16 Jun 2021, 15:54 PM

STA, 16 June 2021 - A new passenger terminal was inaugurated at the Ljubljana Jože Pučnik Airport on Wednesday. The expansion brings 10,000 square metres of new surfaces, including more space for security checks and baggage handling, and more check-in points. Once opened for business on 1 July, the airport will be able to handle more than 1,200 passengers per hour. 

The works on the new terminal started in July 2019. The construction cost EUR 17 million and the equipment another EUR 4 million. The project was on schedule so the new terminal will be able to welcome passengers who will be coming to Slovenia because of the EU presidency as soon as its stint starts on 1 July.

Pierre Dominique Prümm, member of the executive board of airport manager Fraport, praised the new waiting area. He said that all terminals were alike but this one was different. "It has unique architectural elements and materials that represent Slovenia and you can tell it is a Slovenian terminal," he said.

Fraport Slovenija director Zmago Skobir said the idea of a new terminal dated back to the early 2000s, but the project was delayed first by the economic crisis, and then by the problems of flag carrier Adria Airways.

"With the new owner our company got a strategic investor in 2015 who has committed to continuous and long-term development of the airport," he said.

Skobir said that the project had been conducted despite the pandemic and after Adria Airways went bankrupt. "We carried on because we know our business and we believe in it."

Prime Minister Janez Janša said Slovenia had high hopes for the airport, so the state would support plans for further development, including by building a railway connection between the airport and the capital Ljubljana.

He praised Fraport's vision and courage to persist despite the epidemic. He thanked the German company for investing in Slovenia and welcomed its plans for the future, adding that state was obligated to support and reward them.

That is why the government is strongly determined to provide a railway connection between the airport and Ljubljana, he said.

The prime minister said the terminal was an investment that was making a difference and that would contribute to Slovenia's prosperity in the future.

"We are counting on the airport to serve not only tourism but the Slovenian economy and state in general, both in the coming months when Slovenia chairs the EU Council, and in the coming years when travel is restored, restrictions lifted and the epidemic hopefully becomes a thing of the past," Janša said.

16 Jun 2021, 10:15 AM

STA, 16 June 2021 - The Covid-19 epidemic, which was declared in Slovenia in October, has officially ended, but all existing restrictions remain in place and face masks remain obligatory.

Although the state of the epidemic was not extended yesterday, the same rules will continue to apply for entrance into bars and restaurants, attendance of cultural and sports events and in accommodation facilities, which means guests have to be either vaccinated, tested or have proof they have recovered from Covid-19.

At events with no fixed seats, one person per 10 square metres is allowed, tables in restaurants and bars must be three metres apart and accommodation facilities and events can accept only 75% of guests.

Authorities urge people to abide the rules, act responsibly and also get vaccinated. The country currently has enough vaccine for everyone, and many vaccination centres accept walk-in customers without advance booking.

Health Minister Janez Poklukar said yesterday the threat of Covid-19 was not over yet, urging everyone to get vaccinated as soon as possible.

"The epidemic has shown that vaccination is the most important health measure. Without it we cannot imagine the future," he said, describing vaccination as "a small step for the individual but a huge leap for Slovenian and European society."

Yesterday, 122 Covid-19 patients were in hospital, the lowest number since 7 October. Only four hospitals will be accepting Covid-19 patients this week, while Covid-19 patients will still be treated separately in all emergency centres around the country.

12 Jun 2021, 15:19 PM

STA, 12 June 2021 - Clowns, magic and illusion are returning to Ljubljana streets as the 14th international Klovnbuf Festival kicks off in the Fužine Castle park on Saturday with clown performances and workshops. In the first part of the festival, running until 19 June, mostly foreign artists will be presented.

The opening events will include children from Montenegro, while one of the highlights will be the contemporary circus performance Instable by one of the most promising circus French artists of his generation, Nicolas Fraiseau, on Sunday.

The organisers also pointed out Tangram, a joggling performance by Stefan Sing and ballet dancer Christiane Casadio, a German-Italian project pushing the boundaries of new circus, dance and theatre, and String Theory by the group Lyapunov, uniting six artists from Belgium.

In the second part of the festival, from 25 July do 1 August, Slovenian artists will be presented with contemporary circus performances and other genres.

This year, the event will be all about searching for balance between circus and other genres, between the "normality of yearning and abnormality of living," the organisers say.

Like every year, the festival will bring a mixture of different languages of contemporary circus to different venues around the city from Fužine Castle, Tabor Park, Congress Square, Skala Center, Dance Theatre Ljubljana and the Old Power Station.

The accompanying programme will include presentations of emerging performances, residential programme and workshops.

Learn more at the website

11 Jun 2021, 15:12 PM

STA, 11 June 2021 - A new direct rail line linking Vienna, Ljubljana and Trieste was launched on Friday. The newly-established route is an important milestone in sustainable mobility efforts, said the Slovenian railway operator Slovenske Železnice. The line will run every day, starting this afternoon.

The project will cut journey times for both passengers travelling from the north-east of Slovenia to Trieste and those heading to Vienna from the south-west, a press release by Slovenske Železnice reads.

The line can be also used as a starting point for connecting journeys with final destinations being Venice, Milan, Florence, Rome, Prague, Krakow or Warsaw, among others.

A ceremony in the afternoon marking the first train journey using the new route will be attended by representatives of Slovenske Železnice, Austrian Federal Railways ÖBB and the Italian Friuli Venezia Giulia region.

The step is also a further upgrade of cooperation between the three countries in railway infrastructure, said Slovenske Železnice passenger transport director Darja Kocjan, adding that the next step would be to promote the line and raise awareness about the environmental aspect of train journeys.

"I'm glad that 164 years after the first train ride on this route this long-awaited direct link between Vienna, Ljubljana and Trieste has been revived," said OBB director Andreas Matthä, noting that the line connected three major European cities with rich cultural programmes.

Graziano Pizzimenti, an infrastructure advisor for the Friuli Venezia Giulia region, said that the project was not just an establishment of a new line but also a sign of a return to normal after the pandemic had upended society.

In Slovenia the train will stop at: Maribor, Pragersko, Celje, Laško, Zidani Most, Trbovlje, Zagorje, Ljubljana, Logatec, Postojna, Pivka, Divača, and Sežana. Visit the Slovenian Railway website

11 Jun 2021, 11:36 AM

STA, 10 June 2021 - The government has changed the list of countries and territories placed in the red zone in terms of the Covid-19 epidemic to exclude, among others, the Croatian Adriatic area, Germany and the Czech Republic. The relevant decree adopted on Thursday will enter into force on Saturday and be valid until 20 June

The changes also include Turkey being moved from the dark red list to the red list, the Government Communication Office said.

Also removed from the red list are Switzerland, the Vatican, the Austrian state of Tyrol, Cyprus, Luxembourg, Poland, Slovakia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Montenegro and Serbia. Meanwhile, the Portuguese territory of the Azores has been red-listed.

As of Saturday, border crossing in air traffic within the EU and Schengen Area is also possible outside the three check-points determined for international traffic.

The areas not put on the red and dark red list are considered as having no high risk of novel coronavirus infection.

Persons coming from such areas to Slovenia may enter the country without being ordered to quarantine at home if they prove that they had continuously resided there for at least five days before entering Slovenia.

09 Jun 2021, 16:33 PM

STA, 9 June 2021 - The Postojna Cave, one of the main Slovenian natural landmarks, will reopen its door to visitors on Wednesday after a 231-day closure, the longest in its history, due to Covid-19 restrictions. "We are opening the door with enthusiasm, though with responsibility," the operator of the cave said in a press release.

Postojnska Jama added that it was happy to announce the reopening of the "queen of the underground" and the majority of attractions in the Postojna Cave Park.

The refurbished Hotel Jama will start to admit guests again on 18 June, while Predjama Castle will be reopened at the end of June, as the access path is being reconstructed.

The cave operator said that it had acquired the Green&Safe certificate from the Slovenian Tourist Board (STO) to ensure safe conditions for visitors in terms of the Covid-19 epidemic.

"We will also make sure physical distancing is observed in the legendary cave train and during visits to the cave in small groups," the company said.

Postojnska Jama reminded the visitors of the baby olms that were hatched in the cave in 2016 and are celebrating their fifth birthday these days.

"The baby dragons are healthy and have grown 1.5 centimetres this year. The largest among them measures 14 centimetres already," adds the invitation to the reopening.

08 Jun 2021, 15:39 PM

Are things really getting back to normal? Another sign of a move in the right direction is the return of Restaurant Week, when top restaurants offer set menus at special prices. This year it’s 99 Restaurants offering meals at €19, €21 and €25, with locations around the country.

Tables are limited, and bookings were open from yesterday 7 June, with reservations available from 18 to 27 June. Don’t delay and check out what’s on offer here.

05 Jun 2021, 20:09 PM

STA, 5 June 2021 - Slovenia now recognises a negative rapid antigen test in addition to a negative PCR test for those who wish to avoid quarantine on entering Slovenia.

From Saturday, individuals who produce a negative result of a PCR or rapid antigen test not older than 48 hours are allowed to enter Slovenia without being ordered to quarantine even if they arrive from a red-listed country.

What are the red list countries? Find out from the government website…

A PCR or rapid antigen test is acceptable if it was performed in a member state of the EU or the Schengen Area, Australia, Israel, Canada, New Zealand, Russia, Serbia, the UK and the US and, at international air travel checkpoints, Turkey.

Persons who have recovered from Covid-19 or who have been vaccinated against it have been able to enter without restrictions for a while.

04 Jun 2021, 11:42 AM

STA, 4 June 2021 - In a nationwide prevention campaign for the safety of cyclists between 17 and 30 May, officers detected 1,241 offences among cyclists and 204 among motorcyclists, the police said on their website. They will also increase control checks on single-track motor vehicles, according to the Traffic Safety Agency (AVP).

During the 14-day campaign, the police issued 1,020 warnings and 49 cyclists were caught drunk-driving. More detailed information on the number and types of road traffic offences was provided by the Maribor and Koper police departments.

Police officers in Maribor recorded 252 infringements during the period. Eight cyclists were drunk-driving. The officers issued 87 fines and 178 warnings.

The Koper Police Department carried out 48 blood alcohol tests and found three cyclists with alcohol levels two times higher than the legal limit. They detected 59 infringements and issued 46 warnings and eleven fines.

The police found that the most common offences among cyclists were riding on an unsuitable surface or without lights, using a mobile phone while riding and not wearing a safety helmet.

The AVP also announced increased controls in view of the worsening road safety situation for drivers of single-track motor vehicles, as almost half of the fatalities on roads in May were motorcycle drivers.

As a result, all eight Slovenian police departments have already started putting up silhouettes of police officers, which help in slowing down the traffic, according to 2019 data. Average speeds are expected to drop by up to 20%, and the AVP also said that police would periodically carry out aerial traffic monitoring.

According to provisional data from the AVP, 138 motorcycle riders and 90 moped riders had been involved in road accidents up until the end of May. Almost two thirds of the accidents were their own fault, the agency added.

The AVP continues to highlight drunk-driving as a major problem, as eleven out of 85 motorcyclists who caused accidents were driving under the influence of alcohol.

03 Jun 2021, 13:46 PM

STA, 3 June 2021 - In order to expand the use of digital Covid certificates once they enter into force, the government is expanding the number of points where residents will be able to get their digital identity, Public Administration Minister Boštjan Koritnik told the press on Thursday.

In addition to administrative units, these points will include vaccination centres, social work centres, the Financial Administration and other points.

Koritnik said that residents who do not have digital identity should visit one of the registration points, where they would be identified by means of a valid identification document with a photograph.

The SIGENCA and SMSPASS certificates will be free of charge for citizens, he said, adding that digital identity would enable them to access the national portal zVem.

In addition to certificates of convalescence, vaccination and PCR test results, the portal enables access to other health information about individuals and a series of other public administration services, said Health Minister Janez Poklukar.

At the portal, Slovenians will soon be able to get the European digital green certificate, which will enable them easier travel and crossing of borders in the EU.

According to Poklukar, the National Institute of Public Health (NIJZ) is gearing up for the certificate, with a production test with the European Commission scheduled for this week.

The number of residents who have acquired digital identity is increasing sharply, as 66,000 people did so this year alone, which is equal to the number for the entire 2020.

In addition to the mentioned points for registration of digital identity, it is also planned that this will be soon possible at the application point of the Justice Ministry and units of the Health Insurance Institute of Slovenia, Koritnik said.

Andrej Šter, the head of the Foreign Ministry's consular service, has meanwhile told the STA that the digital green certificate is expected to be introduced at the EU level on 1 July.

The list of countries that enable persons who tested negative, are vaccinated or have recovered from Covid-19 to travel freely is expanding, but this is not the case in all EU and Schengen Area member states.

This is based on bilateral or regional agreements, Šter said, adding that the card received upon vaccination could be used to enter Croatia and Hungary, while medical certificate in at least two languages was required for other countries.

"The certificate that in addition to Slovenian is usually also in English is used by all EU member states, and some other countries with which we have reached agreements, that is the UK, US, Turkey, Russia and Serbia."

03 Jun 2021, 10:07 AM

STA, 2 June 2021 - The government has changed the decree on the conditions for entering Slovenia to recognise a negative rapid antigen test in addition to a negative PCR test. The change enters into force on 5 June and is valid until 13 June, the government said in a press release. Some measures in the services sector have also been relaxed.

Persons who produces a negative result of a PCR or rapid antigen test not older than 48 hours will be allowed to enter Slovenia without being ordered to quarantine, the government decided at Wednesday's session.

A PCR or rapid antigen test is acceptable if it was performed in a member state of the EU or the Schengen Area, Australia, Israel, Canada, New Zealand, Russia, Serbia, the UK and the US and, at international air travel checkpoints, Turkey.

There are no changes for persons who have recovered from Covid-19 or who have been vaccinated, as they can enter Slovenia without being ordered to quarantine.

The government also relaxed some restrictions in the services sector.

Accommodation providers with up to 60 units will be able to fill up to 45 as of Monday, and those with more than 60 units will be allowed to fill up to 75% of their capacity. This also applies to camping sites.

Swimming pools will be available at up to 75% of capacity for visitors who are either tested, vaccinated or have recovered from Covid-19.

The ban on consuming food and drink at the takeaway points has been lifted and shopping centres will need to reserve 10 sq metres for each customer instead of 20 sq metres, the Government Communication Office said.

The rules for the convention industry have also been slightly relaxed.

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