Wonderful challenges in Split

From 11 to 13 May, Programme Manager of the Urban Leisure & Tourism Lab Rotterdam, Iris Kerst and Joël Ferdinandus from Rotterdam Partners had the opportunity to participate in an exchange within the framework of the European project SmartCultour. Destination: Split! SmartCultour focuses on the sustainable development of cultural tourism. This development takes place in a total of six European living labs and the Urban Leisure & Tourism Lab Rotterdam is one of them.


Exchange of knowledge and experience takes place between the living labs in Rotterdam, Split and Vicenza. Between 11 and 13 May Iris and Joel visited the region and the city of Split. At the beginning of June, the representatives of the various living labs will travel to Rotterdam, after which the final visit to Vicenza is planned for September. Each of the visits will focus on a different sub-theme related to cultural tourism. During the visit to Split, for example, the focus was on the challenges faced by the various stakeholders in the Croatian lab.

Visit to Sinj

Split is booming! More and more visitors from France, the United Kingdom and the Netherlands, among others, are finding their way to the place. This results in high visitor numbers. It is predicted that in 2022 Split will receive more tourists than ever before. Researchers from the University of Split, together with stakeholders from Split and the surrounding area, are looking into how to further develop cultural tourism in order to entice visitors to visit other places in the region in the future.

One of these places is Sinj, a village 35 kilometres north of Split. Sinj is mainly known for its church and the painting of the ‘Miraculous Madonna of Sinj’. The painting was made by an unknown painter and dates from the 15th or 16th century. According to the stories, the painting caused the Croatians to win the battle against the Turks in 1715. After that, the Madonna has caused many more miracles. The Madonna is the cause of much religious tourism, since there are many pilgrimages that pass through Sinj.

Sinj is also known for its Sinsjka Alka. An equestrian competition that has been held every first Sunday in August since 1715. The aim of the competition is for the riders to pass their lance through a ring (alka). The riders receive points for this. The contest still attracts thousands of visitors every year. The creation of the Alka museum means that visitors can now learn more about Alka all year round.

Stella Croatica

On Friday 13 May, a visit to Stella Croatica was planned. Stella Croatica is an Experience Centre in Klis where you can experience all things Dalmatian. Artisanal foodstuffs, health and beauty products are produced on the estate. Visitors can see the whole process of developing the products and learn more about the production in the museum. The production is done by local people, which makes Stella Croatica of great local importance.

Stella Croatica is a good example of craftsmanship in its purest form. After the interesting tour, there was a brainstorm with the account manager of Stella Croatica. The brainstorming highlighted the importance of the value of quality. Stella Croatica has good visitor numbers and is thinking about how to continue to combine the growing visitor numbers with good quality products and tours. A great challenge!

Valuable knowledge

The exchange has provided many new insights into the field of cultural tourism, visitor management, city marketing and hospitality. These insights will be included in the projects and collaborations that the Urban Leisure & Tourism Lab Rotterdam is running.

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