Čakovec – Croatia’s Latest Tourist Hit

By 27 August 2018

What’s the secret?

Until very recently, few people in Croatia thought of Čakovec when someone mentioned tourism. For many, thinking about visiting northern Croatia meant thinking about the nearby Varaždin and the picturesque Zagorje hills, the Međimurje vineyards or perhaps the Trakošćan Castle. However, in recent years, it is Čakovec which has seen some of the highest increases in tourism results, reports on August 27, 2018.

“Since my student days, I have known that my town had something to show and offer to its guests. Tourism here cannot be the key economic branch we are going to live from, but it can really bring us an increase in living standard, employment, investments, budgetary income, and, perhaps the most importantly, improvement of our local pride. People are delighted to see international and Croatian tourists who come to see our town. The people of Dubrovnik and Split have gotten used to it, in the last decade the inhabitants of Zagreb are also proud of tourists coming from all over the world, and now we, the people of Međimurje, feel the same way,” said Mayor of Čakovec, Stjepan Kovač.

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Current figures are quite impressive – as of August 22, there has been 46.04 percent more overnight stays and 26.97 percent more tourist arrivals in the Čakovec area than in the same period last year. Kovač said that the main reasons are investments, given that Hotel Castellum, a 20 million kuna investment, was opened in spring. It is expected that the four-star hotel will attract guests with more spending power, and also become a focus of business activities.

“The first problem we encountered was the lack of a strong tourism tradition, but that was a partial problem. Although Čakovec never was a serious tourist destination, it was the centre of Međimurje and attracted guests from the immediate vicinity. This tradition resulted in the Porcijunkulovo fair, which started as a traditional crafts fair in 1964. This year, ahead of its 54th edition, Porcijunkulovo was declared ‘a top event’ by the Croatian National Tourist Board. It brings together more than 300 exhibitors and, in the middle of the summer months, when everyone is fleeing to the Adriatic, it attracts more than 300,000 people from Croatia and the region,” said Kovač.

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The second reason for the success is industrious and creative local people who want to preserve their heritage and make it appealing to visitors. They have received help in their endeavours from the local tourist board.

“The most important thing is for the traditional tourist offer not to lose its touch with its roots since visitors expect the authenticity and experience which they cannot get anywhere else. For example, visitors to Porcijunkulovo can try old crafts, attend an archery show or taste Međimurje wines and traditional culinary specialties,” explained Kovač.

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The third important element is to follow the trends. Thus, along with the traditions, Porcijunkulovo visitors can enjoy performances by popular music artists, as well as irresistible umbrellas and other decorations which make for great social network photos. “In 2018, we cannot neglect the fact that people want to share with others how much fun they have and what they have been doing – from free barbecues and visiting art venues to a summer picnic terrace. This is the best authentic and free advertising for our town,” added Kovač.

“The Ministry of Tourism announced that, in the coming period, it would focus on building the image of Croatia as a quality year-round destination, which we can only welcome,” concluded the mayor.

Translated from