Kick off conference
Million euros for creating a new cross-border tourism destination
The kick off conference of the million euro worth project In cultura veritas was held on Tuesday, 2 October 2018 in the Skazova house in the Šmarje wine house in the Municipality of Šmarje pri Jelšah. The main objective of the project is the creation of a new, innovative cross-border tourism destination which will merge Zagreb county in Croatia with sub-regions of Obsotelje and Kozjansko in Slovenia.
The conference venue was not chosen unintentionally as one of the project activities will include refurbishment of the wine house within the Skazova house.
Funding for implementation of this cross-border project, in which Zagreb county has been appointed as the lead partner, has been approved within the third call for proposals of the Cooperation Programme INTERREG V-A Slovenia – Croatia 2014.-2020. Apart from Zagreb county in a role of the lead partner, the other project partners from Croatia include the Association of Croatian travel agencies (UHPA) and the Museum documentation center (MDC). The Slovenian project partners are Development agency Sotla, the Municipality of Šmarje pri Jelšah and the Slovene Chamber of Agriculture and Forestry - Institute of Agriculture and Forestry Maribor.
The total project budget amounts to 1.003.317,00 euros, out of which 852.819,44 euros will be allocated from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) with the aim to boost cross-border cooperation in the targeted project area. The main objective is to improve visibility, attractiveness, accessibility and cultural heritage conservation in the project area in order to contribute to stronger economic activities through development of new and sustainable cross-border tourism destination. Improvement of tourism offer in the vicinity of wine roads is expected to lead to the creation of a new tourism product which will draw attention of the visitors and at the same time serve as an incentive for tourism service providers to think of how to include cultural heritage in their tourism offer. New cross-border tourism destination will merge four wine roads (Šmarsko-Virštanjska on the Slovenian side and Plešivička, Zelinska and Samoborska on the Croatian side). Apart from that, tradition of wine production is going to be presented in the museums and cultural heritage facilities included in the projects by wine tasting and similar activities.
In order to create a tourism destination as attractive as possible for the visitors, ERDF funds will also be directed into improvement of the tourism infrastructure. On the Slovenian side, the Municipality of Šmarje pri Jelšah will refurbish the wine house within the Skazova house (restoration of the facade, staircase and frescoes), additional equipping of the wine house and installing of the „smart“ benches and tourism devices with the promotional information related to the new destination. On the Croatian side, smaller tourism infrastructure investments will also be conducted (e.g. „smart“ benches and tourism devices in the three museums, digitalisation of the museum collection). Development agency Sotla will be responsible for promotional activities in Slovenia and the wider area, strengthening of the key stakeholder capacities and creation of the new tourism products. A significant project contribution to development of the joint cross-border tourism destination will also be achieved through comprehensive tourism offer digitalisation for which around 200.000,00 euros has been earmarked within the project budget with the responsibility of implementation assigned to Zagreb county as the lead project partner.
Velimir Kokot, Head of the Department for EU Funds, Regional and International Cooperation within the Zagreb County:
„We are proud because this is the first cross-border cooperation project in which Zagreb county has been appointed as the lead partner and thus allocated the most significant share of the total project budget, i.e. 403.513,00 euros or 40%.“
Nadica Žužak, Deputy County Prefect of the Zagreb county:
„I am positive that this form of cooperation, as well as the experience of the neighbouring Republic of Slovenia, will help us to boost our efficiency in EU funds absorption even more.“
Ivana Rendulić Jelušić, Head of the Project team within the Zagreb county:
„I believe that we shall, by developing attractive cultural and tourism offer in the cultural heritage localities along the wine roads, contribute to long term, sustainable economic and social development of the cross border area.“
Bojana Žaberl, Director of Development agency Sotla:
„With this project we wish to revitalise wine roads, merge cultural heritage and wine tradition and by improving services and promotion, that we will conduct as the project partner, motivate as many tourists as possible to visit our destination.“
Stanislav Šket, Prefect of the Municipality of Šmarje pri Jelšah:
„I believe in good results and that, at the end of the project, the visitors will be pleased with the enriched offer, attractive tourism products, merged cultural heritage, wine tradition and modern technology. Within the project wine house within the Skaz house will be refurbished, i.e. the facade, staircase and frescoes. Multimedia support will be ensured in the wine house and „smart“ benches and tourism devices installed in Šmarje pri Jelšah, Lemberg and Sladka Gora in Tinskem.“
Dr. Stanko Klemenčić, Director, the Slovene Chamber of Agriculture and Forestry - Institute of Agriculture and Forestry Maribor:
„The project activities aim to contribute to improving the quality of wine offer along the wine roads. By printing the monographics of the Kreutzer brothers, that will depict 146 grape cultivars that were cultivated in Styria 150 years ago, preservation of the rich wine production tradition in the project area will be enabled.“
Maja Kocijan, Director of the Museum documentation centre:
„For more than half a century, our organisation has been cooperating with the museums and other experts in order to make their work successful and recognizable, hence the theme of the project In cultura veritas is in the focus of our work. Culture and cultural heritage have always been of the key importance for attracting the visitors.“