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ASSOCIATING TO CREATE UNIQUE TOURIST EXPERIENCES OF SMALL WINERIES IN CONTINENTAL CROATIA -OPPORTUNITIES AND CONSTRAINTS

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ASSOCIATING TO CREATE UNIQUE TOURIST EXPERIENCES OF SMALL WINERIES IN CONTINENTAL CROATIA -OPPORTUNITIES AND CONSTRAINTS

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The purpose of this paper is to explore the possibilities of creating an integrated tourist product based on traditional wine production, wine culture and gastronomy, heritage and customs on the example of a small wine-growing area in Virovitica-Podravina County. Methodology-the authors of this paper wanted to examine the views and attitudes of small winery owners considering possibilities of developing a wholesome oeno-gastro experience. Based on the studied literature connected with wine and gastrotourism and the experience economy, as well as based on a field research of the mentioned area, the authors have conducted a structured in-depth interview with the president of Pitomača vine growers' association and focus group with five winery owners to obtain information on their familiarity with scattered hotel models and the concept of unique tourism products based on the experience economy. Following the interview and data obtained through a focus group, a survey was conducted on a sample of fifteen respondents with the purpose of examining the attitudes of winery owners towards the opportunities and limitations for the development of this tourist product. Findings-the data obtained through the survey indicate the fact that most of the respondents are not familiar with the concept of scattered hotels or the opportunities provided by the market with the development of modern, personalized tourist experiences. Even though the respondents see the potential for developing such tourist product in the examined area, they encounter many obstacles in their reflection, which limits their inclusion in the tourist offer. Contribution-this paper can contribute to raising the awareness of local stakeholders for developing a unique offer by evaluating the existing, unused resources.
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ASSOCIATING TO CREATE UNIQUE TOURIST
EXPERIENCES OF SMALL WINERIES IN
CONTINENTAL CROATIA – OPPORTUNITIES AND
CONSTRAINTS
Rikard Bakan
Dejan Tubić
Božidar Jaković
https://doi.org//10.20867/tosee.06.4
Abstract
Purpose the purpose of this paper is to explore the possibilities of creating an integrated tourist
product based on traditional wine production, wine culture and gastronomy, heritage and customs
on the example of a small wine-growing area in Virovitica-Podravina County.
Methodology the authors of this paper wanted to examine the views and attitudes of small winery
owners considering possibilities of developing a wholesome oeno-gastro experience. Based on the
studied literature connected with wine and gastrotourism and the experience economy, as well as
based on a field research of the mentioned area, the authors have conducted a structured in-depth
interview with the president of Pitomača vine growers’ association and focus group with five
winery owners to obtain information on their familiarity with scattered hotel models and the
concept of unique tourism products based on the experience economy. Following the interview
and data obtained through a focus group, a survey was conducted on a sample of fifteen
respondents with the purpose of examining the attitudes of winery owners towards the
opportunities and limitations for the development of this tourist product.
Findings the data obtained through the survey indicate the fact that most of the respondents are
not familiar with the concept of scattered hotels or the opportunities provided by the market with
the development of modern, personalized tourist experiences. Even though the respondents see the
potential for developing such tourist product in the examined area, they encounter many obstacles
in their reflection, which limits their inclusion in the tourist offer.
Contribution this paper can contribute to raising the awareness of local stakeholders for
developing a unique offer by evaluating the existing, unused resources.
Keywords: wine tourism, gastro tourism, micro-clusters, scattered hotel, experience economy,
rural environment.
INTRODUCTION
The growing popularity of wine tourism, defined as "visitations to vineyards, wineries,
wine festivals, and wine shows for which grape wine tasting and/or experiencing the
attributes of a grape wine region are the prime motivating factors for visitors“ (Hall et
al. 2000, 3) in one of the first definitions, is increasing in parallel with the increase in the
demand for rural tourism (Quadri-Filetti and Fiore 2012, 3). As can be deduced from the
very definition of wine tourism, modern tourists expect much more than just tasting wine
in a winery or a cellar they expect a rounded single-tourist experience (Back et al.
2021, 103). Judging by the preferences of most modern tourists, intangible, experiential
elements that accompany the tasting and consumption of food and beverages, are those
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elements of the offer that contribute most to the authenticity and diversity of individual
tourist destinations and catering facilities (Binkhorst and Den Deckker 2009, 313).
Nowadays, gastronomy and oenology are one of the most important means of preserving
the identity and familiarizing with the local culture, as well as an important
distinguishing element for positioning in the tourism market (Hjalager and Richards
2002, 8). Authenticity also stands as an important element of experience for modern oeno
and gastro tourists (Jang et al. 2011, 665; Le et al. 2019, 257). Local food and drinks, as
well as the authentic ambience in which they are produced and consumed attract more
and more tourists. Socially and culturally aware tourists, like most tourists are today,
appreciate the ethics and tradition in small farmers’ production, the traceability of food
from field to table, safety and hygiene of food, but even more the feeling of their tourist
consumption contributing to the preservation of traditional agricultural production and
rural areas. (Mirosa and Lawson 2012, 816; Kauppinen-Räisänen et al. 2013, 667; Björk
and Kauppinen-Räisänen 2016, 295). It can therefore be concluded that agritourism
farms, in this case those engaged in the production of grapes and wine together with other
experiences related to the tradition of winemaking and the specifics of rural areas, can
become the bearer of a unique gastronomy experience and lifestyle tourism. This mainly
refers to those farms that deal with the traditional way of agricultural production, apply
traditional recipes, preserve the traditional rural way of life and associate into an integral
oeno and gastro tourism product. On the other hand, the vineyards in the area examined
in this research are neither recognizing the potential of the region for the development of
tourism nor expanding their core business with catering and tourism services. The reason
for this lies in the fact that, as the respondents themselves stated, there is a lack of
information about the various programs available to them, as well as a lack of their
personal resources and bureaucratization of society in seeking incentives, but also in the
fact that, as they emphasize, there is a low level of motivation and practice of associating
between the stakeholders. Many successful examples in the world have shown that small
wineries need to join and create microclusters in order to to succeed in the tourism
market, whether this means joining into thematic routes, short supply chains or
accommodation facilities such as scattered hotels (Villanueva and Moscovici 2016, 317).
Therefore, the aim of this paper is to investigate whether the owners of small wineries in
the vineyards of Pitomača see the potential for developing the tourist offer of wine
tourism after the implementation of the program of building a tourist interpretation centre
in the vineyards by associating their offer within scattered hotels as well as to investigate
their viewpoints on the constraints that hinder their entrepreneurial initiative and the role
that the local community should play in encouraging interest associations.
1. WINE CULTURE A BASIC RESOURCE FOR THE DEVELOPMENT OF
ROUNDED TOURIST EXPERIENCES
Wine and experiences related to wine tasting as well as the places where it is produced
are key attractions of wine tourism. However, as emphasized by Hall et al. (2000, 6), the
heart of wine tourism and wine experience is a combination of characteristics and
preferences of wine tourists and products, i.e. the experience of wine tourism, while the
experience of wine tourism itself is a combination of many elements from the destination
environment (Hall et al. 2000, 7). Tourists are no longer willing to pay only for a basic
service but are willing to pay extra for an experience of a rounded tourism product, in
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this case the product of wine tourism, Therefore, wine tourism service providers need to
enrich their basic products with experiential elements in order to differentiate their
products and achieve premium prices in addition to the necessary associating into a kind
of integrated wine tourism association. The need to enhance products and services to
experiential elements was first tackled by the authors Pine and Gilmore (1999, 30) and
the phenomenon of experience economy and tourism was later studied by many other
authors such as Mehmetoglu and Engen (2011, 242); Quadri-Filetti and Fiore (2012, 5);
Quadri-Filetti and Fiore (2013, 49); Sundbo and Sorensen (2013, 429); Back at al. (2021,
105). Local producers, wineries and wine shops can become extremely competitive in
the tourism market if they provide an authentic oeno and gastro tourism experience that
allows the guest to fully blend with the environment and atmosphere, enjoy the
experience of food and wine and intangible elements connected to it such as storytelling
and participation in the creation of their own experiences (Hawley 2017, 50; OECD 2012
21; Getz and Brown 2006, 149). By visiting such facilities, tourists not only enjoy an
authentic oeno and gastro experience but also a new culture that greatly differs from the
culture in places of their permanent residence (Fields 2003, 38). This arouses the tourists’
interest in visiting other attractions in the area, their awareness of the authenticity of the
destination as a place of a pleasant environment and meaningful stay, and thus the
gastronomy products become the bearers of the recognizability of the entire tourist
destination. From the perspective of today's tourist, as stated by the authors Aref et al.
(2010, 82); and Frost et al. (2020, 2), the specifics and uniqueness of local communities
are becoming one of the main reasons for tourist travel. Such destinations can count on
long-term recognition in the tourism market if the development of the tourist offer in
tourist destinations is based on key attractions of tangible heritage but even more on the
intangible heritage as well as on consumption of quality products produced in the
destination environment, which are recognizable in the market precisely because of local
characteristics enriched with additional elements of tourist experience (Herrera 2012, 8).
2. CLUSTERING IN FUNCTION TO ACHIEVING COMPETITIVENESS AND
RECOGNITION IN THE WINE TOURISM MARKET
Interest grouping and associating are most frequently connected to the term of cluster.
Many definitions of clusters can be found in the literature, but one of the most cited ones
is that of Michael Porter, who defines clusters as "geographically oriented groups of
related companies and institutions in a particular sector, linking togetherness and
complementarity" (Porter 1990, 8). The advantages brought by clusters are the increase
of the area of business activity of related entities and other stakeholders significant for
the competitiveness. Other advantages of clustering are also the increased access to
consumers, increased customer satisfaction and direct benefit primarily of producers of
complementary products and companies in relation to skills, technologies and other
tangible and intangible (Dragičević 2012, 62) heritage. The essence of market success in
the era of global competition in tourism lies, among other things, in the cooperation of
all tourism service providers among themselves as well as their cooperation with other
complementary stakeholders in the destination. In this context, the success of wine and
gastro tourism products within agritourism farms will depend primarily on the
cooperation of all owners of vineyards and other stakeholders in the destination in order
to establish standards of a tourist value chain and the delivery of unique oeno and gastro
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tourism experience based on authenticity, intangible and tangible heritage, and the way
of life of the local community (Jennings and Nickerson 2006, 116; Herrera 2012, 6; Lee,
et al. 2015, 134). Michael Porter (1998, 79) mentions the Cluster of the California wine
industry as one of the successful examples of associating, emphasizing that the
mentioned owes its market success to the association of numerous complementary
producers and other stakeholders within the entire California wine tourism offer. The
author Michael also writes about the forms of clusters and examples of interesting
associations in tourism in the article “Tourism micro-clusters” (Michael 2003, 133) in
which he states various possibilities of associating, primarily vertically and horizontally,
but adds that the association can be extended to a diagonal approach that respects the
best characteristics of both modes of association (Michael 2003, 137). It is this diagonal
approach that the author points out as the most applicable in tourism because it brings
together stakeholders who, although offering different tourism products and services
separately, complement each other and offer a complete, unique tourism product in the
market, thus raising their competitive advantage. So for example, a local cheese producer
can market his product as part of a tourist experience within a tourist wine cluster, even
though his main activity does not have any major contact points with tourism at first
glance, nor is his family farm registered for tourist activities.
2.1. Scattered hotels as an opportunity to associate small winemakers in the
tourist market
The first consideration of the concept of scattered hotels (Albergo Diffuso) appeared in
the late 70’s of the 20th century in the Italian region of Carniola at the beginning of the
reconstruction of earthquake-stricken settlements in order to stop emigration from small
communities. However, the concept came to life only in 1995 when the first hotel of this
kind opened in Nuoro, Sardinia (Morena et al. 2017, 451). Albergo Diffuso, also known
as a Scattered or Widespread hotel is “a sustainable and innovative form of hotel that
originates in enhancing historical and cultural real estate heritage, characterized by
original structures, places (rural areas or small urban centres) and persons involved (both
residents and tourists) in the production and distribution process and with experiential
authenticity (Paniccia and Leoni 2019, 6). The elements by which scattered hotels differ
from classic hotels are 1) unique management by a registered caterer; 2) accommodation
facilities which are concentrated near the centre of a small town or in the area of a small
village and which exude a tradition and architecture characteristic to the area; 3)
existence of traditional production, agriculture and/or crafts; 4) local residents living and
working in the mentioned area; 5) owners and managers of facilities are local residents;
6) accommodation facilities and other facilities that provide services to tourists are up to
200 meters apart; 7) the whole area exudes the authentic spirit of a small town or village;
8) services offered to guests specialize with regard to the basic activities of the population
(wine, food, traditional crafts, art, etc.); 9) the concept of integrated quality management
is applied (Cucari et al. 2019, 106). In Croatia, too, the concept of scattered hotels and
Albergo Diffuzo is recognized as an opportunity to associate small businesses in tourism
in order to be more competitive in the market, so amendments to the Ordinance on the
categorization of hotels (NN 33/2014, Art. 2) introduce two additional types namely:
diffuse hotel (Albergo Diffuso) and integral hotel (integrated, scattered or widespread
hotel). With many similar characteristics to the original concept originated in Italy, the
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legislation in Croatia still makes a distinction between diffuse and integral hotels. For
diffuse hotels it is stated that they must be 1) located in predominantly old, traditional,
historical, rural-urban structures and buildings, decorated and equipped in the traditional
way; 2) a functional unit in the area of one settlement consisting of three or more
widespread and functionally connected buildings, integrated into the local environment
and way of life; 3) accommodation units can be: rooms, hotel suites, family rooms, studio
apartments and suites. Integral hotels, on the other hand, 1) do not necessarily have to
be located in old, traditional buildings, but are formed by a functional unit in the area of
one settlement with common facilities that are combined and previously categorized
and/or classified facilities into three or more common buildings; 2) within the integral
hotel, the registered caterer provides catering services in common facilities, his facilities
and/or facilities of other owners with which the facility was associated; 3) all associated
members should have previously obtained solutions for some of the following facilities:
a) for the provision of catering services in the household (except in case of household
camps); b) catering facilities for accommodation, with star-marked categories from the
group "Camps and other types of catering facilities for accommodation"; c) from the
groups Restaurants, Bars, Catering facilities and Facilities of simple services. The
already mentioned authors Morena et al. (2017, 453) note the following factors as the
key success factors of this type of combined tourism and hospitality offer of small rural
areas:
Accommodation in a rural area that appears attractive to tourists (countryside,
seaside, mountains, castles, spas…)
Recognizable elements of local culture, lifestyle, and work of the residents (home
made products, local food and wine, events, folklore, traditional crafts…)
Proximity of basic services for tourists (shops, infirmaries, banks…)
Tourist awareness of the local population and the desire to share the experience of
local life with tourists
Service adeptness and thematization of tourist experience (food and wine experience,
creative workshops, art experience…).
As can be seen from the above, the concept of scattered hotels in rural areas fits into the
preferences of the so-called "third generation" of tourists who seek unique tourist
experiences and full integration into the life of the local community during holidays
leading to the growing popularity of niche tourism and similar forms of accommodation
in the tourism market (Wu et al. 2017, 515; Cucari et al. 2019, 108).
3. RESEARCH STARTING POINTS
Prior to the empirical research, the authors sought to set the starting points through three
research steps:
Desk and field research
Interview with the chairman of the association of winegrowers
Focus group of winemakers of the subject area.
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First, a desk and field research were made for the mentioned area in order to determine
tourism indicators for the observed area, analyse the characteristics of the destination in
terms of tourist attraction base, plans for tourism development and the project of building
a tourist interpretation centre in the vineyard area. For this purpose, the authors have
analysed data on arrivals and realized overnight stays in the past five years (Tourist board
of Pitomača, 2020) as shown in Table 1 from which it can be seen that the average
number of tourist arrivals per year is 815 and 1783 overnight stays.
Table 1: Arrivals and overnight stays in the Municipality of Pitomača from 2016 to
2020
2016.
2017.
2018.
2019.
2020.
average
arrivals
748
841
952
982
551
815
overnight stays
1500
1995
2717
1836
865
1783
Source: processed by the authors according to the data from Tourist board of Pitomača Annual reports from
2017. to 2020.
These indicators show that tourist trends are at a very modest level, which is, among
other things, due to the small number of accommodation capacities and the lack of
complete tourist facilities. On the other hand, the study of the Master Plan for Tourism
Development in the Municipality of Pitomača until 2020 (The Official website of
Pitomača Municipality 2015) indicated that the Municipality of Pitomača has a very rich
tourist attraction base on which oeno and gastro tourism is emphasized as one of the key
tourism products. The local self-government has undertaken a number of initiatives to
create an environment that would encourage private entrepreneurs to invest in the
development of the tourist offer. One of those projects is a project called EAGLE through
which the Municipality of Pitomača, in cooperation with the partner city of Pecz in
Hungary, seeks to develop two interconnected visitor interpretation centres with a
strengthened, fully functioning Hungarian-Croatian stakeholder network; sustainably
develop and promote natural and cultural attractions associated with the visitor centre in
the vineyards and generate economic growth through stakeholders in the area of tourism.
Precisely the realization of the mentioned project that plans the building of an excursion
complex with a lookout, wine cellar and interpretation centre was the starting point for
the next phase of the research, i.e. for the field research of vineyards conducted during
March 2021 as well as an in-depth interview with the president of the association of
winegrowers "Aršanj" from Pitomača. By means of this research, the authors sought to
examine the following research points: characteristics of the vineyards; the extent to
which the local winegrowers are familiar with the purpose, goals and dynamics of
building a tourist information centre in the vineyards; the number of small winemakers
in the area, their current market position and activities undertaken in terms of
encouraging members to supplement their core business with tourism services. Upon
conducting the research, a focus group was formed at the proposal of the President of the
association, consisting of the five most active members of the association, registered
grape and wine producers, with whom the authors further discussed the characteristics
of their vineyards, their thoughts on the possibility of their inclusion in the tourist offer
of wine tourism after the implementation of the project of the tourist interpretation centre
and the possibility of integral association of small wine producers with the emphasis on
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the concept of a scattered hotel as a model for a joint participation in the wine tourism
market. Based on this, the authors have defined the main starting points of the research:
the observed area has comparative advantages for the development of wine tourism
(195.88 hectares made of vineyards (Development Strategy of the Municipality of
Pitomača until 2020, 2015; 86), 550 to 600 holiday homes
with vineyards with all
the necessary infrastructure, specific organoleptic properties of wine due to the sandy
composition of the soil, traditional wine production based on recognizable elements
of intangible heritage, good spatial organization of vineyards and good connections
with major traffic routes)
currently there are no registered wine cellars with accommodation capacities
winegrowers are familiar with the opportunities that the market offers them by
supplementing the offer of their own vineyards with the tourist offer
significant interest in integral association in terms of creating a recognizable offer of
wine and gastronomic tourism has been noticed
the winemakers see the project of the tourist interpretation centre as an incentive for
the development of wine tourism offer
winegrowers expect the help of the local self-government in their entrepreneurial
initiatives.
Based on primary and secondary research starting points, it seemed justified to conduct
an empirical research to determine the awareness of small winery owners about the
tourist attractiveness of the area after the construction of the interpretation centre and the
potentials, opportunities and obstacles of their inclusion in the tourist offer through
joining into a scattered hotel and developing a rounded oeno and gastro tourism
experience.
4. PRIMARY RESEARCH AND DATA ANALYSIS
4.1. Methodology
The empirical research is based on the data and information from a preliminary analysis
and research conducted during a field trip to the area of Pitomača vineyards, as well as
on the in-depth interview with the president of the association of winegrowers and the
aforementioned focus group. Preliminary data were used to define research questions
and work objectives, as well as to define sample and design a questionnaire. Based on
the preliminary research, the following research questions were defined:
Are there preconditions for the inclusion of winegrowers in the tourist offer (the
phase after the construction of the tourist interpretation centre; production and other
capacities; long-term interests)
Data obtained from a conversation with the president of the association of winegrowers and fruit growers
"Aršanj" from Pitomača. There is no unique record in the area of the municipality since the local self-
government has taxed only holiday homes that are registered for the catering industry with the tax on holiday
homes and there are still none of those in the vineyards by far.
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What are the basic attractive elements for positioning the destination of a highly
personalized experience in the wine tourism market
Is there an interest of winegrowers and other stakeholders for a joint presence in the
wine tourism market
What are the main factors of the current “status quo” of the Pitomača vineyards in
correlation with wine tourism.
According to research questions, the main goal of this paper is to explore the possibilities
of creating an integrated tourist product based on traditional wine production, wine
culture and gastronomy, heritage and customs on the example of a small wine-growing
area in Municipality of Pitomača. For the purposes of the paper, the research was
conducted by the survey method, using a structured questionnaire distributed by means
of Google forms via e-mail. The survey questionnaire consisted of closed-ended
questions, measured by a nominal (differential) scale and a Likert scale with five levels
of intensity. New variables were used in the development of the questionnaire, derived
from the previous primary research as explained in Chapter 3. The questions were
divided into 5 groups, conceived in the form of a funnel, within which the research was
conducted in the following order:
socio-demographic characteristics of winegrowers
qualitative and quantitative characteristics of production capacities of winegrowers
attractive basis of the vineyard area for the needs of positioning in the wine tourism
market
interest association and the role of local government in engaging winegrowers in the
wine tourism market
limiting factors of business and involvement in tourism.
The survey included 30 winegrowers in the sampled area with a 50% rate of completed
questionnaires (15 respondents). In the processing of the obtained data, a univariate
statistical analysis was used, by means of which descriptive indicators, i.e. average
values, were presented.
4.2. Research results and discussion
The survey included 15 vinegrowers from the area of Pitomača vineyards. All
respondents were male three of them aged 31 to 40, nine of them aged 41 to 50 and
three of them aged 51 to 60. In terms of educational structure, most respondents (eight
of them) have a high school education, while four respondents completed graduate
studies and three of them have only completed primary school. With regard to the annual
quantity of produced wine, it ranges from 2000 to 3000 litres by four respondents, while
the majority of the respondents (nine of them) is producing between 3001 and 6000 litres
of wine and two respondents are producing more than 10000 litres of wine yearly.
Thirteen respondents own holiday homes with a bathroom and a separate sleeping area
within their properties and two respondents own holiday homes in form of a studio
apartment. Only one of the respondents does not have a connection to the public
electricity and water supply network. Moreover, eight respondents stated that they own
several more properties which could be adapted for tourist reception. In addition to their
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vineyards and holiday homes, most respondents (nine of them) also own spacious
outdoor areas (meadows and orchards) with gazebos, pergolas, and appliances for
cooking in open fire. Ten respondents answered that they were familiar with the start of
the construction of the tourist interpretation centre in the vineyards but did not know the
details while five claimed that they knew the details and the purpose of the project.
Regarding the opinion on how much the completion of the project would contribute to
the enrichment of the tourist offer of wine tourism in the Municipality of Pitomača, most
of them said that they think it will be a place that will attract one-day visitors from a
wider area but will not have greater effects on tourism consumption overall.
When asked to what extent they assess the need for association and joint participation of
winegrowers in the wine tourism market, nine respondents said that the association of
small winegrowers for joint participation in the market of wine and gastro tourism is
important for market success, three respondents stressed that it is extremely significant
for a serious appearance in the tourism market and that association is necessary and
only three respondents stated that association is not crucial for someone to be
competitive in the tourism market.
In regard to the familiarity of the respondents with the concept of a scattered hotel, most
of the respondents, nine of them, were not familiar with the concept at all. After a brief
explanation of the concept of the scattered hotel, the respondents were asked about the
applicability of this model in the area of Pitomača vineyards. Their answers are shown
in Graph 1. on the next page, which shows that the majority of respondents think that
this area is ideal for the concept of scattered hotels due to the concentration of facilities
that require relatively little investment to register as catering and tourism facilities.
It should be noted that most respondents stated that they would join the project of
associating their venues into a scattered hotel if it were launched in the area of the
Pitomača vineyards. In the survey, the respondents were asked to express their views on
the elements on which Pitomača vineyards could build their recognition in the wine
tourism market.
The best rated elements were: 1“creation of original tourist products based on the local
culture of life and work related to the tradition of wine production (celebration of wine
saints, customs related to certain periods of the wine year, traditional dishes that
accompany wine festivals, music, etc.)”, which was rated with the highest level of
agreement by ten respondents and 2 existence of small wineries and tasting rooms”
which was rated by all fifteen respondents with a high or very high level of agreement.
Respondents' attitudes about all aspects of attractiveness are shown in Graph 2.
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Graph 1: Respondents' opinion on the applicability of the scattered hotel concept
in the Pitomača vineyard area
Source: author research
Graph 2: Sources of attractiveness for vineyards of Pitomača to build their
recognition - respondent opinions
Source: author research
1
1
9
4
0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
The concept is interesting but I think it is difficult
to implement
With additional education of the owners and
explanation of the advantages of such a way of
association, I think that the project could be…
Due to the concentration of facilities that require
relatively little investment to register as catering
and tourism facilities, this area is ideal for this…
I think that there is no interest of tourists for this
form of offer in vineyards
2
2
2
5
2
3
10
8
11
8
5
12
10
5
2
3
3
4
7
5
3
5
8
10
a beautifull and unique landscape
a large number of vacation houses and cellars with
all the necessary infrastructure
the peculiarities and diversity of the offer of "small
series" wines
the Hospitality of the hosts and the personalized
approach to the guest
traditional non-industrial wine production
small wineries, wineries and tasting rooms
additional offer within vineyards (accommodation,
food services)
connecting other forms of tourism with wine
(gastrotourism, sports and recreational tourism,…
creation of original tourist products based on the
local culture of life and work related to the…
1. I don't agree at all 2.I don't agree 3. neither agree nor disagree
4. I agree 5. I completely agree
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R. Bakan, D. Tubić, B. Jaković: ASSOCIATING TO CREATE UNIQUE TOURIST EXPERIENCES
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The results of the empirical research (Graph 3) showed that the respondents, i.e.
winegrowers mostly (average scores higher than 3.5) believe that the association of
interests strongly encourages:
more efficient marketing due to the joint appearance on the tourist market (average
grade 3.9)
easier placement of wine with additional tourist experiences - creating products of
higher material and intangible value (average rating 3.8)
higher degree of attractiveness due to overcoming the lack of accommodation
capacities of small business units (average grade 3.8)
transfer (exchange) of experience, information, knowledge and technology and more
favourable procurement of goods and services of all stakeholders and thus certainly
contribute to more efficient business and a higher degree of recognizability
competitive advantage, which ultimately contributes to creating a recognizable and
complete tourism product (average score 3.8).
Graph 3: Respondents' attitudes regarding the impact of associating into
microclusters and/or scattered hotels on certain business elements and increasing
competitiveness
Source: author research
Opinions and attitudes of the respondents show that the vast majority of respondents
recognize the attractiveness of the area and the opportunity provided by building a tourist
interpretation centre in the vineyards and recognize the importance of associating and
1
1
2
3
4
4
6
5
5
3
2
8
7
6
8
8
9
12
9
2
3
3
2
2
1
1
3
Creating a recognizable and rounded tourist
product
Favorable procurement of goods and services for
smooth and successful business
Reduce operating costs and increase productivity
and innovation
Exchange of experience, technology and easier
business
Easier to attract tourists due to increased capacity
Easier application for grants at local, regional and
national level
More effective marketing under a common brand
Easier wine sales with additional tourist
experiences
1. not at all 2. a little 3.moderately 4. strongly 5.very strongly
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creating a common integrated tourism product of wine tourism enriched with additional
experiential elements. However, it is clear that they are limited by a number of factors in
launching entrepreneurial projects and ventures in the direction of additional tourist
offer. The results of the empirical research indicate that the biggest limiting factors in
undertaking entrepreneurial ventures and projects are the following:
slow and inadequate administrative service (average score 1.9)
lack of educational programs at the local and state level (average grade 2.3)
lack of marketing activities at the local and state level (average score 2.3)
non-incentive conditions for small business (average score 2.3)
unfavourable loans and high interest rates (average grade 2.7)
lack of information about incentive programs and poor flow of information (average
score 2.7).
Graph 4: Opinions of the respondents regarding the role of the Municipality
and/or tourist board in the initiative for the association of small winemakers into
microclusters and/or scattered hotels
Source: author research
In their efforts to expand their activities with the tourist offer, all respondents confirm
that they expect the help of the local self-government and/or Tourist board (see the Graph
4) such as:
1
2
7
3
2
2
2
5
7
7
8
7
8
1
5
4
7
6
5
1
They should be the main initiator of the association
and lead the project in the form of a public-private
partnership
providing financial incentives to private owners
(subsidies, soft loans, etc.)
organizing trainings and education for wineyards
owners
construction of additional infrastructure
(asphalting of roads, signalization ...)
The tourist board should be the main promoter,
link to the market and service for booking the
capacity of the scattered hotel
everything should be left to private initiative
1. I don't agree at all 2.I don't agree 3. neither agree nor disagree
4. I agree 5. I completely agree
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organizing various types of formal and non-formal education that is primarily focused
on marketing (work on social networks, independent advertising, etc.), the
application process for various types of funds funded and co-financed by the
European Union, state or regional and local government, as well as creating
innovative and creative tourism products and services;
construction or upgrading of the existing communal and tourist infrastructure
various types of start-up funding, financing and co-financing
marketing and communications with domestic and foreign tourism market.
In-field research of the wine-growing area, a conversation with the stakeholders in the
construction project of the tourist interpretation centre and the owners of the vineyards
indicate that the wine-growing area in Pitomača has the potential for the development of
an interesting and original wine tourism product. The main resources for the potential
development of wine tourism are: a large number of beautifully landscaped vineyards
with holiday homes and cellars that require very little investment to be able to register as
catering and tourism facilities located in a relatively small area (this fact is confirmed by
the fact that fourteen respondents have holiday homes connected to all the necessary
infrastructure, and a large number of them have additional facilities); long tradition of
winemaking associated with a rich heritage related to the culture of production and
consumption of wine and customs related to winemaking and other elements of
intangible heritage as well as the great interest of owners of small wineries to be included
in the tourist offer. As expected, numerous limitations that hinder the respondents in their
desire to be involved in the tourism market have been noticed through the empirical
research.
CONCLUSION AND CONTRIBUTION
Trends in the tourist demand market indicate the growing interest of tourists in oenology
and gastronomy as the main attractive factor in choosing tourist destinations. The number
of visits to rural, as yet undiscovered tourist destinations, building their market
recognition on the pronounced characteristics of the offer based on elements of intangible
cultural heritage, local culture of life and work and experiential elements that
complement the basic offer of wine and gastro tourism is also growing. However, due to
the fragmentation of the tourist offer of rural tourist destinations, in order for them to be
competitive in the wine tourism market, there is a need for integrated planning and
management of tourism development at the level of the entire destination and association
of stakeholders, in this case owners of small wineries. The research showed that the main
factors of success in the market were elements such as the need to supplement the basic
offer of small wineries with additional experience elements, gastronomic and
accommodation offer, promotion at a wider level and association for joint market
presence. The observed attitudes concur with the results of some authors who have dealt
with similar topics such as Razović (2015) in his research on wine tourism as a special
form of tourist offer in Dalmatia. Croatia is extremely rich in the diversity of wine
production and the specifics of its vineyards, which is a great comparative advantage for
the development of a recognizable wine and gastro tourism offer, but in many
destinations, especially the continental ones, these comparative advantages have not yet
been made into competitive ones. One of the reasons, as this paper points out, is the non-
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existent or still insufficiently developed approach to the integrated management of a
tourist destination and the incoherence of the holder of the tourist offer. The concept of
scattered hotels in rural areas is recognized as a successful model of association adorned
with the originality of the offer based on the specifics of local culture of life and work
(wine production, gastronomy, traditional crafts, art…) but as such it is still unknown to
most potential wine tourism providers. This paper can help to raise the awareness of
small winemakers, and even more so the awareness of the local community from which
they expect help, for the need of joint work and association to create an original and
interesting tourist offer of wine and gastro tourism and thus increase the number of tourist
arrivals and create a source of income for local winemakers. Although there are
vineyards with similar characteristics and similar problems in whole continental Croatia,
the limitations of this research are that it was conducted on a relatively small number of
respondents and only one small area was explored, so it is difficult to generalize the
conclusions. Nevertheless, it can serve as a starting point for future research on a larger
number of respondents in the observed area but also in neighbouring wine-growing areas
in Virovitica-Podravina and Koprivnica-Križevci counties which would additionally
examine their views on the possibilities and ways of associating into a certain
microcluster of wine tourism. Moreover, upon the completion of the tourist interpretation
centre in the vineyards, visitors should be examined from the very beginning in order to
learn their impressions and the potential of the observed area as a destination of wine
tourism, as well as their preferences and expectations in terms of oeno and gastro tourist
experience.
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Rikard Bakan, MB Econ., senior lecturer
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Department for tourism
M.Gupca 78, Virovitica, Croatia
+385 33 492 274
rikard.bakan@vuv.hr
Dejan Tubić, PhD, assistant professor
University of Applied Sciences in Virovitica
Department for tourism
M.Gupca 78, Virovitica, Croatia
+385 33 492 261
dejan.tubic@vuv.hr
Božidar Jaković, MB Econ., senior lecturer
University of Applied Sciences in Virovitica
Department for tourism
M.Gupca 78, Virovitica, Croatia
+385 33 492 263
ResearchGate has not been able to resolve any citations for this publication.
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