Rural tourism excellence awarded in Opatija
- by croatiaweek
- in News
The Suncokret – rural tourism in Croatia – Sunflower Award was won by 70 winners from Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina. This year’s Champion, the Municipality of Kneževi vinogradi, is a pioneer of rural tourism in Baranja.
On February 28, 2023, the Croatian Association for Tourism and Rural Development “The Village Membership Club” awarded 70 charters and special awards, as part of the national “Suncokret – rural tourism in Croatia – Sunflower Award”, which was held for the tenth year.
The Royal Hotel in Opatija hosted the event, and the President of the Association, Dijana Katica, also marked the 25th anniversary of the Association’s activities on this occasion.
A total of 161 candidates from 18 Croatian counties were registered, and for the first time, under the auspices of the Central State Office for Croats Abroad, 16 applicants from Bosnia and Herzegovina also joined.
The co-organizer of the event was the Primorje-Gorski Kotar County, since last year the largest number of awards were won by candidates from this county.
Until the very end, the competition was very uncertain between Zagreb County, the most numerous in terms of the number of awards won (7) and Osijek-Baranja County (6), but due to the greater number of gold awards and charters, as well as the Zlatni suncokret title, which was won by the Municipality of Kneževi Vinogradi, the next election for the Suncokret – Sunflower Award will be held in Osijek-Baranja County.
The musical part of the event was enriched by excellent musicians: prima donna Lidija Horvat Dunjko and Matej Meštrović, a pianist and composer.
The Suncokret award for rural tourism in Croatia is a project that evaluates and presents traditional content once a year, preserves authenticity and connects participants in rural tourism, and is awarded in eight categories: tourist farms, traditional homesteads, traditional gastronomy, wine and craft tourism, active tourist facilities in rural areas, rural tourism projects, as well as those that have protected and marketing marks. In addition to one championship award, gold, silver and bronze certificates and special recognitions, divided by category, were awarded.
The President of the Croatian Association for Tourism and Rural Development “The Village Membership Club”, Dijana Katica, who has been organizing the largest and most significant event in rural tourism for ten years, pointed out: “I am proud to support and advise rural tourism in our country from the very beginning people who are just entering this segment of tourism. I am also glad that they recognized our work in Bosnia and Herzegovina and expressed their wish that they too participate in the selection.”
The Croatian Association for Tourism and Rural Development “The Village Membership Club”, organized more than 300 professional and educational seminars, several international and national conferences and expert gatherings, and four international scientific and professional congresses on rural tourism. Association members also very often act as advisors to tourist destinations in rural areas, with the aim of increasing the quality of products and services.
A new recognition was also presented: the award of Ph.D. Eduard Kušen, for special contribution to the development and promotion of rural tourism. Namely, the late Ph.D. Kušen greatly contributed to the promotion of knowledge and research important for the development of rural tourism.
The award will be awarded once a year to persons, associations, OPGs, service providers, tourist associations and other institutions, who have invested extraordinary efforts and effort in their work, made a significant contribution, achieved achievements in the development and promotion of rural tourism and the improvement of rural areas of Croatia.
The ceremony was attended by representatives of scientific institutions, tourist boards, ministries, state institutions, and among them Marijana Petir, representative of the President of the Croatian Parliament and president of the Committee on Agriculture of the Croatian Parliament, Tugomir Majdak, representative of the Prime Minister of the Republic of Croatia and state secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture, Sunčana Glavak, Member of the European Parliament, Kristjan Staničić, Director of the Croatian Tourist Board, Ivan Bota, Delegate of the Minister of Regional Development and European Union Funds and Director of the Directorate for Regional Development, Dragan Jelić, Acting. Director of SAFU, Željka Josić, State Secretary of the Central State Office for Demography and Youth, N.E. Onon Kennedy Mayong, Ambassador of Malaysia to the Republic of Croatia and co-organizers and hosts, Prefect of the Primorje-Gorski Kotar County Zlatko Komadina and Mayor of Opatija Fernando Kirigin.
The award ceremony was attended by numerous other prefects and mayors from all parts of Croatia, as well as directors and employees of tourist boards.
The Suncokret – Sunflower Award ceremony was supported by: the Croatian Tourist Board, the Central State Office for Croats Abroad, the Tourist Board of the Primorje-Gorski Kotar County, the Tourist Board of the City of Opatija, as well as the Ministry of Agriculture, the Ministry of Regional Development and Funds of the European Union, and the Ministry of Tourism and Sports.
The next Suncokret – Sunflower awards are planned for the end of the year in Osijek-Baranja County.