Despite the pandemic, the past tourist year in the Imotski region was truly memorable. This was confirmed by more than 100 thousand overnight stays, an increase in the number of luxury accommodation facilities, and a record number of visits to the natural beauties of Imotski and its surroundings. All this additionally motivated the tourist workers in the area to prepare as well as possible for the upcoming season, even though the coronavirus could dictate it.
Luka Kolovrat, director of the Imotski Tourist Board, and his associates are currently preparing projects that will further strengthen the good marketing of local values presented to guests. Slobodna Dalmacija reports:
“The Tourist Board is only a small segment in the promotion of tourism in Imotski and the Imotski region because in the first place there are our renters. Last year we finished with 384 of them, and this season that number will be higher because in this part of the year, according to our data, the number of 400 hosts has already been exceeded.
I am optimistic, and if the pandemic subsides, I think we will exceed last year’s record for overnight stays, and in that number, it was over 90 percent of foreign guests. In October last year, all renters received inquiries and booked part of their capacity, and then we had a lull of almost three months. Still, in the previous few weeks, we have seen an increase in inquiries from potential guests and reservations,” says Kolovrat and adds:
“However, we must have a slight hesitation, although accommodation in the Imotski region is among the safest in Croatia due to the location of houses, separation from the center, and regular vaccinations of owners and members of their families. Thus, in 2020, at the national level, we had between 50 and 60 percent occupancy of tourist capacities, and in our country, up to 80 percent.
They are preparing several vital projects, too.
“We have started several multi-year projects, so we received almost 800 thousand kuna from the funds for the united tourist boards and from Split-Dalmatia County through a tender. That’s 60 percent of all our revenue. We expect a similar result this year as well.
Last year we arranged the first phase of the Camino Imota pilgrimage route, marked it, organized the first Camino weekend during which more than 150 pilgrims from various countries came. We also received an award from the Association of Croatian Travel Agencies for this part of the project. This year we are starting with the second phase, and we will organize the target weekend earlier, at the beginning of May, due to the expected excellent summer heat.
In parallel, we begin the third phase with which we close this story: the connection of our Camino Property to the pilgrimage route of Our Lady of Sinj. The Sinj Tourist Board worked on that route from Rama in BiH through Sinj to Solin, and we would now connect to Trin via Trilj.
We also have a long-term destination quality management project called “IQM Imota.” Last year we had 30 partners who could educate themselves; they signed a book of standards and a commitment to stick to that level. In addition, more than 1,500 reviews of our guests were collected, and each stakeholder received a written report on how guests see it.
In 2021, we measured quality according to reviews of 95 percent, which is an exceptional result. Our goal is to increase the number of participants and the number of observed reviews.
We are also planning a big bike race that will combine sports, sightseeing of the Imotski region, meetings with our famous winemakers, then a chess game at the entrance to Blue Lake with one of our grandmasters. In addition, we will have a new brochure in collaboration with HGSS.
We are also impatient about entering the Geopark “Biokovo – Imotski Lakes” into the UNESCO system because it is our great asset. We got as many as 885 points from the evaluators out of a possible 1000, which is truly impressive.
We are waiting for the decisions of the UNESCO Council and the Assembly, whose indications are that we still need to finish some small things. There is still hope that we will enter it soon, but if it is prolonged for a short time, our entry is still safe,” concludes the head of the Imotski Tourist Board.
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