February 8, 2019 – “Split-Dalmatia County, as well as Croatia, has a significant natural and socio-cultural basis for the development of rural tourism. However, this foundation is not used in the right way, and despite the enormous potential, rural tourism in our county and Croatia, compared to that in the seaside, occupies a relatively small share and is still not sufficiently developed,” said Nataša Bušić from the Croatian Chamber of Commerce Split at the panel “Rural Tourism 365 Split-Dalmatia County”.
The Panel, which was part of the Adriatic Gastro Show held on February 8th, was organized by HGK ŽK Split to look into the situation of rural tourism, and the potential of which we have the opportunity to vigorously develop this significant and insufficiently developed segment of tourism that can significantly enrich the tourism offer and extend the season.
The Croatian Association for Tourism and Rural Development “Village Club” is actively working on the development and promotion of rural tourism in Croatia. “We are carrying out numerous education for OPGs, projects – from cultural routes to branding, and actions, such as the organization of the Suncokret Rural Tourism in Croatia, to develop rural tourism,” said the president of the Association Dijana Katica.
The Tourist Board of Imota is the only tourist community in the area of Split-Dalmatia County, and its director, Luka Kolovrat, said that the last few years achieved excellent results, i.e., an increase in the number of accommodation facilities and the number of overnight stays.
“Several factors have led to this positive change and growth – the transport infrastructure and the tunnel of Sv. Illija is a great wind on our backs, and there is a prevailing trend for family homes, the pace of renters themselves, the emergence of several strong tourist agencies, media promotion and various incentives,” says Kolovrat.
The destination of Inland Dalmatia, which was declared the most successful destination of rural tourism in 2018, was presented by the director of the Sinj Tourist Board, Monika Vrgoč.
“From year to year, we note the growth in the number of accommodation facilities. Between 2016 and 2017 the number of newly opened accommodation facilities increased by 60% and from 2017 – 2018, 40%,” Vrgoč said
The LAG Adrion, whose activities were presented by LAG manager, Ivanka Ribičić, is an aid to agricultural holdings when applying for projects. An excellent example of rural tourism development is Winery Matković, one of the LAG members. Domagoj Matković, the owner of the winery Matković, who has been operating since 1998, opened a wine tasting booth last year, which has already resulted in significant business results.
The first-hand experience in working with tourists, trends and demand was shared by Ivana Kapić from the Nova Sol Split Travel Agency.
“Along with beds and a pool, today’s guests in rural areas need to be offered additional facilities such as children’s playgrounds, wine cellars and the like,” Kapić said.
Rural tourism in Split-Dalmatia County has shown growth in recent years, but overall, it is still at a low level. For its development, the critical cooperation of all institutions, the creation of a destination and a genuine tourist product, and the learning of those who have already done so, concluded the panel.
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