Days of Croatian Tourism: A Thank You to HR Turizam’s Goran Rihelj

Total Croatia News


October 6, 2019 – Lots of congratulations and self-congratulations in Slavonia this week, with one notable exception. A thank you to Goran Rihelj and his determination to promote tourism in Slavonia. 

I have to confess that I thought he was nuts at first. 

A tourism blogger from somewhere in the east of Croatia, who signed his emails with Best regards from the oldest town in Europe.


And then when I researched, I found out that yes indeed, there was a town in Slavonia which was called Vinkovci and which had been continuously inhabited for 8,300 years. Hell, two Roman Emperors were even born there. 

And I had never even heard of it until this Goran Rihelj chap started sending his regular greetings. And if I had never heard of it… 

From his blog on Vecernji List to his own portal HR Turizam, this Goran Rihelj was establishing himself as quite a tourism authority in Croatia. And he was not afraid to speak his mind and to talk about tourism topics that were perhaps not the most convenient to be discussed in public. 

And then, an initiative, which confirmed he must indeed be nuts – a campaign to bring Days of Croatian Tourism to Slavonia! The great tourism gathering at the end of each season where all the tourism kings congregate in a pretty coastal resort for 2-3 days of relaxation, partying and prizes. Locations so far which have hosted Days of Croatian Tourism – Opatija, Bol (both twice), Rovinj, Sibenik, Dubrovnik, Zadar, Porec, Mali Losinj and Hvar.

What was this Goran Rihelj talking about, taking this wonderful relaxing holiday away from the coast to come to Slavonia? 


A campaign was officially launched, and Rihelj enlisted the thoughts of Minister of Tourism Gari Cappelli, who acknowledged that the initiative was Rihelj’s and that while he supported it, there were logistical challenges to be overcome, not least finding accommodation for 1,000 people. 

The campaign was launched in June, 2017, with the hashtag #DHTSLAVONIJA2018, but hopes that the event might be staged on the continent were dashed when it was announced that Days of Croatian Tourism 2018 would be held in Hvar Town. 

The voices from Slavonia got louder, and some boats from the Pannonian Sea from Pozega came down to remind people about Slavonia at Days of Croatian Tourism 2017 in Mali Losinj. 

Soon afterwards, an announcement that I personally thought would never come – Days of Croatian Tourism 2019 would be held in Slavonia!

I congratulated Goran on his success, but he dismissed it as a success not for him but for Slavonia. But he did remind me that I had promised to visit him in the oldest town in Europe. And what better time than during the first Days of Croatian Tourism on the continent. It was an honour to accept the invitation, and several fabulous days followed – here are 10 things I learned about eastern Croatia this week alone.  

The event was a major success, with many of Croatia’s tourism workers in Slavonia for the first time, and many, many of them enthusiastically sharing their experiences of Slavonia on social media. And locals were also engaged – the atmosphere in Osijek old town on Friday night was magical. 

And there were prizes, so many prizes, given out by Minister Cappelli and the other tourism chiefs – from destination of the year (Rovinj) to categories such as tourist inspector of the year. 

But a word of thanks for Goran Rihelj, the man whose initiative started everything? Sadly, nothing. The 2017 acknowledgment of Rihelj’s initiative seems to have been lost in 2019, with the tourism chiefs full of congratulations and self-congratulations at their initiative to bring the event to the continent. 


Not everyone forgot Goran’s initiative and determination to make Days of Croatian Tourism come to his beloved Slavonia, and several colleagues paid tribute to his efforts. 

As I do now. Thank you, Goran, for showing the way. May it be the start of a brighter future for Slavonia. 

To learn more about eastern Croatia, here are 25 things to know

To follow Goran Rihelj’s HR Turizam portal, click here




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