Dozens of projects, hundreds of partners involved, nine cross-border regions thinking together about their future. A review of the Cross-border Cooperation Programme between Croatia and Serbia
Cohesion policy is the main investment policy of the European Union which benefits all regions and cities in the EU by supporting economic growth, job creation, business competitiveness, sustainable development, and environmental protection. It aims to reduce the gap between the different regions and fill the gap of the disadvantaged ones, promoting a more balanced and sustainable territorial development with the help of hundreds of thousands of projects financed by various European funds.
One of these projects is the “Interreg – IPA CBC ” Programme, which covers 9 regions close to the border between Croatia and Serbia, an area of over 25,505 km² where about 2.3 million people live. Operating on 4 priority axes including environment, public healthcare, tourism, and entrepreneurship, the plan has implemented dozens of projects thanks to the participation of 126 partners and the disbursement of a total amount of 38 million Euros by European funds ERDF and IPA II. Now let's see in more detail the most important initiatives implemented in these two fields: the strengthening and diversification of the cross-border tourism offer and the management of cultural and natural heritage assets.
Cross-border destinations, despite having great potential, are not fully aware of the importance of gastronomy for the development of tourism and local, regional, and national economies.
The partners of the “Pannonia Gourmet ” gastronomic tour, on the other hand, created the "EatPannonia" brand, a tourism product that connects the suppliers of products and services of the cross-border region in a single partnership. They organise a series of activities related to food and tourism: visits to producers, food festivals, agricultural markets, cooking sessions and demonstrations as well as tastings of quality food products.
They then present authentic dishes and recipes of the area and make them known through the two gastronomic centres of Vrdnik (Serbia) and Vinkovci (Croatia) to promote the region's gastronomy and improve the gastronomic experience in Croatia and in the Serbian border region. The project also aims at increasing training and has created the “Gourmet Academy” programme in order to provide thematic knowledge directly in the field to all interested parties.
"Wild Danube Tour"
Starting from the rich natural heritage and biodiversity of the Middle Danube region, the “Wild Danube Tour ” offers new programmes on wildlife and ecotourism for those arriving in the regions near the border between Croatia and Serbia.
Project partners created a sustainable model of natural site management, focusing on education, marketing, quality management, and new infrastructure (including watchtowers and photo hiding places), while promoting the protection and conservation of natural sites themselves. In particular, there has been a shift towards new facilities for wildlife, photography, and ecotourism as well as the education of guides specialised in photography and wildlife observation, and the setting up of a multimedia centre in Bilje, Croatia.
The “FILMharmonia” project intends to remedy the area's lack of innovative cultural products and the specialist skills necessary to develop them, while increasing the number of high-quality artistic performances. Partners from Zagreb and Novi Sad work together, combining silent film screenings and live orchestral performances, thus integrating the cinematographic and musical arts and bringing the local community closer to new artistic experiences. The programme also provides training courses for the cultural and tourist actors of the area, thus creating new opportunities for the long-term development of cultural tourism in the border area.
S.O.S. tackles the unique legacy of the artistic period of the Secession in the cities of Osijek (Croatia) and Subotica (Serbia), promoting the common cultural heritage shared by the two cities. For this reason, new thematic itineraries have been created oriented towards the architecture of the artistic period developed between the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century, and the reconstruction of the Subotica town hall as an important building of the same period is planned as well as the revitalisation of the “Sakuntala” secessionist park in Osijek, dating back to the 19th century.
The “VISITUS” project, while recognising the rich tourism potential of the cross-border region, points out that its tourism offer is not suitable for people with visual impairments and blindness, who are effectively excluded from the enjoyment of the natural and cultural heritage. Through a combination of modern solutions and ICT technologies, the purpose of this project is therefore to include people with visual impairments and blindness in a new concept of tourism, creating the conditions for tourism accessible to all social groups.
Consequently, the initiative has developed tourist routes, action plans, and training courses for the inclusion of associations of people with visual impairments and blindness and carries out tourism planning and the development of promotional materials in Braille code.
The “HORIS” project enriches and diversifies the tourist offer of the cross-border area starting from the rich tradition and equestrian cultural heritage of the border regions. Inspired by the centuries-old coexistence of humans and horses over time in this part of Croatia and Serbia, it has developed tailor-made activities so that the cultural and natural heritage of the area can be rediscovered or made known to new visitors.
The project calls for the construction of a racecourse, together with the accompanying infrastructures necessary for horse riding, and aims at collaboration between tour operators, the local community, and farmers in order to integrate the tourist offer in these border regions.
This content is published in the context of the "Work4Future" project co-financed by the European Union (EU). The EU is in no way responsible for the information or views expressed within the framework of the project. The responsibility for the contents lies solely with OBC Transeuropa. Go to the "Work4Future"
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