providers is the new Juliana long-distance hiking trail. STB will, among others, host selected foreign media at the stand, and present the products and services of Slovenia's tourism to selected guests at exclusive events WTM Leaders’ Lunch and the PATA foundation gala dinner. As many as four projects by the STB, one by Ljubljana Tourism, and one by Bohinj Tourism are shortlisted for the prestigious International Travel & Tourism Awards (ITTA) in various categories.

Eva Štravs Podlogar, State Secretary at the Ministry of Economic Development and Technology (MEDT) said the following before Slovenia's presentation at the WTM London: “The purpose of our presentation in London, where one of the world's largest travel trade shows takes place, is to consolidate the image of Slovenia as a green, active, healthy destination for five-star experiences, with a special focus on the product of “outdoors”, which certainly makes up the 'heart' of the Strategy for the Sustainable Growth of Slovenian Tourism for 2017–2021. An outstanding outdoor tourism product is the Juliana Hiking Trail, which will be put into the forefront at the show. I am convinced that our presentation, accompanied by top-notch cuisine, will be very successful. The Ministry is aware that the development of new, sustainable, innovative and authentic tourism products is the key to achieving higher added value in tourism. Thus, a series of measures to support the development of new products has been taken. We have just published a call for tenders for raising the competences of leading tourist destinations and the development of tourist products and services in leading tourist destinations in 2020 and 2021 in the amount of €5.5 million, and we are preparing calls for tenders for co-financing the development and promotion of integral products of the tourism industry in the amount of €3 million, a public tender to support micro, small and medium-sized enterprises in the field of tourism to increase material and energy efficiency in the amount of €21.5 million, and planning a public tender for improving the energy efficiency of mountain huts."

Helena Cvikl, acting director-general of the Tourism Directorate, stressed: “What our guests want is exceptional nature and superb and authentic experiences. And Slovenia's portfolio of such experiences increases from year to year. WTM London is the place to present such products to industry experts and the broader lay public. An active participation strengthens our presence on the tourist map, and at the same time connects the tourist players in Slovenia in the desire and the realization that Slovenia is increasingly becoming a destination for five-star experiences. The Ministry is aware that we are halfway through the Strategy for the Sustainable Growth of Slovenian Tourism for 2017–2021, which has set very ambitious goals and numerous measures for their realisation. Many measures are in progress and others are still in preparation. All of us, both at the national level and at the level of tourism industry and local communities, will have to further consolidate our ranks in the remaining two years of the strategy and take an even more active approach to the implementation of the remaining measures. Each remarkable appearance, each award received further strengthens our commitment to the realisation of our objective."

Maja Pak, Managing Director of the STB, pointed out: "This year's presentation of Slovenia as a tourist destination at this event of global importance is particularly intense and multi-faceted. Next to the central stand, where we will organise many business meetings and media sessions, we will participate at two extremely important events. We are proud that the organiser of WTM London invited us to be a partner of Leaders' Lunch, attended by the most prominent representatives of global tourism. Also, Slovenia will have a prominent position at the PATA Foundation gala dinner. Slovenia's tourist products and services are already featured on the trade fair's social media, and the images of our green land will also be on display on various advertising panels around the fair. The focus of Slovenia's presentation in London will be on active leisure in connection with other products such as cuisine and culture. I am pleased that the main partner of the STB is the Julian Alps Community with the latest Slovenia's tourist attraction, a 270-km long-distance hiking trail named the Juliana Trail, which follows the trends of modern-day tourism. With a 4% market share in terms of the number of tourist arrivals, the UK market is one of the six key markets for Slovenia. Last year we saw a 9% increase in arrivals and a 10% increase in the overnight stays. Brexit brings uncertainty, this is why it is important for us to maintain numbers in this market. Therefore, in addition to participating in the WTM London, several promotional activities in the UK are being carried out. Currently, a global digital campaign entitled My Way runs on various platforms and social networks and intense promotion through National Geographic's digital and TV channels and BBC Global News takes place."

Klemen Langus, director of the Julian Alps Community, said: “The official opening of the new long-distance hiking trail around the Julian Alps took place on 18 October at Log pod Mangartom. The trail is the first joint product of the Julian Alps Community, which is as a result of a development plan adopted by the Community two years ago and as such forms the basis for all further cooperation and development projects in the UNESCO MAB area of the Julian Alps. The hiking trail was designed in accordance with all the nature conservation guidelines of Triglav National Park, taking into account the principles of sustainable development and visitor management in the sensitive natural environment of the entire Julian Alps. By presenting the Juliana Trail at the largest tourism event in the world, we want to make it clear that we are following Slovenian tourism’s commitments towards a green, sustainable destination. We expect that this presentation will strengthen our commitment to the sustainable development of Slovenia, especially in the Julian Alps area." 

Slovenia's presentation at the 40th edition of WTM London will focus on active leisure time in connection with cultural and culinary experiences. The latter heralds Slovenian tourism’s primary two-year communication theme for the period 2020–2021 – namely gastronomy – and the project of Slovenia as the 2021 European Region of Gastronomy. The general emphasis will be on the importance of sustainable tourism development, as Slovenia is a global leader in this area, with its green tourism scheme and other projects. All of this is showcased through the latest product, the Juliana Trail, which is the central theme of Slovenia's presentation in London. The long-distance hiking trail brings together a variety of products and providers offering unique experiences. Keeping in mind the wellbeing of both locals and visitors, it is based on smart tourist destination management and diversified tourist flows.

There are 32 Slovenian tourism providers at the Slovenian stand at WTM: ABC Rent a Car & Tourism, Agency Oskar, Agency Van Gogh, Altituda, Bohinj Eco Hotel/SHD, Britannia services limited – Britannia tours Celje branch, BTravel, Festival Ljubljana, Golf Slovenia, Happy Tours, Hit Alpinea, Istrabenz Turizem, the Public Institute of Sončni Kanin, Lipica Stud Farm, Kompas, Ljubljana Castle, M Tours, the Municipality of Ajdovščina, Palma, PNT/Julian Alps International Ski Pass, Postojna Cave, Promet T & T, Development Agency Kozjansko, Roundabout Travel, Sava Turizem, Terme Olimia, Tourist Agency Patos, Bohinj Tourism, Ljubljana Tourism, Union Hotels, Bled Culture Institute and Žičnice Vogel Bohinj.

The Slovenian stand will host two special press and social media influencer brunches on the themes of food and active leisure time. Together with the Ministry of Economic Development and Technology and the Slovenian tourism industry, STB will also present Slovenia's range of tourist products and services, with an emphasis on gastronomy, at two exclusive events as part of WTM's accompanying programme: WTM Leaders' Lunch, organised by Reed Exhibitions, the organiser of WTM London, for select invitees, i.e. the most prominent representatives of the global tourism industry, and the exclusive gala event of the Pacific Asia Travel Association, PATA. 

A total of six Slovenian tourism projects are among the finalists for the International Travel & Tourism Awards. STB is nominated in four categories: Best PR Campaign (for its communication campaign marking the first World Bee Day in 2018), Best National Tourism Board Campaign (with the "Feel Slovenia, Experience Croatia" promotion campaign, carried out in cooperation with the Croatian National Tourist Board), Best in Adventure (with promotional activities carried out in partnership with the Promoturismo FVG and the Kärnten Werbung to raise the profile of the Alpe Adria Trail), and Best in Luxury (with the Alpe Adria Golf project in cooperation with Kärnten Werbung). Ljubljana Tourism competes in the category of Best Food Destination (the Green Supply Chain project), while Bohinj Tourism is a finalist in the Responsible Tourism category (the Sustainable Destination Model project). The winners will be announced on 5 November.

You can follow the presentations of Slovenian tourism and other interesting WTM London themes on STB's social media: Twitter – Slovenia Tourism and Feel Slovenia, Facebook – Feel Slovenia; LinkedIn – Slovenia Tourist Board and Showcase page Slovenian Tourism at Business events. Information is also published on a special landing page.

To further promote and highlight Slovenia as a tourist destination, STB bought a special WTM London advertising package, which includes exposure on the website, on social media, an e-newsletter and a video ad. The images of green Slovenia will also be on display on various advertising panels throughout the fair, inviting visitors to experience Slovenia in their own special way.

Furthermore, STB will use this opportunity to launch three new publications: The 2020 Travel Agents Manual, Taste Slovenia and The Tourist Map of Slovenia.

WTM London is considered one of the most important international events in the world of tourism, as it provides a unique opportunity for meetings, networking, negotiations, and making deals, all in one place, as well as for discovering trends in the tourism industry. Last year, it was attended by nearly 5,000 exhibitors from 182 countries and more than 51,400 participants, and business deals reached at and as a result of the fair are said to have generated over 3.3 billion pounds. The first edition of the fair was in 1980, featuring 221 exhibitors from 40 countries and 9,000 visitors.

The United Kingdom is one of Slovenian tourism’s key markets. In 2018, Slovenia recorded 163,997 tourist arrivals, 9% more than in 2017, and 470,587 overnight stays, a 10% increase on 2017. British tourists stay in Slovenia for 2.8 days on average. Britons see Slovenia as a destination where you get your money's worth, as opposed to mass tourism, and as a place that is great for explorers.

Studies on the travel habits of British tourists aged between 18 and 65 going abroad for a break, vacation or travel, show that these tourists travel four times per year, taking two short and two long trips. 63% travel in summer, 17% in spring, 15% in autumn and 5% in winter. The most common holiday destination choice is a seaside destination (69%), followed by trips to capitals (39%) and other cities (57%). 43% travel as couples, 34% as families, 15% as friends and 7% as solo travellers. Most often, British citizens travel or go on holidays because they want to visit a beautiful destination (35%), escape their everyday lives (33%) or experience something new (31%). They look for budget prices mainly when it comes to transportation (24%), shopping and additional activities (19%). Price is not important for 19% of Britons when it comes to food and 14% when it comes to additional activities at the destination.

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