The Simply the Best yearly travel industry award, given by the Association of Croatian Travel Agencies and Way to Croatia magazine, is distributed in six categories, five of which are permanent (1. Hospitality; 2. Events; 3. Travel Agencies; 4. Innovative Projects; 5. Individuals), and one of which changes from year to year. Within the Hospitality and Events categories, awards are given in three groups. In each group, as in each other category, three equal awards are given. The exception is the Innovative Projects category, in which up to ten awards are usually given. The nomination process includes travel agencies, tourist boards, businesses, travel and hospitality industry workers, journalists, and travel media. This year, 278 nominations were made, and 37 awards were given. The winners were given their awards by Boris Žgomba, president of the Association of Croatian Travel Agencies, and Maja Šimenc, director of DMK Vall042 and the PUT Travel Fair.
HOSPITALITY CATEGORY (69 nominations)
In the traditional food and drink in rural areas group, the winners are: Kaštil Slanicarestaurant, Podašpilje; Zlatni klasOtrovanec, and Stari fenjeri, Turnić. In the food and drink on main roads group, the winners are: Gradinarestaurant, Josipdol; Putnikuguest house, Kikovica, and Villa Zelenjak-Ventekrestaurant, Kumrovec. In the accommodation with active holiday programmes group, the winners are: Hotel Maki, Gospić; Villa Neretva, Metković; Zagreb-kamp, Rakitje, and TC Mirjana&Rastoke, Donji Nikšić.
EVENTS CATEGORY(74 nominations)
In the events inspired by local traditions group, the winners are: Feral ki je pušćal sinjal, Jelenje; Ižimača, Beravci, and Jakovlja – smotra boškarina, Kanfanar. In the multi-day themed festivals and events group, the winners are: BIG festival, Baška; Samoborski fašnik, Samobor, and Štruklijada, Krapina-Zagorje County. In the Advent group, the winners are: Božićna priča obitelji Salaj,Grabovnica, Advent in Split, Advent in Vir, and Advent in Zagreb.
FAITH TOURISM CATEGORY(7 nominations)
The winner is the municipality of Marija Bistrica.
TRAVEL AGENCIES CATEGORY– cooperation with the local community (6 nominations)
The winner is Unilinetravel agency, Pula.
INNOVATIVE PROJECTS IN TOURISM between September 2015 and September 2016 category (93 nominations)
The winners are: Istria County Tourist Boardfor the Gourmet Wine Lovers app; Nijemci Municipalityfor the Bird Watching Centre; Hotel Park Split for the Chef’s Table project; The Croatian Design Superstorefor the Design District Zagreb Festival project; Rogoznica Touris Boardfor the Mobile Visitor Centre project; Opatija Tourist Boardfor their use of a multi-media 3D water screen; Hotel Park Split for the Responsible Business for a Clean World project; Ruby and Igor Montanari Knezfor the Monty’s Dog Beach&Bar Crikvenica project; Vrtovi lunskih maslina, Lun, for renovating the observatory-amphitheatre; Ivan Katalinićfor the Vidikovac Bar Providenca project, Mali Lošinj; Gospoja Agricultural Cooperative, Vrbnik, for the Vinotel Gospoja project; and Jasna Petakfor the Zelinska Ogrlica project.
INDIVIDUAL CONTRIBUTION to the Development of the Tourist Offerings of the Local Community (29 nominations)
The winners are: Mijo Pavelko– Mikeš for his years of creative contribution to the development of the local community’s tourist offerings, inspired by the traditions of the Virovitica region Marija Dejanović for her creative approach to a series of tourist projects she designed as director of the Tourist Office of the Nin Tourist Board, which served to make Nin a recognisable destination on the European scale and the most appealing romantic destination in Europe in 2015. Branko Kovačić for his inventiveness in investment and the creative design of Istralandia water park, through which he made a significant impact on the content and visibility of the new tourist offerings of Istria and Croatia as a whole.