Thursday, 17 June 2021

Grand Prix "Golden Pen" Goes To Germany, Slovakia, and USA

June 17th, 2021 - For the 17th time, the Croatian National Tourist Board awarded the prestigious Grand Prix "Golden Pen" award to foreign tourist journalists, bloggers, and influencers for the best publications about Croatia as a tourist destination in the last, extremely demanding tourist year.

HTZ reports, the award ceremony, held last night in Pula, was attended by 15 foreign journalists from 11 countries. 

"This year, we are awarding the prize again live in beautiful Istria. Award-winning journalists, bloggers, and influencers last year, which was extremely difficult for the tourism sector, contributed to the visibility of our country on a global level and building the image of Croatia as a safe, well-prepared and desirable tourist destination. With this, we also additionally draw attention to Croatia on the eve of the main part of the tourist season and send the message that Croatia is absolutely ready for a larger influx of guests," said the director of the CNTB Kristjan Staničić.

In addition to director Staničić and colleagues from foreign CNTB offices, the award ceremony was attended by the County Prefect of Istria Boris Miletić, on behalf of the Ministry of Tourism and Sports Monika Udovičić, Director of Istria Tourist Board Denis Ivošević, Pula Tourist Board Director Sanja Cinkopan Korotaj and numerous representatives of the Istrian tourism sector. 

"It is a special pleasure for us to host the awarded journalists and at the same time praise the Golden Pen project because journalists are critical to us even in normal tourist years, let alone in these crises when communication is also the most important promotion. Furthermore, we are glad that the ceremony is held in our region because it gives us an exceptional opportunity to present to the distinguished guests the richness and uniqueness of this region, our hospitality, natural and cultural sights, gastronomy, and other strengths by which we are recognized beyond our borders," said Denis Ivošević, director of the Istria County Tourist Board.

The most significant award of the "Golden Pen" is the Grand Prix, awarded in three categories: the best print or online media report, the best radio or television report, and the best post on blog social networks.

This year's winner of the Grand Prix award for the best report of the print media is the German journalist Helene Schmidt, whose report "Istrien - das Kulinarische Kroatien" was published in the renowned magazine Autobild - Reisemobil. In her report, Helena described the journey through Istria and small medieval towns and especially emphasized Istrian gastronomy, with numerous practical tips for visiting Istria. The published report is precious because it was published in a renowned medium followed by motorists, also the most numerous visitors from Germany to Croatia. Furthermore, the Autobild portal is the leader of the German digital market, with over 13 million users and 56 million visits last year alone.

The Grand Prix for the best electronic media report was awarded to the Slovak TV MARKIZA team. Journalist Branislav Tomaga and cameraman Miroslav Žilka won the award for a series of 10 episodes about Croatia called "S Markízou v Chorvatsku". Branislav Tomaga and Miroslav Žilka have been visitors to Croatia for many years. To show their fellow citizens the news from their favorite destination, they tirelessly reported live for two weeks from interesting locations throughout Lijepa naša, from Umag to Dubrovnik, which is why in June and July 2020, Croatia and holidays in Croatia, with 39 percent viewership, were the top topic on the most-watched television in Slovakia.

The Grand Prix winner for the best travel blog is Kate McCulley from the USA, behind the blog "Adventurous Kate." So far, she has met 83 countries and 7 continents, and in 2017, Forbes included her in the list of the 10 most influential travel influencers in the world. Her blog reports during last year's summer season evoked experiences from Croatia, from Dubrovnik to Istria. Despite the restrictions and the general fear of a pandemic, she pointed out the beauties of our offer and the responsibility and kindness of the local population.

In addition to the Croatian National Tourist Board as the main organizer of the event, this year's partners and hosts are the Tourist Board of the Istrian County, the Tourist Board of the City of Pula, and other tourist boards of the cluster of Southern Istria.

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Tuesday, 13 April 2021

We Don't Know Why We Pay the Tourist Board, But Certainly Not to Sue Bloggers

April 13, 2021 - If the Croatian National Tourist Board starts suing all those who are dissatisfied with their work, the courts will soon be overwhelmed by tens of thousands of lawsuits, Marko Repecki comments.

Although many, even some critics of the existing CNTB, believe that there should be one such system that will deal with the promotion of Croatian tourism in the world, the existing method of financing is problematic, and no less problematic is that the money raised is spent on lawsuits against its critics. 

The Croatian National Tourist Board, which lives off one of the more bizarre parafiscal levies, has sued Paul Bradbury, founder of Total Croatia News, for criticizing their work. Bradbury has been writing about Croatian tourism for years and is quite critical of the CNTB's work.

Like other state organizations and institutions, the CNTB does not submit criticism, although it is financed with taxpayers' money, so they are asking Bradbury for a total of HRK 100,000 through two lawsuits.

One lawsuit refers to statements he made to the Index.hr portal in which he criticized the CNTB for insufficiently following what is written about Croatia in foreign media and for not reacting to incorrect information. The second lawsuit refers to Bradbury's cover photo on Facebook, which read "Croatia full of uhljebs", in which the team from the CNTB obviously recognized themselves, although he did not mention them anywhere. But that was enough to cause them mental pain.

If the CNTB starts suing all those who are dissatisfied with their work, the courts will soon be overwhelmed with tens of thousands of lawsuits. Namely, most of those who pay membership fees to the CNTB, which are practically all companies registered in Croatia, except for a few industries, are not only dissatisfied with their work, but it is not clear to them why they have to pay them, because they have nothing to do with tourism.

Membership fees range from a few hundred kunas a year, when it comes to micro-entrepreneurs, to tens of thousands of kunas for larger companies, which often turns out to be the amount of the annual net salary of one worker. The membership fee is paid according to income, not according to profit, so there are situations where tens of thousands of kunas in membership fees are paid by companies that are in losses.

And of course, for a company to pay a membership fee, it does not have to have anything to do with tourism. There is an example of the wood industry, which really has nothing to do with tourism, and which pays about 60 thousand kunas in tourist membership fees. 

The CNTB system consists of over 300 local tourist boards - one in almost every village. Then there is the CNTB at the state level and nearly 20 other offices around the world, from China, South Korea all the way to Los Angeles in the US. There is no system for measuring their results, or the public does not know about them, so we do not know how many tourists were brought by the CNTB office in Los Angeles, what they actually do, and what their results are.

Although many, even some critics of the existing CNTB, believe that there should be one such system that will deal with the promotion of Croatian tourism in the world, the existing method of financing is problematic, and no less problematic is that the money raised is spent on lawsuits against its critics. 

The Index article in question is still online - you can read it here.

Tuesday, 10 November 2020

Croatian Tourist Offer Presented at Virtual World Travel Market in London

November 10, 2020 - The Croatian National Tourist Board, together with 10 Croatian co-exhibitors, is currently presenting the Croatian tourist offer at one of the world's largest tourism fairs - World Travel Market (WTM) in London, which is held virtually for the first time in 40 years. 

HRTurizam reports that the fair is held from November 9 to 11 from 7 am to 10 pm to cover all time zones, and participants will communicate through virtual platforms, conferences, workshops, and seminars.

"Once the situation improves, and restrictions begin to ease, the British market will start traveling again, and the final decision on travel will depend on consumer confidence. Health is now a top priority. The entire travel industry will need to adapt and define procedures that reconcile destination provisions with passenger needs, such as digitization and contactless processes wherever possible. The security of Croatia as a destination is one of the most important messages in communication with our guests, partners, and the media on the British market," said the director of the CNTB Representation in the UK, Darija Reić.

Screenshot 2020-11-10 at 10.25.55.png

According to the CNTB, during the fair, they will hold virtual meetings with representatives of the most important partners, such as TUI UK, easyJet, SAGA, Jet2.com/Jet2 Holidays, Thomas Cook, British Airways, TravelZoo, TourRadar, and others.

In addition to the basic package that includes promoting the tourist offer at the virtual stand and promotional content on the WTM website, the Croatian National Tourist Board will also position itself through the Premium Deluxe package, which includes prominent visibility on the list of co-exhibitors, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, banners on the WTM website, and advertising through sponsored email addresses of visitors.

"The virtual presentation of Croatia will be additionally accompanied by parts of the promotional campaign 'Discover The Colors of Croatia', which is already being implemented in the most important European markets and will last until mid-November. This emphasizes the promotion of tourist products that are most in-demand in these market circumstances, and those are natural beauty, nautical, culture, and eno-gastronomy," said the CNTB.

In addition to the Croatian National Tourist Board as the main exhibitor, co-exhibitors who will ensure their visibility through the CNTB virtual stand are Adriatic Luxury Hotels, Association of Small and Family Hotels (OMH), Croatia Airlines, Dubrovnik Tourist Board, Zagreb Tourist Board, Maistra Hospitality Group, Valamar Riviera dd, Perfecta Travel, Plitvice Lakes and Uniline DM.

"Despite all the challenges, Croatia was one of the most popular tourist destinations this year. We focused on online promotion, creative solutions, and services adapted to current circumstances in line with new trends. Participating in one of the world's largest tourism fairs, although virtual, offers the opportunity to present Croatia as a safe destination with quality products, combining natural beauty, nautical, culture, eno-gastronomy - which are extremely popular this year. Croatia has shown that it can be a leader in innovation and development of offers that represent the future of tourism while thinking of digital platforms and social networks, changing the way we communicate with tourists and present the destination in a new way to the world," said Minister of Tourism and Sports Nikolina Brnjac. 

"Most of the events and fair appearances until the end of this year, but also at the beginning of next year, will be held in a new, virtual form, so we have joined the world's most important tourism fair, WTM in London. It is important that, despite the current situation and travel restrictions, we maintain Croatia's presence in our important markets and tell everyone that we are a safe, well-prepared, and quality tourist destination. The goal of participating in the fair is to maintain business contacts and relationships with key partners because it is one of the world's largest tourism fairs for business audiences, which is confirmed by the data on about 50 conferences that will be held in virtual form as part of this year's WTM," said the director of the Croatian National Tourist Board Kristjan Staničić, adding that to make Croatia more prominent at the WTM fair, they co-financed the co-exhibitors 50 percent of the virtual participation amount.

The CNTB also adds that the Croatian tourist offer will be presented at other major world tourism fairs next year, especially in the most important markets for Croatian tourism, such as Germany and the ITB, f.re.e., Boot et al., Austria and the Ferienmesse trade fair in Vienna, Italy and the TTG trade fair in Rimini, the Netherlands and the Vakantiebeurst trade fair in Utrecht, and the United Kingdom and the WTM trade fair in London.

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Monday, 24 August 2020

Why Did HTZ Block Instagram Profiles Promoting Croatia?

August 24, 2020 - Another illogical move in Croatia. The Croatian National Tourism Board blocked Croatian photographers on Instagram who promote the beauties of Croatia.

After Index.hr received a couple of messages from Croatian photographers, they started to dig.

"It is awful to block people who work on the promotion of Croatia," one of the blocked photographers complains to Index.hr. The Croatian Tourist Board said that they blocked only those who "steal", "falsely present themselves," and "with whom they are in court". As Index.hr has investigated, most of the CNTB's accusations do not stand. Index.hr was convinced by the fact that after their inquiry about the photographers, some profiles were unblocked.

The Croatian National Tourist Board has more than 10,000 posts and more than 378,000 followers on its official Instagram profile. Most of the photos are actually from other profiles, and the photos are signed with a link to the original profile where they were posted. The promotion of Croatia should be important for the CNTB, and for those who publish photos to get a larger number of views, and thus followers. However, the CNTB, as Index.hr finds out, blocked part of the photographers and did not download or share their content on the official Instagram profile of the CNTB.

Blocking a profile on Instagram means disabling a blocked profile from accessing your profile and preventing it from seeing posts. Also, blocking on Instagram prevents sending messages, tagging in pictures, and any communication between the profile that blocked and the one that is blocked.

By blocking the photographers, the CNTB also prevented the CNTB from tagging their photos, as well as any communication on Instagram.

"We try, we do their job, and they block us."

“We try so hard and instead of giving us a hand because we work globally, they block us all,” one of the blocked photographers complained. But none of them understand why this is being done. "It's frivolous and childish and no one benefits from it. We can watch CNTB announcements through other profiles, and other people can still enjoy promoting Croatia as a beautiful country on our profiles," another photographer complains.

The Croatian National Tourist Board claims that they have extremely successful cooperation with a large number of relevant, successful, proven and internationally recognized photographers and that they do not have any photographers blocked on their profiles.

CNTB: The problem is copyright and misrepresentation

"So far, we have had a successful collaboration with photographers on our social networks, but, unfortunately, we were forced to terminate our collaboration with one photographer due to the question of valid copyright over the photo that she published as her own and confirmed in writing. Namely, a third person appeared as the author of the disputed photo, and a court proceeding related to copyright is in progress," the CNTB told Index.hr, without specifying who it was.

The CNTB, in response to an Index inquiry, said that each author the posts themselves contact and ask permission to post the photo. Index.hr asked the CNTB why they block the profiles of some photographers.

"They use false information"

"These profiles used 'false information', or they were presented as official profiles 'in charge of promoting Croatia in the world. We are responsible for marketing Croatia overseas as a leading holiday and business tourism destination' and used author's texts and content of the Croatian National Tourist Board without consent and approval, which violated the copyright (of the texts). We reported this via Facebook for false presentation or use of the content without permission, which was later downloaded by Facebook / Instagram," says the CNTB's response.

Index.hr sent an additional query, stating that they unblocked some profiles after Index.hr first query was not answered.

As Index.hr checked, their misrepresentation answer was correct, but only for one page. This is the Instagram profile of Croatia, which is presented on social networks, specifically Facebook, as the "Croatian Tourist Board". The CNTB presented Index.hr with reports against that site.

For other profiles, for which Index.hr sent them inquiries, they did not give them any evidence.

Timotej: We should support each other and work for each other

The Timotej profile belongs to a Croatian photographer who was born in England, and who did not want to introduce himself by his full name and surname. His profile has more than 58,000 followers, and his photos promote the beauties of Croatia.

The CNTB says they cannot comment on why the site was blocked because "court proceedings are ongoing". In an interview with Index, Timotej says that he would certainly be informed about some kind of court proceedings, but he doesn't know it exists.

"All these beautiful Instagram profiles that post beautiful photos from Croatia are blocked by the Croatian National Tourist Board instead of supporting each other and working together. This is not a contest for the number of followers but our goal is to show the world the most beautiful places in Croatia and make people fall in love with Croatia," Timotej said to Index.hr.

Andrea Miličević: It is bad to block people who work on the promotion of Croatia

Andrea Miličević is behind the Instagram profile croatia_photography, which has almost 80,000 followers. Her profile was also blocked by the CNTB. She tells Index.hr that she has never received any notification of the reasons why she was blocked and has been blocked for five years.

"I honestly didn't try to find an answer. Underneath every photo that is not mine is the author, so there are no copyright infringements. In fact, people are extremely happy when a photo is published to them. I get inquiries about accommodation, trips every day it is extremely bad to block people who work on the promotion of Croatia," Miličević said.

Index.hr asked the CNTB to explain precisely why croatia_photography was blocked, but they did not respond.

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Saturday, 15 August 2020

820,000 Tourists Currently in Croatia, 68% of Last Year's Numbers

August 15, 2020 - There are currently around 820,000 tourists in Croatia, and there has been no noticeable decline in tourist traffic related to the increase in the number of coronavirus cases, Croatian National Tourist Board director Kristjan Stanicic said on Friday, announcing an increase in tourists this weekend.

Slobodna Dalmacija reports that tourists are currently making up about 68 percent compared to the same day last year when there were 1.2 million. Most of them, about 200 thousand, are in Istria County, followed by 160 thousand in Primorje-Gorski Kotar County, while Split-Dalmatia County is accommodating 150 thousand, and Zadar County about 145 thousand.

Stanicic states that according to the destinations with the most tourists, today, the top five are in Istria and Kvarner - Rovinj, Medulin, Porec, Umag, Crikvenica and Mali Losinj.

Asked if he expects increased visits to shrines to the Virgin Mary on Saturday, Stanicic said that this could certainly be expected because the celebration of the Assumption of Mary also includes visits to shrines.

"However, in the general atmosphere of reduced travel, precautions and restrictions introduced to combat the coronavirus pandemic, there may be fewer believers in Mary shrines for the holiday this year, including tourists, than in previous years," Stanicic believes, adding that this visit is difficult to formally quantify because it is mostly a one-day trip or only a few hours, and as there are no overnight stays, they are not recorded in the eVisitor system.

As this holiday this year coincides with the third weekend in August, after which, even in the best years for tourism, there was usually a slight decrease in tourist arrivals and overnight stays, this can be expected this year as well. August has so far surpassed all forecasts with about 70 percent of last year's overnight stays.

He emphasizes that the results of August so far have exceeded all forecasts and believes that by the end of that month, provided that the current market conditions remain unchanged, the achieved total arrivals and overnight stays of about 70 percent of last year will continue.

"Obviously, the coronavirus pandemic is still very much present and it is a crisis with an uncertain outcome and it is almost impossible to predict anything. The figures so far have already shown that this year's tourist results vary depending on the destination or individual types of facilities, so in this sense, the information from the field is different.

However, it is important to remember that this is a very challenging year for everyone, including tourism, in which the main goal is to achieve the best possible results to create a healthy basis for preparing and implementing the next tourist year, which will also be very challenging," Stanicic said.

On the other hand, it is difficult to predict what September and the entire postseason will bring, but he believes that in such circumstances, communication activities with the markets are important as one of the extremely significant elements of influencing travel decisions.

"We constantly communicate with the directors of our representative offices, and they with their partner markets, the media and others about the situation in Croatia. We fight certain blows, but we also react quickly, deny wrong information, hold meetings with partners, and cooperate with other institutions, primarily with diplomacy and the national headquarters," reveals Stanicic.

He also estimates that the good tourist figures from the markets of Germany, Slovenia, Poland, Austria, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary are also the result of intensive marketing and information campaigns, noting that the results still mostly depend on the epidemiological situation, necessary and strict adherence to all prescribed measures and recommendations of the national headquarters by all tourism service providers.

Commenting on the new measures by the Italian government, according to which testing is obligatory for everyone who comes to Italy from Croatia, Malta, Greece and Spain, Stanicic says that he sees a reason for that partly in the safety of his citizens, but also because of the Ferragosto period in which they travel.

"The countries included in this list are the direct and biggest competitors of Italy. There are currently about 45,000 Italian tourists in Croatia, but this Italian decision will certainly affect traffic from that market later in August. Despite this situation, the CNTB office in Italy still receives a huge number of inquiries about the arrival of Italians on vacation in Croatia - and they want to come," added Stanicic.

In the case of Slovenia, he says that there are no official decisions yet and believes that Croatia will remain on the current list, which enables Slovenian citizens to return to Slovenia without presenting a test or going to quarantine.

"Slovenia is one of our most important markets, many of their citizens own real estate in our country, and currently there are about 115,000 of them in Croatia," says Stanicic.

He also spoke about the Dutch market, where the CNTB is also in constant contact with partners, agencies and tour operators, as well as relevant institutions.

"It remains to be seen what the final decision of the Dutch institutions will be, but we believe that by all parameters, we can return to their list of safe destinations, which already includes some countries that have a worse epidemiological situation compared to Croatia," Stanicic said. Good cooperation with Croatian diplomacy is also important, which through its activities, contributes to maintaining the current position of Croatia as one of the few tourist countries in which significant tourist traffic takes place.

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