Contemporary tourism demand is more and more heterogeneous, and the diversity of offers on the tourist market stimulates destination management to continuously create new and innovative products in the form of tourist events, which will result in creating new experiences and motivations for tourist arrival in a destination. The goal of creating tourist events is to improve a competitive position of tourist offers on the tourist market. Formation of tourist events based on heritage will contribute to this by contributing to quality and diversity of a tourist product, creating additional economic value and strengthening the identity and sense of belonging, and building trust among visitors and destination inhabitants. National heritage represents an important element of identity for every community, and its preservation represents a foundation for survival of a nation in the contemporary globalized world. National heritage preservation represents an important element for strengthening self-consciousness of an individual and creating a sense of belonging for a certain people and culture with a goal of strengthening personal identity. Today, national heritage represents a much broader term than a mere witness to a historical period. It is a witness of a material and non-material legacy of our ancestors, and it’s a testament to the way of life, beliefs, customs, and other elements of human identity, as well as the development of human thought through the turbulent centuries and historical periods. In numerous cases over time, heritage has been exposed to numerous risks which can cause its permanent damage or disappearance, through pollution, acid rain, erosion, inadequate conservation, change of developmental guidelines by the owner or manager of the material heritage, emigration and immigration of people, high mortality, or lack of interest of the contemporary population for tradition of their non-material heritage. Due to its importance and previously mentioned, heritage represents an important element of research of a Doctoral Dissertation with a goal of ensuring its sustainable development, renewal and conservation through value-added tourism. Synergy of tourism and heritage provides exceptional developmental possibilities for the tourism offer carriers, but also preserves the nature of the heritage itself, as an exceptionally sensitive resource. With a goal of its preservation and improvement, and while noticing lack of any similar analysis, there was a necessity to explore and offer in a scientific and professional way, sustainable models of inclusion of heritage in a tourist product in a way that the elements of heritage are preserved from oblivion (non-material heritage) or waste (material heritage) while applying the principles of sustainable development. As previously mentioned, it is possible to achieve by applying, in the dissertation presented international system of quality ISO, such as managing sustainability of events ISO20121, to create new models of certification such as CroHeritage Festival Awards (CFA) as an exceptionally important element for creating recognisability and branding of the tourist offer or introducing green events into the tourist offer of a destination. Tourism and by its conditioned offers of products and services present a developmental opportunity for a destination, especially if the developmental guidelines in tourism are harmonized with the desires and needs of the local community, but also all the interested stakeholders in the destination, managed by the state of the offer and demand, and the contemporary demands of tourists on the market. Through application of contemporary knowledge and skills, as well as contemporary technological solutions, the destination management creates a new tourist product of additional value, and gives particular attention towards preservation of resources as a foundation and comparative advantage of a destination for achieving competitiveness of a tourist offer. Successful synergy of tourism and heritage is possible through the creation of a model of a tourist event based on heritage which will, through its particularities, contribute to the creation of a greater competitive strength of a destination in which the heritage is situated, which directly contributes to the strengthening of economic performances, and strengthening of identity and self-consciousness of the local community. An empirical research was conducted, with a purpose of gathering primary data, and testing the hypothesis, on a model of four top tourist events according to the criteria of the Croatian Tourist Board, which are related on the estimate of visitors, and needs to be above 10,000 in different tourist destinations of the Republic of Croatia. The research was conducted with the goal of determining the influence of tourist events on satisfaction of guests with the offer of tourist events based on heritage. Considering the fact that neither tourist boards, nor organizers of events don´t have precise data about the number of visitors of events, but have expressed interest during the contact merely an estimate of the number of visitors, for the calculation of the sample in the dissertation the author used the number of accommodation units (bearing in mind basic and additional accommodation units), and methods used in similar previous researches were applied.
A research was conducted for the purpose of the Dissertation on the sample of guests situated in the accommodation units in the cities of Rijeka, Varaždin, Koprivnica and Đakovo, in a way that an opinion of visitors of events was acquired personally by interview, or by filling out a questionnaire. Visitors who stayed in the destinations during the selected events were questioned. Empirical research based on gathering primary data was conducted in the field by using the survey method by which the basic instrument of acquiring the data was the questionnaire printed in Croatian and English languages. In the mentioned research, there was some words about value-adding of tourist events from the aspect of visitor´s satisfaction, their motives for their visits, the way of informing potential visitors about the events and similar. The survey was conducted during the tourist events based on heritage, and the respondents were selected randomly. During the collection of data, the technique of personal interview was used mostly, while the survey method was used less. The author conducted data gathering along with the help of specially prepared interviewers to whom the research goals were explained previously, the elements of the questionnaire and the ways of conduct in the field. Following, a questionnaire made up of six questions was presented and explained to every respondent, and the questions were related to the socio-demographic profile of respondents, information related about the motive of their visit to the destination, way of being informed about the destination´s offer, level of satisfaction of the destination´s offer and tourist event based on heritage which they visited, and achieved tourist consumption. One of the research goals was to determine how high influence has the motive of getting acquainted with the heritage on their decision for visiting the event and a destination, as well as getting to know their habits and consumption during the tourist event. Managing models of tourist events based on heritage were made based on the gathered results of the primary research, weaknesses and flaws of the existing offer were presented, as well as opportunities and threats that can be brought by further development of the offer to the tourist event.
In the remaining chapters of the Doctoral Dissertation, and based on the conducted primary and secondary research, in which contemporary scientific literature and findings about the characteristics about the tourist offer and demand were taken into consideration, the goal was to determine possibilities of inclusion of heritage in a tourist product while preserving its originality and determining advantages and disadvantages that synergy between culture and tourism has on heritage preservation. Besides the already mentioned, the goal was to determine the most optimal model of financing the heritage renewal and tourist events, and in which way application of modern Information Technologies influences the increasing satisfaction of visitors, preservation and promotion of heritage, and increasing competitiveness of a tourist event based on heritage, especially if taken into consideration contemporary habits of visitors regarding informing themselves through websites and social networks, and applicative solutions created by the offer carriers. The focus of the Dissertation was focused on systematization of all gathered results of research with a purpose of finding the most optimal model of a tourist event based on heritage as a product which will result in achieving synergy between heritage and tourism, in a way that heritage is preserved and improved according to the principles of sustainable development. A model of certification CroHeritage Festival Awards (CFA) and model of organization of tourist events based on heritage were presented in the Dissertation, with a goal of increasing quality and recognisability of the events based on heritage. Before conducting the empirical research, all available domestic and foreign scientific and professional literature was consulted, and the result of the research represents systematization of previous researches of influence of tourist events on a tourist destination, heritage, identity and life habits of local communities and all stakeholders in a destination. Based on the analysis of results obtained by primary research, and interpretation of secondary data obtained by secondary literature with the application of scientific methods of induction, deduction, historical method, method of definition, method of analysis and synthesis, and application of statistical methods, all the given goals in the Dissertation were achieved, and all the set hypothesis were tested.