Editorial

Finally! A Croatian Tourism Conference to Bring Change, Progress, Cooperation

Croatia seems to have more conferences than most countries, some more useful than others. A fabulous addition for 2020, however, a new Croatian tourism initiative which should bring about dialogue, cooperation and change. Why One Day or Day One #hrturizam2030 is different and deserves your support.  A few months ago, I finally accepted a longstanding invitation from a chap called Goran Rihelj to visit him in Vinkovci in eastern Croatia. Until I first met Goran, I had never heard of Vinkovci and I was astonished to learn that it was the oldest continuously inhabited town in Europe, dating back 8,300…

How Learning from Estonia Could Transform Croatia in Under 5 Years

January 24, 2020 - Estonia is one of the world's leading countries in digitalisation and new technology, boasting no less than 4 unicorns, and a country transformed from an ex-Soviet republic just 28 years ago. And Croatia could easily follow suit.  I have been spending a little time with officials from Estonia in recent days, which has been a lot more fun than it may sound. And a LOT more inspiring.  It is a small country of just 1.3 million people, one of the three Baltic states which emerged from the rubble of the Soviet Union with some hard choices…

President Kolinda, Corruption is Not the Only Thing That Begins in Croatian Schools

Outgoing Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic was in the international media this week, her topic how corruption in Croatia starts with cheating at school. It is not the only thing which starts in Croatian schools.  I don't normally delve into Croatian politics, as it is rather complex to understand for an outsider, but a recent interview with President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic caught my eye for other reasons. Actually, her interviews and public utterances during a very chaotic, and ultimately unsuccessful re-election campaign have been catching my eye for weeks. Whether it was the bizarre assertion that those who died defending Vukovar during…

Why I Live in Croatia: 30 Incredible Discoveries in 2019 Alone

December 17, 2019 - Croatia, Full of Incredible DIscoveries. With so many people emigrating, this foreign resident doubts that he could live anywhere else. 30 magic moments so far in 2019.   I never cease to be amazed at the stories I hear about myself being a foreigner in Croatia. So many conspiracy theories, so many assumptions made about me. If I had time to read the intelligent musings of Croatia's army of keyboard warriors more than once a month, I am sure I would find out more about myself that I didn't know.  Two recent comments amused me, however. The…

How Croatia Really Works Versus How They Say It Does

December 8, 2019 - How Croatia really works as opposed to how they want you to think it works - the latest stunning example from the medical tourism Oscars at IMTJ 2019 in Berlin.  Whisper it quietly, but Croatia has a new tourism product which can compete at the global level of excellence and bring billions to its economy. A product which it SEEMS that Croatian officials are 100% behind and supporting intensively.  The sector is medical tourism, and industry experts agree that Croatia has the potential (there we go with the 'P' word again) to be in the world's…

Vukovar: How to Honour the Fallen and Assist the Survivors?

November 27, 2019 - As the emotions of the Vukovar week remembering the sacrifices subside for another year, how to continue to honour those who died while assisting those who survived? I don't think I will ever forget his face.  On a day of deep emotion and traumatic memories, one family watched the Vukovar Remembrance Parade pass their window, as tens of thousands took part in the parade from the hospital to the memorial cemetery. The father nodded his assent to requests for photographs.  And then he bounced into the room, a bundle of joy on this most solemn of…

Lessons for Croatia: Successful Tourism by Doug Lansky at CIHT 2019

Successful tourism in an age of overtourism. Leading travel guru Doug Lansky put on a very thought-provoking show at the recent Crikvenica International Health Tourism (CIHT 2019) conference in Selce last week. With plenty of lessons for Croatia (and others) to learn. From the very first minute after taking the stage of CIHT 2019, Doug Lansky had me hooked. One of the leading (and most engaging) speakers on the global circuit (you can check out one of his TED talks below), author of books for both Lonely Planet and Rough Guides, along with a host of other stellar tourism credentials,…

Why Does Croatia Have So Much Potential When Switzerland Has None?

It is fast becoming the Croatian 'P' word.  P for Potential.  Croatia has so much potential.  Croatian tourism has so much potential.  Croatian medical tourism has so much potential.  Everywhere you look, Croatia has potential, and nowhere more so than listening to government ministers and officials trying to be upbeat and justify whatever it is that they do all day. There is lots of potential, good times are just around the corner.  Golf has great potential in Croatia, for example. It is why despite having a 7-year plan back in 2013 to build 30 new golf courses by 2020 with…

After Days of Croatian Tourism in Slavonia, What Happens Next?

It was quite a show.  Days of Croatian Tourism was held in Slavonia for the first time last week, easily the most high profile tourism event to be staged in the region. It was a chance for Slavonia to shine - and shine it did, oh so brightly - and for over a thousand tourism experts and workers to get to know Croatia's least discovered region a little better.  And judging from the selfies and many postings on social media, it would appear that many of the event's visitors - some on a first-time visit to Slavonia - discovered plenty…

Can We Have a Croatian Wine Museum to Celebrate Bourdain's 'World-Class Wine'?

Summer is coming to an end and the first day of the new school year is just around the corner.  It has been yet another eventful year for Croatian tourism, with plenty of debate, from cruise ships to statistics, celebrity visitors to what to do on those increasing rainy days.  I divided most of my summer between Jelsa and Varazdin, and it was a really fascinating exercise watching the tourism season progress in Jelsa, especially as what I saw on the ground seemed to have little correlation with those impressive statistics that were being pumped out.  But more interesting to…

Bourdain's World-Class Wine, Food, Cheese Meets Tacky, Taco Croatian Service

August 10, 2019 - When is a taco not a taco, and some lessons to be learned about customer service in Zagreb.   One of the many things I get criticised for is that I never write negative things about restaurants, and the majority of my writing about gastronomy in Croatia is extremely positive. There are a few reasons for this.  Firstly, I don't believe in spreading negativity for the sake of negativity, and one of the reasons TripAdvisor exists is so that people can vent their dissatisfaction. Secondly, I like to celebrate Croatian gourmet excellence where I can, especially giving…

Lies, Damned Lies and Croatian Statistics Said Mark Twain, Kind Of

August 3, 2019 - A deeper look into the tourism statistics in Jelsa on Hvar points to the realities of season 2019 in Croatia beyond the headline numbers.   Statistics are such useful things. On the one hand, they can be used to track progress on things, while on the other, they can be interpreted in certain ways to fit a particular narrative.  And when - as is the case with the Croatian tourism chiefs - the powers that be decide that statistics (and their interpretation of them) will be the biggest barometer of success, then having control of public opinion…

Does Croatian Tourism Have a Plan B If Climate Change is Real?

Even though I live in Varazdin, I always know when it is raining in Split and on Hvar.  My Google Analytics Real Time shows two articles on the subject attracting hits as people who came for the sun and are met with the rain desperately search for some activity to replace the planned day soaking up the rays.  Both Hvar and Split have content even on a rainy day, but there are many destinations along the coast which essentially offer sun and beach, and very little else. With the Adriatic coast famous for its excellent weather in general, this was…

Branding Croatia for the Future: 5 Gifts and Trends to Focus On

June 9 - There have been many conferences and discussion on the topic of branding Croatia. Many of them miss the point entirely. 5 gifts and future trends to focus on. Last week saw another branding conference in Croatia. This is in addition to the annual conference, Branding Croatia, and the several panel discussions which take place in various conferences, such as the recent Diaspora Tourism conference in Split. One person who attended last week's conference had several observations. The first was that President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic's call for the need for a positive image of Croatia was little more than…

Is It Stupid and Naive to Be Positive About Croatia's Future?

One of the things I have noticed over the years is how differently foreigners and locals perceive Croatia, and while that is natural in every country in the world, the perceptions are much more markedly different here.  I think it is fair to say that the majority of visitors to Croatia are impressed by its beauty and relaxed lifestyle. The experience of a tourist visit is generally very positive and I have met several tourists who are confused at why so many young people are emigrating from such a spectacular EU country with so much potential. And I can completely…

Investing in Croatia v Montenegro: A 15-Year Foreign Resident View

 May 21, 2019 - TCN spoke at two real estate conferences last week - Filipovic in Zagreb and FREI in Budva - looking at the realities of investing in Croatia v Montenegro. An overview of the presentation. I have been living full-time in Croatia since 2003 and - like many foreigners who came - have dabbled with real estate during my time here. Apart from buying a home, I have also bought and sold real estate in various countries in the region, as well as having my own real estate agency for a while. While I have not been actively…

The 3 Stages of Learning for Foreigners in Croatia: Love, Hate & Nirvana

Life as a long-term foreigner in Croatia is rather fun.  It comes with the need to have certain levels of acceptance, of course. As we have already established, for example, is it ok for a foreign to have an opinion in Croatia?  Once you learn that you are not allowed to have an opinion, the other important thing to accept for a peaceful existence is that no matter what you say, someone will object and start an argument. So you either need to grow very thick skin or never speak.  I was pondering all these things over a cold one…

Burning Dollars in Zagreb: From Cancelled Conferences to Health Tourism Reports

March 5, 2019 - Last month it emerged that the Zagreb Tourist Board spent 29,000 euro on a tourism conference which disappeared. This month's story looks at a US$50,000 investment in a health strategy document. Oh dear.  I love living in Croatia, I really do. And as I have written previously, life in The Beautiful Croatia is addictive, and I genuinely don't think I could live anywhere else; a little like malaria, once Croatia gets under your skin, there is no escape.  It used to be a blissful and happy existence, living on an idyllic Dalmatian island and blogging about…

Belgrade Tourism Fair: Is Serbia a Croatian Wine and Tourist Market, or Not?

February 26, 2019 - Croatia's strange tourism relationship with the Belgrade Tourism Fair, the region's largest, continues. Wine but not tourism? I first came across the Belgrade Tourism Fair last year. Having launched Total Slovenia News a couple of months before and with Total Montenegro News about to go live, the prospect of finding every significant tourism business and organisation in one room for four days was too hard to resist, and I headed to the Serbian capital with great anticipation.  I could not have found a better scenario. Montenegro had the largest stand of all, all the main Slovenian tourism…

Could Croats Ever Unite If They Were Not Under Attack?

November 11, 2018 - Croats in adversity are the most united and determined nation on the planet? So why can't they come together for simple things when nobody is attacking them? Having been fortunate to have visited almost 100 countries and lived in ten, I have come to the realisation that nobody beats the Croats when it comes to coming together in times of adversity, and when there is a celebration of victory, Croats know how to party like no other nation on Earth.  The scenes in Zagreb with some 550,000 people on the streets waiting to welcome home their heroes…

Croatian Tragedies, Facebook Haters, Agents of Change: Which Croat are You?

November 6, 2018 - Croatians like to complain and protest in various ways, from lamenting Croatian tragedies over coffee and venting on social media, while a tiny few try to make change. Which type of Croat are you? A couple of years ago, I was contacted by someone working in the private tourism sector who I respect very much and invited to come to a meeting in Zagreb. Several like-minded tourism professionals who wanted to make concrete positive change had the idea to come together and brainstorm for ways to improve tourism in Croatia.  There were three of us at the…

Lessons from Slovenia: Are Croatian Officials Serious About Foreign Investment?

The 2nd Adriatic Health Tourism Investment Forum concluded in Zagreb on October 12, 2018 - a thought-provoking event on many levels for this long-term resident of Croatia.

Instead of Being Counted as Sheep, Will Croatians Ever Stand Up to Be Counted?

August 4, 2018 - Sporting success brought 550,000 Croats onto the streets of Zagreb to welcome home their World Cup heroes last month, but when it comes to protesting, they rarely bother. Why?

I Like This New Happy Croatia: How To Use It to Bring Change

July 17, 2018 - As the euphoria of Croatia's World Cup success looks set to continue for some time yet, how to channel the national happiness into a longer-term positivity?

It is Time for Croatia to Claim its Nikola Tesla Heritage

24 June, 2018 - With the electric car revolution gathering pace, it is time for Croatia to take advantage of its greatest unused branding tool - the birthplace of Nikola Tesla. 

When Will Croatia Begin to Recognise and Support Its Entrepreneurs?

May 31, 2018 - With its economy in dire trouble, Croatia continues to hinder, rather than help, one sector that could put things back on track - its entrepreneurs. 

Welcome to Total Korčula!

May 23, 2018 - TCN is delighted to announce the launch of its latest website promoting the gorgeous island of Korcula. 

In The Beautiful Croatia, All Animals are Equal, But Some are More Equal than Others

May 4, 2018 - A snapshot of how modern Croatia works for the chosen few, and how the direction of a destination can be quietly changed to suit those chosen few. 

Of Hostels and Superyachts: What Kind of Tourist is Croatia Trying to Attract?

April 6, 2018 - Another bumper tourist season awaits on the Adriatic coast, but what kind of tourism is Croatia trying to attract?

Glasovi iz Lude Kuće: Promjena Smjera za Total Croatia News

12. ožujka 2018. – Novosti na portalu Total Croatia News.

Voices from the Asylum: A Change in Direction for Total Croatia News

March 10, 2018 - Some changes at Total Croatia News.
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