Tourism, what exactly is tourism and how to define it? What is your definition of tourism?
There are many definitions of tourism, and according to the UNWTO definition, the official definition is "Tourism includes activities arising from travel and stay of persons outside their usual environment for no longer than one year for vacation, business travel and other reasons.". My philosophy of tourism is how tourism consists of emotions, experiences and stories. It is through the aforementioned three elements that the Dubrovnik Tourist Board has been telling the story of oysters for seven years through the "Oyster Festival" event.
This gastronomic event offers the story of the oyster as a shell with aphrodisiac properties, which has been known since ancient times when it was tasted with pleasure by the nobles of Dubrovnik at the renaissance feasts of the Dubrovnik nobility. The story about oysters was presented to numerous tourists and citizens of Dubrovnik, while shellfish from Ston and winemakers from Pelješac offered oysters at a symbolic price of 5 kn per piece and a glass of wine at a price of 10 kn. Her shellfish products were promoted by: Josip Bazdan, Ivo Bautović, Braća Lazić and Nikša Matković; while the winemakers were OPG Vinarija Mare Andrović from Ponikave, OPG Vinarija Žužul from Potomje, OPG Vinarija Marina Matuško from Potomje and OPG Vinarija Željka Matković from Potomje.
The legend of the magical properties of this shell was no secret even to the Austrian emperors who often consumed it on their menus. It is an oyster from the Mali Ston Bay, a part of the Dubrovnik area where it is grown in the cleanest and clearest sea in the world - the people of Dubrovnik proudly point out. Oysters are the most ripe and delicious in March when the feast of St. Joseph, and gastronomic experts mention that oysters are best served freshly opened and seasoned with lemon juice.
At first glance, the "Oyster Festival" is nothing special, a logical and simple event, isn't it?
However, such or similar "small" events are the essence of tourism, which unfortunately there are too few in our tourism. Why not organize such events every two weeks, so that every tourist who comes to the destination can experience the story. Our story. The meaning of tourism is precisely in the promotion of our culture, history and customs, and the "Oyster Festival" is just that. Quality content that presents local products is certainly a winning combination for the long-term development of tourism. With the sounds of autochthonous and unique klapa singing, which is included on the UNESCO list of intangible cultural heritage, and a glass of local wine, the experience is complete, and the level of enthusiasm among tourists is at its peak.
I don't know why less and less classic fishing festivals are organized in our destinations, which offered Adriatic sardines, local indigenous products to tourists on the main squares and presented their heritage through local KUDs and klapa songs. It’s our identity, it’s us - why are we ashamed of it?
This is one of our main tourist problems. We are ashamed of ourselves, while tourists want to see, experience and taste just that. We do not need a new big idea of our tourism, but finally we have to be and sell what we are - Istrians, Dalmatians, Slavonians, Međimurje, Zagorje, Ličani…. Croats. Let's be what we are - indigenous, authentic and credible! That is the story we have to tell.
Tourism consists of emotions, experiences and stories. Tell stories!
Goran Rihelj, editor-in-chief of the Tourist news portal HrTurizam.hr