STA, 20 August 2021 - British Airways is relaunching flights between Ljubljana and London's largest airport Heathrow today, the operation of the Ljubljana Jože Pučnik Airport said on Friday.
Passengers will be at first able to fly to Heathrow on Fridays and Sunday, with another two weekly flights added at the end of August, on Mondays and Wednesdays.
Janez Krašnja, head of airline management at Fraport Slovenija, is happy that "one of the most popular routes among Slovenian air passengers is returning to Ljubljana".
He welcomed "a stronger tourist and economic connection between Slovenia and Great Britain", hoping flights will become more frequent once the Covid situation improves.
Low-cost airline Easyjet is meanwhile planning to introduce a Ljubljana-London route on 8 September, with two weekly flights to Gatwick airport.
Flydubai is another airline expected to fly from Ljubljana airport next month, expectedly on 24 September, offering direct flights to Dubai.
Despite a slow lifting of coronavirus restrictions for global travel, the number of airlines and destinations at Ljubljana airport is growing.
By the end of October, a total of 15 scheduled routes are expected to be operated.
Fraport Slovenija finds it encouraging that the number of flights on the existing routes is constantly growing, while the winter season is also expected to be promising.
Compared to the last season, charter flights also increased this season, with Greek islands, Turkey's Antalya, Djerba in Tunisia, Egypt's Sharm-El-Sheikh and Hurgada among the most popular destinations.
A return to pre-coronavirus level in Europe is however impeded by the current health situation, with crossing borders being burdened with a number of restrictions.
Still, Fraport Slovenija is optimistic as demand for air travel is recovering. "It is encouraging that Ljubljana airport recorded more than 66,500 passengers in July as this year's busiest month, a rise of 211% compared to July 2020."
STA, 19 August 2021 - The SeaDream II, a luxury yacht-style cruise ship, will dock in Koper on Friday, the first cruise ship to visit Slovenia's largest coastal city since 2019. The Sea Dream will bring around 50 [ed. even without COVID, it can only carry a maximum of 112 guests] passengers to Koper, mostly from the US and England.
The Sea Dream will arrive in the morning and stay in the city until 10pm, and then sail on to Venice. Named the best ship in the luxury cruise ship category in 2015, it will return to Koper on 2 September, according to the Koper Institute for Youth, Culture and Tourism.
Another cruise ship named Mein Schiff is currently scheduled to arrive in Koper at the end of September, and several other cruise ships arrivals are scheduled for October.
In Koper, more than 50 cruise ship arrivals were originally scheduled for this year, but due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the cruise operators kept cancelling them.
The Municipality of Koper and the Tourism Institute remain optimistic. They hope that the scheduled arrivals will help revive tourism in the city.
A total of 26 more ships with 37,000 passengers on board are expected in Koper until the end of this season, compared to the originally announced 88 ships and 130,000 passengers, the Port of Koper explained to STA. However, the list of arrivals changes on a daily basis.
STA, 14 August - The government decided on Friday that passengers transiting through Slovenia will not be required to produce a Covid certificate only until 22 August. "As of 23 August, transit will no longer be possible without meeting the recovered-vaccinated-tested rule (PCT) rule," the government said.
If they want to avoid being ordered to quarantine for ten days in Slovenia, transit passengers will have to produce a certificate proving that they have either recovered from Covid-19, tested or vaccinated.
So far, there were certain exceptions for quarantine, including for transit passengers who leave Slovenia within 12 hours after entering it.
However, the decree adopted by the government yesterday evening says that this exception will be in force only until 22 August.
If a person who has residence in Slovenia enters the country, this is not considered as transit, but entry with the intention to go home, the government said.
For now, the exceptions apply to children younger than 15 accompanied by persons who meet the PCT rule, owners or renters of property on both sides of the borders, cross-border workers and persons performing international transport services.
STA, 13 August 2021 - Vehicles are waiting more than six hours to enter Slovenia from Croatia at Gruškovje border crossing as traffic is extremely heavy at border crossings on Friday afternoon ahead of another very busy holiday weekend. An 8km tailback has meanwhile formed on the Slovenian side of the Karawanks tunnel towards Austria.
At the Karawanks tunnel on the Gorenjska motorway, the Jesenice east entry to the motorway towards Austria is closed due to the congestion, Slovenia's traffic information centre said.
More than two hours are needed to enter Slovenia from Croatia at Obrežje, and up to one hour at Petišovci and Rogatec, all in the east of Slovenia. To leave Slovenia for the southern neighbour, vehicles are waiting up to one hour.
Traffic is also rather slow on the Primorska section of the A1 motorway towards Ljubljana.
The Ljubelj tunnel with Austria is being closed at intervals on the Austrian side due to passenger controls and congestion.
STA, 11 August 2921 - A set of changes to traffic rules entered into force today, substantially lowering fines for speeding while more than doubling the fine for talking on the phone while driving. The new law regulates electric scooters for the first time, and brings a novelty of turning right at a red light at crossroads with good visibility.
Talking on the phone while driving is now more expensive, carrying a fine of EUR 250 plus three penalty points, up from the previous EUR 120.
Fines for speeding in a town or outside of it, and on the motorway or highway as well as in areas of slower traffic have meanwhile been cut.
Fines speeding in a town have been halved, for instance from EUR 250 to EUR 120 for exceeding the allowed speed by 10-20 km/h and from EUR 80 to EUR 40 for exceeding it by 5-10 km/h.
Speeding on a motorway has also become less expensive, being for instance cut from EUR 80 to EUR 60 for exceeding the speed limit by 20-30 km/h.
The new rules will allow vehicles to turn right at a red light at crossroads with good visibility and elsewhere where this is possible.
All such crossroads will be properly marked, but the Infrastructure Ministry could not say how many there will be.
Since this is a new traffic rule and drivers are not yet used to it, the ministry expects it to be first introduced on municipal roads in one-lane crossroads with less traffic.
As for electric scooters, they can from now on drive only on lanes or other areas designated for bicycles. The same applies to electric wheelchairs and skateboards.
In the absence of such areas in a town, these light electric motor vehicles can drive on the right-hand margin of a road in towns where the speed limit is below 50 km/h.
Except for persons in a wheelchair, drivers of these vehicles and passengers under the age of 18 have to wear a helmet.
Meanwhile, drivers overtaking cyclists, light motor vehicles or mopeds with speed capacity of up to 25 km/h will need to keep a 1.5 metre sideward distance from them.
The new legislation also stiffens handling of drivers who ignore light or sound signals on priority vehicles and expands some powers of traffic wardens.
State Secretary Aleš Mihelič has said it is based on three main principles of traffic rules - defensive action, trust, and protection of weaker traffic participants.
The latest changes to the road safety law were passed in parliament in a 46:1 vote on 16 July.
STA, 9 August 2021 - A month after the start of the Slovenian EU presidency, a cycle route was launched running between the northern town of Kranj and Brdo pri Kranju, the main venue for presidency-related events. To honour Slovenia's second stint at the helm of the Council of the EU, Kranj will also plant trees along the lane in the autumn.
The route runs from Kokrica to Predoslje, linking Kranj and Brdo as well, the Kranj municipality said on Monday. The EUR 360,000 project got under way after the state cleared EUR 217,000 in state and EU funds out of the Regional Development Fund in mid-May.
The investment, Kranj's contribution to the Slovenian presidency, seeks to boost sustainable mobility of the locals in the long run as Kranj is now linked with villages in the northern part of the municipality. The bike path may be used by pedestrians as well, however they are given lower priority over bicycles.
The two-way lane will soon be tree-lined as the municipality aims to plant apple trees native to Slovenia this autumn. In total, 54 trees will be planted, two per each EU member state, at a ceremony most likely to be attended by representatives of EU countries, the municipality said in a press release.
"This tree-lined route will be a symbol of ties and cooperation," said Kranj Mayor Matjaž Rakovec, noting that cooperation for the benefit of all was one of the EU's pillars.
STA, 9 August 2021 - All passengers arriving in Slovenia by plane or ship will need to fill out a Digital Passenger Locator Form (dPLF) before entering the country starting from 16 August, Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has announced.
The form makes it easier to track contacts in cases where passengers are exposed to a communicable disease during their journey.
The information provided by passengers can be used by the epidemiological service of the National Institute of Public Health to quickly contact passengers and their contacts in order to prevent the further spread of the disease and to protect their health, reads the release posted on the CAA web site.
The form facilitates collection and exchange of data between EU member countries, which makes passenger contract tracing more successful and efficient, says the release.
The form is available at https://app.euplf.eu
The PLF is for now being used by Italy and Malta and several countries have similar forms of their own, including Greece. The idea is to make travel during the Covid-19 pandemic safer as the forms make it easier to reach passengers that might have been in contact with an infected person.
STA, 9 August 2021 – Vaccination against Covid-19 three times a week is available at Ljubljana Jože Pučnik Airport from today, with no prior registration needed. Those who want to get vaccinated at the airport can do so on Monday, Wednesday and Friday with Jannsen's vaccine.
Airport operator Fraport Slovenija has decided to offer vaccination free of charge to all passengers and others because safe and responsible travel requires meeting the criteria of having been vaccinated against, tested for or recovered from coronavirus.
On Monday, vaccination will be available from 9am to noon, on Wednesday from 11am to 2pm and on Friday between 5pm and 8pm, Fraport Slovenija said on Monday.
Slovenian citizens need their health insurance card and an ID, while foreign citizens need to produce their EU health insurance card and an ID.
Testing for Covid-19 has been available at the airport for quite some time.
Fraport Slovenija also said in a press release that Ljubljana airport had taken all the necessary measures to ensure safety to passengers and the staff.
For a number of preventive measures it has introduced, the airport has received the international Airport Health Accreditation from the Airport Council International.
STA, 8 August 2021 - Slovenia's Triglav National Park and Italy's Prealpi Giulie Nature Park have launched a bid to have the Julian Alps declared as a single trans-boundary UNESCO MAB Biosphere Reserve to manage it together.
The Slovenian Julian Alps biosphere reserve was designated as early as 2003 as the first such reserve in the country. It spreads over ten municipalities with Triglav National Park (TNP) at its core.
A few years ago, the Prealpi Giulie Regional Nature Park took the same step, having the Italian Julian Alps Man and Biosphere (MAB) Reserve designated for 11 Italian municipalities.
The two parks, which manage their respective reserves, signed an agreement last month in Trenta,
Slovenia, to win designation for a common Julian Alps UNESCO MAB Biosphere Reserve.
Such a project is quite rare or even unique in European space, TNP official Majda Odar, adding that the goal is to have a joint management of the reserve.
The two parks have been closely cooperating since 1996, carrying out a number of projects together. They first announced their bid for the cross-border Julian Alps UNESCO MAB Biosphere reserve.
In 2009, EUROPARC federation designated the trans-boundary Julian Alps Ecoregion and in 2014 the Alpine Convention declared the areas of the two parks a pilot region for eco-connectivity.
The two parks and other stakeholders have also realised the opportunity for closer cooperation in developing sustainable tourism.
EUROPARC certified the Julian Alps Ecoregion with the European Charter for Sustainable Tourism in 2016 as the first trans-boundary region. The charter was successfully renewed last year.
The Julian Alps Biosphere Reserve constitutes an important Alpine corridor, notably for large carnivores as well as birds.
Talking about the challenges for the cross-border biosphere reserve, Odar said "the key thing is to erase the border as much as possible and see the area comprehensively as a whole geographic region without the border crossing it". One example is marking hiking trails together.
The MAB programme is an intergovernmental scientific programme of the UNESCO that aims to establish a scientific basis for enhancing the relationship between people and their environments.
Running since 1971, it aims to establish a balance between humans, nature and cultural heritage. The designated biosphere areas serve as models of how sustainable development can be achieved.
The World Network of Biosphere Reserves currently counts 714 sites in 129 countries all over the world, including 21 transboundary sites.
Apart from the Julian Alps, Slovenia has three other biosphere reserves: the Karst (designated in 2004), Kozjansko and Obsotelje (2010) and Mura River (2018).
STA, 7 August 2021 - Heavy traffic is reported from Slovenian roads towards Croatia on Saturday, with long waiting times at border crossings to exit or enter Slovenia, including up to four hours. Congestion is also reported on the Slovenian and Austrian sides of the Karawanks tunnel in the north-west of the country on yet another busy summer weekend.
A five-kilometre tailback has formed on the Slovenian side of the Karawanks tunnel, and a six-kilometre tailback on the Austrian side. The tunnel is being closed at intervals towards Slovenia.
Those entering Slovenia from Croatia are waiting more than two hours at Gruškovje and Dragonja border crossings, and from one to two hours at Obrežje.
Three hours are meanwhile needed to enter Croatia at Jelšane, and more than two hours at Metlika. The waiting time at Obrežje is one to two hours, and one to two hours at Dragonja and Gruškovje.
Worried about the congestions on the Slovenian-Croatian border, Slovenian MEP Klemen Grošelj (Renew/LMŠ) has asked the European Commission how it will address the situation to make it in line with the goals set when the EU's digital Covid certificate was adopted.
He has highlighted long tailbacks and hours-long waiting times on what is a border between two EU member states.
The MEP believes that EU member states are not properly prepared to check the Covid certificate while there are also differences in how they check it on the border.
This leads to problems for the locals along the Slovenian-Croatian border, who are already under pressure from illegal migrations, Grošelj said in a statement.
This is moreover unacceptable for EU citizens with a Covid certificate who should have smooth travel despite the epidemiological measures.
It is Grošelj's view that the situation on the Slovenian-Croatian border shows the goals of the European digital certificate have not been achieved.
Congestion is also being reported on the motorway in Pomurje, north-east, as vehicles are exiting at Pince rest area towards Hungary, also to buy a motorway sticker for Hungary.
Slovenia's traffic information centre meanwhile advises people not to travel to the town of Bohinj, north-west, if not urgent as the Bled-Bohinj road is closed due to a car accident.
STA, 5 August 2021 - Late on Wednesday, the British government updated its entry requirements and placed several countries, including Slovenia, on the green list. As of Sunday morning, travellers from Slovenia will only need a negative Covid test to enter England, regardless of the person's vaccination status, foreign news agencies report.
In addition to Slovenia, Austria, Germany, Slovakia, Latvia, Romania and Norway have also been added to the green list.
Travellers from these countries will no longer need a vaccination certificate, but must be tested for the new coronavirus before and after entering England. As part of the update, England has further relaxed restrictions for France.
The British government in London can impose health and travel restrictions for England. For Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, these decisions are taken by the authorities there, but often follow England's lead.
The UK has been phasing out restrictive measures in recent weeks, as the number of vaccinated persons increases and the number of hospital admissions of Covid patients decreases.
So far, around 88.7% of all adults in the UK have received the first dose of a Covid-19 vaccine, while 73.2% have already been fully immunised.