Like many other resorts, the Makarska Riviera in Croatia has recently seen rapid growth in international tourism and is now attracting a new type of customer. This presents both challenges and opportunities for businesses and tourist boards more accustomed to catering for domestic and regional tourists. In such circumstances, local businesses and attractions are often overlooked as they are unaware of the required international standards or the needs of different customer markets.
In partnership with the TUI Care Foundation, we trialled ways to strengthen relationships between the tourism sector and local communities by taking a more inclusive approach to tourism development. The focus of the project was on two newly refurbished TUI hotels in the neighbouring villages of Živogošće and Igrane, where we built relationships between diverse stakeholders, and supported local business owners to improve their market access.
What we did
Stakeholder relationship building:
We created destination councils in each village to support efforts that improve the impacts of the hotel developments on local communities.
Local product development and marketing:
We delivered training to managers of local bars and restaurants, enabling them to meet new tourism needs.
We worked with TUI and hotel staff to develop initiatives that would encourage hotel guests to explore the villages including; improving staff awareness of the tourism ‘offer’ in the villages, ensuring that the tourist board, hotels and tour operators share information, and setting up new ‘Taste the Village’ excursions, which visit local restaurants.
Promoting local culture and heritage:
Following research, we created two self-guided cultural heritage walking itineraries.
The tourist boards worked with heritage sites to increase accessibility for visitors.
Youth employment and enterprise:
We ran workshops to improve local employment opportunities for young people. 12 out of the 20 young people trained secured employment by the following season.
We fostered links between the hotels and local vocational training institutes and researched knowledge and skills requirements for hotel employment.