THE HEART OF DALMATIA
Being the home of Dražen Petrović, the famous basketball player, is the first association that comes to mind whenever the road takes me to Dalmatia. The legendary Croatian basketball player, for many the greatest European basketball player of all time, began to hone his talent in Šibenik; he remembers it with love and pride. A memory basket is fixed in front of his birth house and soon there will also be a monument. For basketball players Dražen is eternal and still popular – basketball is written in the genes of this Dalmatian town.
The city is also connected with the karst river Krka, which is famous for its majestic waterfalls, beautiful lake with an island in the estuary flowing into the sea, at which the entire town Šibenik has developed. Krka starts its journey from the town of Knin, where through a series of waterfalls it meanders to the Grand Canyon with Lake Visovac.
If the neighbouring cities of Zadar and Split are said to be close to the Croatian national parks, then Šibenik is located right in the heart of the Kornati and Krka National Park. The city is in the midst of the idyllic Dalmatian towns of Pirovac, Vodice and Primošten, which form the core of the Dalmatian region.
Primošten is created on the picturesque island and is today mainly a resort town; Vodice is one of the centres of entertainment and also increasingly one of a quality congress offer; and in addition to the Kornati, the Šibenik archipelago is a paradise for nautical incentive aficionados. The fairly wild islands of Kaprije, Krapanj, Prvič, Zlarin and Žirje are part of the most indented stretch of the Adriatic coast, which for lovers of sailing is known to be an outstanding area.
The stone cathedral of St. James, along with the Renaissance Town Hall and the Prince’s Royal Household, form one of the most beautiful Adriatic markets. It is a joy to walk through the streets of the old city, which has developed in the shadow of Zadar, Split and under the long-term impact of Venice, but at the same time is the oldest and most Croatian city. It was created as a counterweight to Byzantine Dalmatia. The Old town and the St. James cathedral are now a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a remarkable architectural monument. Nowhere else in Dalmatia can you as easily relish the old city centre and Renaissance monuments. The central part of the city is closed to traffic, which makes strolling through the city on foot a special pleasure. With quick tourism development, the general urban sanitation and quality of life of inhabitants of this Dalmatian town is also improving year on year.
Various tourist guides and the Top 10 somehow overlooked Šibenik. After war destruction the city needed some time to make a new breakthrough. In addition, the status of the industrial city of the industrial zone to the east of the city appeared quite unattractive. Despite this and in the shadow of more media exposed destinations it is experiencing a fast and high-quality tourism development. The centre of happening is the hotel complex Solaris, situated in a peninsula covered with Mediterranean vegetation, which comprises of thematic 5 hotels, apartment and villas complex with a Yacht marina and a campsite. Carefully arranged resort offers a wide range of facilities. One of the most recognizable brands of Solaris is Dalmatian Ethno Village, unique tourist attraction situated in heart of Solaris Beach Resort. Its stone cobbled courtyards and stone houses reveal on completely new world and all the beauty of the traditional Dalmatian lifestyle with its almost forgotten crafts & delicacies. It is an authentic and educational experience.
In addition to Solaris major tourist resorts can also be found in Vodice, with the hotel complex Olympia and Punta. In Primošten the main provider of tourist facilities is the hotel Zora, in addition to which there is no shortage of private apartments. However, a lot of criticism could be targeted at the excessive ‘apartmentisation’ of the destination and in Šibenik some city hotels that would thoroughly enrich the tourist offer are also missing. Commendable, though, is the re-organisation of the public beach.
The hotel offer is followed by numerous, perhaps even too many, restaurants and the usual tourist offer. Among other things, the region around Šibenik, especially Vodice, is the Croatian party paradise. Šibenik is famous for its Terraneo festival, although visitors are usually mostly attracted by the prominent musicians on show. With the investment of the Turkish Dogus Group, which has built a marina for mega yachts, Mandalina, the image of the tourist destination may be taken to a higher level. In addition to the marina, a variety of tourist facilities are also planned, including a hotel to be opened in 2015.
Congress first category of Šibenik is Solaris congress centre. 12 multifunctional congress halls in the area of 2000 m2 are sufficient even for the most demanding conference guests. The largest hall has a capacity for 500 people. The advantage of the village is a diverse hotel offer in hotels Ivan ****, Jure****, Niko ****, Andrija **** and Jakov ***. The advantage of the resort is a wide variety of thematic restaurants, beach clubs and bars, teambuilding possibilities, sport and recreation facilities, entertainment and animation programs and many other various facilities.
The main Olympia congress hall in Vodice is multi-purpose and can accommodate a maximum 500 participants. In addition, the hotel also has the Athena hall for up to 80 participants and the Artemis hall for up to 200. A great improvement and update will be the new halls after the construction of a five star hotel. In Vodice smaller conference facilities are also available at the Imperial and at the Hotel Punta. In Primošten the congress centre is in the Hotel Zora. The largest hall, Kravata (Tie), can accommodate 500 people and the smaller one 240. Both halls have daylight.
The Mayor of the city, Franko Vidović, sees the future development of the city as a centre of green industries. Within this story we could also place the meetings industry. There is room for such development of congress tourism, just the right products and the corresponding ROI will have to be developed. There is no shortage of opportunities. The national parks around Šibenik, rafting on the Cetinje rapids, the race with old boats, all lend themselves to creative incentive programs.
Destination mark: 4,02– QUALITY MEETING DESTINATION
5 excellent meeting destination
4 quality meeting destination
3 recommendable meeting destination
2 average meeting destination
A. Natural and cultural factors 4,5
Because of the natural beauty, a major part of the area around the Krka is declared a national park, of which the geographical centre is Šibenik. This gives the whole area an outstanding experiential value and also numerous opportunities in the field of congress tourism. On the seaside one may wonder at Kornati, the most dynamic and diverse group of islands in the Adriatic and a sustainable paradise.
B. General and transport infrastructure 4,1
The location is perfect and surprisingly favourable for congress tourism, although it is currently simply ignored. Access via the highway is elegant and simple. Nearby there are two sufficiently frequented airports, Split and Zadar. The fact that the city is located in the triangle of three extraordinary national parks – Kornati, Krka and Paklenica – and close to the Plitvice Lakes and Northern Velebit is particularly attractive.
C. Tourist infrastructure 4,2
The Hotel Renaissance outside the city should soon be followed by one in its very heart. Otherwise, Šibenik and its surroundings is one of the most diverse and developed regions of Dalmatia for tourists, where there is no shortage of entertainment, festivals, world-class cuisine and also offers for the more discerning guests. It’s also worth remembering the harmony singing (‘klape’), which in the area around Šibenik is also the most developed on the Adriatic.
D. Meetings infrastructure 3,4
Meeting capacities in Šibenik, Vodice and Primošten are adapted to medium-sized congresses. Virtually all of the convention centres are completely renovated as part of the strategy to fill capacities in the pre-season. In Šibenik, a common destination management – in the sense of establishing a convention bureau in order to properly position the destination among the competition of neighbouring Dalmatian cities of Split and Zadar,- means there is a significant untapped potential.
E. Subjective grade 3,9
Once industrial, military and port city, it now has a sound basis for the development of congress tourism after a period of transition. It offers a very genuine and authentic experience and a real boom. Foreign investors are coming, new tourist facilities are being built and also in the field of meeting industry, with the appropriate positioning, it promises a bright future.
Comparison with the region:
Šibenik very rarely raises any association with the meeting industry. In the process of transition from an industrial city into a tourist destination it has not yet asserted its image among competing cities. Despite this it is a fact that it has excellent conditions and is somehow considered to be a hidden jewel of the Croatian congress offer. For ease of accessibility it may be a suitable location for small association conferences as well as a variety of incentive programmes.
‘PEKA’ (BAKING): in a cast iron container, under the heated lid covered with coals, are baked meats of all kinds, which is also great with fish and octopus. Large quantities of vegetables and potatoes are required, which provide juiciness and a good taste.