The Vlogfest

An interview with the
Mayor of Crikvenica
Ivana Matosic
Gasparovic

VLOGFEST: What is Crikvenica today in terms of tourism, what is the significance of tourism in Crikvenica?

MAYOR: Crikvenica really cherishes a long history of tourism. We started with health resort tourism and today we are certainly particularly proud of the segment of health tourism for which we have been recognized and received awards for the development of health tourism many times, both at the national level and here at the local level. Due to the extremely good network and availability of health care institutions, either in the form of our Thalassotherapy, which operates in the area of ​​the City of Crikvenica, or in the form of private clinics, polyclinics and a large number of dental or dermatological private practices. This is a segment of tourism that we particularly want to pay attention to and that we are particularly proud of. Crikvenica has four towns in its composition, namely Selce, Jadranovo, Dramalj and the town of Crikvenica itself. All four of our places are extremely well recognized in terms of tourism. We have a large number of overnight stays every year, but what we aim for is, of course, the reduction of seasonality, which is still quite pronounced. Although in the last few years it is still in a sort of decline, so to speak. Therefore, the reduction of seasonality and sustainable tourism is what we want to emphasize and where we believe there is definitely room for us to be even better. We have always, of course, been extremely interesting to tourists, due to our mild climate. Our winters are always mild and warm. And what makes us special is the fact that we are a car destination and that we are very close to all major European cities. We are only two hours from Ljubljana and an hour and a half away from Zagreb. We have our airport here on Krk, so we can say that we are extremely well connected with air traffic, and of course as a car destination.

VLOGFEST: What are the traditional main markets of Crikvenica and what are your current most important markets?

MAYOR: Of course, the majority of arrivals are mainly guest Croats. After that, there are traditionally Austrians, Germans and Poles. Here are a few markets that are targeted towards us, but again mostly because of the proximity. This was most evident at the time of pandemic when, for example, some more distant destinations recorded a large drop in both overnight stays and arrivals. We really did not feel any crisis during that period. We were at about 80-90 percent of previous years at that time. Precisely because of the security that tourists had in terms of the availability of health care facilities, but also proximity to their respective destinations.

VLOGFEST: What is your plan for extending the season?

MAYOR: We have several private hotels in the area of ​​the city of Crikvenica, and we also have a large Jadran hotel house, and in fact all our efforts and aspirations as a city and tourist board to extend the tourist season are in vain without the firm and strong support of the hotel house. Unfortunately, our hotel company Jadran does not currently have a single hotel open in the winter period. This is a big problem. What we can say is that this period of hotel closure is not long, they are closed, for example, from December until the beginning of the February or March, but regardless, we simply want to create the preconditions that the season in the area of ​​the City of Crikvenica, that is 365 days a year, and through a number of different activities and events that we organize in the pre-season and post-season period, we try to create a motive for coming to the destination. We give special attention to what we now want to work intensively on. This is the development of sports tourism. Given that we have four sports halls, which for a city of this size is extremely good and unusual, so to speak, we have very well-equipped sports halls, a football stadium, an athletics track, an auxiliary football field and a number of other smaller fields. We have a large indoor traditional bowling court, several outdoor courts, and we definitely have the infrastructural preconditions to be able to use this resource much more intensively and better in this segment of sports tourism, and this is where I actually see a new possibility and a new opportunity for positioning Crikvenica.What makes us happy is that we have more and more private investments in the segment of hotel tourism. An increasing number of five-star hotels. Of course, this is both an advantage and a disadvantage in a way. An have an exceptionally large number of private accommodation facilities. What is commendable is that these facilities are also of higher categories. With the increasingly better service to tourists, somehow the paying power, as well as the quality.

VLOGFEST: What are some of the projects that are important in order to ease infrastructural problems in those summer months, from parking to water, from everything that you actually deal with the most in the city administration?

MAYOR: We are currently involved in a large agglomeration project for three years in a row. It is a system of building a completely new system and reconstruction of the existing waste-water drainage system with the construction of a modern treatment plant. Also, the treatment plant that is being built as part of this project will contribute to the fact that we will have a completely clean sea. It is still of extremely good quality today. We measure its quality several times during the season and we are truly proud of our exceptionally clean sea. It will now be long-term protected from any pollution, so this is a project that, in addition to ensuring some basic conditions, of course for the life of our citizens. Likewise, it is extremely important for the preservation of the environment and the quality of the sea. Two years ago, we finished the big project of building a beach in Jadranovo, and it is a beach that certainly brought a lot to Jadranovo in terms of tourism. It has placed it on the map of one of the places in Croatia and certainly one of the most beautiful beaches on the coast. We are currently designing a large parking lot outside the city center, where we would like to try to move the traffic from the city center and then with some kind of local bus transportation to transport the guests to the center. We are currently developing a project that we believe will be operational for most of the season. It is a new parking area in Selce, given that Selce is a truly beautiful, coastal town that has its own typical architecture of a small coastal town, where the center is completely built without the possibility of creating any additional parking areas, so out of that settlement itself, we detected several zones where we will open new parking areas. Of course, there is the most important segment in which a certain local self-government, that we can influence the development of a destination, which is spatial planning, spatial planning documentation so when adopting spatial plans which are aiming at simply reducing building coefficients and creating preconditions for the city to have as much greenery as possible, as little concrete as possible. Today, Crikvenica is certainly built up when you look at it from the sea, and we simply want to somehow preserve all the greenery that can be preserved. It is precisely for this reason that we adopted a green infrastructure strategy last year, where our goal was to create a single document that will be the basis for everything for adoption of all other documents, from spatial planning to any regulations and also simple guidelines for the new construction of public areas. We are currently trying to include that segment of greenry as much as possible to create urban oases.

VLOGFEST: What is your recommendation for spending two days in Crikvenica?

MAYOR: Crikvenica has a rich cultural heritage. A few things, maybe we are most famous for here is that we have our own specific amphora that was found in the area of Crikvenica. We are known for the Frankopans who were here. We have the Vrtača mala cave in the Dramalj area where a cave lion was found. Of course, there is also the first Crikvenica settlement on the hill near Tor, from which in fact the whole of Crikvenica continued to develop and a large number of small churches. What is specific is the large number of small churches that were located right on the hill near Tor, which speaks of some kind of sacral value of that district of ours. What we want is to further valorize the settlement that it forms and somehow make better use of it for tourism purposes. What I would recommend, of course, to everyone who comes to Crikvenica is, of course, to walk along our beaches, to swim in the sea, which is truly beautiful. We offer more than 30 different beaches, from sandy, pebble, rocky, etc. There is, of course, our Love beach for all those who want a more active vacation. Given that we have somehow dedicated ourselves to this segment of tourism, it is a destination for active vacations. We have a very well-developed network of bicycle lanes, so what is the beauty of our region is actually our connection with the entire Vinodol Riviera. We also have a common strategy for the development of the Crikvenica-Vinodol Riviera, so that you can walk from the beach itself to the lake by walking for a few kilometers. Of course, there are viewpoints from which you can enjoy a beautiful view of the entire Vinodol Valley and all the way to the area of the City of Crikvenica, so yes. What is also particularly significant and important, and that is the large number of high end restaurants that we have in this area to one can enjoy out extremely good food and good wine. From the vineyards between Crikvenica and Novi Vinodolski. Certainly, I think they are a good reason to come and the content that will not leave anyone indifferent.

The Riviera That Lives 365 Days a Year

Our riviera offers events for everyone, 365 days a year. New Year is soon followed by the Carnival period, the Easter programme, and spring events such as (Sr)etno Selce and Experience Crikvenica, which offer a wide range of outdoor, culinary and wellness experiences.

 

June is enlivened by a festival entitled Na palade – Kanat i štorije (songs and stories). The main season is reserved for Crikvenica Summer Showtime, a rich and varied programme that unites five major events (CrikvArt, Moja mala kala, Tourism Days, Šilo-Crikvenica Swimming Marathon, and Fishermen’s Week) and many smaller (but no less creative!) ones.

 

September is Oily Fish Month (part of the Oily Fish Route project), when selected restaurants on the Crikvenica Riviera offer delicious, imaginative and varied dishes prepared with oily fish, the traditional star of local cuisine. 

 

October brings the autumn edition of Experience Crikvenica with all its programmes and the CIHT Crikvenica International Health Tourism Conference. In the winter months, we look forward to a wonderful Advent by the Sea. We try to blend tradition into all our events and present it as an authentic tourism product.

The Crikvenica Riviera – Discover, Enjoy, Repeat

The beautiful Crikvenica Riviera is located in one of the most picturesque corners of Kvarner. Described as a riviera of health, a riviera of marathons or a riviera of love, it is all of these and much more!

 

Nestled between the clear blue sea and green Vinodol hinterland, the Crikvenica Riviera –distinguished by its mild and healthy climate, beautiful natural scenery and rich cultural and historical heritage – is ideal for family get-togethers, an active holiday, or relaxation on the beach.

 

The heart of the Riviera is Crikvenica, home to one of the most beautiful town beaches on the Adriatic coast. Picturesque Selce will transfix you with the beauty of its traditions, charming Jadranovo will win you over with the well-preserved nature close by, while Dramalj will reveal to you why here the stars shine more brightly and music sounds more melodious.

 

The Crikvenica Riviera has so many stories to tell. Its history sparks the imagination, its streets and squares transform into open-air stages, its cuisine combines tradition and modernity, Mediterranean flavours and good wines from the Vinodol hinterland.

The Riviera offers numerous challenges to sports enthusiasts, recreational athletes and everyone who values a healthy lifestyle. If you get tired after these activities, you’ll find soothing relaxation in the sea…

 

This is a destination so full of experiences, there will be little time left to catch a breath! For over 130 years, the natural healing qualities of the Crikvenica Riviera have been providing a formula for health: here, healthy sea air combines with fresh mountain air, spreading the intoxicating scents of aromatic herbs and the spray of sea salt.

 

Regardless of whether your love story is measured in days, weeks, months or years, you will enjoy walking along the Love Path, discovering the area’s ten kissing spots or exploring the Mediterranean Labyrinth of Love.

 

This is a pet-friendly destination: don’t be surprised at the sight of a beach bar where your four-legged friends can drink a beer designed just for them or enjoy sweets on their own beach.

 

When you long for a blue-green embrace, refreshment for the soul and body and closeness to nature, the Crikvenica Riviera is a destination to which you will gladly return time and again.