ZAGREB, May 14, 2018 – There are currently about 500 family-run farms which also cater to tourists, and this is still insufficient in comparison to the potential for developing rural tourism, which will require a broader support, including an improved legislative framework, Dijana Katica, the head of the Croatian association for tourism and rural development, said in an interview with Hina.
Katica says that out of those 500 family farms that also have agritourism as non-core business, only 20 percent of them have farmhouse guest rooms for farm-stay, while others can provide visitors only with food and have no accommodation capacities. She explains that for the services to be broadened, it is necessary to provide those farms with cheaper loans and with the support of local authorities.
Rural tourism has excellent prospects in Croatia considering the fact that 90% of Croatia is the countryside, she underscores.
So far, this type of tourism has been developed to the largest scale where tourism has already been present: Istria and the hinterland of Dubrovnik, she notes.
In recent years, the eastern region of Baranja has been developing rural tourism, she says. In Baranja, there are plans to develop a strategy for branding rural tourism.
There are similar plans by family farms in the Dalmatian hinterland, while farms in the Hrvatsko Zagorje region in the northwest of Croatia are going to brand their tourist trade under the motto ” ‘Fairy tale on the palm’.
In the neighbouring region of Međimurje, local family farms cooperate well with Sv. Martin na Muri spa that includes local food and agricultural produce into its menu. Thus, local food products account for 60% of the food offered in the spa hotel. The spa also provides guests with bicycles who can ride them while sightseeing the countryside and then have an opportunity to buy local products on farms.
A majority of family-run farms that carry out tourist trade are profitable, however, they need more money for promotion and they have a lot of difficulty to obtain loans from commercial lenders that still do not recognise this activity as profitable, Katica says.