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The project ‘Historical Gardens of the Dubrovnik Area’ is a three-year project launched on 1 December 2018. It was applied for and accepted in a restricted grant procedure for the PROMOTION OF SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT OF NATURAL HERITAGE and co-financed by the Operational Program ‘Competitiveness and Cohesion’ for the period 2014-2020 of the European Regional Development Fund.

The beneficiary of this project is the Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts with project partners: the Public Institution Lokrum Reserve, the Tourist Board of the City of Dubrovnik and the Dubrovnik ART Association without Borders.

At the level of all partners, the project is worth a total of HRK 18,289,422.37, with approved grants in the amount of HRK 10,932,344.70, which is 70 percent of the total eligible costs, which amount to HRK 15,665,291.44.

The purpose of the project is the sustainable use of natural heritage and the management of protected areas through the interpretation and presentation of protected natural heritage, with the long-term goal of contributing to sustainable socio-economic development at the local and regional level.

A special forest vegetation reserve Lokrum Reserve and Trsteno Arboretum of the Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts are located in the area of the City of Dubrovnik, which is attractive to tourists and records a continuous growth with an increase in the total number of visitors to both locations. Only 0.9% of the total number of visitors can be considered participants in educational content and products. Both institutions that manage this protected natural heritage have professional staff and natural basis for creating a unique interpretation of natural heritage and raising visitors’ awareness of the importance of environmental protection and natural heritage.

This project connects the Lokrum Reserve with the Trsteno Arboretum in a new tourist product called the Historical Gardens of the Dubrovnik Area, invests in the renovation of the Pojate building at the Trsteno Arboretum which will house the Centre for Education and Multimedia Presentation, procures a tourist boat for passenger transport between two sites, establishes a thematic-educational trail in the historic olive grove of the Trsteno Arboretum and interpretation points on the island of Lokrum, introduces an advanced system for monitoring environmental components on Lokrum and launches Internet of Things platforms, installs smart tanks for separate waste collection and pressing on the island of Lokrum, organizes workshops on traditional olive and grape growing and the use of medicinal and aromatic plants for the local population and implements education programs for six target groups at both locations by holding ecological-recreational workshops and events for the local population, thus seeking to integrate both locations into the life of the local community, as places of socializing, learning and relaxation.

The project also includes the development of marketing and communication strategy and the development of a branding plan for a new tourist destination, the development of the main project for the construction of cable sewerage and optical network on the island of Lokrum, monitoring the movement of visitors with the aim of efficient use and management of protected areas and designing and prototyping souvenirs for both protected parts of nature. The project contributes to creating new experiences for visitors and raising their awareness of the need and importance of biodiversity conservation and nature protection, and using modern technologies of interpretation and monitoring of environmental components enables cooperation with domestic and foreign scientific institutions and additionally responds to the contemporary demands of visitors for new experiences of natural heritage.