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Bee’s knees

Slovenia — Tourism

Urban beekeeping has become a trend for green-fingered city dwellers but in Ljubljana, hives aren’t just for hipster honey and pollinating city gardens. Slovenia has eight hives per square kilometre tended by almost 10,000 beekeepers and, this year, it persuaded the UN to declare an annual “World Bee Day” on 20 May.

That devotion has given flight to a potentially lucrative idea in the capital: “api-tourism”, whereby bee fanatics in search of a buzz book a holiday to Ljubljana to see for themselves. “Our research found that nature and greenery are the main motivators for people to come and visit,” says Masa Puklavec of the Slovenian Tourist Board. Hence, bees are “very interesting and appealing to our market”.

Capitalising on the trend, Ljubljana’s Hotel Park has employed a beekeeper for four wooden hives on its roof; the bees provide honey for the hotel’s desserts and ice creams. Meanwhile, other city spas offer services such as honey massages and venom apitherapy.

Tips for an urban apiary:

01 Make sure it's legal. Not every city or district allows the sudden arrival of 60,00 noisy residents.

02 Prepare for spring. This is when bees decide to find new homes: check that your hives are in good order and that your protective clothing is up to scratch.

03 Do it for the honey, not for the planet. City hives aren't saving the bee population and the honey bee is just one species that humans rely on to pollinate plants.


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