Saturday, 3 November 2018

Pag Lace Conquers New York

“New York will always be my home. I spent ten years of my life there, the ten most successful years in my modelling career. That is the reason why my sister and I wanted to use the latest collection ‘Helena’s New York’ to pay homage to my favourite city. There are venues which I have to visit whenever I am in the city. I always stay at a hotel in the Soho neighbourhood. One of my favourite restaurants is located there, offering the finest Pavlova, a cake named after the famous Russian ballerina. After brunch, I always buy some magazines and books at the Bookmarc bookstore by designer Marc Jacobs, I walk around and sit on the bench in Washington Square Park,” said Helena Šopar, the top Croatian model originally from Novalja on the island of Pag, known for its lace, reports Večernji List on November 3, 2018.

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She has also used New York as a backdrop for a photo-shoot for the new 2018/2019 winter collection of her brand Sopar Collection, which she founded three years ago together with her younger sister Tamara Rebić. The Šopar sisters combine tradition and modernity in their collections, and the leitmotif of each piece of clothing is the lace, which their home island Pag is widely known for. And they are inspired by it: the Lafayette shirt from the new collection was inspired by the male pyjamas from the early 20th century Novalja, while the West Village dress, with lace on its sleeves, was named after one of her favourite New York neighbourhoods.

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“Tamara and I imagined a young businesswoman walking as the foliage falls in late autumn and her face feels the final rays of sunshine. I am happy that we have managed to recreate this fantasy picture during the photo-shoot,” said the model talking about her new collection, which is dominated by pastel tones and rich wool dresses.

Almost all pieces of clothing have at least one element med of lace, including earrings.

If you want to read more about the Pag lace, click here.

Translated from Večernji List (reported by Marijana Marinović).

Monday, 29 October 2018

US Senator Hatch Receives Croatia’s State Decoration

U.S. Senator Orrin Hatch, who is President pro tempore of the Senate, on Monday received a high decoration from President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović for his outstanding contribution to Croatia's reputation and status in the United States.

I am honoured to be here in this beautiful country. It is a great country that I love and honour, Senator Hatch said receiving the Order of Duke Branimir, the president's office said in a press release.

Senator Hatch is the President pro tempore of the US Senate who acts in place of the Vice President of the United States. The U.S. Constitution provides that the Vice President of the United States is the President of the Senate (despite not being a Senator), and mandates that the Senate must choose a President pro tempore to act in the Vice President's absence.

Hatch underscored that he values and loves Croatia. He added that he was a close friend of Croatian basketball player Krešimir Ćosić who played for Brigham Young University in Utah, where Hatch comes from originally and added that Ćosić was a lovely person and his personal friend.

Senator Hatch also met with Parliament Speaker Gordan Jandroković and the two officials confirmed the high level of bilateral and friendly relations between Croatia and the USA that both countries are developing through frequent exchanges of visits at all levels.

Jandroković asked Hatch to support Croatia's bid to be covered by the U.S. Visa Waiver Program (VWP), the parliament speaker's office said in a press release. He also asked for the senator's support to efforts to have a double taxation avoidance agreement signed by Croatia and the USA.

Prime Minister Andrej Plenković met on Monday with US Senator Orrin G. Hatch for the talks on the continuation of excellent cooperation between the two countries, the government's office said in a press release. Plenković and Hatch confirmed the excellent political and friendly relations between Croatia and the USA.

The prime minister expressed his conviction in the continuation of successful political, economic and defence cooperation between the two countries within the NATO alliance. Plenković and Hatch discussed accelerating the process of visa liberalisation for Croatian citizens and the need to incorporate Croatia in the U.S. Visa Waiver Program (VWP). They advocated strengthening American investments in Croatia and in reference to energy and diversifying energy sources, they discussed the construction of an LNG terminal on Krk Island which the US supports, the press release said.

Hatch, aged 84 is the longest-serving Republican Senator in the history of the United States, having served the Senate since 1977.

If you want to know more about relations between Croatia and the United States, click here.

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.

Thursday, 25 October 2018

US Embassy Calls Bosnian Croat Leader’s Behaviour Irresponsible

ZAGREB, October 25, 2018 - US Embassy in Bosnia and Herzegovina said on Wednesday that HDZ BiH president Dragan Čović's claim, that the prerequisites to form a government in that country following recent general elections would not exist until the election law is amended, was irresponsible and unfair.

Tuesday, 23 October 2018

Ambassador Advises Croatia How to Attract US Investments

ZAGREB, October 23, 2018 - US Ambassador Robert Kohorst said in Split on Monday Croatia should attract capital from his country and commended the highly skilled workforce which he said that entrepreneurs need.

Monday, 22 October 2018

Association of Croatian American Professionals Holds Annual Conference

ZAGREB, October 22, 2018 -  The Association of Croatian American Professionals (ACAP) held its third annual conference in Silicon Valley over the weekend, bringing together over 300 experts, academicians, students and active members of the Croat expat communities in the United States, Canada, France, Germany, Scotland, Australia as well as guests from Croatia.

Monday, 22 October 2018

US YouTuber Shocked with Croatian “Superstitions”

“This video will offend you, but ...”

Sunday, 21 October 2018

Croatian-American Professionals Meet in California

This year’s gathering takes places in the Silicon Valley.

Friday, 12 October 2018

Croatian Mayonnaise a Hit at US Giant Walmart

Selected products of the Zvijezda company have been available at Walmart stores since September.

Thursday, 11 October 2018

Association of Croatian American Professionals Opens Office in Zagreb

ZAGREB, October 11, 2018 - Croatia and the United States have significant room for promoting economic cooperation and a step towards that is the termination of double taxation, it was said on Wednesday at the presentation of the Zagreb office of the Association of Croatian American Professionals (ACAP).

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