Tuesday, 21 February 2023

No More Croatia, Full of Life: New Slogan Sought

February 21, 2023 - The Kingdom of Accidental has announced a competition for the selection of the umbrella communication concept - Big Idea and the new visual identity of Croatia as a tourist destination.

Not so many people know that the reason I moved to Croatia was due to the Croatian National Tourist Board. Back in 2002, I had just sold my house in the UK and was working in northern Somalia. I was looking for a place to buy on the coast in Europe outside of the UK, when this 30-second commercial came on CNN - Croatia, the Mediterranean as It Once Was. 

What an advert, what a slogan. I was hooked, and 3 months later, I became the proud owner of a home in Jelsa on the island of Hvar - you can watch the video of that story on my YouTube channel below. 

And then somehow, the Croatian National Tourism Board morphed into the Kingdom of Accidental Tourism, and I have witnessed more than a decade of interesting tourism promotion reporting on this fair land. When the Mediterranean as It Once Was was retired, its replacement was the insipid and meaningless Croatia, Full of Life, a slogan which has been a large part of my life after the Kingdom sued me for turning into a meme, Croatia, Full of Uhljebs. You can read more about that in our mini-blog series, Diary of a Croatian Lawsuit.

And, as Marija Crnjak of Poslovni writes below, it seems that soon Croatia will no longer be Full of Life, as the Kingdom has announced a tender for something called a 'Big Idea, coupled with a new visual identity. 

I would like to apply, but I never have much success in tenders with State institutions for some reason, so here are my two slogan suggestions. If anyone likes them and wants to take them forward to the tender, you are very welcome.

My two slogan suggestions would be

Croatia, Your Safe, Authentic Lifestyle Destination - which actually sells 3 of Croatia's most attractive assets.


Croatia, Why Aren't You Here? - a hashtag I have been using for a couple of years now, and it has gained considerable traction. 

If anyone has a good knowledge of how the tender system works in Croatia, I would like to follow and report on this whole process, taking a look at the finalists and the winners. It could be an interesting process in this transparent EU land. Anyone interested, please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Subject The Kingdom. 

Here is the Poslovni article:

The Croatian Tourist Board has announced a competition for the selection of the umbrella communication concept - Big Idea and the new visual identity of Croatia as a tourist destination. As we unofficially learn, the Croatia Full of life slogan will be valid this season, and the new slogan and concept should be ready by the time of the WTM London tourism fair, that is, for communication with the market for 2024.

As explained by CNTB, the procedure will have two phases, the first phase includes the pre-selection procedure that refers to the delivery of documentation that proves the ability of potential bidders, while the second phase refers to the delivery of the bids of the selected bidders. Also, as part of the competition, two project tasks are planned, namely the creation of an umbrella communication concept for which up to five bidders will be selected, and the creation of a visual identity for which up to 10 bidders will be selected.

"It is a tender that will define the key promotional and communication determinants of Croatian tourism, that is, which will be the bearer of the realization of the new vision of Croatia as a tourist destination defined by the new Strategic Marketing and Operational Plan of Croatian Tourism.

In other words, through this competition we want a new, fresh and creative approach that will hold attention, intrigue, stimulate the mind and evoke emotions in the target audience. The roof communication concept must be unique, but simple and easy to understand, and at the center of it should be the concept of beauty, given that research confirms that this is one of the key advantages of our country and one of the most important motives for tourist trips to Croatia", said Kristjan Staničić, director of the Croatian Tourist Board, emphasizing that through the competition they want to collect proposals for creative solutions from highly specialized bidders with many years of relevant experience.

Read more... 10 Things I Learned from my SLAPP Lawsuits in Croatia.


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Saturday, 24 July 2021

Split Airport Busiest in Croatia!

ZAGREB, 24 July, 2021 - Split Airport is currently the busiest in Croatia and this weekend alone it will handle 180 planes with 32,000 passengers!

This weekend has seen the largest numbers of passengers and planes, an executive at the airport, Mate Melvan, told Hina on Saturday, adding that 140 of those 180 planes were regular flights and 40 were private planes.

"If the situation doesn't deteriorate, we could have more than 300,000 passengers in July," he said, adding that Split Airport could already say that the current tourist season was exceptionally good when compared with last year's, which had been the worst to date.

Jelena Ivulić of the Jadrolinija shipping company told Hina there were many tourists in the Split port as well, their number rising constantly since June. She said 56,000 passengers and over 13,000 vehicles were expected in the port this weekend.

"It's a real July weekend. We are in constant positive growth and if it stays so, it will be excellent," she said, calling for caution due to COVID so that Croatia was not declared a red zone like last summer.

For more on travel updates, follow TCN's dedicated page.

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Thursday, 9 July 2020

Zinfandel Food & Wine Bar Staff Doing Their Part to Keep Split Safe

July 9, 2020 - As borders open and tourism resumes, it's up to us to do our part to ensure a safe environment in the post-lockdown world. Zinfandel Food & Wine Bar is setting an example in Split. 

Croatia has imprinted their name amongst the list of countries that fought COVID-19 head-on and established measures early to protect and provide a secure state. Luckily, their work paid off, and citizens and visitors are able to roam and enjoy the solace of summer freely. 

However, the 'new normal' is well and truly here. As we regain our footing post-lockdown, we must all do our part to guarantee the most corona-free environment we can. One way to do that is by adhering to measures, whether it's keeping a social distance or wearing a mask. 

One admirable example comes from Zinfandel Food & Wine Bar in Split, whose encouraging words confirm that while Split and Croatia are safe to visit, we must all come together to make sure it stays this way. 

"Our safety is your safety!" What a wonderful message to send to the world from Split, Croatia. Remember, we are all in this together. 

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Friday, 7 June 2019

Croatia Full of Life? Perhaps Not... How Do Tourists Really View Croatia?

There's no doubt that Croatia is truly a stunning country with a lot to boast about. From being extremely rich in natural resources to outstanding beauty, there's something for everyone in this very conveniently positioned little nation of a mere four million inhabitants. 

Pristine beaches and the sparkling Adriatic sea, the glitz and the glamour of the Dalmatian coast, Istria's rolling wine country, the funky Croatian capital of Zagreb, the rugged beauty of Gorski Kotar and Lika, to the golden fields of Slavonia and Baranja... the list goes on and on. The Croatian Tourist Board didn't do badly in picking the now classic ''Croatia full of life'' slogan to market the country to the rest of the world, but is it really true? 

Those of us living and working here know very well that Croatia being full of life certainly isn't true in the economic sense, unless it is providing Croatian lives to the labour markets of other countries as some sort of export product, that is. Tourists, however, get to enjoy the freedom of ''surface level Croatia'', it looks a bit like a runway model before she takes her makeup off. The sea, the sunshine, the picturesque scenery and the friendly locals who you'd never know are likely working under less than acceptable conditions paint a beautiful image of Croatia for those merely here to enjoy it. Apparently.

As Glas Istre writes on the 6th of June, 2019, stinking drains and sewers, poor and very limited public transport, overcrowded cities, national parks and beaches, and a total and utter lack of parking places are just some of the far more negative aspects of Croatia that foreign tourists claim to experience when visiting the country. Although it is indeed seen as strikingly beautiful, Croatia, as foreign guests consider it, has enormous problems in managing its destinations, according to a report from Novac.hr.

The perception and brand of Croatia itself is defined by its incredible nature and natural beauty, those are things we can't influence (thankfully, as if we could we'd likely mess them up).

Owing to Croatia's lucky geographical position, as many as 55.6 percent of Croatia-related announcements on social networks or any other websites and platforms mention Croatia's abundance of sunshine, the sea, the beaches and the national parks, which are things that, rather ironically, tourists see as the only good things about the country. Nature, as Siniša Topalović, a partner in the consulting company Horwath HTL states, isn't a term used by the Croatian Tourist Board to brand Croatia.

Croatia Full of Life is not remotely what tourists actually perceive because no events are mentioned anywhere by the aforementioned tourist board. Croatia, at least in the eyes of our visitors, is not full of life, according to Topalović. In fact, only the Croatian capital of Zagreb succeeded in living up to the ''full of life'' slogan. Along with the city's Upper Town (Gornji grad), where tourists are typically delighted with various events and festivals which are now well recognised, both during winter and summer, and tourists visiting the Croatian capital are fascinated by the city's numerous quirky cafés and the cultural phenomenon of coffee drinking throughout the day.

On the other hand, gastronomy, which Croatia is indeed often praised for, is recognised as one of Croatia's ''stand out'' features, either. When tourists write and talk about their visit to Croatia, less than ten percent of them mention the country's food and drink, and when they pay attention to our gastronomy, they do so in a typically very generic manner, mentioning only the basics, whereas when discussing other countries and their gastronomic offers, much more detail tends to be revealed.

However, that is actually in line with what the Croatian Tourist Board does present on their social networks. Of the total of 1,100 published pieces of content on Instagram between July and October last year, only 40 of the posts are about the country's rich gastronomy, while out of 400 such posts on Facebook, only about 15 of them talk about food and drink. Most of the content, as expected, refers to Croatia's natural architecture.

The results of what tourists really think of Croatia were part of pilot studies conducted jointly by the startup thinktourism and the consulting company Horwath HTL through the new eDEST platform, which should serve as a support in managing tourist destinations.

It is, as Topalović explained, an innovative tourism product that provides an insight into tourists' perceptions about a specific country, region, destination or particular tourist attraction. EDEST gathers together all comments, posts and reviews made by tourists from all forums, social networks, blogs and other websites and analyses and compares the perception of tourists about a particular destination with what the destination is actually trying to brand.

''People write all sorts on the Internet, and more than sixty percent of tourists are just browsing when choosing a location to spend their holiday in. With younger generations, this is the case in over ninety percent of cases. Therefore, we collect what they write and publish, and we offer an insight into what tourists are saying about this location, that is, eDEST is able to see the destination through the eyes of the visitor,'' explained James Chappell from Horwath HTL.

The idea for this platform came from the start-up thinktourism, whose employees noted that there was a strong discrepancy between what a particular destination would want and what it actually was portraying in the eyes of visitors.

Make sure to follow our dedicated travel page for more information on tourism in Croatia and much, much more.

Wednesday, 20 February 2019

The Story Behind Croatia's Award-Winning World Cup Promo Video by BBDO

February 20, 2019 - It was the World Cup promotional video whose success mirrored Croatia's heroics on the pitch. TCN finds the story behind the video with BBDO managing director, Luka Dubokovic. 

It was a football tournament which brought unprecedented interest in Croatia, as millions around the world willed on Croatia's heroes in last summer's World Cup. Reaching the final was an incredible achievement for the tiny country which dared to dream. 

There were many images of passionate Croatian fans in their distinctive red and white chequered shirts. And one great promotional video. 

Initially shot 9 months before the World Cup and including various Croatian celebrities, the video - the work of leading Zagreb agency BBDO - took on a life of its own with success on the pitch in Russia. 

TCN caught up with Luka Dubokovic, Managing Director of BBDO Zagreb, to learn a little more about the shooting of the video and coordinating of so many stars. 

1. Firstly, congratulations on the Croatia World Cup promo video. Tell us a little about the origins of the project.

The initiative came from the Croatian Ministry of Tourism, It was Mrs. Barbara Mesić who briefed us on the project. Basically, the idea was to include famous Croats to promote their country abroad. The fact is that our sportsmen are the most famous ones but we also included other famous Croats in the video, especially ones that are known in some of Croatia's interesting tourist markets / countries.

Our idea then was that to use celebrities to promote different destinations and products and where possible to tie them with the destination they promote. For example, we shot Mario Manđukić in Slavonia where he is from. Or Dario Šarić in his hometown Šibenik, or Marin Čilić in his wife’s town Dubrovnik. We wanted to promote the whole country, not just the 'obvious' beauties but also tell a more in-depth story about Croatia and its offer. We wanted 'Full of life' to shine at its best in this video.

Also, we were aware that there we have only a couple of truly global celebrities (Modrić, Rakitić) but wanted to use other celebrities in the markets where they are famous. Maksim Mrvica is very famous in eastern Asia, Japan for sure. Zrinka Cvitešić in England, London, Marin Čilić and Dario Šarić in USA, Mario Manđukić in Germany and Italy and so on.

So the intention was to use the shorter versions of the video targeted in countries where they are known, which means we made several different takes on the video based on the target market we were promoting.

2. Getting so many stars involved must have been a challenge. Tell us about the logistics of that.  

That was a huge challenge, their schedules are very tight and we just had to work within the timeframes we got from each of them. This meant we had to be very flexible in the idea and execution but also in the team and production who will take care of the project. We worked almost as an ER squad: with some celebrities we got notifications not even 24 hours before we had to film them.

For example, we filmed Darion Šarić on 15th of August which is a big National Holiday and he just flew in from the States for that day. In total the production lasted for two months, that is how much time we needed to get all the people we wanted to film. 

3. If it is not a secret, what was the budget for the project?

The budget was published in the Croatian media - 700,000 kuna (about 90,000 euro).

4. What was the most challenging aspect of making this video?

There were three main challenges: 

a. Getting the celebrities to appear in the video.

b. How to incorporate celebrities in the idea of promoting Croatia.

c. Planning the production when you didn’t know until the very end who and when will you shoot

5. The video was obviously a very visible marketing tool for Croatian tourism after all the global attention. As a marketing expert, how do you think Croatia did taking advantage of this huge global interest in the country after success in Russia?

I think Croatia took advantage of the situation very well. We have to remember that the video was made in September 2017, 9 months before the World cup and it wasn’t all about football stars, so as soon as we saw Croatian team doing well in the WC, we prepared the football-only version of the video and released it. It looked as though it had been made only for that moment which was great. Also since the World Cup Final was on July 15th 2018 we believe that the true effect will be visible in 2019. During the last World Cup in Brazil there was a huge jump in the number of searches about Croatia on Google, even though the national team didn't even do very well. With them reaching the final game this time, Google searches for Croatia must have been absolutely enormous.

BBDO Zagreb is an award-winning agency known for its innovative marketing, and not just in tourism. Their latest campaign for Croatian beet Ozujsko went viral in Croatia and the wider Slavic world. Check it out below, as well as the rest of their portfolio on the official BBDO website

Tuesday, 15 August 2017

Gari Cappelli: ''There are Croatian Towns Where You Never Hear of Summer Crowds''

Tourism Minister Gari Cappelli talks investments, numbers and the desire for year-round tourism in Croatia.

Thursday, 29 June 2017

Gari Cappelli: ''Croatia, full of life'' is heading for the history books, we need a new, more ''Croatian'' slogan!

''Croatia, full of life'' is soon to be chucked, in favour of a new, more ''Croatian'' slogan, says Tourism Minister Gari Cappelli.

Friday, 9 June 2017

Croatian National Tourist Board Campaign "Parks of Croatia" Achieves Outstanding Results

The Croatian National Tourist Board and "Parks of Croatia" created a marketing campaign in April to further position Croatian parks as one of the motives for visiting the country during the pre-season.

Sunday, 29 January 2017

Croatian Tourist Board Hosts "Sell Croatia" Workshop in Moscow

Representatives of the Croatian Tourist Board organized the workshop “Sell Croatia” in Moscow on January 24.

Monday, 23 January 2017

Total Croatia News launches: ECO Croatia

Today Total Croatia News launches their newest project – Total ECO Croatia, a site focused on highlighting all things environmental.

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