ZAGREB, Nov 16 (Croatia Sun News) – Tourism and wine are inseparable, an international conference of the Iter Vitis European Cultural Route, which took place in Motovun, Istria County on November 14-16, has concluded, organisers said on Saturday.
The “From heritage to brand” conference, held as part of the Iter Vitis European Cultural Route General Assembly, brought together more than 200 experts, tourism employees, winemakers and representatives of institutions from 11 countries.
Franjo Matusic, state secretary at the Ministry of Tourism, said Croatia had an exceptional cultural heritage because different cultures mixed throughout its history, and that 12 European cultural routes, including Iter Vitis, passed through it.
He said wine had always been an essential part of Croatian tradition, and that its quality and the number of autochthonous wine grapes proved it.
Oenology and gastronomy are inseparable and one of the ten key products on which the development and future of Croatia’s tourism is based, Matusic said.
Assistant Regional Development and EU Funds Minister Stella Arneri said environmental protection and rural tourism were important for a sustainable vision of development. This vision is centered on the rich cultural heritage which, included in cultural routes, gains additional visibility and protection, she added.
Iter Vitis director Emanuela Panke said wine had always been linked to tradition, identity and lifestyle as well as being one of the key instruments of intercultural dialogue.
The Iter Vitis European Cultural Route passes through 20 states and Croatia joined it in March this year. The route encourages the development of wine destinations.
Cultural routes facilitate the development of rural areas and year-round tourism, and joining Iter Vitis is in line with Croatia’s tourism development strategy until 2020, said Dijana Katica, president of a Croatian tourism and rural development association.