Bled is Destination Gold of the Green Scheme of Slovenian Tourism. How does it work?

The Green Scheme of Slovenian Tourism (GSST) is a national tool and certification program operating under the umbrella brand of SLOVENIA GREEN with an aim to:

Combine all efforts directed towards the sustainable development of tourism in Slovenia, Offer tools to destinations and service providers that enable them to evaluate and improve their sustainability endeavours, Promote these green endeavours through the Slovenia Green brand.

The Green Scheme currently comprises 55 tourist destinations, 58 accommodation providers, four nature parks, seven tourist agencies, two attractions, three restaurants, and one beachGrajsko kopališče Bled. Green cuisine is about the join the scheme as well.

In order to obtain the Slovenia Green Destination (Bronze/Silver/Gold) label, the destinations need to meet the criteria of the Green Destinations Standard, while providers applying for the Slovenia Green Accommodation/Park/Travel agency/Attraction/Cuisine/Beach label have to provide proof of ownership of one of the internationally recognized sustainability labels that are also recognized by the Green Scheme.

zelena-shema-slovenskega-turizma-zemljevid-en© STO

Source: Green Scheme of Slovenian tourism

 

Why is Bled a ‘Golden’ Destination?

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The overall certification system consists of the basic information on the destination and six categories of indicators covering different aspects of sustainability. These six categories which  include a total of one hundred criteria are:

The Slovenia Green Destination Gold label is awarded to destinations which secure an average score of at least 8.1 in six criteria, with the minimum score of 6.1 in each individual category and a minimum of 8.1 in the category Destination Management or Business & Hospitality and have at least one accommodation facility holding a valid Slovenia Green Accommodation label.

 

What do the above themes mean?

 

Destination Management comprises questions related to four themes, namely commitment and organisation, planning and development, monitoring and reporting, legal and ethical compliance. Under this theme, the auditors are mainly interested in checking the destination's strategic documents, development plan, tourism sector involvement, visitor management and public reporting.   

The Nature & Scenery theme introduces the indicator that monitors the impact of tourism on nature, as well as conserving the landscape and its distinctive features.

The Environment & Climate theme sets out environmental risks, enquires about land use and planning, water quality, soft mobility, waste management, energy and climate change. 

Bled_kolesa_Jost_Gantar (15)© Jošt Gantar

Culture & Tradition focuses on cultural heritage conservation, managing tourism impacts on culture, and respecting authenticity.

Social Well-being is a theme that touches upon human rights, and priorities community participation, monitors local economy giving particular emphasis to promotion of local products and services, seasonality of tourism, health and safety prevention and response, and crisis and emergency response.

Apart from Destination Management, the second most important theme is Business & Hospitality. The auditors verify how the destination manages its resources, involves local inhabitants, communicates relevant sustainability issues and what is the overall level of its hospitality.

 

How successful is Bled at meeting the criteria?

 

When Bled was first admitted to the Green Scheme of Slovenian Tourism in 2018, it met the criteria that warranted the Destination Gold certificate. As a destination, Bled scored the highest in Nature & Scenery and Social Well-being, and had the most room for improvement in Business & Hospitality. On the scale to 10, Bled scored 8 or higher in Destination Management, Nature & Scenery, Environment & Climate, Culture & Tradition, and Social Well-being.

 

What next?

Bled-Local-selection-image-photo-Boris-Pretnar-2020-VELIKA-4© Boris Pretnar

At the end of February, Bled applied for a reassessment of its sustainable development. We reassessed all the criteria, entered needed corrections, prepared new documents, and presented the updated sustainability information. Over the last three years Bled has made incredible progress in all the aspects of sustainability. The Bled Local Selection project highlights in-depth collaboration and involvement of the local community, sustainable mobility is continuously increasing, and new green products and services are being launched.

We are about to undergo a recertification that will again place Bled on the map of sustainable destinations in Slovenia and in the world. Bled's worldwide popularity as a green destination is rising every year, which is clearly demonstrated by the wealth of awards and prizes Bled has been awarded for its sustainability efforts over the past few years.

 

The Green Scheme Platform – a learning tool

 

For us, creators of the Bled public image, the Green Scheme platform is, strangely as it may sound, primarily a learning tool. Why? Because it provides us with guidelines, presents good practice examples (also international) and offers a view into the future. The platform is the next step, a reliable predictor of future sustainability trends and encourages destinations to follow up on them. On top of that, the Green Scheme platform is a mirror of the destination and its sustainable endeavours.

by Romana Purkart, Green Coordinator of Bled