EUROPEAN GREEN CAPITAL 2016
Ljubljana has congresses written in its genome. Long before the emergence of the meetings industry as we know it today, in 1821 Ljubljana hosted the Congress of the Holy Alliance, which brought together important sovereigns, politicians and diplomats of the time to draw a new political map of Europe after Napoleon’s downfall.
Then a provincial centre in the Austrian Empire, Ljubljana was chosen to host the event because of its strategic location and adequate accommodation facilities, thus stepping on the stage of European diplomatic history. Chronicles report that during the four months (!) of the Congress many concerts, theatre performances, balls, parades and fireworks were held for the illustrious guests, much to the delight of the local residents, too.
The legacy of this historic event is the central Congress Square, which is surrounded by some notable buildings and has been transformed, following a recent extensive renovation, into one of the most attractive open-air event spaces in the city, with the Ljubljana Castle as a backdrop.
Due to a natural passage through the Ljubljana basin, the Slovenian capital has always had a linking role between South East and Central Europe. Ljubljana has many attributes of a big city, while creating the impression of a smaller and friendly town, which makes it so relaxing. A comprehensive urban renewal plan that has won several international awards and is an ongoing project, has contributed to redesigning the city’s image with its sustainable development at the forefront. Over the recent years, traffic-free areas in the city centre and the Old Town have been visibly expanded, which made a positive impact on the quality of life of locals residents and visitors alike. With this, a number of public spaces have acquired a new functionality, now being also suitable for events. The city is compact, picturesque, attractive and friendly to delegates attending conferences, corporate events or incentives. Ljubljana is the major congress destination in Slovenia and the highest share of (international) meetings take place in the capital due to the well-developed and diversified meeting infrastructure and its accessibility.
Linking role between South East and Central Europe/ Because of the passage through the Ljubljana basin,Ljubljana has always had a linking role between South East and Central Europe. Since then, the rural town Ljubljana developed into a modern city with metropolitan attributes, forming a rounded urban tourist destination. Its centre is still the castle hill, which is a symbolic and geographic focal point of the city. It seems that Ljubljana is embedded in rural surroundings, making it a very attractive landscape. Only a stone’s throw from the city is a completely different Ljubljana Marshes Nature Park (Barje), the green outskirts of the city can be felt on the walk on the unique PST path (Path of Remembrance and Comradeship), which interconnects various rural and urban parts of the city.
Cultural and historical heritage/ Combining images of Roman Emona, the medieval city centre and Baroque and Art Nouveau elements also contribute to the attractiveness of the city. The city does not have any internationally recognisable landmarks, but is has a series of small “gems” that are sufficiently attractive and appealing for tourist development. The unique marketplace with the Plečnik arcades stands out along with the river Ljubljanica with Triple Bridges, the Dragon Bridge and the Cobblers’ Bridge. The city has a rich cultural and historical heritage and, consequently, is a social attraction. It has the attributes of a big city, while creating the impression of a small and friendly town. Recently the comprehensive urban renewal also contributed to this, with which Ljubljana acquired many new areas that are closed to traffic and are also suitable for congresses or other events. The renovated Congress Square, Trnovo harbour, the embankments of the Ljubljanica River are all excellent venues for events. The city also stresses the importance of sustainable development, which is reflected in the new low-emission buses, the introduction of charging points for electric cars and other measures such as the expansion of green areas and revitalization of industrial areas that make the city really green. The city is picturesque, attractive and friendly to congress guests.
An accessible destination/ Most congress guests consider the sense of security in the city as very high. The opinion of its residents is that Ljubljana is a pleasant place to live in. Geo-strategically Ljubljana is extremely well positioned and is known as an accessible destination, but it has more and more problems with its transport accessibility.
Currently, the airline connections are poor, as well as the unused railway geostrategic location. This is a shame, as it is this form of transport that is the most sustainable. The lack of regular air connections and problems of the national air carrier currently places Ljubljana among the less accessible meetings destinations. Competition in the region is currently much more active and ambitious. The main traffic artery remains the Slovenian motorway network. Otherwise Ljubljana is among the smaller towns, where most of tourist attractions are within walking distance. Parking problems have recently been eased with the emergence of a new parking garage and a changed traffic regime. Especially commendable is the bicycle rentals and a system of landscaped bike lanes in Ljubljana.
Tourism in Ljubljana/ It is formally and effectively positioned as a key economic activity and a generator of development. An organised destination management through Ljubljana Tourism plays an important role here. Ljubljana thus functions as a developed tourist destination, generating 13.1 percent of arrivals in Slovenia with the majority business motive of the arrival. Among lots of bars and pubs in the city centre some of them are also marked with a symbol of Ljubljana Quality as a guarantee of quality. Much has improved in this area in recent years and only those most tourist restaurants should be avoided. Also, the number of international cuisines that can be found in Ljubljana has increased and Ljubljana is now increasingly comparable with the developed world. Nightlife of the capital is not particularly attractive bit Ljubljana is becoming a true regional shopping Mecca with a huge shopping centre on the outskirts of the city. Especially attractive is the recreational offer with a number of sports facilities and a high recreational culture of inhabitants of Ljubljana. Ljubljana is increasingly recognised as a base for exploring other attractions of Slovenia.
Meeting infrastructure/ Ljubljana is the most important congress destination in Slovenia, where most of the meetings take place because of the appropriate meeting infrastructure and its accessibility. Congress market in Ljubljana on the supply side consists of the Convention Bureau at Ljubljana Tourism and other congress and incentive providers. Congress buyers see Ljubljana, as a capital suitable for small to medium-sized meetings, positioned in the South-Eastern of Eastern Europe. Among capitals of the newly accessioned EU countries (EU-10), Ljubljana ranks at the tail of ICCA rankings. Compared to Eastern European destinations, Ljubljana in the time period to 2008 recorded good results, while in the time period from 2008 onwards it has been falling, as opposed to the share of destinations with a larger increase.
According to congress providers in Ljubljana, the congress capital has competitive advantage in factors outside the congress activities (entertainment, sightseeing, sports activities, professional opportunities), conference facilities and location (climate, environment, infrastructure, hospitality). In assessing individual factors, Ljubljana achieves the best results in terms of the attractiveness of the surroundings, security, the culinary offer of the destination, the hospitality of the local population and opportunities for non-congress activities. Poorer assessment merit factors of service quality, accessibility and image or experience.
The main advantages of Ljubljana are certainly the two top conference centres – Cankarjev dom and the Ljubljana Exhibition and Conference Centre (GR). After numerous renovations both are in excellent condition and suitable for the most demanding conference guests. Even in the area of hotels, Ljubljana does not lag behind, and as the largest hotelier in Ljubljana, the Grand Hotel Union has one of the finest congress halls in the region. In addition, Ljubljana also has 9 hotels with conference facilities, 3 providers of other conference facilities and 10 special venues. Well developed is also the agency offer with three active PCO agencies, 4 DMC agencies, 8 event organising agencies and 4 catering providers. After the above written, Ljubljana is a mature convention destination that meets most of the requirements to become a truly “Cool Capital for Great Meetings” as stated in the slogan of the congress destination Ljubljana.
WHAT'S HOT IN 2015
- 1. DESTINATION AWARD
- 2. SUCCESSFUL YEAR
- 3. ANNINVERSARIES
- 4. CROWNE PLAZA
- 5. HALAL CERTIFICATE
- 6. EUROPEAN GREEN CAPITAL
Ljubljana has received the Tourism for Tomorrow Destination Award for 2015 at the World Travel and Tourism Council’s global summit this April. The WTTC jury pointed out that in recent years Ljubljana “has been completely redesigned with sustainability in mind.”
The current year promises to be as positive in terms of international congresses with more than 100 delegates and in accordance with the ICCA criteria as 2014, which was a successful one.
The International Biennial of Graphic Arts, considered one of the oldest in the world, is turning 60 this autumn; the Ljubljana Festival will be delighting audiences for the 63rd summer in a row, while the Jazz festival Ljubljana will heat the stages during its 56th edition; last, but not least, the Grand Hotel Union is celebrating 110 years since its opening back in 1905.
Crowne Plaza is confirmed for Ljubljana – plans to build a luxurious hotel property at a central location have been recently disclosed by the Serbian company Delta Holding, in the presence of IHG representatives.
Two hotels in Ljubljana are Halal-certified: Grand Hotel Union and Four Points by Sheraton Ljubljana Mons now offer services in accordance with Islamic values.
Ljubljana is gearing up to wear the prestigious title of European Green Capital 2016, which will be marked by an array of events and related programme contents.
QUALITY MEETINGS DESTINATION
5 – excellent meetings destination
4 – quality meetings destination
3 – reccommendable meetings destination
2 – average meetings destination
1 – so so
BEST INCENTIVE IDEA
COMPARISION WITH THE REGION
Based on its conference and accommodation infrastructure, Ljubljana belongs to the group of capitals suitable for medium-sized and smaller meetings (up to 2.500 participants). It is positioned side by side with the new EU member states and geographically in the region of the Western Balkans. Thus, according to congress stakeholders in Ljubljana the most competitive destinations are Zagreb, Belgrade, Prague and Budapest. Compared to the newer EU capitals and countries of South East Europe, Ljubljana is ranked in the second half. It is preceded by Budapest and Vilnius, and we should also highlight the rapid growth of Belgrade. While most countries and cities in Europe, including New York, recorded a minimal decrease in the number of congresses, the cities in our immediate vicinity, mainly from South East Europe, recorded a fall on a smaller scale or record growth. At the end of last year in order to give Ljubljana a new sales and promotional momentum, a partnership called Ljubljana Strategic Bidding Team (LSBT), was established; it is composed of interested partners from both the private and public area.
ODPRTA KUHNA - Every Friday from mid-March to October, a square at the Ljubljana Central Market is occupied by a street food market that has in two years established itself as a true city hot spot. The Open Kitchen is wrapped up in the scents of delicious Slovenian and international dishes freshly prepared by chefs and cooks right there, on the market stalls. Locals mix with visitors from around the globe enjoying a wide array of flavours in a convivial atmosphere. Many people check the weather forecast on Thursdays, hoping it will not rain…