Editorial

Croatia Full of Lifestyle & Safety, Croatia's Tourism Jewels

Several years ago, a friend of mine on Hvar who runs a luxury tourism agency on Hvar told me about the moment he discovered the secret of Croatian tourism. "I was in an olive grove with a group of rich New York clients," he explained. "Olive tasting, peka lunch, the standard. One of the guests came over to me and motioned to a lemon tree and its abundant fruit nearby. He asked if it would be ok to pick one. Pick ten, I replied, and off he went. At the end of the week, he came up to me to…

Medical Tourism, the Hidden Gem in Croatia's Remote Work Revolution

One of the joys of living and writing about Croatia over the last 20 years has been the constant stream of new discoveries. When I first bought my house back in 2002 on Hvar, there was very little in the English-speaking media about Croatia apart from the aftermath of war and the fabled coast of former Yugoslavia. I myself knew little about my new home island (having only heard its name 2 days before I arrived and agreed my purchase), but it was not long before I got to learn just what a treasure I had stumbled upon. Named by…

Zagreb's Shameful Ignorance of Eastern Croatia Revealed (Part 1)

February 3 - The level of ignorance among Croatians about what lies in the east of their country is staggering. And they are really missing out, for eastern Croatia is amazing.  I really don't know where to start.  Perhaps at 06:35 on November 16 last year. For it was then that I picked up American digital nomad videographer and emerging media star, Steve Tsenterensky, for a 6-day tour of eastern Croatia that I promised would blow his mind.  It blew his mind.  (Osijek, Full of Life - Osijek Tourist Board) Prior to the trip, I asked Steve what he knew…

Diary of a Croatian Lawsuit: HTZ Director Kristjan Stanicic Talks Uhljebs

February 1, 2022 - A quite extraordinary day in court in the latest installment of Diary of a Croatian Lawsuit, as Croatian National Tourist Board Director Kristjan Stanicic talks uhljebs.  I am beginning to think that the lawyer for the prosecution is seriously cool, and when this is all over in 2063 or beyond, I am going to ask him out for a drink. If we are both still alive.   When I first met him, I thought he was polite but perhaps a little incompetent. One of my lawsuits was delayed not once, but TWICE, for the simple reason that…

Long Live the Fax! Cutting Edge Comms in Croatian Ministries in 2022

January 9, 2022 - The year is 2022, and in the Mighty State of Uhljebistan, the fax machine reigns supreme. When was the last time you sent a fax? Have you ever sent a fax? Do you even know what a fax is? Or what a fax machine looks like? If you are dealing with Croatian bureaucracy in the year 2022, ignore the power of the facsimile at your peril, for it is still one of the prime sources of communication in a digital age which has no idea what the fax dinosaur is or actually does.  It is almost…

2022 Bringing Dismissals, New Job Offers for 300 Tourist Board Directors

December 28, 2021 - Croatia has more than 300 tourist board directors all over the country, most on permanent contracts. An interesting initiative from the Ministry of Tourism and Sports could change all that.  I am not holding my breath - this is Croatia after all - but could a much-needed shakeup of the outdated and inefficient tourist board system be on the cards? A new law requiring all of Croatia's 300+ tourist board directors, including the Croatian National Tourist Board Director, to take part in a tender to reapply for their jobs. And rather than - in most cases…

Improving Croatian Tourism: 8 Key TCN Areas of Focus for 2022

December 23, 2021 - 2022 will be a year of change for tourism in Croatia. An overview of 8 key areas TCN will be focusing its efforts on improving Croatian tourism in 2022. 2021 has been a great year at TCN, as we diversified from a news portal into some other projects. There is such potential in so many areas in this country that I am constantly surprised at how few people I see exploring the opportunities. I know a few people who laughed when a certain Dutch expat announced he was going to grow tomatoes in northern Croatia, but…

Ever Been to a Party Where the Host is Suing You?

December 17, 2021 - Ever been to a party where the host is suing you? A foreign perspective of the annual Days of Croatian Tourism - aka Days of Croatian Self-Congratulation - conference, which reveals a lot about the way tourism in Croatia is run.  I am not sure how to describe the annual late-season event known as Days of Croatian Tourism, which usually takes place in October at the end of the season, bringing together the great and the not so good of the official tourism bodies. The event almost always takes place on the coast in one of…

Reflections on the First TCN Split Winter Tourism Roundtable

December 16, 2021 - The first TCN Split Winter Tourism Roundtable took place on Monday at CHOPS Grill in Split. Some reflections...   As I looked above the excellent steak that was served for lunch after the TCN Split Winter Tourism Roundtable, I smiled (see photo above). For opposite me, at the other side of our rectangular roundtable, were perhaps the four public officials who could have the most influence in helping the initiative to extend the Split tourist season to succeed.  And I had history with all four.  Central Dalmatia Tourist Board Director Josko Stella actually gave me my first…

Happy Birthday Osijek: Time to Tell the Truth about Slavonia Full of Life

December 2, 2021 - Happy Birthday to Osijek! Enough of Zagreb ignoring eastern Croatia, it is time to tell the world the truth about Slavonia Full of Life.  One of the many paradoxes of this wonderful country - for me at least - is the relationship Zagreb and the rest of the country has with Slavonia and eastern Croatia (for ease of reading purposes, I will use Slavonia to refer to Osijek - Baranja, and Vukovar - Srijem counties in this article). Every November 18, Facebook profile photos all over the country and the diaspora are changed to remember and…

Is It Really True That All Foreigners Living in Croatia are Really Rich?

December 1, 2021 - An article I have wanted to write for a very long time and the perceptions about - and realities of - the wealth of foreigners living in Croatia. Shortly after I returned from our epic trip to eastern Croatia last month, I posted this on Facebook: I am genuinely and honestly shocked at how many of my Croatian friends tell me that they have never been to Slavonia. Guys, you are missing out big time. Osijek is the most fun place to be at this time of year. It didn't take long for the predictable reaction…

October Blues: Imagine the Global Economy Had a Dalmatian Work Ethic

November 27, 2021 - Some in Dalmatia want winter tourism, others are exhausted after the season. How would things look if the global economy adopted the Dalmatian work ethic?  I love Dalmatia. I love Dalmatians. Hell, I married one, and she is as lovely as ever, as well as one of the most dedicated and hard-working people I know.  My wife got that work ethic from her father, who is from the village of Brusje on the island of Hvar. One of ten kids, there was never money for anything, and the 12-kilimetre round-trip walk to school in Hvar Town…

Vukovar Card: Support Local Economy Rather than Temporary Facebook Status

November 23, 2021 - 30 years after the fall of Vukovar, the global Croatian community commemorates the horrendous event, but is it time to support the Vukovar community with something more concrete than an annual Facebook status update? A practical suggestion to introduce the Vukovar Card. For many, many years, I avoided writing about the topic of Vukovar, and with good reason.  I am not Croatian, I was not there, and how could a foreigner have an opinion worth having about one of the most painful periods and events in Croatian history? And not only that, but how could he…

How to Brand Croatian Islands? Showcasing Individuality

November 3, 2021 - They are among the crown jewels of tourism on the Adriatic, but how to brand Croatian islands?  They are one of the most picturesque attractions, and yet we can't agree how many of them there are. Some say Croatia has 1185 islands, others 1244 and others 1246.  It has always been somewhat symbolic to me of the 'strategy' of the Kingdom of Accidental Tourism that we cannot even agree on how many pieces of our prized asset we have. If you are wondering why there is confusion, How Many Islands Does Croatia Have? should make things clearer. …

From Jelsa Cafe to TCN: The Total Croatia Project Turns 10

October 9, 2021 - A decade has flown by, as the Total Croatia Project, which started life in a Jelsa cafe as Total Hvar before turning into Total Croatia News, turns 10 years old today.  It has been quite a decade, one of constant change.  Ten years ago today, at about this time, I ordered a cold one from Captain Nijaz at Cafe Splendid on the main square in Jelsa on Hvar, opened my laptop, and got to work.  My first article on my new project called Total Hvar, an attempt to bring tourist information about Croatia's premier island into…

Could Digital Nomad Concepts Solve Croatian Winter Tourism Problem?

October 2, 2021 - Community,  events, co-living - how concepts for digital nomads can be utilised to improve Croatian winter tourism problem. Let me start by explaining the background to my perspective on Croatian winter tourism. Having lived full-time for 13 years on the island of Hvar, I have seen the realities of the seasonality of Croatian tourism closer than most. An idyllic island to live on for sure, but with locals too busy with the season to fully enjoy the summer months, only to then encounter the long and beautiful winter with everything closed and nowhere to go. With…

Mate Rimac & Dario Zurovec, a Case Study of Politician Entrepreneur Harmony

September 29, 2021 - The entrepreneurial beacon of Sveta Nedelja lit up the Entrepreneurial Mindset 2021 conference in Zagreb yesterday, as Mate Rimac and Mayor Dario Zurovec gave a tantalising view of Croatia 2.0. It is two years since the introduction of a new conference to the busy Zagreb congress calendar. Poduzetnicki Mindset - Entrepreneurial Mindset - brought together some of the top entrepreneurial names in Croatia to share their stories, visions, and failures. In the front row of the audience where not the usual politicians who left after the opening speeches, but students and high-school kids with entrepreneurial aspirations,…

Has the Croatian Digital Nomad Permit Been a Success So Far?

September 7, 2021 - It is just over 8 months since the introduction of the Croatian digital nomad permit. A look at the impact so far.  Eighteen months ago, hardly anyone mentioned Croatia and digital nomads in the same sentence. Today, Croatia is one of the first European countries that comes to mind when talking about digital nomad destinations. The phenomenal free PR generated by the Croatian digital nomad visa story was responsible for much of that. But just over a year since the Croatian government announced its intention to introduce only the second digital nomad visa in Europe after…

It's the Mindset: Rimac on Attracting Diaspora, Expats to Sveta Nedelja

August 3, 2021 - Miraculous things are happening in a small town near Zagreb, as local authorities and progressive businesses combine to build a prototype of Croatia 2.0.  Its name translates as Holy Sunday.  And until relatively recently, it was a town which attracted very little national or international attention.  But times have changed. I made my first visit to Sveta Nedelja less than a year ago. I was certainly curious to see what I would find. For here was the home of the most progressive local administration in all Croatia, as well as the home of the country's global…

City Breaks, Nomads, Medical Tourism: a New Era for Zagreb Tourism

July 30, 2021 - The announcement of 25 new routes from the Croatian capital by Ryanair is the latest step in the evolving nature of Zagreb tourism, which has a very bright future. When I first moved to Croatia back in 2003, my budget travel options from the UK were extremely limited. There was the unenviable choice of London to Trieste, bus transfer to Rijeka, then 11 hours on a bus to Split and the ferry to Hvar. Much preferred was Ryanair to Graz, then 4 hour train to Zagreb and onward bus to Split. I got to know Graz…

Would Nikola Tesla Have Preferred to be on a Croatian or Serbian Coin?

July 26, 2021 - A global citizen equally proud of his Serb origin and Croat homeland, what would Nikola Tesla have made of the latest Balkan political row over his identity? It is almost 80 years since the genius that was Nikola Tesla died alone in a New York hotel room, the end of an extraordinary life of invention and creativity that changed the world for the better.  He certainly deserves to be remembered and celebrated for all he contributed, but the latest proposed recognition of his genius has once more ignited a Balkan political row and fired up the…

Diary of a Croatian Lawsuit: Entering the 3rd Calendar Year

July 8, 2021 - Part 2 of Diary of a Croatian Lawsuit, documenting the speedy Croatian justice system with two lawsuits against the TCN CEO from the Croatian National Tourist Board.  Athough it is not pleasant being sued, I must confess that my first experience has been fascinating. And while I don't necessarily look forward to trekking to the Zagreb Municipal Court, the blogging material and post-court coffee with the legendica that is my lawyer, Vanja Juric, more than make up for it.  For those looking to get up to speed, here is the first part of Diary of a…

Zagreb Digital Nomad Week 2021: 5 Key Takeaways

June 28, 2021 - After an action-packed and thought-provoking Zagreb Digital Nomad Week 2021, some key takeaways for Zagreb and Croatia. I wasn't quite sure what to expect from Zagreb Digital Nomad Week 2021, but I knew that it would be inspiring. Sometimes, when I write about an opportunity for Croatia from within Croatia, it is hard to have a global perspective. Local viewpoints are not necessarily transferred to the global viewpoint. And while a lot has been written by TCN about the digital nomad opportunity for more than 2 years now, what were the true feelings of significant names…

How Dubrovnik Successfully Wooed the US Market During the Pandemic

Jun3 15, 2021 - Many tourism businesses rode out the pandemic hoping for better times. Dubrovnik has been quietly working away, successfully wooing the important US market, and now stands ready to reap the dividends of a quietly effective strategy.  I don't think I have been more wrong about a destination in Croatia than I have been about Dubrovnik. Pre-pandemic, with the VERY notable exception fo the Feast of St Blaise (simply the best time to visit the city in normal years in my opinion - read why here), it was a city I avoided due to the stereotyypes of…

Transparency, the Biggest Winner in the 2021 Croatian Local Elections?

May 27, 2021 - The first round of the 2021 Croatian local elections brought a strong breeze of change to the country, with one clear winner - transparency.  I must confess that I am looking forward to Monday morning. Apart from the fact that I will be back in court for the first hearing of one of my two lawsuits from the Croatian National Tourist Board (which I am secretly quite enjoying, but don't tell anyone), it will also be the day after the second round of voting in the Croatian local elections.  The Croatian obsession of treating even minor…

You Promised Not to Sue Me, PM: Will You Also Back Anti-SLAPP Bill?

May 9, 2021 - As the SLAPP lawsuit intimidation tactics against journalists continue in Croatia, I invite Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic to back the proposed anti-SLAPP bill from Centar MP Marijana Puljak.  It has been an intense few weeks.  In addition to the launch of our new national tourism portal, Total Croatia, and the ongoing Digital Nomads-in-Residence Program in Dubrovnik, the aftermath of my decision to make public the two lawsuits from the Croatian National Tourist Board against me continues to feature large in my daily life. I have been genuinely stunned at the public reaction and support (95% in…

Paul Bradbury: How I Would Fix Croatia's Broken Tourist System

April 18, 2021 - The Croatian National Tourist Board is an irrelevant institution. A simple way to fix Croatia's broken tourist system.  With the exception of my time as a humanitarian aid worker running an emergency food distribution programme in post-genocidal Rwanda in 1994, I can honestly say that I have never enjoyed a job as much as I have in the last few days with TCN/TC. The huge public support for me in response to the two lawsuits from the Croatian National Tourist Board has been humbling, and completely unexpected. Thank you. The gift of priceless PR far in…

China Exposes Croatian Kingdom of Accidental Tourism Reality

April 6, 2021 - Numbers, numbers, numbers. Or how China exposed the Croatian Kingdom of Accidental Tourism for what it really is.  Our journey starts back in May 2015, some two months before the launch of TCN.  I made a decision on one of our early portals, Total Split, to do an interview that I knew would be controversial and probably result in the loss of a number of readers, as well as possibly some 'friends'. I decided that we would interview 'the most hated woman in Split' and give her some media space to give her side of the…

Bakic, Macan, Rimac, de Jong Promote Croatian Tourism Globally Free, Meanwhile...

March 14, 2021 - As a new tourist season approaches, the Kingdom of Accidental Tourism goes into overdrive. A look at efforts to promote Croatian tourism globally, as well as... well, yes. I am not a big fan of tagging on social media, although I completely understand the usefulness and power of the function. I rarely tag people myself unless I know for sure that what I am making them aware of will be on point and relevant. If there was somehow a function to only allow tags that the user would find useful, I would be the biggest fan…

Croatian Tourism 2021 Preparations v Competition: The View from London

March 6, 2021 - How are preparations for the Croatian tourism 2021 season going compared to the competition? The view from London-based tourism professionals.   With lots of other exciting things happening in Croatia and elsewhere, and with more writers joining the expanding TCN team, I find myself writing less about tourism these days than in years gone by. My fascination with a country which generates more than 20% of its GDP from tourism, yet does almost nothing noteworthy (unless by noteworthy, you mean all the dumb stuff - there is PLENTY of that) to promote continues. And I wonder what…

How COVID-19 Became a Great Croatian Tourism Promo Gift for USA Market

February 21, 2021 - Last year may have been a disaster for global tourism, but it was a spectacular one for Croatian tourism promo to the USA market, albeit quite by chance. Sometimes (actually quite often when it comes to Croatian tourism) things happen completely by chance.  Sometimes some good comes from a terrible situation, the proverbial every cloud has a silver lining.  And through the disastrous tourism year of 2020, I noted a recurring theme of hope for Croatian tourism - the most high-profile penetration of Croatian tourism promo into the important USA market.
When ABC News contacted…
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