This is the first year I’ve spent working as national coordinator for Croatia, and it has been full of success, challenges, lessons learned, laughter and a lot of learning.
The project has been about helping two villages benefit from the new tourists who are arriving on their doorsteps, thanks to the redevelopment of a pair of large hotels.
How do you encourage stakeholders in local communities to work towards a shared vision? In this case the local businesses and public sector organisations involved in tourism did not have prior relationships with each other, and we had the challenge of bringing them all to the same table to talk and finally to work together.
Now, they cooperate in order to make their destination more sustainable. For example, they created an action plan for next season activities, organised a `Taste the village` walk where all-inclusive hotel guests get the chance to see and taste the local culture of the area and consequently decide to go out for lunch or dinner and spread tourism benefits to the local community.
To conclude, after everything that we have been through in developing this project I have to say that nothing would be achieved without open communication. Creating communication links between individuals and groups brought them together and closer to each other. The more information that was shared, the better the results.