The European Researchers’ Night – Split LL

On September 30th, the FEBT team leader, prof. Lidija Petrić and Split LL Manager, ass. prof. Ante Mandić participated in The European Researchers’ Night, one of the main activities of the Blue-connect project funded through the Marie Skłodowska – Curie call within the Horizon Europe program.  The event was organized by Split University, a project partner, and held in several locations in the city centre.

The main goal of the Researchers’ Night was to connect science with society by bringing research and researchers closer to the public and strengthening public recognition of science and research education, especially among the young population.

The FEBT team presented the SmartCulTour project in the EU corner, together with other projects financed through the EC calls.

The exchange visit in the Split Metropolitan Area LL

Between the 11th and 13th of May, Split Metropolitan Area Living Lab hosted the stakeholders from the Rotterdam and Vicenza Living Labs. Split Metropolitan Area consists of micro destinations in the coastal area, which are currently the hub, and rural regions that, although rich with heritage, experience significantly lower tourism demand. As tourism in the Split centre has reached its peaks organising alternative visitor experiences, i.e. flagship attractions, to pull in visitors, meet the needs of residents and develop more robust tourism activities in such places could be a solution.

As announced in the exchange preparation meetings, the program in Split focused on challenges associated with the marketing of sustainable cultural tourism, more precisely, the sustainable interpretation of both tangible and intangible cultural heritage. The main idea behind the program was to showcase two distinctive approaches (public vs private; more vs less successful) toward the organisation of cultural tourism visitor experiences in two distinctive yet neighbouring destinations and discuss the challenges and opportunities with visiting stakeholders.

The exchange program began on 11 May when visitors had the opportunity to enjoy the guided tour of the Diocletian Palace in the Split town centre (Photo 1). This was also an opportunity for hosts and visitors to meet and discuss the expectations from the two-day workshop in an informal atmosphere.

The exchange program began on 11 May when visitors had the opportunity to enjoy the guided tour of the Diocletian Palace in the Split town centre (Photo 1). This was also an opportunity for hosts and visitors to meet and discuss the expectations from the two-day workshop in an informal atmosphere.

On 12 May at 9 AM, hosts and visitors meet at the Faculty of economics, business and tourism to meet the Faculties management. Following a brief introduction, we visited the city of Sinj, where we were welcomed in «Alkarski dvori» by Ms Monika Vrgoč, the DMO manager. Ms Vrgoč introduced tourism development in Sinj while particularly focusing on the disparity between the potential for cultural tourism development and what has been done. Ms Vrgoč outlined the challenges associated with visitor experience design, sustainable interpretation and communication with visitors. During the presentation, the visitors posed questions. After the presentation, Ms Vrgoč took us to visit the Museum of Sinjska Alka, where she organised guided tourism and the projection of the documentary movie on the Alka knight tournament and the history of Sinj. Following, we visited the local church, i.e. sanctuary of the Miraculous Madonna of Sinj, and the local site with the roman monument representing what seems to be the first evidence of football in Europe, as recognised by FIFA. After the lunch break, Ms Vrgoč organised a visit to the recently built interpretation centre, which has not been opened for visitors due to the lack of consensus within the local government regarding who should take responsibility for management. This was followed by a short visit to the horse centre. We went back to «Alkarski dvori» where we discussed the challenges that were raised and questions that emerged during the visit (Photo 2).

On 13 May at 9 AM, we visited Stella Croatica privately owned experience centre in Klis. The centre is focused on the interpretation of Mediterranean customs, traditions and natural heritage. The place involves the (1) a small factory where dominantly employed local community members produce selected products (food, cosmetics) from locally grown ingredients; (2) the botanic garden with the majority of typically Mediterranean plants; (3) a distillery outlining the process of the development of cosmetics; (4) olive museum interpretation and education centre showcasing the process of the development of olive oil; (4) concept store; and (5) outlay of the traditional Dalmatian stone village where visitors can explore the village and enjoy the traditional gastronomy. We were welcomed by Mr Marin Jerković, who gave us 3 hours guided tour and explained the history and the vision for the centre’s future, their commitment to conservation, education, and benefit to the local community. The guided tour started in the factory, where visitors could see the production and packaging of some of their products and taste a Fig cake, their most famous pastry. Following, we were taken to the distillery, where Mr Jerković explained the process of the extraction of the lavender and immortelle essential oil, which has been used to create many of their product. The tour continued with the exploration of the botanic garden. He took us then to the interactive and educational olive oil museum, where he reflected on the history of olive oil and the extraction of oil from olives and provided some good insights on distinguishing lamp oil from virgin and extra virgin olive oil. The tour continued with a stop at the concept store and a visit to the interpretation of a traditional Dalmatian village. Within the village, Mr Jerković organised the tasting of their product and, after instruction on how to blend the tasts, left us to explore unique tastes for some time. After some 30 minutes, Mr Jerković returned, and the discussion began. While the visitor posed a question on how they plan to increase the number of visitors, Mr Jerković explained how visitor growth is not the primary focus of the experience centre as they are currently satisfied with the numbers. They are focused on diversifying offers and maintaining the quality of experiences. Some good points on market visibility of concept and branding were made.

Indeed, the exchange visit is considered a success as it provides insight into the complexity of the cultural-heritage founded visitor experience design and sustainable interpretation. The main lessons learned could be summarised as follows:

Indeed, the exchange visit is considered a success as it provided insight into the complexity of the cultural-heritage founded visitor experience design and sustainable interpretation. The main lessons learned could be summarised as follows:

  • Successful cultural tourism development requires the commitment and partnership of the relevant stakeholders.
  • The collaboration between DMOs and other stakeholders is crucial for sustainable experience design and interpretation.
  • The development of facilities and infrastructure requires the consensus of the local government and DMOs.
  • Cultural tourism businesses need a clear vision of a sustainable future and prioritise value and service quality over volume.
  • Sustainable valorisation of the cultural heritage requires emphasising the wellbeing of local communiteis and delivering transformative and memorable visitor experiences.

UNESCO kicks off capacity-building actions in the Split and Utsjoki Living Laboratories

As foreseen by its role as leader of WP6, UNESCO has kicked off capacity-building actions in two of the six SmartCulTour Living Labs (LLs): the Metropolitan city of Split and the Municipality of Utsjoki. The subject and programme of the actions were defined in close consultation with the LLs stakeholders, with a co-designing approach.

The Split Living Lab recognized living heritage as one of the resources for strengthening cultural tourism and active community participation. Accordingly, UNESCO and the University of Split (as the LL manager) organized a series of workshops aimed at building the capacities of local stakeholders in strengthening the ICH-tourism synergy, with special focus on “Community-based inventorying and awareness raising”, which were prepared and delivered by the UNESCO-trained facilitator Ms Tamara Nikolic Djeric.

The training programme was organised in a hybrid format and was divided into four parts. The first online theoretical workshop presented the Convention, its ethical principles and methods of participatory inventorying, seeking to answer the question on how to ethically identify and inventory local knowledge for the development of cultural tourism.

During the second in-presence workshop, the Split Living Lab continued the discussion on inventorying with a special focus on community participation. Based on the participants’ inventorying activities, two ICH elements (Sirnica-making and Opanci-making) and two communities (Solin and Sinj) were identified as pilot projects for the development of the awareness raising campaign as second part of the workshop.

The third online meeting offered participants the opportunity to work on messages that they would like to convey through different awareness raising campaigns. The concepts of pride, continuity and intergenerational relations were widely articulated.

On this basis, the pilot project members and Duje Kundić, a Split-based artist and video-maker, met for the fourth workshop. Prior to the field-work, a scenario was developed, and semi-structured interviews undertaken with community members during the first shooting. The connection between the young artist and more experienced members of the local communities were recognized as key to awareness raising. “Relying on the power of intergenerational transmission, we hope that the results of this awareness raising campaign will be evident in the next future”, said the participants.

In the Municipality of Utsjoki, which also features a strong living heritage component mostly linked to the local Sàmi community, Living Lab participants opted for a pilot capacity-building programme on UNESCO’s approach to sustainable cultural tourism destination management, with a focus on how to ensure that the tourism sector contributes to the sustainable safeguarding and promotion of ICH, thereby preventing over commercialization, misappropriation and decontextualization.

During the first online workshop, held on 26 April 2022, Mr Peter Debrine, former coordinator of the World Heritage and Sustainable Tourism programme, delivered two introductory sessions, focusing respectively on “Understanding Tourism at your Destination” and “Communicating with visitors and heritage interpretation”. The presentation focused on UNESCO’s approach to destination management as a way to secure benefits for communities, safeguard their living heritage and enhance its values. For this to be achieved, it is key to invest in storytelling, namely the idea of a destination and its community telling their own story.

The presentation was followed by a participated discussion on the strengths and weaknesses of Utsjoki as a cultural tourism destination. The Sàmi culture was identified as an attractor, even though the issues of misappropriation and misrepresentation were raised by several participants. What emerged from their voices is that the tourism offer is too often tailored on visitors’ expectations and demand, in a way that disregards the local communities’ will. This is the case, for instance, of husky rides and igloos, which are widely requested by visitors although not being part of the Sàmi culture. These frictions should be addressed through an active participation of the local community in policy discussions on how and what kind of tourism should be developed in the region.

Taking the moves from the results of the online workshop, a follow-up session with the Utsjoki Living Lab will be held on 25 May next, focusing on how to develop a strategy for progressive change and add value through products, experiences, and services, as well as on innovative ways to communicate with visitors, including through digital media, marketing and promotion tools.

Local community in Solin preparing the traditional Easter cake during field visit. Photo credit: Tamara Nikolic Deric
Local community member in Sinj demonstrating the production of ‘opanci’ shoes during field visit. Photo credit: Tamara Nikolic Deric
Split workshop on community-based inventorying in developing sustainable cultural tourism led by Tamara Nikolic Deric, facilitator for the implementation of the 2003 UNESCO Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage. Photo credit: Ante Mandic
1st online session of the capacity building workshop on sustainable cultural tourism destination management for the Utsjoki Living Lab. Photo credit: Costanza Fidelbo.

Split Living Lab hosts an exchange visit

From 11 to 13 May, the Living Lab of Split organized an exchange, within the framework of the SmartCulTour H2020 Project, with Lab managers and stakeholders from Urban Leisure & Tourism Lab Rotterdam and Università Ca’Foscari (Venezia) Vicenza Living Lab. The objective of this visit was to exchange experiences and discuss some of the challenges that local stakeholders face. The two-day event included a visit to the beautiful city of Sinj and the fantastic Stella Croatica experience centre in Klis. The next exchange will take place in June organized by Urban Leisure & Tourism Lab Rotterdam.

You can read the details of this experience on Urban Leisure & Tourism Lab Rotterdam

UNESCO Global Capacity Building Programme – Intangible Cultural Heritage and Sustainable Cultural Tourism in Split Living Lab

As part of Split’s Living Lab activities, the Faculty of Economics, Business and Tourism from the University of Split (FEBT), in collaboration with UNESCO, has organized a workshop focused on intangible cultural heritage (ICH) and sustainable cultural tourism. The workshop is focused on the capacity building of the local stakeholders on the UNESCO Convention for the Safeguarding of the ICH, emphasizing participatory inventory and awareness-raising on ICH. It aims to introduce the stakeholders to the key concepts of the Convention, its ethical principles, and methods of participatory inventory of ICH, and raise the awareness of the local community on the ICH’s richness and its potential in the context of sustainable cultural tourism development. The program has been planned as a four-part: two online and two live meetings. The manager of all four modules is Mrs Tamara Nikolić Đerić, PhD, a longtime UNESCO facilitator.

The first part of the program was organized on Monday (February 21) via the Zoom application. The focus was on identifying and inventorying local knowledge for cultural tourism development. There were approximately 20 LL participants, and it lasted 2 hours. The Convention on the Preservation of the ICH, its ethical principles, and participatory inventory methods were discussed during the workshop. After the theoretical part, the LL participants prepared a questionnaire for the participatory inventory of ICH under the facilitator’s supervision. Then, from February 21 to March 1, LL participants were given the task to identify one ICH element and conduct at least one interview with local community members in preparation for the next part of the workshop program. During the process, they were continuously supported by the facilitator.

On March 4, in the hotel President, in the city of Solin, the second part of the workshop took place. It was dedicated to the inventory of ICH. During the first half of the daily program, incentivisation processes were discussed among LL participants, emphasizing the challenges and opportunities identified while working together with the local communities. In the second half of the program, the meeting of LL participants and invited local community members from Solin was organized. They worked together on the development of the ideas.

The third part of the workshop happened on March 15, online (via the Zoom application). The main topic was raising community awareness of heritage potential in sustainable cultural tourism development. Also, the principles of the Convention on raising awareness of ICH were argued at the workshop. In addition to good practices and the potential that heritage offers to local communities, the necessity to be aware of the dangers that threaten heritage preservation and sustainable tourism development was emphasized. After the introductory theoretical part, an action plan for the pilot project was created.

Finally, the fourth part of the workshop is planned to occur in Split on April 4-5. During the two-day program, in collaboration with the local artists, LL participants will co-create the campaigns to raise awareness of ICH. Results are going to be presented publicly at the online event in May.

SmartCultour celebrates World Heritage Day: Spotlight on adaptation to climate change through coastal development plans

The H2020 funded SmartCulTour project aims at supporting regional development in all European regions with important tangible and intangible cultural assets, including those located in rural peripheries and the urban fringe, through sustainable cultural tourism.

The International Day for Monuments and Sites 2022 (World Heritage Day 2022) takes place on 18th April, focusing this year on Heritage and Climate. As a project supporting the sustainability of cultural heritage within the sustainable tourism framework, SmartCulTour is working with 6 local community Living Labs to develop sustainable tourism approaches.

One of the goals of the international day is to ‘safeguard all types of cultural heritage from adverse climate impacts’. The local authorities of the municipalities (which are members of our Split Living Lab – see Fig. 1), especially the coastal ones, have been very active in developing measures to adapt to climate change through implementing coastal development plans. Although this activity has neither been financed nor supported directly by the SmartCulTour project, we are reporting on this practice example provided by one of our Living Labs in order to help raise awareness about how climate change is impacting on our cultural heritage and how active solutions are being sought.

Figure 1. The Split living lab area consists of the following cities and municipalities: the cities of Split, Trogir, Kaštela, Solin and Sinj and the municipalities: Klis and Dugopolje.

The impacts of climate change are felt in the whole Split Living Lab (LL) area, in terms of the growing temperatures, longer waves of extreme heat and consequently longer periods of drought, changes in precipitation amount and regime (with occasional strong showers causing flooding) and stronger winds. In addition, Split LL coastal cities, especially their historical centres, are located on a narrow coastal strip and are affected by a significant rise in sea level. Figure 2 shows a significant change in the average monthly sea-level increase in the city of Split from the 1956 to 1997 period (blue columns) compared to 2017 (red line) (Margeta et al. 2019[*]).

Figure 2: Average monthly sea level rise in the city of Split from the period 1956-1997 compared to 2017.

According to Margeta et al., 2019, the city of Kaštela has experienced a 30 cm rise in seal level over the last hundred years and in response has developed a Coastal zone management plan foreseeing several adaptation scenarios to combat climate change.  The plan defines the development of an action plan based on integrated coastal zone management and maritime spatial planning. The goal of the Coastal Plan is the sustainable development of the coastal area based on tourism with a focus on measures to protect the sea coast that is particularly vulnerable to climate change. Some of the solutions proposed by the Plan to strengthen the resilience of the coastal strip and its infrastructure to climate change are already being implemented. These include infrastructure enhancements close to the heritage buildings within the old historical cores of the seven Kaštela municipalities that are the most endangered by the sea level rise (Figure 3).

Figure 3. Seven Kaštela municipalities – historical cores (Photos ©Mr. Boris Kačan, published with permission)

Another interesting solution in the City of Solin aims to mitigate climate change impacts and protect important historical remains (Katić, M., Bucat, M. 2022[*]). The city is rich with monuments from the Roman period and the early mediaeval ages when it was the seat of the early Croatian rulers. One of the most important monuments of that period are the remains of the so-called Hollow church (dedicated to St. Peter and Moses), the coronation basilica of the Croatian King Zvonimir (11th century A.D.). While in the eleventh century, it was above the level of the adjacent river Jadro, the ground level of the church is today situated below the height of the river (Figure 4). The terrain is flooded due to several factors, among others due to underground springs and the rise in sea level, considering that the river´s sea estuary is not far from the remains of the church. Therefore, the city of Solin has developed a plan to displace the course of the river a few meters away to protect this important archeological site from flooding (Figure 5). Although being technically and financially challenging, the project is a good example of partnership and cooperation among different experts and stakeholders, for example archaeologists (from the Museum of Croatian archaeological monuments in Split), architects (from the architectural bureau “Arhitektonski kolektiv” in Split), the City of Solin administration and the Croatian legal entity for water protection “Hrvatske vode”.

Figure 4. The remains of the Hollow Church in Solin
Figure 5. The solution for the flooding problem of the Hollow Church in Solin


Margeta, J.,Baučić, M., Vilibić, I., Jakl, Z. Petrić, L., Mandić, A., Grgić, A., Bartulović, H.,,Popić, N., Marasović, K.,Jajac, N., Rogulj, K., Ivić, M., Jovanović, N., Bačić, S., (2019), The city of Kaštela Coastal Zone Management Plan, Faculty of Civil Engineering, Architecture and Geodesy, University of Split. Document financed by the ERDF, within the Interreg Med project CO-EVOLVE, pg. 16 (retrieved from: https://www.kastela.hr/projekti/plan-upravljanja-obalnim-podrucjem-grada-kastela).

Katić, M., Bucat, M. (2022). Budućnost starohrvatskih lokaliteta Rižinice i Šuplje crkve u Solinu, power point presentation from the 8th International Congress of the Historic Cities, Solin, 29/3/2022-1/4/2022.

Loarre and CIHEAM Zaragoza host a European training event on how to promote sustainable cultural tourism

The training took place in Loarre’s Town Hall on 17 March with researchers and experts from Austria, Belgium, Croatia, Finland, Italy, the Netherlands and Spain. Representatives of different counties of Huesca took part in a parallel training session to test a tool designed to boost sustainable tourism in the province.

The SmartCulTour project, Smart Cultural Tourism as a Driver of Sustainable Development of European Regions, has organized an internal capacity-building event for representatives of the project’s six Living Labs to test creative tools to boost the tourist sector in each of the regions. The training was organized in two working sessions, one in the town of Loarre on 17 March and another on 18 March at CIHEAM Zaragoza. Participants came from Belgium, Finland, Croatia, Italy, Austria and Spain.

The aim of the first session was to provide the project’s partners with context about the tourist sector in Huesca. They worked on tools to favour engagement of stakeholders related to the tourist sector that would enable them to promote their area from a more emotional perspective, linking their past, present and future to their territory.

The second session was held at CIHEAM Zaragoza. Participants worked on methodologies to help territorial managers improve their decision-making by addressing initiatives that would cover the needs identified for development in European regions – including the province of Huesca – as sustainable cultural tourism destinations.

A parallel session was organized on 17 March for representatives of different counties, public entities, and businesses in the province of Huesca who did a pilot test of the SmartCulTour Game, one of the project outcomes expected to have the biggest territorial impact. The idea is to use the serious game approach to draw up policies and engage stakeholders, and at the same time learn about cultural tourism and potential interventions to make cultural tourism more sustainable for local communities, the environment and the business sector.

This training event lies within the activities of the SmartCulTour project, which aims to promote territorial development through sustainable cultural tourism. This model of tourism requires a redefinition of the classical cultural tourism, considering new demands derived from sustainability and the need for supply and demand metrics and impact assessment. The project intends to review theories and make an empirical validation of good practices in the natural surroundings and seek closer collaboration between the local stakeholders, facilitating the development of joint strategies and creating sustainable cultural tourism experiences.

Panel rasprava – Doprinos turizma uključivom rastu

Dana 21.10. 2021. godine Katedra za turizam i gospodarstvo pri Ekonomskom fakultetu Sveučilišta u Splitu, u suradnji s Living Lab-om osnovanim u okviru aktivnosti HORIZON 2020 projekta SmartCulTour, organizirala je virtualnu panel raspravu povodom  Svjetskog dana turizma, čija je središnja tema ove godine bila „Doprinos turizma  uključivom  rastu“  (Tourism for inlcusive growth).

Moderator panela je bio doc.dr.sc. Ante Mandić, član Katedre za turizam i gospodarstvo na Ekonomskom fakultetu u Splitu te voditelj SmartCulTour living laba. Panelisti su bili prof.dr.sc.Lidija Petrić s Ekonomskog fakulteta u Splitu, mr.sc. Mirko Petrić  s Instituta za društvena istraživanja „Ivo Pilar“, Goran Rihelj, turistički novinar i bloger, osnivač turističkog portala turizam.hr i Zvonimir Kuliš, asistent na Katedri za turizam i gospodarstvo.

Prof. Petrić je održala uvodno predavanje na temu „Turizam kao prilika ili prijetnja uključivom rastu“, kojim je sudionike upoznala s teorijskim konceptom uključivog rasta, njegovom povezanošću  s ciljevima održivog razvoja do 2030.g. (UN SDG goals) te modalitetima primjene koncepta u inozemnoj i domaćoj turističkoj razvojnoj praksi.  Temom pod naslovom „Turizam i društvene vrijednosti kulture“ mr.sc. Mirko Petrić  je kroz primjere domaće prakse ukazao na  često poguban utjecaj turizma na kulturu i identitet lokalne zajednice kao i na nastojanja da se uspostavom lokalnih vrijednosnih lanaca ponude takvi utjecaji minimiziraju.  Goran Rihelj, turistički novinar i bloger, osnivač turističkog portala turizam.hr , kroz temu pod naslovom  „Turizam u manje razvijenim područjima RH“ , dao je prikaz brojnih dobrih primjera turističke valorizacije lokalnih sadržaja s naglaskom na kontinentalna, mahom slabije razvijena područja RH, ukazavši na potencijal turizma da ublaži probleme nerazvijenosti, dok je  Zvonimir Kuliš kroz predavanje pod naslovom „Stavovi lokalne zajednice o razvoju kulturnog turizma“ upoznao sudionike panela s rezultatima anketiranja stanovnika Splita, Trogira, Kaštela, Solina, Klisa, Dugopolja i Sinja o njihovoj percepciji razvojnih potencijala kulturnog turizma u navedenim gradovima/općinama. Ovo je istraživanje inače provedeno u okviru projekta HORIZON 2020 SmartCulTour, na kojem je Ekonomski fakultet  projektni partner, a koji se bavi učincima kulturnog turizma na razvoj urbanih, ruralnih i perifernih područja EU.

Nakon održanih uvodnih predavanja,  brojni studenti kao i vanjski sudionici panela su nizom pitanja razvili konstruktivnu polemiku pokazujući veliki interes kao i zavidnu razinu informiranosti o temi panela, tražeći od panelista komentare i odgovore na pitanja u vezi  prekomjernog turizma, rasta i razvoja, uloge lokalne zajednice u razvoju turizma, itd. Panel je, zbog interesa sudionika, umjesto predviđenih sat i pol, trajao gotovo dva i pol sata, iznjedrivši prijedlog samih sudionika da ovakvih rasprava bude i više te da se studenti aktivno  uključe u proces podizanja svijesti u lokalnim zajednicama o koristima i troškovima razvoja turizma, što je došlo kao inicijativa iz redova samih studenata studijskih programa turizma.

The Split Metropolitan region Living Lab organizes a codesigning workshop

Last week the Department of Tourism and Economy of the University of Split, Faculty of Economics, Business and Tourism organized a very fruitful codesigning workshop with stakeholders in Split Metropolitan region Living Lab.

The workshop focused on the verification of needs and priorities that were identified throughout the analysis (first part of the TOR) and used the opportunity tree technique to identify and agree on critical priorities associated with sustainable cultural tourism development and initiate the co-design of interventions to address them to initiate the co-design process. This Living Lab is part of Horizon 2020 funded project SmartculTour, which aims to broaden the understanding of how cultural tourism development can support the sustainable development and resilience of European regions

The next step is developing the interventions within the priorities that have been identified through TOR. One intervention will be related to education and building capacity, and the other will raise awareness and foster cooperation and networks.

Pandemija, kulturna baština i održivi oporavak turizma na području splitskog LL-a

Autor: prof.dr.sc. Lidija Petrić (Ekonomski fakultet Split, Katedra za turizam i gospodarstvo)

Još uvijek aktualna COVID 19 pandemija ozbiljno je uzdrmala globalno gospodarstvo, pri čemu je turizam zasigurno jedna od najpogođenijih djelatnosti. Nažalost, ne postoji niti jedna zemlja niti regija koja nije pogođena drastičnim padom potražnje,  zbog čega nositelji turističke ponude trpe goleme štete, a mnogi su bili primorani i ugasiti svoje poslovanje.

Stoga se, iako svjesni problema koje je sa sobom nosio prekomjerni turizam (engl. overtourism), s nostalgijom prisjećamo rezultata pred-pandemijske 2019. godine, kad je samo u Splitu realizirano cca. 944,465 dolazaka (4,8% od ukupnog broja u RH) i 2.757,305 noćenja (3,02% od ukupnog broja u RH). Na području  živućeg laboratorija (engl. Living Lab – LL) splitske metropolitanske regije ostvareno je ukupno 4.209,207 noćenja, od čega su četiri obalna grada (tj. Split, Trogir, Kaštela i Solin) ostvarila preko 97% ukupnog broja noćenja u LL-a (koji, osim navedenih gradova obuhvaća i općine Klis i Dugopolje te grad Sinj). Prema podacima Turističke zajednice Splitsko-dalmatinske županije (2019, 2020, 2021), u 2020.godini na području LL-a ostvareno je 1.475,968 noćenja, odnosno 65% manje nego u 2019. godini. U novu sezonu 2021. krenuli smo s oprezom, pri čemu nam porast  kumulativnog broja noćenja na području LL-a za razdoblje siječanj-lipanj 2021. u odnosu na isto razdoblje 2020.godine, u iznosu od cca 73% (359,802 u odnosu na 208,206 noćenja) ulijeva nadu u kakav-takav oporavak.

Prema procjenama Svjetske turističke organizacije (UNWTO), od trenutka kad se pandemija zaustavi, turizmu će trebat između 2 i 4 godine da se oporavi (ovisno o području). Iako je u uvjetima izrazite nesigurnosti i brzih promjena nezahvalno davati prognoze o brzini oporavka turizma na području Splitsko –dalmatinske županije i LL-a  Splitska metropolitanska regija, ne smijemo zanemariti procjene i preporuke recentnih studija koje su temeljem iscrpnih analiza trendova i resursa za RH i Splitsko dalmatinsku županiju dale preporuke smjera u kojem treba krenuti u budućnosti. 

Prema rezultatima istraživanja Instituta za turizam, «Stavovi i potrošnja turista-TOMAS Hrvatska 2019» (Marušić et al, 2019), u RH je do 2019. godine zabilježen kontinuirani rast motivacije vezane uz aktivni odmor, pri čemu i dalje dominira more i priroda, u nešto manjoj mjeri posjet gradovima, razgledavanje, kultura i umjetnost te sport i rekreacija, a zamjetan je i trend porast interesa za gastronomijom, zabavom i festivalima, ruralnim područjima, te događanjima. Kad je riječ o zadovoljstvu turista ponudom u RH, iskazano je visoko zadovoljstvo atmosferom destinacije, a umjereno zadovoljstvo kulturno-umjetničkom ponudom i kvalitetom razgledavanja. Kvaliteta događanja ocijenjena je niskom ocjenom, što ukazuje na potrebu daljnjeg promišljanja o kulturnim aspektima turističke ponude. Slične su ocjene zabilježene i na području Splitsko-dalmatinske županije.

Master plan turizma Splitsko-dalmatinske županije (2018) također je istaknuo porast putovanja motiviranih kulturom na području Županije, uslijed čega se spektar aktivnosti koje uključuju kulturnu komponentu dalje širi, čime doprinosi sve izraženijoj segmentaciji tržišta kulturnog turizma. U tom smislu Master plan ističe tri pod-segmenta kulturnih turista s obzirom na motivaciju, i to: turiste  motivirane učenjem o kulturnoj baštini temeljem posjećivanja kulturno-povijesnih znamenitosti; turiste motivirane sudjelovanjem na kulturnim događanjima, uključujući popularnu kulturu; i turiste  motivirane kreativnim i kulturnim aktivnostima temeljenim na nematerijalnoj kulturnoj baštini, poput podučavanja glagoljice, tradicionalnih vještina, suvremene prakse kulture života i rada ili suvremene umjetničke produkcije. Uz ove primarne segmente, sve je veća potražnja za kulturnim «iskustvima», a posljedično i integracija klasičnih kulturnih i turističkih proizvoda s religijom, gastronomijom ili umjetničkim i kreativnim praksama. Trendovi na suvremenom turističkom tržištu povezani s potragom za autentičnošću i aktivnim sudjelovanjem potiču rast potražnje za turističkim događanjima i promiču sudjelovanje turista u samom proizvodu, što dodatno naglašava važnost kreativnosti u (su) dizajniranju različitih proizvoda kulturnog turizma. Iako takve proizvode traže turisti različitih dobnih skupina i razine obrazovanja, važno je ipak naglasiti da interes za kulturu raste proporcionalno starosti i prihodu.

Iako Splitsko-dalmatinska županija ima izvanredan potencijal za razvoj baštinskog turizma (engl. heritage tourism) na cijelom području, s obzirom na sezonalnost potražnje kulturna baština privlači svega 13% turista koji su posjetili Županiju 2018.godine.  Iako su relativno zadovoljni prezentacijom kulturne baštine (55%) i kulturnih znamenitosti (57%), županijski turisti dnevno na kulturu troše svega dva eura. Analiza kulturne baštine po mjestima i turističkim klasterima Županije pokazala je da je kulturna baština prvenstveno nespremna ili djelomično pripremljena za turističko tržište, uzrokujući tako jaz između obilja kulturne baštine i udjela turista koji su za nju zainteresirani.

Što se tiče kreativnog turizma kao elementa županijske kulturne turističke ponude, Master plan (2018.) svoje je pod-proizvode grupirao na sljedeći način:

  • ljetne umjetničke radionice i / ili škole koje vode poznati umjetnici ili profesionalna / amaterska udruženja za djecu, mlade i amatere;
  • ljetne umjetničke radionice koje vode stranci ili ih organiziraju razne škole, udruge, zaklade za svoje članove / učenike na raznim destinacijama, uključujući županijske destinacije;
  • programi opuštanja i oporavka (joga, meditacija) koji se često kombiniraju s kreativnim (npr. pisanje) ili sportskim (veslanje, jedrenje) aktivnostima;
  • radionice temeljene na tradiciji kulture života i rada, koje u pravilu nude županijske turističke agencije, uključujući posjete eko-etno selima, tematske planinarske ture, degustacije hrane i pića, kulinarske radionice i foto ture.

Što se tiče turizma događaja (engl. event tourism), Master plan ukazuje na slabo zadovoljstvo turista brojem i raznolikošću zabave. Stoga je to jedan od niže ocijenjenih elemenata turističke ponude, koji pokazuje da je 58% zadovoljno brojnošću događanja, a 52% kvalitetom raznih zabavnih događanja.

Master plan županije SD (2018.) ukazuje da, osim za Splitsku rivijeru, gdje se nekoliko kulturnih događaja može smatrati spremnima za valorizaciju tržišta, svi ostali događaji ili nisu spremni ili su djelomično spremni za privlačenje turista. Sukladno navedenom, u istome dokumentu autori definiraju  niz strategija i aktivnosti povezanih s budućim razvojem županijskih turističkih proizvoda. Tako je baštinski turizam proglašen primarnim proizvodom, kao i eno-gastro turizam, pri čemu se za potrebe njegova razvoja ističe nužnost jačanja proizvodnje lokalnih gastro i enoloških proizvoda, stvaranje lokalnih opskrbnih lanaca proizvodnje hrane i vina, jačanje mreža među proizvođačima i turističkom industrijom itd. Turizam događanja (event tourism) dobio je status tercijarnog proizvoda sa strategijama usmjerenim na poboljšanje njegove kvalitete i smanjenje sezonalnosti. Kreativni turizam proglašen je sekundarnim proizvodom u portfelju županijskih proizvoda. Napokon, gradski turizam i vjerski turizam doživljavaju se kao tercijarni turistički proizvodi.