Pula is the largest city in the Istria County in Croatia, situated at the southern tip of the Istria peninsula, with a population of approximately 60,000 people.
Like the rest of the region, Pula is known for its mild climate, smooth sea, and unspoiled nature. The city has a long tradition of winemaking, fishing, shipbuilding, and tourism and it has been Istria’s administrative centre since ancient Roman times.
During 2014 we prepared a pre-feasibility study for an integrated project. Next in the project preparation steps is now to prepare a feasibility study, which that will be a sort of polygon and starting point for Pula application to EU structural funds.
The pre-feasibility study gave us insight into data and the stakeholder interviews and comments led us to conclusion to believe that there is clear potential to develop an integrated project of national importance, focusing on the existing assets of Pula´s unique cultural heritage as means of raising the quality of life and achieving economic growth.
However, to develop such a project will require an extensive integrated preparation phase where emphasis is not only placed on the planning for the integration, restoration and enhancement of Pula’s cultural assets, but also building on the existing place brand development of the city and engaging all sectors of the Quad Helix.
The ultimate goal is to develop the economy of Pula and the whole region through both public and private funding, although there will need to be further investigations and the inclusion of detailed planning of integrated projects in order to satisfy the European Union project check list requirements. Our investigations, and the commencement of consensus building through stakeholder consultation has clearly identified strong recognition up to the national level that that an integrated project focusing on the Pula Kulturring is of huge potential for the city, region and country.
In order to ensure that the project will be eligible for funding from EU structural funds, it is important to show that the investment and development of the tourist attractions through the restoration and enhancement of the cultural heritage will also catalyse the development of the Pula economy and the surrounding area and will create sustainable employment.
Having carried out the pre-feasibility study we have concluded that developing a project around the Pula Kulturring as a base and seeking to submit a funding application for European Union structural funds is of major importance for the City, the Istria Region and indeed the whole of Croatia. There is a clear potential to create a world-class tourism product.