Tuesday, 7 September 2021

Tourists from 70 Countries in Croatia this Year!

September 7, 2021 - The good tourism news keeps on coming, as tourists from 70 countries in Croatia this year made 2021 one we won't soon forget. 

In the first eight months of this year, more tourists came and stayed in Croatia than last year from more than 70 countries, with fewer arrivals and overnight stays from only five countries - Indonesia, Korea, China, Japan, and Kosovo, reports Index.hr.

This is shown by eVisitor and eCrew data from the Croatian National Tourist Board (HTZ), according to which, as expected, Germans are traditionally far ahead of everyone, both in terms of arrivals and overnight stays.

2.1 million German tourists realized almost 16 million overnight stays or 23.3 percent of the total overnight stays in the first eight months of this year, which is 53 and 42 percent more than in the first eight months of 2020. However, compared to the same period in 2019, 2021 saw 200 thousand fewer German arrivals and about a million fewer overnight stays.

Behind German tourists are domestic tourists, with 1.7 million arrivals and 10.1 million overnight stays, which is an increase of 31.6 and almost 10 percent compared to the first eight months of 2020, while compared to the same period in 2019, there were about 100 thousand fewer arrivals and about a million fewer overnight stays. 

Of the ten markets with the highest number of overnight stays, only Austria and Slovakia had more than 100 percent more overnight stays than last year, i.e., Austrians at 4.8 million (+110 percent ) and Slovaks at 2.2 million overnight stays (+107.6 percent). They rank fourth and seventh in overnight stays among foreigners.

However, the largest increase (212.4 percent) was achieved by Dutch tourists with 1.8 million overnight stays in the first eight months of this year, which puts them in ninth place among foreign tourist overnight stays.

From other markets in the top ten, increases are slightly smaller. Poles are in third place among foreigners (or fourth overall, if domestic tourists are taken into account) with 5.7 million overnight stays or 43 percent more than in 2020.

Slovenians are in second place, just behind the Germans (or third if you count domestic overnight stays), with 7.9 million overnight stays or 3.4 percent more than in the first eight months of 2019. After Austria in fourth (among foreigners) is the Czech Republic with 4.5 million overnight stays or 44.5 percent more, and Hungary with 2.3 million overnight stays or 80.2 percent more.

Italy is in eighth place among foreign markets with 1.9 million overnight stays or 41 percent more (behind Slovakia in 7th). In tenth place, behind the Netherlands, is Bosnia and Herzegovina, with 1.6 million overnight stays or 80.5 percent more than in the first eight months of 2020.

Although neither Germans, domestic tourists, nor tourists from other markets have achieved the results of 2019 this year, many markets have seen a large increase in overnight stays, from some over 300 percent, and others 600 percent compared to 2020! In 24 markets, overnight stays have grown by more than one hundred percent.

The largest increase in overnight stays (679 percent) was realized by Kuwait with slightly more than 2780 overnight stays. Still, significantly more overnight stays, 663 thousand, and an increase of 301 percent were realized from the USA. Russia achieved an increase of 351 percent with 561.7 thousand overnight stays.

Oman recorded an increase of 275 percent compared to the first eight months of 2020, but with only 435 overnight stays, while the same increase was from Norway, but with a little more than 76 thousand overnight stays.

And from other Scandinavian countries - Sweden and Denmark - the growth of overnight stays was high, 128 and 129 percent compared to 2020, while Finland was the only one among all markets to have fewer tourist arrivals, by four percent but 42 percent more overnight stays.

Turkey is the only country where more tourists came (6 percent), who spent fewer nights than last year (15 percent).

An interesting fact among all markets is that, for example, from northern European countries this year there was also significantly more overnight stays in Croatia than last year - from Lithuania 101.5 thousand or 181.3 percent more, Latvia 48.7 thousand or 128 percent more, Estonia 45.1 thousand or 105 percent more, and Iceland 145.6 percent more with four thousand overnight stays.

The large increases in overnight stays from Mediterranean countries, i.e., Croatia's competitors, is also interesting. For example, tourists from France realized 1.1 million overnight stays in Croatia by the end of August this year (which puts them in 11th place among foreigners) or 126 percent more, and Spanish tourists 194.4 thousand or 166.3 percent more overnight stays than 2020.

Portuguese tourists achieved 111.2 percent more overnight stays or 51 thousand, and Maltese tourists 168 percent more with five thousand overnight stays.

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated lifestyle section.

Sunday, 20 June 2021

Croatia's Tourism Presented at BMT Fair in Naples

ZAGREB, 20 June, 2021 - The Croatian National Tourist Board (HTZ) and its Italian office are promoting Croatia's tourism at the most important international fair of tourism professionals in southern Italy, the first to be held there in person since the start of the pandemic.

The Borsa Mediterranea Del Turismo is taking place in Naples on 18-20 June, the HTZ said on Sunday, adding that Croatia's national shipping company Jadrolinija presented its Croatia-Italy lines to the travel agents in attendance.

"There is big optimism at the fair as well as the wish to restart tourism and tourist travel," said Viviana Vukelić, director of the HTZ's Italian office.

She said the HTZ informed the travel agents and media representatives at the fair about the coronavirus situation in Croatia, the conditions for entering the country, the "Safe Stay in Croatia" label, the Enter Croatia web portal, the eVisitor system for nautical guests, and the "Trust me, I've been there" promotional campaign.

Vukelić met with officials of the Italian Federation of Travel and Tourism Business Associations and representatives of the Vueling and Volotea airlines and the MSC Crociere and SNAV shipping companies.

The talks underlined that there is interest in Croatia as a destination, notably for group travel, youth travel, nautical tourism and the islands.

RAI TV crews recently filmed along the Croatian coast while journalists of Nautica, a magazine with more than 100,000 readers a month, today began a tour of the northern Adriatic Kvarner region to report on what it offers in nautical tourism.

Croatian Ambassador to Italy Jasen Mesić attended the opening of the fair, which drew more than 200 exhibitors, including from Greece, Spain, Malta, Slovenia, Tunisia, Dubai and Japan, the HTZ said.

For more on travel in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page

For more about Croatia, CLICK HERE.

Wednesday, 19 May 2021

"Trust Me, I've Been There" Campaign Invites Guests to Spend Vacation in Croatia

ZAGREB, 19 May, 2021 - The Croatian National Tourist Board (HTZ) has launched its high-season promotional campaign "Trust me I've been there" across 12 key markets, the HTZ reported on Wednesday.

The campaign will be conducted in Germany, Slovenia, Austria, Italy, Poland, the United Kingdom, the Czech Republic, Hungary, France, the Netherlands, Slovakia and Russia until the end of July.

The HTZ says on its web site that the campaign is being  "implemented through activities across social networks including Facebook, Instagram and YouTube, as well as via high-viewership TV channels, top-rated and most read portals and newspapers in each market and through outdoor advertising on billboards, digital panels and public transport."

"The goal of the campaign is to invite guests to spend their vacation in Croatia, as well as to further position our country as an attractive, safe and well-prepared destination," says the HTZ.

 The HTZ director Kristjan Staničić was quoted as saying that this campaign "is different from all previous ones, i.e. that is personalized and adjusted to the preferences of each individual market."

"It is with this goal that we decided to create unique messaging, and the main faces of the campaign are satisfied guests who invite their fellow citizens to come to Croatia and shared first-hand information that our country is an ideal and safe destination for summer vacation," he explained.

For more news about lifestyle in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

For more news about Croatia, CLICK HERE.

Wednesday, 28 April 2021

Croatian Media Compares Paul Bradbury Lawsuit to Kafka's 'The Trial'

As the articles surrounding the Paul Bradbury lawsuit launched by the Croatian National Tourist Board (HTZ) continue being published in the Croatian media, one portal even brings the likes of Franz Kafka into the mix.

As Express/Emir Imamovic Pirke writes, had Franz Kafka been born exactly 100 years later, and not in 1883, and if he'd been born in Zagreb instead of Prague, he would be less than forty years old today, and he'd have started writing his most famous novel only in 2014.

His (would-have-been) Croatian publication "The Trial" wouldn't have had just under 300 pages in the Croatian case, and readers would have to either go to the library in a car or have his book delivered with a vehicle of some sort.

"Someone must have slandered Josef K." is the first part of the first sentence of "The Trial,", a famous book which is still relevant to this very day. The situation surrounding the Paul Bradbury lawsuit must ring true to the feelings brought about by Josed K these days. He doesn't know who is going to judge him, nor does he really have a clue as to why.

"Ha! What have I done... My lawyer Vanja Juric is trying to understand that herself. The thing is that I've been writing in Croatia for a decade now and nothing about the Croatian National Tourist Board surprises me anymore. Honestly, all of this is quite hilarious to me, but I was shocked when I received the lawsuit,'' Paul Bradbury told N1 when commenting on the lawsuit filed against him by the Croatian National Tourist Board, who allegedly did so because they felt offended because he'd played around with the slogan ''Croatia full of life "on Facebook, turning it instead into “Croatia full of uhljebs”.

If, then, the move on social media was defaming or slandering the Croatian National Tourist Board, then Bradbury is a slanderer who must now defend himself against such an accusation in a Croatian court of law, even though he expressed what has become very much a majority opinion with a bit of satire. Most people, however, cannot be prosecuted, so the British blogger and promoter of Croatian tourism will, sooner or later, have to face slander at his own expense because he can't be punished for this otherwise. Namely, his guilt in this case must first actually be invented.

Almost two decades ago, Paul Bradbury sold his house in the UK and, thanks to a TV commercial, decided to come and live here in Croatia. What caught his eye was a video with the usual depiction of the natural beauty of the country and that old slogan about the Mediterranean as it allegedly used to be, and it was produced and paid for by no less than the Croatian National Tourist Board.

Yes, that very same Croatian National Tourist Board that has since created the very bizarre Paul Bradbury lawsuit all because of a Facebook post.

"The crazy Englishman/Ludi Englez", as Bradbury is affectionately referred to in Jelsa, didn't realise his Croatian dream by converting pound sterling from the sale of that house in Britain into euros and merely buying a Hvar property with them, then sticking that familiar old blue ''Apartments'' sign somewhere near the door - much more than that was done.

In his now long time spent discovering a country that advertises its own tourist offer as if the whole world is still using dial-up, he first launched the portal Total Hvar, then Total Split, Total Inland Dalmatia, Total Zagreb and Total Dubrovnik, and finally Total Croatia News, which has since been declared the most influential local medium in the English language. In addition, Bradbury is considered the most influential Croatian blogger and a very sharp critic of the Croatian National Tourist Board, considering it to be cumbersome, expensive and passive, and aldo claiming that its abolition wouldn't negatively affect the tourism industry in any way.

There are, for example, county, city and local offices of the Croatian National Tourist Board that have purposes for themselves and themselves only, as well as those without which a good part of the independent cultural scene on the coast would find it even more difficult to survive than today, just as there are employees whose only obligation is to come to work, and there are those who aren't lazy at all and often find themselves engaged in tasks which go far beyond those prescribed by their employment contract.

However, the naturalised British journalist won't go to court because of his lack of a distinction between any of the above, but because of the excess fears of certain individuals whose dire inefficiency is inversely proportional to the opposite effects of Bradbury's hard work, and because the deep urge for self-preservation has become stronger than the interests of the body itself.

Recalling the events which take place in the aforementioned, famed publication, in the Croatian Trial, had Kafka been born in a different time and place - the Croatian National Tourist Board vs. Paul Bradbury - the prosecutor, ie the Croatian National Tourist Board, is actually performing a Kafkaesque play in which they turns their own guilt for the success of the independent initiator of tourist portals around, but not because the accused is wrong - quite on the contrary - because he's essentially right.

After all, could the Croatian National Tourist Board have launched the Total Croatia News portal? After the success of the Total Hvar or Total Split platform, could the Croatian National Tourist Board not simply purchase both the name and the concept from the author and then go on to further develop them? Couldn't someone, given that Paul Bradbury has already dotted all of the i's and crossed all of the t's, have had the bright idea to hire him the way production companies are hired to create videos of pretty panoramic shots of the islands and close-ups of wine glasses that would bring British tourists with deep pockets flocking to Brela during summer?

Why, after all, does the Croatian National Tourist Board not use resources it has within reach to develop its own network of sites made in foreign languages ​​- media that will offer better content than that of Paul Bradbury, whose Croatian mixes an English accent with a Hvar dialect? As simple as the answers are to each of these questions - each of them would imply effort being made. The very notion of that would mean that the entire local administrative apparatus would end up working against itself.

Namely, it all rests on the fact that nothing changes at any cost, so that, when it is shown that changes are both possible and necessary, instead of autocorrection and moving forward, it starts the Kafkaesque process of removing evidence that would not exist if Bradbury hadn't managed to find empty space to profit from tourism in a country that otherwise lives from tourism almost entirely. Oh, and of course, from EU funds, loans and... And... That's mostly it.

For more on the Paul Bradbury lawsuit (both of them), click here and here.

Sunday, 18 April 2021

Highlights of the Week: 5 Top Events in Croatia from April 12-18, 2021

April 18, 2021 – Apart from the news about TCN's CEO Paul Bradbury being sued by the Croatian National Tourist Board, this week has been full of many other exciting yet inspiring news stories. Here are TCN's five biggest events in Croatia from April 12 to 18, 2021.

With the worsening epidemiological situation and tightening measures in four Croatian counties on Monday, the week didn't start very promising nor positive. However, a lot can happen in seven days, and we list five top news stories from Croatia.

Highlights of the week: Croatian National Tourist Board sues Paul Bradbury

Croatian media have been flooded this week with the news about the two lawsuits against TCN's CEO Paul Bradbury, submitted by the Croatian National Tourist Board because of Bradbury's criticisms of their work.

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Source: Telegram.hr

Namely, CNTB filed two lawsuits against Bradbury, one for a Facebook joke he posted and the other for statements he said in an article on the Croatian portal Index. There was simply no stopping talking about these controversial lawsuits that appalled and disappointed the public this week. Read all the details about the first and second lawsuits in our articles.

Highlights of the week: Rimac Automobili presented a new incredible campus

On the list of people who promote Croatia in the best possible way, Mate Rimac takes one of the leading spots. His company Rimac Automobili never ceases to surprise with the novelties, such as the latest news about constructing the impressive new campus with numerous facilities.

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Source: Rimac Automobili

See the impressive video and photos of the forthcoming Rimac campus that stunned the whole of Croatia this week.

Highlights of the week: Many fantastic flight news for Croatia

Although all travel is currently questionable due to the epidemiological situation, hope is still restored by numerous information about flights to and from Croatia published this week.

Thus, for example, Israeli El Al and Arkia flights to Croatia continue, as well as Austrian flights, Polish LOT, Finnair, and Eurowings.

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Split airport by Romulić and Stojčić

And even though Croatia will have to wait a bit longer for introducing direct flights from the USA, from this week, the travelers can get from Sarajevo to Chicago by Eastern Airlines.

Highlights of the week: Croatia women's handball national team won HEP Croatia Cup

Croatian athletes do not stop surprising us positively from week to week!

After defeating the current world champions, the Netherlands, the Croatia women's senior national team also defeated the former world champions Brazil and won the HEP Croatia Cup in Poreč.

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Source: Hrvatski rukometni savez

Highlights of the week: Klepetan returned to Malena again!

And to sweeten this week, the most famous Croatian love story got its happy follow-up. For the 19th consecutive year, the white stork Klepetan has returned from the south to the nest of his beloved Malena, continuing one of the most beautiful animal love stories in the world!

Spring may not have returned in the form we know, given that this week's temperatures in Croatia are more like autumn's, but it seems like the natural world is very much following its course.

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Monday, 12 April 2021

Telegram: Surreal. Tourist Board Seeks 100,000 Kuna Damages from Blogger Paul Bradbury

As Telegram/Vedran Vrabec writes, the Croatian National Tourist Board (CNTB) has filed two lawsuits seeking a total of 100,000 kuna in damages from the well-known blogger and founder of the Total Croatia News portal, Paul Bradbury. The reason for the first lawsuit, worth 50 thousand kuna, are the statements of Bradbury published in a text published by the Index.hr portal.

The British national, who has lived in Croatia since 2003 and runs an English-language portal where he often writes critically about the work of the CNTB, called the organisation into question last summer because of their strikingly poor communication with foreign tourists.

Bradbury then said that the CNTB didn't bother to deny the misinformation about the situation in Croatia that appeared in the foreign media, more precisely an Irish publication which claimed that Irish citizens couldn't enter Croatia. To be more specific, he was irritated by the fact that there was no reaction to the erroneous claims that citizens of not only Ireland but also Belgium couldn't enter Croatia.

"One of the tasks of the CNTB should be to follow the European media and then correct any misinformation, because in addition to the Irish, misinformation was also published in the Belgian media that their citizens cannot enter Croatia," Bradbury told Index.

On the same occasion, Paul Bradbury criticised the CNTB for their lack of promotion of Croatian tourism in the markets of Switzerland, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia. He stated that one of the biggest Croatian competitors, Greece, promotes its tourist destinations across all foreign media, while Croatia has limited advertising to just seven countries.

"I don't know why they don't target the Swiss, who are well-to-do guests and we're a destination they can drive to, or why the campaign isn't being conducted in neighbouring countries like Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina, especially now that we won't get any Americans," Bradbury wondered.

He was also sued for the use of the word uhljeb

Bradbury's remarks obviously hit a sensitive nerve with the Croatian National Tourist Board, which is why the organisation soon filed a lawsuit against him. In the text of the lawsuit that Bradbury published on TCN, it can be seen that the CNTB states that Bradbury presented untruths and slanderous claims against the organisation. The CNTB defends their stance by claiming that they have taken all necessary measures to achieve the best possible tourist results, and that they have promoted Croatian tourism in fourteen, not just seven foreign countries.

However, that lawsuit isn't the only procedure initiated by the CNTB against Paul Bradbury. The lawyer Vanja Juric described the second lawsuit to Telegram. "It's a cover photo he posted on Facebook. He placed the slogan ''Croatia full of life'' but replaced the last word so that it read ''Croatia full of uhljebs''. The CNTB felt called out here, although there's no mention of that organisation anywhere whatsoever. Despite that, they initiated another procedure against him, in which they're also asking for 50 thousand kuna,'' the lawyer explained.

''The CNTB didn't request a correction''

Talking about the lawsuit filed by the CNTB against Bradbury for his statements transmitted by Index.hr, Vanja Juric said that it's possible to refute it on several grounds. First and foremost, the lawyer points out that the CNTB didn't ask for any correction to those allegations that they considered to be incorrect. "They didn't turn to Index at all, nor did they sue Index, nor did they send a request for any corrections or anything like that. Instead, very soon after the interview was published, they just filed a lawsuit against Paul Bradbury.

Usually when someone wants to deny something, or explain an inaccuracy to the public, the first means they resort to is a request to correct the information. This means that you are requesting for the published material to be corrected, after which a link to that request is published in the original article. If this had been done in this case, it would've been seen that that the CTNB had corrected and explained what Paul Bradbury had claimed in his article,'' said the lawyer, going on to further explain:

"In my opinion, only one thing can be concluded from the CNTB's decision to file a lawsuit immediately: they want to punish him for what he normally does, and that is commenting on Croatian tourism and the role of the CNTB. I think that they simply want to punish and intimidate him, and that they actually want to send out a message: don't do it anymore, because every time you say something, we're going to sue you,'' believes Vanja Juric.

''They said they were postponing their campaigns''

Juric also noted that the lawsuit shows that the CNTB has misinterpreted the concept of defamation. "I don't see at all what part of it they're disputing, given that in their statement on March the 30th, they themselves said that they were postponing all campaigns. There's nothing defamatory in Paul Bradbury's statements, considering that the things he said came from the CNTB's own statement,'' Juric said.

The lawyer also pointed out that last summer, a large amount of inaccurate information about the possibilities of foreign tourists entering Croatia was circulating in the media, as were other poorly or incorrectly written pieces of information which were, back then, very important for tourists who wanted to visit the country. In addition, she noted that it was Bradbury and his associates who started a group on Viber in which they denied all of this misinformation and helped foreigners to cope with the organisation of their visits and stays in Croatia.

Can the CNTB suffer so-called mental pain?

Furthermore, the lawyer explained that there is no evidence that Paul Bradbury's statements caused damage to the CNTB. "Mental pain is proven by the testimony of the person who was harmed, as well as the statements of possible witnesses who saw how much that person was suffering. We argue that the CNTB, as a state organisation and a legal rather than a natural person, cannot suffer the kind of mental pain that they're claiming to suffer.

They may suffer some damage that would be done to their reputation, however, even for that - there's no evidence. The CNTB didn't bring a thing to the table that would indicate that they'd suffered damage in terms of their reputation or good name,'' stated Vanja Juric.

''The kings of accidental tourism''

Paul Bradbury has been publicly criticising the work of the CNTB for many years. His comments often attract the attention of the public, and many experts consider them well-founded and relevant. A few years ago, his statement quickly spread on social networks that in the event of the abolition of the CNTB Ministry of Tourism, no fewer tourists would come to Croatia than already come each year.

Bradbury often warned of the lack of content necessary for luxury tourism in Croatia, and was particularly harsh about the projects launched by the CNTB to promote Croatian tourist destinations. He once thoroughly analysed the now defunct Croatia 365 project, concluding that millions of kuna had been spent to achieve shockingly poor results. He has since called the people in charge of promoting Croatian tourism the "Kings of accidental tourism".

Monday, 12 April 2021

Igor Skoko: We will Demand Legal Changes to Make it Impossible to Intimidate Journalists

April the 12th, 2021 - Igor Skoko has come out against the Croatian National Tourist Board's lawsuits against journalist Paul Bradbury, demanding that they be withdrawn, as Dalmatinski portal writes.

''We're shocked by the bizarre news of the Croatian Tourist Board's lawsuits launched against Paul Bradbury, a journalist and the owner of the Total Croatia News portal. This represents a classic way of intimidating and stifling freedom of speech, in order to silence any criticism of the dysfunctional system of the Croatian National Tourist Board, which spends a lot of the taxpayers' money. We demand the immediate withdrawal of these lawsuits and the removal of director Kristjan Stanicic,'' said County Councillor Igor Skoko, adding that it is inadmissible for the Croatian National Tourist Board to spend the taxpayers' money and time silencing well-founded criticism, while the entire tourism sector has fear for the upcoming season, and companies that have somehow managed to survive the crisis are barely keeping their business alive.

''The Croatian National Tourist Board should see a partner in Paul Bradbury. He's a man who has undoubtedly indebted Croatian tourism with his actions, and instead they're trying to intimidate and destroy him. This is just another proof of the justification of our request for the introduction of voluntary membership in the Croatian National Tourist Boad,'' Igor Skoko believes.

As he explained, if the taxpayers were given the opportunity to choose who to finance, many would certainly prefer to invest their money in tourism promotion in the knowledge and work of experts like Bradbury, rather than in any of the 300 or so directors of the country's tourist boards.

''The Centre will always vehemently oppose any form of intimidation and attacks on journalists, activists and citizens. We consider any attempt to restrict freedom of speech, and we witness them almost every day in Croatia, it's unacceptable, and this week we will send legal changes to the procedure that would prevent such lawsuits from occurring at all,'' announced Skoko.

Freedom of speech, he said, is the cornerstone of any democratic society and the first line of defense of all other freedoms.

''In addition to believing that an open public debate on any topic has no alternative, history teaches us that persecuting and silencing dissidents makes the whole society intellectually, but also economically poorer. Only an open exchange of ideas, but also criticism, is the guarantor of intellectual and economic progress,'' concluded Igor Skoko.

Sunday, 11 April 2021

Croatian National Tourist Board Sues TCN: Lawsuit 1 (50,000 Kuna)

April 11, 2021 - The Croatian National Tourist Board has sued Total Croatia News CEO Paul Bradbury twice, seeking a total of 100,000 kuna in damages. The full lawsuit and reply by Bradbury's lawyer, Vanja Juric. 

Lawsuit:

Date 12.06.2020. An article entitled "Fiasco: We’re boasting that we’re a coronavirus free zone, and foreign tourists have no idea about it" was published on the INDEX.HR web portal, in which the defendant presented incorrect and untrue information that violated the rights and interests of the plaintiff.

In the article in question, in relation to the plaintiff, the defendant maliciously and perfidiously presents inaccurate and untrue allegations, all with the evident aim of manipulating the Croatian public space in order to create and then unfoundedly maintain a negative perception.

These are the following untrue and defamatory allegations of the defendant:

"One of the tasks of the CNTB should be to follow the European media and then correct misinformation, because in addition to the Irish, misinformation was also published in the Belgian media that their citizens cannot enter Croatia."

"So, Croatia is promoted only on the German, Austrian, Hungarian, Czech, Slovak, Polish and Slovenian markets. Why didn't they target the Swiss market and that of neighbouring countries as well? I don't know why they aren’t targeting the Swiss, who are well-to-do guests and we are a car destination for them, or why the campaign isn’t being carried out in neighbouring countries such as Serbia and BiH, especially now that we will not get Americans. So, while Croatia is advertised in only 7 countries, Greece is sending a message to all foreign media that absolutely all tourists are welcome here.’’

2. The essence of the previously cited allegations of the defendant is reduced to presenting untruths and slander about the activities of the plaintiff in connection with the preparation of the tourist season in conditions determined by the consequences of the crisis caused by the COVID-19 virus. On top of that, the defendant offers an exclusively one-sided presentation of the situation without having previously officially checked any of the above with the plaintiff itself as the umbrella national tourist organisation in the Republic of Croatia.

Therefore, contrary to all the allegations of the defendant from this article, the plaintiff, in extremely unfavourable conditions, defined by the coronavirus crisis took all of the necessary measures to achieve the prerequisites for achieving the best possible tourist results in the summer and autumn months of 2020. Of course, and contrary to the defendant's untrue allegations, the plaintiff's activity is absolutely dedicated to presenting the Republic of Croatia as a tourist destination that is a safe destination in the pandemic situation around the world. In that sense, and contrary to Luženik's allegations from the article in question, the plaintiff intensively promotes the Republic of Croatia on a global scale as a safe tourist destination, and such activity is not focused only on a number of European countries, as incorrectly stated by the defendant in the article. Namely, the plaintiff spends all the time on marketing campaigns and promotional announcements in 14 markets, not just 7 and this is incorrectly stated by the defendant in the article in question.

It is obvious that the defendant interprets the obligation to respect epidemiological measures by all social and economic entities in the Republic of Croatia, including the plaintiff, perfidiously, maliciously, but also extremely unprofessionally, since the defendant himself presents himself to the public as a tourism expert. The defendant interprets it as poor and unprofessional treatment in connection with the organisation of activities related to the preparation of this year's tourist season.

In doing so, the defendant, obviously maliciously, neglects the fact that from the beginning of the pandemic, the plaintiff continuously and promptly informs the general public about the conditions of travel and stay in the Republic of Croatia, all in accordance with the applicable rules and recommendations of the National Staff, as well as through direct communication with its network of representative offices.

Finally, in accordance with the valid strategic documents, the plaintiff continuously monitors the media in key broadcasting markets, and communication with the same media takes place "ad hoc" whenever the plaintiff receives certain notifications about erroneous publications and needs for corrections, so the defendant's allegations are incorrect and utterly untrue.

Following the above, it is obvious that the defendant, by publishing the previously cited untrue and defamatory allegations, grossly and severely violated the plaintiff's character in terms of Article 19 of the Civil Obligations Act, which is reflected in the violation of reputation (something along the lines of slander/defamation).

Precisely for this reason, and due to the violation (slander or defamation), the plaintiff in this civil proceeding demands from the defendant adequate monetary satisfaction in the amount of 50,000.00 KN.

EVIDENCE: - as before;

The main reason why the plaintiff is raising this lawsuit and claim is the protection of its rights and interests due to untrue and incomplete reporting to the Croatian public by the defendant, which then ultimately imposes the need to correct previously emphasised information that is incorrectly published and misinterpreted in this article by the defendant.

The plaintiff points out that in the case of a public apology made by the defendant, done so in a manner that fully corresponds to the manner of publishing the disputed statements, i.e. in the same or equivalent place, it is ready to accept without the further continuation of this litigation.

I. The defendant is ordered to pay the plaintiff the amount of HRK 50,000.00 together with the corresponding statutory default interest rate from 04.08.2020 as the date of filing the lawsuit until payment at the rate of the average interest rate on loans granted for a period longer than one year to non-financial companies calculated for the reference period preceding the current half-year, increased by three percentage points, within 15 days under threat of enforcement.

II. The defendant is ordered to reimburse the plaintiff for the incurred litigation costs together with the corresponding statutory default interest running from the date of the first instance judgment until payment at the rate of the average interest rate on loans granted for more than one year to nonfinancial companies calculated for the previous reference period, increased by three percentage points, within 15 days under threat of enforcement.

Reply by Bradbury's lawyer, Vanja Juric:

I. The Defendant authorised the lawyer Vanja Jurić from Zagreb, (Ulica grada Mainza 13) to represent him in this case, so the proposal is to deliver all documents [related to this case] to the address of the law office.

II. The defendant disputes the merits of the lawsuit entirely, as well as the [monetary] amount of the lawsuit, for the following reasons:

1. The defendant did not submit a request for the correction of the information to the publisher of the portal www.index.hr.

1.1. The defendant considers it undisputed that the information that is the subject of this lawsuit was published in the media - on the portal www.index.hr. Although the lawsuit was filed against the declarant - the defendant, and not against the publisher who published the disputed article/interview, the plaintiff, before filing a lawsuit in this case, should have sent a request to the publisher of the portal www.index.hr for a correction of that information.

1.2. The Law on Media stipulates that a person who has previously addressed the publisher with a request for the correction of information or a request for an apology, when a correction is not possible, has the right to file a lawsuit for non-pecuniary damage. Likewise, the same Law establishes a request for the correction of information as the primary way of compensating for any damage caused by publishing information in the media, while a lawsuit for non-pecuniary damage is only an ancillary means for violations that are particularly severe and cannot be "corrected" by the publication of any corrections or apologies.

1.3. In accordance with the identical principles established by the Law on Media, and the Law on Obligations, Art. 1099 and 1100 determine the ways of repairing non-pecuniary damage. The Law (abbreviated Croatian: ZOO) determines that non-pecuniary damage is primarily repaired "by the publishing of a judgment or correction, by withdrawing the statement by which the violation was committed or by some other means that can achieve the purpose achieved by fair monetary compensation." The payment of fair monetary compensation is also prescribed by this Law only as a secondary way of repairing non-material damage, and only when "the severity of the injury and the circumstances of the case justify it".

1.5. Because the plaintiff did not make the slightest effort to correct the allegedly inaccurate information or for the defendant or Index as the publisher to compensate them for the alleged damage in any of the ways provided by the Law as a primary means, the plaintiff was not authorised to file this claim for non-pecuniary damage. The plaintiff, by not filing a request for the correction of the information or the withdrawal of the statement, showed that no actual damage was caused to them.

2. Context

2.1. The disputed statements of the defendants were made in the midst of the first wave of the coronavirus pandemic, at the beginning of June, when the tourist season would already be underway in Croatia under normal circumstances. From March to June 2020 (and later), precisely because of the pandemic, Croatia experienced a steep decline in tourist arrivals and overnight stays, like most other countries, which posed a major problem for tourism workers, hoteliers, small renters, and ultimately for the budget of the Republic of Croatia, which has suffered and continues to suffer great losses.

2.2. The defendant is the author and publisher of the portal www.total-croatia-news.com, on which he publishes various [types of] content, with special emphasis placed on topics relating to tourism. The defendant is being treated in Croatia as one of the tourism experts, which is why, in this particular case, he was contacted by a journalist from the www.index.hr portal. In the aforementioned period, namely, all Croatian media reported on the situation regarding tourism, the activities of the Ministry of Tourism and the Croatian Tourist Board, all with the aim of initiating a public debate on these issues, and finding solutions to problems encountered by Croatian tourism.

2.3. During the same period, a number of inaccurate and chaotic pieces of information about the conditions of arrival in Croatia, the conditions for crossing the country's borders and other important circumstances that tourists should have known were spread in Croatia, as well as in the countries from which tourists come. This was, after all, commented on by numerous tourism and communication experts.

EVIDENCE:

- Article "Minister of Tourism revealed three scenarios for this year's season: It is possible to drop overnight stays by 90 percent", Glas Istre, April 2, 2020.
- Article "Disaster on the horizon: Steep decline in tourist overnight stays - 94.8 percent fewer tourists came in May than last year", www.net.hr, from 10.06.2020.
- Article "Croatian tourism is on its knees: The situation is uncertain, and the announcements do not promise yet: We are opening a hotel, but we have no reservations", www.net.hr, from 01.06.2020.
- Article “We're being stripped naked to the end! A country of missed opportunities with 314 tourist boards ", from April 10, 2020.

2.4. In addition to the above, on March 30, 2020, the plaintiff himself announced in his newsletter that "all marketing and PR activities in the [emitting/foreign] markets have been postponed."

EVIDENCE:

- A printout of the plaintiff's newsletter, dated 31 March 2020.

3. The disputed information is factually substantiated

3.1. The controversial article deals with the problematisation of the actions of the Ministry of Tourism and the Croatian Tourist Board, in the circumstances of the pandemic and the difficult challenges in which tourism found itself. The article, as well as the statements of the defendants (and other interlocutors) talks about the decline in the number of overnight stays and tourist arrivals, presents statistics to the public and compares the campaigns of other competing countries, in relation to Croatia's promotion in foreign markets and its shortcomings.

3.2. Although not covered by the lawsuit, the defendant in a statement for the portal www.index.hr, very clearly explained the basis of his objections, in relation to the actions of the competent ministry and the prosecutor, stating that Croatia announced it would ''open its borders for 10 countries, this is an automatic message to everyone else that they are not welcome ", as the Irish Times wrote about the fact that their citizens could not come to Croatia, which is not true, but the Croatian Government created this confusion", that same Irish Times [publication], after his intervention, changed that article, etc. Ultimately, the defendant presents his [value] judgments about the duties of the plaintiff and the Ministry of Tourism and expresses an opinion on what was wrong in their conduct and what should be improved.

3.3. The lawsuit includes two disputable - allegedly defamatory - pieces of information, although it is completely unclear from the lawsuit what the inaccuracy or defamatory nature of the defendant's statements consists of. The defendant considers that the plaintiff does not distinguish between the concepts of value judgments and factual claims and that they do not understand the meaning of the concept of defamation.

3.4. The first piece of information from the defendant states that one of the CNTB's tasks is to follow the European media and correct misinformation, since the Irish and Belgian media published information that their citizens could not come to Croatia, which was not true.

3.4.1. It is completely unclear to the defendant which part of the quoted information the plaintiff disputes. Does the plaintiff dispute the conclusion that the CNTB's job is to follow the European media? Or that misinformation was published in the Irish and Belgian media? In both cases, since this is factually substantiated information, there can be no question of defamation or any other type of damage to the plaintiff's reputation.

3.5. The second piece of information from the defendant refers to the enumeration of the markets in which Croatia, in the disputed period, advertised. After that, the defendant expressed the opinion that the prosecutor and the ministry should have "targeted" other countries, such as Switzerland, Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina, which are our neighbours and, due to their proximity, the most likely guests. At the end of that statement, the defendant draws a parallel with the campaign and communication of Greece, which is, in terms of tourism, our competitor country.

3.5.1. Here, too, it is unclear what the plaintiff considers defamation, since the plaintiff themselves issued a press release on June 1, 2020, stating that they were “conducting a large promotional campaign in seven European markets, in Slovenia, Austria, Germany, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Poland.''

EVIDENCE:

- The statement of the plaintiff dated 01.06.2020.

3.5.2. As for the second part of the disputed statement - does the plaintiff challenge the right of the defendant to bring a court to/on where Croatia should still advertise? Is it problematic to mention Switzerland as a country from which guests come to Croatia? It is also unclear which part of the defendant's opinion is disputable, stating that the campaign must be aimed at both Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina, and why the mention of Greece as an example of good communication with tourists is disputable. The defendant, even with the best of intentions, does not understand why any of the cited allegations are being deemed to be incorrect, and especially defamatory.

EVIDENCE:

- An insight into the submitted documentation
- Hearing the defendant
- The examination of witness Krešimir Macan
- The examination of witness Zoran Pejović

3.6. All statements of the defendant that are disputable in this procedure were confirmed by another interlocutor of the Index portal, also an expert on tourism issues - Mr. Zoran Pejović. He stated that Croatia "does not work nearly enough on the promotion, in fact it does nothing", that it seems to him that the promotion is done "only for internal needs" and that he came to such insights "through contacts with travel agencies from the EU / ... / they hear very little about Croatia or hear nothing compared to [what they hear about] Portugal and Greece, which have strong campaigns. The promotion of Croatia in the world is going very, very poorly and that must be done much more strongly. "

EVIDENCE:

- An insight into the disputed article

4. The disputed information is not objectively suitable for the causing of damage

In accordance with the Law and the positions of the Croatian courts, in order for the court to award the plaintiff monetary (or other sort of) compensation, the information that is the subject of the dispute must be objectively suitable to cause damage. For all the reasons stated in the previous points of this statement, especially considering that these are factually based value judgments about the public action(s) taken by public authorities, the information that the plaintiff marked as disputable is not objectively suitable to cause damage, and especially not damage that would justify the verdict of fair monetary compensation.

5. Public interest

5.1. Tourism is one of the economic branches from which a significant number of Croatian citizens live. In addition, Croatia's revenues from tourism reach as much as 25% of GDP, so there can be no doubt that the success of tourism and tourism as such is a matter of significant public interest.

5.2. Also, the plaintiff is a public authority, whose activities are financed with taxpayers' money and which is responsible for the affairs and functioning of the tourist activities in Croatia. Therefore, any member of the public or the media has the right and duty to comment, criticise and problematise their public actions and all circumstances related to the performance of tasks delegated to them.

6. Assumptions of liability for damage

6.1. In proceedings of this type, the plaintiff is obliged to prove the cumulative existence of all presumptions of liability for damages, namely: the harm-doer, the harmful action, the damage, the link between the above and the illegality of the defendant in the proceedings.

The plaintiff did not, nor will he be able to prove these assumptions, since:

- The information in question is not objectively capable of causing damage to the plaintiff;
- The defendant is not a harm-doer, but the harm-doer, if there is one at all, is the portal that requested and published the plaintiff's statements;
- Actions - the statements of the defendant do not represent a harmful/damage-causing action, given that it is information that is factually based and/or represents the value judgments of the defendant on a topic of public interest;
- The damage did not occur, which is especially evident from the fact that the plaintiff did not do anything in relation to the statements of the defendant to request a denial by which the disputed information would be publicly refused and citizens would be properly informed;
- There is no link between the harmful action (which it is not) and the alleged damage, given that in the disputed, period many media [publications/portals] and members of the Croatian public publicly discussed the problems regarding tourism and the insufficient activities of the prosecutors;
- The defendant's conduct is not unlawful.

6.2. Given that the facts of this case are quite clear, the defendant at this stage will not go into more detail to clarify each of these items and refer to specific decisions of Croatian courts and the European Court of Human Rights, relating to freedom of expression and responsibility for opinion. However, the defendant draws the court's attention to the plaintiff's allegations that the defendant acted unlawfully, as such a possible finding of the court would be contrary to all existing standards of freedom of expression, especially when such expression relates to the work and activities of the public authorities. Making established judgments about the work of public authorities is not and cannot be illegal.

7. An attempt to retaliate against the defendant

7.1. The defendant considers that this lawsuit was not filed for damages that the plaintiff claims was caused to them, but for an attempt to retaliate against the defendant who continuously, due to the nature of his work, problematises the work of the Ministry of Tourism and the plaintiff.

7.2. The defendant finds it indicative that the plaintiff:

- Did not file a request for correction of the information, the removal of the disputed article or the withdrawal of the plaintiff's statement, to which they were legally entitled;
- Did not file a lawsuit against the portal www.index.hr, although it was that portal that published statements that the plaintiff considers harmful;
- Did not file a lawsuit against another interlocutor of the Index portal, whose statements were also published in the disputed article, nor against other media and/or experts who publicly criticised the actions of the plaintiff.

7.3. The plaintiff, although they had a number of legal remedies at their disposal, did not take any measures/steps to correct/repair the alleged damage, but instead filed a lawsuit directly and personally against the defendant, for damages in the amount of as much as HRK 50,000.00. For this reason, the defendant considers that this proceeding was not initiated in order [for the plaintiff] to protect their reputation - given that the information itself was not objectively suitable to harm the plaintiff - but to compel the defendant, by bringing his existential and financial stability into question, to stop speaking publicly about the plaintiff. Given the provisions of the Civil Obligations Act, the defendant considers that the claim for fair monetary compensation in this case is incompatible with the legal purpose of awarding such compensation and that the claim, on this basis, should be rejected.

* * * * *

Following the above, it is proposed to the titled/stated court to reject the plaintiff's claim in its entirety, and to oblige the plaintiff to reimburse the defendant for the litigation costs caused.

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

Wednesday, 24 March 2021

Croatian Tourist Board Budget Stretched, Support for Athletes, Events

March the 24th, 2021 - The Croatian Tourist Board budget has been stretched due to the issues caused by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic which has taken the entire world into its iron grip. As a result, cash is tighter than usual, but support will still be given to some in the form of promotion.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Marija Crnjak writes, at a session of the Tourist Board of the Croatian National Tourist Board (HTZ) held on Monday, a decision was adopted on the announcement of a call for expressions of interest for the implementation of marketing cooperation with the organisers of TOP events and top Croatian athletes throughout 2021.

This is a particular sort of programme that includes marketing collaborations related to important sporting, entertainment and other such events with great media visibility that are in the function of raising the attractiveness and recognisability of the overall outrist offer boasted by the Republic of Croatia, but also includes collaborations with top Croatian athletes to promote Croatia as an attractive tourist destination to viewers across Europe and the world.

Back during pandemic-dominated 2020, this call didn't get the green light because of the uncertain and entirely unpredecented situation in which we found ourselves, which was sponsored by a significant budget cut for this project when compared to the time before the pandemic struck. Back in record 2019, the budget stood at 9 million kuna, and this year  the current plan is to spend 5 million kuna at the absolute most.

"We're approaching the Easter holidays, which in previous years would mean the beginning of more intensive tourist trips in and to Croatia. This year, due to the current situation, we don't really expect the greater realisation of tourist traffic, but in compliance with the prescribed measures and protocols, we expect tourist activities with an emphasis on the domestic market, as well as markets such as Germany, Slovenia, Italy or the Czech Republic, to go ahead,'' explained Kristjan Stanicic when discussing the Croatian Tourist Board budget and how things stand with the country's main markets.

Minister of Tourism and Sport Nikolina Brnjac pointed out that testing and vaccination against the novel coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, remain among the key elements of tourist season preparation for this summer, revealing that the Safe stay in Croatia project has so far involved almost 10,000 tourism stakeholders across the country.

For current information on coronavirus specific to Croatia, including travel info, border rules, testing centres and much more, bookmark this page.

Wednesday, 17 March 2021

Croatian National Tourist Board Forgets Slovenia in Safe Stay in Croatia Campaign

March 17, 2021 - Slovenian media has noticed that the Safe Stay in Croatia campaign is not available in the Slovenian language, although Slovenians are the second largest market for Croatia. 

According to the Slovenian daily zurnal24.si, the Safe Stay in Croatia page can be translated into nine foreign languages on the campaign's main website, but there is no Slovenian among them. Thus, they have sent an inquiry to the Croatian National Tourist Board (CNTB) Head Office to explain this to Slovenian readers, reports Jutarnji List.

Slovenjezikkkk.pngScreenshot

A similar inquiry was submitted by Jutarnji List, after which the Croatian National Tourist Board clarified that the Safe Stay in Croatia page will be translated into Slovenian by the end of March and that they have decided to carry out activities that do not involve the classic lease of advertising space.

"Regarding the accompanying promotional campaign, the Croatian National Tourist Board carries out PR and marketing activities, i.e., advertising activities within the Safe Stay in Croatia campaign, in the markets of Germany, Austria, Italy, Poland, Great Britain, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, France, and the Netherlands.

On the other hand, in the Slovenian market, due to its proximity and excellent knowledge of the Croatian tourist offer from Slovenian partners and the guests themselves, activities are carried out through other communication channels.

In other words, the Croatian National Tourist Board Representation in Slovenia organizes training and presentations of the Safe Stay in Croatia project, intended for travel agents, partners, carriers, and today begins a two-day b2b workshop where all segments of the project will be explained in detail.

PR activities are continuously carried out through Slovenian media to inform the general public, and information about the project is also placed through newsletters," explained the CNTB.

By the way, according to the CNTB data for 2020, the importance of Slovenian tourists is best evidenced by the fact that last year they realized as much as 15% of the total number of overnight stays in Croatia, ahead of German tourists who achieved 23%.

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