Thursday, 29 November 2018

Croatia Travel For Americans: Top 5 ‘Off The Beaten Track’ Destinations

November 29, 2018 — Are you an American looking to get off the beaten track, but not willing to live in a yurt for three weeks?

Do you need free Wifi to ‘Gram hard-to-pronounce-yet-delish meals, but don’t want anyone to comment “Been there”?

Do sneaky waiters offering homemade booze not available on the menu make you feel special?

Does getting lost in a village where almost no one speaks English make you happy?

Then you’ve probably considered Croatia, which PricewaterhouseCoopers labeled one of the top five “Off the Beaten Track” travel destinations for Americans.

It’s a good choice… if you know your way around.

Have you already booked your direct flight to Dubrovnik from Philly? Well shred it, because everyone around here knows Dubrovnik’s for fanny-packed suckers who willfully ignore the embarrassment one feels while waiting in a massive line to walk along a wall where Game of Thrones is filmed.

Hell no! You want off the beaten track. The places no one has augmented to the needs of dads in khaki shorts, running sneakers with knee-high white socks and bucket hats. The “destinations” that gave up updating their official web sites in 1998.

Towns and secret spots the Croatian tourism industry hasn’t had a chance to spoil yet.

Here’s five places you (probably) won't find on other "Top 5" lists... yet

Silba

 

Ever heard of it? No, no you haven’t.

With Hvar, Vis and Brač competing for the limelight, it’s easy to lose sight of the dozens of inhabited islands Croatia boasts. Each has its own charms, identity and micro-culture built over centuries of inhabitation.

Silba, a 15 square kilometer little gem in the northern Adriatic, never gets mentioned as one of Croatia’s go-to islands. Mostly because it’s incredibly difficult to reach. But if you’re looking for “Off the beaten track,” this is a good place to start.

Because on Silba… there literally are no tracks. The island has no roads for cars, trucks or motorcycles. You may encounter the occassional tractor putting along, however.

This has kept development to minimum. No shorelines jammed with megalomaniacal half-empty beach homes seeking guests. No car ferries dispensing tourists lugging a carful of their belongings.

Bring your backpack and enjoy the unspoiled charm. Silba provides the rest.

Peljesac

 

This too-often overlooked peninsula offers an astounding gastro and agricultural experience.

Anyone gushing about Croatian wine is most likely talking about wine from this area. If you’re more of an oyster lover, check out nearby Ston.

If you’re there during the summer months, be sure to check out the beaches, which are some of the best in Croatia.

Vukovar

This town on the border with Serbia has unfortunately endured a tragic history as the epicenter of one of most bloody battles during the breakup of the former Yugoslavia.

Don’t shy away from this history during your visit, but also be aware that locals mostly want to put that all behind them.

And for good reason: the town has a riverside beauty and unique identity rarely seen in the region. Its a place built for the Danube, with a deep, proud connection to the river and a gastronomic history to match.

TCN’s founder Paul took a long time to finally see it, and shame on him. Many others will soon be following suit. Be among the first.

Hum

If you have a moment while driving from Istria to Dalmatia, stop at Hum (pronounced “hoom”). Just a moment. That’s all it takes.

Hum proudly claims to be the smallest town in the world, and after a two-minute visit, you’ll be hard pressed to challenge the notion.

Yet it manages to have a large concentration of artistic souls, with nearly all of its 21 (yes, 21) residents boasting some sort of crafts or artwork.

Šibenik

Wedged between Split and Zadar, this seaside town is the first city actually founded by Croats and just on the brink of mass discovery.

Its tight cobblestone streets and winding passageways have all the architectural charm of its bigger-named brethren, with a fraction of the crowds.

While there, enjoy a meal at Pelegrini, the preeminent “Best Restaurant in Croatia.”

It’s also centrally located, putting all the destinations you’ve read about such as Plitvice Lakes, Kornati National Park within reach.

Read more about travel in Croatia on our dedicated page.

Saturday, 27 October 2018

Top 11 Croatia Travel Experiences American Tourists Seek: New Survey

What are the Croatia travel experiences Americans are looking for in Croatia? A new survey reveals all.

One of the highlights of this week's Days of Croatian Tourism on Hvar, which finished on October 25, 2018, was a presentation from Al Merschen of Myriad Marketing, on the results of a detailed survey of wealthy American tourists and their potential interest in visiting Croatia. Among the various results of the survey which were covered in Merschen's presentation (an overview of which you can read here), he revealed the top 11 things Americans want to experience when visiting Croatia. In descending order... 

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11. Croatia Travel Experience - Olive Oil Factories

They say a fish in Dalmatia swims three times in its life - firstly in the sea, then in olive oil during preparation, and finally in excellent Dalmatian wine. It is one way to enjoy three of the main attractions of life in Dalmatia. Croatian olive oil is EXCELLENT, among the best in the world, and it is little surprise that it is on the list of American desired experiences in Croatia. The next step to aid that process would be to build an online resource to facilitate tourism interest in olive oil.  

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10. Croatia Travel Experience - Zagreb Christmas

A lesson for all in tourism worldwide - how to create a new product in a successful tourism country, far away from its main attractions - the coast and in summer - and within just a few years become the 10th most sought-after experience. Advent in Zagreb has been voted the best Christmas marketplace for three years in a row. A wonderful time to visit Croatia. Here is the TCN guide to Advent in Zagreb 2017.  

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9. Croatia Travel Experience - Korcula Island

The birthplace of Marco Polo and also the 2018 Best Destination in Croatia, according to the annual Vecernji List Tourist Patrol. Thinking of visiting? Here are 25 things to know about Korcula

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8. Croatia Travel Experience - Hvar Island

And if you are looking to combine as many of these Croatia travel experiences as possible, you are in luck - the island of Hvar is just a short catamaran journey from Korcula. Hvar, which is celebrating 150 years of organised tourism in Europe this year, is also home to the most island sun in Europe, the oldest public theatre in Europe, and the most UNESCO heritage of any island in the world. Here are 25 things to know about Hvar.  

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7. Croatia Travel Experience - Game of Thrones Sites

Croatia is popular for so many reasons these days, but there has been a real surge of interest in recent years from the hit HBO series Games of Thrones, which was filmed in various locations in Croatia. Learn more about the top 5 Game of Thrones tours in Croatia

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6. Croatia Travel Experience - Art Museums

Did you know that Zagreb has more museums per square kilometre than any city in the world? Allegedly, and many of which are art museums. Good news for our American guests, as Art Museums features high on the list of desired things to do. 

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5. Croatia Travel Experience - Wineries and Vineyards

What to say? Croatian wine is fantastic! With more than 130 indigenous varieties, including the original Zinfandel, Croatian wine is so good TCN built an entire website to celebrate it. Learn all about Croatian wine on the TCN Total Croatia Wine website

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4. Croatia Travel Experience - The Blue Cave

The Blue Cave on Bisevo - one of the great natural tourist attractions in Croatia. Located close to the island of Vis, the Blue Cave tour has become insanely popular in recent years. Here are some things you need to know if you are planning a visit to the Blue Cave

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3. Croatia Travel Experience - National Parks

More than 10% of Croatia is covered by national parks and nature parks. Visit them, they are amazing. UNESCO World Heritage Site Plitvice Lakes, above, is magnificent in different ways all four seasons of the year. 

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2. Croatia Travel Experience - The Old Walls of Dubrovnik

With more than a million people a year now walking the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the old walls of Dubrovnik, the walls were popular enough. Then came Game of Thrones and Kings Landing - no wonder the walls of Dubrovnik are almost at the top of the list. There is plenty more to do in Dubrovnik once you have finished a stroll around the walls - 25 things to know about Dubrovnik

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(Photo credit Igor Tomjenlovic)

1. Croatia Travel Experience - The Dalmatian Coast

 And, with such a high quality of places to visit and things to experience, what could possibly be the most desirable experience for American tourists in Croatia? Why, heaven of course - the Dalmatian coast. 

To learn more about Al Menschen's presentation on American tourism interest in Croatia, click here

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Saturday, 27 October 2018

Croatia Travel Trends for USA Market: Al Merschen Presentation on Hvar

Where does Croatia travel fit in American priorities and interest? An in-depth analysis at Days of Croatian Tourism on Hvar on October 25, 2018.

Among the many fascinating discussions and panels held at the 2018 Days of Croatian Tourism on Hvar this week was an in-depth look at the perception of Croatia as a tourist destination with the American market. Al Merschen of Myriad Marketing provided a comprehensive overview of a targeted survey of Americans interested in travel to Croatia. In order to give the research more relevance to Croatia, the survey target group was confined to households with an annual income of more than $100,000 who had taken a holiday in the previous 12 months to a destination further than Canada, Mexico or the Caribbean. 

Setting the Croatia Travel Context for the USA Market.

While the focus of the presentation was on Croatia, Merschen gave some great insights into the trends of American tourists, which was an interesting overview into the trends of tourism promotion in this increasingly digital age. Apologies in advance for the quality of some of the photos - I was sat a little further back than I would have liked in Hvar's historic Arsenal, but I will explain all in the text below each slide.  

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The top five reasons for travelling all play to Croatia's strengths - experiencing different cultures, exploration/adventure, experiencing new cuisines, variety of tourism product, and relaxation, all of which Croatia does with aplomb. 

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The top six countries of interest in Europe are Italy, England, France, Spain, Germany and Ireland. As Merschen pointed out, these are all countries with sizable diaspora (Croatia has around 1.2 million diaspora in the United States) - a target market in addition to regular American tourists.  

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The most important methods of searching for destination ideas and information are travel review websites, online search, destination websites and recommendations for friends and family - good news for our little website, which gets 60% of traffic from Google Search and has a number of destination websites. 

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The declining interest of print media is there for all to see, as is the power of travel review sites. Interestingly, Merschen explained that while the majority of people travelling now are millennials, the majority of those leaving comments on review sites are baby boomers, so children are listening to their parents after all, at least in terms of travel recommendations... 

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A big surprise for me in this age of terror was that almost two-thirds of American tourists had no problem flying with a non-US airline. 

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And if there was any doubt in where the world is going in terms of seeking information, this slide says it all -  average daily time spent with media - more than 6 hours online, just 23 minutes with print. 

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Welcome to the world of the power of the mobile. 

Croatia Travel Study - Results of Myriad Marketing Survey of USA Market.

 

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Moving to the research into the Croatian market, there was some very encouraging information, as well as some opportunities to build on. Almst half surveyed had an interest in Croatia, with some 23% Croatia travel veterans. 

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The biggest interest group are millennials. And before you think cheap backpackers, the oldest millennials these days are 37. 

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More good news for Croatia in the length of stay survey - the vast majority from 4-7 days and 1-2 weeks. 

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And some of the best news of all - Americans are very prepared to spend, spend, spend - a much higher vacation spend on average than Croatia is currently enjoying. 

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The most interesting places to visit threw up some surprises, and at least one huge unexploited opportunity. Interest in wine and wineries is above Game of Thrones. And yet Croatia does not have an official website about wine to help address this obvious need. TCN started a dedicated website about wine, Total Croatia Wine, to meet this need. Perhaps it is time to make a wine road for Damatia too... 

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Food tours and wine tastings figure high on the list of things to do. Croatia has so much potential as a top gourmet destination - potential immortalised by the late Anthony Bourdain in his No Reservations show about Croatia six years ago. 

Croatia has the potential to be on a par with France, Italy and Spain as a gourmet tourism destination, but it has some way to go to reach that level. But the potential - and the demand - is there.  

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Among the best - and most surprising - news was that some 85% of those surveyed did not see the need to change planes to reach Croatia as a barrier. Although the first direct flights from the USA to Dubrovnik after the war will commence next summer, the lack of direct flights is perceived as being a major obstacle to North American tourism to Croatia. It appears that it is not. 

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And for those not interested in Croatia, the reasons for lack of interest in Croatia travel were also encouraging. Nothing specific or negative in the key reasons - no destination suits everyone. 

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Croatia has a major appeal to exploit - its attraction as a different cultural experience. 

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A closer look at the interest in gourmet tourism also reveals interesting results - who needs Michelin-star restaurants when you can have local and street food experiences?

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Those travel review websites have a major pull.  

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A lot more so than recommendations from friends and family. 

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And an interesting statistic for those planning for next season - the largest number of people researching their Croatia travel do so 6 months before arriving. 

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The power of social media. 

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The average age of people interested in visiting Croatia was a lot higher than I imagined, and things must be good in the States, as more holidays are envsiaged next year than last. 

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A profile of the people surveyed interested in Croatia travel from the United States. 

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And, given the distance involved, a rather surprising number of respondents who are interested in Croatia travel with young children and/or teenagers - good news for Croatian tourism providers in the high-quality family tourism segment. 

Plenty of great information from Al Merschen's presentation, and the news is very, very good and the (that word we use in Croatian tourism so much) potential is huge. Can it be turned into bigger tourism numbers of high-spending American guests?

Many thanks to Al Merschen for such a thought-provoking presentation. You can learn more about Myriad Marketing here.

Tuesday, 23 October 2018

British Shocked with Croatian Travel Agency’s Business Practices

In Croatia, leaving debts with an old company and establishing a new one is not unheard of.

Thursday, 11 October 2018

Croatian Travel Agencies to Meet in Vinkovci in 2019

The tourism industry focus will be on Slavonia next year.

Thursday, 4 October 2018

Major Travel Agency Cancels All Trips, Closes Branch Offices

Kompas is one of the major travel agencies in Croatia.

Tuesday, 28 August 2018

Croatia's 2018 Peak Season: Requiem For A Tourism Boom

August 28,2018 — Croatia’s 2018 summer promised new records for its vital tourism industry. Hands were rubbed raw in anticipation. Much was spent, in terms of currency and energy.

Yet an unprecedented explosion of interest coupled with investment didn’t provide the expected boost during the very peak of the tourist season.

Perhaps a look back can offer some persepctive.

Monday, 28 May 2018

6th Roman Days to be Held in Town Where Roman Emperors Were Born

Colonia Aurelia Cibalae was the name of Vinkovci during Roman times when it played an important role, while its rich history reaches back 8.300 years. Roman Days are on from May 26 to June 2

Saturday, 31 March 2018

Yacht Exodus: Tourist Tax for 20-Meter Boat Nearly 9 Times Higher

Due to an enormous hike of tourist taxes, yachtsmen have begun moving their ships to Italian, Greek and Turkish marinas, and just one Dalmatian port calculated a loss of 150 thousand euro

Thursday, 15 February 2018

Future of the Accommodation Industry at the Adria Hotel Forum

The second day of the 6th Adria Hotel forum, the largest investment conference in Southeastern Europe (SEE) with 350 participants from 15 countries, brought more topics crucial for the regional tourism industry

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