The Slovenian Tourist Board (STO) has received the prestigious National Geographic World Legacy Destination Leadership award, presented by the National Geographic Society. The winners were announced this afternoon at a special ceremony at the ITB Berlin travel trade show 2017. "This award means a lot to us and gives us an even greater credibility in our efforts to encourage the development of sustainable tourism," said Mag Maja Pak, Director of STO, who collected the award.
The National Geographic World Legacy Awards honour organisations, companies and destinations that are driving the positive transformation of the tourism industry, showcasing leaders and visionaries in sustainable tourism best practices, and sharing their stories with millions of today's travellers. It’s an initiative of the National Geographic Society, one of the world's largest and most prestigious non-profit scientific, educational, and travel organizations reaching more than 450 million people worldwide. For the winners and finalists alike, the World Legacy Awards offer unprecedented international visibility and promotion, and both receive coverage in National Geographic Traveler magazine and other National Geographic print and digital media, to reach a global audience.
The National Geographic World Legacy Awards comprise various categories, based on assessments of sustainable tourism practices, environmentally friendly initiatives, protection of natural and cultural heritage, and support for the well-being of local communities. The categories are: Earth Changers, Sense of Place, Conserving the Natural World, Engaging Communities and Destination Leadership.
STO competed in the category Destination Leadership, which assessed environmental best practices, protection for cultural and natural heritage, benefits to local people, and the education of travellers on the principles of sustainable tourism. After a successful application and assessment process, which also included a four-day assessment in Slovenia, STO was nominated to stand among the three finalists (the others being the Riverwind Foundation, Jackson Hole, USA, and Segera Retreat, Kenya).
Sustainable management of Slovenia as a tourist destination, cooperation with various interested parties at various levels, the implementation of the Green Scheme of Slovenian Tourism tool, which encourages sustainable development in tourism and which won Slovenia the title of the world's first Green Country, are only a few reasons, which convinced the jury to award STO with the National Geographic World Legacy Destination Leadership award.
"We are happy and proud. Being selected by a 20-member jury from among 15 finalists from 45 countries was a great achievement. However, winning in one of the five categories is extraordinary. It proves that we are making the right steps in the right direction in sustainable tourism. Slovenia is recognised as one of the most sustainability-driven countries, which is both an honour and at the same time, a great obligation to further develop our green direction. There is no way back, the entire world is watching us now," said Maja Pak, Director of STO, upon collecting the award. "Sustainability in tourism and sustainability in day-to-day life is the only way today if we hope to preserve the future."
Mag Maja Pak will be participating in a special round table discussion by the recipients of the National Geographic World Legacy awards.
More information on ITB Berlin 2017: www.slovenia.info/itbberlin