Climate change is a new challenge that poses more threats to global tourism than opportunities, and heralds a regional, seasonal and product redistribution of tourist flows. Consumer behaviour is rapidly changing, with tourists increasingly seeking green, responsible destinations. During the period of climate and economic crisis we must study new development opportunities for tourism and the possibility that tourism can become part of the green economy. In advanced tourism services, sustainable forms of tourism are becoming the essential orientation for further development, since only this kind of tourism, which is based on the economic success of tourism business and is at the same time kind and constructive towards the natural, cultural and social environment, can also be competitive in the future.
Green tourism embraces all aspects of SUSTAINABLE TOURISM, based on four basic principles (UNWTO):
- climate (i.e. the “quadruple bottom line” of sustainable tourism)
Green tourism minimises the environmental impact of tourism and maximises its adaptation to climate change.
Slovenia is a country with wonderfully unspoilt nature valued by its inhabitants and tourists alike. The natural features represent the precondition for developing green, responsible tourism.
- With around 60% of its surface covered in forest, Slovenia is the second most forested country in Europe.
- A full 36% of Slovenia’s surface area is included in the Natura 2000 network.
- A fifth of Slovenia’s coastline is protected area.
- In quantity of river water per inhabitant, Slovenia is one of the richest countries in Europe.
- Its more than 22,000 animal and plant species rank Slovenia among the most nature-wealthy countries in Europe.
- Drinking water in Slovenia is among the purest in Europe and even in the world.
- In this country, virgin forest can be found just 60 kilometres from the capital city, Ljubljana
Nature has combined and interwoven great natural riches in this small piece of Europe and granted Slovenia extraordinary variety and diversity that is still well preserved today.
The tourism industry announced its commitment to green and sustainable tourism in the country, stating that the conservation of forests, inland waters, coastal areas and other natural resources will be Slovenia’s ‘trump card’ for tourism in the future.
Also Slovenian Tourist Board (STB) supports green tourism. With committment to the preservation of forests, water, the sea and other natural assets to the greatest possible extent. Their mission in the area of green tourism is to inform participants in tourism about the importance of climate change and the impact on tourism, and about changes in the market, while encouraging action in the area of adapting to and mitigating climate change. The key strategic orientations of green tourism undeniably include the active orientation of tourism towards the green economy, providing information and incentives for the tourist economy to develop green models of operation, incentives for destinations to establish models of sustainable development based on standard indicators, and raising awareness among tourists to adopt more sustainable lifestyles and environmentally friendly behaviour of their own. The communication of green tourism is being supported through the positional slogan SLOVENIA GREEN.
Source: Slovenia tourist board (www.slovenia.info)
How is Unique Slovenia implementing green tourism?
Unique Slovenia programs are highlighting good practices, both by the providers of tourist services and destination organisations in the area of green approaches, green resource saving, green promotion and so forth. It is important for us, as a company, that we’re giving back more to the communities and the natural surroundings that we help you to visit than what is being taken away in our travels. Preserving cultural heritage and conserving and replenishing the natural environment, while improving the lives of local people, is the essence of our way of travelling.
We are working in partnership with providers on different fields:
Slovenia is situated in the heart of the continent, and can be accessed from all directions, including by modes of transport that are less harmful to the environment. Public transportation may be used throughout Slovenia while some regions may be explored on foot or by bicycle. At Unique Slovenia we can arrange the use of Green, Electric or Hybrid cars, whatever you would prefer.
Hotels seeking to become more efficient may initiate small incremental changes such as the use of insulation and glass to cut down on heating and cooling or may seek large-scale solutions like the use of solar or wind power. Simple economics are usually the deciding factor in how energy efficient a hotel actually is. The greening of the building and construction industries have brought design innovation and corresponding efficiency to many new tourism developments and have initiated industry-wide change. We encourage reservations in several interesting types of accommodation.
Ecological tourist farms
On a ecological tourist farm you can find little nooks of peace and relaxation, and you can meet warm-hearted people, and learn about their customs and livestock. The farms offer guests a healthy living environment and certified organic food from the authorised control organisation. Holidaying on a farm is a wonderful opportunity to get to know the rich cultural heritage of the Slovenian countryside: the architecture, the customs and the crafts. It is an opportunity to experience the joy and exuberance of rural fairs and events, and to feel the rhythm of everyday farm life.
The first eco-resort in Slovenia which also boasts the world's prestigious Green Globe certification is Bohinj Park Eco hotel which was designed with high awareness of the environment and is as such, currently one of the most advanced and energy efficient hotels. Apart from its unique construction, it combines a sustainable orientation and placement in culturally rich but economically less developed glacial valley. Located on the doorstep of the only Slovenian national park, it promotes contact of domestic and foreign visitors with untouched nature of the Alpine mountains, waterfalls, gorges...
The first "Open - air" hostel is located in a picturesque setting in the heart of Triglav National Park Trenta Valley. The specialty is the so called Soca Lean To (wooden tent house for 2-3 people) which is a fun style of accommodation. Because of these Lean Tos you will not need any camping gear and that is why it is called Open air hostel.
It lies beside one of the cleanest rivers (which you can actually drink from) in the World, the Soca River and it is surrounded by Julian Alps, rising over 2000 m above the sea level. It offers relaxation without leaving enormous carbon footprint behind you.
Camp was built only from natural materials that were found locally. There is no electricity, only solar lights, you will find natural showers, natural amphitheatre for 20 people made from living trees, natural bridges, fences, stairs, dustbins and other surprises.
Slovenian gastronomy is based on a wide variety of local and regional food. Sustainable practices are being implemented through Slow-food movements in most renowned restaurants, which are using exclusively localy grown products and support eco-friendly and traditional methods of agricultural production. At the same time restaurants are promoting and distributing knowledge of healthy and good food and rediscover gastronomic heritage, offering authentic local dishes, accompanied with local stories and tradition. We reccomend:
It is the first Slovenian inn to acquire an organic food certificate. The catering runs in the family’s blood. The tradition also represents some kind of commitment to continue the story that was started centuries ago by their ancestors. And so today they run the inn together as a family. Kristof inn is mostly into modern culinary ideas that originate as a mixture of Slovene tradition and world gourmet novelties; whereas their overall philosophy is based on seasonal and fresh ingredients, accompanied with a broad selection of Slovenian and world’s wines. The Krištof Inn’s wine list comprises of more than 150 varieties of bottled wines which would satisfying the most demanding connoisseurs.
Hisa (Casa) Franko restaurant
Casa Franko like a philosopher or artist withdrawn into the silence of the Kobariški Stol foothills, takes from the past while offering the future.At Hisa Franko they are nurtured by the environment in which they live and work, creating a new culture and a new milestone in history. They create new dishes on the basis of old recipes and native ingredients - modern fusion kitchen. The restaurant is also a member of the Kobarid gastronomic circle.
The main tourism products of Slovenia are all closely connected with nature. The country is the third-most forested in Europe and it is this landscape that makes Slovenia a perfect destination for hiking, Nordic walking, cycling, golf, all kinds of water-based activities, winter sports and farm tourism. An important part of Slovenia’s sustained commitments is also the preservation of local traditions and geographic, culinary and other specialities. At Unique Slovenia we try to include those components in our programes. Please see the suggested activity below:
Because Slovenian beekeepers are well aware of our rich tradition, one that few nations around the world can boast - beekeeping was once called the poetry of agriculture, as well as our important role in preserving the natural environment and the significance of bee products for a healthy diet, we are pleased to assume an active and equal role in Slovenian tourism. We are certain that visitors from both Slovenia and abroad will see and learn many new things. We also have tales to tell that will fascinate both young and old - these include stories about the mysterious lives of bees, the amazing success of treating various illnesses with bee products, the life and work of some of Slovenia's best-known beekeepers, and many other things.
What Can You Do?
By now, most people have heard something about the impact that fossil fuel emissions are having on our planet. We hear about food miles, we hear about offsetting and we are encouraged to get on our bikes or walk instead of driving our cars to reduce carbon emissions
Other offsetting ideas include contributing to renewable energy projects, buying alternatives such as low energy light bulbs and wood-burning stoves in areas where they could not otherwise be afforded and carbon trading.
Although ‘offset schemes’ is one option and great in principle, it’s even better if you can consider ways to cut down your own carbon emissions and waste in the long term. Here are just some suggestions that can make a difference during your holiday:
Take care of the natural environment:
- Leave anywhere you visit even better than when you found it. Dispose of litter carefully and recycle where possible.
Respect local traditions and people:
- Observe any dress codes and behave appropriately. Although this may be your holiday but it's home to some people. Learning a few words of the local language is a great gesture.
Make sure to ask before taking someone's photograph:
Some people find this intrusive while others may ask for money for this small service.
Buy locally made products and use local services:
- Eat at local bars and cafes. Ask about excursions using local guides and drivers - they have insider knowledge! Putting money into the local economy helps local people and gives your holiday an extra dimension.
Reduce the use of natural resources and energy:
- Take a quick shower instead of a bath; re-use towels; switch off lights and air con when out; try the local bus service, hire a bike or walk - you'll see more that way!
'Natural' souvenirs are priceless. Don't take them away:
- Wild flowers and plants, pebbles and sea shells, should all be left where you found them for others to enjoy.