NG Interview upon the Announcement of National Geographic World Legacy Awards Slovenian Tourist Board Mag Maja Pak, Director

Published: 13.3.2017

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NG Interview upon the Announcement of National Geographic World Legacy Awards Slovenian Tourist Board Mag Maja Pak, Director

NG Interview upon the Announcement of  National Geographic World Legacy Awards Slovenian Tourist Board Mag  Maja Pak,  Director

1) Why was it important for the Slovenian Tourist Board to apply for the National Geographic World Legacy Award, and how significant is it that you have been selected among the finalists and won?

It was a great challenge for STO to apply for the National Geographic World Legacy award, because we had been trying for many years to encourage the development of green or sustainable tourism. So we tried to test our performance on a global scale.

Being selected among the finalists proves that we have been making the right steps in the right direction in sustainable tourism. Slovenia was recognised as one of the most sustainably oriented countries.

The award is great motivation to further develop green tourism; we are proud that our small country can be a global inspiration, and that we can share our knowledge and experience. 

 

2) Why is sustainable tourism so important to the Slovenian Tourist Board?

STO has made a commitment to encourage sustainable tourism because it helps preserve the environment and our magnificent nature, it drives the success of many companies, and it improves tourists' experience of Slovenia and the quality of life of the country’s inhabitants. We are aware of the power of tourism, which can, among many other positive effects, also take the role of promoter of sustainable development and has an impact on the economic and social stability of the country. Climate change is a fact, and the influence of tourism on climate change is also a fact. That is why we should take a responsible approach to tourism, and at the same time develop products that can prove competitive in these new circumstances.

In 2009 and 2010, we prepared strategic guidelines for green tourism and set our main goal – to become one of the most sustainable countries in the world. We developed a unique national programme, the Green Scheme for Slovenian Tourism, which combines all the efforts made on various state levels to develop sustainable tourism. This was a very important step toward a faster, more effective implementation of green tourism in the country.

Slovenians have an immense respect for our natural environment and It means a great deal to us. We are happy to share the green corners of our country with travellers. That’s why, in order to preserve our unspoiled nature and the richness of our cultural heritage, we decided to develop a more sustainable kind of tourism.

 

3) Which accomplishment in sustainable tourism are you most proud of?  

We are most proud of the fact that we managed to persuade all interested parties in tourism, together with inhabitants, that a mere love of nature is not enough, and that specific measures should be taken. These were put into action by developing the Green Scheme of Slovenian Tourism. Our goal is clear – a 100% green Slovenia, active and healthy, offering a full, five-star experience. The scheme encourages tourist operators and destinations to make changes toward sustainable, green development. We are proud that in the last two years, 50 destinations and operators have joined the scheme. Also, by developing innovative products with high added value and based on the principles of sustainability, we can deliver on the promise made by the brand I feel Slovenia.

We are very proud that:

- at the Global Green Destinations 2016 conference, Slovenia was declared the world's first Green Country, as it meets the standards for Green Destinations with a score of 96%;

- according to Yale University’s Environmental Performance Index , Slovenia is the world's fifth greenest country;

- Ljubljana became the European Green Capital of 2016;

- and 17 Slovenian green destinations were listed among the Top 100 Sustainable Destinations.

 

 

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e-mail address: press(at)slovenia.info

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