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Fifth place for Slovenia on prestigious world list

Bled. Photo: Bled Tourist Board

February 2010

As the year 2009 drew to a close, National Geographic Society´s Center for Sustainable Destinations and the magazine National Geographic Traveler compiled its sixth successive prestigious Destinations Rated list of the most beautiful locations and destinations in the world. The list for evaluation involved 133 world destinations, which were evaluated by 437 different experts from across the world.

Slovenia was ranked a fantastic fifth place, which is shared with Vermont in the USA, Kakadu National Park in Australia and the medieval Alhambra in the Spanish city of Granada. All four destinations in 6th place received 78 points. First place was awarded this year to the Norwegian fjords, with 85 points.

In the reasoning for the points given to Slovenia, which was represented pictorially by Bled, it was pointed out that Slovenia deserves praise for being “savvy about balancing tourism with preservation of cultural and natural heritage.” The capital city of Ljubljana merits special praise for being “colourful, vibrant, and culturally appealing.” Meanwhile the general view of Slovenia is that “Slovenia's Alps and wine country remain among the most sustainable and authentic places to visit in Europe.”

EU also has competition for excellent destinations

Storks in Pomurje. Photo: STO

While noting this prestigious competition, it  should also be pointed out the efforts of the European Union in the area of admirable tourism development of individual destinations, especially those that are not developed for tourism and are often anonymous. They are represented by the EDEN movement (European Destinations of Excellence), which holds a competition each year in a special thematic area, and then on the individual country level the best destination is selected under very strict and extensive criteria. In 2008 the theme was Tourism and local intangible cultural heritage; in 2009 the theme was related to tourism in protected natural areas, while in 2010 it is devoted to Aquatic tourism. In past competitions Slovenia had two winners, the Soča River valley and the Path of Peace in 2008 and Solčavsko in 2009.

Text by Janez Bogataj, Sinfo, February 2010