Gastronomy is a key product in extending the tourism season and promoting continental tourism
The 7th Tourism Forum of Continental Tourism took place on September 13 and 14 in Vinkovci. This year the accent was on gastronomy as a Croatian tourism product. The Forum took place during Vinkovci Autumn festivities, and all participants could feel the excitement this manifestation brings to the town, outgrowing its folklore framework a long time ago, with a half century tradition.
Iva Puđak Mihajlović of the Croatian Tourism Board main office spoke of activities in promoting eno and gastro tourism products. She emphasised that enogastronomy is one of 6 key products (with culture, cycling, active vacation, wellness and health, business tourism) used to promote the “Croatia 365” concept – introduction to authentic products and experiences beyond the main tourism season.
Martina Pavelić and Sanja Krmpotić from the Kvarner Tourism Board spoke of the Kvarner Gourmet project with good practice examples. The aim of this project is to unite all information on restaurants and winemakers from Kvarner in one place, so visitors can find enogastronomy information easily.
Director of the Vukovar-Srijem County Tourism Board Rujana Bušić Srpak spoke of the Srijem and Slavonia Tastes project. The aim of this project is to bring traditional gastronomy back to the standard restaurant offer, especially recipes which are falling into oblivion. Part of this project are restaurants Orion and Villa Lenije form Vinkovci, Lav Hotel from Vukovar and Dunav Hotel from Ilok, Ilok Cellars, Acin Salaš from Tordinci, Aguarius Restaurant from Bošnjaci and Gondola restaurant from Sotin.
Goran Filipović of the Jadranka Group, with hotels, camps and stores in Mali Lošinj and Cres, spoke of the cooperation potential of hotels and family farms. Ivanka Luetić Boban from the regional development agency of Split-Dalmatia County held a presentation on the culinary heritage of her county, part of the European regional network Culinary Heritage. The concept was developed in Sweden and Denmark in 1955. Members of the network can be producers, processors, small farms and stores selling traditional and domestic products.
Marijan Martinjaš from the Etno Art Travel DMC agency, headquartered in the Međimurje town of Lopatinec, spoke of innovative ways to present traditional gastronomy. They offer programmes such as adventure-gastronomy respite, fairytale tastes of Međimurje, holiday gastro wanderings etc.
The premier Croatian gastro nomad Rene Bakalović presented the topic of gastronomy as an important factor in promoting continental tourism, with a special note of unused perspectives of Croatia as a Danube country, while Domagoj Jakopović Ribafish spoke on the topic: Eat Croatia with Love.
Zlatko Belušić and Melkior Bašić, chefs of Lošinj Hotels and Villas prepared a banquet with Mediterranean and Pannonian specialties, saying their goal was to create a gastro combination of blue and green Croatia.
Next came a touristic tour of Vinkovci with a living history programme in the birthplace of Ivan Kozarec. Participants also visited the Manufaktura Bar and tasted excellent wine cocktails and fruit brandies prepared by Ivan Mlivić.
The following day in the Villa Lenije conference hall, a panel discussion was held on the topic of “Domestic food in the tourism offer.” Panellists were sausage producers OPG Farbežar and Bođirković d.o.o., hotels were represented by Villa Lenije and Jadranka Group, and the discussion was moderated by Andrija Matić from the Administrative Department for Agriculture and Infrastructure of the Vukovar-Srijem County.
Next came an excursion to the EDEN excellence destination Vukovar-Vučedol-Ilok. After visiting the Vučedol Culture Museum, the excursion continued with a visit to the rural estate Principovac and old cellars of Ilok.