Wednesday, 12 May 2021

Checking in with Dubrovnik Digital Nomads-in-Residence – Alyssa Isogawa Interview

May 12, 2021 – The Dubrovnik Digital Nomads-in-Residence (DNiR) program is in full swing. Today we are catching up with Alyssa Isogawa to get her view of the program and living in Dubrovnik.

What ties a young Californian of Japanese descent to Croatia? Well, water polo, of course. Alyssa Isogawa is anything but typical. This charming Californian from Huntington Beach spends her days working on her e-commerce brand Deep End she started at the age of 19. Her brand sells clothing, among other things, for water polo players. She also enjoys playing her guitar, dancing, and revelling in all things tied to the sea and water. She is a proud vegan and loves to meet new people.

Why did Alyssa Apply?

An interesting detail about Alyssa's introduction video is her love of water polo. Many think of this sport as exotic or uncommon. Not Croatians and certainly Dubrovnik locals. Water polo is a beautiful, albeit physically demanding sport enjoyed by many around the world. It is especially popular around the Mediterranean and in some central European countries. Croatia is one of the most successful countries in the history of the sport and Dubrovnik is one of the most important European water polo centres. It comes as no surprise Alyssa knew about Dubrovnik way before the Dubrovnik Digital Nomads-in-Residence program. As an aspiring digital nomad, she wasted no time applying to the program. After the initial selection process, Alyssa Isogawa is now enjoying her time in Dubrovnik, exploring the city and learning about local culture.

Her experiences will be a valuable asset to the program as DNiR is all about envisioning ways in which Dubrovnik could improve its offer for people like her. It was designed by Saltwater Nomads in partnership with Total Croatia News. The program is a collaboration between the City of Dubrovnik and the global digital nomad community it hosts, all done with great help from the Dubrovnik Tourist Board as well. The DNiR program is bound to produce interesting and valuable results that could have a real impact on the local community.

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This is one of the things high on Alyssa’s list as well. She enjoys the connection with the new culture and is looking forward to making new friends. In our interview below she states:

“Everyone here has been super friendly. I just walk down the street and people want to talk to me, which is so weird coming from LA…”

“Everyone here is just so willing to help you, wants to talk to you… and make sure to let you know that Croatia is an amazing place.”

Of course, not everything is perfect. There are areas that need improvement.

“I love Croatia so much, I love the people, and the only thing that has been super difficult is being a vegan here. Yeah, I would have to say I’ve had to ease up on my vegan-ness…”

Check out our video interview below and find out what Alyssa likes and dislikes about her Dubrovnik experience.

Learn more about the Dubrovnik Digital Nomads-in-Residence program.

Saltwater Nomads' Tanja Polegubic on Dubrovnik Digital Nomad-in-Residence Program

Dubrovnik Mayor Mato Frankovic on Digital Nomads, US Flights, 2021 Season

For the latest digital nomad news from Croatia, follow the dedicated TCN section.

The winner announcement video:

Tuesday, 11 May 2021

Zagreb Digital Nomad Week 2021 Announced by Saltwater Nomads/Zagreb Tourist Board

May 11, 2021 - The digital nomad buzz in Croatia is about to get even louder, with the announcement of the Zagreb Digital Nomad Week 2021 & the Digital Nomad Ambassador Project.

The future of work is evolving, and Croatia is in a great position to take advantage of the new reality with its unbeatable combination of safety, authentic experiences, and lifestyle. 

The global pandemic has highlighted even more the lifestyle and opportunities for digital nomads around the world, and Croatia has been one of the quickest countries to seize the opportunity. Thanks to the efforts of Dutch entrepreneur, Jan de Jong, and his team, the Croatian digital nomad permit became a reality on January 1, 2021. A number of permits from as far away as Guatemala have so far been approved. 

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And the digital nomad eco-system is developing nicely in Croatia, an eco-system which will be strengthened by a new project announced today and funded by the Zagreb Tourist Board, in cooperation with Saltwater Nomads, the Digital Nomad Association, and Total Croatia News. Welcome to the Zagreb Digital Nomad Week 2021 & the Digital Nomad Ambassador Project.

The first part of this innovative project, Zagreb Digital Nomad Week 2021, will take place from June 21-27, at various partner locations around the Croatian capital.

Seven themes for 7 days, with one day focused on the following: cyber security, online presence, remote careers, tax & finance, future of work, wellbeing and exploring Zagreb.

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The week will showcase the whole city, with events being held in hotels, hotels, coworking spaces, bars, cafes, and parks, with each evening featuring a different theme. 

Zagreb Digital Nomad Week 2021 is aimed at current and even “wannabe” digital nomads and remote workers. Croatia’s new legislation has really put it on the map for the global remote workforce - the organisers expect to see a diverse group of professionals coming to Croatia in years to come, with Zagreb as a top choice.

You can see an overview of the program here, with a detailed look at the daily activity here

Zagreb Digital Nomad Week 2021 will kick off at Canopy by Hilton on June 21, before moving to other partner locations, including Swanky Mint Hostel, HUB385, Bizkoshnica and Impact Hub. 

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A second component of the initiative is the Digital Nomad Ambassador Project, which will see one lucky nomad in residence as a guest of Zagreb for a month, starting on July 1 until December 31. This will allow nomads to experience the magic and diversity of this vibrant city, with its changing seasonal experiences over a six-month period.

The Ambassador project is expected to be another way Zagreb demonstrates its warmth and the winners will show the diverse, year-round offer and lifestyle you can enjoy here - whether you come alone, as a couple or even family. There’s a lot happening and with a regular work schedule, one month is just a taste of life in Zagreb.

Applications for the Ambassador project are now open on the Saltwater Nomads website

Zagreb Tourist Board has worked hard to diversify its tourism in the wake of the double blow of the pandemic and devastating earthquake. Its partnership with the county tourist board in the Around Zagreb project has been a big success, opening up new tourism possibilities to visitors to the city. This digital nomad strategy is an extension of that strategy. 

For more about digital nomad tourism in Zagreb, visit the Zagreb Tourist Board dedicated page.

For the latest on digital nomads in Croatia, follow the dedicated TCN section

 

Saturday, 20 February 2021

Health Insurance for Digital Nomads in Croatia is Now Enabled

February 20, 2021 – Digital nomads in Croatia have the right to health care, as the issue of health insurance for digital nomads in Croatia is now regulated.

As HRturizam reports, on Thursday, the Government sent amendments to the Law on Compulsory Health Insurance and Health Care of Foreigners in the Republic of Croatia to the parliamentary procedure. They are harmonized with the Aliens Act to regulate the manner of exercising the right to health care for digital nomads. The amendments thus enable the realization of the health care right for digital nomads.

By the official definition, a digital nomad is a third-country national who is employed or doing business through communication technology for a company or their own company that is not registered in Croatia and does not do business or provide services to employers in Croatia and has been granted temporary residence in Croatia.

As Health Minister Vili Beroš explained, a digital nomad is not obliged to apply for compulsory health insurance. Still, they are obliged to bear the costs of using health care in a health institution, i.e., with a private practice health worker or other health care provider in Croatia.

By amending the Law on Foreigners, Croatia has introduced the concept of digital nomads who now have preferential tax treatment. Legal changes regulate the tax exemption for receipts of digital nomads – foreigners who work online from Croatia for other countries' employers.

The new Law on Foreigners for Digital Nomads prescribes a tax exemption for their income based on the status thus acquired. All this to facilitate their decision to choose Croatia as a place of residence and work.

This way of regulating their stay in Croatia assumes that digital nomads will spend their earnings here while living in our country and thus positively impact the domestic economy.

Temporary residence is granted for up to one year (possibly shorter). However, the temporary stay cannot be extended. A request for re-regulation of the digital nomad's stay may be submitted six months after the digital nomad's temporary stay expiration.

As Jan de Jong, the initiator of the introduction of visas for digital nomads, has repeatedly pointed out, when a digital nomad would spend at least 10,000 kunas a month on living in Croatia, which is more than realistic, for about 50,000 potential digital nomads (as many as there are in Bali), that would mean a revenue of about 500 million kunas a month into the Croatian economy.

At the moment, the publication of the online system for electronic submission of applications for digital nomads is still pending and will be done soon. But before that, the Ministry of the Interior announced the procedure for obtaining visas for digital nomads.

To read more about digital nomads in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Friday, 19 February 2021

People also ask Google: What is Croatia Famous For?

February 19, 2021 – What is Croatia Famous For?

People outside of the country really want to know more about Croatia. They search for answers online.

Here, we'll try to answer the popular search terms “What is Croatia famous for?” and “What is Croatia known for?”

Most of the people looking for answers to these questions have never been to Croatia. They may have been prompted to ask because they're planning to visit Croatia, they want to come to Croatia, or because they heard about Croatia on the news or from a friend.

What Croatia is known for depends on your perspective. People who live in the country sometimes have a very different view of what Croatia is famous for than the rest of the world. And, after visiting Croatia, people very often leave with a very different opinion of what Croatia is known for than before they came. That's because Croatia is a wonderful country, full of surprises and secrets to discover. And, it's because internet searches don't reveal everything. Luckily, you have Total Croatia News to do that for you.

What is Croatia known for?

1) Holidays


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Croatia is best known globally as a tourist destination. Catching sight of pictures of the country online is enough to make almost anyone want to come. If you've heard about it from a friend, seen the country used in a TV show like Game of Thrones or Succession, or watched a travel show, your mind will be made up. Following such prompts, it's common for Croatia to move to first place on your bucket list. If it's not already, it should be, There are lots of reasons why Croatia is best known for holidays (vacations).

a) Islands


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What is Croatia famous for? Islands © Mljet National Park

Within Croatia's tourist offer, its most famous aspect is its islands. Croatia has over a thousand islands - 1246 when you include islets. 48 Croatian islands are inhabited year-round, but many more come to life over the warmer months. Sailing in Croatia is one of the best ways to see the islands, and if you're looking for a place for sailing in the Mediterranean, Croatia is the best choice because of its wealth of islands. These days, existing images of Croatia's islands have been joined by a lot more aerial photography and, when people see these, they instantly fall in love.

b) Beaches


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What is Croatia famous for? Its holidays are famous for their beaches © Szabolcs Emich

Croatia has 5835 kilometres of coastline on the Adriatic Sea - 1,777.3 kilometres of coast on the mainland, and a further 4,058 kilometres of coast around its islands and islets. The Croatian coast is the most indented of the entire Mediterranean. This repeated advance and retreat into the Adriatic forms a landscape littered with exciting, spectacular peninsulas, quiet, hidden bays, and some of the best beaches in the world. There are so many beaches in Croatia, you can find a spot to suit everyone. On the island of Pag and in the Zadar region, you'll find beaches full of young people where the party never stops. Elsewhere, romantic and elegant seafood restaurants hug the shoreline. Beach bars can range from ultra-luxurious to basic and cheap. The beaches themselves can be popular and full of people, facilities, excitement and water sports, or they can be remote, idyllic, and near-deserted, accessible only by boat. Sand, pebble, and stone all line the perfectly crystal-clear seas which are the common feature shared by all.

c) Dubrovnik


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What is Croatia famous for? Dubrovnik © Ivan Ivanković

As a backdrop to Game Of Thrones and movies from franchises like Star Wars and James Bond, Dubrovnik is known all over the world. Everybody wants to see it in person, and that's why it's an essential stop-off for so many huge cruise ships in warmer months. But, Dubrovnik's fame did not begin with the invention of film and television. The city was an autonomous city-state for long periods of time in history, and Dubrovnik was known all over Europe – the famous walls which surround the city of Dubrovnik are a testament to a desire to maintain its independent standing for centuries while living in the shadow of expanding, ambitious empires.

d) Heritage


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What is Croatia famous for? Heritage. Pula amphitheatre is one of the best-preserved Roman amphitheatres in the world

The walled city of Dubrovnik is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Croatia's rich architectural and ancient heritage. Diocletian's Palace in Split is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and still the living, breathing centre of life in the city (that people still live within it and it is not preserved in aspic is one of its most charming features and no small reason for its excellent preservation).

Having existed on the line of European defence against the Ottoman empire, Croatia also has many incredible fortresses and castles. The fortresses of Sibenik are well worth seeing if you're visiting Sibenik-Knin County and its excellent coast. A small number of Croatia's best castles exist on the coast, Rijeka's Trsat and Nova Kraljevica Castle is nearby Bakar being two of them. Most of Croatia's best and prettiest castles are actually located in its continental regions which, compared to the coast, remain largely undiscovered by most international tourists.

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Many spectacular castles in the country's continental regions are, for these parts, what is Croatia famous for

Pula amphitheatre (sometimes referred to as Pula Arena) is one of the largest and best-preserved Roman amphitheatres in the world. A spectacular sight year-round, like Diocletian's Palace, it remains a living part of the city's life, famously hosting an international film festival, concerts by orchestras, opera stars, and famous rock and pop musicians. Over recent years, it has also played a part in the city's music festivals.

e) Music Festivals


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What is Croatia famous for? Music festivals © Khris Cowley

There is a very good reason why the city of Pula leapt massively up the list of most-researched online Croatian destinations over the last decade. It played host to two of the country's most famous international music festivals. Though the music at some of these can be quite niche, the global attention they have brought to the country is simply massive. Clever modern branding and marketing by the experienced international operators who host their festivals in Croatia mean that millions of young people all over the world have seen videos, photos and reviews of Croatia music festivals, each of them set within a spectacular backdrop of seaside Croatia.

f) Plitvice Lakes and natural heritage


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What is Croatia Famous For? Plitvice Lakes, national parks and natural heritage

Known for its chain of 16 terraced lakes and gushing waterfalls, Plitvice Lakes is the oldest, biggest and most famous National Park in Croatia. Everybody wants to see it. And many do. But that's not the be-all and end-all of Croatia's stunning natural beauty. Within the country's diverse topography, you'll find 7 further National Parks and 12 Nature Parks which can be mountain terrain, an archipelago of islands, or vibrant wetlands.

2) Football


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What is Croatia famous for? Football. Seen here, Luka Modric at the 2018 World Cup © Светлана Бекетова

The glittering international careers of Croatian footballers Luka Modrić, Ivan Rakitić, Ivan Perišić, Mario Mandžukić, and others have in recent years advertised Croatia as a factory of top-flight footballing talent. They helped put Croatia football on the map with fans of European football. Football fans in Croatia have a very different perception of just how famous Croatian football is to everyone else in the world. If you talk to a Croatian fan about football, it's almost guaranteed that they will remind you of a time (perhaps before either of you were born) when their local or national team beat your local or national team in football. 99% of people will have no idea what they are talking about. The past occasions which prompt this parochial pride pale into insignificance against the Croatian National Football Team's achievement in reaching the World Cup Final of 2018. This monumental occasion brought the eyes of the world on Croatia, extending way beyond the vision of regular football fans. Subsequently, the internet exploded with people asking “Where is Croatia?”

Sports in general are what is Croatia known for

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Croatians are enthusiastic about sports and engage in a wide number of them. The difference in perception between how Croats view the fame this gets them and the reality within the rest of the world is simply huge. Rowing, basketball, wrestling, mixed martial arts, tennis, handball, boxing, waterpolo, ice hockey, skiing and volleyball are just some of the sports in which Croatia has enthusiastically supported individuals and local and national teams. Some of these are regarded as minority sports even in other countries that also pursue them. Croatians don't understand this part. If you say to a Croatian “What is handball? I never heard of that,” they will look at you like you are crazy or of below-average intelligence.

3) Zagreb


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What is Croatia famous for? Its capital city Zagreb is becoming increasingly better known

Over relatively recent years, the Croatian capital has skyrocketed in terms of fame and visitor numbers. Tens of thousands of people from all over the world now come to visit Zagreb each year. Its massive new success can be partly attributed to the rising popularity of international tourism in some areas of Asia (and Zagreb being used as a setting for some television programmes made in some Asian countries) and the massive success of Zagreb's Advent which, after consecutively attaining the title of Best European Christmas Market three times in a row, has become famous throughout the continent and further still. Zagreb's fame is not however restricted to tourism. Zagreb is known for its incredible Austro-Hungarian architecture, its Upper Town (Gornji Grad) and the buildings there, an array of museums and city centre parks and as home to world-famous education and scientific institutions, like to Ruder Boskovic Institute and the Faculty of Economics, University of Zagreb.

4) Olive oil


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What is Croatia famous for? Olive oil

Croatian olive oil is the best in the world. Don't just take out word for it! Even the experts say so. In 2020, leading guide Flos Olei voted Istria in northwest Croatia as the world's best olive oil growing region for a sixth consecutive year. Olive oil production is an ancient endeavour in Croatia, and over hundreds of years, the trees have matured, and the growers learned everything there is to know. Olive oil is made throughout a much wider area of Croatia than just Istria, and local differences in climate, variety, and soil all impact the flavour of the oils produced. Croatian has no less than five different olive oils protected at a European level under the designation of their place of origin. These and many other Croatian olive oils are distinct and are among the best you're ever likely to try.

5) There was a war here


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What is Croatia famous for? A relatively recent war left its mark on the country © Modzzak

Under rights granted to the republics of the former Yugoslavia and with a strong mandate from the Croatian people, gained across two national referendums, Croatia declared its independence from Yugoslavia in 1991. Yugoslavia was a multi-ethnic country, with each republic containing a mixture of different ethnicities and indeed many families which themselves were the product of mixed ethnicities. Ethnic tensions and the rise of strong nationalist political voices in each of the former republics and within certain regions of these countries lead to a situation where war became inevitable. The worst of the fighting was suffered within Croatia, Bosnia, and Herzegovina and the part of southern Serbia which is now Kosovo. The Croatian War of Independence (known locally as the Homeland War) lasted from 1991 – 1995. The Yugoslav wars of which it was a major part is regarded as the deadliest conflict in Europe since World War II. In many cases, this war pitted neighbouring houses or neighbouring villages against each other and sometimes members of the same family could be found on opposing sides. The war left huge damage on the country and its infrastructure, some of which is still visible. Worse still, it had a much greater physical and psychological impact on the population. Some people in Croatia today would rather not talk about the war and would prefer to instead talk about the country's present and future. For other people in Croatia, the war remains something of an obsession. If you are curious about the Croatian War of Independence, it is not advisable to bring it up in conversation when you visit the country unless you know the person you are speaking with extremely well. It is a sensitive subject for many and can unnecessarily provoke strong emotions and painful memories. There are many resources online where you can instead read all about the war, there are good documentary series about it on Youtube and there are several museums in Croatia where you can go and learn more, in Vukovar, Karlovac and in Zagreb.

6) Wine


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What is Croatia famous for? Its wine is some of the best you'll ever try © Plenković

Croatia is not really that famous for wine. Well, not as famous as it should be because Croatia makes some of the greatest wine on the planet. Croatian wine is only really famous to those who have tried it after visiting – you'll never forget it! A growing cabal of Croatian wine enthusiasts are trying their best internationally to spread the word about Croatian wine. However, there isn't really that much space in Croatia to make all the wine it needs to supply its homegrown demands and a greatly increased export market. Therefore, export prices of Croatian wine are quite high and even when it does reach foreign shores, these prices ensure its appreciation only by a select few. There's a popular saying locally that goes something like this “We have enough for ourselves and our guests”. Nevertheless, Croatian wine is frequently awarded at the most prestigious international competitions and expos. White wine, red wine, sparkling wine, cuvee (mixed) and rose wine are all made here and Croatia truly excels at making each. You can find different kinds of grape grown and wine produced in the different regions of Croatia. The best way to learn about Croatian wine is to ask someone who really knows about wine or simply come to Croatia to try it. Or, perhaps better still, don't do that and then there will be more for those of us who live here. Cheers!

7) Croatian produce


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is protected at a European level, one of 32 products currently protected in this way and therefore what is Croatia famous for © Tourist Board of Drniš

To date, 32 agricultural and food products from Croatia have attained protection at a European level. These range from different prosciuttos, olive oils and Dalmatian bacon, to pastries and pastas, honey, cheese, turkeys, lamb, cabbages, mandarins, salt, sausages, potatoes and something called Meso 'z tiblice (which took a friend from the region where it's made three days to fully research so he could explain it to me at the levels necessary to write an informed article about it – so, you can research that one online). While some prosciutto, bacon, sausages, olive oil and wine do make it out of Croatia, much of these are snaffled up by a discerning few of those-in-the-know. The rest, you will only really be able to try if you visit. And, there are many other items of Croatian produce which are known which you can also try while here

Truffles


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What is Croatia known for? Truffles © Donatella Paukovic

By weight, one of the most expensive delicacies in the world, truffles are a famous part of the cuisine within some regions of Croatia. They feature heavily in the menu of Istria, which is well known as a region in which both white and black truffles are found and then added to food, oils or other products. Truth be told, this isn't a black and white issue - there are a great number of different types of truffle and they can be found over many different regions in Croatia, including around Zagreb and in Zagreb County. But, you'll need to see a man about a dog if you want to find them yourself.

Vegeta


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What is Croatia known for? Vegeta

Having celebrated its 60th birthday in 2019, the cooking condiment Vegeta is exported and known in many other countries, particularly Croatia's close neighbours. It is popularly put into soups and stews to give them more flavour. Among its ingredients are small pieces of dehydrated vegetables like carrot, parsnip, onion, celery, plus spices, salt and herbs like parsley.

Chocolate


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What is Croatia known for? Chocolate is a big export© Alexander Stein

Though making chocolate is only around a century old in Croatia, Croatian chocolate has grown to become one of its leading manufactured food exports. Some of the most popular bars may be a little heavy on sugar and low on cocoa for more discerning tastes. But, lots of others really like it.

Beer


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What is Croatia famous for? Its beer is becoming more famous internationally © The Garden Brewery

The exploding growth of the Croatian craft ale scene over the last 10 years is something that is likely to have passed you by, unless you're a regular visitor to the country, a beer buff or both. Most of the producers are quite small and production not great enough to make a big splash on international markets. However, even within a craft-flooded current market, Croatian beer is becoming more widely known – in one poll, the Zagreb-based Garden Brewery was in 2020 voted Europe's Best Brewery for the second consecutive year

8) Innovation


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What is Croatia famous for? Pioneers, inventors and innovation. Nikola Tesla was born here

From the parachute, fingerprinting, the retractable pen and the tungsten filament electric light-bulb to the torpedo, modern seismology, the World Health Oganisation and the cravat (a necktie, and the precursor to the tie worn by many today), Croatia has gifted many innovations to the world. The list of pioneers - scientists, artists, researchers and inventors - who were born here throughout history is long. And, although innovation is not currently regarded as experiencing a golden period in Croatia, there are still some Croatian innovators whose impact is felt globally, such as electric hypercar maker Mate Rimac.

9) Being poor


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What is Croatia famous for? Being poor. Yikes!

The minimum wage in Croatia is among the lowest in Europe. Croatian language media is constantly filled with stories about corruption. There is a huge state apparatus in which key (if not most) positions are regarded to be politically or personally-motivated appointments. This leads to a lack of opportunity for Croatia's highly educated young people. Many emigrate for better pay and better opportunities. This leads to a brain drain and affects the country's demographics considerably (if it usually the best educated, the ablest and the youngest Croatian adults who emigrate). Many of those who stay are influenced by the stories of widespread corruption and lack of opportunity and are therefore lethargic in their work, leading to a lack of productivity. A considerable part of the Croatian economy is based on tourism which remains largely seasonal.

10) People want to live in Croatia


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What is Croatia famous for? People want to come and live here. No, really.

Yes, despite many younger Croatians leaving or dreaming of leaving and despite the low wages, many people who are not from Croatia dream about living here. Of course, it's an all too familiar scenario that you go on holiday somewhere and while sitting at a seafood restaurant in sight of a glorious sunset, having had a few too many glasses of the local wine, you fall in love with Miguel or however the waiter is called who served it and Miguel's homeland. But, with Croatia, this is actually no passing fancy, no idle holiday dream. People do decide to move here. And not just for the sunset and Miguel (nobody in Croatia is called Miguel - Ed).

Croatia may be known for being poor, but it also has one of the best lifestyles in Europe. That it's cafe terraces are usually full to capacity tells you something about the work to living ratio. Croatians are not just spectators of sport, many enjoy a healthy lifestyle. This informs everything from their pastimes to their diet. There are great facilities for exercise and sport, wonderful nature close by whichever part of the country you're in. You can escape into somewhere wonderful and unknown at a moment's notice. The country is well connected internally by brilliant roads and motorways, reliable intercity buses and an international train network. The tourism industry ensures that multiple airports across Croatia can connect you to almost anywhere you want to go, and major international airports in Belgrade and Budapest, just a couple of hours away, fly to some extremely exotic locations. There are a wealth of fascinating neighbour countries on your doorstep to explore on a day trip or weekend and superfast broadband is being rolled out over the entire country. This is perhaps one of the reasons Croatia has been heralded as one of the world's best options for Digital Nomads. In a few years, when we ask what is Croatia famous far, they could be one of the answers.

What is Croatia famous for, but only after you've visited

Some things you experience when you visit Croatia come as a complete surprise. Most would simply never be aware of them until they visit. They are usually top of the list of things you want to do when you come back to Croatia.

Gastronomy


fritaja_sparoge_1-maja-danica-pecanic_1600x900ntbbbbb.jpgGastronomy is only one of the things what is Croatia known for only after you've visited © Maja Danica Pecanic / Croatian National Tourist Board

Despite a few famous TV chefs having visited and filmed in Croatia over the years, Croatian gastronomy remains largely unknown to almost everyone who's never been to Croatia. That's a shame because you can find some fine food here. Croatia has increased its Michelin-starred and Michelin-recommended restaurants tenfold over recent years. But, perhaps the bigger story is the traditional cuisine which varies greatly within the countries different regions. From the gut-busting barbecue grills and the classic Mediterranean fare of Dalmatia to the pasta, asparagus and truffles of Istria to the sausages and paprika-rich stews of Slavonia and the best smoked and preserved meats of the region, there's an untold amount of secret Croatian gastronomy to discover.

Coffee


restaurant-3815076_1280.jpgWhat is Croatia known for? Well, to locals, it's famous for coffee - not just a drink, it's a ritual

Croatians are passionate about coffee and about going for coffee. It's a beloved ritual here. Going for coffee in Croatia is often about much more than having coffee. It's an integral part of socialising, catching up and sometimes being seen. It doesn't always involve coffee either. Sometimes, you'll be invited for coffee, only to end up ordering beer. It's not about the coffee. Although, the standard of coffee in Croatia, and the places where you drink it, is usually really good.

The misapprehension: What is Croatia known for (if you are a Croatian living in Croatia)

Handball, music

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Wednesday, 9 December 2020

Washington Post: Croatia Attracting Digital Nomads During the Pandemic

December 9, 2020 – One of the leading American daily newspaper, the Washington Post, published an article about Croatia attracting digital nomads from the USA while the rest of Europe banned all travel.

The Washington Post wrote about digital nomads who spent several months in Croatia and Dubrovnik during the coronavirus pandemic, said Ina Rodin, the Croatian National Tourist Board director in the United States.

The article states that many Americans decided to travel thanks to the first direct airline between Croatia and the United States, namely between Dubrovnik and Philadelphia, introduced in June 2019. According to the Croatian National Tourist Board, Americans were the second most numerous guests in Dubrovnik last year, with almost 160,000 arrivals and more than 442,000 overnight stays, writes the Washington Post.

Sarah Morlock, a freelance writer and social media manager from Indiana, who worked remotely and spent October and November in Dubrovnik with her partner, shared her experience with readers. She pointed out that when choosing a place to stay, she is looking for historic cities with preserved nature and a good internet connection, and in that sense, Dubrovnik has fulfilled all her expectations.

Binational couples attracted too

Apart from digital nomads, Croatia is also attractive for binational couples who, due to the coronavirus pandemic and limited travel opportunities, organized their meeting in Croatia.

One of the couples who did so was Justin Leung from the USA and Katja Lau from Germany. They were supposed to meet in San Francisco, but the coronavirus pandemic and lockdown thwarted their plans. Therefore, they decided to find a place that welcomed both Americans and Germans and thus chose to meet in Croatia, where they spent one month.

The Washington Post points out that Dubrovnik is trying to attract digital nomads, so a project to introduce ultra-fast broadband Internet was presented in February. Also, a virtual conference "Dubrovnik for digital nomads" was held in October to encourage them to choose Dubrovnik for their remote office.

Washington Post covers this topic right when the introduction of the digital nomad visa in Croatia is increasingly likely. Namely, TCN reported a new update about digital nomad visas in Croatia today, as the Croatian Digital Nomad Association has officially been founded.

At the beginning of 2021, Croatia will introduce a digital nomad visa, which will make it the second country in Europe and the fifth in the world to welcome digital nomads from all over the world.

Saturday, 22 August 2020

5 Reasons Why the Croatian Digital Nomad Visa Should Exist

August 22, 2020 - The Digital Nomad Visa has become a hot topic of late. It is especially relevant right now, during the pandemic when a large number of people are working from home. Jan de Jong, a Dutch entrepreneuer in Croatia spoke to Lider and provided 5 reasons why the Digital Nomad Visa (DNV) should be implemented.

1. Projections claim that by the year 2035, there will be a billion digital nomads in the world - highly skilled individuals who are paid above average or very well, who determine their work locations themselves.


2. A visa for digital nomads would bring people from all over the world to Croatia throughout all 12 months of the year, which would enable Croatia to become a year-round tourist destination.


3. According to a survey conducted by Karoli Hindriks, nine out of ten digital nomads may choose to come to your country if you establish special visas for them.


4. A state-of-the-art and mobile workforce are ready to temporarily settle in your country and strengthen the economy with their consumer power, skills, and knowledge. The first countries to open up to them will reap huge benefits.


5. Digital nomads become a huge marketing machine to promote the country when they start writing blogs, recording bets, tweeting, and posting on social networks about Croatia and thus attract more people.

As Jan previously stated, digital nomads would be important for Croatia in terms of marketing, because they would share their experiences, videos, and photos with their friends, and also on social networks, which would be free promotion. Plus, this would be a great way to start 2021.

Read more about the challenges and opportunities for developing the digital nomad sector in Tanja Polegubic's excellent 10 Ways Croatia Will Be At The Forefront of Countries with a Digital Nomad Visa (DNV).

For the latest travel info, bookmark our main travel info article, which is updated daily

Read the Croatian Travel Update in your language - now available in 24 languages

Join the Total Croatia Travel INFO Viber community.

 

Wednesday, 19 August 2020

Croatian Bureaucracy 2.0: Progress with the Digital Nomad Visa

August 18, 2020 - Croatian bureaucracy 2.0 can be very efficient, it seems, as the campaign to introduce the Croatian digital nomad visa passes an important milestone. 

Among other things, it is the speed with which things are happening that is giving me hope for the future of Croatia. 

A common-sense idea, put in the public arena, then quietly pursued behind the scenes. 

Let's move away from the pointless slogan of Croatia, Full of Life, to something which embraces which sets Croatia apart from the rest - its safety, lifestyle and authentic experiences. Croatia, Your Safe, Authentic Lifestyle Destination. 

A destination which is a haven for an increasing number of digital nomads and remote workers, who present a fantastic opportunity for Croatia to completely diversify its tourism approach and become one of the leading markets in Europe for this rapidly expanding - and highly lucrative - new type of tourism, based on its position as the lifestyle capital of Europe. 

Nomads are already coming to Croatia - and loving what they find. But without the support of Croatian bureaucracy 2.0, that love affair is restricted to the (typically) 90-day stay that many foreigners are allowed to stay at a time. 

A digital nomad visa, first championed in Estonia and now also by the Bahamas and the Republic of Georgia, would change that, allowing wealth-creating remote workers to earn online in their countries, and spend their lifestyle money in Croatia. With more and more people looking to go home to lifestyle around the world, and with Croatia boasting the best lifestyle in Europe - as well as safety, English spoken, accessibility, affordability, excellent food, wine and natural beauty, and plenty to do, the possibilities for Croatia are enticing indeed. 

One recent - and very enthusiastic - convert to the digital nomad initiative is Split-based Dutch entrepreneur, Jan de Jong, who has been particularly vocal in calling for a digital nomad visa - and his progress has been impressive. Here is a timeline, which has been documented every step of the way by TCN:

May 5, 2020 - Digital Nomads Enter Croatian Tourism Conference Strategy Debate for 1st Time 

May 11, 2020 - Digital Nomad Tourism Featured for 1st Time in Croatian Media

July 11, 2020 - Estonia on the Adriatic? Dutchman Asks PM for Croatian Digital Nomad Visa

July 28, 2020 - Split-Based Dutch Entrepreneur Jan de Jong: Croatia Should Introduce Visas for Digital Nomads

August 15, 2020 - Croatian Digital Nomad Visa One Step Closer? Ministry Meeting Confirmed

That meeting in the Ministry of the Interior took place yesterday, and de Jong posted a summary of it on his LinkedIn page shorted after the meeting:

Ladies & gentlemen, we did it! We are entering round 2!

After my open letter to our Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic, who from his end engaged his colleague - Deputy Prime Minister Davor Božinović - I can share with you all that I got full support from MUP to proceed with operational meetings on the subject of introducing a digital nomad visa in Croatia!

Full of excitement and with high hopes for Croatia - today I had the pleasure of meeting with Zoran Ničeno, Zvonimir Vrbljanin & Anita Mandic from the Croatian Ministry of Interior (MUP)

Seeing their smiles through their masks ?(which we had to wear during our meeting) when presenting this digital nomad opportunity, confirmed their full understanding of what this visa could bring to Croatia: Year-round tourism.

I could not be happier with the outcome of our first meeting as Zoran Ničeno has committed himself to right away start forming a task force, including people from other ministries, for our next operational meeting - which shall be scheduled on short notice.

Today was a great day as the story continues.

Thank you all for your support, your kind and warm messages and for liking & sharing this post.

Follow me on #LinkedIn to stay up to date.

#LivingTheCroatianDream #digitalnomads #Croatia

TCN will continue to follow this story and update you on progress. The growing awareness of the potential of digital nomad tourism is encouraging to see, as is the government's willingness to look at new ideas in a such a responsive way. 

To be continued... 

Read more about the challenges and opportunities for developing the digital nomad sector in Tanja Polegubic's excellent 10 Ways Croatia Will Be At The Forefront of Countries with a Digital Nomad Visa (DNV).

For the latest travel info, bookmark our main travel info article, which is updated daily

Read the Croatian Travel Update in your language - now available in 24 languages

Join the Total Croatia Travel INFO Viber community.

Sunday, 16 August 2020

10 Ways Croatia Will Be At The Forefront of Countries with a Digital Nomad Visa (DNV)

August 16, 2020 - As the discussion about a digital nomad visa (DNV) in Croatia gains traction, one of Croatia's digital nomad pioneers offers her thoughts on the exciting possibilities.  

Repopulating regional areas. Stopping the brain drain and youth exodus. A restaurant, apartment or tour company open year-round. The digital nomad visa can do all this for Croatia.

Yet - this ‘fix’ isn’t simply an extension of tourism, making Croatia (or any destination offering this) a 365 destination. The introduction of a Digital Nomad Visa now enters migration policy. It will transform society, business and the environment - possibly in an overwhelming rush.

Is Croatia ready?

Like most countries scrambling to reinvent their tourism-based economies, Croatia also now has a digital nomad visa on the table. “Digital Nomads will save, boost and finance Croatia… - especially in ‘off season’”. This is the catch cry. Yet, as more countries also move to digital nomad friendly status, how will we differentiate? How will we get it right - especially with a legacy ‘Smash and Grab’ mass tourism model? Now, instead of the tourist, there will be a transition period with the ‘new’ types of visitor coming here to work and live longer than a short stay holiday. This matter is a mix of migration policy and a year-round tourism offer - going beyond filling apartments from October to May.

Croatia will never be the same. The potential benefits are great. The negatives can be mitigated. Here’s how.

Being at the coalface - that is, running a cowork space and digital nomad services on Croatia’s coast with Saltwater, I should be happy about the introduction of a Digital Nomad Visa.

It’s Croatia - I’m wary. Here’s why.

As a start, here are the top 10 things a digital nomad visa - without proper planning and consultation - will bring, but can be mitigated in advance.

1. The New Cruise Ship Crowds - Coming To a Cafe Near You

The divisive cruise ship crowds we have been ‘spared’ from due to COVI19 mean we have (generally) clearer streets and - in one city, the absence of almost 1 million “just looking, congesting streets and not spending” visitors.

We all know which city.

The current crowds at least shop, stay and dine. A digital nomad visa - without a well-informed strategy, will mean cafes - especially specialty coffee cafes - will be new congestion points. This should be frightening for a cafe culture like Croatia has - and which the Tourism Board identified as one of the ‘charms’, or Unique Selling Points (USPs), about us.

How do we know this? Let’s look at a few examples from popular digital nomad/remote work spots around the world:

dnv-croatia (2).png

https://www.guidepost.es/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/YSABELLE-KEMPE-Cafe-Culture-Hanso-1-Copy.jpg

  • In a small cafe in Cambodia, six millennials occupy the cafe’s largest table, sipping a pearl ice tea for 6 hours, slowing the business POS internet. Gone is the local vibe.
  • In Madrid, people get kicked out of cafes if they simply open up a laptop. An already famed digital nomad destination, cafes in Spain however, are prepared. Signage. Minimum spends. Simple stuff. This nomad’s experience in Spain is one of thousands.
  • In LA, one of Split’s local specialty coffee providers 4 Coffee Soul Food saw coffee shops full of only people staring at screens, not communicating with each other. 4 Coffee is a hole in the wall - it doesn’t even have seating, yet attracts a cult following and crowd outside.

The number of would-be customers avoid cafes full of computer users. I already see it in Split. I’m one of them walking by... not just because I have an office - I too need to work when on the go. Coffee here is a ritual. One which is about to be transformed, ubiquitously.

Like the ‘Starbucks Office’ at the rise of the Gig Economy (they had good wifi and presence), cafes will be the default go-to for incoming nomads. 5 ways a cafe business can prepare, are:

    1. Limit the hours a guest can sit and work (restaurants do this).
    2. If it’s a peak time - state and have your laptop usage policy in clear sight.
    3. Have designated ‘laptop’ seats or areas custom for computer users.
    4. Insist on a minimum spend.
    5. Charge. Yes - charge. Corkage, cakeage… why not computer usage? Especially if it is a laptop-friendly area.

From a policy standpoint, governments should assist cafes with this education and equipment transitions. These will be the first points of call - central to digital nomadism is community. Cafes bring a blend of the cowork vibe, but introduction to Croatia’s ethos.

The right moves here are great for the business, for digital nomads - and you and I, who want to continue to enjoy our coffee.

2. Rents will rise… The owner sees a Cash Cow

Berlin put a cap on their rentals because of its digital nomad allure. It is still difficult to find an apartment. Certain countries impose taxes if a renting period passes a time threshold (investment versus residential property status). The beauty here is, there are a number of examples to draw from and address this one. 

As a long-stay accommodation finder, I am already seeing renegade landlord spikes. When a digital nomad ‘extends’ their stay, the pricing is based on the assumption ‘foreign earners’ are more affluent.

Rent rises also impact locals. This is already evident with tourist hotspots. Nothing about this point is ‘news’. This point however needs a considered strategy in how to protect digital nomads AND locals, to avoid the reputation fallout from this.

3. Up Your Offer - Croatia’s USPs.

Croatia needs to get clearer on its offer in comparison to current and emerging ‘hotspots’. Other Mediterranean countries (namely, Spain and Portugal) are hubs for digital nomads. The ‘Balkans’ however, is shaping up as the one to watch, with more trepidation about travelling to Asia, digital nomads consider us the start of a nomadic path to the ‘cheaper part of Europe’.

How do we compare to other Mediterranean hotspots? It’s not us on price.

It’s not us on infrastructure (lack of affordable hubs and city support).

It’s not us on readiness - i.e. educating councils and businesses and locals - ‘hosts’ - on digital nomad etiquette, providing multilingual information, etc. The list is very, very long.

It is us on active experiences, nature, gastronomy, geography, English and digital proficiency of Croatia’s youth. Supporting the sustainable minded businesses who offer these things will elevate the offer to digital nomads. This needs to be implemented into the USPs in the “Digital Nomad Visa” brochure. And the businesses who offer this supported with education and incentives.

Further, a digital nomad visa in itself is an opportunity for local youth to not only get work - but exposure and mentoring from an international audience.

Then there are the things digital nomads actually need, especially in the COVID19 era. And Croatia is NOT ready on these… and will miss the opportunity.

Current providers know these things. It’s not some council worker or travel blogger.

Their needs can only be addressed by smart consultation - a steering committee. This steering committee should consist of current and future cowork space providers, returning youth with NGOs such as Culture Hub Croatia, the hospitality sector, travel agencies, local councils already successfully implementing digital nomad friendly services. And digital nomads.

4. Neglecting regional areas

Ireland’s first Gigabyte town - for the layman, a REALLY fast internet speed town, is in Skibbereen, a rural area. Its population is about 2,000. On a recent “Recovery of the Coworking Sector” online conference hosted by EdgeRyders, the Irish contingent, who were the most prominent in the group, related the country’s approach to create even more rural hubs as a direct result of COVID19. Repopulating rural areas, working for a company based in Dublin.

This alone is one approach to stop the already high rents in tourism hotspots. Other approaches are having more regionally focused requirements for digital nomads.

Take Australia’s migration policies, boats aside.

One of Australia’s youth working visas, for those who wish to extend their stays, stipulates they must do 3 months of specified work. This includes fruit picking, fishing and now bushfire recovery work. Labour shortages. Desire to stay in a country. Two birds. One stone.

Also in Australia, for citizenship and residency requests, priority is given to anyone taking residency in non-metropolitan areas - acting like an ‘express lane’ to getting your required permit - and, repopulating regional and rural areas.

5. Ireland… and other places the Youth and Brain Drain Professionals Go

Dublin is a pertinent example due to its headquarter status in Europe for many global businesses. Add to that, a lot of remote work suitable jobs. And a lot of youth from Croatia.

These tides are turning. This coming week, I am off to a small coastal town. The mayor is offering central office space for peppercorn rent, ie. 1 kuna. There are already 4 young tech workers who have returned from Dublin due to COVID19. Comparing rent in Dublin to what is likely a family-owned property is a no-brainer. Even if just temporary. Companies in Dublin are offering remote work as a perk to attract and retain talent. Traditionally, Portugal is the preferred location (refer to their golden visa and Lisbon’s startup initiative from 2008, it is no wonder).

“Why not Croatia?” asked the recently returned tech guy. So am I. Are you?

Any savvy digital nomad knows returning to a family-owned property - if only for a short time, will save living costs in larger cities, and the flow on effects are immense.

  1. The youth exodus and brain drain would now be by choice not necessity and the upcoming young generation will see, first hand, remote work opportunities in action.
  2. Colleagues. Friends. Homeswaps.

The opportunities are exciting and endless with a program which supports what is effectively a global network of ambassadors who can bring guests to their hometowns. Digital nomads invite friends and family to join them. This in some cases triples how many visitors 1 digital nomad brings. And I consider we all know the power of human contact ‘spread’ and numbers by now.

A digital nomad visa - while great for a non-citizen, should also recognise returning remote working Croatian nationals, and their role in encouraging their network of remote workers to visit. This means creating hubs - i.e. city supported venues - for locals to work, and therefore an environment ideal for digital nomads.

It is after all, the local culture people want to experience. This is hard if there’s no one there. And when we don’t have the infrastructure or open-mindedness of decision-makers.

6. Local Opportunities - Capacity Building

Integral to offering a DNV are the opportunities for locals. And not just as service workers. Upskilling. Bringing their remote work jobs and experience here are lawyers, marketing professionals, coaches, software developers, serial entrepreneurs. Many with an interest in local community engagement and volunteering. 

Adding programs to participate in mentoring and volunteering (like the fruit picking example in Australia above) are key. In this instance, it could be coding camps.

Lectures. Training. Otherwise, the disparity in wages and skills will only widen. This is an opportunity to create lasting impact, and a sustainable model.

Integrating a ‘return of service’ component (volunteer or otherwise) can be part of a DNV to differentiate the offer from other digital nomad hotspots. The Australian example brings 3 months of specified work if looking to extend. Crafting the right balance of options, which bring benefit to Croatia and the digital nomad is possible.

And, surprisingly easy to implement.7.

7. Full transparency and digitalisation from the start

Ease. Online. Multilingualism. 

No paper.

No pečat (stamp).

Only a seamless, local-made (why not while we’re at it) informative platform to make applying and maintaining a visa world-class.

There are many examples to base it on. This one will do.

 dnv-croatia (1).png

 

https://immi.homeaffairs.gov.au/visas/getting-a-visa/visa-listing/work-holiday-417/first-working-holiday-417

8. Local Council Education and support

In 2018, the European Creative Hubs Network held their finale event in Brussels, after a 2-year pilot project looking at this sector and with the motto “strength in numbers”. There were many takeaways, but among them - the triad of collaboration between the local council, remote worker and business were key.

Local councils require two things to start to assist the implementation of a Digital Nomad Visa in Croatia. The first is information and education. The next is how to deliver this.

As an example, knowing a digital nomad will invite friends and family, the digital nomad sitting in a small cafe, say in Vodice, appears small. However, their network is wide. How can the local council support this visitor? Through user case scenarios, local councils can understand who digital nomads are, what they need - and what the city already has and can offer.

Abandoned school buildings, empty hostels, out of work taxi drivers. The infrastructure is there. It is not a great deal of imagination required, but a city can provide a complete offer to digital nomads with the right planning.

9. Tenancy Protection

Rent has been noted, but this point is so key - it needs to be added as its own point. Longstay renters have notoriously been ‘promised’ year-long rentals, only to be kicked out on 1 May, and facing a high priced rental market as the tourism season begins.

As the provider of a coworking space, rental protection does not exist. My first space was flooded - which the landlady saw no problem with, and in fact wanted to raise the rent by 1000 euro. My second space had a police station visit in the first week, and one in the final week when it was finally time to exit. I do not recommend opening a coworking space in Croatia - as things stand. I also know other spaces are at the mercy of increased rents, when due to lack of being a strong digital nomad destination, the arrivals into Croatia are unpredictable (COVID19 aside), we have no Gateway city market, and if in a tourist area, commercial property prices in good locations make the entry barriers very cost-prohibitive. Our current space is a building with limited working hours, so it is impossible to work to a digital nomad time zone.

I am looking at alternatives, and pleased to report I am working with boutique hotels and a progressive-minded young couple with a hostel in Split.

There is a culture of landlords again seeing a “Cash Cow” and breaking 3-year terms (my first space was occupied for 1 year, and the rental agreement was 3. The piece of paper, clearly worthless).

In order for this sector to survive and accommodate digital nomads - tenancy protection needs to be stronger. Digital nomads are ‘community’ minded, and with the increasing virtual lifestyle we need, In Real Life (IRL) meetups will be among the most valuable experiences to offer.

If we aren’t supported in this area, a Digital Nomad Visa will disappoint arrivals and not be the ‘saving grace’ Croatia thinks it brings. “Help” - is what I am really saying.

10. Taxes, Legal and Insurances

Many visas have a list of requirements, from proof of enough funds to health insurance. Coming to a new country brings significant costs to a visitor. Add unfamiliarity with a system - this will prove even more of a struggle, particularly with accessing information. Concise, clear information and access to official assistance is required to ensure digital nomads are clear on their requirements. Can the current system cope? The all too familiar “I went to the counter two days in a row and got conflicting information” is not acceptable and potentially damaging to a digital nomad’s finances, immigration status and health.

With COVID19 especially, healthcare eligibility and requirements is another factor which needs clear communication.

The above-mentioned steering committee to develop a digital nomad visa requires professionals in this field to contribute to shaping a Digital Nomad Visa.

While these seem like onerous tasks - the benefits of bringing in digital nomads to Croatia far outweigh the initial ‘setup’ and maintenance required. The number of unemployed youth about to hit the HZZO after the ‘season’ could instead have the opportunity to be part of this delivery - and shaping their country, gaining experience and ensuring a prosperous future.

To end, last night sitting around a table on Ciovo, a Slavonian Croatian family now living in Stuttgart asked what I did. I explained I was born in Australia but run a coworking space. The husband, Ronald - looked at his wife and said they could finally return. She could bring her insurance job and they could even spend 6 months in Dubrovnik - together, as he has business lined up there. And he had read about “neki Nizozemac” (some Dutch guy) talking about digital nomads. Their son of 13 was with them. The wife wondered if the company would allow it. I suggested she propose a 1-3 month trial, after which she could return. Proposing a trial is a common practice in case you are considering a remote work location.

I returned to Split wondering - is this the start of a return wave? I hope so.

If you are business, local council, current or future digital nomad - and have any questions or comments about improving your business or town or what a digital nomad visa should have, please share them via This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Subject DNV. 

Monday, 3 August 2020

Barbados, Estonia & Georgia: Time for Croatia to Follow Digital Nomad Visa Route?

August 3, 2020 - Tourism is changing, and Croatia is in pole position to take advantage. Is it time for the digital nomad visa?

Imagine you came on holiday to a beautiful country like Croatia. You dipped your toes into the azure waters of the Adriatic, sent your Instagram photos back to your friends, who would surely be on the next plane. And, as you sipped on a cold beer, contemplating which of the 1,185 idyllic islands you would explore next with your remote working lifestyle, the perfect picture becomes tinged with sadness. 

For you are not the right type of foreigner, and your access to this paradise is time-limited. 

Never mind that you are spending heavily in the bars and restaurants. 

Never mind that your Instagram posts are bringing your high-spending friends to this Adriatic heaven - for a while at least - so that they too can enjoy, spend and inspire their friends to travel. 

All things must come to an end, for foreigners can only visit for a finite time, and then they must return whence they came. For this is Croatian bureaucracy, baby. 

Croatia is blessed with the most beautiful country in Europe, bar none. It has developed the best lifestyle in Europe, bar none. 

If it could only be blessed with common sense, the future is incredibly bright. 

Estonia has done it. 

Barbados has done it.

Georgia has done it. 

And they are all set to - or already are - benefit big time. 

A simple vision. 

A simple piece of legislation. 

The digital nomad visa. 

More and more people - wealth-creating people - are working in the same global office. It is called the Internet. There are only two variables in the office - connectivity (3G, 4G, 5G) and time zones. Apart from that, the office can be almost anywhere in the world. 

When people leave the office, they go home. Some go home to their friends and family in the village of their birth, but a growing number come home to  - and spend money in - a home which is based on lifestyle. 

Leave the office and have a swim in the Adriatic before dinner, that kind of thing. 

If Croatia has the best lifestyle in Europe, and more and more wealth- (and job) creating entrepreneurs working remotely are looking for lifestyle opportunities, has Croatia ever had a better opportunity to redefine its tourism on sustainability and a future direction based on safety, healthy living, lifestyle and authentic experiences?

A simple match made in heaven. 

So what is needed to make this work? A tiny compromise from the infamous Croatian bureaucracy. 

A digital nomad visa 

Rather than restrict a wealth-creating foreign entrepreneur with his beach time, why not encourage them to come, relax, enjoy the lifestyle, inspire the mindset... and spend? 

Estonia - with the highest number of unicorns per capita in the world - has led the way. Georgia has done it. Barbados has done it. 

Lonely Planet is featuring the cool new countries who have done it

Why not Croatia, and let's make Dubrovnik, the digital nomad visa lifestyle capital of Europe. 

Is it so hard?  

One successful Dutch entrepreneur living in Split, Jad de Jong, doesn't think so. He recently wrote to Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic, asking the Croatian leader to introduce a digital nomad visa. 

After all, as a tourism country that has no interest in limiting tourist time at the beach, why would we want to restrict tourist enjoyment of the lifestyle?

For more on the digtial nomad debate in Croatia, follow the dedicated TCN section

 

Monday, 11 May 2020

Digital Nomad Tourism Featured for 1st Time in Croatian Media

May 11, 2020 - Digital nomad tourism is an obvious tourism strategy of the future. Thanks to Dutch entrepreneur Jan de Jong in Split, it made its first appearance in the Croatian media today.

Did you feel that?

It is not quite the strength of the famous Adriatic bura, but it is a wind of change. 

What a week!

uhljeb-brilliance_4.jpg

First of all, the Ministry of Tourism decided to upgrade from an email-free ministry, with the humble facsimile at the core of its communications strategy on its homepage...  

uhljeb-brilliance_3.jpg

... to a totally faxless ministry, replaced by not one but FOUR email options. 

Prior to that, some even more progressive news in the digital era - the concept of digital nomad tourism as a strategy for the development was muted for the first time at a national Croatian tourism conference, SMART Tourism 5.0. 

Dutch entrepreneur Jan de Jong, who has already created hundreds of Croatian jobs in internet marketing since moving to Split in 2006, was the man behind the initiative after reading some articles on TCN. You can see him put forward his arguments for Croatia as a digital nomad tourism destination in the conference video clip aboe. 

De Jong's arguments resonated with many, and today another milestone for the digital nomad tourism initiative, as de Jong featured in a full-page interview with Vecernji List. The first - but certainly not the last - time that digital nomad tourism has featured in the Croatian national media. 

It is almost a year since TCN started writing about the potential of digital nomad tourism in Croatia in Branding Croatia: 5 Gifts and Trends to Focus On.

On June 19, 2019, I wrote an article called How Croatia is Becoming Increasingly Attractive for the Digital Nomad Lifestyle.

In it, I wrote about the daily routine of a Russian-Ukrainian couple in Munich, and their daily routine in Jelsa from April 1 - June 30:

Let me give you an example from a meeting I had yesterday with a very nice Ukrainian and Russian couple in their early 40s here on Hvar. They live in Munich and he works for an IT company, where the boss has decided that his staff would be happier and more productive if he let them work remotely 10 months a year, with only 1-2 months required in the office. The boss himself only spends 6 months in the office and has arranged things whereby he can spend the other half in the warmth of Asia. 

The couple I met last night decided that they wanted to use the opportunity to travel and to experience life in different countries and integrate into communities. The wife came with her family to Jelsa 19 years ago on holiday, and the memories were warm enough for them to decide to put Jelsa into their plan, and so they have been here for 3 months, from April to June, with plans to do exactly the same next year. From Jelsa, they will move to Sicily for 2-3 months and then onto Portugal or Spain. And after the required stop in Munich, it will be back to Jelsa next April. 

The working day is just like any other for someone working online. Deadlines, phone calls, emails, contact with bosses and colleagues. But all this is done remotely. What is different is that each morning starts with a swim before work and a swim after work. They shop in the market, drink coffee in the cafes, and eat in the restaurants. They are even learning Croatian, as they want to get the most out of the community experience. Friends and family come to visit, and they too visit the market, cafes and restaurants. The couple also has many friends with a similar lifestyle, who will be following the places they stay in and consider them for their own digital nomad experience. 

There will be one BILLION digital nomads by 2035, according to some estimates, and there is nowhere in Europe better placed to host them than Croatia, which offers a unique combination of safety, accessibliity, affordability, tourism, great food and wine, good English, good Internet, and a fabulous lifestyle.  

This is a sustainable tourism which will not devastate the coast or succumb to overtourism. A tourism which will suit different people with different needs. As everyone is emigrating from Osijek, for example, meet the digital nomad from Denver who thinks Osijek is one of the best places to be on the planet

To learn more about digtial nomad tourism, check out the Total Croatia guide

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