By combining sustainable tourism, the slow travel concept and volunteerism, Međimurje represents a new step forward in tourism development

With booze in green Međimurje.

Author  Goran Rihelj

9. April 2024.

By combining sustainable tourism, the slow travel concept and volunteerism, Međimurje makes a new step forward in the tourism development of Croatia, as well as a new positive example in practice regarding the strategic development of a destination towards sustainable tourism. 

As part of the "Sustainable Tourism Development Laboratory" program TZ Međimurje County she decided to test one type of mobility and connect it with volunteer activities which contribute to the development of a healthy organizational culture of the local community.

Namely, on the eve of Earth Day, the Tourist Board of Međimurje County invites to voluntary contribution for sustainable Međimurje and our planet!

"We want you to experience a sustainable way of traveling, and with your actions to help clean, arrange and preserve the natural and cultural heritage of the Croatian Flower Garden," they state from the TZ of Međimurje County. 

The whole story revolves around the connection with Zagreb by train. Why use a car, when you can get to Međimurje by train?

with booze in green Međimurje - is the slogan of the campaign, and the train as a means of transport from Zagreb to Čakovec will be branded with stickers as part of the campaign. Arrival by train, tour of the destination by Hop On Hop Off bus (one bus with a capacity of approx. 50 people, uses a smaller CO2 footprint than 50 cars) and e-buses, bicycles... with volunteer workshops for sustainable development in the destination. 

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This "slow" trip will consist of: animation and entertainment program and Međimurje breakfast on the train, meeting local heroes of sustainable tourism, participation in volunteer actions, socializing with fine Međimurje dishes and wines, and trips to the most attractive natural and heritage locations of Međimurje sustainable tourism.

As part of the program guests will participate in the arrangement of the public sensory path, they will make a "hotel" for insects and a birdhouse, elements of a traditional mask for the needs of a home for the elderly and infirm, the environment of the facility for children with special needs will be arranged, spring work will be done in the garden of regenerative agriculture, run and walk and pick up trash, they will make and set up a birdhouse, they will also make eco candles to sell for the fund for the care of abandoned dogs, as well as spring work on the pasture for grazing the native Međimurje horse.

A sustainable weekend in Međimurje from the first step to the last. And that is meaningful and useful, both for the destination and for tourists who will learn and gain more dimensions regarding sustainable development and tourism. 

Međimurje has been certified since 2023 sustainable tourism destination, and the obligation according to the certification is to influence the reduction of the negative climate footprint and support sustainable activities.

The whole story does not come by chance, and it is interesting as a positive example from practice - how in Međimurje everything develops logically and naturally and is planned - layer by layer. Namely, 98% of tourists use a car to arrive and move around Međimurje County, which of course creates a large negative CO2 footprint.

This is exactly the goal of this one pilot project to encourage guests to travel to the destination by train, then to use bicycles, walking, Hop On Hop Off tourist transport within the destination, to educate both tourists and the local community about sustainability, as well as the development of slow "slow" and volunteer tourism.

Of course, changing habits and tourist flows takes time, it cannot change by itself. That is why it is crucial that the destination pushes and lives that narrative, does targeted projects and promotion, because we are the narrators of our story. Sustainable tourism always starts with the local population and the destination, not the other way around. That's the base. 

More importantly, this is not just about one project, but about another related project in Međimurje and a wider sustainable story and development of the destination. 

The vision of the development of tourism in Međimurje is defined that the destination develops on the principles of sustainability, that Međimurje be recognized and highly desirable as a dynamic and healthy holiday destination that offers active and curious visitors experiences of wellness and sports, learning and entertainment, fine food and wine, rich culture and preserved nature. 

This project is proof that the vision is not just a dead letter on paper. It's all a process, it's up to us in which direction we will go and develop. Because tourism is developed precisely by the destination, not some "external forces".

The entire tourist program and concept can be found at: With booze in green Međimurje


PS For those readers who want to know more...

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/ / / Hop on, Hop off concept in Međimurje is developing well. A school example of strategic tourism development

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Author  Goran Rihelj

9. April 2024.