Tourism is an important economic driver in Croatia - it accounts for a quarter of its GDP and almost a quarter of its employment, and these figures are expected to increase.
The project in cooperation with the Travel Foundation has two aims: to help businesses in the area get the most out of tourism and to create job opportunities, thus strengthening local added value. Hotels and businesses like restaurants and boat tour operators are being helped to work together to maximise opportunities and understand how best to cater for their western visitors; the target is to increase revenue by 15 per cent. To increase employment, young people are being offered training, mentoring and work experience; it’s hoped that at least half of them will get jobs in hospitality.
The area is rich in culture, history and scenery, with attractions including ancient rock carvings, churches, a monastery, and a mountain spring where visitors can drink the fresh water. Tourism councils have been set up in both villages to help promote these attractions. New events, festivals, excursions and tours are being developed, visitor information is being improved, and attractions are being made easier to access where necessary.
Two hotels in the coastal villages of Živogošće and Igrane on the Makarska Riviera are participating in the project, the Sensimar Makarska and Sensimar Adriatic Beach. Both hotels have started offering Taste of the Village guided walks, in which holidaymakers visit local restaurants to try local specialities and meet the owners.
The Travel Foundation is an international charity working to maximise the positive impact of tourism.
TUI Care Foundation supported this project from 2015 until 2017.