The very first meeting of the focus group for creating a new tourist route with the theme of the city's fortification heritage was held on Thursday, October 29th at the Juraj Šižgorić city library in Šibenik. The meeting was held as an activity within the project FORTITUDE – Historic Fortresses Intensifying Cross-Border Tourism Development, that's conducted by Fortress of Culture together with four partners from Montenegro (Herceg Novi and Bar), Bosnia and Herzegovina (Banja Luka), and Croatia (Karlovac).
Đurđa Vrljević Šarić, the project manager from Fortress of Culture, held the opening statement regarding the project. She emphasized the main goal of the project – strengthening and diversifying the cultural tourism offer in cross-border areas, as well as developing quality and more sustainable management of cultural goods.
This was the first of a total of three planned meetings of the focus group. The participants were local tourist guides and tourism agencies, all of whom will collaborate with Fortress of Culture on the creation of a new route.
At the meeting, the results of research conducted by tourist guides association Mihovil were presented. The participants were members and tourism agencies' owners and employees, and results showed how stakeholders in tourism sector had an interest in creating and developing a route emphasizing Šibenik's rich fortification heritage.
That was also confirmed by Josip Pavić, Fortress of Culture's historian. Pavić presented all of Šibenik's fortification heritage objects and underlined those less-known to the public but yet attractive and definitely worth introducing into the new tourist route of the city. For instance, several terrestrial and maritime remains, different sites inside the old city center which people pass by without even realizing their importance in the cultural heritage of the city.
Apart from a brand new tourist route that will be actively worked on, the FORTITUDE project will bring forth other contents – novel spatial solutions and contents inside St. Michael's fortress, including a permanent display with the theme of Šibenik's fortification heritage, and a multimedia interactive display dedicated to the construction of the open-air stage, as well as the city's musical heritage; the refurbishment of the City Point, Fortress Of Culture info center located in the middle of the city; the organization of Night of the Fortresses that has the goal of linking the fortresses in the cross-border area, promoting their significance in the development of cultural tourism in the program areas for visitors.
The FORTITUDE project (Historic Fortresses Intensifying Cross-Border Tourism Development) started on March 1st, 2020 and it will go on until February 28th, 2022. Public institution Fortress of Culture Šibenik is the project holder, together with the partners: the City of Karlovac, Herceg Novi county, Bar County, and the City of Banja Luka. The total value of the project comprises 1.618.438,72 Euros, 85% of which was co-funded from the Interreg IPA CBC Croatia – Bosnia and Herzegovina – Montenegro 2014-2020 program.