Tuesday, 17 January 2023

WineOS Osijek Wine Festival Goes from Strength to Strength

January 20, 2023 - And you thought Croatia was dead in January? Head on East to WineOS and the Osijek Wine Festival, which was a great success in its 8th edition.

Croatia in January.

Advent in over, the summer is far away, everything is closed. 

Now imagine Slavonia in January. Even worse, right?

You couldn't be further from the truth. One of the early season fixed highlights in my calendar each year now is a weekend in Osijek in mid-January. I first went to the WineOS Osijek Wine Festival seven years ago, a very local affair with just a few producers. 

The organisers have worked very hard to expand the event, while maintaining the quality. In addition to the many wines to try, there are outstanding workshops of both days, as well as an excellent after party both nights - this year hosted at Peppermint. More details in the press release below, as I will confess that my judgment got a little cloudier as the days went on. 

Two highlights for me were learning about the wines of Vina Papak in Ilok, officially the easternmost winery in Croatia - for years I thought that Ilocki Podrum was the only name in town there.

And the black Slavonian pig kulen from former Croatian national footballer, Domagoj Vida (I met it last year) was absolutely sensational. 

Much more below, and I heartily recommend you look out for the dates in 2024 - an excellent event powered by fine wines and true Slavonian hospitality. 

You can follow the official WineOS website here.

 

THE RECORD EIGHTH WINEOS ATTRACTED NUMEROUS EXHIBITORS AND VISITORS

The previous weekend, on Friday 13th and Saturday 14th January, the eighth international fair of wine, delicacies and pleasant living WineOS was held in the Gradski vrt hall. According to announcements, it was the largest WineOS ever, where over 115 producers of wine, spirits, desserts, cured meats and other delicacies presented themselves.

During the two days of the fair and three days of workshops, almost 3,500 people passed through the hall: exhibitors, visitors, business guests and everyone who worked hard to make this event look spectacular. On both exhibition days, there was a big crowd in the hall in front of each exhibitor and the stage where Saša Vojnović from the Lug Hotel restaurant, Nebojša Rajković from the Čingi Lingi čarda restaurant and the famous gastronomic educator from Split Željko Neven Bremec demonstrated their culinary skills.

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"Record numbers, great interest in participation, reactions of the exhibitors and the audience are confirmation that we succeeded in surpassing previous editions. I would like to thank everyone who participated in the organization and realization of the biggest January public event in Osijek; Osijek-Baranja County, the City of Osijek and the Vinita wine shop as co-organizers, the tourist associations of Osijek-Baranja County and the City of Osijek, the Osijek Fair as a sponsor, and our partners from the Catering and Tourism School. Without their help and engagement, this event could not have been realized", said the president of the organizing committee of the fair and the president of the association Dekanter Boris Ocić.

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"Eight years after the first edition of the fair, WineOS truly became what we wanted - one of the biggest wine events in Croatia and the region. Osijek is increasingly recognized as a wine tourist destination, a city of hedonism and good food, and a place where guests from other parts of Croatia like to come and stay more and more. We will continue in the same direction, we will offer something new every year and we will not rest on our laurels. We want to progress even more", said WineOS founder and CEO Vinko Ručević.

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"The reactions of the exhibitors and the audience, the praise that comes from all sides, the words of praise sent to us by the media, guests, and guests are really pleasing. However, the most important thing is that we have permanent partners who are of great help to us, but also the fact that our exhibitors get better and better jobs precisely thanks to the contacts made on WineOS. We want to continue in this direction and offer everyone an even better and more attractive WineOS next year and provide an opportunity for exhibitors and business visitors to do even more work. And we will do all this with another big step forward that we are planning for 2024. However, we will say more about that in a few months", concluded the executive director of the fair, Denis Despot.

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Finally, here are some concrete figures. The 1,900 square meters of the Gradski vrt hall housed 97 exhibition spaces where over 115 exhibitors from Croatia, Slovenia, Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina presented themselves. More than 2,800 guests, invitees, business visitors, protocol representatives and journalists passed through the hall, totaling almost 3,500 people with the organizers and exhibitors. Visitors tried more than 500 different wines and spirits in almost 3,000 glasses, about 2,500 liters of water were drunk, a ton of ice was consumed, and workshop participants had the opportunity to taste about eighty different wines, many of which you can no longer buy even in wineries.

All this is a lure for guests to visit WineOS next year as well, and while they wait they will be able to enjoy the many wine events in Osijek and the surrounding area that await us in 2023. At the end, the organizers send another big thank you to everyone with a message - see you in 2024 at the ninth WineOS!
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Tuesday, 17 January 2023

Rare Endangered Bald Ibis Female Spotted in Neretva Valley in Croatia

January 17, 2023 - The bald ibis became extinct in Europe and Croatia in the 18th century. In Croatia, the last individuals nested in Istria. The bird is a migrant that lives in semi-desert or rocky areas, often near watercourses.

After flying from Brač and staying briefly on Hvar, the female bald ibis (Gerinticus eremita) named Gipsy continued her journey, stopped in Slano, and then arrived in the Neretva valley, the Dubrovnik-Neretva County reported on Monday, writes 24Sata. The County Public Institution for the Management of Protected Areas of Nature received notification of this from the Biom association.

"The reappearance of the bald ibis in Croatia is possible thanks to the LIFE Northern Bald Ibis project, which is dedicated to reintroducing individuals from captivity in Germany and Austria. A feeding ground has been arranged for these birds in northern Italy, but before going there, they often decide to fly through Croatia as well," the County said.

They state that all individuals are equipped with GPS devices that track their flight, and this rare bird can be tracked through the Animal Tracker application, where photos and information about their sightings can be entered.

The bald ibis became extinct in Europe and Croatia in the 18th century. In Croatia, the last individuals nested in Istria. The bird is a migrant that lives in semi-desert or rocky areas, often near watercourses. The ancient Egyptians worshiped it, and today there are only about 200 individuals living in North Africa and the Middle East, the press release points out.

When hatched, the bald ibis have feathers on its head. But as they grow, their feathers fall off, and their heads remain bare, hence their name. The rest of their body is covered with black feathers with a copper-green and purple glow in the sun.

The bald ibis have red beaks and red skin all over their body, except for the top of their head. They have long feathers on the back of their necks. Under normal circumstances, they live between 25 and 30 years. They feed on insects, lizards, and even small mammals.

Since Gipsy is not shy and can be approached, the County asks the citizens not to disturb her if they spot her.

"If she decides to spend the night at your house or somewhere nearby, observe her from a distance and let her decide for herself when she will go on her way," the press release emphasizes.

"If you spot her or by any chance take a photo, please send the information to the contact of the Public Institution This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., so that we can all contribute to the preservation and return of this extinct species to Europe," the County said.

 For more, check out our dedicated Lifestyle section.

Tuesday, 17 January 2023

Croats Living in Croatia, Earning Abroad: Stjepan Mijat Zaninović, Zastražišće, Hvar

January 17, 2023 - The Croatian dream - to live in Croatia and get income from abroad. Meet the locals who are living that dream, and find out how you could, too, in a new TCN series. In the latest in the series, meet Stjepan Mijat Zaninović, who is enjoying life on Hvar.

Croatia, great for a 2-week holiday, but a nightmare for full-time living unless you are very rich, so the perceived wisdom goes. The Croatian dream is to live in Croatia with a nice income from abroad, as many foreigners and remote workers do. For Croatians, if I read the comments in my recent video, Croatia is the Best Place to Live: 8 Reasons Why (see below), salaries are too low and people are forced to emigrate in search of a better life.

While there is definitely an element of truth to this, it got me thinking. The era of remote work is here, and the workplace is increasingly global, with a labour shortage for many skills. It doesn't matter if you are from Boston or Bangladesh if you have the skills, desire, and work ethic, and are able to work remotely online.  And while it is certainly true that salaries in Croatia are low, what about the opportunities that the global online marketplace offers? If foreigners can find ways to live in Paradise and work remotely, why not locals? Curious, I posted this on my Facebook and LinkedIn:

Do I know many Croats who are living in Croatia, but working remotely for international companies who would be interested in being part of a TCN interview series showcasing living in Croatia but earning online, including advice to others on how to get started? It could be an interesting series. If interested, contact me on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Subject Remote Croatia.

Some 15 emails - and several inspiring stories - later, and I think we have the makings of what could be a rather interesting series, Croats Living in Croatia & Earning Abroad. Next up in the series, Stjepan Mijat Zaninović, from the village of Zastražišće on Hvar.

My name is Stjepan Mijat Zaninović. I’m from Zastražišće, a small village on Hvar island.

And if you aren’t from Croatia, the line above probably made you feel something like this.


But from this point, there won’t be many č,ć,ž,š, and other elvish letters. I hope my story helps you realize what it takes to make it in Croatia. And by the end of the story, you’ll see why donkeys are sacred animals in Dalmatia.

You managed to achieve the Croatian dream - living here and working for international companies. Tell us how you did it.

The short answer is that I had no other choice. But that’s not how interviews work, so I have to take you back to 2017. 

I was a night receptionist in a 4* hotel in Split and karate sensei.

After finishing high school and dropping out of college, I was destined to spend my life in positions no one else wanted. I was ok with that. But with a job no one wants comes the boss no one wants. And I’m not the type of person who sits and complains. I complain a lot, but I can’t sit still. So instead of crying over my destiny to work for the minimum wage, I decided to cash in on the only other skill I had. Something I call connectivity, but for the sake of avoiding elvish, let’s call it writing for now.

Nights in a hotel were long, so I decided to write a book to honor my path, mission, and the lady who made that path brighter. The one who made my mission clear. That’s how “The Girl With the Fire in Her Hair” was born.

But this is Croatia, and I’m no one, so no one wanted to publish my book.

So I started looking for ways to make money through writing, which led me to Freelancer.com. A platform where cheap people go to find affordable talents to take care of gigs no one else wants. But I was happy with every project I could get because I was finally getting paid to write. I worked a week for a dollar, but I made money online doing something I liked.

Soon after, I started writing landing pages for natural supplements and taking care of social media for one American holistic brand. I was underpaid, but I was happy.

Today, 500+ landing pages and 3,000,000 words of blogs later, I’m still underpaid and happy. I’m also self-employed and working almost exclusively with foreign companies. I just wrapped up a long-form sales letter for a tantric retreat in Costa Rica. Next week, I'll start doing cold email outreach for a growth agency with an office in Chicago. But I’m an introvert like many copywriters. Blowing my own horn isn’t really my thing, so let’s move to the next question.

Looking for jobs based in Croatia can be a challenging task. How challenging was it for you to get where you are today - it must have taken a lot of determination and rejection.

It was the ultimate test of willpower, partially because I was ignorant (and poor as a mouse). It took me 2 years to realize that I wasn't a writer but a copywriter. And I couldn’t afford any mentors, so I had to do everything the hard way. I was bidding for numerous jobs left and right. I won some but lost many more. Every time a prospect would ghost me felt like a head kick. I hate getting rejected. I wanted to give up many times. Until October 2021, I was working full-time and writing full-time. Working 2 jobs drains a person.

But remember, I’m a stubborn Dalmatian donkey.

So now I’m a proud owner of a marketing agency Ihneumon Connectivity. Now, I cooperate closely with 6,7, and 8-figure companies. I even sometimes help other copywriters get to the next level.

3. If you can do it, presumably others can too. Are you aware of others who have had similar success, but maybe in different industries?

If I can do it, anyone can.

I’m focused on foreign markets, so I’m not networking with Croats that much (and being 100% introverted doesn’t help). However, I heard about many people from Croatia who “made it” without leaving Croatia.

So yeah, it’s possible. Difficult, but possible. Even though someone with enough money to pay for mentors and enough friends to help them can climb much faster than I have. Being one of the stars of the mentorship program by Stefan Georgi and Justin Goff (huge names in direct response copywriting) changed my life. That and the fact that I was too stupid to give up brought me where I am today.

4. What is the general feeling among people in Croatia today? Is it possible to have a good life here, or is the grass greener on the other side?

I won’t go all political here, but I have to say that one of the first articles I’ve ever written was “Croatia - the Rotten Diamond.” Croatia is the best place in the universe in many ways, but it’s terrible at the same time.

I’d say that the general feeling today is that honest work almost isn’t enough to survive in Croatia while being an Uhljeb (let’s say a parasite) is the Croatian Dream. The problem is that some people in Croatia live great, relaxed lives while most struggle to make ends meet. That creates gaps between people and divides us. But in the end, I guess that’s all part of the bigger plan. Divide and conquer is one of the most powerful techniques in every aspect of life. Yet, let’s jump to the next question before I get myself in trouble by revealing painful truths about Croatia.

5. Apart from corruption and nepotism, low wages are often cited as a reason to emigrate. But with the remote work revolution, as your example has shown, as well as the influx of many foreign workers to the likes of Rimac and Infobip for example, show that a good quality of life IS possible in Croatia. What are your thoughts on that?

I agree. Good quality of life is possible in Croatia. But even when you work remotely, you’re still in this rotten diamond. That means you still need to deal with prices that fit Scandinavian countries more than Balkan. That means you still have to deal with injustice on every corner. And I’m not worried about myself. I’ll deal with it. Other young people will deal with it (or leave the country).

I’m worried for my mom and dad. I’m worried for people who must work until they drop dead because we need to feed all the parasites. I hate to imagine the future in the country that has repaired 6 (in letters - SIX) houses since the earthquake 2 years ago.

*deep breath*

Let’s move on. There’s no need to ruin this beautiful day.

6. What advice do you have for others who would like to stay in Croatia, but have no idea where or how to find a possible remote work job or business as you have managed to do?

I could write a book of tips on that topic, but I don’t want to waste everyone’s time, so here are some bullets.

  • Network - Take this from the demigod of introverts; you can’t make it alone. It’s simply impossible.

  • Keep honing your skills - But it’s impossible to make it if you suck at what you do.

  • Keep learning new skills - And if you decide that there’s nothing new to learn, you won’t stay on top for long. Last month I learned how to use ClickFunnels. In the past 6 months, I worked in 7 new niches. You must be hungry all the time. If there's more to be done, you've done nothing yet.

  • Become a donkey - this one is the most important. Without this one, everything else is futile. Donkeys are noble animals, but they’re stubborn as hell. You must be so determined that nothing can stop you. And I know that’s true everywhere, not just in Croatia.

7. Three reasons you decided to stay in Croatia, and the one thing you would like to change in this country.

I’ll start with things I’d love to change because I want to finish this in a happy tone. I’d change the fact that Croatia has 555 local government units while the UK has 333. Can you imagine the number of parasites we need to feed?

I’d change the fact that the entire country depends on the weather. And not in a good way. I’d love to see more windmills, solar panels, and stuff. But sadly, we depend on the weather in a silly way. If the weather during Summer isn't perfect (or there’s some virus in the air), there’s no tourism. If there’s no tourism, well…

Croatia earns most of its money from tourism. More than any other country in the EU. Tourism brought a staggering 21% of the Croatian GDP in 2019. I heard 2022 was even better, so I don’t want to imagine what would happen if tourists decide to avoid this Rotten Diamond.

Now, let’s move to the reasons why I decided to stay:

  • My mom would cry forever. My brother is in Ireland. Losing 2 of her kids would probably kill her.
  • My wife wanted to go to Ireland. I wanted to go to Japan. The weather in Ireland sucks, and Japan is too expensive. For now, Stari Grad is home.
  • I feel deeply connected to Hvar. My soul belongs here.

I appreciate this chance to share my story, Paul.

 You can connect with Stjepan on LinkedIn and on Facebook

****

Thanks Stjepan, very inspiring, and congratulations on all your success.

You can follow the rest of this series in the dedicated TCN section here.

If you would like to contribute your story to this series, please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Subject Remote Croatia.

****

What is it like to live in Croatia? An expat for 20 years, you can follow my series, 20 Ways Croatia Changed Me in 20 Years, starting at the beginning - Business and Dalmatia.

Follow Paul Bradbury on LinkedIn.

Subscribe to the Paul Bradbury Croatia & Balkan Expert YouTube channel.

Croatia, a Survival Kit for Foreigners is now available on Amazon in paperback and on Kindle.

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Tuesday, 17 January 2023

Rimac Automobili Opens First of Several Showrooms Across Europe

January the 17th, 2023 - Rimac Automobili is continuing spreading its wings as a wildly successful company headed by the young and talented Croatian entrepreneur Mate Rimac. In opening the very first in a series of new showrooms across Europe, it's obvious that the Rimac name is still reaching for new heights.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, Rimac Automobili, more precisely the wider Rimac Group, is continuing its expansion plans by opening its first showroom outside the boundaries of not only the City of Zagreb, but outside of Croatia, more specifically in the very heart of Brussels.

In cooperation with D'Ieteren, a representative of Rimac Automobili for the countries of Belgium and Luxembourg, an exclusive showroom was created in the Belgian capital city that combines the most modern technology with an attractive and atmospheric design.

"The complete Rimac experience in customisation, the ordering and collection of the Nevera supercar - and other future Rimac hypercars - has been carefully incorporated into the ethos of the new showroom. As part of Rimac Automobili's collaboration with D'Ieteren, this new showroom will provide full after-sales support for Rimac hypercar owners, using diagnostic tools developed by the Rimac team along with fully digitised after-sales services," the statement said.

With the opening of the new Rimac Automobili showroom in the centre of Brussels, D'Ieteren has also become the 23rd global sales partner for Rimac Automobili, adding to the brand's expansive influence across Europe, the Americas, the Middle East and even in Asia.

Hendrik Malinowski, the general manager of Bugatti Rimac, announced at the official opening that the next twelve months will represent another important period for this remarkable company, while Mate Rimac himself pointed out: "The further growth of our partner network comes at an important moment for the entire Rimac brand, following the deliveries of the Nevera around the world."

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated business section.

Tuesday, 17 January 2023

Ericsson Nikola Tesla Provided Funds for Split Smart Traffic Software

January the 17th, 2023 - Ericsson Nikola Tesla has been provided very ample funds from the European Union (EU) for the development of Split smart traffic software which would bring about numerous benefits.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, as you may have read previously, Ericsson Nikola Tesla contracted jobs worth more than 1.8 million euros without VAT for a project called ''The introduction of intelligent transport systems in the functional traffic area of the City of Split".

The tasks involved are related to the implementation of a Split smart traffic software solution intended for management in the control centre, as well as for informing road users. On top of that, it will also involve the delivery of a reliable communication backbone.

As part of the contract, Ericsson Nikola Tesla will establish and maintain a Split smart traffic software solution for the Dalmatian city's Traffic Control and Surveillance Centre, including the creation of an information backbone for the "Traffic Management - traffic light system and adaptive traffic management" subsystem, as well as develop and implement a mobile application (app) for the informing of road users.

The aforementioned project, commissioned by the City of Split and implemented by King ICT and Ericsson Nikola Tesla, is worth more than 9.5 million euros in total (without VAT) and is being co-financed through the EU Competitiveness and Cohesion Operational Programme 2014-2020.

The system and equipment of the aforementioned project will be integrated and implemented according to the "design and build" principle, and the expected duration of the contract is 32 months.

Thanks to its technological performance, such an intelligent transport system will contribute to the increase of traffic efficiency, safety and sustainability across the area of its implementation, as well as to the reduction of traffic congestion and the emission of harmful gases.

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated business section.

Monday, 16 January 2023

Croatian Hunting Tourism Making Post-Pandemic Return, With Higher Costs

January the 16th, 2023 - Croatian hunting tourism, while controversial for a great many and with good reason, is making a post-pandemic return much like other forms of tourism have, but like just about everything else - the costs are higher than they were before.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, Croatian hunting tourism is slowly recovering after the global coronavirus pandemic. Traditional guests for this form of tourism, primarily the Italians, have returned to the Istrian forests and other hunting grounds and are now coming to hunt snipe, a form of bird. They aren't yet arriving in particularly large numbers, but in this winter season, when tourism is scarce, every single euro earned is a good thing, reports HRT.

Valerio and Moreno know the terrain around Sisan in Istria well, and they have been coming here to hunt for more than 20 years now.

"I come here to do what I love doing the most - snipe hunting. There are snipe here, the hunting grounds are good, and it's also suitable for working with younger dogs,'' emphasised Valerio Piazol, a keen hunter from Italy.

In order to be allowed to hunt in this country, foreigners must pay a registration fee to the local hunting society, hire a local hunting companion, but first of all buy a pass from the Croatian Hunting Association. With the beginning of this hunting year, there are changes when it comes to costs, just as there is with everything else.

"The price of the annual hunting license has increased from 66 to 300 euros. That's an increase of 350%. I think it's excessive," said Moreno Vaciloto, another hunter from Italy. In addition to the increase in the price of hunting licenses, the arrival of the hunters themselves is also being affected by this unusually mild winter.

"For example, foreigners come here to hunt snipe. A winter like this has a very negative effect on the migration of birds, particularly snipe, because they aren't like swallows that migrate for six months and then come back to nest there. Snipe simply move along when there's no food," exolained Augusto Dobrani, a hunter in Sisan.

While the Croatian hunting tourism picture is indeed gradually recovering in the post-pandemic, inflation-dominated world, there is less game, and as such there are less hunters. Last year, there were about 1,200 foreign hunters hunting on the Istrian Peninsula and before the pandemic, there were very many more.

"The fact is that more than 1,800 hunting passes were issued annually through the Hunting Association of Istria County, out of a total of 7,8,9 thousand hunting passes that were issued on the entire territory of the Republic of Croatia," said Gracijano Prekalj, president of the Hunting Association of Istria County.

Aside from paying for their ability to hunt on Croatian territory, those hunters who come fill up accommodation facilities and visit local restaurants.

"They're good, they have money and they are good consumers. They eat a little game, but they like to eat good fish,'' stated Dusan Cernjul, an Istrian restaurant owner.

Income from Croatian hunting tourism is not negligible despite the current difficulties it is facing, and it is estimated that foreign hunters in Istria alone spend around 2 million euros annually.

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated news section.

Monday, 16 January 2023

Security Consulting for Tourism & Event Industry: Meet Goran Košćak of Sector2

January 17, 2023 - The tourism event industry is a major part of the Croatian economy, but who is taking pat of large event security. Meet Goran Košćak of Sector2. 

The tourism industry has many facets, and there are many aspects that contribute to its success which rarely make the headlines. With an increasingly number of festivals and larger events in Croatia, the issue of event security is more and more relevant. I recently came across an enterprising Varazdin entrepreneur who has launched a new niche business within the tourism security industry.

The man behind the story is Goran Košćak. He is the founder and executive director of Sector2 d.o.o. from Varaždin, a company providing security consulting and solutions in tourism and event industry. So, Hi Goran and tell us about how and when you got the idea for your company and for this type of business model.

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Hi, Paul. One could argue that the correlation between security and tourism is understood and inevitable. Even in its etymology, security, with the core of the term coming from Latin securitas is translated as the absence of worries. Tourism has the absence of worries as the essence of its very concept. Meaning, that the very last thing you want to or need to worry about when enjoying your holiday or attending your festival is your own security.

In analyzing the market of tourism, hotels or camping sites and events, business subjects rely heavily on the government and local public service to provide the expected level of security and do not engage properly in raising the security of their own destinations. For example, how many hotel resorts or camping sites have a corporate or any other security department or an individual responsible for security issues on the site? Agonizingly few, and often issues of security are delegated to maintenance, facility management or human resources departments. Organizers of festivals, conferences, and similar events tend to have security budgets; however, it often comes down to security guards. Security is a much broader concept than that, and physical security is not the only way to address potential threats. Whether it is an organizational adjustment, smart solutions, AI integration, infrastructural design, or sometimes just more security guards, the solutions for every client are individual and unique. Maximizing your security is not a generical assignment.

The idea originated back in 2015 after the terrorist attacks in Tunisia beach resort and museums, where attackers targeted tourists and a total of 60 people were killed. During that time, I was working on matters of national security and was analyzing security policies in Croatia. I began to understand that there are significant differences in public policies (goals and outcomes) in matters of tourism and security on national level, implementation on the local level and operational product in the real sector. In the upcoming years there were multiple reports of kidnappings in Mexico's tourism resorts because of their drug wars. As a result, hotel resorts in those and other countries in the World started investing to build up their security and provide their guests with a level of higher security and reduced risk (closed resorts etc.). Still, I could not find any adequate business model in Croatia, one that would address similar issues. And one must take into consideration that Croatia's economy is one of the most dependent on tourism in the EU (24.8% of GDP according to WTTC data). The idea grew, was developed, and organized over the last couple of years.

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As we learned in recent years, threats to your tourist season do not have to come from near proximity to your destination. The global village we all lived in for the last couple of decades is going through fundamental changes with the forming of blocks of countries influencing the flow of goods and people related to tourism. An example is how the Ukraine-Russia conflict influenced the Montenegrin and other tourism seasons. Then again, the effects of the pandemic are still ongoing, the aviation traveling industry is still recovering, the migrant routes are still active, demographic effects on the labor market are as relevant as ever not only in Croatia. Cyber-attacks happen every day, we had a couple of extremist attacks in the EU just in the last couple of years (France, Belgium, Turkey, Austria), potential outcomes of Chinese-Taiwan conflicts on microprocessors shortage can influence the EU’s economy any month now, and there is a foreshadowing of a severe recession in Europe, especially, Germany, the country with the biggest incoming tourist's percentage in Croatia. To name a few. Anybody who works in tourism can testify to how some of these events have influenced or could influence the tourism season in the coming years.

However, there are ways in which one can prepare and organize so that when those changes happen, they do not set your organization back and through the process you build resilience of your organization for the years to come.

Sector2 focuses on the two intertwined sectors (tourism and event industry) in two ways - praxis and theory. Its services include operational and analytical support based on overarching principles of security for tourism resorts/destinations and standalone events/congresses. Also, we offer coaching, educational programs and policy analysis on the correlation between Security and Tourism. It is our strong position that even by investing in the training of the management or staff you can raise the level of security at a particular destination. Our services will contribute to the sustainability of your business, project, or location and offer you a marginal advantage towards your competition. 

It all sounds very logical and straightforward. What do you believe sets you apart in the tourism market and what services and type of consulting is your company providing?

What sets Sector2 apart is the fact that there is no other company that focuses on these issues in this field across the region and that the professional experience that it brings is extremely specific. Our past is our biggest asset. Over the past seventeen years, I have personally been fortunate to have jobs that I have enjoyed and that have given me the opportunity to grow, learn and develop. For the first six years I have worked in tourism, dealing with various assignments and handling projects in marketing, PR, event, destination, and project management. Then, for more than a decade afterwards I have been involved with different matters of security, specifically international relations and diplomacy, security policies, intelligence and counterintelligence, national and corporate security, and risk management in the practical, analytical, and theoretical sense. I have a wealth of knowledge, experience, and networking contacts in these areas, which merged and resulted in the forming of the Sector2 company. Sector2 is the professional culmination of my experience, knowledge, skill, and interests.

The range of consultancy Sector2 provides goes from critical architecture and infrastructure, forming of security rings/areas, access control, credentialing, risk assessment, security protocols, crisis communication, security auditing, business intelligence, facilitation of video surveillance, cyber protection, data storage, data recovery, cooperation with local and national security services, standard corporative security, and other services. It also serves as a hub for companies that are well versed and experienced in the specific fields mentioned.

While evaluating the market, it became obvious that business owners in the tourism sector do not contemplate issues of security at all or until it is too late. Allowing Sector2 to evaluate their situation and give recommendations can improve not only their security and the security of their guests but also the quality of their product. Security consulting and recommendation of different solutions can be viewed as a way of risk evasion in insurance sense. Even better, we are developing a model of cooperation with two big insurance companies which would benefit business subjects in tourism. With the reduced risk of your destination or project, and the safer environment, there is no reason your insurance premiums should not be reduced.

Security can function with multiple purposes. Sector2 identifies major security risks and develops a set of agendas for managing them, which facilitate operations, prioritize protecting people and other organizational assets while supporting your vision and goals. We provide a coordinating service, marshaling relevant internal and external resources to provide a holistic response always guided by organizational objectives (Gill, 2022). It is our company goal to make your hotel resort, camping site or event profits and reduce losses. Sector2 individualizes and adapts the security needs of tourism/event organizations to add value to your business, enhance your product, and elevate the guaranties of your set goals.

An advantage we bring to the table is the specific experience. Tourism and event industry have delicate natures and viewing it solely from the security aspect could damage the organizational goals. It is rare for someone to embody that sense in one business model and that is exactly what we take pride in. In the last year alone, among our clients were hotels in Croatia and Austria, and we have worked on the biggest and most attractive festivals in Croatia such as the Ultra Europe Music Festival and Fusion World Music Festival in Split, Balkans Finest Competition on the Željava Air Base, and the Phoenix Project.

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How do you evaluate the recent substantial changes in Croatia and how will it influence the tourism season, specifically the entrance in the Schengen- and Euro-zone? If you can focus on possible negative effects on tourism and how would you address them. Just some examples to see how Sector2 operates.

The positive effects on the Croatian tourism could be tremendous, most likely incremental, and I absolutely support both achievements. However, let us talk about the flipside of this euro-coin, risk-wise. There is less security on the border (direction EU) now so local and regional security services are going to have a lot more on their hands, especially during the tourist season. Therefore, I expect that the involvement of business subjects in matters of resolving security issues and raising security awareness on their properties will be expected to rise. For instance, there is a much higher possibility now than before that some persona non grata or illegal substances appear on your destination. Now that there is a border control missing. There are ways to contribute to the safety of your destination. Whether by education of your management and/or staff, better cooperation with the local services on these issues, implementing or adjusting the access control on the site, installing video surveillance with specific software or some other individual solution adequate for your destination or event. Sector2 is here to evaluate and facilitate your requirements and challenges.

The entering of the Eurozone should simplify many aspects of financial wellbeing for tourists in Croatia, especially foreign ones, in comparison to before. Even so, let me focus on the potential security issues tourism resorts and events could encounter. Primarily, one can expect that there will be a significant rise in foreign tourists coming with larger amounts of cash. That logically increases the possibility of counterfeited bills in circulation. If we take into consideration that your resort or event has many registers or micro locations selling items (bars, souvenir shops, leisure activities etc.), we can agree that there is a bigger chance that your organization is going to be affected by it. Also, visibly large cash amounts usually invite thieves or similar individuals. There are solutions for those issues as well. For instance, implementing a cashless system in your resort or event. That way all your financial intake has a bigger control. The Tax services are going to love it because it is easier to control, and inspections will go faster. There will be no money missing in the register by the end of the chaotic shift because there is no cash to go missing. People can use credit or debit cards, phones, apps, or specific RFID tags to pay their bills. In that sense, you gain control and secure a lot of the aspects of your destination/event.

To wrap things up, do you consider Croatia a safe country for the incoming tourists?

Absolutely. I am quite sure that you have mentioned quite a few times in your articles, interviews, and podcasts how safe Croatia is. And I agree with you wholeheartedly. There is not a safer tourist destination in the world I would recommend.

Then again, there is a significant difference between security and the perception of security, in tourism especially. If you can address both then you are on to something. Since I am speaking to a native English speaker, I would like to take advantage of an English saying, Grace Hopper I believe, “that the most dangerous phrase in English language is we have always done it this way.” Since it also applies to Croatia and our ways, I would not recommend tourism business subjects to rely heavily on everyone else to provide security and risk-free environment to their guests and clients, but to be progressive and contribute themselves to keep Croatia the safest tourism destination.

You can contact Goran for more information about his services via the Sector2 website.

Monday, 16 January 2023

4 Million Euros Pumped into Strengthening Zagreb Airport Military Mobility

January the 16th, 2023 - Zagreb Airport military mobility is set to be strengthened with a generous four million euro cash injection from European Union (EU) funds.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, the European Union recently approved more than four million euros from the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) fund for military mobility to finance the reconstruction of maneuvering areas to improve the civil-military operability of Zagreb's Franjo Tudjman International Airport.

As announced by the Ministry of Defence, Zagreb Airport military mobility is going to be boosted after the airport submitted its project to an EU tender. One of the conditions for obtaining the aforementioned funds was the support of the Ministry of Defense in the form of an explanation of the usefulness of the project for the Croatian Armed Forces.

The Zagreb Airport military mobility project includes the reconstruction of parts of the driving track, the replacement of various pieces of electronic equipment and installations, and the replacement of part of the vertical signaling on the maneuvering surfaces. Defense Minister Mario Banozic also pointed out that the goal of the project, among other things, is to strengthen interdepartmental cooperation in the context of the construction of civil-military transport infrastructure.

"The approval of financing from EU funds confirmed the value of this project, as well as the importance of cooperation between military and civilian institutions. I believe that we will continue on this path and with this same level of intensity," said Banozic.

The call for improving overall Zagreb Airport military mobility under the CEF instrument was announced back in May 2022, and in the sense of the wider military mobility project at hand, 63 applications from all over the EU worth more than 1.5 billion euros were received, of which 35 were approved, totalling a whopping 616 million euros.

Back in 2022, the Ministry of Defense, in cooperation with other competent central bodies of the state administration, adopted the Military Mobility Plan, where one of the goals was to strengthen interdepartmental cooperation and prepare projects for possible co-financing from the EU financial envelope for military mobility for the construction of civil-military transport infrastructure.

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated news section.

Monday, 16 January 2023

Croatian Citizen Support for Sanctions Against Russian Federation at 76%

January the 16th, 2023 - Croatian citizen support for sanctions imposed by Croatia and the entire European Union (EU) against Russia for its horrific treatment of Ukraine stands at 76%.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, within the European Union, Croatian citizen support for sanctions against the Russian Federation is above the average, as is its unwavering support for Ukraine. This was confirmed by a recent Eurobarometer survey, according to which 76% of respondents in Croatia stated that they fully or mostly support both Croatian and EU policies regarding events regarding Russia and Ukraine.

The average at the level of the European Union stopped at 73% of support, and it is interesting to look into what the obtained data shows for each individual country. Convincingly, the greatest support for sanctions was expressed in Finland and Sweden, where it stands at almost 100%, with both countries standing at 96%.

Those countries are followed by countries that do not border either Russia or Ukraine (Netherlands 93%, Denmark 92%, Ireland 91%, Portugal 90%) in which support for a complete cooling of relations with Russia is even higher than in Poland (89%) and Lithuania ( 88%).

Arguably, the least support for the European Union's policy towards Russia can be found in Greece, where not even half of the respondents were inclined to show full solidarity with the wartorn and devastated Ukraine. Almost the entire number of countries that made up the former Eastern bloc - Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary, the Czech Republic and Slovakia - are below the European Union average in this regard. Another country showcasing relatively low support (62%) for the sanctions against Russia is also Italy.

Only 8% of citizens within the entire EU stated that they were completely and utterly against the policy of imposing sanctions against the Russian Federation for their abhorrent actions against neighbouring Ukraine which began with a shock invasion in February 2022, while there is a higher percentage of those who are "more in favour" (42%) of such sanctions than there are of those who are completely in favour.

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated news section.

Monday, 16 January 2023

Exploring The Croatian Language - The Shtokavian Dialect

January the 16th, 2023 - We've looked into many a dialect, but what about what's known as a ''prestige dialect''? of the modern (standard) Croatian language? A look deeper into the Shtokavian dialect, part of the wider family of South Slavic dialects.

We've explored many of the dialects, subdialects and indeed languages in their own right as some linguists consider them to be which are spoken across modern Croatia. From the Dubrovnik subdialect (Ragusan) in the extreme south of Dalmatia to Northwestern Kajkavian in areas like Zagorje, the ways in which people speak in this country deviate from what we know as standard Croatian language enormously.

That goes without even mentioning much about old DalmatianZaratin, once widely spoken in and around Zadar, Istriot, or Istro-Venetian. Shtokavian is far less obscure than the majority of the above, with the exception of Kajkavian and Chakavian, and forms the basis of the Croatian language standard as we know it today.

If you're not a linguist and you hear the words Shtokavian, Kajkavian or Chakavian, you're probably thinking ''what?!''. Did you know that the question of ''what'' is so valid in this context that it makes up the beginning of each of these names? In the parts of the country where the Western Shtokavian dialect is dominant, the Croatian word for ''what'' is ''shto'', and for the areas of the country where Kajkavian is used, the word for what changes to ''kaj'', and - you guessed it - for Chakavian, people typically say ''cha''.

Where is the Shtokavian dialect used?

In the modern day, Shtokavian is used in much of Croatia, as well as in Montenegro, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and even in parts of Austria (more precisely in Burgenland).

A brief history of the Shtokavian dialect

For the sake of this article not turning into a book, I'll be focusing on the use of the Shtokavian dialect solely in the Croatian sense, and we first see it appear way back in the 12th century, then splitting off into two zones; Eastern and Western - one encompassed Serbia, the more eastern parts of Bosnia and Herzegovina and further south in Montenegro, while the other was dominant in Slavonia and in most of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

We can read early texts written in the Shtokavian dialect which are dated as far back as the 1100s, one of the most important of them all being the regulation of commerce between Dubrovnik and Bosnia, called the Ban Kulin Charter. Other legal documentation also boasts the dialect from across Dalmatia during the pre-Ottoman era, and Dubrovnik stands out quite a lot in this regard. Another important text written in the Shtokavian dialect is the Vatican Croatian Prayer Book which was published before the year 1400 in Dubrovnik.

Are there different dialects within the wider Shtokavian dialect?

In short - yes. There are a great many dialects (or subdialects) of the Shtokavian dialect which are or were spoken in different areas of not only Croatia but within the wider region. As I said before, for the sake of this article not becoming a book, I'll focus only on Shtokavian spoken in Croatia, and as such draw your attention to Slavonian (old Shtokavian), Bosnian-Dalmatian (neo Shtokavian), Eastern Herzegovian (neo Shtokavian) and the Dubrovnik subdialect (neo Shtokavian).

Slavonian

Meet Podravian/Podravski and Posavian/Posavski (just when you thought this couldn't possibly get any more needlessly complicated). This form of speech is spoken primarily by Croats from Baranja, Slavonia and areas of the wider Pannonian plain. The aforementioned subdialects (Posavian and Podravian) are the northern and southern variants of the dialect, and there are ethnic Croats who speak it outside of Croatia's modern borders in parts of northern Bosnia, as well. The two subdialects boast two accents, Ikavian and Ekavian. 

Bosnian-Dalmatian

This dialect is sometimes referred to as Younger Ikavian and most people who speak it are ethnic Croats from a wide range of modern Croatia - spanning from Dalmatia all the way to Lika and Kvarner. Outside of Croatian borders, you'll also find people who speak it in Subotica (Serbia) and in Herzegovina, and to a much lesser extent in areas around Central Bosnia. Unlike with Slavonian, the only accent heard in the Bosnian-Dalmatian pronunciation of the wider Shtokavian dialect is Ikavian.

Eastern Herzegovian

This is the most widespread subdialect of the Shtokavian dialect of all, encompassing vast areas of Croatia, Montenegro, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia. Of all of the subdialects of the Shtokavian dialect, Eastern Herzegovian (or Eastern Herzegovinian) has the largest number of speakers. 

The Dubrovnik dialect (Ragusan)

You can read more about the Dubrovnik dialect (or subdialect) by clicking here.

Standard Croatian is based on the neo Shtokavian dialect, but despite that, it took over four centuries for this dialect to gain enough ground and eventually prevail as the basis for modern Croatian, with other dialects (including Kajkavian and Chakavian) falling short primarily owing to not only historical reasons but because of usually turbulent political issues.

 

For more on exploring the Croatian language, as well as the numerous dialects and subdialects spoken in different areas across the country, and even a look into endangered and extinct languages, make sure to check out our dedicated lifestyle section.

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