Friday, 7 October 2022

Ajme Meni! Shocking Truth of Amazing Official 'Croatian Tourism Month' Project

October 7, 2022 - Ajme Meni! If you ever wanted an example of the difference between what our tourism gurus tell us, and the reality, read on - a closer look at the wonderfully successful 'Croatian Tourism Month.'

I have moved on from writing about Croatian tourism. Our new book, Croatia, a Survival Kit for Foreigners, is out next week. My new departure into the world of YouTubing brought over 50k views with the first video, and I have just been offered my own TV show.

Apart from some client commitments, I had moved on from Croatian tourism being a main focus. 

Or so I thought. 

One event I really enjoy attending each year is the annual Days of Croatian Tourism in October. It is a wonderful affair, where all official tourism workers gather for 2-3 days to congratulate themselves on another successful season. There is great food, wine, entertainment, endless selfies, and awards, awards, awards. It really is a splendid affair, so splendid that last year I renamed it as Days of Croatian Self-Congratulation. You can read more in my article on last year's gathering - Ever Been to a Party Where the Host is Suing You?

Because I am one of the rare attendees who offers some constructive criticism on occasion, I am not particularly welcome at the event in certain quarters, perhaps even more so now that the Croatian National Tourism Board decided to sue me twice in 2020 (the only blogger/journalist to be sued by them that year - cases ongoing). The reaction when I walk into the room is always wonderful - and threefold. There are those who turn their backs and want nothing to do with me. There are those who welcome me as a friend and express appreciation for what I do. And there is a bigger number who turn their backs but message me privately saying that it is nothing personal and we can meet for beers in their hometown, but that they can't be seen to be a fan of mine at such an event. 

I totally understand, for after many years, I know how Croatia works. 

I decided to come to Days of Croatian Self-Congratulation in Sibenik with the sole intention of enjoying and catching up with friends and clients. And then...

Last night's round of self-congratulations was only a warm-up to the main event tonight, which will be beamed live on national television and attended by the Prime Minister. Sustainable tourism, extending the season, all the usual buzzwords will be trotted out as usual. There is an ongoing project, Croatian Tourism Month, of which all the kings are very proud - their effort to extend the season, and a tremendous success if you believe all the official words. 


I smiled when I saw a headline in the Croatian media yesterday. Apparently, the promo video for Croatian Tourism Month, just 30 seconds, included some stock footage of a train in Norway. It must be hard to get such things right when you are busy congratulating yourself so much. 

Just for fun, I checked the stats and info below the video.


Almost a million views, but only 7 likes. Comments turned off, the post only in Croatian, and no live link to the dedicated website (which is also in Croatian only, despite Croatian National Tourist Board Director saying that the project was also targeted at foreign tourists). 

Last year I was more than a little shocked when I checked the site to find that the ONLY thing to eat all month on this incredible project was popcorn in several counties. Yep, had Cinestar not offered 35% off their popcorn, there would have been nothing to eat in four counties. (Read more in Gourmet Croatia: 35% Off Popcorn the Only Offer in Kingdom of Accidental Tourism)


Come back Cinestar!

This year the ONLY things currently available (one week into this wonderful month-long promotion) is strukli and a wine tasting in Zabok.

And that's it.

For the whole country. 


In fact, if you take accommodation out of the offer, here is what this incredible promotion has to offer in numbers:

24 - cultural attractions

26 - active tourism

13 - natural attractions

4 - wellness

1 - sailing

5 - excursions

1 - transfers (a discount on motorway tolls ENC)

18 - package holidays

2 - rural tourism

67 - experiences

The 67 experiences are fascinating. They include things like walking through Tunnel Gric in Zagreb, something I do every day, finding the planets of the sun, or taking the Zagreb funicular. All without discounts. And if you look a little closer, there is a little disclaimer:


Bajkovite prirodne i kulturne znamenitosti. Očaravajući mirisi i zvuci. Odjeci davne prošlosti. Iako nisu dio ponude akcije "Mjesec hrvatskog turizma", posjetite ove znamenitosti tokom godine i doživite Hrvatsku na jedinstven način.


Fairytale natural and cultural sights. Enchanting smells and sounds. Echoes of the ancient past. Although they are not part of the "Month of Croatian Tourism" offer, visit these sights throughout the year and experience Croatia in a unique way.

So if we take out the experiences and the accommodation, we are going to be pretty hungry with nothing to do. 

Officially, however, it seems that this excellent project is one of the saviours of 12-month tourism in Croatia, with Minister of Tourism and Sports, Nikolina Brnjac claiming in the press release:

The month of Croatian tourism, which we started at the beginning of my term as a weekly event, and last year was extended to a month due to great interest, certainly contributed to these results.

Like so many things in Croatian tourism, the idea is not bad, the execution appalling. Offering discounts of 35% in the shoulder or low season to encourage people to travel then makes sense. 

Except October is not the shoulder or low season on the continent. It may be on the coast which is where most interest and resources are invested. And expecting small businesses to take 35% off the bottom line is crazy. Being a little more creative and perhaps taking off VAT on services might attract more interest from service providers. Interestingly, the Amadria Park in Sibenik, which is hosting Days of Croatian Self-Congratulation, is not part of the Croatian Tourism Month programme.

One well-known and very successful hotelier in continental Croatia told me that the kings had asked if she was interested in joining the programme and offering a 35% discount in the month of October. She is already overbooked for the month, and her reply was brilliant:

"I will be the first to give a 35% discount in October, one of my busiest months, when I see hotels in Dalmatia offering a 35% discount in August."


Osijek, 91% booked tonight. Things may be slow on the coast right now, but if one of the aims is to boost continental tourism, they have picked the wrong month. 

I am looking forward to tonight, to see how much praise will be heaped on this wonderful official initiative. Sadly, unlike last year's Croatian Tourism Month, I won't be able to ask someone to pass the popcorn. Strukli, anyone?


Read more - What is it like to be sued by the Croatian National Tourist Board?

What's it like living in Croatia, and where can you get the best survival tips? TCN CEO Paul Bradbury and TCN Editor Lauren Simmonds have teamed up to publish Croatia, a Survival Kit for Foreigners.

Follow Paul Bradbury on LinkedIn.





Saturday, 23 October 2021

About 420 Service Providers Included in Croatian Tourism Month

ZAGREB, 23 Oct, 2021 - About 420 enterprises in the tourist industry have taken part in the campaign "Croatian Tourism Month" in October, and so far a surge has been registered in visitors' arrivals and bed-nights compared to October 2020, the tourism ministry reported on Saturday.

The campaign was launched on 1 October by the ministry and the Croatian National Tourism Board (HTZ) with the aim of extending the tourist season by offering a range of services available at special benefits and discounts of at least 35 percent throughout October.

Considering the interest shown by both service providers and guests, the campaign will be extend to include the first seven days of November, too. In this way, the extended campaign will coincide with the school holidays around the All Saints' Day, a public holiday in Croatia.

A source from the ministry has told Hina that they are satisfied with the turnout of service providers and visitors.

Domestic guests are mainly users of these benefits, and there also foreign visitors during this month.

In the first 20 days of October, 484,000 guests were registered in Croatia, a surge of 208% compared to the corresponding period in 2020, and the number of their overnight stays skyrocketed by 121% to nearly two million.

Compared to the pre-pandemic 2019, this October's number of visits accounted for 56% of the statistics in the corresponding period two years ago, and overnight stay amounted to 66%.

The e-visitor system shows that in the first 20 days of October, 118,000 Croatians visited local destinations, or 57% more than in 2020 and 14% fewer than in 2019.

The top destinations have been Dubrovnik, Zagreb, Split, Zadar and Rovinj.

For more on lifestyle, follow TCN's dedicated page. 

For more about Croatia, CLICK HERE.

Friday, 1 October 2021

Croatian Tourism Month Campaign Begins Today!

October 1, 2021 - The Croatian Tourism Month campaign begins today. It is a project by the Ministry of Tourism and Sports and the Croatian Tourist Board, where numerous tourist services and experiences will be available at a minimum of 35 percent off! 

Thus, all Croatian citizens and foreign guests who will be staying in Croatia during October will be able to experience tourist services in all parts of Croatia at promotional prices, which will be available on the "Croatian Tourism Month" portal, reports HRTurizam.

"Together with the project, a marketing campaign is launched, which aims to inform further encourage tourism entities to participate in the project, but also the citizens themselves, who we invite to take this opportunity to travel at much more affordable prices. About 200 thousand tourists are still in our country, and the post-season and autumn periods are ideal for a short vacation and discovering new destinations. Therefore, we believe in the excellent results of this project, i.e., in its contribution to the overall tourist results this year," said the director of the Croatian Tourist Board, Kristjan Staničić, emphasizing the importance of further compliance with all prescribed epidemiological measures and responsible behavior.

Through this action, travelers can visit different parts of Croatia and enjoy numerous tourist products and services, from accommodation, transport, cultural, historical, natural sights, and tourist attractions to catering services and various experiences.

"With the Croatian Tourism Month action, we want to encourage domestic and foreign tourists to explore Croatia, and at the same time extend the season. Due to the great interest in last year's Vacation-Worthy Week campaign, we have decided that this year throughout the month, across the country, tourists will have a range of services at special benefits and discounts of at least 35 percent. We believe this will motivate them to travel and discover destinations they have not yet visited. In the current part of the postseason, we are recording excellent results that confirm that Croatia has all the requirements to become a year-round tourist destination, which is our strategic goal. Therefore, I invite all stakeholders in tourism to join Croatian Tourism Months, and tourists, both domestic and foreign, to take advantage of the benefits offered to them and discover all the beauties of Croatia, which is beautiful at all times," said Minister of Tourism and Sports Nikolina Brnjac.

Croatian Tourism Month is a continuation of last year's Vacation-Worthy Week campaign, implemented from 16 to 25 October. This year, due to the great interest of tourism entities and citizens, it covers all of October. The project's main goal is to extend the tourist season by encouraging domestic and foreign tourist traffic in the post-season period.

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

Wednesday, 8 September 2021

Croatian Tourism Month Launches in October to Extend Tourist Season

September 8, 2021 - Croatian Tourism Month will be held this October to replace last year's first-ever Vacation-Worthy Week campaign.

On the Croatian Radio 1 - Business Week show, the Minister of Tourism and Sports Nikolina Brnjac announced that to extend this tourist year, in which Croatia reached 60% of tourist traffic realized in 2019 on August 28, last year's Vacation-Worthy Week campaign will now to be carried out throughout the month of October, under the name Croatian Tourism Month, reports HRTurizam.

"On this occasion, I invite all stakeholders in the tourism system to get involved in this action to achieve the best possible postseason. Good results this season are the result of systematic work and planning of all departments of the Croatian Government since the beginning of the year. Thanks to the synergy of the tourism sector, Croatia has been recognized this year as a destination that has taken all measures to create the preconditions for a safe environment," said Brnjac.

The first "Vacation-Worthy Week," a joint project of the Ministry of Tourism and Sports and the Croatian National Tourist Board, took place from October 16 to 25 last year.

In the promotional week, citizens were able to take advantage of a total of 424 offers and services from all parts of Croatia at 50 percent better prices.

Although due to the specific situation in which the action was carried out, following the coronavirus pandemic, it was difficult to assess how successful the campaign was. 

Among the numerous tourist entities, national parks and nature parks took part in the action, which was in the special focus of visitors. Thus, Plitvice Lakes National Park, which offered tickets to all visitors at an affordable price of 50 kuna, was visited by almost 30,000 guests in ten days.

Krka National Park, which 2,700 tourists visited in the promotional week, also recorded good results, while the Northern Velebit National Park sold more than 500 tickets in the same period. 

The Croatian National Tourist Board pointed out that the Vacation-Worthy Week website attracted more than 150,000 unique visitors, who spent an average of three minutes researching the offers. At the same time, they mostly reviewed offers from the city of Zagreb and Split-Dalmatia, Primorje-Gorski Kotar, and Istria counties.

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