New Novigrad: Little Pearl of Adriatic Turns to Gourmet Tourism

Daniela Rogulj

February 15, 2020 – Vesna Ferenac, director of the Novigrad Tourist Board, emphasizes that their ultimate goal is more efficient promotion, that is, visibility of the destination and raising the quality of the offer in the city. 

“Last year we achieved record results: three percent increase in arrivals and a two percent increase in overnights, exceeding 1.3 million overnights. This is a great result considering that the beginning of the preseason did not start well due to terrible and cold weather. The period before and after the season is very important for us, so this year we are focused on activities during this period to increase the number of guests,” said Vesna Ferenac, director of the Novigrad Tourist Board, speaking about the preparations for the new tourist season.

Glas Istre writes that behind the scenes, they are preparing for the reception and provision of even better service and hospitality of the guests. And as Novigrad, colloquially called the “little pearl of the Adriatic”, is becoming an excellent place for an increasing number of tourists.

“We continue with activities related to defining the tourist offer of Novigrad that started in 2018, one of the priority goals of which is branding the destination of Novigrad, according to the guidelines of a document we presented in May last year. So last year, we realized some of the activities that have emerged from this document, such as the summer entertainment program, with which we are continuing with some new content that will fill the week-long program in the city at several checkpoints,” Ferenac says.

Based on these guidelines and a printed document, they collected offers to brand the destination and selected designer Marko Baus & associates from a Zagreb agency. For the realization of this vital branding project, they continued to hold workshops with stakeholders of tourism and other offers in the town, i.e., caterers, owners of accommodation facilities, travel agencies, institutions, associations and institutions that organize and conduct various events, but this time, the topic defined the strategic position of the brand for profiling future tourism products and creating experiences for guests staying in Novigrad.

“We also used the latest tools for analyzing guest posts on social networks, analyzing data collected from platforms for reviewing accommodation and analyzing posts on news portals, that is, a digital media image survey of Novigrad was carried out, with about 120,000 posts. By analyzing these announcements through platforms and social networks, we will have a clearer landmark for branding the destination. A pervasive analysis has been made because we believe that guest feedback is essential, as they see and perceive us as a destination, in order to address some of the shortcomings and targeted development. To us, from the perspective of a local, some of the appearances and things in the town may seem different than it would for guests, because we are here every day, and therefore their wishes should be heard and self-critical changes and improvements can be made,” explains Ferenac.

As she points out further, in this project, it was very important to take into account the local observations that were analyzed at the workshops. The result of the work in last year’s workshops will compare with the opinions of the guests and define the attributes of Novigrad that need to be more actively promoted and branded to become even more visible in the highly competitive tourism market. Ferenac explains that this complex research and strategic document for destination branding implies a change of the city’s visuals, its implementation (unification), that is, connecting all carriers in all fields of the city’s tourism offer.

“The ultimate goal is more efficient promotion, i.e., visibility of the destination and raising the quality of the offer in the city. Also, with unique content networking, guests should be additionally stimulated to visit and stay, and spend more throughout the year,” Ferenac points out.

In addition, a number of events have been expanded as the Tourist Board moves ahead with new tourism products.

“We have judged that there is a lack of content related to marine activities. So, in cooperation with an Austrian swim club, we are organizing an international swimming marathon on May 16 and according to the announcements so far, we expect between 200 and 300 swimmers. We will organize a new sailing regatta, but we are still in negotiations,” announced Ferenac and added that they are thinking about new gourmet products. 

Namely, for the development of gourmet products, two editions of the new Park Food Fest gourmet event are planned this year, in the pre and postseason, while the traditional gourmet events united under the name Gnam-gnam fest will be realized this year at the Novigrad Captains Evening at the beginning June, and Sardelafest in early September.

“In mid-July, at the increasingly popular event “Che gusto”, numerous local and foreign producers of wine, craft beer and food products will present their offer. Also, we continue with events that started last year, like: “Movie nights” with screenings of films in the park under the stars, “Jazz Corner” at Bosko Petrovic Passage, tribute band concerts at the Piazza Grande in Novigrad, “Kids’ day” with a program of street entertainers, then music programs on every corner, and debut music nights in the romantic setting of the restored Belvedere Lodge.

There will also be traditional events such as the Painting Ex tempore Contest, Magical Novigrad, Slovenian nights and all sorts of surprises, Ferenac says, adding that every guest is equally good and that there is something for everyone.

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