This year started with two major awards for the city of Kranj, both of them in the field of sustainable development. In Europe, this city was recognized as EUROPEAN DESTINATION OF EXCELLENCE 2023, and in Slovenia, it has been awarded the PLATINUM Slovenia Green Destination label.
In order to develop Kranj in a sustainable way, we joined the Slovenian Green Tourism Scheme in 2021 and were awarded the Gold Label. At the end of December last year, a reassessment took place and we were awarded the Slovenia Green Destination platinum label for sustainable practices in this destination. The assessment was carried out in six categories: destination management, nature and landscape, environment and climate, culture and tradition, social climate and tourism business operations. With an average score of 9.2 out of a possible 10, Kranj joined the five other platinum destinations in Slovenia: Bohinj, Ljubljana, Čatež, Brežice, and Laško.
Klemen Malovrh, Director of the Kranj Tourism and Culture Board: “We achieved the highest score (10.0) in the Culture and Tradition category and the lowest score (8.3) in the Environment and Climate category. What makes me particularly happy is that both categories directly linked to tourism were rated very well; destination management (9.4) and tourism business operations (9.5). This is a good indicator that we are actively working with the tourism sector and other stakeholders and that together we are strategically planning the development of tourism, taking into account the need for sustainability and care for the environment and climate. In this context, the municipality’s orientation towards green and sustainable development is a great incentive. Our sustainable efforts have not only been recognised in Slovenia, but the European Commission’s European Destination of Excellence 2023 award which has given Kranj a strong confirmation that our development is heading in the right direction. I believe that all this not only makes Kranj a well-recognised tourist destination, but also contributes to improving the quality of life of local people.”
Matjaž Rakovec, Mayor of Kranj: “I am very pleased that the Slovenian Tourist Board has recognised our efforts for sustainability and awarded us the platinum label, the highest award in the Green Scheme of Slovenian Tourism. We invest a lot of energy in sustainable projects that have an impact on the quality of life in our city. If we wish to offer sustainable tourism to visitors, we first need to introduce sustainable practices into everyday life – and we are quite successful in doing so. We are already educating children in this spirit. For example, in recent years, we have given bottles to first-graders when they enter school, telling them that it is a reusable product, that they should drink tap water, which is of very high quality here, and that we wish to develop into a a zero-waste society. At the end of 2022, together with the Tular Cave Laboratory Institute, we opened the SOS Proteus Information Centre, which raises awareness about the importance of groundwater through the story of cave salamanders. Then there’s KRsKOLESOM bike rental, included in the Gorenjska.bike network, the largest electrified bike rental system in the country. A new P+R car park is close to being finished and there’s much more. All these are small steps we’re taking towards big goals that are also being recognised by the international community – the European Commission has awarded us the title of European Destination of Excellence and the membership in the 100 Climate Neutral and Smart Cities mission. We are doing all this in cooperation with various institutions, including the Tourism and Culture Board Kranj. I would like to thank everyone for their valuable contribution and wish us all a constructive cooperation in the future.”
Among the many activities carried out by the Municipality of Kranj, the Tourism and Culture Board Kranj and others, the institutions that selected the candidates for these awards highlighted some examples of good practice:
- Kranj’s inclusion in the 100 Climate Neutral and Smart Cities by 2030 mission and the pursuit of a climate neutrality strategy;
- KRsKOLESOM bicycle rental system;
- Kranj Long Table as an example of a sustainable culinary event involving local caterers;
- The Green Penguin, through which the municipality promotes sustainable lifestyles already among primary school children;
- Visitor counter and monitoring of the Bobovek area;
At the same time, we have also received some recommendations and guidelines for the next steps, which is a good stepping stone for the development of more sustainable tourism.
The Slovenian Tourist Board is the promoter of the Green Scheme for Slovenian Tourism and the GoodPlace Ljubljana Sustainable Tourism Factory is carrying out the assessment of destinations.