Slovenia has been working hard for over ten years to stimulate innovative and thrill seeking tourist products. The Slovenian Tourist Organization (STO) invited thus as early as in 2004 in the first tender for the most innovative tourist products in Slovenia through the award Sejalec (Sower). These new tourist products that depart from the well-trodden track of classical tourist offers. The project was highly successful owing to the media support throughout the year and the award in the form of a promotion contributed greatly towards the recognition of new innovative tourist products. The Sower was later (2009) joined by yet another award, “Snovalec” (Creator). This award recognizes ideas and nascent phases of tourist products that need some extension to be ready for the market. These projects receive financial incentives from the STO and the Ministry for Economic Development and Technology in order to be able to bear fruit. Yet another incentive and implementation system for tourist products was introduced in 2006: the Slovenian Bank for Opportunities in Tourism. Various ideas are pooled on the one hand while on the other hand there are those who have the opportunity and the wish to make such ideas come true. The project also received a special award from the United Nations World Tourism Organization (Ulysses Award for Excellence and Innovation in Tourism in 2009). The basic goals of those actions were to launch new, innovative, thrill providing products with an emphasis on sustainable tourism. Last year, the STO undertook within the framework of its European project activities to identify and develop the “Story of Slovenian Tourism” (storytelling) that kicked off with the “Pyramid of Stories in Slovenian Tourism” fuelled by local, regional and state stories. The use of stories as a strategic marketing and operative means of communication was to increase the competitiveness and the attraction of our tourist products. All those measures have significantly contributed towards an innovative Slovenian tourist offer that follows international trends and continues to develop and seek new forms.
The organizer of this study tour, Kompas Novo mesto has actively cooperated throughout this period and sought and produced new, innovative tourist products. Kompas Novo mesto boasts three silver Sowers (On the Trails of Heritage, Matjaž’s Homestead, Tourism in Vineyard Cottages) and we were twice Sower prize finalists (Rudolph’s Raft, Regional Network of Thematic Trails). The Slovenian Tourist Organization conferred on us the recognition as the most innovative tourist organization in Slovenia in the period 2007–2010. In cooperation with the team that is behind those projects (Sower, Creator, BTPS) and tourist products, we have prepared an excursion that is sure to enrich you, to provide you with many new ideas for the development or extension of your tourist offer. Many times we have potential that we don’t see. But with a little imagination and good will we can tell a very attractive tourist story and offer.
Arrival in Slovenia and accommodation in the Celica Hostel in Ljubljana (golden Sower 2004) – Celica Hostel is in the building of a former military prison. The premises that used to keep people locked in, opened up after a decade of renovation, to the world by its architecture and art and offers a change to tourists to find their part of the story. Before or after dinner a presentation of the programme and system of development of innovative tourism in Slovenia with the project Sower and Creator. Dinner and overnight stay.
After breakfast a drive to Struga castle (candidate for the Sower) where we will learn how to use a deserted castle and prepare with a lot of goodwill and innovation an authentic story about life in medieval castles, the history of the monetary system, the Slav mythology ... Next we drive to Novo mesto where we will board Rudolph’s Raft (Sower finalist in 2007). Rafting on the river Krka around the heart of the old town which is highly interesting especially if an excellent group of activity instructors, and musicians put you in a good mood ... In the afternoon a drive to Matjaž’s Homestead (silver Sower, 2008). We will familiarize ourselves with life in a village in Dolenjska, and in the multivision presentation “The Story of Cviček” we will learn many interesting things about this wine. Wine sampling at the end of the programme. After an early dinner we will leave for an overnight stay in the vineyard cottages – unique wine cellars cum cottage that have been at the disposal of tourists since 2010 (silver Sower 2010). An overnight stay in those unique buildings will be a special experience...
After breakfast a drive to Gorenjska. First we will stop in Kranj and tour the trenches below the town (silver Sower 2009) that served as shelters and today offer an interesting tourist experience. Then a drive to Bohinj. After a tour of Bohinj, lunch at the Eco-hotel Bohinj (golden Sower 2010). In the afternoon a drive to Bled and a visit to Blejski grad (castle) where we will explore the interesting offer of this castle (bronze Sower 2004). At the end of the day visit to Glamping gozdne vile (forest villas) in Bled (Creator 2010). Gozdne vile follow camping trends i.e. glamping creating a glamorous experience in camping. Gozdne vile are small wooden camping houses that allow us to be in touch with nature, surrounded by verdant nature, near lake Bled. The villas are insulated and heated. The feeling is heightened additionally by a wooden outside tub heated by solid fuels. Dinner and overnight stay.
After breakfast a drive to Rogatec (bronze Sower 2010) and a tour of the open-air museum where we will truly experience various activities: baking our own bread in the “black kitchen”, make a bracelet out of corn, make our own musical instrument and dance at the end ... Leave from Rogatec to the Velenje mine the recipient of a special European award for its programme. Introduction to the difficult and interesting life of coal-miners and a real coal-miner’s snack will be served in the lowest canteen in Europe. Driving back, stop in Bizeljsko, to visit a unique wine cellar called “repnice”. Repnice are caves dug in flint stone deposited into this area millions of years ago by the Pannonian sea. Their name derives from turnips (repa) that the people used to store in addition to other agricultural products. As there are no more turnips in them today, people use them to store wine. After sightseeing the “repnica” we will sample some wines and return to the hotel, for dinner and an overnight stay.
An analysis of the tours after breakfast, a workshop with a professional team, possible cooperation in the transfer of best practices .... Return home after lunch.
Note: the programme can be tailored to your own wishes (shortened, changed, only certain days selected ....).