Slovenia receives EU boost

Last year alone, over half of all European holidaymakers planned to enjoy a vacation in their home country. With many predicting the trend to continue into 2012, the European Commission, through its initiative, “European Destinations of Excellence” (EDEN) is urging Europeans to discover the breadth of hidden treasures on their doorstep.

Destinations will compete to be awarded the destination of excellence, focusing on a different theme each year. Maša Puklavec, from the Slovenian Tourist Board said: “Slovenian EDEN destinations are shining examples of sustainable tourism and provide an unforgettable experience for visitors that seek inspiration and enjoyment in scenery landscapes.”

In 2011, winning destinations were singled out for playing a key role in reviving their region, bringing sustainable development and new life to run-down cultural, historical, and natural sites and acting as a catalyst for wider local regeneration. 

Famous for its mercury mine and lace making, Slovenia’s winner, Idrija, is a fascinating destination with spectacular scenery. Picturesque mountains, pristine forests, and Lake Wilde create a breathtaking landscape. Its rich cultural, natural, and industrial heritage is treasured by local people proud of their history.

The competition in 2010 celebrated destinations for innovative approaches towards aquatic tourism. The River Kolpa was selected as Slovenia’s winner. The river is considered the longest Slovenian “coastline” and one of the warmest rivers in Slovenia. The river is particularly popular in the summer months, as the water`s temperature rises up to 30°C. Visitors can choose between a wide range of sports and recreational activities, such as boating, canoeing, kayaking, or rafting.

In 2009, EDEN focused on tourism in protected areas. The Alpine scenery of Sol?avsko offers breathtaking natural sites. The three mighty glacial valleys are the main highlight of any stay. The most visited is the Logarska dolina nature park with picturesque views of the mountain chain of the Kamnik-Savinja Alps and the spectacular waterfalls. A lot of interesting hiking trails lead visitors into the lap of the Alps. A number of old stories reveal connections between people and nature and invite them for unforgettable experiences.

Find out more about EDEN’s destinations in Slovenia at http://ec.europa.eu/enterprise/sectors/tourism/eden/

Slovenia pilot on round the world flight stops off in Antarctica

Slovenian pilot Matevz Lenarcic has been flying his Virus SW, an ultra-light plane made by Slovenian manufacturer, Pipistrel, around the world for over a month now.

He intends to circle the world with the lowest possible carbon dioxide emission for a trip of this magnitude. On his way from Slovenia, a Central European country at the juncture of the Alps and the Mediterranean, he has already flown over the Atlantic, landed in North Africa; South, Central, and North America; and on Thursday he landed in Antarctica, which along with Mount Everest, represents the greatest challenge of his journey.

Pilot Matevz Lenarcic set off on his journey from Slovenia on January 8, 2012. On his journey around the world, he will visit over 50 countries and fly over the equator 6 times, altogether covering almost 100,000 kilometers (62,000 miles).

Weighing merely 290 kilos (640 pounds), his plane, which uses a minimum amount of fuel, was constructed by the Slovenian manufacturer, Pipistrel, a recurrent winner of the NASA award for top energy-efficient planes.

The Virus-SW914 ultra-light plane can fly 4,000 kilometers (2,485 miles) with 350 liters (92 gallons) of fuel and flies mostly at an altitude of 3,500 meters (11,483 feet), where fuel consumption is lowest. During the flight, the plane is able to perform measurements of black carbon, the greatest greenhouse agent next to carbon dioxide, in the atmosphere. These readings will contribute significantly to our understanding of the greenhouse effect and will be carried out for the first time ever in many locations.

Environment protection and care for sustainable development is a priority policy in the tourist development of Slovenia, from where the brave pilot hails. It is a small, yet diverse country at the meeting point of the Alps and the Mediterranean, with unspoiled nature and extraordinary natural heritage. Green, with which Slovenia presents itself to the world, in addition to its commitment to responsible tourism, also reflects the fact that around 65 percent of Slovenia’s surface is covered with forest, which places our country among the top three most forested countries in Europe.

You can follow the pilot Matevz Lenarcic at www.worldgreenflight.com, where his team has been regularly posting his impressions about the journey and photographs taken during the flight.