Announcing the news, the Slovenian Tourist Board (STO) said on Thursday that it had received the award for introducing sustainable models in tourism at the national level as part of the Green Scheme of Slovenian Tourism.
STO director Maja Pak said that first place in the Best of Europe category was just another confirmation that sustainable development was the right guideline for Slovenian tourism.
The award goes to more than 40 certified destinations, recipients of the Slovenia Green Destination brand. Portugal's Alto Minho and Finland's Fiskar Village have won second and third place, respectively.
"The Green Scheme of Slovenian Tourism, which has incorporated more than 100 various stakeholders over six years, systemically encourages destinations and providers to incorporate sustainability in their activities," Pak added.
With its campaign to reduce waste, Bled meanwhile placed third in the ITB Earth Award category, which acknowledges best practices in combating climate change and degradation of the environment.
Janez Resman, the director of the local utility company Infrastruktura Bled, said that the lakeside resort had been implementing a zero waste project for six years.
The locals no longer need to be educated recycling, but reducing its quantity is still a challenge, he said, adding that awareness-raising campaigns were being conducted already at kindergarten level.
The organiser, Green Destinations, announced the winners on Wednesday on-line, as the ITB Berlin fair, where the awards were supposed to be announced, has been cancelled due to the novel coronavirus outbreak.
The official award ceremony will be held as part of the Global Green Destinations Day event between 6 and 8 October in Bodrum, Turkey.