Croatian Cyclotourism Huge, Seriously Underutilized Opportunity

Katarina Anđelković

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Croatia will hardly use this potential without significant investments in infrastructure, hospitality establishments, and stronger support from local and national tourist agencies, warns Karlo Kucan, organizer of the three-day Days of Cyclotourism conference from May 10 to 12 in Sinj, Poslovni writes.

Preserved nature is another trump card

It is the first and so far the only Croatian specialized professional conference intended for this segment of the tourist offer, and it gathers various representatives of Croatian cyclotourism stakeholders, from ministries, the Croatian Tourist Board, agencies, local self-government representatives to clubs and equipment manufacturers.

The conference is held in a different place every year, and the Adriatic and continental destinations alternate. The fifth edition of the Days of Cyclotourism is going to Sinj, given that Dalmatian Zagora has great predispositions for developing such tourist products.

“In addition, the proximity of the largest coastal tourist centers, good traffic connections to the main markets, preserved nature, a dynamic and diverse landscape, and a wealth of heritage attractions, as well as food and wine offers, make up the region’s valuable resources.

We chose the theme ‘No borders, no limits’ because, after several challenging years in which particular forms of tourism, especially cyclotourism, have shown resilience, it is time to fully develop its potential by using the incredible opportunities provided by freedom without borders.

Suffice it to say that the cyclotourism market in Europe is worth 44 billion euros, which is more than the cruising industry, which receives significantly more attention than Croatian cyclotourism.

In addition, the pandemic has done a lot for the promotion of this segment of tourism because people have turned much more to outdoor activities, to destinations that are not overcrowded”, states Kucan, founder of the company Spot and the brand Trail – Full Cycling Experience, who signed the organization of the conference.

The company is engaged in the development and promotion of innovative tourist products. The brand Trail – Full Cycling Experience covers all elements of developing a cycling destination, from tracing trails, designing routes, educating service providers, creating promotional content, starting and organizing events, and providing business consulting to offer a destination that is competitive and sustainable.

Many ungraded roads

“Croatia declares itself as a country that wants to invest in cyclotourism, but the Slovenians have invested more only in the Drava cycle route than Croatia has in the entire country’s infrastructure. When constructing new roads, Croatia is oriented toward motor vehicle traffic, and the plans do not include paths that would serve tourists and local residents. There are many ungraded roads that could get such infrastructure if it were considered at the local level.

Another important factor is the offer. Bike tourists arrive outside the summer season, and in many destinations in Croatia, they have nowhere to sleep, no hotels, restaurants, or shops are open. It is a question of the cooperation of all involved at the level of local units, not a question of one ministry”, Kucan claims.

In addition, agencies specializing in Croatian cyclotourism can still be counted on the fingers of one hand, so it happens that partners from abroad cannot find a local agency that will help them organize the trip.

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