Good practice destination Nin (HR)

Contributor Sabrina Vecchio Ruggeri
Country Croatia,
  • Attraction protection
  • Destination management organization
  • Destinations-in-Europe
  • Europe
  • Public participation
Release date 24/06/2014
  • Destination Management
  • Natural Heritage & Biodiversity
GSTC Criteria for Destinations
  • B3 Supporting local entrepreneurs and fair trade
  • A2 Destination management strategy and action plan
  • C1 Protection of cultural assets
Type Best Practice Destination (Best Practice Destination)
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Good Practice Innovation Sheet
Articoli Descrizione
1. WHO
Key people and organisations (initiator, leader, partners)  Tourist board of the city of Nin, Trg brace Radic 3, 23232 Nin, Croatia
Key Figures Surface Inhabitants Tourism arrivals Tourism nights
 54,29 km2  2,752  114,652  977,845
2. WHY
Reason for taking the good practice action  After receiving the EDEN Award, the Tourist Board of the City of Nin established a clear vision of the Eco-park Lagoon of Nin. Development based on a recognizable cultural and natural heritage and environment preserving manner.
Nin is located in a lagoon on the eastern part of the Adriatic sea, surrounded by natural sandy beaches and linked with the mainland by two stone bridges (16th century). The heart of Nin is its historical centre on an islet that is 500 m in
diameter and approximately covers 15 hectares surface area. The present-day city core of the town on the islet developed 3000 years ago and belongs to the older towns on the Mediterranean. The municipality takes a great deal of pride in conserving the historical city core. By sea and from the sea, Nin has lived forever. Nin is recognizable as a Prehistorical and Liburnian centre on the Adriatic coast and as a Roman municipality in the past.
Nin is the oldest Croatian royal town and is the cradle of the Croatian state so called “The Croatian Bethlehem.” Nin contains numerous archaeological sites dating from the Prehistoric, Roman, early Christianity and Middle Ages periods.
The city of Nin contains the smallest cathedral in the world Holy Cross Church and the treasury of gold and silver of Nin where one of Judas’s 16 registered silver coins is kept that is known in Europe. At the Museum of Nin Antiquities you can see the original old Croatian ships from the 11th century. For 500 years Nin has cherished our intangible traditional heritage of the apparition of our Lady of Zečevo (Mother Marie), with an annual traditional transfer of the statue of Our Lady by boat to the island of Zečevo in the lagoon of Nin where the apparition took place. Nin also has an exclusive gastronomic specialty Ninski Šokol (Sokol of Nin) which is produced by traditional skill and secret recipe that is passed down through family lineage. Natural wealth that Nin possesses is:
salt, medicinal mud and natural sandy beaches. To the east of the city core in the lagoon lie the salt pans and to the west is the mud fields (estimated reserve is approx. 120 m3) that have been used for rehabilitations for 44 years and sandy beaches that encompasses the old town. The sandy beaches surrounding Nin are 8 km long and are situated in the middle of a Natura 2000 Habitat which contains: 5 endemic, 4 critically endangered 1 endangered and 5sensitive plant (registered in 2010). In 2010 biologists registered over 200 species of birds and endangered bird species whose numbers in Croatia and Europe are declining, especially the Stilt (Himantopus himantopus) and Marine Plover. In April and May you can see the rare and endemic plants in bloom, and also the juvenile Stilts because they nest at the salt pans in Nin. This knowledge of the rare plant and bird species that live in the lagoon has driven the Tourist Board to organize numerous educational workshops. The oldest economic activity in Nin is salt harvesting in a traditional manner
using sunlight and wind. This method of producing salt comes from Roman times. The salt producing enterprise in Nin is called Solana Nin (Salt Pans Nin). Nin, because of a rich cultural history and a unique and beautiful natural landscape
was in 2010 given the EDEN award for aquatic tourism. After Nin won the EDEN award, the population and enterprises in Nin received a kind of enlightenment and started to become ecologically, economically and environmentally aware of
Nin’s wealth. Educational work-shops held by Croatian biologist Goran Šafarek educated the population of Nin on the Natura 2000 Habitat and the animal and plant diversities that live within the lagoon of Nin. This was extremely beneficial
to Nin because the residential population of Nin was given a sense that they live in a unique environment and that they had to cherish and preserve this habitat, plant and animal diversity that live alongside them. If the population of Nin did
not respect their own surroundings we couldn’t expect anyone else too either. This sense of ecological responsibility started to spread like wildfire in Nin. Every year there are 2 days were residents of Nin go into action to help clean their surroundings. One day is called “The big green clean,” where people walk around the lagoon and pick up any garbage or other items that shouldn’t be in the environment, people also go scuba diving in the harbour of Nin and clean any bottles, cans or other garbage that might be there and haul it out by row boat and brought to shore to be disposed. The other day is called “Action Beach Cleaning, “ where people of Nin help clean the beach, plant flowers around the city, plant new trees for shade at the beach and rack the sand to clean any branches and leaves. This is particularly important because Nin is a summer destination and our beaches, nature and clean sea water is our greatest strength and attraction for tourist who come to Nin. Nin has started developing active tourism within the lagoons coastal space. Marked by about 110 km of cycling paths, attractive nearby donkey farm, to which you can go cycling, organized sightseeing and as well as tasting healthy donkey milk. The Lagoon, thanks to favorable winds is an ideal place for windsurfing and kiting surfing.
Since 2010, the Tourist Board has supported the surfing and kite surfing school that is situated in the lagoon. Based on the many awards that Nin received, development is focused on sustainable forms of tourism with water that respects the tradition of the well preserved area. Nin has started a process of creating innovative projects to further enhance the life of its citizens and the overall experiences that tourists have in Nin. The main project is called Eko-park Ninska Laguna (Eco-park Lagoon of Nin), which contains many sub-projects that are connected with it. The purpose of this project is to allow tourists to experience the soul of Nin: cultural heritage, Natura 2000 Habitat which includes the: mud fields, sandy beaches, rare and endangered plant species and the flora and fauna that peacefully live there due to low traffic in the lagoon, and the rich history of salt in Nin.
Issues and challenge  The lagoon landscape is the main focus of the Eco-park Lagoon of Nin and the creation of a sustainable and diverse tourism offer that will leave the smallest human footprint on the surrounding environment. The main issue and challenge of this Eco-park is to try and find a balance between creating a diverse tourism offer, creating new employment in Nin and
all this with producing the least amount of adverse effects on the surrounding environment. Since many birds use Nin’s natural habitat as a breeding ground and many fish use it as a spawning ground, drastic efforts must be used to avoid disturbing the balance of life within the lagoon. Other problems and challenges in creating the trails are the conditions and elements in overcoming accessibility in the wetlands. Due to the reduced concentration of financial resources, small but extremely valuable steps are taken to advance the project. The problem with the formation of sludge in the lagoon and large sand piles which fill the entrance to the harbour due to natural conditions: strong currents and winds. Here many sustainable activities are used to maintain the natural habitat.
3. HOW
Methods /steps / tools used (to develop the good practice)  The main mission is the further development of Eco-park Lagoon of Nin, a project containing 3 aspects: cultural heritage, Natura 2000 Habitat (medicinal mud, bird-watching, plant diversity and sandy beaches) and Nin’s rich history of salt production. Since Nin’s cultural heritage has been with Nin throughout history and is already well developed with museums, monument, churches, old city walls and old city customs and beliefs, Nin decided to focus on creating and
promoting its natural heritage, Natura 2000 habitat and salt production.
Therefore at the location of Queens beach a 5 km wooden trail was planned to be constructed to allow locals and guests to walk through the unique habitat. Wooden walking trials and wooden bridges will be used, for timber has very little adverse effects on the environment and is better than concrete or metal trails. The trails also have to be elevated for it passes through the wetlands of Nin and again wooden structures are ideal because of the ease and weight saving that these constructions provide, without giving up much on strength. Currently the trails are a work in progress status, with 500 m of the trail completed.
Since Nin is a small destination, gathering funds for the trail needs more effort The Tourism Ministry of Croatia nominated Nin for this innovative project and in September 2013, Nin won the CBTours award in Croatia for innovative
tourism for the project Eco-park Lagoon of Nin and for this walking trail on Queens Beach, which will allow easier access to the mud-fields and beach for individuals with disabilities, families with small children, tourists and locals.
Funds received for the project is worth 130,000.00 Kuna (approx. 17,000.00 Euros). This prize money will be used to further lengthen the trail by 500 m giving more access for tourists interested in bird-watching and plant observation along the Natura 2000 Habitat. This trail at Queens beach is moving at a steady and firm pace but the other aspect of the project has blossomed superbly and flourished. The tourist board helped advise, promote and develop tourism offer of Solana Nin. Solana Nin (salt pans Nin) offers: traditional production of salt, walking tours around the salt fields and the museum of salt. In 2011, park Solana Nin was started. This project in its primary phase included a museum, a walking trail around the salt pans to see how salt is made and a covered picnic area for guests to use during their walks around the park and festivals that are held at the salt pans. A trail used for bird-watching since 2010 was also renovated because many bird species (over 200 species) use the salt pans as a breeding ground or as a stop-over in their long migration; south during fall and north during spring. The tourist boards in partnership with Solana Nin since 2010 have organized the annual European bird-watching day, held on October the 2nd every year at the salt pans. Numerous educational signs have been erected around the trails at the salt pans and around the trail at Queens beach to inform visitors about the species of birds, plants and fish that call Nin their home. In cooperation with public institutions for management of protected natural areas of the Zadar region, a booklet was made in Croatian and English titled Guide to Birdwatching: Localities Pag mud and surroundings of Nin. Bird-watching guide: Wetlands of the Island of Pag and the Nin area. At the end of the salt harvest season in late August early September, a festival is held called Festival of Salt. During this festival people in attendance are taught by the staff of the salt pans how to harvest salt in the fields and how to distinguish different types of salt. This part of the festival is very educationstands that are set up around the salt pans where guests can buy different types of salt and different types of scented salts used for baths and relaxation.
A cooking contest is held and the only salt that participants can use is of course, the flower of salt harvested in Nin. All participants are given a prize and the food prepared is shared and given to the audience that came to partake in the
There is also another festival called ˝Festival of Sun and Light, ˝ which is celebrated in Nin on the first day of summer when the sun is highest in the sky. This also represents the peak of the salt production season. During the festival,
elementary and kindergarten school children attend workshops where they learn the value and the process of producing different types of salt, one of which is ˝fleur de sel˝ flower of salt. The children also learn the rich history of salt production in Nin. This festival is education oriented. Ever since Eco-park Lagoon of Nin was started, more and more tourists enter the museum of antiquities in Nin. For this reason in 2012, at the location of the 1st century Roman temple remains, a pillar 12m tall was erected to show how important Nin (Aenona) was to Rome. This temple was the biggest Roman temple on the East coast of the Adriatic. This was because, Nin was one of Rome’s biggest salt producing locations and this gave Nin tremendous wealth in that time. Archaeologists state that salt was gold and the temple was used as a bank for Rome in this part of the Adriatic. It is well known that salt was at times used to pay soldiers and the term salary comes from the Latin word solarium argentum. The salt park Nin received much praise, so Nin built on its salt producing history. A public washroom was renovated at the salt pans for tourists to use as the visited the salt fields and a new eco-washroom was made that was strategically positioned besides the building of the Tourist Board. The reason why the washroom was positioned here was because the main parking lot and bus stop is beside the Tourist Board where bus excursions drop-off their passengers and it is at the tourist board where most tourists gather their first information about Nin and the salt pans. In October 2013, the Tourist Board helped finance a new covered bus waiting area that tourists and local population use to catch the bus that connects Nin to Zadar and the small villages and towns around Nin. The waiting area has an educational role since the side panels have pictures of birds that live in the Eco-park Lagoon of Nin Ever since the Eco-park Lagoon of Nin was started, Nin has been getting more and more tourists from foreign countries. As the drop-off for excursions is at the tourist board and since this is the first place they enter, the tourist board has expanded information materials in many more languages. Before Nin received the EDEN award and the salt museum opened there was information in 10 languages. Now the tourist board is very proud to offer information materials on Nin in all EU languages and a few Asian languages (Chinese and Japanese).
We will be so bold to say that we believe that this might be the only tourist information centre that has all EU language materials within its walls. The Tourist Board of Nin has also started a project called ˝Archaeological Route
of Roman Aqueduct.˝ On this route there are: old Roman roads and highways, mosaics, ruins and an aqueduct that supplied Nin with fresh water. Other sites that would be part of the route are: the Roman temple in Nin, the museum of
antiquities that contains many Roman artefacts and the salt pans where the remains of a rock barrier and doorway that was used to allow seawater to enter into the salt pans to produce salt. The route would be approx. 10 km long,
stretching from Queens beach to the salt pans and beyond to the spring where the aqueduct received its source of fresh water for Nin.
Specific/measurable results, benefits  - because of the interesting elements of the salt pans of Nin, several agencies from Croatia offered the program of coming to salt pans and walking through these paths.
- easier mud field accessibility
- increased visibility of the destination
- enlightening the local population on Nin’s economic, environmental and ecological
(plant and animal diversification) wealth
- educating local youth and tourist on the process of producing different types of salt and the significance of salt in Nin’s past
- continuous increase in number of tourists and nights spent in the destination of Nin
Year Arrivals
2010. 2.769
2011. 4.241
2012. 5.451
Recognitions (e.g. awards)

- EDEN award – European Destinations of Excellence – European Commission
- Acknowledgment to the town of Nin for the most beautifully arranged town in the category of up to 3000 inhabitants - Zadar County Tourist Board and Zadarski list (daily local newspaper)
- Silver Blue Flower (Plavi cvijet) award in the category of up to 3000 inhabitants - Croatian National Tourist Board
- Bronze Charter Sunflower of the Rural Tourism of Croatia (“SUNCOKRET RURALNOG TURIZMA HRVATSKE”) for the project Ninska šokolijada – Hrvatski farmer d.d. Zagreb
- Annual Award to the Tourist board of Nin - Zadar County
- Golden medal certificate for the flower salt to the Salt Park Nin – Inventors Association of the Zadar County
- Award Prix Souvenir 2011 for the flower salt to the Salt Park Nin Inventors Association of the Zadar County
- Acknowledgment for the most beautifully arranged town in the category population up to 3000 - Zadar County Tourist Board and Zadarski list (daily local newspaper)
- Acknowledgment to the Park Petar Zoranić Ninjanin in the category the most beautifully arranged parks in the country - Zadar County Tourist Board and Zadarski list (daily local newspaper)
- Golden Blue Flower (Plavi cvijet) award in the category of up to 3000 inhabitants - Croatian National Tourist Board
- Award Simply the best to the Museum of salt – UHPA and magazine Way to Croatia 2012.
- Recognition for the development and promotion of sustainable tourism as the national winner of the European Destination of Excellence EDEN 2009/2010 on the theme “Aquatic Tourism” – Croatian National Tourist Board
- Recognition for the third place in the category of the best small tourist town on the Adriatic – Croatian Chamber of Economy and the Croatian Radio and Television
- Acknowledgement for the Park Petar Zoranić of Nin as the best preserved park in the tourist city – Zadar County Tourist Board and Zadarski list (daily local newspaper)

- Award to Salt Pans Nin for “Original Tourist Attraction” from Zadar County
- Acknowledgment for the most beautifully arranged town in the category population up to 3000 - Zadar County Tourist Board and Zadarski list (daily local newspaper)
- CBTours award in Croatia for innovative tourism for the project

Lessons learned  Environment and nature comes first. Nin is a destination rich with natural beauty and if the local population and our projects are not ecologically friendly Nin will lose its advantages of development of sustainable tourism.
Challenges met  
Critical success factors  The local
municipality, tourist board, local population and the local enterprises all have started to work as a collusive team which has led to numerous awards and recognitions and will lead to the completion of Eco-park Lagoon of Nin.
6. MORE 
web-references, documents