Slovenia and Ljubljana are hosting the ETC's General Meeting

Published: 19.5.2022

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Slovenia and Ljubljana are hosting the ETC's General Meeting

Slovenia is hosting the 103rd European Travel Commission's General Meeting between 18 and 20 May. The event takes place in Ljubljana. Within the event, the Slovenian Tourist Board (STB) has presented its sustainable efforts with an emphasis on the Green Scheme of Slovenian Tourism and plans for the future.

Slovenia and Ljubljana are hosting the ETC's General Meeting

In her address to the directors of national tourism organizations, Ilona Stermecki, Acting Director of the STB, pinpointed that Slovenia has defined its vision of tourism, focusing on the development of balanced green boutique tourism of higher quality, with a cultural identity and local character. Today (19 May), Slovenia will present the Green Scheme of Slovenian Tourism as an example of good practice in the field of promoting the development of sustainable tourism and Bohinj as the first holder of the platinum label.

The 103rd ETC's General Meeting is taking place in Ljubljana from 18 to 20 May. Part of it is also an Industry Forum on Sustainable Tourism Practices, which discusses the importance of the tourism sector's focus on sustainability and climate action in times of crisis that we have witnessed in recent years. The event is attended by more than 70 registered participants from 30 countries.

The integration of sustainable tourism practices into tourism is becoming increasingly important. With the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, the tourism sector faced a difficult transition, as borders closed and operations stopped. Today, after the pandemic, the tourism sector is facing the challenge of a successful relaunch and new constraints due to rising energy prices, a shortage of skilled personnel and the war in Ukraine, affecting Europe's image as a safe destination.

Commenting on the General Meeting, ETC President Luís Araújo stated: “Despite the ongoing challenges and uncertainties facing our sector, national tourist authorities throughout Europe are right to be hopeful about the resurgence in tourism predicted for this summer season. It has been heartening to see the brightest minds in the sector come together in Ljubljana to strategise on the sustainability and environmental issues that will impact us for the months and years ahead”.

“It is also symbolic that we are hosting our discussion on sustainability in Slovenia, which has been at the forefront of the green transition in European tourism. I would also like to thank the Slovenian Tourist Board for its great hospitality in hosting the ETC’s General Meeting and showcasing their sustainability practices first hand”, he added.

ETC President Luís Araújo, Photo: Nino Verdnik, Blenda

I would also like to thank the Slovenian Tourist Board for its great hospitality in hosting the ETC’s General Meeting and showcasing their sustainability practices first hand... ETC President Luís Araújo

Participant of the forum, the directors of European national tourism organizations, were also addressed by Ilona Stermecki, Acting Director of the STB. She highlighted Slovenia's more than 10 years’ experience in sustainable tourism and the positive effects of the Green Scheme of Slovenian Tourism (GSST), which is run under the auspices of the STB: “The Green Scheme of Slovenian Tourism has done a lot in raising awareness that sustainability is the only correct way to develop tourism and an all-encompassing system that affects various segments of society and many industries, thanks to its multiplicative nature. Today, as much as 90% of all tourist arrivals are generated by Slovenia Green destinations. We are proud that today the highest, i.e. platinum Slovenia Green label, has been awarded to four destinations already. Bohinj has this year been joined by Ljubljana, Laško and Čatež and Brežice. To date, a total of more than 200 Slovenia Green labels have been awarded in different categories.”

She also emphasized the great importance of coordinated action of all tourism stakeholders for even more sustainable and resilient tourism: "Coordinated action in all areas will contribute to the further development of boutique, genuine, connecting tourism. Of course, it will require us to work even more sustainably, in a connected, high-quality, innovative way. However, only in this way will we create added value that will help us continue to invest in even better infrastructure, sustainable projects and people. In Slovenian tourism, we are aware that this path is also paved with appropriate infrastructure in the digital environment. To this end, we have developed a 2022-2026 Digital Transformation Strategy, which, among other things, has taken into account key strategic guidelines at EU level, which also include documents from the European Travel Commission. The same as in the Green Story, we want Slovenia to become an example of a smart destination in the digital environment."

Ilona Stermecki, Acting Director of the STB, Photo: Nino Verdnik, Blenda

We are proud that today the platinum Slovenia Green label has been awarded to four destinations already. Ilona Stermecki, Acting Director of the STB

As part of the event, the STB will present its sustainable efforts with an emphasis on the Green Scheme of Slovenian Tourism and plans for the future. The Green Scheme of Slovenian Tourism is a key platform for the development of green tourism and the implementation of sustainable projects in Slovenian tourism. The progress in recent years has been great, visible both at the management level and at the destinations. At the management level, three new tools have been developed in the last year: A green and healthy office, friendly to Slovenia; Green events and Commitment to less plastic, more sustainability. This year, the STB has also prepared a sustainability report, which assesses the sustainability of the tourism board itself. The next challenges of the STB are aimed at addressing the sustainability of destinations through the concrete data, even more intensive work with providers and even more intensive intertwining of sustainable development and destination management at the national level.

This will be followed by the presentation of Bohinj as the first holder of the platinum SLOVENIA GREEN label, which represents the highest recognition of the Green Scheme. A few days ago, three other platinum holders joined Bohinj: Ljubljana, Laško and Brežice and Terme Čatež.

Participants in the ETC's General Meeting will get to know the tourist offer of Ljubljana and Bled on study tours.

Slovenian Tourist Board works closely with the European Travel Commission

The Slovenian Tourist Board has an excellent cooperation with the European Travel Commission on several levels, which ensures the visibility of Slovenia as an excellent sustainable European destination for unforgettable boutique experiences. On a monthly basis, Slovenian Tourist Board contributes contents for the Visit Europe Guides online platform, which replaced the online Europe Magazine in May. The platform provides information on individual member states and enables destinations to share even more information and interesting content. At the same time, the Slovenian Tourist Board also actively participates in the preparation of posts on social networks related to certain topics #NaturallyCurious #HistoricallyCurious #CreativelyCurious and in the preparation of CrowdRiff Stories for publication on the Visit Europe portal and This year, the existing communication channels will be upgraded by presenting rich content with posts on Google Stories.

The STB is also successfully cooperating with ETC in implementing major joint digital promotion projects and campaigns. Digital campaigns take place on social networks, with the creation and promotion of websites, with the production of videos, with influencers and through other online channels. Last year, two joint major digital promotional projects were carried out; European global campaign and Open Up to Europe. The purpose of the European global campaign project was to promote Europe and its tourist destinations, including Slovenia, in overseas markets. With the Open Up to Europe project co-funded by the EUETC and its partners tried to bring European tourist destinations closer to Europeans during the Covid-19 pandemic and revive travel confidence. This May, we are launching the digital campaign Europe invites the curious, which will target the US market and promote Europe as a safe and attractive tourist destination for unforgettable travel explorations and experiences.

Slovenia has been a full member of ETC since 1993, while the SFR Yugoslavia was the only member of the Eastern Bloc between 1951 and 1992. ETC brings together and represents 34 national tourism organizations (NTOs) from 33 Member States in Europe and was established in 1948 in the midst of a chaotic but also energetic period of post-war reconstruction. It is a unique association in the travel sector, representing NTO members with the mission of strengthening the sustainable development of Europe as a tourist destination.

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