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

By 14 March 2021
Bakic, Macan, Rimac, de Jong Promote Croatian Tourism Globally Free, Meanwhile...
Screenshot of Jutarnji List March 13, 2021 edition from LinkedIn post

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 of the tagging function. 

I get tagged a LOT these days. 

One of the people who very rarely tags me but completely understands the power of using the function sparingly is entrepreneur Nenad Bakic, who has been very vocal in his anti-lockdown stance regarding the pandemic, backed up by endless charts and his mathematical and analytical brain. I am staying out of the whole corona debate, as my opinion does not matter and I have nothing of authority to add, but Nenad tagged me recently for the first time in a while the other day. 

— Nenad Bakic (@nbakic) March 6, 2021

More than 146,000 views through Nenad's impressive global network. Thirty seconds of filming, a little social media sharing, and a global audience can see the reality of daily life in Croatia today. For those looking for a safe and beautiful place to remote work in a less restrictive country regarding lockdowns, some very useful food for thought. 

Nenad's comment when he tagged me was that this was some kind of alternative tourist board. It got me thinking - again - about just how much private individuals do to promote this country for free, because they love it and want to increase tourism revenues. And there are many thousands of people in Croatia with much smaller audiences who are also playing their part be posting photos, videos and information, as well as sharing. Collectively, it must lead to an impressive calculation of euro generated in terms of tourism spend. 

But when it comes to taking credit for all this interest generated in Croatian tourism, that credit is taken only by one entity - the Kingdom of Accidental Tourism.  

Just a few days before Nenad tagged me, I nearly spat out my beer all over the keyboard when I came across this article on TCN: Croatian Tourism Brand Recognisability Increases 50%, Says CTB Director Kristjan Staničić. The implication, at least as I read it, is a self-justification of what a great job the Kings are doing. 

The data in the survey are not related to this year and are only for specific markets, but it got me thinking about who is doing a lot of the work pro bono to increase the brand awareness. In addition of the thousands of people in Croatia and the diaspora, here are a few examples of what the private sector has done at their own cost (both in terms of time and money) with no meaningful contribution from the Kings (apart from granting permission to use videos in the case of this Rimac Automobili amazing video about Living and Working in Croatia.

It is one of the best videos promoting the Croatian lifestyle I have ever seen. Done out of love by the Rimac team (as well as a way to attract new talent), with already an impressive 250,000 organic views. 

When ABC News contacted TCN via the Total Croatia Travel INFO Viber community last summer, I knew that this was a big opportunity for a great promotion to the US market, but I didn't have the capacity to deal with it. But I knew a man who could. 

Kreso Macan took the ABC News crew all over Dubrovnik, opening doors where none previously existed. The result? No less than 6 reports on ABC News, including 12.5 million viewers on Good Morning America for this piece above. 

The Kingdom's contribution in all this? Not even a press release. 


And it is not just Croatian private individuals who are achieving incredible things for the visibility of Croatian tourism. As I wrote previously in Dutchman Promotes Croatia Globally: Meanwhile, in the Kingdom of Accidental Tourism... Jan de Jong's initiative to introduce the digital nomad visa not only succeeded in (by Croatian standards) record time, but has also brought about a complete shift in the national tourist board's strategy, with a full campaign under the slogan, Croatia, Your New Office, now underway. 

About that campaign... 

Back to people tagging me again. 

(Some might argue this these 11 guys had something to do with the raising of visibility of Croatia's brand internationally)

Before I continue, although I am become known in some quarters for constructively critical articles such as these (which are certainly more lucrative to write - I make 5 times more ad revenue on these articles than regular ones), I would really prefer not to write them, and I would be a lot happier if the people who are paid to promote Croatian tourism effectively would do just that. And if my articles had no effect, then there may be little point writing them (apart from the money), but as we have seen... 


So, a polite request - just do your jobs properly and I will happily focus on other things.

I firmly believe that the digital nomad opportunity is a great one for Croatia. With the right creative mindset of the likes of people such as Bakic, Macan, Rimac and de Jong, what could be achieved? In the article about de Jong's efforts above, I pondered what could be achieved if he was given jut 2% of the (from memory) 400 million kuna national tourist board budget. 

What could the likes of Macan, Bakic and do Jong do with that budget to improve Brand Croatia (I will leave Rimac out of this one, he has cars to make and posh Porsche partners to drive around - congratulations, btw!). 

And how is that money being spent at the moment?

I was tagged yesterday on a LinkedIn post by the Marketing Director of Red Bull in Croatia, who I have never met, but I bet he has a cool job. The Red Bull marketing director asked what his followers thought of the new campaign for digital nomads - whose target audience is foreign remote workers who may live in Croatia for 12 months, as long as their work is not with Croatian companies or suppliers. The comments flooding in at the logic of a full-page advertorial in Croatian in Jutrarnji List included a lot of facepalming, and I think the general consensus was this latest piece of marketing genius might not find the target niche of non-Croatian-speaking international remote workers, who are mostly not currently in Croatia.  


What's next in the Kingdom's marketing campaign? Croatian wine festivals in Riyadh? Cvarci cooking workshops in Jerusalem?

This (and this is just the latest of many) is a great opportunity for Croatia, and some people have worked very hard to make it a reality. Can we not at least have someone vaguely competent put in charge of making this a success, or are we going to throw away yet another golden opportunity, as we did with Anthony Bourdain's No Reservations, Game of Thrones, and of course, the World Cup.

I guess we should not worry too much. The World Cup is coming around again next year, so we can all sit back in the Kingdom of Accidental Tourism and cheers on the Vatreni. Then, as happened in 2018 when Croatia was the most talked about country in the planet, congratulate ourselves on what a great job we did increasing the visibility of Brand Croatia. 

For anyone in the Kingdom who is actually interested in pushing this digital nomad opportunity forward and wants to learn more, this interview with the first official digital nomad on Hvar, as well as this excellent feature on the amazing experience of swapping San Francisco for an idyllic Dalmatian island winter in Jelsa on Hvar (yes, you read that right - Californians promoting winter tourism on Hvar) gives some really good insights. Another great promotion. Another private sector initiative. Another promotion delivered with a zero kuna spend. 

To learn more about digital nomads in Croatia, follow the dedicated TCN section