Vacation houses with a story are responsible for more and more overnight stays by foreign tourists in Varaždin County

In Varaždin County, there are currently 56 certified accommodations with the label "Holiday houses with a story", and they are all gathered through one web platform and one visual identity.

Author  Goran Rihelj

6. March 2023.

Varaždin County has become a year-round destination preferred by domestic and foreign tourists. 

Clear indicators for the year 2022 also show how this statement holds water. Also, an interesting trend is visible from the statistical data of the Varaždin County. Namely, foreign tourists have overtaken domestic guests in the number of overnight stays.

According to the director of the Varaždin County Tourist Board, Goran Mališ these are guests from the western part of Europe who are delighted with their accommodation in holiday homes. More precisely, it is about the project "Holiday house with a story" which is an excellent positive example of the strategic development of the destination, as well as the primary task of the tourist board. They turned a flaw or weakness into an advantage and thereby created a new market.

According to data from the eVisitor system, a total of 2022 arrivals (89.275% foreign and 54,30% domestic tourists) and 45,70 overnight stays (206.575% foreign and 52,02% domestic tourists) were achieved in the area of ​​Varaždin County in 47,60, which is 21% more arrivals and 35% more overnight stays compared to 2021.

Of special significance is the fact that the number of overnight stays in 2022 is even 10% higher compared to the pre-pandemic and record year 2019, and for the first time 200.000 overnight stays have been exceeded, which is certainly a historic result, emphasizes Mališ.

The data confirm that the decision to develop and brand holiday homes proved to be more than justified. On the contrary, it proved to be a complete success and a flywheel of tourism in Varaždin County. 

It is also important to note that the trend from 2021 continues, and the number of overnight stays by foreign tourists exceeds the number of overnight stays by domestic guests in 2022, which is certainly an interesting fact considering that until now domestic tourists have mostly had primacy in that segment.

"This is definitive proof that the area of ​​Varaždin County is becoming an increasingly interesting tourist destination at the European and world level. According to the country of origin, the most overnight stays were made by domestic tourists - 94.988 overnight stays. Among foreign tourists, the most overnight stays were made by guests from Germany - 24.538 overnight stays, followed by Poland - 10.525 overnight stays, Slovenia - 8.757 overnight stays, Slovakia - 6.594 overnight stays, Austria - 6.174 overnight stays, and interestingly, for the first time, tourists from the Netherlands ranked in the top 6 foreign countries with a whopping 5.236 overnight stays. Followed by tourists from the Czech Republic, Italy, Ukraine, Bosnia and Herzegovina, India, Hungary." pointed out Mališ and added that they are extremely satisfied with such figures, and it is up to TZ to continue working on the promotion and strengthening of tourism in Varaždin County.

New project 2

Varaždin County is a positive example of rural accommodation branding, indeed, the best in Croatia. They currently have 56 certified accommodations with the label "Holiday houses with a story", and they are all gathered through one web platform and one visual identity.

It is a unique catalog, the only one of its kind in continental Croatia, which in Croatian, English and German invites guests to stay, but also to explore and get to know the beauties of the Varaždin region.

It is interesting that precisely because of the development of this project, many former cottages, traditional houses and outbuildings on the beautiful green hills of Varaždin have become what they are today. a recognizable brand and a synonym for the quality of private accommodation in Varaždin County and Croatia.  

In Varaždin County, they first created a certified branding program, a brand story, co-financed the opening of new holiday homes and raised the quality of targeted accommodation, co-financed the opening of targeted swimming pools, educated the owners, connected agricultural producers of the Varaždin region with Holiday Homes through the so-called "Varaždin brushes", created a web platform and a catalog and now promote a rounded tourist product.

Today it is the best example of branding of rural accommodation in Croatia. And the story continues this year with new targeted grants.

Public call for the award of grants from Varaždin County in tourism for 2023

This year, Varaždin County continued to co-finance tourist projects with the aim of encouraging openings new accommodation facilities, quality improvement existing and starting new ones of tourist content and attractions, for which this year it was insured 172.540 euros.

Last year's record results, with more than 206 overnight stays and 89.000 guest arrivals in our county, are proof of the importance of continuous investment in tourist infrastructure and content, which is the main goal of this Public Invitation, which certainly contributes to the tourist development and recognition of Varaždinska, he pointed out. is Mališ and emphasized that for this year special emphasis was placed on development of agritourism offer

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Grants are awarded through four measures, and Varaždin County will co-finance up to a maximum of 50 percent of the total eligible costs. The first measure refers to already existing renters, who have a decision on the categorization of buildings. The second measure concerns individuals and legal entities that supplement their registered agricultural activities with tourist activities such as tasting rooms, agro-tourism, picnic areas.

The third measure is also intended for natural and legal persons, namely those who have enriched their registered tourism activity with the additional development of interactive visual or artistic attractions. The fourth measure is intended for beginners, i.e. natural and legal persons who are just creating the conditions for the start of tourism activities, and they come with the aim of registering new accommodation capacities.

Like last year, acceptable costs are minor construction and earthworks, investment in cycle tourism offer and other recreational facilities, arrangement and furnishing of the interior of the facility, investing in swimming pools, saunas, hydromassage pools, promotion, cost restoration and renovation of indigenous buildings or furniture, construction cost ecological children's playground, investments in renewable energy sources, introduction of central heating, cost horticultural arrangement environment, arranging bathrooms and sanitary blocks and equipping pedestrian or educational trails on your own property.

I have deliberately bolded the costs that are different from others, as well as the importance of building a pool. Without swimming pools in holiday homes, the same house can hardly be broken into. Although today's standards and trends in the domain of additional services of vacation homes are much wider, vacation homes have billiards, table tennis, saunas, hydromassage pools, etc.

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Photos: Holiday house Podvezanec 

Because if in a couple of years we get 20-30 or more swimming pools in holiday homes in the destination, that's already a big investment. Proof that targeted support can directly influence the development of a destination. 

Three new tourist boards in the Varaždin County

Last year, three new tourist boards of the area were founded, The north is burning, The center of the world i Varaždin hills, which represents a big step forward in consolidating and connecting the tourist offer of the entire County.

In 2023, several large projects will be launched, which, due to their importance and size, concern tourism in our area, says Mališ and points out: "It is about the project "Opeka Arboretum - a sustainable green destination" which refers to the themed paths and promenades in the Arboretum, then the reconstruction and interior furnishing of the Minerva pool in Varaždinske Toplice through an application to the National Recovery and Resilience Plan, the Gaveznica-Kameni Visitor Center is being designed top, and soon we expect the completion of the Visitor Center in the basement of our County Palace. In addition to all this, cities and municipalities from the area of ​​Varaždin County also apply for a number of programs and projects related to the field of tourism, and the Public Call for Grants of Grants in Tourism of Varaždin County for this year has just ended." concludes Mališ.

Cover photo: Varaždin County Tourist Board 


Author  Goran Rihelj

6. March 2023.