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Sveti Martin na Muri wins contest for European destinations of excellence award


According to Ministry of Tourism of Republic of Croatia, the Croatian town of Sveti Martin na Muri (Medjimurje County) is the winner of a national contest for Europe’s tourist destinations of excellence.

Awards of the European contest for best tourist destinations was presented couple days ago at a ceremony in Portugal as part of the 6th European Tourism Forum.

Apart from Sveti Martin na Muri, nine other winners from European countries were presented and all ten destinations were awarded the title of European destination of excellence for 2006 in the category of new rural destinations.

The project “European Destinations of Excellence” (EDEN), with a sub-theme entitled “Best new rural destinations”, was launched by the European Commission in 2006. The winners will be provided with access to a specially designated area for successful destinations on the Europe travel portal http://www.visiteurope.com .

About Sveti Martin na Muri, as presented by European Destinations of Excellence:

Croatia: Sveti Martin na Muri
2525 hectares in size and with a population of 3154, the district of Sveti Martin na Muri is located in the northernmost point of the Republic of Croatia, close to the tri-border with Slovenia and Hungary, where the River Mura enters the territory of Croatia.

The District of Sveti Martin na Muri was the first local community in Croatia to adopt a document entitled “Strategy of development in rural tourism of the District of Sveti Martin na Muri.” From that moment, the community has been implementing everything specified in this document in small but steadily progressive steps.

The main aim was to establish sustainable economic development based on preserved natural heritage. Implementation of the strategy provided a fresh impetus to the local community, particularly through the introduction of sustainable tourism as the most important economic activity. Such an approach aided the improvement and diversification of tourist services on offer, not only in Sveti Martin na Muri but in the whole region of Medimurje, and even throughout continental Croatia.

Serious developments in tourism began in 2005 when, through the utilisation of a thermal spring of medicinal water in the immediate vicinity of Sveti Martin na Muri, the Sveti Martin Spa was built; it is the largest and one of the most beautiful spas in Croatia. In addition to tourist attractions this development also enjoys the support of a good quality communal

The Sveti Martin na Muri destination has been profiled as a rural as well as a spa destination and forms part of the sales programmes of all major tourist agencies in Croatia. ( http://www.tz-sv-martin.hr/ )

The tourist services offered by Sveti Martin na Muri are as follows:

  • Attractions and entertainment: deer farm owned by the Dvanajšcak family; two ferries on the River Mura; educational ecological trail along the Mura, the northernmost point of Croatia. Exhibition of indigenous types of fruit in Medimurje; Tourism Days in Sveti Marin
  • tourist and entertainment events involving a procession of traditional trades and crafts and other events which last for four weekends; International ecological volunteer youth camp; Day of milling – an ecological and ethnological manifestation; International Mura boat race – a marathon of traditional boats from four neighbouring countries; Visual arts colony; traditional religious pilgrimage from Sveti Martin to Kapelšcak; programmes prepared by the Sveti Martin na Muri Cultural and Artistic Club and the Grlice [doves] choir.
  • Cultural and traditional elements: the church of Sveti Martin na Muri – a Zero Category monument – chapel of St Margeta; numerous pillars and statues in wall niche chapels; navigable river mill; old vineyard huts; the old traditional family house of Šilec; theTrstenjak family ethnographic collection; collection of agricultural tools and implements in the Potrti kotac Restaurant; protected landscape of the River Mura; Helicanum archaeological locality; the Sveti Martin na Muri local historical collection.
  • Catering supply: the wine road, with some 30 wine houses, ranks as one of the best quality of its type in Croatia; the Jastreb wine hut; Monika coffee house; Goricanec rural tourism; “Martinje”: celebration of wine and gastronomy; the Vincek campaign: wine competition in January; Days of Medimurje Cuisine.
  • Accommodation facilities: “Regina” studio apartments in the Sveti Martin Spa (392 beds); Goricanec rural tourism (36 beds); Monika Rooms (20 beds); rooms in Potrti kotac (12 beds).
  • Sports and recreation facilities: Four large football pitches; 3 pitches for five-a-side football; asphalt courts for basketball, volley ball and handball; within the Sveti Martin spa there are four tennis courts, a five-a-side football pitch, courts for basketball, beach volley ball, cycling tracks; rafting on the River Mura; trim trail through the woods (4 km); riding terrain; outdoor and indoor swimming pools; fishing grounds on the River Mura, with two fishermen’s lodges; hunting lodge within hunting grounds for small game and sports events such as: International Pannonian Cycling Marathon through three countries (Croatia, Hungary, Slovenia) in July; International Marathon of Mura boats, from Murek in Austria to Sveti Martin na Muri (participants from Austria, Croatia, Hungary and Slovenia) in June; International Equestrian Tournament, in August; Traditional five-a-side football tournament, in July; Sveti Martin Car Rally, in April; four inter-county sports fishing tournaments throughout the year.

The crucial influence that sustainable tourism is having on the development of this environment is best seen from the following:

  1. ECONOMIC – 60 people directly employed in tourism in Sveti Martin na Muri, which amounts to 50% of all people employed and is a 30% increase in relation to 2005. To date, 20 million € have been invested in the capital project of the Sveti Martin Spa, with the majority of work being carried out by local building firms; the price of real estate has risen by 150% in comparison to 2005.
  2. SOCIAL – the sensitivity and education of the population has grown noticeably, particularly with regard to the preservation of traditional heritage, ecology, high quality of catering services, rise in overall quality of life.
  3. DEMOGRAPHIC – Until 1991 Sveti Marin na Muri had a negative demographic picture. The 2001 Census shows a population growth of 2.75%.
  4. ECOLOGICAL – this was the first local community in Croatia to adopt the Programmes of sustainable development in rural areas; standards of environmental protection are observed at a very high level: organized collection and sorting of refuse, all unauthorized rubbish dumps have been cleared and land reclaimed; during the construction of the spa traditional building styles were observed and natural materials were used; a detailed urban development plan has been produced; catering establishments offer traditional dishes and wines with an emphasis on local suppliers.
  5. CULTURAL – cultural identity has been preserved at a very high level and a great deal of attention is paid to the restoration and preservation of monumental and traditional heritage, which plays an important role in the tourist services on offer.

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