Tuesday, 23rd March, 2010
THE SECOND CROATIAN CONGRESS ON RURAL TOURISM
"The Concept of Long-Term Development of Rural Tourism"
Mali Lošinj, Aurora Hotel****, 21 - 25 April 2010
The functional and organised development of rural tourism in the Republic of Croatia started in 1996. The foundation for such a development was the adoption of the Book of Rules for Providing Catering Services on Family Farms in the same year, which created the framework and legal regulations for this type of tourism.
In ten years that followed, rural tourism became one of the most recognisable forms of tourist service. Its significance was particularly evident in the complexity of its services as well as in the development of rural areas, that is, the implementation of tourism in areas where it had not been present before.
The value of rural tourism lies primarily in the importance of interactions between agricultural production, traditional products, and presentation of tradition, traditional cuisine and tourist services, or rather in the exploitation of the existing resources. The development of rural tourism is based on sustainable development, which is implemented through revitalisation of the existing traditional buildings, that is, heritage, which is being given the new purpose - the tourist one. In times when many speak of, write about, and discuss the upper limits of constructing tourist facilities, and when there is a lot of area-related pressure on the same subject, rural tourism offers a completely different approach to area unification, restoration and organisation. Rural tourism need not construct new facilities. On the contrary, it is challenged to utilise the existing buildings the best it can, at the same time meeting high quality standards.
Stakeholders in the process of development of rural tourism have been meeting numerous difficulties in administrative, bureaucratic, organizational, financial and other areas.
The difficulties can also be recognized in the completely undefined category of rural tourism as an activity, followed by a significant number of rules and regulations that are obstructing prosperity growth and substantial investment cycles in this sector.
For all the above-mentioned reasons, there was a great necessity for the organisation of the First Croatian Congress on Rural Tourism, which was held on the Island of Hvar in October 2007. In a scientific and expert manner, it summarised all the activities existing at the time, recognised all difficulties, and set new challenges through practical implementation conclusions thus offering the satisfying framework and simplified procedures for further development. The Conclusions to the First Congress contributed to the solution of various presumptions and enhanced the cooperation at all relevant levels. The Declaration on Rural Tourism was signed in April 2008. In the same year, the three committees of the Croatian Parliament (the Committee for Reconstruction and Development, the Committee for Tourism, and the Committee for Agriculture, Fisheries and Rural Development) held a session in June entitled Current state, prospects, presumptions, and guidelines for rural development in the Republic of Croatia. The cooperation with relevant authorities in tourism, agriculture, regional development, culture, and economy, as well as with regional and local self-governing units and various institutions has intensified thus leading to the common goal, which is the Strategy for the Development of Rural Tourism.
By all means, it is necessary to take into consideration a great challenge imposed on family farms and entrepreneurs involved in rural tourism. It lies in the process of European integration and harmonization with the standards of the European Community.
On the basis of all that has been said, and the conclusions to the first congress, we have started organizing the second international congress on rural tourism, which is going to be held on 21 - 25 April 2010. The intention of introductory speeches, specialised topics, examples of the good practices and the roundtable Towards the Strategy for the Development of Rural Tourism is to join forces and make the first giant step forward. Foreign institutions and European Union experts have also been invited to the Congress.
The Congress is open to all who are directly or indirectly involved in rural tourism: stakeholders, family farm owners, existing and future entrepreneurs, professional associations, cooperatives, and other associations, relevant national authorities, regional and local self-governing units, tourist boards, international, scientific and expert institutions.
With all your help you can give, we hope to organise a high quality and useful Congress that will for the second time gather all relevant stakeholders that have something to say about rural tourism, and offer new guidelines in faster and easier development and business practice.
Hrvatski farmer d.d.
Ruralis - a consortium for the development of agro-tourism and rural tourism of Istria
Klub članova "Selo" - the professional association (Member Club "Village")