Ljubljana, a sustainability-minded destination
Ljubljana boasts excellently preserved green spaces and a forward-thinking strategy for sustainable development. It is a proud holder of the European Green Capital 2016 title and the winner of the 2015 Tourism for Tomorrow Destination Award, handed out by the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC).
A city with a green soul and clean drinking water
The per capita green space provision in Ljubljana stands at 542 square metres and there are plenty of natural sights and scenic recreational routes to enjoy in the city and its surrounding areas. Probably the best representation of Ljubljana's green soul is its river Ljubljanica, flanked by picturesque embankments designed by the architect Jože Plečnik.
While enjoying life in close proximity to the city's river, people in Ljubljana also enjoy the privilege of having excellent drinking water from every tap, supplied from pure underwater sources without the need for any technological treatment. In the warm months, free refreshment is provided by more than 30 drinking fountains across the city, half of them located in the city centre. You can easily find them using the Tap Water Ljubljana mobile application.
The city's other top green attractions include the vast Tivoli Park, which stretches right into the city centre, and the Path of Remembrance and Comradeship, a unique recreational path that runs around the entire perimeter of Ljubljana and is lined by more than 7,000 trees. Just a few kilometres from the city, you can find the Ljubljana Marshes Landscape Park, famous for its natural diversity and archaeological sites listed as UNESCO World Heritage.
All this said, it is clear that numerous attractive locations suitable for team-building events in natural surroundings can be found right in the city and its surrounding area.
European Green Capital 2016
Back in June 2014, the European Commission awarded Ljubljana the prestigious European Green Capital 2016 title for ‘raising environmental awareness amongst its citizens, its sustainability strategy 'Vision 2025', its implementation of a range of urban green measures over the past decade and its impressive transportation network'.
The list of international awards and accolades awarded to Ljubljana in recognition of its sustainability efforts is impressive. The city has received two European Mobility Awards, in 2003 and 2013 respectively. In 2012, it was awarded the European Prize for Urban Public Space for its project 'The Revamp of the Ljubljanica Banks and Bridges'. In 2013, it won an Eurocities Award for its project 'Providing Safety and Equal Opportunities in Traffic for Children & People with Disabilities'. A year later, in 2014, it was included in the Sustainable Destinations Global Top 100 list, compiled by Green Destinations.
A wide and diverse range of sustainability measures
Ljubljana has implemented a large number of measures related to different aspects of sustainable development such as green mobility, waste management, and sustainable urban planning. Since 2012, when the core city centre was closed to general traffic, cycling has grown in popularity and the locals enjoy using the city's free BicikeLJ bicycle-sharing system. In 2015, Ljubljana was listed as one of the top 20 cyclist-friendly cities on the Copenhagenize.com blog.
Sustainability measures in tourism and conference industry
Ljubljana is one of Europe's test destinations introducing the ETIS indicators, developed by the European Commission as part of the European Tourism Indicators System. The projects currently underway at the destination level also include the introduction of sustainability certificates and green supply chains among accommodation establishments. In 2015, eight of the city's hotels and one youth hostel entered the Travelife green tourism certification scheme and in February 2016, the first of the hotels already received the Travelife Gold Award.
Numerous investments made in conference venue and hotel renovation projects over recent years were aimed at increasing the establishments' sustainability performance, with a special emphasis on energy efficiency and the use of sustainable materials.
Ljubljana's list of priorities also includes green meetings. Within the destination, the standards for green meetings are being set by Conventa, a leading trade show for New Europe's conference sector, whose reusable wooden exhibition stands, recycled materials used at every level of the event, and attention to local sourcing of food are just a few measures that serve as an example of how to run green meetings.