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

Nina Baković 1
  • 1 Sveučilište u Zagrebu, Agronomski fakultet Zagreb, , Croatia


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.

If the inline PDF is not rendering correctly, you can download the PDF file here.

  • Andersson, T., Carlsen, J., and Getz, D. 2002. Family business goals in the tourism and hospitality sector: Case studies and cross-case analysis from Australia, Canada, and Sweden. Family Business Review, 15(2), 89-106.

  • Aznar-Sánchez, J., Á., and Galdeano Gómez, E. 2011. Territory, cluster and competitiveness of the intensive horticulture in Almería (Spain). The Open Geography Journal, 4, 103-114.

  • Babalola, A., Bennis, K., Caltigirone, M., Manjarrez, J. L., and Tanizawa, A. 2011. Tourism Cluster in Italy. Microeconomic of Competitiveness Final Report, Retrived: 20.01.2020 from

  • Braun, P. 2005. Creating value to tourism products through tourism networks and clusters: uncovering destination value chains. Proceedings of the OECD-Korea international tourism conference Global tourism growth: a challenge for SMEs.

  • Capone, F. 2016. (Ed.) Tourist Clusters, Destinations and Competitiveness: Theoretical issues and empirical evidence, London and New York: Routledge Taylor and Francis Group.

  • Demonja, D., Ružić, P. 2011. Rural Tourism in Croatia with Croatian: Case Studies of Good Practice and European Experiences, Meridians.

  • Demonja, D. 2012. Croatian congresses on rural tourism: experiences and guidelines. Journal of Central European Agriculture, 12(4): 660-672.

  • Đurašević, S. 2009. Klasteri kao osnova regionalnog razvoja u turizmu. Montenegrin Journal of Economics, Fakultet za turizam u Baru. Univerzitet ‘’Mediteran’’Podgorica, Crna Gora, 9, 101-109.

  • Ferreira, J., and Estevao, C. 2009. Regional competitiveness of a tourism cluster: A conceptual model proposal. MPRA paper (14853), 1-20.

  • Fundeanu, D. D. 2015. Innovative regional cluster, model of tourism development. Procedia Economics and Finance, 23, 744-749.

  • Geić, S., Ćorluka, G., and Geić, J. 2014. Južno Jadranski Multiregionalni turistički klaster kao vrhunski svjetski srend. Zbornik radova Veleučilišta u Šibeniku, (3-4), 49-74.

  • Gomezelj Omerzel, D., and Bratkovič Kregar, T. 2016. Networking in the tourism industry: the case of three neighbouring Mediterranean tourism destinations. NAŠE MORE: znanstveno-stručni časopis za more i pomorstvo, 63(2), 66-72.

  • Hall, C.M., Mitchel, M. and Sharples, L. 2003. Consuming Places: The Role of Food, Wine and Tourism in Regional Development, in Hall, C.M, Sharples, L., Mitchell, R., Macionis, N. and Cambourne, B. (Eds.) Food Tourism Around the World: Development, management and markets. Oxford: Butterworth-Heinemann, 25-59.

  • Hall, C. M. 2005. Rural Wine and Food Tourism Cluster and Network Development, in Hall, D., Kirkpatrick, I. and Mitchell, M. (Eds.) Rural Tourism and Sustainable Business, Clevedon: Channel View Publications, 149-164. Institut za turizam. 2019. Retrieved from:

  • Látková, P., and Vogt, C. A. 2012. Residents’ attitudes toward existing and future tourism development in rural communities. Journal of Travel Research, 51(1), 50-67.

  • Kesar, O. 2007. Special interest tourism as a catalyst for sustainable destination development. Turizam i sport-razvojni aspekti. Školska knjiga.

  • KlasterLika Destiantion. 2019.

  • Lončarić, B., Bolfek, B., and Stanić, M. 2014.Uloga turističkih zajednica u procesu stvaranja preduvjeta za konstituiranje regionalne turističke organizacije u Slavoniji. OeconomiJadertina, 4(1), 27-39.

  • Nordin, S. 2003. Tourism clustering and innovation—Paths to economic growth and development. European tourism Research Institute, Mid-Sweden University.

  • Novelli, M., Schmitz, B., and Spencer, T. 2006. Networks, clusters and innovation in tourism: A UK experience. Tourism Management, 27(6), 1141-1152.

  • Mirčetić, V., Vukotic, S., and Cvijanović, D. 2019. The concept of business clusters and its impact on tourism business improvement. Economics of Agriculture, 66(3), 851-868.

  • Morić, I. 2013. Clusters as a factor of rural tourism competitiveness: Montenegro experiences. Business Systems Research, 4(2), 94-107.

  • Morić, I. 2013. Uloga i izazovi razvoja ruralnog turizma u tranziciji Zemlje: Iskustva Crne Gore, Turizam, 17(2), 84-95.

  • Ministarstvo turizma. Održivi razvoj. 2019.

  • Pavlović, S., Čavlin, G. 2014. Konkurentnost turističkih destinacija u klasteru ruralnog turizma-Zlatar, Zlatibor. Ekonomika poljoprivrede, 61(3), 603-614.

  • Partalidou, M., Koutsou, S. 2012. Locally and socially embedded tourism clusters in rural Greece. Tourismos: An International Multidisciplinary Journal of Tourism, 7(1), 99-116.

  • Pejic-Bach, M. 2003. Surviving in an environment of financial indiscipline: A case study from a transition country. System Dynamics Review, 19(1), 47-74.

  • Petrevska, B., and Dimitrov, N. V. 2013. Planning rural tourism development in Macedonia. Journal of Process Management. New Technologies, 1(3), 62-67.

  • Porter, M.E. 1990. The Competitive Advantage of Nations. New York: Macmillan.

  • Porter, M.E. 1998. Klasteri i nova ekonomija konkurencije, Harvard Business Review. New York, pp. 77-78.

  • Porter, M. E. 2007. Clusters and Economic Policy: Aligning Public Policy with the New Economics of Competition. Harvard Business School, Institute for Strategy and Competitiveness, ISC White Paper XI.

  • Program ruralnog razvoja 2020.

  • Rosenfeld, S. A. 2002. Creating Smart Systems: A guide to cluster strategies in less favoured regions. Regional Technology Strategies, Carrboro, North Carolina.

  • Ružić, P. 2009. Ruralni turizam. Poreč: Institut za poljoprivredu i turizam.

  • Sharpley, R. 2002. Rural tourism and the challenge of tourism diversification: the case of Cyprus. Tourism management, 23(3), 233-244.

  • Staszewska, J. 2009. Klaster perspektywą dla przedsiebiorcow na polskim rynku turystycznym. Warszawa: Centrum Doradztwa i Informacji Difin Sp. z o.o.

  • Strategija razvoja turizma 2020

  • Szekely, V. (2010). Tourism clusters as a tool for the improvement of rural competitiveness: first experience from Slovakia, in: A. Fieldsend (Ed.), Rural Areas and Development, 7-Linking Competitiveness with Equity and Sustainability: New Ideas for Socio-Economic Development of Rural Areas, Warsaw (European Rural Development Network), 109-120.

  • Tijanić, L. 2009. “Politika Europske unije u formiranju klastera.” Economic research-Ekonomska istraživanja, 22(1), 149-167.

  • Tonković, Ž. 2018. Koga (p)održava održivi razvoj? Prinosi promišljanju održivosti ruralnih područja u Hrvatskoj (Anita Bušljeta Tonković, Željko Holjevac, Ivan Brlić i Nikola Šimunić). Socijalna ekologija: časopis za ekološku misao i sociologijska istraživanja okoline, 27(1), 100-102.

  • Tong, A., Sainsbury P., Craig J., 2007. Consolidated criteria for reporting qualitative research (COREQ): A 32-item checklist for interviews and focus groups. International journal for quality in health care 19(6), 349-357.

  • Weiermair, K., and Steinhauser, C. 2003. New tourism clusters in the field of sports and health: The case of Alpine wellness. 12th International Tourism and Leisure Symposium, Barcelona, 15-18.

  • Williams, A. M., and Hall, C. M. 2002. Tourism, migration, circulation and mobility. Tourism and migration (1-52). Springer, Dordrecht, 1-52.


Journal + Issues