Regional Development of Rural Tourism: The Case of the Gorska Hrvatska Region

Nina Baković


An approach to sustainable tourism through clusters is considered an
appropriate strategy in less-developed rural areas of tourist-oriented countries,
such as Croatia. This paper clarifies the key challenges of the development of
tourism clusters in the region of Gorska Hrvatska and provides new data for an
approach to sustainable rural tourism development. Using available secondary
data from governmental bodies, non-governmental organizations, protected
areas of Gorska Hrvatska, and primary data of the Lika Destination Cluster,
the paper explores the key challenges of developing a cluster of tourism and
selective forms of tourism. Most tourism clusters in Croatia have remained
in the first phase of development for years, even though this approach has
failed to to achieve significant results. The key benefits of networking and
branding in rural areas are identified and defined, but these potentials are
still largely underutilized. The objective of this study is to provide practical
recommendations to the Croatian tourism industry on how to learn from the
suggested best practices and how to implement them effectively. For that
purpose, the case of sustainable tourism located in the Gorska Hrvatska region,
called the Lika Destination Cluster is analyzed.


rural tourism, Gorska Hrvatska, clusters, protected areas, competitiveness, Lika Destination Cluster

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