Monday, 21 June 2021

Martina Bienenfeld: Zagreb will Become a Desirable Digital Nomad Destination

21 June 2021 –  The Zagreb Tourist Board (TZGZ) organises the first-ever Zagreb Digital Nomad Week from the 21st to 27th of June after which the project called Zagreb Digital Nomad Ambassador will start. The latter will enable selected digital nomads to spend a month in Zagreb for free and share their experiences. A closer look at why Zagreb is a desirable digital nomad destination. 

As translated from Seebiz.eZagreb Digital Nomad Week 2021 and the Digital Nomad Ambassador project TZGZ is organising together with Saltwater Nomads (a company specialising in organising digital nomads' stays in Croatia) and Total Croatia News (media portal).

It is these programs focusing on digital nomads that were the motivation for our conversation with Martina Bienenfeld, the head of the Zagreb Tourist Board.

SEEbiz: what was the main motivation behind deciding for the Zagreb Digital Nomad Ambassador program?

Bienenfeld: Last year changed the way of life for many people. The pandemic, which made working from home common, accelerated the trend of digital nomads and we now have generations of employees that are no longer bound by working hours, but wish to enjoy a more flexible way of life. Also, at the beginning of this year, the new Law on Foreign Nationals came into power. Under it, digital nomads can be allowed to stay in Croatia for up to a year on a non-resident basis. Zagreb, being the capital city, didn't want to miss out on this growing opportunity, so we've decided to organise Zagreb Digital Nomad Week and the Zagreb Digital Nomad Ambassador project.

SEEbiz: it is no secret many fast-expanding IT companies have their headquarters in Zagreb. Is this one of the reasons Zagreb is perceived as a destination for digital nomads? What are the prerequisites Zagreb needs to fulfil to become an attractive and desirable destination for this demographic?

Bienenfeld: That certainly is one of the reasons, but there are numerous factors that influence the choice of a destination. Above all, digital nomads are staying within one place as long as they can and want, and because they are working they value quick and reliable internet connection more than anything, which means the destination needs to have good quality telecommunication infrastructure. After that, they need good value for money and accessibility of co-working spaces. Nice weather is also high on the list. Also, proximity or at least easy accessibility of the destination is one of the conditions. Zagreb offers all these things. In this sense, the level of attractiveness of Zagreb is high and I believe there is potential to grow further, especially seeing how we are one of the first countries to regulate this type of work by law.

SEEbiz: Do you believe digital nomads are just a trend that is, among other things, here because of a global pandemic or is it something that will remain after this situation has subsided?

Bienenfeld: Assessments and research suggest more and more people will want to work independently like this in the future. In other words, they will want the freedom to travel and the ability to work where ever they are at any given time. Therefore, I believe this is not a passing trend, but a new style of working and living that will remain long after this situation.

SEEbiz: The Croatian Tourist Board (HTZ) digital nomads campaign “Croatia, your new office!” garnered great results in the first two months. What are you expecting from the projects taking place in Zagreb?

Bienenfeld: I’m expecting Zagreb to further improve its position as a desirable destination for digital nomads. Croatia’s capital can surely be positioned as a centre for digital nomads and draw in foreigners coming for work and leisure.

SEEbiz: Zagreb has been recognised as a city break destination. In spite of all the restrictions, Zagreb was a good host for Croatia Rally, and then there is also the World Rowing Cup. Is sport, professional or recreational, one of the ways of attracting digital nomads?

Bienenfeld: As I mentioned before – you always need a combination of different factors in order to attract digital nomads. Generally, when speaking of sporting events, we have to be aware they are one of the most important ambassadors of any country or the city in which they are being held. We at TZGZ are especially pleased Zagreb hosted such huge sporting events – World Rally Championship and World Rowing Cup – during these times of uncertainty. This points to the significance of our city in the segment of sports tourism as a special part of the travel industry which contributes to the creation of new quality and competitive position in the travel market. Namely, events like these cast a spotlight on the host destination and make organisers of other similar events across the world consider organising their future events in the same city or country. In the same way, the effects of such a synergy of sports and tourism add to the popularity of the destination hosting these events and represent one of the best ways of promoting Zagreb as well as Croatia.

SEEbiz: Zagreb Tourist Board saw a focus on developing new digital platforms proving successful. How do you view the importance of digitalisation in tourism?

Bienenfeld: Tourist Boards always kept pace with new technological trends and implemented them readily into their projects. We need only remember Zagreb Be There app developed in now distant 2014, which was a multiple award-winning treasure hunt sightseeing app, or QR code city tour implemented in 2013. The pandemic and, unfortunately, Zagreb earthquakes, taught us the importance of being able to respond well and quickly to new situations, follow trends by using digital tools and platforms, and adjust our tourism offer to new conditions. We have turned to digital innovations that allow us to add value, attractiveness, but also visibility to our tourism offer. A recent example is the interactive AR project Virtual Christmas Windows, in which we were first in Croatia to apply augmented reality technology in our Christmas festival awareness campaign. Digitalisation in tourism is imperative today. Tourism and technology are tightly intertwined and travel is unthinkable without digital technology.

SEEbiz: The Around Zagreb project and cooperation of the Zagreb Tourist Board and Zagreb County Tourist Board is one of the first big steps in strategic destination development in Croatia because the focus is on quality content and finding new benefits for tourists, seeing how it promotes quality tourist-focused content in Zagreb’s surroundings or only half an hour from the city centre. Zagreb and its surroundings as a unique green destination, is this the strategy for the post-pandemic period?

Bienenfeld: I’m glad you’ve asked me that as we are just starting with our refreshed campaign in cooperation with the Zagreb County Tourist Board, and soon we will go ahead with Krapina – Zagorje County as well. Project Blizu grada, blizu srca (Close to the City, close to Heart) / Around Zagreb is created with a long-term goal and vision and we would like to have started it even without the pandemic situation. It is natural for Zagreb and its surrounding area to promote together because guests do not care about our administrative borders. They are after quality and interesting content. The pandemic in a sense helped the campaign along because guests are now, more than ever, searching for the options of spending time in nature, on fresh air, surrounded by greenery, all combined with diverse local culture and gastronomic offer.

Last year, most of the visitors to www.aroundzagreb.hr came from Croatia (40%), but also from the markets where the campaign was run – Slovenia (35%), Austria, Germany, and Bosnia and Herzegovina (25%). Interestingly, we are seeing a rising interest from the American market as well, even though there was no advertising campaign specifically aiming at that market, which represents a guideline for future activities. Inspired by the success of the campaign so far, recording over 37 million views, we have improved our platform and are showing it to the important markets again. With this in mind, along with refreshed visuals and itineraries, we have started a new section called “Did You Know?” which showcases various interesting points from our surrounding areas. Besides that, we also have cooking videos featuring authentic local cuisine recipes from Zagreb and the surrounding area. They are made by the famous Croatian chef Mr. Almo Catlak. He set out to present local delicacies to a wide audience with an emphasis on tradition with a bit of a modern approach. We are now starting the campaign for the markets of Austria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Slovenia, Serbia, and Germany and soon we will be updating it with Krapina – Zagorje County materials. I would hereby also like to give my thanks to all involved in this.

SEEbiz: Zagreb is also an airplane destination. What effects do you expect as a result of RyanAir coming to Zagreb Airport, or how important in this respect is the survival of the national airline company?

Bienenfeld: We welcome all new airlines coming to Zagreb and will be glad to see the RyanAir airplane “tales” among those of other companies already landing in our city. This will contribute to the further positioning of Zagreb as a city break destination and will make it more accessible to interested visitors. As far as the national carrier is concerned, we mustn’t forget it was Croatia Airlines that connected us to the rest of the world when all other companies stopped flying here during the toughest pandemic restrictions. In this sense, I wouldn’t compare these two airline companies because their profiles and business models are vastly different.

SEEbiz: We know we are living in very uncertain times, but at the end of the interview, let me ask you: What is your vision for the long-term tourism development of Zagreb.

Bienenfeld: We need to keep in mind it will take a few years after the pandemic for tourism to bounce back. The earthquake made things even more difficult because it damaged a variety of buildings, some of which contribute to tourist offers or architectural and urban distinctions of the city. The state of tourism will depend on the organisation and readiness of the destination to adapt to new conditions and provide solutions. Further development of tourism in a smart, responsible and sustainable way will depend on how much are we as a sector prepared for new challenges. From the perspective of tourism, it is clear more and more travellers take into account ecology and sustainability, and we, therefore, need to apply sustainable concepts in order to potentially make them into one of the key promotional factors.

Also, it is important to activate underused tourist resources and continue to develop key tourist products of the destination. With the goal of defining a stronger position in the travel market in this context, it is necessary to support innovative and creative development initiatives that contribute to further building of the destination as a centre for urban, regenerative, and cultural scene and encourage dispersion of tourist activities. For the MICE segment we are expecting a slower recovery, but we need to continue communicating with the organisers of conferences and events and position Zagreb as a regional centre for business meetings, gatherings, and conferences. I see additional potential in health tourism, sports and active tourism, and of course food tourism. In any case, what is important and we’ll continue to insist on is that Zagreb is and always was a people’s city.

For more on Digital Nomads in Croatia, click here

Sunday, 20 June 2021

Digital Nomad Living Overlooking Dubrovnik Old Town – House Anica

20 June, 2021 - Dubrovnik has its share of interesting accommodation. One digital nomad couple discovered a true gem in a restored historical house within the city walls.

May in Dubrovnik saw the first ever Digital Nomads in Residence program. It was designed by Saltwater Nomads in partnership with Total Croatia News, the City of Dubrovnik, and the Dubrovnik Tourist Board and aimed to create a strategic direction for Dubrovnik to attract more digital nomads. 

One of the more pressing issues the participants of the program identified was the appropriate accommodation. Most apartments and houses for rent in Dubrovnik are furnished for shorter stays. So, proper kitchens with enough utensils or work areas are usually not a part of the design. Still, that doesn't mean there are no amazing options for a longer stay in the city. House Anica is one of them. Our nomad in residence Marlee and her husband Jeff stayed in the house during their Dubrovnik adventure. They fell in love with it and the city itself. Also, they've formed a special friendship with the owners.

Marlee said to us recently: “Staying at House Anica in the old city was exactly the experience Jeff and I were looking for as digital nomads in Dubrovnik. The history of the home added to the charm of an authentic old city living experience. We could not have asked for better landlords with Ivona and Hrvoje, such interesting people with such a connection to Dubrovnik. They made us feel so welcome and we feel like we have made lifelong friends.”

For more from Marlee on living as a digital nomad in Dubrovnik, check out her interview here.

House Anica

At the very top of Kuniceva Street in the Old Town district stands an unusual, over 300 years old house. Its facade features a stone carved will and testament dated back to 1728. The will mentions lady named Anica, who lived, loved and most probably grew old in that house. House Anica belongs to a local couple Ivona and Hrvoje. Ivona's family owns the house for over 70 years. Eventually, she decided to renovate it and share it with travellers coming to Dubrovnik. With plenty of fond childhood memories tied to it, Ivona insisted on preserving the soul of the house by keeping as many original elements that make it unique. Tradition and history of the house became as much a part of its charm as did all the modern amenities and superb interior design.

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The house itself is a Dubrovnik-style townhouse. It is essentially a multi-storey apartment with two spacious bedrooms with en-suite bathrooms, full kitchen and dining / living area. The top floor bedroom occupies a loft and features a small living area of its own. The design is spacious and airy with sleek modern amenities and expertly incorporated historical ornamental elements. A special selling point for the house is one of only few balconies in Dubrovnik's historical centre overlooking the iconic terracotta rooftops and the Adriatic Sea.

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Needless to say, the location of the house is perfect for enjoying the best Dubrovnik has to offer. With all local attractions and traffic hubs within easy walking distance, you will always have options when staying in House Anica. Negotiating a few notorious Dubrovnik stairs to get to it will be well worth it.

The Owners

The owners are attentive and helpful. They take pride in the cleanliness and quality standards they adhere to from day one. Ivona and Hrvoje will personally meet and greet all of their guests and give them a quick rundown of the city's restaurants, points of interest and other valuable information. They are also available to them 24/7 in case of any emergencies or simply to organise airport transfers, day trips or similar.

For her digital nomad guests, Ivona has only words of praise: „We were lucky this year our house caught the eye of a digital nomad couple from USA that stayed in Dubrovnik for four weeks. House Anica proved to be an ideal spot for such a long stay. Aside from being well equipped and furnished, I've been told repeatedly, it is a true home away from home. Marlee and Jeff enjoyed the house every free moment they've had. I truly hope and am looking forward to seeing – who I consider to be our dear friends – again. We still keep in touch.“

With plenty of amenities and space, attentive owners, amazing location, as well as free WiFi throughout the house, House Anica is a perfect choice for those wanting to visit Dubrovnik for short or longer period of time. If you want to find out more or book your stay here, check out its Air BnB page.

For all you need to know about Dubrovnik, go to Total Croatia's Dubrovnik in a Page

For more information about digital nomads in Croatia, click here.

 

 

Sunday, 13 June 2021

Be a Zagreb Digital Nomad Ambassador: Free Month in Croatian Capital

June 13, 2021 - Are you a digital nomad wanting to explore the Croatian capital? Here's how to become a Zagreb Digital Nomad Ambassador, with free accommodation for a month.

Zagreb Digital Nomad Week 2021 & Zagreb Digital Nomad Ambassador Project kicks off on June at Canopy by Hilton, with 7 days dedicated to 7 themes relevant to digital nomads in Croatia - cybersecurity, online presence, remote careers, tax & finance, wellbeing, the future of work, and exploring Zagreb. Attendance both online and in person is free of charge, and registrations will be available online from 18:00 tomorrow (Monday, June 14), via the Saltwater Nomads website.  Due to epidemiological measures, the number of physical attendees will necessarily be limited, so I encourage you to apply early. 

Each day will be in a different location (hotel, hostels, coworking spaces, the Great Outdoors), in order to showcase the diversity of options for the digital nomad lisfestyle in the Croatian capital. The final program will be published on the link above on the Saltwater Nomads website on the link above in the coming days. 

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A second component of the project is the Zagreb Digital Nomad Ambassador Project, which runs from July 1 to December 31, 2021. During this period, the city will welcome one nomad (individual, couple, or family) to live in the city for a calendar month for free, while taking part in a range of activities as part of the program. 

Zagreb Digital Nomad Week 2021 & Zagreb Digital Nomad Ambassador Project is a collaboration between Saltwater Nomads, Total Croatia News, and the Zagreb Tourist Board, who are financing the project. TCN will be reporting on the resident ambassadors' progress and experience throughout the initial 6-month period, thereby building up a picture of digtial nomad life in the city throughout the seasons. 

The accommodation will be provided courtesy of Doma Zagreb (and equivalent), 4-star luxury accommadition in the heart of the city. Rarely for accommodation in central Zagreb, free off-road parking is also provided. You can lean more about Doma Zagreb and its serviced apartments on the official website.

Doma Zagreb witll be opening a bar area scheduled for  August. This will contain a reception, breakfast bar, sitting area for 18, bar, kitchen and small area for business.

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(The Doma Zagreb Aparthotel is located in central Zagreb, with offroad parking, just a few minutes walk from the main square)

The first ambassador will take up residence on July 1, with the winner being announced during ZDNW. Applications will be open until November 1, with monthly winners announced on a rolling basis. 

So what is on offer, and what do you need to do to apply?

Zagreb Digital Nomad Ambassador Project

July to December 2021

The Zagreb Digital Nomad (ZND) Ambassador Project is a first for the city. The Tourist Board are inviting, as their special guests, a digital nomad to take up a 1 month FREE stay in Zagreb, and share their experiences as a digital nomad.Who can apply?
Anyone over 18 who can remote workly and share their experience as a digital nomad in Zagreb.Prize

Six winners (including couples and families who apply) will have 1 month free accommodation at a prescribed location, and be named a Zagreb Digital Nomad Ambassador for the duration of the program.Zagreb Digital Nomad Ambassadors are special guests of the Tourist Board of Zagreb. Ambassadors will participate in a program including free coworking, local engagement and promotion of their experience as a digital nomad in Zagreb.Winners are expected to arrive on the 1st day of the month they are selected as an Ambassador, with accommodation available from the 1st of the month to the 1st of the next month. Winners must be able to participate fully in the program and must remain in Zagreb the entire month.See full terms and conditions.Applications will be received on a rolling basis until 1 November, 2021.

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(Doma Zagreb Aparthotel - 4-star luxury in central Zagreb)

FAQ

Prize

Six winners (including couples and families who apply) will have 1 month free accommodation at a prescribed location, and be named a Zagreb Digital Nomad Ambassador for the duration of the program.Zagreb Digital Nomad Ambassadors are special guests of the Tourist Board of Zagreb. Ambassadors will participate in a program including free coworking, local engagement and promotion of their experience as a digital nomad in Zagreb.Costs
All winners must hold valid travel insurance and pay for their own travel to and from Zagreb and any expenses not included in the program. Accommodation, coworking and tour activities outlined in the program are provided free.COVID19

Any impact by changes, delays, etc. due to COVID19 or other events are not our responsibility. All travel and safety regulations from points of entry, transit and in Croatia will apply. Being informed and adhering to these requirements is the sole responsibility of the winner. The organisers will assist with information where possible.Dates

The dates for accommodation are set out as: 1 July to 1 August 2021 (winner 1); 1 August to 1 September 2021 (winner 2); 1 September to 1 October 2021 (winner 3); 1 October to 1 November 2021 (winner 4); 1 November to 1 December 2021 (winner 5) and 1 December 2021 to 1 January 2022 (winner 6). The prize includes 1 month accommodation, meals outlined in program, activities and use of coworking spaces where available.

Availability

Winners are expected to arrive on the 1st day of the month they are selected as an Ambassador, with accommodation available from the 1st of the month to the 1st of the next month. Winners must be able to participate fully in the program and must remain in Zagreb the entire month.ELIGIBILITY

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(One of the bathrooms in the 7 Doma Zagreb Aparthotel rooms)

You must be a digital nomad or able to work remotely for 1 month (Ambassadors stay 1 month free in Zagreb between 1 July to 31 December).You must be active on at least 3 major social networks – and have these set to public. NOTE: We use this information to review your online activity. Influencers are welcome to apply – this project is open to all who are eligible.You also agree you will:
promote the project 2x weekly with TCN articles and videos.

hold 1x event or presentation.

use coworking spaces to work during stay.And you:

Are employed, freelancing or have a business + 5 year work/study history.

Can bring skills and strengths (personal and professional) as a ZDNA.

Can commit to being in Zagreb on program dates AND dedicate 1x day week to being in a coworking space, 2x tours + 2x dinners.
submit a 1 minute video answering 5 short questions. (no advantage for fancy editing, just a piece to camera).

Agree to the full Terms and Conditions.

VIDEO SUBMISSION

1 MINUTE VIDEO

1) who you are
2) your location
3) what you do
4) your goals with digital nomadism/remote work
5) why you’re applying.Acceptable formats are mpg, avi, mov, mp4, mpeg4 and maximum file size 250MB.

Ready to apply? You can do so here.

For more news and features on digital nomads in Croatia, follow the dedicated TCN section

Saturday, 12 June 2021

Successful Croatian Digital Nomad Permit Stories: Kevin Macadam from UK

Jun 12, 2021 - There has been a lot of interest in the new Croatian digital nomad permit, with many looking to read about the experiences of successful applicants. Meet one, Kevin Macadam from UK, now enjoying life in Novigrad Dalmatia.

Access to Croatia is not as easy as it once was for Brits, now that the Brexit reality has kicked in, and  - like other non EU/EEA citizens, Brits can only stay for 90 at one time these days. Having heard of the Croatian digital nomad, Brit Kevin Macadam decided to try his luck, as he explains below. I did send Kevin questions for an interview, but I think the text reads better without my questions. Here is Kevin's story:

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Our journey to Croatia originally began last year when we were out walking our dog in rainy Yorkshire and discussing where we might want to live when we retire.

And then we looked at each other and said why are we waiting to retire as we both were working remotely.

We had just come back from holiday on the Amalfi coast in Italy and said it would be great to live in Italy and so we started to look and how we could live there.

Unfortunately to get temporary residency we had to set up an Italian company and have our wages paid into that company so that they could take their share of tax.  

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Our employers wouldn’t have agreed to that and so we thought that was that.  I then spotted the term Digital Nomad Visa online and looked at which companies offered them in Europe as we had to consider we would take our cat and dog with us.  Georgia - too cold Estonia - too cold and then we saw Croatia!  Having already been on holiday to Hvar and Dubrovnik we knew we loved the country and I already had friends there as I have been involved in British baseball for the last 30 years and knew the Croatian baseball president and the secretary of the European baseball federation who live in Zagreb and Karlovac respectively.

So that’s how we decided on Croatia, we already knew we loved the scenery, the food, the cost of living and the people.

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We travelled over on the 1st March 2021 in a small window when we were allowed to leave the UK and arrived on the usual 90 day allowed time.  We then applied for the DNV around 6 weeks into our stay.  We had tried to get over before the 31st December but the U.K. was in a strict lockdown so we couldn’t get over.

We applied online via the Croatian government website and submitted all our supporting documents and waited.  We were asked to attend the police station and went for interview and then went to a separate department to go through the paperwork.  Unfortunately we thought our DBS check on U.K. government paper would be sufficient but apparently we needed it to be apostilled so we sent it back to the U.K. and then got them sent over by courier and once submitted in person again our residency was approved.  

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The only thing I would say was a slight inconvenience was having completed the forms online we then had to complete them in paper format as well but I’m sure they’ll sort that out in future.  

We are aware that we are old for digital nomads and think that the residency permit should be marketed to people approaching retirement or an older age group (I’m 54 and Lisa’s 46) and as such probably have more disposable income. 

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Also I hope the government rethink what will happen at the end of the first year when the the first permits expire.  We would like to make Croatia our home and are currently looking to buy a property here.  However we will be forced to leave for 90 days once our permit expires and therefore will likely go to a nearby non schengen country to wait out the time.  The risk is that some people may go to say Montenegro or Serbia and decide they like it more there and not return.  I think a simple extension each year providing there are no criminal activities and that we continue to meet the criteria as well as is understanding that it will not lead to permanent citizenship would remove that risk.  

It was easy to get the information as we had read articles by TCN as well as Expat in Croatia so just followed the instructions.

Ironically I voted for Brexit and my wife voted remain.  I regret that decision now! The permit allows us to live in a better climate in a safe country for longer than 90 days.

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Croatia is a great destination for nomads.  There are loads of outdoor activities to do, food is amazing, people are friendly and English and German is widely spoken by the locals.   There are some great internet deals via partners who have linked in with the scheme.  The biggest issue we had which took us the longest amount of time was finding somewhere to live.  We contacted over 100 people on Njuškalo, Airbnb and booking.com asking them for a long term let and year round income.  We asked them to calculate what they earn over the summer months and divide by 12 and only one person our landlady Dolores agreed and hence why we ended up in Novigrad, Dalmatia.

All the others weren’t interested as they did they could earn a lot over the summer.  As it turns out we couldn’t have picked a better town.  The locals are so friendly and have welcomed us.  It’s position is perfect placed to visit the whole of Croatia.  So far we have visited Opatija, Pula, Rovinj, Karlovac, Zagreb, Split, hvar, Korcula, orebic, varazdin, plitvice and Karla and in the coming weeks will be venturing further south. 

Our lifestyle consists of working from home, travelling the country, eating great food, taking the dog for long walks, going to the coffee, swimming in the sea and drinking the worlds best kept secret Croatian wine!

People can follow our adventures @livingincroatia2021 on Instagram.

For more news and features on digital nomads in Croatia, follow the dedicated TCN section

Tuesday, 1 June 2021

After Croatia, Montenegro Digital Nomad Visa One Step Closer to Becoming Reality

June 1, 2021 - The energy of the Croatian digital nomad visa is spreading through the region as the Montenegro digital nomad visa is in the works. 

Bankar.me reports that the Ministry of Public Administration, Digital Society, and Media has sent a public invitation to organizations, associations, and individuals to get involved in the initial phase of preparing a Program for Attracting Digital Nomads and Encouraging Foreign Investments in Montenegro until 2025.

According to the invitation published on May 27, the consultations of the interested public in the initial phase of the Program will last for 28 days from the publication date of this invitation.

The invitation states, among other things, that priorities and challenges can be proposed in the consultation process when it comes to conditions for defining the status of digital nomads and incentives for foreign investments, including other important topics that this Program may cover.

As stated in the invitation, the Ministry of Public Administration, Digital Society, and Media will update all received initiatives, proposals, suggestions, and comments should be updated and, after the consultation, a report should be prepared containing an overview of the participants in the consultation and an overview of received initiatives, proposals, suggestions, and comments. It will then be published on its website http://www.mju.gov.me/ministarstvo and portal e-administration https://www.euprava.me/ and submitted to the participants in the consultation within seven days from the expiration of the aforementioned deadline of 28 days.

"The Ministry of Public Administration, Digital Society, and Media will consider and take into account all received initiatives, proposals, suggestions, and comments during the preparation of the Program for Attracting Digital Nomads and Encouraging Foreign Investments in Montenegro until 2025," the Ministry said.

This is one of the most important steps in bringing digital nomads to Montenegro, which will be among the first countries to grant a visa to this tourist group.

A digital nomad visa is a great chance for Montenegro

Several countries have already legally regulated the issue of visas for digital nomads. Estonia became the first country in the world to officially start with digital nomad visas. Shortly afterward, other countries such as Barbados, Bermuda, Georgia, Anguilla, the Cayman Islands, Dubai, and Mauritius followed in Estonia's footsteps. The initiative was first shown by Croatia from the surrounding countries, which is most similar to Montenegro with its beaches and beautiful destinations for tourists.

One of those who realized in time that Montenegro is an ideal destination for digital nomads is Milovan Novakovic, CEO, and partner of Colliers International. Novakovic and his team have taken the initiative with the Government to approve digital nomad visas as soon as possible. The team includes Dutch entrepreneur Jan de Jong, one of the most deserving of Croatia on the list of countries that approve digital nomad visas. As they say, there will be support from Estonia, which was the first country to regulate the visa legally.

Novakovic believes that Montenegro is a very suitable destination for digital nomads and has a satisfactory infrastructure, so in that sense, it would be necessary to introduce a one-year digital nomad visa and harmonize the Law on Foreigners as well as relevant bylaws, all to create a suitable legal framework that would encourage the arrival of digital nomads in Montenegro.

At the end of last year, he launched an initiative to position Montenegro as a new popular destination for digital nomads because, as he said earlier, a digital nomad visa would be a special benefit to improve tourism and extend the season to a whole year.

"Covid-19 has accelerated this industry as well, and more and more people in the world want to do their job remotely. Research predicts that by 2035, one billion people will work "remotely." If Montenegro regulates the visa program for digital nomads, a special benefit would be improving tourism and extending the season to the whole year. Digital nomads would no longer come to Montenegro for just a couple of weeks, but for a minimum of a few months or a whole year," Novakovic said.

For all, you need to know about digital nomads in Croatia, bookmark our dedicated section.

Monday, 31 May 2021

Trokut - Very First Sibenik Digital Nomad Office Opened

May the 31st, 2021 - As Croatia begins to finally recognise the importance of digital nomads being able to live in the country as they work remotely, the very first Sibenik digital nomad office has opened its doors.

As Novac writes, the very first Sibenik digital nomad office was recently officially opened in Trokut in the presence of the Mayor of Sibenik, Dr. med. Zeljko Buric, the head of the Administrative Department for Economy, Entrepreneurship and Development, Petar Misura, digital nomad Mike Pulley, the Head of the Office, Katarina Corkovic and the director of Trokut, Diana Mudrinic.

As of January the 1st, 2021, Croatia has officially started offering temporary residence to digital nomads, a process that TCN has been heavily involved in, including with the recent Dubrovnik Digital-Nomads-in-Residence programme. This visa, or better to say permit for digital nomads allows them a temporary stay in Croatia for up to one year. Digital nomads are also able to apply for a second, subsequent digital nomad permit, but only six months after the expiration of the first permit they've been issued on that precise basis.

"We've been following the story that is developing in Trokut with joy and optimism. We're glad that Trokut, as the Sibenik digital nomad office, has already become recognisable as a place that brings together young entrepreneurs from across Croatia and the world. Entrepreneurs of the new generation who lead us into the future can find their opportunity here and we believe that all digital nomads who visit Sibenik once will fall in love with this city and all the advantages it provides,'' said Mayor Zeljko Buric.

Digital nomads don't have a fixed working time or location because they work as needed depending on the type of project or job they're currently working on. Some nomads work more than 12 hours a day, but their place of work often changes as they wish. The current coronavirus pandemic has resulted in an increase in the number of people now able to work remotely, making the term "digital nomads" more popular than ever before, and thankfully Croatia didn't miss the boat on this opportunity.

Petar Misura pointed out: “Based on thinking about digital nomads who most often like to work in coworking spaces, we've developed the concept of the Trokut Centre, which is adapted to them because a large part of that space is filled by them. That we've predicted well in regard to that is evidenced by the need for new office desks in the first year of operation alone. I believe that the occupancy of digital nomads here at Trokut will be more than satisfactory. "

Mike Pulley has spent more than two and a half decades in the IT industry, working with large international companies such as Apple and HP.

"As an IT entrepreneur, I feel that I'm in the right place in Sibenik at the right time. Trokut is a perfect example of this as it provides an ideal space for IT people. The staff have created a programme and environment in which you can get what you need for business and a place where you can meet people like you. In my career, I've been fortunate to live and work in numerous places around the world, including the last 22 years in London, but I've worked and lived in Central and South America and in most other European countries (apart from the UK). Given that I had the opportunity to explore different places, people and cultures, and after all these options, I chose to be here in Sibenik,'' he stated.

"As for obtaining a residence permit in Croatia and doing business, I can say that I'm extremely satisfied with my own experience. The interaction with the Ministry of the Interior was professional and efficient, I submitted the necessary documents for the application and they made a decision very quickly. I think this is another example of the fact that Sibenik is the right place for entrepreneurs,''

Diana Mudrinic pointed out that “Trokut strives to follow the current trends in the world of digital nomads and freelancers. At the beginning of this year we introduced payment in cryptocurrencies, we have tips for nomads on how to apply for their visa/permit on our website, and our goal is to help them with the whole process of coming to Sibenik, from registration to finding accommodation and places to visit. At that threshold, last week we signed a Cooperation Agreement with the Krka National Park and then we opened the first Sibenik digital nomad office in order to provide them with a complete experience and support.''

For all you need to know about digital nomads in Croatia, bookmark our dedicated section.

Sunday, 23 May 2021

5 Steps to Making Dubrovnik a Vegan-Friendly Destination

May 24, 2021 - We sat down with Alyssa Isogawa, one of the digital nomads in residence in Dubrovnik, to try and craft five steps towards making Dubrovnik a vegan-friendly destination.

Alyssa is vegan and has been for eight years now. She comes from California which is known for having plenty of vegan-friendly restaurants, shops, and markets. However, she suggests this hasn’t always been the case. Her experience of Dubrovnik is overwhelmingly positive, but getting food was not always easy. She spent one month living in Dubrovnik through the Digital Nomads-in-Residence program. During that month she struggled to keep her diet healthy and balanced. There are some good vegan options in Dubrovnik when it comes to restaurants. Still, the selection is pretty limited. On the other side, there is very little information out there for any foreign newcomers to the city as to how and where to find suitable food.

Through a long coffee-fuelled meeting with Alyssa, we managed to craft a list of 5 steps that Dubrovnik can make in order to become a vegan-friendly destination. Most of these steps would also be of great help for local vegans. Not only that, but the local omnivores might find themselves interested in going vegan a few days a week. This would be good for the environment and the local producers.

Produce Markets and Shops

The main mission of a travelling vegan is to find a reasonably priced, good quality, diverse selection of fresh vegetables and fruits. The good thing about Dubrovnik is: there is plenty of locally sourced, seasonal produce around. There are also a few farmers’ markets, with the biggest one being in the Gruz Harbour area. Along with a few greengrocers in the city, the selection is actually not bad. The problem is, these places rarely advertise. They never advertise to foreigners. This is a clear consequence of short-stay tourism. The average guest to Dubrovnik coming to the city for 2 or 3 days is hardly looking for vegetables to buy during this time.

The potential solution calls for the higher visibility of these businesses. Advertising, branding, and inclusion in promotional materials promoting the city are obvious solutions. Another beneficial thing would be to educate the people selling their produce on the needs and market share of the vegan visitors and local people alike. Various food delivery services have become popular in Croatia. They would probably have an interest in cooperating with these businesses which could then offer online ordering and delivery of fresh produce.

Updated Restaurant Menus

Many Dubrovnik restaurants are lacking a decent offer of vegan dishes. Aside from two dedicated vegan restaurants, very few other places offer quality vegan options. Most of the offer comes down to grilled vegetables or seasonal salads. These dishes don’t have the main food groups necessary for a balanced meal. Carbohydrates, protein, and fats need to be present on the plate in all the vegan main dishes. They rarely are in restaurants offering vegan dishes only to satisfy the format.

Restaurant menus need updating. However, this doesn’t just mean additional work or expense incurred by the restaurant. This means a chance for more business. Most restaurant owners in Dubrovnik underestimate the share of vegan guests. Not only that, but they fail to realise vegan customers usually come to their restaurants with their partners or friends. If the restaurant is not offering vegan options, they will lose not just that vegan guest, but the people they are coming to eat with as well. In order to make their efforts worth it, restaurants need to be upfront with their vegan options. Things like HappyCow stickers or similar signs let the potential guest know the place offers vegan options.

Enriching Local Cuisine

Tied to the previous step, Croatian and Dubrovnik chefs might want to step up and make themselves heard about the vegan issue. The fact of the matter is, there are plenty of Croatian vegans that want the changes described here. There are also a number of talented and highly skilled local chefs. They might be encouraged to re-visit some of the most popular local dishes and create vegan versions of the classics. This action could be tied to promoting local cuisine to the vegan market. Creating new delicious dishes reminiscent of the traditional Dubrovnik cuisine is a great thing in itself. When these dishes are also modern, healthy, and environmentally friendly, the promotional opportunities are endless.

Labelling for Vegan-Friendly Food Items in Shops and Souvenir Shops

There are plenty of food items in Dubrovnik’s shops and souvenir shops. Spreads, preserves, sauces, or pastes are usually labelled in such a way that they are perhaps understandable to local people, but rarely are easy to read for foreigners. Additionally, sales staff often doesn’t know whether certain food items in the shop are vegan safe or not. Many potential buyers will refrain from buying these because of this lack of information. Clear labelling for food that is vegan-friendly would distinguish these items. Education of staff would help this innovation along as well. Much like restaurants with vegan options, shops offering vegan-friendly items could use signage or stickers to inform their potential customers. Sauces and spreads are a great addition to simple vegetable homemade dishes in order to take them up a level.

Education of Dubrovnik Locals

Perhaps the most important step is educating local people about vegan food. The majority of people are not aware of what real vegan food is. Many of them don’t know just how delicious, healthy, and balanced a proper vegan diet is. By raising awareness of the health and environmental advantages of vegan food, Dubrovnik would start a chain of dominoes resulting in becoming a truly vegan-friendly city. With more local vegans and people interested in having occasional vegan meals, businesses would be quick to adapt. The vegan community is tight-knit and dynamic. In an area renowned for locally sourced food, vegetable-based cuisine could be the next big thing, not just for visitors.

Majority of steps proposed in this text stem from problems caused mainly by lack of knowledge or interest. Informative events, pop-up food stands or food trucks celebrating vegan food would do wonders for the local food scene. The future is green. Let’s make Dubrovnik a city of the future!

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

For more news in Croatia, CLICK HERE.

Sunday, 23 May 2021

Closing DNiR Conference at Lazareti: Mayor Franković Announces Dubrovnik Digital Nomads Coworking Space

May 22, 2021 - As Dulist reports, the closing conference of 'The Dubrovnik digital nomad-in-residence' project was held this Saturday at Lazareti. At the closing ceremony, Dubrovnik mayor Mato Franković announced a Dubrovnik Digital Nomads coworking space.

As part of the conference, the results of four creative workshops were presented, in which, in addition to digital nomads, representatives of the City of Dubrovnik and the Dubrovnik Tourist Board, as well as citizens, also participated. The goal of these workshops was to make joint recommendations for creating a better environment for digital nomads who will be staying in Dubrovnik. 

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photo credit: Dulist

"We are pleased to conclude the first major conference of digital nomads in Dubrovnik. Digital nomads stayed in the City for a full 30 days and saw it in a different way, not only as a tourist city, but also as a city that has neighbourhoods pleasant to live in, like Mokošica, Lapad, Gruž, and Gornje Selo. They discovered a different Dubrovnik as well as our way of life. This is exactly what we wanted to achieve, to have digital nomads with this experience send a clear message to their colleagues across the world to come to Dubrovnik and stay here for a few months as a place to develop their creative ideas and contribute their practical experiences and knowledge to the Dubrovnik economy. We cannot expect our tourism of the future to rely solely on digital nomads, but I believe they will occupy one significant segment of it. At the same time, we expect some new ideas, products, and reflections of our city," said Mayor Mato Franković on this occasion, announcing that Dubrovnik will soon get a digital nomad coworking space. 

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photo credit: Dulist

"We must not stop here, this is just the beginning. The future brings us coworking spaces of digital nomads, a place where all those who come to Dubrovnik will find all the information they need, a workplace where they can share ideas with all other digital nomads. They are not engaged in just one job, but in different professions and jobs. They love to travel, their work allows them to realize their ideas elsewhere. These are people who are very well paid for the jobs they do, and their company allows them to travel the world because of their creativity. That is the future we will go for. The coworking spac is the next thing we will realize," said Franković keeping the location of the space a secret for now.

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                                                                                                                                                                           photo credit: Dulist

 

Franković emphasized that a digital nomads week, with which he would connect, was being prepared in Zagreb, but also that the goal was to connect all cities in Croatia through the project of digital nomads. (Read more about Zagreb Digital Nomad Week).

"Digital nomads are moving around and if the whole of Croatia is ready for the project of digital nomads, then the wealth of Dubrovnik in that project will be greater. If we are all open and friendly towards them, only the sky is our limit," concluded Franković.

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 photo credit: Dulist

The director of the Dubrovnik Tourist Board, Ana Hrnić, emphasized that at the very end of the project she would have concrete data on how many posts digital nomads had from Dubrovnik and what results the project obtained.

"Nomads gave their suggestions about the little things that we could improve as a destination for them. For the time being, our accommodation has been intended for shorter stays. All they have listed are things that can be easily improved. They had, for example, suggestions like providing kettles, additional hangers, and similar minor details. It doesn’t require a big investment, and it makes a big difference. We should start on a coworking space where they will all meet as soon as possible. For digital nomads, when they come on their own, it is very important for them to have a space where they will meet others, work, and exchange experiences. They showed that the involvement of the local community in every part of this project was important. We are happy that the general impression is good, everyone is happy and satisfied," said Hrnić.


digitalni-nomadi-zavrsna-konferencija-lazareti-5.jpgphoto credit: Dulist

She added that this conference was a good foundation for the further strategy of digital nomads that would be developed in Dubrovnik in the future. The concrete effects of the stay of digital nomads will be reflected in their social media posts, which will ultimately be summarized and multiplied in the following period. When asked about the financing of the stay of digital nomads and this conference, director Hrnić answered that the Tourist Board financed the fees of the companies Saltwater Nomads and Total Croatia News, in the amount of 200 thousand kuna.

Tanja Polegubić from the Saltwater Nomads company presented the results of four creative workshops, in which, in addition to digital nomads, the citizens of Dubrovnik also participated.

"The aim of the workshops was to make joint recommendations for creating a better environment for digital nomads who will stay in Dubrovnik," said Polegubić.

The owner of the Total Croatia News portal, Paul Bradbury, stated that the project is a great opportunity for changes in tourism, based on the new slogan "Croatia - your safe, authentic, lifestyle destination".

"The project is great and could stop now, but there is already great momentum and discussions on the next steps. It is very encouraging to see the CEO of Raiffeisen Bank, as well as senior representation from Hrvatski Telekom, KPMG, and the Zagreb Tourist Board here today," Bradbury said. "The future of work will look very different, and Croatia - and especially Dubrovnik - can repivot its tourism based on its three jewels of safety, authentic experiences and lifestyles. People want these things, and with the freedom of workplace, Croatia has a lot to offer. And one of the findings of this month was the Beyond the Walls concept, which we will be exploring more on TCN shortly. Rather than Dubrovnik being limited in its offer by the content of the old city, these nomads found more than enough content for a one-month 'workation'."

The president of the Digital Nomad Association of Croatia, Jan de Jong, stated that the project is developing very quickly and successfully.

"We need to build content and community, where I recognize the role of the association, which must unite and serve digital nomads. We also need to send a message of inspiration to young people who may want to leave Croatia and somehow reverse the 'brain drain' with the arrival of digital nomads," he said.

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photo credit: Dulist

Dutchman Rob Schubert is one of the digital nomads who has been in Dubrovnik for the past month and is delighted with the experience he has gained. His ‘start-up’ is normally located in Estonia, but it offers him various opportunities to work as a digital nomad.

"This project was so inspiring, we broadened our horizons. At this conference, I strengthened my thinking about digital nomads. I am glad that Dubrovnik has positioned itself as a new ‘hotspot’ for digital nomads. I will recommend to my friends and colleagues to come here. The city is beautiful, I have gotten to know it and I am so sad that I have to leave tomorrow," said Schubert.

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photo credit: Dulist

Let us remind you that in a joint project of the City of Dubrovnik and the Tourist Board of the City of Dubrovnik, in cooperation with Total Croatia News and Saltwater Nomads, Dubrovnik hosted ten digital nomads from different parts of the world for a month.

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photo credit: Dulist

For more information about digital nomads in Croatia, visit the TC Digital Nomads in Croatia in a Page, or follow the latest in the dedicated TCN section

Sunday, 23 May 2021

Krka National Park Becomes the First Nature Reserve to Provide Working Conditions for Digital Nomads

May 23, 2021 - Working conditions for digital nomads will now be offered at one of the most attractive locations in Croatia - Krka National Park. 

For digital nomads who have been allowed to temporarily stay and work in Croatia with recent legislative changes, new „job locations“ are opening up at the most attractive locations of Krka National Park. The Park and Incubator for new technologies Trokut Šibenik have started business cooperation developing programs for attracting digital nomads to Šibenik-Knin County.  This region encompasses some of the most beautiful parts of the Croatian coast and a part of Dalmatian Hinterland which hides an astonishing amount of natural, cultural, and historical phenomena. Many of them are situated at Krka National Park, which is now offering its infrastructure with a fast and stable Wi-Fi to digital nomads at the following Park locations: Laškovica Visitor Centre, Krka Eco Campus in Puljane, on the Stinica, across Visovac, and on Roški slap waterfall. Digital nomads will be able to freely join educational programs that the Park is organising, as well as join Friends of the Krka Club, under the same conditions as their temporary neighbours, the residents of the County.

At Šibenik’s Trokut, digital nomads have a secured workspace with their desk and chair, free access to three kitchens, showers and bathrooms, a basketball court, a free parking lot for bicycles and cars, tech support, fair use printers, and scanners, and other interesting offers. This gives digital nomads the chance to combine work and travel, fulfilling their duties and maximizing the use of their leisure time, according to the increasingly popular model of work – holliwork.

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„Krka National Park is where digital nomads can find the best mixture of natural values and cultural and historical heritage. The goal of our collaboration with Trokut through the project with digital nomads is to facilitate the implementation and development of new technologies and entrepreneurship, not only in the Park or in the city of Šibenik, but throughout Šibenik-Knin Country“, said the director of Krka National Park Nella Slavica.

The city of Šibenik extended full support to the concept of holliwork and the acceptance of digital nomads, recognizing them as a niche group of world travelers. This group primarily encompasses developers, graphic designers, gamers, social media experts, blockchain developers, IoT experts, and professionals who cover many other IT areas. They need to connect with nature and a highly developed awareness of climate change, so cooperation with Krka National Park is a natural step towards strengthening Šibenik-Knin County as an ideal destination for digital nomads throughout the year.

For the latest news and features, follow the TCN dedicated digital nomads section

Saturday, 22 May 2021

Checking In with Dubrovnik Digital Nomads-in-Residence – Vanessa Anderson Interview

May 22, 2021 – We caught up with another digital nomad in Dubrovnik and the career of this one is not what you would expect from someone working remotely. Meet Vanessa Anderson!

Vanessa Anderson is a digital nomad and a lawyer. Two things that hardly seem compatible. Yet, she is making it work. COVID-19 changed the way she and her colleagues do their work and it made being a digital nomad lawyer possible. She knows Croatia well having been here before and running a travel website Balkan Eyes specialising in this region. When she heard about the Dubrovnik Digital Nomads-in-Residence program, she applied. Originally, she just missed out on the opportunity to join the program, but due to some last-minute changes, we've got to see her in Dubrovnik, joining the other digital nomads in the group. Vanessa hails from Portland, Oregon, and is now enjoying her working and living experience in Dubrovnik.

DNiR Program

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The Dubrovnik Digital Nomads-in-Residence program is a creation of 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 producing interesting and valuable results that could have a real impact on the local community

The Interview

In our short video, we asked Vanessa about her experience with Dubrovnik. Regardless of the fact she visited this area many times, this is her first working experience in the city. It changed her outlook on the city.

„Now I've been here for a longer period and it's pushed me to look outside of the walls as well. Before I had done more of the tourist things. You know, the walls are beautiful and I love just walking around, but also seeing other neighbourhoods has really expanded my view of Dubrovnik.“

She finds it easy to work here having adapted her work to constant travel.

„I have my practice mostly online so I don’t carry around binders of documents which is key to being a digital nomad. I can talk to my clients over the phone, on Zoom. With the pandemic, there's been more of an expectation that that's how things are going to go. Right now, the court hearings are still done over Zoom as well, so my presence is not needed in Portland.“

Make sure to check out the full interview with Vanessa below and hear her advice on making Dubrovnik a digital nomad-friendly place.

 

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

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

Winners announcement video:

 

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

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