The new Law on Tourist Boards and the Promotion of Croatian Tourism encourage the tourist boards’ association, both project-wise and formally. Local and regional tourist boards, as well as tourist boards and local self-government units that do not have an established tourist board for their area, may join a project (agreement) association.
Many tourist boards have already taken advantage of this opportunity, such as the Zadar Archipelago and Southern Istria tourist boards, and more recently, the tourist boards in Zagreb County.
Namely, they unite to promote and develop cultural and gourmet tourism. As the Zagreb County Tourist Board director Ivana Alilović points out, their goal is to intensively promote the Zagreb Green Ring region and existing tourist products and programs.
Scene from Zagreb County / Romeo Ibrišević, Zagreb County Tourist Board
“Our goal is integrated quality management of the Zagreb County’s tourist destination product, which will reduce the gap between the level of quality that tourists expect and the level of quality that the destination can provide and deliver. Also, we want to improve the quality and content of Zagreb County tourism product, increase tourist satisfaction and tourist spending in Zagreb County and the benefits for entrepreneurship in catering and tourism,” says Alilović.
Gourmet tourism in Zagreb County
Local tourist boards of Jastrebarsko, Samobor, and Sveti Ivan Zelina cities have concluded an agreement on the local Zagreb County Tourist Boards’ association. In this first project, the joint activity will be the development of gourmet tourism. Wine roads and cheese roads are among the many tourist attractions of rural, eno, and gastro tourism of Zagreb County.
Vineyards and wine cellars in Zagreb County are located on three wine roads – Plešivica Wine Road, Zelina Wine Road, and Samobor Wine Road. Along wine roads, you can find Purtugizec Plešivica and Kraljevina Zelina wines from the Zagreb County brand, as well as Bermet, a traditional and widely recognized Samobor aromatized wine.
Also, there are wines produced from indigenous varieties Plavec yellow, sweet Zelenac, and Šipelj, and many other wines such as Chardonnay, Sauvignon, black, gray, and white Pinot, Rhine Riesling, Traminer, Frankovka, Škrlet, yellow Muscat, Šipon.
Vineyards in Jastrebarsko / Copyright Romulić and Stojčić
The main goals of the association through the gourmet tourism project are:
- The smart specialization of Zagreb County.
- The development of a tourist destination for gourmet tourism.
- Improving the value chain of gourmet tourism.
- Digitalization and application of new technologies.
- Multi-sector connectivity.
- Development of local production systems (Agri-food).
- Positioning and promotion of Zagreb county.
Cultural tourism in Zagreb County
Cultural tourism in Zagreb County is based on protected natural heritage and cultural and historical heritage. Zagreb County has a rich treasury of natural heritage and beauty. It has many protected natural areas, which contribute to the development and success of cultural, hiking, picnic, and sustainable tourism in Zagreb County.
The association project aims to establish a basis for the integrated management of cultural tourism. Alilović says they want to create a recognizable tourist destination product that will be the main instrument for encouraging tourism competitiveness in Zagreb County. She adds that cultural resources are the leading destination’s product in the promotion of a tourist destination, and what makes one destination different from the other is its intangible cultural heritage.
Lužnica Castle, Zaprešić / Zagreb County Tourist Board
“Heritage is the essential element by which a tourist destination’s management attracts tourists to the destination. It is an attractive basis for branding. Creativity based on traditional intangible heritage thus pushes the boundaries of the mere functionality of a product.
Through the example of a cultural thematic route, we seek to show how myth can become a potential attractive basis for the development of mythological tourism in Zagreb County. The thematic route’s stories and locations offer a choice according to criteria of collective and personal importance. Therefore, the thematic route is an open system that can be toured individually or organized with expert tourist guidance.
Special attention was given to the local identity. For example, the customs of St. George and St. John were highlighted, as well as other customs that are traditionally woven into the Zagreb County and surrounding regions,” says Alilović.
The tourist offer of Zagreb County abounds in cultural and historical heritage, such as stories and legends, wooden construction, sacral construction, indigenous architecture, and archaeological finds and monuments of its rich past.
Zagreb County can also boast more than 200 cultural and historical heritage sites. Among them, castles Novi dvori Jelačićevi are a unique example of a complete manorial-economic complex preserved to this day. Then there are forts, manor houses, rich wooden sacral heritage, of which the most prominent is the chapel of St. Barbara in Velika Mlaka. A beautiful example of autochthonous secular architecture is the manor house (curia) Modić-Bedeković in Donja Lomnica. A special attraction is the memorial room of Alojzije Stepinac in Krašić.
Krašić, Zagreb County / Zagreb County Tourist Board
Valuable is the archeological finds in Ščitarjevo, not far from Velika Gorica, and Budinjak (10th-6th centuries BC), one of the most important prehistoric archaeological sites in Croatia.
The project area includes the tourist boards of the cities of Zaprešić, Velika Gorica, Vrbovec, and Dugo Selo, the tourist boards of the municipalities of Pisarovina and Krašić, and the tourist board of area of the Sava-Sutla valley and hills.
“Agreements of project association in the Zagreb County Tourist Board are an example of planned activities. It is clear that the destination through joint action has the opportunity to better position itself in the market and develop projects that will stimulate overall economic development,” said Alilović.
Alilović concludes that the association should result in numerous synergy effects. Not only in quality but also much-needed cost-effectiveness of promotion and project implementation.