07 Jan 2022, 14:04 PM

STA, 7 January 2022 - The construction of new cycling paths has started on Friday in Gorizia, with the aim of linking the cross-border area around the cities of Nova Gorica in Slovenia and Gorizia in Italy and the adjacent Soča River valley, as part of the Cross-border park of Isonzo-Soča project.

The event upon the start of construction was attended by the mayors of Gorizia and Nova Gorica, Rodolfo Ziberna and Klemen Miklavič, along with the president of the European grouping of territorial cooperation - EGTC GO, Paolo Petiziol.

"This project is an important signal about the kind of city we want to be. We want to live in a conurbation where clean and green mobility is at the forefront," said Miklavič.

He added that this kind of cross-border cooperation has become regular practice in the conurbation of Nova Gorica and Gorizia. "We are becoming a single urban territory, so the area needs to be jointly managed, which also includes infrastructure."

The construction of cycling paths is included in the last two stages of the cross-border park of Isonzo-Soča project, financed through the initiative INTERREG V-A Italy - Slovenia 2014-2020.

The third and the fourth stage of the project will provide for a 14-kilometre network of cycling and walking routes, connecting the two cities and rural areas around them along the Slovenia-Italy border.

The project aims to link existing cycling routes and provide better access to the area along the Soča River across the municipalities of Gorizia, Nova Gorica and Šempeter-Vrtojba, while promoting sustainable mobility.

The project is worth EUR 5 million in total, with just under EUR 2 million allocated for its third and fourth stages. Around 85% of the funding will be provided by the European Fund, with the rest coming from Italy's region of Friuli-Venezia Giulia.

04 Jan 2022, 11:30 AM

STA, 4 January 2022 - The Slovenian capital will have no flight connection to Brussels between 10 January and 28 February as Brussels Airlines is suspending flights on this route at the end of Slovenia's six-month EU presidency. Wizz Air will also suspend the Ljubljana-Brussels connection between 7 January and 11 March, according to web portal Exyuaviation.

Brussels Airlines, which returned to Ljubljana airport just before the start of Slovenia's presidency of the Council of the EU, currently flies to Brussels four times a week.

The low-budget airline Wizz Air meanwhile offers flights to Charleroi airport once a week.

Ljubljana airport, managed by Fraport Slovenija, offers flights to 15 destinations by 13 airlines.

Apart from Brussels Airlines and Wizz Air, which flies to London's Luton three times a week, Aeroflot flies to Moscow five times a week, Air France offers nine flights to Paris, Air Montenegro takes passengers to Podgorica twice a week, and Air Serbia flies to Belgrade nine times a week and to Niš two times a week.

Easyjet has three flights a week to London's Gatwick, Flydubai flies to Dubai three times a week, LOT Polish Airlines connects Ljubljana and Warsaw with six flights a week, Lufthansa has 13 flights to Frankurt, Swiss International Airlines four to Zurich, Transavia four to Amsterdam and Turkish Airlines five to Istanbul.

In the summer season, several connections that have been suspended due to Covid are to be restored, including Transavia France's flights to Paris's Orly, Finnair's to Helsinki, Lufthansa's to Munich, British Airways' to London Heathrow, Easyjet's to London Luton, Iberia's to Madrid, Windrose's to Kiev and Israir's to Tel Aviv.

24 Dec 2021, 09:19 AM

STA, 23 December 2021 - The government has introduced new restrictions around gatherings and reduced the validity of tests, but it also paved the way for New Year's Eve celebrations for those who are tested, regardless of vaccination status.

Under a decree adopted on Thursday and set to take effect on Friday, there will be no outdoor celebrations on New Year's Eve.

Parties will however be allowed at indoor venues, as the bar curfew was lifted just for that night. All guests, including reconvalescent and the vaccinated, will have to produce a test no older than twelve hours.

For guests that are not tested beforehand, indoor venues like bars or restaurants will be required to provide rapid antigen testing immediately upon arrival.

The government says it is harder to control compliance at outdoor revelling than at indoor parties. "As the Omicron variant spreads, we cannot afford elevated risks to people's health," said Polona Rifelj, a state secretary at the prime minister's office.

For Christmas and New Year's, private gatherings of members of no more than three households will be allowed. All guests over six years of age are recommended to test.

New restrictions beyond the New Year's Eve celebrations include a shorter validity of tests. PCR tests will be valid for 48 hours and rapid antigen tests 24 hours, respectively down from 72 and 48 hours.

The number of participants in cultural and sports events will be capped at 750. A Covid pass and face mask remain mandatory for all visitors, according to government spokeswoman Maja Bratuša.

Meanwhile, the limit of one customer per 10 square metres of floor space for all shops has already entered into force today, as the holiday shopping spree reaches its peak.

The government also extended the partial reimbursement of income for workers who were quarantined or absent from work due to force majeure, such as childcare. The measure was put in place for the period from 1 July to 31 December 2021, and is now extended until the end of February 2022.

"With this measure, we are helping the most vulnerable part of the economy, like the self-employed, founders of cooperatives, and farmers," said Polona Rifelj. The reimbursements range from EUR 250 for 10 days' absence to EUR 750 for the whole month.

13 Dec 2021, 18:25 PM

STA, 13 December 2021 - Low-budget airline Wizz Air has relaunched a direct air route between Ljubljana Airport and London Luton Airport after more than a year and a half of suspension due Covid-19. The carrier will operate three flights per week on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays between the two destinations.

Following the latest air route relaunch, the winter season at Slovenia's main airport includes 13 scheduled airlines providing connections with 14 destinations, said Fraport Slovenija, the airport's operator.

Passengers looking for a link with the United Kingdom can currently pick between Wizz Air and EasyJet services. The latter offers flights to London Gatwick four times a week. Wizz Air also provides routes between Ljubljana and Charleroi Airport in Belgium, two times a week.

"Even though border crossings are still restricted by numerous measures to contain the Covid-19 epidemic, demand for travel in general is increasing," said Fraport Slovenija.

In November, Ljubljana Airport saw 45,660 passengers, a 95% increase on the same month last year, when air travel was severely restricted, and a 46% decrease on November 2019.

"Final coordination is underway to prepare the next summer season flight schedule. Flight forecasts for the coming season are encouraging - the summer season should bring new features and resume some routes at Ljubljana Airport that were suspended due to the epidemic," the operator said.

Winter season flights are expected to be joined by Transavia France, linking Ljubljana and Paris Orly Airport, Finnair, operating flights to Helsinki, Lufthansa (Munich), British Airways (London Heathrow), Easyjet (London Luton), Iberia (Madrid) and Israir (Tel Aviv).

08 Dec 2021, 19:46 PM

STA, 8 December 2021 - Just days after the government imposed a ban on the serving of food and drinks at outdoor stalls, these reopened in the square by Ljubljana's main produce market on Wednesday, having been given the go-ahead from the city authorities.

Addressing a press conference, Andrej Orač, director of the utility operating the Ljubljana open-air markets, said market activity in Pogačar Square was allowed back in business, including hospitality.

He said the ban on sale at Ljubljana's open-air markets was incomprehensible as the goods involved were sold there throughout the year, which included the food court and stalls selling garments.

The city appears to have found a loophole, arguing that the ban affected hospitality at fairs rather than markets. The ban was imposed to prevent socialising and spread of coronavirus at Christmas markets.

Mojca Škrinjar, an MP for the ruling Democratic Party (SDS), accused the city authorities of "bending the rules", and Mayor Zoran Janković of sinking to a "new low" having demonstrated before "he doesn't care about Ljubljana people's health".

Both Orač and Janković urged residents and visitors to comply with precautionary measures and get vaccinated against Covid-19 even as Janković criticised restrictions imposed on Christmas markets.

Commenting on a tweet in which PM Janez Janša accused him of trying hard to get as many people as possible sick, Janković said the city administration had recently received a letter from the local branch of the National Institute of Public Health thanking them for their contribution to the combat against the pandemic.

08 Dec 2021, 09:53 AM

STA, 7 December 2021 - Slovenia saw the biggest drop in air passenger transport in the EU in the 2020 pandemic year, fresh Eurostat data show. While the number of total passengers in the EU dropped by 73% to 277 million, in Slovenia it plummeted by 83% year-on-year.

Slovenia is followed by Slovakia and Croatia, where 82% fewer air passengers were recorded.

The busiest airport was Charles De Gaulle in Paris, which recorded 22 million passengers, while Slovenia's Jože Pučnik Airport Ljubljana ranked 147th with 288,000 passengers, of whom 159,000 travelled within the EU and 129,000 to countries outside the EU.

In the past year, the country's main airport saw 4,000 passenger aircraft movements, which is down 81% from 2019.

The most important connection was that with Frankfurt, followed by Istanbul, Paris's Charles De Gaulle, the Belgrade airport and London's Stansted.

The smallest drop in passengers in the EU was recorded by the Sofia airport, where the volume of passenger transport was down by 60%.

More on this data

04 Dec 2021, 08:03 AM

STA, 3 December 2021 - Kanin, Slovenia's highest-altitude ski resort, will this year expand its services by offering off-trail skiing with a mountain guide and heli-skiing. Next year, the ski resort is to see a EUR 50 million renovation, which will include replacing the old ski lift system with a new one.

The new skiing season in Kanin starts this Saturday and the two main new attractions this year will be off-trail skiing with a guide, which will be available only in good weather conditions, and heli-skiing.

According to the head of the Bovec Alpine School, Robert Rot, Kanin is a very interesting location for off-trail skiing but because of the many pits near the ski slopes it is best to hire a guide.

In cooperation with the association of Slovenian mountain guides, the school also offers workshops and lessons on off-trail skiing and protection against avalanches.

Those in for an even more adventurous experience will be able to take a helicopter ride from the Bovec or Lesce airports offered by company Flycom Aviation to Mt Kanin or any other remote location they want to start skiing from.

The head of the ski resort, Manuela Božič Badalič, believes the future of Kanin is the planned renovation, worth EUR 50 million, which will include the replacing of its 50-year-old ski lift system.

Because of its age, the current system is sensitive to wind and entails high maintenance costs.

Financial planning is currently under way and the preparations for the renovation are expected by the end of the year, said Danijel Krivec, an MP for the senior coalition Democrats (SDS).

A public call for applications is expected to be published after New Year's, with the project also including the setting up of an anti-avalanche and snow-making systems, and a new restaurant.

Construction work is to start next year and conclude by the end of 2023.

As the old ski lift system is to be replaced, the ski resort will probably be closed for one summer season, but all efforts will be invested into not losing a winter season, Krivec said.

He was not specific about the sources of financing, noting that the money would be drawn from different sources, including EU funds.

03 Dec 2021, 10:28 AM

STA, 2 December 2021 - The Slovenian Tourist Board (STO) got a new interim head on Thursday, after Maja Pak, the long-serving director, stepped down in mid-November, citing differences in views with Economy Minister Zdravko Počivalšek over the management of the organisation. Pak will be temporarily succeeded by Ilona Stermecki, effective from Monday.

Stermecki will be at the helm of the STO until a new director is appointed but no longer than six months.

She had been put forward for the post by the STO board, the Government Communication Office said after today's cabinet session.

Pak, a close aide of Počivalšek's, did not specify how her views differed from the minister's as she announced she was stepping down on 17 November, and neither did the minister, who thanked her for her effort and cooperation.

Pak's first stint at the helm of the organisation was in 2010-2012, when the STO was merged into the investment promotion agency SPIRIT Slovenia.

She returned as director in 2015, when the STO became independent again, and received a new five-year term in March this year.

As she announced her resignation Pak was said to be returning to her previous job at the STO.

02 Dec 2021, 18:13 PM

STA, 2 December - Given the poor epidemiological situation and the fact that almost half of the vouchers issued this year to help the hospitality, tourism, sports and culture sectors have not been cashed in yet, the government decided on Thursday to extend their validity until the end of June 2022.

The 2021 vouchers were introduced with an emergency law for tourism and associated sectors and awarded to all those who had a permanent residence in Slovenia on 30 June.

Adults received EUR 100 and under 18-year-olds EUR 50 for services offered by the hospitality, tourism, sport and culture sectors.

In line with the law, the vouchers were to expire on 31 December but the government was also given the option to extend their validity by six months.

The cabinet believes that the extension will lift the pressure off tourism and other facilities in the country in the final month of the year and thus contribute to reducing the number of infections, the Economy Ministry said after the government's session.

The extension of the vouchers will also boost demand for the various services in the first half of next year, it added.

The vouchers were activated on 16 July and until 22 November, little more than half of them were redeemed, while EUR 95.9 million in vouchers were still unused.

The government had also proposed the extension of last year's tourism vouchers until the end of June 2022 in a bill on additional measures for curbing the epidemic and its consequences, which is yet to be discussed by parliament.

02 Dec 2021, 16:18 PM

STA, 2 December 2021 - Due to the spread of the Omicron variant of coronavirus, the government decreed that from today, passengers arriving in Slovenia from seven countries in southern Africa are required to take three PCR tests during their mandatory 10-day quarantine, which was imposed already on Saturday.

The government amended the rules for entering the country at a correspondence session yesterday and the decree, published in the Official Journal on Wednesday evening, entered into force on Thursday.

A 10-day quarantine remains mandatory for persons arriving to Slovenia who reside in South Africa, Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia or Zimbabwe, or persons who have visited those countries in the 14 days before entering Slovenia. Foreigners without residence in Slovenia arriving from these countries are banned from entry.

The government has now imposed an additional rule requiring that these arrivals take three PCR tests after being ordered to quarantine at home.

They need to take a PCR test upon entering Slovenia and repeat it on the 5th and 10th days while quarantining at home, but cannot end the mandatory quarantine early regardless of the test result.

Those who had been in the African countries for 14 days before the new regulation came into force must report to emergency services by dialling the number 113, after which they will be ordered to quarantine at home for 10 days. They are required to take a PCR test right after making the call and on the final day of quarantine.

Nineteen people have already been put in the 10-day quarantine due to arrivals from areas at risk. One person received a quarantine order at the airport upon arrival, while 18 cases were self-reported, the police told the STA.

After the mandatory 10-day quarantine was imposed on Saturday, five people were quarantined on the same day, while four more followed on Sunday, six on Monday, one on Tuesday and two on Wednesday.

The government also recommends for travellers from countries that are not on the list but where Omicron has been confirmed to take a rapid test on arriving in Slovenia.

However, no other restrictions are planned at the moment for entry to Slovenia from EU countries where Omicron has been detected, Interior Minister Aleš Hojs told the press today.

He noted that Health Minister Janez Poklukar was discussing the matter with his EU counterparts. "I must say that at this point I see no need to beef up measures within the Schengen zone or the EU," he said after today's EU-Western Balkans ministerial in Brdo pri Kranju.

01 Dec 2021, 21:49 PM

STA, 1 December - Due to the spread of the Omicron variant of coronavirus, the government decreed today that passengers arriving in Slovenia from seven countries in southern Africa are required to take three PCR tests during mandatory 10-day quarantine.

The government imposed mandatory self-isolation on persons residing in or visiting South Africa, Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia and Zimbabwe in the past 14 days before entering Slovenia on Saturday. Foreigners without residence in Slovenia arriving from those countries are banned from entry.

The government has now imposed an additional rule requiring of those arrivals to take a PCR test on entering Slovenia and repeat it on the 5th and 10th day after being ordered to self-isolate at home. They cannot end the mandatory self-isolation early regardless of the test result.

Those who had been in the countries for 14 days before the new regulation came into force must report to emergency services by dialling the number 113, after which they will be ordered to self-isolate at home for 10 days. They are required to take a PCR test right after making the call and on the final day of self-isolation.

The government also recommends for travellers from countries not on the list but where Omicron has been confirmed to take a rapid test on arriving in Slovenia.

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