Međimurje can rightfully be ranked among the leaders in sustainable rural tourism in Croatia because with a developed communal and social infrastructure and a high quality of life, it provides guests with high quality tourist experiences in its rural area.
The development potential of Međimurje tourism is based on natural attractions and rich cultural heritage, which is mostly located in rural areas, as well as the offer of quality agricultural products and processed products through catering. By the way, as much as 80% of the area of Međimurje is defined as a rural area, and 80% of the inhabitants of Međimurje live in that area.
Also, the driving force of rural development of Međimurje County is the synergy of agriculture and tourism, which is outlined in the Rural Development Strategy of MZ from 2010, but not only on paper, which is crucial, but it is visible in the field. Namely, it is in Međimurje that I can proudly point out the quality cooperation between tourism and small family farms, thus offering local and authentic food.
How is this year's global theme World Tourism Day "Tourism and Rural Development ", on this occasion, the Tourist Board of Međimurje County organized a gathering with media representatives, tourism entrepreneurs and small farmers. Precisely with the aim of concretely emphasizing and showing what the synergies of the agriculture and tourism sectors look like in practice.
The real indicator of innovation and creativity in Međimurje are also ecological producers, of which there are not many so far, but thanks to the autochthonous production they nurture, they contribute to the originality of our offer. By the way, the focus of the County and the County Tourist Board in the day's work will be to encourage the development of organic producers on the development of biodynamic agriculture, whose foundations were laid by Dr. Rudolf Steiner.
The success of the synergy of the agriculture and tourism sectors is visible through the cooperation of tourism entities, local producers and farmers' associations, and one of the examples of quality synergy is OPG Zadravec - Sirana Opor.
The Zadravec family from Oporovac sells their basic goat and cheese production in 100% volume through local short supply chains and tourist programs on their family farms. "We inherited the tradition of goat breeding from japica and mama, and from the very beginning our goal was to sell products on the doorstep. In order to achieve this, we had to adjust the way we function and work, open a new world of thinking. Agriculture is our core business, and tourism is an added value in which we use innovation. ", said the owner of the family farm Jasminka Zadravec.
He is engaged in organic and biodynamic apple production and the cultivation of traditional cereals OPG Hunjadi from St. Mary. This type of agriculture gives higher nutritional quality to food, and the owner of the family farm Natalia Peter Hunyadi believes that in the future, organic production will be necessary for better human health and environmental protection. They try to present their rounded production to the guests, from the field to the table, to the finished products.
LifeClass Terme Sveti Martin: 70% of food and products offered to guests come from local family farms
The wall of pride and “greatness” located in the LifeClass Terme Sveti Martin restaurant, which makes it clear who their local partners are and whose products Toplica guests consume inside the facility.
The value of domestic products has long been recognized Terme Sveti Martin who buy agricultural products and groceries directly from local family farms and sell them to guests through their restaurants or wellness offers. That Terme has been profiling itself for many years as a destination that encourages and develops rural tourism, said the director Igor Nekić, and this is confirmed by the fact to 70% of food and products which they offer to guests comes from local family farms, and it is precisely because of the healthy food that many guests return to them.
"Međimurje family farms are known for their approach based on honesty and quality, and these are the elements that we have recognized and that are complementary to our business vision. We are looking forward to the cooperation from which everyone will benefit, especially our guests who will eat healthy, fresh and local food, grown in the immediate vicinity of the resort. We are glad that we can be the accelerator of the small economy of the municipality and the county, and thus work on improving the local community“Said Igor Nekić, General Manager of LifeClass Terme Sveti Martin.
Međimurje as a boutique wine region
Međimurje can be proud of from 15 Decanters on 600 hectares of vineyards, and thus bear the unofficial title of best world average of Decanter medals on so few vineyards.
The Međimurje wine road is s About 30 wine families a significant generator of economic activities in upper Međimurje and the holder of the promotion and placement of the protected wine brand "PUŠIPEL“Which has already taken its place on the world wine scene, as evidenced by this year's results from the prestigious Decanter World Wine competition in London, where our wines won 15 medals.
A unique combination of rich family tradition, agricultural production based on wines and cultural heritage of Međimurje has created the Jakopić family which in its restaurant Terbotz in Štrigova offers exclusively Međimurje wines, groceries from its own garden and About 15 family farms with whom they cooperate.
An important stakeholder in rural tourism in Međimurje is also JU Center Dr. Rudolf Steiner which works on the promotion and expansion of biodynamic agriculture in Međimurje, but also throughout Croatia, Association "The best from Međimurje"Which through its store" Stacun "allows the sale of local agricultural products to locals and tourists and promotes short supply chains, Association for the Protection of Indigenous Agricultural Products of Međimurje County, which successfully conducted the process protection of Mesa 'z tiblice , and what we believe will succeed with pumpkin oil,
Municipality of Sveti Martin na Muri which was declared European Destination of Excellence (EDEN) for the development of sustainable tourism in rural areas, with the aim of achieving added value and improving the gastronomic offer are branded products such as: Međimurje kalampera which, produced in the fields of Međimurje, meets about 70% of the needs of Croatian consumers and the Međimurje kid goes in the same direction.
"In many segments we serve as an example of good practice, especially in the tourism and sustainability sector which has become extremely important. Međimurje, as a dynamic county, produces 70% of potatoes for Croatian needs, 1/3 of the total production of apples in Croatia, 30% of the total amount of goat's milk produced in Croatia. Our hardworking people produce award winning wines, honey, pumpkin oil, cheeses. Today, tourism is about sustainability, the ability to keep guests with quality agricultural production and offer, and we have been working on that for many years.", Emphasized the prefect of Međimurje County and the president of TZMŽ Matija Posavec.
A good development strategy, great effort and synergy that drives Međimurje tourism yielded results during the coronavirus pandemic when the tourist offer of rural areas was given a special opportunity to position itself. And this is where Međimurje most proactively jumped out with the campaign. "Međimurje gives more".
"The situation has directed us, as well as tourists, towards domestic products, a healthier lifestyle, active holidays in nature, in smaller rural areas. Already in March, Međimurje, aware of the situation, accepted the challenge, with a unique approach, modern communication methods and techniques, we designed and implemented the campaign "Međimurje gives more" and once again proved that the crisis does not have to be a problem, but an opportunity. Međimurje made the most of this opportunity for the benefit of all tourists, but also stakeholders in tourism”Pointed out the head of the Međimurje County Tourist Board Rudi Grula.
Currently, according to the director of the Međimurje Tourist Board, over 30.000 coupons were distributed during the "Međimurje gives more" campaign, and if we know that it was necessary to spend a minimum of HRK 250 for each coupon, an impressive calculation can lead to impressive HRK 7.500.000 of generated consumption, both local people, domestic visitors and tourists. And this amount should certainly be added to the additional consumption thanks to the coupons received.
Finally, let's add that as part of the press conference and socializing with partners, students of the Elementary School Draškovec had the opportunity to get acquainted with the programs of OPG Zadravec "Međimurski zajtrek" and "Pomazi mee" through which they socialized with domestic animals, got acquainted with the production of cheese and the tradition of agriculture. An important wheel, because if we do not respect ourselves, we will not be respected by others, as well as the education of new generations from an early age, how important domestic production and connection with tourism is.
If I had to describe Međimurje in one word, then it would be a great boutique destination and a complete tourist story, which will only spread its wings.