This traditional, yearly meeting of workers from hotels, travel agencies , and tourist destinations – the PUT Tourism Exchange, held every year at a different Croatian destination – was held this year from 22-24 November at the Blue Sun KAJ Hotel**** in Marija Bistrica. The fair brought together over140 participants, 92 representatives of travel agencies, hotels, and tourist boards from seven countries: Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Czech Republic, Croatia, Italy, Hungary, Slovakia, and Slovenia. During the working part of the fair, the participants presented their tourist amenities and offerings, and provided information about news and the programmes they have in store for 2017. At a special ceremony, the traditional Simply the Bestawards were distributed for 2016. For the past eight years, this award has been distributed by the Association of Croatian Travel Agencies and Way to Croatia magazine. The awards are given for quality of service, creativity and innovation, and for the development of products and amenities offered by particular destinations. During the three-day programme, participants visited nearby Donja Stubicaand a special natural monument – a 400-year-old linden treewhere a large peasant uprising began in 1573. In the town of Gornja Stubica, they also visited the baroque castle of the Oršić family, which today houses the Peasant Uprising Museum. The museum describes this historical event, as well as describing the development of feudalism in northwestern Croatia. The participants also visited a 40-metre wide monument with bronze reliefs depicting more than three hundred characters. The centre of the monument is dominated by a 6.5 metre statue of Matija Gubec, the leader of the peasant rebellion. After this, there was a visit to Micak Winery, where participants were introduced to a small part of the culinary tradition of the region and were given the opportunity to sample a range of fine wines. The traditional teambuilding eventwas also especially exciting. This event was held on the second day of the fair, and the goal was to introduce participants to the tourist amenities and offerings of Marija Bistrica. By solving tasks related to the life and traditions of the area, participants learned about the idiosyncrasies and curiosities of Marija Bistrica, Croatia’s national Roman Catholic Marian religious site. Of the remaining working events, the most important was a round table featuring a discussion of faith-based tourismtoday and its developmental perspective, with a view to the creation of multi-day holiday packages for Central and Central Eastern Europe. The next, 19th PUT fair will be held in the city of Splitfrom 21-23 November 2017, and it will be hosted by the Split-Dalmatia County Tourist Board and the Split Tourist Board.
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