February 17, 2020 – The newly united Hvar tourism boards present their cycling credentials at the Cosmo Bike Show in Verona.
Even though I no longer live on Hvar, I follow island life closely and still very much enjoy my three mandatory visits – Easter, summer and the family olive harvest in November.
And it is nice to see how things are slowly changing for the better in many ways, and how some initiatives are starting to pay off.
The main reason that the Total Project started way back in 2011 as Total Hvar was because the tourist infromation was terrible and the five island tourist boards acted independently and very rarely worked together. It has been a process to get there, but it is great to see that not only was Hvar one of the first clusters of tourist boards to unite as one Destination Management Organisation but that that partnership is really working. Joint promotion of the island of one umbrella may seem logical to the outsider, but it rarely happens in practice in Croatia.
The cooperation is already working well and was on show last week in Verona, as the island presented its joint cycling credentials at the Cosmo Bike Show, where some 15,000 people visited the Croatian stand.
“On the Italian market Hvar is an absolute hit this year, which is shown by more than 15000 visitors of the Croatian stand at the Cosmo bike show in Verona. And we are proud to promote Hvar bike tourism product with all Hvar tourist boards as one,” said Petar Razovic, director of the Hvar Town Tourist Board.
The development of cycling tourism on Hvar has been part of a coordinated attempt to prolong the island’s season and to diversify its product beyond the stereotypical sun, sea and nightlife summer season.
It is a strategy that has taken a few years to develop, but one which is beginning to pay dividends, thanks to the efforts of various island stakeholders.
By far the biggest coup in this strategy has been the arrival for the last three years of Bahrain Merida (now renamed Bahrain McLaren), one of the biggest names in the sport, who have chosen Hvar for their winter training for the past three years.
A key part of the strategy has been the opening of the first dedicated bike hotel on the island, which was properly road-tested by the team from Bahrain, as 75 members of the team stayed at Pharos, hvar bayhill hotel during their first stay – here is an overview of the international cyclists putting the bike hotel through its paces.
The tourist board has developed a series of bike maps over the last few years, as well as marked trails, both for regular and MTB biking, and if you want to see true beauty and tranquiliity, I recommend you try the road right on top of the island – stunning. In addition to the official bike routes, plenty of enthusiasts are adding their own suggested routes.
The international promotion of Hvar cycling has taken on several other aspects, including last year’s successful Paros II Pharos cycle, which connected Hvar with the island of Paros in Greece, some 2,400 years after the Ancient Greeks from Paros first colonised Hvar.
And with more than 4,4 million views on YouTube of the official Central Dalmatia promotional video of Brac and Hvar cycling, the message continues to spread.
To learn more about the island, check out the Total Croatia Hvar in a Page guide.