Development challenges that can be detected in tourism of the cbc region that connect two sister cities – Osijek and Subotica are extremely heterogeneous and separately implemented activities on both sides of the border, lack of funds for the reconstruction of cultural heritage, lack of management, and marketing skills, low awareness of tourist operators on tourism resources of the wider region and of know-how in tourist product development and promotion.
The strong historical and cultural connection between the cities of Osijek and Subotica can be seen today in similar, yet different and very valuable cultural heritage from the Secession period that the two cities share. The most important visual landmarks of two cities are presented in architecture, art, and urban planning Secession heritage that represent the culmination of cultural, social, and economic development of these two historically important urban centers. Unfortunately neglected Secession heritage is a symbol of today's poor economic and social situation these two cities share.
The city of Osijek published a public call at the start of 2016 for co-financing of the reconstruction of cultural heritage facades in Osijek, with a particular goal to support the reconstruction of attractive Secession period facades. This implicates that partial funding for the reconstruction of Secession heritage is secured. Reconstruction of Sakuntala park in Osijek is a logical step forward in creating a new city image, both for tourists and the local community.
The city of Subotica was a partner in two successful cbc projects based on secession heritage with the City of Szeged (Hungary) which strengthens the City's orientation towards tourist valorization of Secession heritage. After the renovation of the synagogue in Subotica, the next step is the reconstruction of the biggest secession building - The City Hall. Valorization of joint cultural heritage through tourism presents an opportunity for growth and generation of new employment possibilities.
The main project result is creation and promotion of joint thematic cultural heritage product - Secession route connecting sister cities of Osijek and Subotica, revitalization of Sakuntala park in Osijek as attractive park architecture heritage, creating preconditions for the reconstruction of City Hall in Subotica as most important Secession heritage city landmark, upgrading tourist infrastructure with brown signalization on main traffic points, placement of different visual guides such as tactile maps for visually impaired people, increase of skills and capacities of cultural and tourism stakeholders in cultural heritage management and tourist destination development, promotion of new cross border tourism products on local, interregional and national markets.
Joint thematic route as a new tourist product integrating cultural heritage attractions, services and products from two sides of the border will increase the number of overnights in the programme area by 1500 per year.