Despite (only) being a tourist agency, the development of the Istrian countryside is one of our fundamental missions
Socially responsible, sustainable and green is how IstraTerra operates. Not because it is on-trend or sounds good or because such guidelines can be found in tourism development strategies. During one of the last visits of Austrian guests on our Truffle Hunting trip, the Austrian guide and agency representative was also joined by Urška Križman Vižintin, Director of IstraTerra. Such field visits are usually meant for consolidating business contacts, they are also an opportunity to evaluate the team’s work, local providers, and plan potential improvements.
Whilst enjoying our homemade fuži (traditional Istrian pasta) and truffles, Urška was asked why IstraTerra chose the social entrepreneurship path, when in many ways it would be easier for us to operate without the sign of being socially responsible.
The answer is simple; because we believe that this way we can offer our guests an authentic experience whilst at the same time contributing to the development of the Istrian countryside. This is the only way that authentic local stories based on tradition can be preserved for future generations – both guests and locals.
“Although we are (only) a tourist agency, the development of the Istrian countryside is one of our fundamental missions. To experience authentic Istria sounds so simple, but having a flexible, responsive local providers who, with sincere good will, guides the guests to hidden corners of the cellar and vineyard, tells family anecdotes and is genuinely devoted to the guests, is not a given,” Urška Križman Vižintin, Director of IstraTerra.
We often hear from local providers that we are too demanding, for example, when we expect, for example, on Monday (when the best local restaurants are closed) a restaurant to be open for eight people. Fortunately, not everyone is thinks like that. After three years of operation, we have a team – a network of local providers who, like us, want higher local quality, their own personal and entrepreneurial development, the development of their own business and the pursuit of trends in responsible tourism. “We are particularly proud of this. The famous Istrian determination and following goals have led to the creation of products such as Olive Oil through Time, A Tasty Wine Story, Truffle Hunting and Tastes of the Town, where local providers not only cater to the authentic experience of our Istria, but also preserve the heritage, its value and the development of our rural Istrian backyard,” adds Krizman Vizintin.
Through cooperation and open community action we spread good practices in responsible tourism with fair distribution in the value chain for everyone: for the guest, agency, provider and environment. The IstraTerra community of tourists and other local providers for mutual learning and development is therefore one of the most important successes of our three years of operation. With familiarity, honesty and authenticity you can feel, taste and explore Istria.