The highest awards in Slovenian tourism for 2023 awarded at the Days of Slovenian Tourism
The highest awards in Slovenian tourism for 2023 awarded at the Days of Slovenian Tourism
As part of the Days of Slovenian Tourism (DST), the highest awards in Slovenian tourism for 2023 were presented. Marjana Grčman was honoured with the Kristalni Triglav Personality of the Year award. The list of awardees includes Gregor Jamnik, Meta Repovž, Janja Viher, Noah Charney, VABO and the experiences 'Untouched by Light,' 'Dr. Fungi: Mushroom Harvest Adventure', and the exhilarating Črna Luknja adrenaline mountain bike descent. Discover more about these exceptional winners below.
THE KRISTALNI TRIGLAV PERSONALITY OF THE YEAR AWARD: MARJANA GRČMAN
Awarded by: Partner institutions of the Days of Slovenian Tourism
Explanation: Since 2004, Marjana Grčman has dedicated her journalistic career exclusively to tourism. As one of the few individuals who have committed their entire professional journey to tourism, she stands out as a notable figure in the industry. Grčman has become the face of Slovenia's central tourism show, 'Na lepše', significantly contributing to the active promotion of tourism in the country. In recognition of her outstanding contributions, she was elected as the President of the Association of Tourism Journalists of Slovenia this year. In this role, she passionately strives to organize expert round tables on various tourism topics, diligently educates members of the Association of Tourism Journalists, and actively integrates new members. Through these efforts, Grčman leaves an indelible mark on journalism, playing a pivotal role in enhancing the visibility of Slovenian tourism as one of the most crucial and promising branches of the economy.
AMBASSADOR OF SLOVENIAN TOURISM 2023: DR. NOAH CHARNEY
Awarded by: Ministry of the Economy, Tourism and Sport (MGTŠ)
Explanation: Dr. Noah Charney, an esteemed American bestselling author living in Slovenia, art history professor, and columnist, holds a doctorate focused on Jože Plečnik's architecture. Originating from New Haven, Connecticut, he has chosen Kamnik for his home after exploring various European cities. Professing his deep admiration for Slovenia, Dr. Charney's dedication to Slovenia is also highlighted in his book, Slovenology, where he presents a humorous and insightful perspective on Slovenian habits, customs, gastronomy, and icons. He is a featured guest on broadcasts by some of the world's most respected media outlets, including the BBC and various television channels in German, Italian, Slovenian, American, British, and Spanish. His achievements extend to being awarded the gold prize at the ITB Berlin Golden City Gate 2023 for the best tourism podcast, FEEL Slovenia the Podcast. He explained that he "commits himself to researching and writing about Slovenia's wonders with the aim of sharing them with those who have yet to experience the unique charm of our country."
RECOGNITION FOR OUTSTANDING CONTRIBUTION TO THE DEVELOPMENT OF SLOVENIAN TOURISM: GREGOR JAMNIK
Awarded by: Tourism and Hospitality Chamber of Slovenia (TGZS)
Explanation: Gregor Jamnik stands as one of the most professional, dedicated, and renowned hoteliers in Slovenia, with over 25 years of invaluable experience in the hotel industry. As the director of the iconic Best Western Premier Hotel Slon, he is currently steering the hotel through a significant turning point in its history—a comprehensive renovation and structural overhaul poised to elevate it to an even higher quality standard and enhance the overall guest experience. As a member of the board of directors for the Best Western Hotel group in the Central Europe region, comprising 210 hotels, his vision, experience, professionalism, and aesthetic sensibility significantly impact the operations and development of the hotel and tourism industry, not only in Ljubljana but also across Slovenia and beyond. His role extends to successfully chairing the Association of Hoteliers of Slovenia for an impressive 11 years, operating within the framework of the Tourism and Hospitality Chamber, where he holds the position of a member and vice-president of the board of directors. Furthermore, Gregor is a distinguished member of the board of the Slovenian Tourist Board. He also serves as the vice-president of the board of Ljubljana Tourism. In recognition of his exceptional contributions, the City of Ljubljana honoured him in 2022 with an award for special achievements in the development of tourism in the city.
LIFETIME RECOGNITION FOR EXEMPLARY CONTRIBUTIONS TO HOSPITALITY: META REPOVŽ
Awarded by: The Catering and Tourism Section of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Slovenia (OZS)
Explanation: Meta Repovž, with her outstanding dedication to culinary excellence, has firmly established Gostilna Repovž Šentjanž as a premier destination for gastronomic enthusiasts. Her passion for using local ingredients and pioneering innovative interpretations of traditional recipes has elevated the inn to a position of prominence. Both domestically and internationally, she has significantly contributed to the country's recognition as a culinary hub. By consistently advocating collaboration with local producers, Meta has not only shaped the inn's success but also laid the foundation for sustainable tourism practices. The Lifetime Achievement Award is a testament to Meta's tireless dedication, visionary leadership, and commitment to sustainable gastronomy. Also, her profound dedication to family values is reflected in every dish she creates. Navigating the intricate transition from classic to contemporary cuisine, Meta has seamlessly blended innovation with her family roots.
RECOGNITION FOR EXCEPTIONAL CONTRIBUTION TO TOURIST SOCIAL ORGANIZATION DEVELOPMENT: JANJA VIHER
Awarded by: Tourist Association of Slovenia (TZS)
Explanation: Janja Viher's remarkable 35-year journey in tourism reflects a lifelong commitment to its development. Her story began in the primary school youth tourism group, evolving through roles as a high school club president and youth mentor. For over a decade, she has served as the president of the tourist association and remains an active member of the Styrian Tourist Association, currently holding the position of president. Additionally, Janja serves as the vice-president of the Tourist Association of Slovenia for a second term, contributing significantly to the organization's initiatives and program guidelines. As a tourist guide, interpreter of natural and cultural heritage, mentor and enthusiastic about nature, photography, and animals. Her commitment to tourism is not confined to professional duties; she generously dedicates her free time to tourism volunteering. In this capacity, she manages several social networks for micro-destinations. A continuous learner, Janja shares her wealth of knowledge generously, especially with the younger generation aspiring to join the tourism industry. Whether she's engaged in municipal projects, institutes, or development institutions, she approaches every project with unwavering responsibility and passion. Her guiding motto "Tourism are people" encapsulates her belief in the human element as the heart of tourism.
KRISTALNI TRIGLAV 2023 AWARD: VABO d.o.o.
Awarded by: Association of Tourism Journalists of Slovenia
Explanation: In the upcoming winter season, the Slovenian winter sports scene will witness numerous novelties, most of them at Kope ski resort. VABO d.o.o., the company running the mountain resort, has been instrumental in transforming the region into a comprehensive tourist destination. The addition of the new Grmovškov dom Hotel, featuring 150 beds, complements the existing holiday resort with the central hotel facility Lukov dom. Furthermore, a modern year-round stop for motorhomes has been introduced close to the ski resort. As part of the enhancements, the cable car system has undergone a complete renovation, incorporating two new four-seaters and a ski lift for an improved skiing experience. The 10 ski slopes have been reorganized for convenience and safety, with the addition of three new slopes. The local Carinthian restaurant and the Holcer pub, which has undergone renovations, provide additional options for guests to enjoy throughout the week. VABO d.o.o., the driving force behind the development of the comprehensive tourist offer in the municipality of Slovenj Gradec, has played a pivotal role in revitalizing the Kope mountain tourist resort. Beyond its local impact, the company has established a modern centre for motorhomes in Koroška. Simultaneously, under the Robeta brand, VABO is gaining international recognition as a high-quality Slovenian manufacturer of motorhomes. For its contribution to the rejuvenation of the mountain resort and the positive impact on Slovenian tourism, the Association of Tourism Journalists of Slovenia decided to present them with this award.
SEJALEC 2023 AWARD: UNTOUTCHED BY LIGHT – SPARKLING WINE TASTING
Awarded by: Slovenian Tourist Board (STB)
Explanation: The uniqueness of Untouched by Light sparkling wine lies in its authentic and globally unprecedented production method – the first sparkling wine crafted entirely in darkness. From the nighttime harvest to maturation without exposure to light, the wine is filled into black bottles and sealed with black foil, highlighting its exclusivity. The limited series, comprising only 2,000 bottles annually, adds to the allure of this exceptional experience. This narrative showcases the commitment of Radgonske gorice, d.o.o., recognized as Slovenia's oldest and many times awarded sparkling wine house. Far from resting on the laurels of tradition, the company aligns with global trends, introducing innovations that prioritize unique experiences. As the pioneers of genuine Slovenian sparkling wine, they not only maintain their heritage but also aspire to contribute significantly to the cultural and natural heritage. The potential of Radgonske gorice, d.o.o., extends beyond its renowned sparkling wines. With the ongoing renovation of Jurkovič Street, the home of Radgonske Gorice facilities, and the ambitious goal of securing UNESCO protection for the street as a monument of natural and cultural heritage, the company is poised to become a key player in the future of our country's wine industry.
SEJALEC 2023 AWARD – FINALIST
Black Hole Trail – Adrenaline Mountain Bike Descent, Peca Underground
Explanation: The Black Hole Trail offers an unparalleled and niche cycling adventure set in the cross-border area of the Karavanka Geopark. Nestled within the largest metal mine in Slovenia, this trail winds through one of the last operational mines in this corner of Europe, providing a distinctive and extraordinary experience for cyclists. The route takes riders through five horizons of abandoned mine tunnels, delving into the subterranean world of Peca. This adrenaline-fueled mountain bike descent is marked with intensity, catering exclusively to highly skilled mountain bikers familiar with technically challenging terrain. Crafted in collaboration with former miners and the esteemed Štruc cycling family, the experience ensures an authentic journey into the heart of the region's mining history. In addition, a less demanding underground descent is also available, catering to a broader audience. With the Black Hole Trail experience, coupled with the broader cycling offerings, Koroška solidifies its position as one of the premier cycling destinations in Europe.
SEJALEC 2023 AWARD – FINALIST: DR. FUNGI: MUSHROOM HARVEST ADVENTURE
Explanation: This harvest adventure stands out as an authentic local experience, offering participants a deep dive into one of Slovenia's most cherished pastimes – mushroom picking. Tailored for niche guests who cherish nature, active outdoor recreation, and savouring wild foods, this product delivers a captivating and educational encounter. Led by a professionally trained guide, participants traverse the forest, learning the art of identifying edible and poisonous mushrooms, understanding their life cycle, and unraveling their weather-dependent existence. Beyond the thrill of the hunt, this experience imparts valuable mushroom etiquette and unveils the secrets of the medicinal properties found in mushrooms and wild herbs. This unique product not only enriches the niche tourism offerings on the outskirts of Ljubljana but also serves as a catalyst for other providers in the region.
The award ceremony took place on the premises of Intra Lighting d.o.o. in Šempeter, a company dedicated to the artistry of lamp production. They also develop all-encompassing, energy-efficient lighting solutions tailored to user needs. Positioned as a leading global provider, they excel in delivering innovative lighting designs for diverse interiors, encompassing spaces such as hotels and restaurants.
Photo by: Jošt Gantar