Geography & National Resources
Rijeka is the biggest Croatian harbour on the northern part of Adriatic Sea. The city is the seat of Primorje-Gorski Kotar County and has around 128.000 inhabitants on the area of 44 km2. To the west of Rijeka, lies the Opatija Riviera, the oldest and most popular Croatian tourist region. To the east there is the Crikvenica-Vinodol Riviera. Rijeka can thank Gorski kotar - the most preserved part of the region - for its high quality drinking water and its clear air.
Rijeka region consists of an unusual link between the sea and mountains extending to the Mount Učka across to the Gorski Kotar mountains as far as Velebit, the biggest Croatian mountain. The City towers the Kvarner islands: Krk (connected with the mainland by a bridge), Cres, Lošinj and Rab in the immediate vicinity. Platak, a winter resort favoured by the people of Rijeka, is within reach. Rijeka, with its good sea connections, regular line to the islands by catamaran, bus and railway stations, as well as the airport on the island of Krk, is easily accessible. It is only half an hour drive away from Slovenian border; one hour from Trieste in Italy, and ninety minutes to the capital of Croatia, Zagreb.
There is a long tradition of city events in Rijeka, which generally take place in the open public spaces owing to the favourable weather. The best example is the Rijeka Carnival, which during its 31 year has grown into an international manifestation pronounced by the media from abroad as a unique manifestation, not to be missed. The International Carnival brings together about 8,000 -10,000 participants in the carnival parade and about 100,000 visitors. According to the estimates of tourist journalists, the Rijeka Carnival is the third biggest carnival in the world after Rio de Janeiro and Venice.
Regarding the development of urban tourism and the intention of the city government to give back the sea to the city, great is the role of the Rijeka regatta Fiumanka, which, similarly to its model, the Trieste regatta Barcolana, gathers ever more participants each year. Their attractive sailing boats and the pier with many different events attract a great number of visitors. This is why the City of Rijeka, within the Rijeka Gateway project, strongly encourages the project of constructing a new marina in the location of Porto Baross, which will be able to provide a complete service to tourists – yachtsmen and position Rijeka as a centre of nautical tourism.
The nautical fair in Rijeka has gained status of one of the leading ones in Croatia, with a marked offer of national producers. December in Rijeka is traditionally marked with a whole range of attractive manifestations, the most significant ones being the celebration in the open of the New Year’s Eve, with a concert in Korzo, and the skating rink on the pier next to the sea. The music and theatre festival Rijeka Summer Evenings, taking place during June and July, has shown that a great number of visitors can be attracted by good quality programmes, supreme performers and specific performance venues. A special attraction represent the former industrial locations in different parts of the city that are used as venues of cultural programmes. Thus, "Hamlet" was performed in the former paper-mill and Beethoven’s music was played in the halls of the former factory of Torpedo. Theatre plays are also performed on beaches and city squares, which contributes to the unique experience of the programme. The Cathedraal of St. Vitus In the time of celebrations of Rijeka Patron Saint St. Vitus, on 15th June, there is a whole range of programmes for children and adults of all the ages. Besides events such as the International Small Scenes Festival or Jazz Time, which have made part of calendars of European cultural events for quite a long time, it is the lively and varied quality of Rijeka public life, encouraging of new events end being opened to new initiatives that make Rijeka a special urban centre. Tourist are keen on visiting Rijeka as they like to feel the vivacity of the city, so that it stands to reason for Rijeka to develop urban tourism.
Main Economic Opportunities
Rijeka has gone through a change in its economic structure from a former industrial city into a city dominated by the service sector with an emphasis on the development of the Rijeka traffic route and urban tourism. The Development Strategy of Rijeka set in 2013 for 2014-2020 prioritised to develop Rijeka traffic route and competitive economy based on the society of knowledge. From 2008 the City has General support measures programme for local economy and includes all projects and measures aimed at strengthening the economy and employment. City provides support to entrepreneurs and those who want to become ones in three ways:
- Education for entrepreneurship and support for the development of business ideas via Startup Incubator - at a stage when an individual is preparing to enter entrepreneurship
- Stay in business incubators to more favorable lease terms of office space and support – at a stage of growth and development of business start-ups
- Grants for strengthening the competitiveness of businesses - in the mature stage on the market.
Large capital investment in future will be new facilities for the port with modern road and railway connections, intermodal and logistic zone in hinterland, business zone in the city area, new bus station, a new building of the city library, a new building of the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art. The biggest sectors in city economy are: wholesale and retail trade, repair of motor vehicles and motorcycles, manufacturing, transport and storage, professional, scientific and technical activities.
Rijeka has a long tradition of city events taking place in open public spaces. The best example is the Rijeka Carnival, which has, in 31 years, grown into an international and unique manifestation.
The International Carnival attracts about 10,000 participants in the parade and about 100,000 visitors altogether. Rijeka Carnival is estimated to be the third biggest carnival in the world after Rio de Janeiro and Venice.
Rijeka has a rich industrial heritage located in various parts of the city. To address common challenges in the field of industrial heritage, the City is conducting a lot of activities in order to transform them into touristic, cultural and economic centres.
Swiss Tourism Award 2014 assigned to the Tourist Board of the City of Rijeka for its website visitRijeka.hr
The Tourist Board of the City of Rijeka won the prestigious Swiss Tourism Award 2014 for www.visitrijeka.hr website. The explanation of the prize underlines that "Rijeka is a city that needs to be discovered, as an open and friendly city boasting a rich historic heritage, a cosmopolitan character and architecture". The value of this recognition is the promotion of high level tourism, protecting and valuing natural and cultural heritage, encouragement of competitiveness and excellence in standards of service and to presentation of destinations that distinguish themselves for special merits to the Swiss public.
City of Rijeka is a leader or partner in many EU projects and could be found on http://www.rijeka.hr/euprojectEN. Some of on going projects are:
Project 1: Strengthening of the entrepreneurial capacities of the youth – EnterYOUTH
Project goal: Strengthen young entrepreneurs as a generator of the economic growth and development of the cross-border region.
Financed under: IPA Crossborder Cooperation Programme between Slovenia and Croatia Budget of the City of Rijeka: 106.000,00 EUR
Duration: 1 March 2014 – duration 15 months Key activities: The project will include overall 180 young persons, to be chosen on the basis of expressed interest, including high school and university students, unemployed young people who intend to set up their own companies and young people who set up their own companies and started an entrepreneurial activity in the past 12 months. Recognising entrepreneurial ideas and assistance to their development and realisation will be provided through education, while software solution (computer games – virtual company) developed during the project will enable participants to test and improve their knowledge in an accessible and interesting manner, adequate for young people.
Project 2: Creative Start Up
Project goal: strengthening creative industries' entrepreneurial capacities in the crossborder region.
Financed under: IPA Crossborder Cooperation Programme between Slovenia and Croatia Budget:
Total project budget: EUR 411.369,61 Duration: January 2014 – June 2015
Key activities: "Creative Start Up" project addresses the problem of insufficient exploitation of the creative sector’s potentials in the crossborder region, it offers a platform for developing a problem solution over four years of joint activity.
Project 3: iURBAN - Intelligent URBANn eNergy Tool
Project goal: promoting energy efficiency in the participating cities. Owing to this project, the 26 largest buildings owned by the City of Rijeka and Energo will be equipped with smart meters which in real time provide data on energy consumption and in public buildings, an energy consumption control system will be put in place.
Financed under: The Seventh Framework Programme (FP7) Budget of the City of Rijeka: EUR 324,909.00 Duration: 1 Oct. 2013 - duration 36 months Key activities: Through this project as a pilot installation, such meters will be built-in in various types of facilities - buildings, public illumination, heating plants and plants for the production of electrical power (solar power stations and cogeneration plants). The data collected by this technology will be used to prepare an IT solution that would suggest the City of Rijeka how to improve behaviour in terms of energy efficiency, while it will help companies such as Energo to optimise their pricing policy in respect of users and also to acquire more effectively their primary raw material.
Project 4: SMart green Innovative urban Logistics for Energy efficient Mediterranean cities (SMILE)
Project goal: Encourage energy efficiency urban transport in Mediterranean cities. Apart from promoting the Rijeka traffic corridor, part of funds will be used to prepare project documentation, namely transport models linked to public urban transport.
Financed under: MED programme (Transnational Mediterranean programme)
Budget of the City of Rijeka: EUR 100,000.00 Duration: June 2013 – duration 24 months
More information about the City can be found on their official web site here.