Sunday, June 30, 2024

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Dubrovnik, renowned for its rich history and cultural allure, stands as a premier destination for global travelers. Yet, with an average of 36 tourists per local resident, the city’s burgeoning tourism has brought economic challenges alongside its benefits. The increased cost of living weighs heavily on the custodians of Dubrovnik’s heritage and its artisanal community.

In response to these challenges, the TUI Care Foundation has joined forces with local civil society organization DEŠA to launch TUI Colourful Cultures Croatia. This innovative initiative aims to empower female artisans, granting them economic independence while enhancing the cultural experience for visitors and fostering global appreciation for Dubrovnik’s unique heritage.

Central to the initiative are cultural events designed to celebrate and leverage the city’s traditional artisan skills. These events provide a platform for creatives to showcase their talents, bolster their incomes, and engage tourists in Dubrovnik’s cultural legacy. Interactive pop-up events and workshops, led by both seasoned artisans and innovative young talents, offer visitors immersive experiences and opportunities to support local craftsmanship. Through these interactions, artisans not only earn from their skills but also share their heritage with a global audience.

DEŠA’s social shop plays a pivotal role in this ecosystem by exclusively featuring and selling the distinctive products crafted during these workshops. This ensures that the economic benefits of tourism directly benefit the local community, sustaining Dubrovnik’s artisanal traditions.

A highlight of the initiative is the biannual Festival of Handicrafts, a vibrant gathering that draws over 12,000 participants. This festival showcases artisanal displays, hosts interactive sessions, and serves as a lively testament to Dubrovnik’s cultural vibrancy.

The official launch of this transformative project in Dubrovnik saw Helen Caron, Member of the Board of Trustees of the TUI Care Foundation, and Ana Cvjetković, Executive Director of DEŠA, spearheading efforts to revitalize and preserve Dubrovnik’s rich cultural heritage through sustainable tourism practices and artisanal empowerment.

Helen Caron: “Croatia’s rich cultural heritage is not only cherished by its residents but it’s also a powerful economic asset. By empowering local artisans through the TUI Colourful Cultures Croatia initiative, we’re ensuring that tourism is a force for good, preserving tradition while creating sustainable livelihoods.”

Ana Cvjetković, Executive Director of DEŠA: “TUI Colourful Cultures Croatia is a partnership between DEŠA and the TUI Care Foundation, which is dedicated to promoting local resources, cultural heritage, self-employment and local development, as well as enriching guest experiences. Over the next two years, we will host creative workshops and fairs at DEŠA in Lazareti, a hub where artisans and tourists can exchange knowledge. Our collaboration began during the Corona crisis, offering workshops for children, youth, and women. We look forward to continuing our efforts in community development together.”

TUI Colourful Cultures Croatia is dedicated to empowering local women and advancing sustainable tourism in Dubrovnik, aiming to create a lasting impact on the city’s socio-economic fabric.

This initiative forms a crucial part of TUI’s broader global programme, TUI Colourful Cultures, which spans across Mexico, Peru, Turkey, and now Croatia. It focuses on empowering artists and artisans, providing them with new income avenues, and promoting their cultural heritage through tourism initiatives.

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