Međimurje is falling apart again! A new innovative product of the destination is starting - Bus on the move or Međimurje in motion

Should significant museum exhibits be exhibited in their original locations through museums or interpretive museums or in a museum in Zagreb? Personally, I believe and advocate that all archaeological originals ...

Should significant museum exhibits be exhibited in their original locations through museums or interpretive museums or in a museum in Zagreb?

Personally, I believe and advocate that all archaeological originals be exhibited at the sites where they were found, at least those of great importance, and in the Archaeological Museum in Zagreb to be replicas… Should, say, as a plastic example, Vučedol dove and Apoxyomenos be in the Archaeological Museum in Zagreb or in original locations? At the level of cultural policy in HR, the general position of the profession is that the original archaeological objects are located in Zagreb, and not in museums at the sites where they were found.

We do not need a large analysis of the positive impact of, say, the Museum of Vučedol Culture in Vukovar or the Museum of Apoxyomenos on Mali Lošinj. And now imagine that most museums are located in real locations. These are generators of employment, tourist spending, added value, motives for coming, etc.… Zagreb as the capital can and must be in the service of the media and promotional tools.

If we look through the prism of the well-known marketing model AIDA ( Attention, Interest, Desire and Action - attention, interest, desire and action ), then Zagreb as the economic, and thus the tourist center of Lijepa naša, must fulfill the AID - attention, interest and desire, while the last step in the journey of consumers - A or action, must be going to real locations.

At the Archaeological Museum in Zagreb, they can tell the beginning of a story, tickle the imagination and introduce tourists to the story (AIDA) to motivate them to visit the original site and see the original and get a full indigenous and authentic story. Of course, until a museum or space is built according to all standards in the original locations, the exhibits can be "kept" in the Archaeological Museum. So, from Zagreb we dispense tourists all over Croatia, and the motive for coming is cultural tourism.

A copy is always a copy and it is insane to have a museum on site and have a copy. The argument that there is no money to build a museum or to arrange the space in order for the museum to have the necessary storage conditions is ridiculous, it is in the national interest and the money for it should have and has it. Especially in the context that such museums are the drivers of the economy and give a totally new perspective.

An important issue that requires constructive discussion. But what is the connection between museums, exhibits and Međimurje?

Photo: Međimurje County Tourist Board

At the beginning, I would like to emphasize two important, we could even say "game changer" moments that will certainly mark the future development of Međimurje tourists.

The first is the opening of the most modern multimedia and interactive exhibition in this part of Europe - Visitor Center "Ecomuseum Međimurje small”, Which brings together the most interesting tourist attractions of the most successful destinations of continental tourism. The Visitor Center is located in the premises of the Tourist Board of Međimurje County and is designed as a "visitor" center that gives visitors basic information about Međimurje and encourages them to explore the cultural, historical and traditional heritage of the original locations.

Another important moment is how Međimurje received another first-class tourist and cultural content at the beginning of this month - Museum of Intangible Heritage - Treasury of Međimurje. The attractive, multimedia and interactive exhibition of the museum is divided into two main units that offer a blend of historical and cultural heritage with state-of-the-art technology. On the ground floor is an exhibition called "Century fortifications"Which interprets the turbulent history of the fortification of Čakovec castle, while on the first floor is an exhibition that interprets the intangible heritage of Međimurje called"Miniatures".

Two key moments for the future of the strategic tourist development of Međimurje, as well as two starting points of Međimurje tourism. At these two locations, visitors and tourists can get acquainted with the whole tourist story of Međimurje, to say from A to Z, and then after that to start exploring the actual locations.

And there’s a clear link to the initial story, as well as the AIDA model. This is exactly the function of the Ekomuseum Međimurje malo and the Museum of Intangible Heritage - Treasury of Međimurje, and with the new innovative tourist product of Međimurje, all attractions will be networked in the field.

A new innovative product of the destination is starting - Bus on the move or Međimurje in motion

And this thanks to a well-known product that has so far been exclusively related to city or urban destinations. But not for a wider region or destination. It's about the concept - Hop on, Hop off the bus. And it is precisely this innovation that Međimurje is introducing - Bus on the move or Međimurje on the move through Hop-on, a Hop-off bus that is being introduced for the first time for an entire destination.

Already mentioned, the Ecomuseum "Međimurje malo" has become a symbol of cultural, historical, natural heritage and wealth provided by the gastronomic scene. As a fragmented museum, it shows the main values ​​of Međimurje and through interpretation turns them into a real multimedia experience.

However, like the Treasury of Međimurje, now these key points of Međimurje tourism will give an introductory narrative, interest visitors, and then a new innovative product, a bus will transport visitors, tourists and citizens to their original locations throughout Međimurje, where interpretation centers present heritage exactly where it originated, ie in the original locations.

"Naturally, the missing link, in order for the destination story itself to be complete, is the traffic connection of all the tourist attractions of the Eco Museum. Positive attitude, creativity and desire to raise the quality of the destination offer to a higher level were the common visions of the three partners of the project "Bus on the move" states Rudi Grula, director of the Međimurje County Tourist Board.

Terme Sveti Martin, as a key tourist entity, provide their guests with an additional experience, and thus provide other tourism stakeholders with the opportunity to show what they provide in their facilities and estates. 

On the other hand, a local travel agency Rudi Express with its rich fleet and 30-year tradition, it guarantees pleasant, interesting and safe transport around the destination. With the resources of its travel agency, all tourist attractions, services and products will be placed as a joint offer and thus will play a key role in the destination development of the region. Every serious destination must have a local DMC agency.

And finally, there it is Međimurje County Tourist Board, as the main initiator of the project itself, which provides support in the promotion and will also facilitate the realization of long-term project with creative ideas, as well as the master plan of tourism development in Međimurje County.

"We network our entire cultural tourist offer into one unique experience. Međimurje is lucky to have a small boutique destination, and in a relatively short time you can visit a lot of things, ie the whole destination. It is a special mode of transport that is known in major European cities. This is a great innovation in Croatia and beyond, especially because such transport is for large European cities, and not for an entire destination. Therefore, Hop-on, Hop-off makes a lot of sense, to connect all these locationsGrula points out.

So, to recall, the concept of Hop-on, Hop-off has so far not been implemented in any destination, but exclusively in urban cities. At least so far.

The route itself will initially run in the Upper part of Međimurje, while the tour in lower Međimurje will be introduced in the fall.

Timetable and timing

The starting point will be in Terme Sveti Martin and the tourist stakeholders-partners will be visited as follows - Skelarska hiža with the story of the mill on the Mura and the interpretation center "One day in the life of miller Franc Žalar", then the Visitor Center Med dvemi vodami in Križovac, Eko Museum "Međimurje malo" in the Palace of Međimurje Tourism, Hotel Castellum, Treasury of Međimurje, which includes a coffee bar Bedem and restaurant Stari grad, on the way back to the starting point you pass the picnic area and restaurant Međimurski dvori, winery Cmrečnjak, and the center Štrigova which generates rich content in its environment. 

The transport itself will be available to all residents of the region, who want to visit one of these attractions, as well as all other tourist stakeholders who have accommodation facilities and want to provide additional content to their guests. The door of cooperation with future interested partners is open and it is expected that in the coming period the partners will join and thus enrich the offer on the route of the tourist bus "Bus on the move".

The plan for the fall is the further development and design of excursions, in cooperation with the Regional Tourist Center that would disperse tourists to the Lower part of Međimurje, and several other routes that will be occasional, and are related to certain events and happenings. 

This is a confirmation that Međimurje is a destination that definitely gives more and with a focus on added value with a long-term plan for the development of tourism and a healthy organizational culture of the destination. 

Interestingly, the Rudi Travel agency has always been focused on various travel programs throughout and outside Croatia, and now it has seen the potential in Međimurje, which means that there is a market need, and is increasingly turning to business as a DMC agency. In fact, they are one of the key partners in this project, who sell packages and use their fleet. Also, there is a kind of mascot of the project, and it is a renovated vintage bus from 1964 that will drive around Međimurje and connect tourist attractions. To make things even more attractive, the Rudi Travel agency expects a roofless bus soon, which will also be part of the "Bus on the move" project.

Well done to Međimurje, who show at every step how tourism is developing. And again synergy on the ground of all stakeholders. It is not the individual that matters, but the destination.

Lastly, it is important that the project becomes self-sustaining, and this takes time. It would be great if the project was given at least 2 years to show itself on the market, ie when it will be seen if there is market potential. It is certainly a great project, which is crucial for the strategic development of the destination.

The worst thing is to go, not invest in promotion and before the product hits the market - give it up. It takes time for such a product to be promoted, matured, privatized on the market and communicated to everyone in the destination. That is why it is crucial that the Tourist Board of Međimurje County is behind it, as well as Međimurje County, which will co-finance the price of the ticket in the beginning, and will push the whole story. If the project succeeds and becomes self-sustaining in a couple of years, it will certainly be a huge success. Not just for our notions, but much more broadly.

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