EDEN experience for heavenly memories
Although the majority of our customers are foreigners, Slovenian guests are always a special challenge. Study tours for Slovenian groups require reflection and careful planning, since our guests know Slovenian Istria to some extent; they have already experienced the tastes of the town, tasty wine stories or explored the Istrian countryside and its rich natural and cultural heritage to some extent.
The common thread of study tour for RRA Green Karst was the presentation of good practices of the European Destinations of Excellence (EDEN), the tourist strategy of the Municipality of Koper (MOK) and the Cooperatives of the Treasures of Istria and Earth & Sea which focussed on preparing study tours for visitors. Koper as a destination of excellence successfully links culture, tourism and local providers with new tourist products. We wanted this intertwining of locally coloured elements of natural and cultural heritage, which is connected by active leisure time, to be experienced by our guests from the Litoral – Inner Carniola.
Škocjanski zatok nature reserve, the cruise ship landing in the Port of Koper, the panoramic viewpoint and the medieval town centre with Tito square, the culinary break in the Taste of Istria wine shop, getting to know the traditions of olive growers and visiting the Tonin tourist farm in Puče in the heart of Istria have been upgraded with examples of good practice. The Treasures of Istria Cooperative connects accommodation providers in the countryside, whilst the Earth & Sea Cooperative brings together the ecological producers of Istria. The Koper Tourist Organisation of the Municipality of Koper (TOK) played a major role in exchanging experiences, presenting the challenges and future plans of the EDEN destination.
With The Tourism Development and Marketing Strategy in the Municipality of Koper until 2025, TOK has clearly set goals for the development of four main products: active Mediterranean breaks, discovering culture and nature, gastronomy and events, and additional niche products such as sports, climbing and cruising. TOK representative Peter Žudić says that “a number of investments, richer tourist content, new tourism products, as well as the increasing number of cruise ship arrivals contribute to the tourist development of the destination”. Deputy Mayor Peter Bolčič added that they want to make the most of the title ‘EDEN destination’. Future activities will also focus on this, among them, for example, a workshop organised by TOK together with the Slovenian Tourist Board in order to attract other EDEN destinations in Slovenia from the previous years. When being awarded the title EDEN, Koper will be presented in Brussels, and the activities will be accompanied by various forms of presentations in print, electronic media and fairs.
And what impressed our guests from the neighbouring region the most? Connecting, participating and complementing each other. This was also recognised as one of the key advantages of Koper in the commission which awarded the largest city in Slovenian Istria the title ‘EDEN destination’: “The relationship of all stakeholders in tourism and culture in Koper, from the mayor, deputy mayor, directors of cultural institutions, to the library, publishing houses, associations, etc., who are very well aware of the importance of integrating culture in tourism.” Žudić adds that “in the future, they will strive for even closer cooperation and integration of local providers.”
Not only Koper, the whole of Istria has as many sides as we want to create; every time we connect a new local actor into the experience, the image of Slovenian Istria is different. We accept our share of the commitment and responsibility to create genuine, locally coloured Istrian stories at IstraTerra too. “I’ve visited the coast a lot, but never before in such a beautiful and experiential way. Grow and develop further; then come and see our Lake Cerknica and our farm,” Helen Kotnik, from the T’dolenj farm near Lake Cerknica, praised us at the end of her trip. With such thanks, our smile is even wider. Consideration and careful planning are always rewarded.
P.S.: Helena, we happily accept your invitation. 😉