Rujana Bušić Srpak: The efforts we have invested in highlighting all the resources and products of the destination have yielded results

Cover photo: Darko Kešnjer / Source TZ VSŽ

November 17, 2022

According to data from the National Bureau of Statistics, In September, the Vukovar-Srijem County had the largest increase in the number of tourists on an annual basis compared to other Croatian counties. The number of arrivals increased by as much as 91,1 percent, and overnight stays by 97,5 percent. 

Arrivals of domestic tourists increased by 80,3 percent, and overnight stays by 86,2 percent, while foreign arrivals increased by 129,1 percent, and overnight stays by 132,7 percent. In September, a total of 9 tourists visited the Vukovar-Srijem County, and 867 overnight stays were made. This growth trend is present throughout the year.

Compared to September of last year, the number of tourist arrivals and overnight stays increased in all counties. After the Vukovar-Srijem County, which recorded the largest increase in arrivals and overnight stays, Zagreb, City of Zagreb, Sisak-Moslavina, Dubrovnik-Neretva, and Virovitica-Podravine Counties follow in terms of arrivals. Virovitica-Podravine, Osijek-Baranja, Zagreb County, City of Zagreb, Sisak-Moslavina and Dubrovnik-Neretva County.

However, statistics are not the only indicator of the tourism success of the Vukovar-Srijem County. It was last month at the selection of this year's best sustainable cultural tourism destinations in Europe, he won the only prize ahead of the Republic of Croatia Museum of Vučedol culture, the only Croatian winner of the prestigious European award "Destination of Sustainable Cultural Tourism 2022", and the European Commission awarded that museum and archaeological site the European Heritage Label.


Vukovar as a destination is as part of this year's Days of Croatian Tourism, he was also among the three finalists for the Annual Croatian Tourism Award in the Destination of the Year category, while this year the region of Slavonia - i.e. the five Slavonian counties - declared the best rural destination, and director of the TZ of Vukovar-Srijem County Rujana Busic Srpak was announced employee of the year in the system of tourist boards.

"The efforts we put into highlighting all the resources and products of the destination have yielded results. We have presented a destination that has a lot to offer, has quality content, offers value for money and is recognizable in relation to its surroundings. All this was done in various counties and clusters of Slavonia, and in fact three Slavonic counties achieved considerable growth. For several years, we have been working on strengthening the recognition of the key contents of the destination and communicating with the target domestic market, and the effort invested in these two directions has obviously led to such good results, both in the area of ​​our county, but also in the area of ​​the whole of Slavonia.", elaborated Rujana Bušić Srpak's successes.

Bušić Srpak adds that it should be pointed out that their event is also Sparkling Srijem breakfast in the vineyard after three years of being held, this year it entered the finals for the Annual Croatian Tourism Award in the Unique Gastronomic Experience of the Year category.

"This means that we have well recognized in which way we should present the key resource, which audience we should address and which content we should offer. I think we have definitely communicated all this clearly towards the domestic market, and now we have to start communicating these key products to other emission markets and let's continue this growth.”Adds Bušić Srpak.

As the most important elements that led to the success of the Vukovar-Srijem County, Bušić Srpak pointed out transparency in communication and strengthening of quality in the destination itself, as well as good mutual cooperation of all stakeholders.


"We clearly communicated the specific facilities, providers, and quality that exist here. With our activities - which are not only promotional - we worked intensively on strengthening the quality of the providers themselves and the destination. This double interaction, the interaction we had with the market, that is, potential visitors, and the communication we had within the destination with the people who offer content is very important. We worked on the market of visitors, but also on the market of the offer itself within the county, and on the quality and recognition of it. Therefore, without partners in the destination who follow us - hoteliers, winemakers, OPG - there would be no results. It is an absolutely integral result. The tourist board has done its job there, in cooperation with all relevant partners", emphasized Busic Srpak.

An illustrative example of cooperation in the field is the common visual identity of the river piers - a logo, identical masts and seven flags were created for the Danube piers Aljmaš, Batina, Vukovar and Ilok, the Drava pier in Osijek and the Sava piers in Slavonski Brod and Sisak.

River cruises recorded continuous growth before the pandemic, and this year that trend has returned. Additional infrastructure investments on the Danube and Sava will make river tourism in Croatia more and more attractive. 

River cruises bring many tourists to Vukovar. By the end of September, 308 cruise ships with 23.103 passengers docked in Vukovar, and in 2022, 5 new accommodation facilities were opened. Although memorial tourism forms the backbone of the tourist attraction of Vukovar, the baroque atmosphere of the city itself, and the beauty of nature in the wider surroundings are certainly an additional reason for a visit.

Nevertheless, the backbone of the tourist attraction of Vukovar is predominantly memorial tourism. Among several more or less skilfully executed memorial locations, the Ovčara Memorial House stands out for its unobtrusive impact, but also one well-rounded tourist attraction - the Vukovar water tower.

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In addition to Vukovar, Vinkovci, Ilok, Germans, Otok, Bosniacs record a large number of visitors - destinations that offer authentic experiences and have a lot to show. It is possible to get to know Srijem and Slavonia from different perspectives - for example, by sailing on river boats on the waters of Bosut and Spačva in Nijemci, or on Virovi through the mystical Spačvan forest not far from the island.

There are also a handful of hiking trails that are attractive to mountaineers, cyclists, recreationalists and athletes, but also to all nature lovers. 

Above all, in Slavonia, no one will be left hungry or thirsty. Most of the guests who come know that in the Vukovar-Srijem County they will be greeted by top wines and brandies, but they should also be introduced to the less typical offer - excellent craft beers and world-famous mead, products that come with fascinating stories. 

Photo: Ron Porter

November 17, 2022