Republic of Croatia has significant income from tourism, which has reached almost 12 billion EUR per year. Tourism development is based on cultural and natural heritage as most important resources, and on which tourism can have double effect – on one side it can induce the investments with the goal of restauration, preservation, valorisation and presentation of cultural and natural resources which contributes to boost of economy and community identity, whilst on the other hand the huge pressure of visitors and inadequate management can endanger basic resources. Split has notable increase in touristic demand on destination basis as well as higher growth of overnight stays compared to number of arrivals, but key characteristic of tourism in Split, as well as in entire coastal area, is seasonality, which can be mitigated by development of cultural tourism that brings visitors irrelevant of the season.
Most important cultural-touristic resource of the City of Split is its historical complex with Diocletian’s Palace, which will in 2019 celebrate its 40th anniversary of being part of UNESCO cultural world heritage, thanks to its unique architectural, archaeological and monumental value and continuity of live with over 1700 years. The City of Split has notable increase in visitors and number of overnight stays; in 2015 there were 456.783 arrivals and 1.337.535 overnight stays, while in 2017 there were 728.552 visitors and 2.164.439 overnight stays.
However, investments into restauration, presentation and visitors’ facilities in Split’s historical complex do not follow the growth of tourism and do not respond to needs and expectations of modern visitors thus leaving the social and economy potential of the heritage undeveloped and not sufficiently recognised while at the same time cultural heritage being perceived as budget “burden” instead of self(sustainable) resource. In 2015, city budget investments in historical complex were 2.685.826,00 KN, from which 609.850,00 KN for documentation and in 2017 total of 1.817.000,00 KN, from which 565.625,00 KN for documentation. Presentation of culture and cultural heritage within museums and galleries is static, without interaction with the visitors. Poor education of the cultural management and marketing employees causes poorly designed cultural offer and insufficient attractiveness of the museums, galleries and cultural manifestations, which causes the absence of modern, integrated interpretation and presentation within the historical complex.
The tourist pressure on the historical complex and the Palace itself, with the emphasis on key spots as Peristil square, is on the edge of sustainability and draws the need of multi-disciplinary and participative management plans for the historical complex and its visitors, while establishing dispersed visitors’ infrastructure, which will contribute to relief of most crowded localities.
Strategic investment in renovation and presentation of localities in Split historical complex
With the realisation of activities and planned investments through strategic project, an unique touristic offer would be assured and it would integrate new cultural and touristic products based on authenticity, expert and creative interpretation, which would be brought closer to the visitors by using modern presentation models and experiences through different senses. Localities within the project have mostly not been presented to the public so far (south-east tower and access to the medieval walk on the east walls of Diocletian’s Palace). Their inaccessibility has disabled presentation of the meaning of city’s historical complex and Diocletian’s Palace. Split City Museum, due to its inaccessibility for the people with disabilities has not been accessible to all the visitors, while Old City Council Hall also has the similar inaccessibility problem, and so far has not been valorised as building or place of significant city events. Investment in renovation, building and reconstruction of named localities would prevent its decadence, raise attractiveness and attendance, and interpretation would create new cultural-touristic product and present the “genius loci” in authentic and expert manner.
Project is in accordance with “Strategy of Development of Urban Agglomeration Split” and its Priorities 1.6. Affirmed cultural and artistic authenticity and recognition of UAS based on potentials of cultural heritage and its link to modern cultural and art practices as it increases involvement of citizens of UAS in various forms of cultural and artistic contents, and with Priority 2.4. Improving the quality of touristic offer in the function of development of competitive and responsible tourism, i.e. with the Measure 3 – Development of integrated touristic programmes based on cultural heritage, while contributing to Goal 1 – Improving the quality of life in UAS and Goal 2 – Raising the competitiveness of the economy through sustainable economic growth and employment growth. Project is in accordance with strategic documents for development of tourism in the Republic of Croatia; Development Strategy for Croatian tourism until 2020, Master plan for development of tourism in Split-Dalmatia County, and with Strategic Marketing Destination Plan until 2020. (SMP) as it develops new products of cultural tourism; strengthens cross-sectoral cooperation and partnerships, improves presentation and interpretation while spatially dispersing the cultural offer. A survey conducted through the SMPs showed that the most frequent motive of travel was culture and history, 26% in the pre-season; 21% in the season and 29% in the post-season, thus cultural tourism is a product that uses all target groups at different intensities, so the project contributes to the extension of the season leading to all-year tourism.
Lead Partner in the project is the City of Split, and other partners are Split City Museum and Touristic board of the City of Split, while Split Development Agency – RaST is providing technical and advisory assistance in preparation of project application and designing the activities within the project.
Project value is 25.421.397,75 KN, from which 18.225.974,54 KN are non-refundable, secure through ITU mechanism of Urban agglomeration Split. Project draft has been prepared in August 2018 and project application submitted in November 2019, with implementation of project activities (including reconstruction and renovation of infrastructure, design of visitors’ contents, education, development of management plan, ticketing system and destination marketing) planned for 2021. Planned duration of the project is 36 months.
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