Croatian Tourism Project Concludes by Kayak to Dubrovnik
The World's Biggest Welcome Project concludes on schedule as Daniel Lacko paddles into the historic city of Dubrovnik among scenes of celebration.
The city of Dubrovnik has enjoyed a rich and varied history, surviving war, siege and new masters, but rarely can the arrival of one man have caused as much interest as Daniel Lacko's arrival by kayak on June 3 2011.
One Kayak Brings Wild Scenes in Dubrovnik
Lacko, the driving force behind Croatian tourism's innovative idea to create the world's biggest welcome by travelling the length of the country along a circuitous route spelling the word 'Welcome', arrived at 1600 local time by kayak from the island of Mljet to be mobbed by a welcoming crowd including a dancing troupe and brass band.
The arrival in Dubrovnik marks the end of a remarkable 2,500km journey which started on April 5 with a 35km kayak journey from Savudrija on the northern tip of Istria to Porec.
Promoting Croatian Tourism
The aims of the project - to highlight the stunning natural beauty of the former Yugoslav republic, to introduce the varied nature of Croatia's adventure tourism offer, and to create the 'world's biggest welcome' by traversing a route that will spell the word on Google Earth - have been well and truly met.
Calls for 'Lacko for President' on the project's Facebook page may be premature, but the project has fired the local imagination, but the more than 7,300 Facebook friends on the official Welcome page is testament to the project's popularity.
A key element of the trip was to spell the word 'Welcome' while taking in the country's major tourism sights, including eight national parks and seven UNESCO sites. The resulting route was a triumph of logistical planning and coordination.
The methods of transport throughout the journey ranged from kayak and river boat to hiking, climbing and mountain biking.
A key element to the trip was to interact with local communities and showcase the diverse tourism offer, and the project was as much a learning experience for the project's participants as it was an exercise in promoting Croatian tourism.
Daniel Lacko Makes Thank You Speech
Lacko was mobbed on arrival with television cameras in attendance. He was quickly urged to make a speech, and he took the microphone in front of the historic St. Blasius Church to pay tribute to those who had helped him make this exceptional journey possible.
A major party to celebrate the project's success is planned for this evening, the culmination of one of the most interesting tourism projects in recent times.