Meet the Local people around Bled Lake
© Tomo Jeseničnik
What makes a holiday destination special? Its natural and cultural attractions? Yes. Accommodation facilities? Yes. Good restaurants? Sure. Outdoor activities? Yes. Top-quality cultural events? Yes (More about the above).
But first and foremost, the people who live there. Local people give a destination its character, personality and soul. A tourist resort may be packed with luxury hotels, hold daily concerts by world-known authors and exhibitions by famous artists, have the best ski routes, and yet, if it does not have the people who support and live tourism, it is just a very beautiful and also very expensive gift box, which is, sadly, empty.
Sustainability and local people
© Boris Pretnar
Sustainability and local people? That’s right. Every destination striving to be sustainable must first and foremost work closely with local people, never forgetting that this collaboration and communication is a two-way process. Sustainable development and the quality environment where tourists and the local community can coexist are at the focus of the new Sustainable Development Strategy of the Bled Municipality, which is currently being finalized.
Local people are the soul of the destination that has been indelibly shaped by their history, stories, way of life and traditions. Their hospitable and friendly attitude makes visitors feel welcome. Of course, local people must also be involved in deciding what will happen in their town and what direction its development will take. Their voice must be heard and taken into account, and the communication between the local community, the decision-makers, the municipal authorities, the local tourist board and various tourism providers must run in all directions. This too is sustainable action!
We know that tourism has many faces, some of them rather unpleasant: pollution, over-visitation of natural and cultural sights, and the seasonal nature of tourism. It is therefore crucial to make local people aware of the benefits that tourism can bring for the entire local community and not only for the providers for whom tourism is their daily bread and butter. Indeed, tourism has a lot to offer also to those who are not directly involved with it.
Bled Local Selection
© Boris Pretnar
“Bled is a place where new ideas are constantly being created and products are being made that are already filling us with pride. The Bled Local Selection collective trademark is the strongest evidence that innovation, entrepreneurial spirit and great stories still live and thrive in these parts of the world! To find these stories, we went to the people who love Bled with all their hearts; to find the products, we went to people who cherish the experience and traditional knowledge of the generations before us; and to find the food, we went to the people who know the power of the land on which they have grown. In the end, our journey brought us to the group of people who embody all this and who can proudly call themselves the heirs of the town that is deservedly referred to as the ‘Slovenian image of paradise’. The Bled Local Selection is summarizes everything that has lived and grown in Bled and its surroundings, in its people, in the land, water and air. Thankful to our ancestors for what they have bestowed upon us, we have added to this legacy our own ideas, reflections of the times in which we live. We are proud that we can offer quality, authenticity and innovation, combined in this collective trademark, to our customers at home and all over the world.” (More information)
This is the story of the Bled Local Selection, a project which the Bled Tourist Board started in 2019 and is part of a broader project for creating collective trademarks underway in the Julian Alps Community (More information).
We extended this collaboration to people involved with a range different activities from food production and processing to artists and craftsmen, and more (Offer). Until now the project covered arts and crafts, food and gastronomy, and included a total of 69 products all of which tell a special story about their origin. All products had to undergo a uniform and transparent certification process which was carried out by an independent panel of experts.
© Boris Pretnar
Despite the epidemic, the Bled Tourist Board will continue the project in 2021. We are preparing a study tour and, most importantly, an online shop that will provide a uniform platform for all providers to promote and sell their products and benefit from expert assistance.
Open-air Bled Market began operation last year, which also offers the products included in the Bled Local Selection.
Romana Purkart, Green Coordinator of Bled
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