first_imgA group of foreign experts in eco-tourism spent six days in Croatia, visiting Split first, and then the goal of their arrival – the Lastovo Islands Nature Park. The purpose of their visit was to try the package “Lastovo – positively wild”, the first eco-tourist offer of this park, which was designed by the park staff in cooperation with the local population and the world organization for nature protection WWF.On the first day of their stay in Croatia, last Monday, the experts gathered in Split and first participated in a workshop on the ecological footprint in tourism, where they were joined by colleagues from the Kornati National Park, who also participate in the DestiMED project. The next day they visited Split and after that, only in the evening, they reached Lastovo. “The goal of tourism that we want to develop is not only profit, but also the well-being of the local community, preservation of identity, culture and tradition, as well as protection of natural resources. The eco-tourism offer must be a departure from mass tourism. Seven experts who spent last week in our park got acquainted with our nature, were delighted with the activities, cultural customs and offer. “, points out Bruna Đuković from the Lastovo Islands Nature Park, explaining how some of them tried diving for the first time, while others took oars in their hands for the first time and kayaked around the shores of Lastovo.”Although we will receive the real report only later, what we learned by talking to the experts is that our package is too intensive for them in terms of activities carried out. This information is extremely important to us because we will adjust this offer according to it”, Explains Mosor Prvan from WWF Adria, project manager of DestiMED within which this tourist offer was developed.The experts spent most of their time with nature conservationists and the local community, housed in the camp. They participated in making souvenirs and visited the local winery, and complained about too much riding and too little cycling. “We focused on quantity, we wanted them to experience as much as possible, and that was obviously the wrong decision. We know for the future. We in the Nature Park are extremely satisfied, but we understand that much more attention needs to be paid to the organization of such an offer. The fact that 12 local stakeholders are involved in Local cluster in ecotourism participating in this offer for us is a confirmation that we are on the right track“Concludes Bruno. The second group of experts will arrive in Lastovo in the spring, and they will be greeted by a “refreshed” tour “Lastovo – positively wild”. It will last five days, will not include a tour of Split, but will spend its time in better quality, exploring local customs and participating in the production of local products.The test in the Lastovo Islands Nature Park is the first of seven pilot tests to be held this fall in protected areas in six Mediterranean countries covered by the DestiMED project, implemented in Croatia by WWF Adria and funded by the EU Interreg Mediterranean Program. It is based on the success of the MEET (Mediterranean Ecotourism Experience) network, a non-profit destination management organization, which aims to further develop and promote a high quality portfolio of ecotourism experiences in the region’s protected areas.last_img read more