The combination of "Blue" and "Green" Croatia - does it sound familiar to you?

Cover photo: TZ Vinkovci

Compound Blue and Green Croatia - sounds familiar?

As if it is an illusion, and to be honest with you, it is already funny to me when this name is mentioned by tourist institutions and others. Namely, it has only been talked about for years, and nothing concrete is being done to connect Blue and Green Croatian. Many years have passed since the initial idea, everyone is referring to various strategies and strategic documents, various essays have been written on the subject, but on the ground the situation is totally different. It’s reminiscent of the Lock Ness monster story, everyone knows about it, but no one has seen it.

Unfortunately, we missed a great opportunity, due to the lack of a meaningful strategy of development and integration, while the State, on the other hand, encouraged imports at the expense of our production, ie agricultural development. Today, after 20 or more years, the price difference between the production price of domestic family farms and imports is simply too great. Solutions and successful models exist, we have all the resources, from knowledge to money, but unfortunately on the ground, honoring the exceptions and individuals, the story doesn’t work at all.

But it’s never too late for quality stories and projects. It is still possible today to start entire processes and connect blue and green Croatia through tourism. Rather, it should be imperative. It’s all up to the people, and it’s through this article that we bring you, at least as far as I know, the only real example of connecting Blue and Green Croatia through the hotel segment, ie Jadranka Group from Mali Lošinj. Their guests are offered indigenous food from as many as sixty family farms from all over Croatia, primarily from Cres and Lošinj, as well as from Istria, Slavonia and Baranja and Međimurje.

I talked to Goran Filipović, a member of the Management Board of Jadranka Grupa dd, about the very idea of ​​offering local, autochthonous and organic (DAE) food to guests. for many years and succeeded. "Lošinj Hotels & Villas have always paid special attention to the quality of gastronomic offer, so that non-board and hotel restaurants were always one to two categories above the expected standards, and the guiding thread was to offer guests different, indigenous, local and organic food. "Thus, we started cooperating with domestic family farms with the aim of gathering domestic products of the highest quality and implementing them in the offer of the Jadranka Group, thus enabling guests to taste the best that Croatia has to offer. For us, this form of cooperation is important, because in addition to offering our guests quality and home-made food, we also help the local economy. ""Goran Filipović, a member of the Management Board of Jadranka Group, points out and adds that due to the recognizable connection Zelene and Pwashed In Croatia, as part of its entire offer, the Jadranka Group is today the largest purchaser of products from domestic family farms.

Currently, Jadranka Group cooperates with over 60 family farms throughout Croatia - from the islands of Cres and Lošinj, Istria and Kvarner, Međimurje, Slavonia and Baranja, and because of the recognizable connection Green and Blue As part of its entire offer in Croatia, the Jadranka Group is thus the largest purchaser of family products. "For us, this form of cooperation is important because, in addition to providing guests with quality and home-made food, on the other hand we help the local economy " Filipovic points out. Everything is said in this statement - the whole paradigm of connection Blue and Green Croatian. From this example we see that merging is possible, and Jadranka Grupa is, at least as far as I know, the only real example that rounded off the whole story and connected Blue and Green Croatia.

The meaning of tourism is the maximum use of local resources and offers, ie telling an authentic story, both through various tourist facilities and gastronomy, because the motivation for travel is to get to know a new culture and way of life. If we connect everything into one complete tourist story, tourist consumption is dispersed to various industries in the tourist destination, because the greatest power of tourism is that it is not one industry, but connects, vertically and horizontally, all other industries and activities.

When we talk about tourism, authenticity is the key word, and guests can experience and try it through every breakfast, composed of as many as 218 different authentic foods. "Domestic and foreign guests during their stay in LH&V hotels and villas have the opportunity to get acquainted with autochthonous Croatian products throughout the year, of course depending on the season and offer. There are cheeses with truffles, olive oil, various sheep and goat cheeses, Cres lamb and Boškarin meat, the well-known Drniš prosciutto and cured meat products from Slavonia and Baranja. Thanks to this truly unique system of purchasing fresh and varied food, breakfast is a favorite meal for guests, as it consists of 218 different foods.. ”Adds Filipović.

Of course, it is necessary to link the whole story with seasonal foods, so that the food offer is always fresh. It is not easy to start, but the example of Jadranka Group is just an indicator of how possible and sustainable this project is and that it has a calculation. "The basis of the gastronomic offer is primarily fresh and seasonal foods, and the emphasis is on their originality, local origin and availability depending on the season, harvest or catch. They are tested every day MAYBE TASTING BETTER? new products and create new menus, which aim to improve the existing service and raise it to a higher level, so that guests always return to the quality, and yet new and surprising "Are the words of Mr. Filipovic. He adds that guests respond well to home-made food and seasonal ingredients and often look for them themselves because over time they have become a recognizable symbol of their offer.

Istrian boškarin / Source: FB Lošinj Hotels & Villas Wine & DIne

Guests are looking for quality and authenticity and are willing to pay more for authentic, organic and organic and fresh food. By raising the price and bridging the gap between imports and domestic food, everyone benefits. Hoteliers because they offer authentic, fresh and healthy food and ultimately create a competitive advantage and added value in the market, as well as guests who want to taste different and authentic dishes, not to mention what it means for the local economy. It is tourism - a complete tourist product.

"One of the most important values ​​of this project is cooperation, ie providing support to small Croatian businessmen. They can compete with their products in terms of quality, but not in terms of price, compared to those in industrial production. For example, when we started using boškarin meat from the Union, only five heads were raised, and now there are about 40. The fact is that the local producer has greatly changed its position by cooperating with us. This also means that there is enough potential for further development of production in Croatia, because family farms produce as much as they can sell. I believe that if others followed our example of cooperation, there would certainly be more such products on offer in hotel houses throughout Croatia. Apart from guaranteeing guests the highest level of quality, they can also get to know traditional production first hand, which is certainly an added value, considering that in this way Croatian tourism is also promoted.Said Filipovic.

From today's position, where imports are much cheaper, production through family farms is not sufficiently developed, ie there are no clusters, synergies or sufficient quantities of products. In addition, the production price is much higher than the import import, there is also the problem of logistics and warehousing. With all the above, it is much harder and more challenging to go in that direction, but it is certainly not too late, in fact, it should be an imperative.

Of course, the logical question is where in this whole story is the State, the various ministries, the county and city departments of tourism and agriculture. Their task should be to lay the foundations and development platform and to "support" the whole paradigm of connection. The farmer or producer must be what it is to pay attention to quality and quantity, the hotelier must be a hotelier, and all this must be connected by the system, platform, intermediaries, strategy… is who still has so many resources that he does it himself as Jadranka Group.

Everything needs to be put into one connected chain and everyone has to do what is their primary activity. If we strategically deal with the development of agriculture and tourism, as well as this issue, today this story would be completely different, and Jadranka Group would not be the only positive example. "Of course, such ventures are not at all easy and bring with them some challenges, such as logistics costs or finding an adequate mode of transport. Cooperation with local family farms in logistics is easier, because the vast majority of them deliver their products every day in accordance with the needs of our hotels, restaurants and shops, while cooperation with family farms outside the islands of Cres and Lošinj is somewhat more complex. We strive, wherever possible, to reduce transport costs with a lower ordering frequency and a larger volume of orders, while any possible food surplus is redirected to the existing stores of the Jadranka Group. The biggest challenges in cooperation with family farms from other parts of Croatia are the transport and storage of goods with a certain temperature regime. The situation would be greatly facilitated by state assistance in the context of some kind of subsidies, which would allow family farms to sell their own products in more remote parts of Croatia. Given that this is a relatively small amount of food produced, which have eco-certificates, and are of higher quality compared to imported goods, and therefore a much shorter shelf life, we ultimately come to much higher purchase prices. But this cost is not a burden for us, because the quality of these products is incomparable with industrial production. ”Filipović points out.

Let me repeat and emphasize once again the important statement "This cost is not a burden for us, because the quality of these products is incomparable with industrial production"

Source: FB Lošinj Hotels & Villas Wine & DIne

Let me repeat and emphasize once again the important statement "This cost is not a burden for us, because the quality of these products is incomparable with industrial production".
Certainly how Jadranka Group has its account and how they are not in the red, right? Why are they the only ones, at least as far as I know of the larger hotel houses, that connect Blue and Green Croatia? A question that the captains of our tourist ship must ask themselves.

Of course, Jadranka Group has its own account and does not operate in the red, right? Why they are the only ones, at least as far as I know from the larger hotel houses, that connect Blue and Green Croatia? This is a question that the captains of our tourist ship should ask themselves.

Also, another phenomenon and fact can be seen from that statement. An Excel spreadsheet in an office in London does not recognize emotions and experiences, but only instant earnings. Sometimes a kuna more tomorrow brings five kuna more, but this algorithm obviously does not exist. They are not even kuna in question, but literally linden in an excel spreadsheet. Are hoteliers to blame? They carry their own burden and are there to use their interests, and the fact that we as a state allowed all that is exclusively our fault. Not every investor and investment is always good under the slogan just to build. It is necessary to recognize the quality, sustainability and long-term impact of the investment both on the local economy and in the global sense. That is why our tourism is developing in the wrong direction. It is not the most important to count arrivals and overnight stays (of course it is necessary to know the profile of tourists and other parameters) but to monitor how much tourist spending is and whether it is dispersed to the local economy. And that's where we fall the most.

Instead of selling authenticity and dispelling tourist spending to the local economy and as many links in that chain as possible, we turn into one resort where only money is run that only one or only a few hoteliers earn. And we know the implications of various closed resorts. Thus the local population does not participate in the tourism product, nor can they make a living from tourism. It turns into cheap labor or modern slaves, and the earnings go abroad instead of remaining in the local economy. To repeat, the meaning and the greatest power of tourism is precisely the authenticity and dispersion of tourist spending on the local economy.

Do you know how many eggs a hen lays per day?

One hen lays one egg a day, ie an average of about 300 eggs a year.

Now, I ask the question, what is the daily need of hoteliers, regionally and globally, for eggs? Believe me, the number of eggs needed by hoteliers every day is measured in the tens of thousands. And we talk about the same amount and need of eggs every day. How many hens, family farms, cooperatives or clusters, employed families living solely from egg production for the tourism sector, would be included in this story? And here we are talking only about egg production. Logically, if you have a family farm, you also have some other domestic animals, so you also produce other products. You may also be involved in wine production or rural tourism. Maybe someone will open a "zoo" with domestic animals, to show and prove that the cow is not purple as in the commercials, but brown. The chain is only expanding, and the implications are far-reaching.

Only with a complete tourist product, strategic and sustainable development and quality and primarily authentic content can we develop tourism in the long run and with quality. When we turn the table and arrange all the pieces of the Croatian tourist mosaic, only then can we rightly say that some of our destinations or Croatia live tourism. Until then, we will still only get the top of the whipped cream from the tourist cake, and most of the earnings will end up in foreign accounts.

And finally, the story does not stop there, in fact, it is spreading despite the system and Jadranka Group is still looking for new partners from all over Croatia. “We are in constant contact with all our current partners, with whom we have signed multi-year contracts. We meet at the end of the season, do a summary and determine the investments for next year. By the way, at the beginning of the calendar year, the representatives of the Jadranka Group conduct interviews with all interested family farms in Croatia. In doing so, products are selected and approximate quantities of products are agreed to be distributed to shops, hotels and restaurants within the group. The purchasing services in the stores and hotels of the Jadranka Group are directly looking for certain products or family farms. Mostly it is at fairs or meetings that we organize ourselves or with the help of county chambers of commerce. We are also looking for new entrepreneurs, and it is increasingly common for family farms to contact us and offer their products, sometimes even complete crops. Although such a cooperation project is still a precedent in hotel groups in Croatia, we do not give up in opening space for further development and further expansion of business cooperation, with a stronger emphasis on the promotion of each family farm with which it cooperates."Concludes Filipović.

With a targeted development and integration strategy and funds or subsidies from the state, as well as the synergy of various ministries, the story of integration can certainly be started. Blue and Green Croatian. If the Jadranka Group can do that with its own resources and funds, certainly as the State can. Of course, it is necessary to systematically and strategically deal with the problem, ie the concrete solution. All the challenges to connect Blue and Green In today's business and in the 21st century, Croatia is bridging and achievable, of course not tomorrow, but through a long-term plan and strategy and the synergy of all.

There is knowledge, resources, technology, in the end there is enough money, it is just wrongly distributed, because we have everything, we just lack the will and desire.

It's up to the people, be that change. It's possible.


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