Linking Agriculture and Tourism to Revive Croatian Villages

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Association of Rural Tourism to try to rejuvenate Croatian villages.

Young people are leaving Croatian villages which are slowly dying out, and this is not something that is surprising anymore. The founders of the Association of Rural Tourism in Croatia believe that, with closer ties between the agricultural production and tourism, Croatian villages can experience a revival. The main goal of the newly established association, an organization which includes 20 family farms and small businesses, is to create a more favourable environment for “village tourism” in rural areas, reports in May 1. 2016.

About 700 business entities which are focused on rural tourism are the leaders of economic development in rural areas and a large number of them are producers of local products, the association pointed out. “Our work is limited by inadequate legal regulations which are not encouraging the tourism activities in villages”, said Jasmina Rakić Horvat, the president of the Association.

She added that they wanted to be a partner to the government and other stakeholders at all levels so that tourism in villages can be recognized as a main activity and not a supplemental one. “This means that we should be included in the development of agricultural strategy and other regulations and documents related to our work, which has not been a practice so far”, said Rakić Horvat.

The Association will advocate for the Action Plan for Development of Rural Tourism, based on the Tourism Development Strategy, for a better coordination of the state and local institutions regarding the adoption and implementation of regulations, a balanced promotion of Croatian regions, and better cooperation with the travel agencies.

“The popularization of rural tourism in Croatia and abroad is key to our sustainable development”, said vice president of the Association Janko Kezele. In the last 15 years, he added, hundreds of millions of kuna had been invested in tourism incentives in the rural areas, but not in the promotion of rural tourism. What we offer has not been presented at tourist fairs abroad, there are no promotional materials that would attract guests to Croatian villages, and we can only dream about some serious promotional campaigns, Kezele said.


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