More innovation than ever in Slovenian tourism

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Unique experiences make a visit unforgettable

Innovative new concepts are the cream on the cake of Slovenian tourism. Whether they are the result of ‘out-of-the-box thinking’ or a fit of brilliance, they are the unusual and unique experiences that give travel and recreation thelittle bit extra that makes a visit to Slovenia an unforgettable experience. From 2004, Slovenia has had the Sejalec award for innovative tourism products and from 2009, the Snovalec award for promising tourism ideas. Today’s Snovalec maybe tomorrow’s tourism hit.

The Sejalec is awarded every year to innovations that contribute to greater recognitionof Slovenia’s tourist offer. The current list of (former) prize winners has 39 tourism products, from the Adrenaline Park Ljubelj to Wandering with Bicycles in PanonskeTerme. The prison turned hostel, Celica Hostel, in Ljubljana, is a former winner as are the well-recognised, low cost passenger transport company, GoOpti, the passenger terminal atthe Port of Koper and House Raduha: Dreaming and Sleeping in a Treetop.

This year's Sejalec competition attracted 26 entries, all introduced in the past two years and submitted through the portal, Bank of Tourism Potential in Slovenia. The nine-member committee of Sejalec selected three finalists, all linked with gastronomy. In addition to the winner Olam with the Ljubljana Open Kitchen, the jury picked fish farm Fonda for its sea bass and musseltours by kayak, canoes and stand-up paddle boards and Jezeršek Gostinstvo for its ‘Dinner in a cable car’.

Open Air Restaurant

The Open Kitchen (OdprtaKuhina) in Ljubljana started in 2013 at Pogačar Square in the centre. Every Friday, from March to October, food is offered and prepared on the square, turning the heart of Ljubljana into an extremely popular open-air restaurant. With its high quality offerings of food from Slovenia’s gastronomic regions, the Open Kitchen is a hit with both locals and tourists. This year there were around 40 market stalls serving national and international delicacies. ‘The Open Kitchen, as a tourist product, has exceeded all expectations and put Ljubljana and Slovenia on the world tourist map’, was the view expressed bythe expert committee.

Fish Farm Four

The first finalist, Fonda, has enriched its fish farm in the Sečovlje Salina Landscape park and the bay of Piran with its unique offer. Sea and seafood lovers can take a tour through Fonda’s sea worldby solar-poweredboat, kayak, canoe or paddle board and see how the world famous Piran sea bass grows from fingerlings to mature fish. According to the jury, the Fonda fish farm is successfully realising the elements of sustainable development in tourism.

Cable Car Dinner

Last but by no means least, Jezeršek Gostinstvo has a truly unique offer – dinner in a cable car. Seven local partners work together providing mini restaurants which are set up in the cable cars at Krvavec. Two to four people per cable car are served dinner during a two circuit journey. The dessert is served on the ski slope. The marketing of this new product is also innovative. Dinners are sold to various target groups as a gift for special occasions. The seven partners created their unique culinary offer in a short time and have shown that, through cooperation and fresh ideas, it is possible to make appealing and unusual experiences with diverse products. 

New ideas

SPIRIT Slovenia wants to stimulate creativity and innovation in tourist providers in designing their offer and does so throughthe Snovalec award. With the support of SPIRIT Slovenia, several ground-breaking ideas have been realised: Nature Photo Tours, the apartment on water in Dolenjska, the Academy for Young Travel Journalists and lodging in small houses in Istria, on a kozolec (typical Slovenian hayrack) in Luče and in an ecological village in Bled.

This year’s awarded tourism ideas for tomorrow all have strong links to the Slovenian nature.

Forest Selfness

Forest Selfnessis a program with physical activity, relaxation and self-healing in the Cerkno forest. Experts in the fields of meditation, personal growth, healthy food, physical activity and reflexotherapy, lead participants on a hike through the underutilised forest trails. Participants experience therapeutic healing inidyllic spots in nature. A special feature of the program is the transfer of the selfness concept from enclosed spaces to nature.

Garden Village

The Garden Village Bled is an innovative and ecologically designed tourist complex, built over an abandoned garden. The village offers tree houses, tents pitched on a pier above the pond, glamping tents, two decadent apartments, an organic store, a restaurant with a stream flowing between tables with fresh herbs growing on them, a swimming pond that cleans itself with the help of aquatic plants, a sauna in a tree, a massage areain the treetops and much more. Guests are encouraged to pick the vegetables, herbs, fruits, and shrubs growing on the property. The resort was opened in June 2014 and is open from March to October, while the restaurant and the store are open all year.

Trnič Cheese

The Trnič Cheese on Every Dining Table project has revived the legacy of Trnič cheese. The cheese regained its original purpose as a delicacy and a way to preserve the surplus milk on the mountain. You can taste Trnič at certain restaurants in Kamnik, buy it from the mountain huts on Velika planina, the shepherd's village at Gradišek farm and at TIC Kamnik. Trnič is a pear-shaped, hard cheese produced on Velikaplanina in the Kamnik-Savinja Alps. Made from cottage cheese, cream and salt, Trnič is decorated with special ornaments. It is a part of the daily diet of the locals, usually as an extra treat. Traditionally, herdsmen would give Trnič cheese to their beloved as a token of fidelity and love in the autumn, at the end of grazing period, which also meant a promise of marriage.

Throughout Slovenia you can find many unique, unusual and new tourism offers – just check www.slovenia.info/innovative. They can be very noticeable such asthe Open Kitchen which enchants a whole city centre or hidden, such as cycling through the underground below MtPeca. They all have their own uniqueness which makes them worth a visit. When travelling through Slovenia be sure to look for the winners of the Sejalec and Snovalec awards.

If you want to experience one of these new tourism offers, then all you have to do is participate in #CrazyaboutSlovenia on the FEEL SLOVENIA facebook page.