Kvarner newsletter / no 29

Rijeka Tourist Board
Town of Rijeka – winner of the Golden Tourist Heart award

Being one of the main organisers of the popular Rijeka Carnival, the Rijeka Tourist Board last April won the prestigious Golden Tourist Heart award, which for the last 18 years has been awarded by Sacen International – the International Centre for Tourism and Hospitality Development.

For 18 years in a row, the Sacen International centre for hospitality and tourism development has been awarding the most successful tourism resorts in South Eastern Europe. This year, they awarded the town of Rijeka for the successful organisation of the best event in the region – the Rijeka Carnival.
The competition for this award was quite strong – candidates were various events and towns from 15 countries. However, the popularity, the image, and the quality of the Rijeka Carnival seem to remain unmatched. In charge of the selection were the members of the expert jury of the Sacen International tourism patrol, who visited many towns across Southeastern Europe – in Turkey, Bulgaria, Romania, Macedonia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Montenegro, Slovenia, Austria, Albania, Cyprus, Tunis, Malta, Greece and Croatia.
The awards were handed out at the 51st Sacen Tourism and Hospitality Festival. On behalf of the town and the Carnival, the award was received by Mr Petar Škarpa, director of the Rijeka Tourist Board.
This was also an additional opportunity to further promote the Rijeka Carnival.
Carnival events in Rijeka are a specific mixture of European carnival traditions, mainly those from Venice and Austria, and the elements of Old Slavic folklore and mythology. This is an international carnival with numerous masks, carnival groups, visitors, media and special guests from Croatia and abroad.
The first carnival under its present name, the Rijeka Carnival, was held in 1982. After that, the number of participants and visitor was increasing every year, which resulted in full membership in the Federation of European Carnival Cities (FECC) in 1995. With approximately hundred carnival groups and ca. 100,000 spectators, the Rijeka Carnival is today one of the largest carnivals in Europe.