ITB Berlin is the most important travel trade show in the world, where supply and demand meet with the help of various segments of the tourist industry – national tourist boards and travel agencies, destinations, providers of various tourist products and technologies, tour operators, etc. Last year, 10,000 exhibitors from 187 countries and five continents participated on the 160,000 m² of the Berlin convention centre, and their offer was seen by 120,000 business visitors, 60,000 general visitors, and 5.500 journalists and opinion makers. The trade show focuses on featuring the newest trends in tourism and business events.
This year, Slovenia upgraded its traditional participation with a special achievement – a partnership with the trade show. As the “Convention & Culture Partner ITB Berlin 2017,” it has gained greater exposure, resulting in the chance to increase its recognisability as an attractive green, active, and healthy destination, which has focused the development of its tourism business on sustainability.
Zdravko Počivalšek, Minister of Economic Development and Technology: “Being invited to become a partner of such an important convention as ITB Berlin is a great recognition of the Slovenian tourist industry. I have been a guest at ITB Berlin nearly every year and I know that the organisers select among the most attractive and on-trend tourist destinations from all over the world. Slovenia became a partner due to the efforts of the Ministry of Economic Development and Technology, the Slovenian Tourist Board, and the Slovenian tourism industry.”
National Geographic World Legacy Destination Leadership award
At the ITB Belin Slovenian Tourist Board (STO) has also received the prestigious National Geographic World Legacy Destination Leadership award, presented by the National Geographic Society. The National Geographic World Legacy Awards honour organisations, companies and destinations that are driving the positive transformation of the tourism industry, showcasing leaders and visionaries in sustainable tourism best practices, and sharing their stories with millions of today's travellers. It’s an initiative of the National Geographic Society, one of the world's largest and most prestigious non-profit scientific, educational, and travel organizations reaching more than 450 million people worldwide. For the winners and finalists alike, the World Legacy Awards offer unprecedented international visibility and promotion, and both receive coverage in National Geographic Traveler magazine and other National Geographic print and digital media, to reach a global audience.
The National Geographic World Legacy Awards comprise various categories, based on assessments of sustainable tourism practices, environmentally friendly initiatives, protection of natural and cultural heritage, and support for the well-being of local communities. The categories are: Earth Changers, Sense of Place, Conserving the Natural World, Engaging Communities and Destination Leadership.
STO competed in the category Destination Leadership, which assessed environmental best practices, protection for cultural and natural heritage, benefits to local people, and the education of travellers on the principles of sustainable tourism. After a successful application and assessment process, which also included a four-day assessment in Slovenia, STO was nominated to stand among the three finalists (the others being the Riverwind Foundation, Jackson Hole, USA, and Segera Retreat, Kenya).
Sustainable management of Slovenia as a tourist destination, cooperation with various interested parties at various levels, the implementation of the Green Scheme of Slovenian Tourism tool, which encourages sustainable development in tourism and which won Slovenia the title of the world's first Green Country, are only a few reasons, which convinced the jury to award STO with the National Geographic World Legacy Destination Leadership award.