On 20 May, when we celebrate the World Bee Day, the fifth Green Day of Slovenian tourism organized by the Slovenian Tourist Board (STB) and the Slovenia Green consortium took place, highlighting sustainable gastronomy. Also the first holder of the platinum SLOVENIA GREEN, the highest recognition of the Green Scheme of Slovenian Tourism, has been announced.
The central event of sustainable tourism in Slovenia brings an important turning point for the Green Scheme of Slovenian Tourism: the first holder of the platinum SLOVENIA GREEN, the highest recognition of the Green Scheme of Slovenian Tourism, has been announced. For the first time, the Slovenia Green Cuisine badges and the Slovenia Green Beach badge were also awarded. At the event, which took place virtually, 37 new national label holders were announced. In the last year, 4 destinations, 15 accommodations, 12 restaurants, 3 tourist agencies, 1 natural swimming pool and 2 attractions have received the Slovenia Green label. In total, already 157 providers and destinations proudly hold the Slovenia Green label.
Today, on the occasion of the World Bee Day, Slovenian Tourist Board and Slovenia Green Consortium organised the central event of sustainable tourism in Slovenia, the Green Day of Slovenian Tourism, which took place for the fifth time in a row. As gastronomy is the central two-year promotional theme of Slovenian tourism and Slovenia is also the holder of the European Region of Gastronomy 2021 title, this year's Green Day of Slovenian Tourism highlights sustainable gastronomy. The round table hosted prominent Slovenian experts to discuss the challenges and opportunities of sustainable gastronomy and its role in Slovenian tourism. This was followed by the announcement of the new holders of the Slovenia Green certificate that have joined the Green Scheme of Slovenian Tourism in the last year, and for the first time the Slovenia Green Cuisine labels were awarded.
"At the Slovenian Tourist Board, we are proud that today, additional 37 destinations and tourist providers have received ‘Slovenia Green’ label. A total of 157 destinations and providers are now already included in the scheme, and municipalities with the Slovenia Green logo generated as much as 79 % of all arrivals in 2019. This year's Green Day is of special importance for the implementation of the sustainable commitment that we set together with the Slovenian tourism industry seven years ago. Today, Bohinj was the first destination to receive the highest award of the Green Scheme of Slovenian Tourism, the platinum Slovenia Green label. For the first time, the Slovenia Green Cuisine labels were awarded to as many as 12 restaurants and catering providers in just four months, and many are in the process of obtaining the label, which further encourages restaurants to comply with the principles of sustainable gastronomy and justify the European Gastronomic Region 2021. The Green Scheme was also joined by the first holder of the Slovenia Green Beach label, the Lake Bled natural bathing area. Sincere congratulations to all recipients," said MSc. Maja Pak, who also emphasized the great importance of the Green Scheme of Slovenian Tourism in positioning Slovenia as a globally recognizable sustainable destination, which places sustainable development at the core of all activities: “With the first platinum Slovenia Green Destination label and 37 new label holders, the Green Scheme of Slovenian Tourism took an important step towards becoming 100% sustainable destination. Today, Slovenia is at the very top of the most sustainable destinations thanks to a clear and consistent orientation towards green, non-mass and boutique tourism, which is acknowledged by the professional and media public, and tourists recognize us as one of the most desirable green destinations. The green scheme has become an example of good practice in the systematic promotion of sustainable tourism at the national level, and it also significantly supports the realization of the promise of the I feel Slovenia brand. The pandemic has further highlighted the need to take action to mitigate the effects of our impact on the environment, and tourists are attaching increasing importance to the sustainable aspect when choosing a destination. In the field of sustainability and digital transformation, we have a great advantage in Slovenia and at the same time an opportunity to further strengthen our position as a modern, green sustainable tourism destination.”
37 new Slovenia Green label holders, including the first platinum destination; the first Slovenia Green Cuisine label and the first Slovenia Green Beach label holders were announced
For the first time, the platinum Slovenia Green label for exceptional sustainable efforts has been awarded to Bohinj, a destination which develops sustainable tourism together with the local population as well as with destination providers. The measures they implement are well-thought-out and primarily aimed at ensuring the quality of life of the local population and the acceptance of tourism as a generator of development. In addition, the destination makes an important contribution to the protection of nature through measures to protect mainly the lake basin and careful planning of the development of tourism along the lake.
At today's event, the Slovenia Green label was awarded to 37 new holders. As a result, as many as 157 destinations and providers are now included in the Green Scheme of Slovenia. For the first time since 2015, when the first Slovenia Green label was awarded, the number of accommodations in the scheme, which is now 72, has surpassed the number of destinations (there are 59 of them). The label is awarded in seven categories: Slovenia Green Destination, Slovenia Green Accommodation, Slovenia Green Travel Agency, Slovenia Green Park, Slovenia Green Beach, Slovenia Green Attraction and Slovenia Green Cuisine. In the last year, as many as 24 recipients (11 establishments, 11 restaurants in 2 attractions) of the Slovenia Green label received the label on the basis of the prior acquisition of the sustainable Green Key label.
Four new destinations have joined the green scheme this year. Renče-Vogrsko (bronze), Gorenja vas – Poljane (golden), Izola (golden) and Kranj (golden). In total, already 59 destinations are included in the scheme.
What is more, in the year when Slovenia holds the European Region of Gastronomy title, destinations and providers are rapidly introducing the principles of sustainable gastronomy into their business. Thus, a new gastronomic module has been introduced. The module is developmentally designed – with instructions on how to develop sustainable gastronomy strategically. To date, Ajdovščina, Bela krajina, Bohinj, Celje, Krško, Laško, Radovljica and Vipava have chosen to participate in it.
Today, also the Slovenia Green Cuisine label, which was introduced in January, was officially awarded for the first time. The label, which can be obtained by restaurants, inns and tourist farms, has already been obtained by 12 providers. Providers with this label are committed to high sustainability standards and to the development of authentic gastronomy based on typical local dishes made from fresh seasonal ingredients, from field-to-table gastronomy, which takes advantage of short supply chains, nature-oriented gastronomy, which includes the service of tap water, zero waste gastronomy and with as little plastic as possible, impeccable gastronomy in a safe environment, environmentally-friendly gastronomy, which is responsible also towards employees and the wider society. Recipients of the Slovenia Green Cuisine label are: Gostilna Pension Les, Gostilna pri Lojzetu – Dvorec Zemono, Hiša Marica, Sava Hotels & Resorts Kavarna Park, Kevder, COB Culinary experience, Galerija okusov, Pri Baronu Tourist & Eco farm, Šenkova domačija Tourist Farm, Urška Tourist Farm, Saksida Wines and Jožef Hotel.
There are also 15 new accommodation providers that have obtained the Slovenia Green Accommodation label: Bled Rose Hotel, Cliff Hotel & Spa in Izola, Leban Homestead in Kostanjevica na Krasu, Tešnak Homestead in Gorenja vas, Na razpotju Eco House in Logar Valley, Ramšak Eco Tourist Farm in Solčava, Hiša Marica in Šmartno in Brda, Jožef Hotel in Idrija, Park Hotel Sava Hotels & Resorts in Bled, Plesnik Hotel in Logar Valley, Pok Hotel in Brezovica near Ljubljana, Pension Les in Brežice, Šenkova domačija in Jezersko, Panorama Krapša B&B in Ptuj and Villa Eva in Goriška Brda.
Also new travel agencies are joining the green scheme. Ten Slovenian agencies are currently in the process, and three have already successfully completed the process this year: the Burjatik Tourist Agency for the Wajdušna, Winestronaut and Vipava Bike brands, the HUD Tourist Agency for the Bear Watching, Farm Life, Pub Crawl Ljubljana, Stag Party Ljubljana and Truffle Hunting brands and in Intours DMC Slovenia. In total, there are 8 green agencies in Slovenia.
Two new green attractions have joined the green scheme: House of the Old Vine in Maribor and Ljubljana Castle. The first recipient of the Slovenia Green Beach label is the natural bathing area on the shore of Lake Bled. This title is awarded to those natural bathing areas that are included in the Blue Flag program and that ensure high quality bathing water, a high level of management and are responsible towards the environment and safety.
The round table highlighted the achievements and future challenges of sustainable gastronomy
As part of this year's Green Day, the introductory address of MSc. Maja Pak, the Director of the STB, was followed by a presentation by William Drew, content director at The World’s 50 Best Restaurants, which raised more than $ 1 million to support the sector during the pandemic. At the round table discussion entitled Sustainable gastronomy as the heart of Slovenia's green story, a number of renowned speakers participated. Among them Ana Roš, top chef and ambassador of ERG, Jure Dretnik, the winner of the European Young Chef Award 2019, Gašper Puhan, Chair of JRE Slovenia, Urška Topolšek Planinšek from Urška Tourist Farm, Tina Belej, director of STIK Laško, Jana Vilman from Bohinj Tourism and Tina Hedi Zakonjšek from Goodplace.
Round table participants highlighted that insisting on sustainable efforts, even when it comes to gastronomy, is the only right direction of development. The role of destination organizations is of crucial importance when it comes to connecting providers at a destination; but often this role is also played by chefs. Many Slovenian restaurants have already recognized agricultural producers as their most valuable partners. As agricultural products are valorised, the destination is also valorised as a result. This is why it is important to appreciate what we have available in Slovenia and to use it in the offer. It is also necessary to strengthen the dialogue with the guests and try to convey the importance of sustainable business to them. In the age of digitalization, technology can help optimize certain business processes, but it cannot replace genuine personal contact, which are the foundation of hospitality.
The round table discussion was moderated by masterchef Bine Volčič, known for his sustainable approaches in gastronomy. He is also the recipient of the Michelin Award for Sustainability.