Friday, 22 October 2021

Beyond the Walls: DN-i-R Presents Sustainable Dubrovnik Tourism Direction

October 22, 2021 - Sustainable Dubrovnik tourism was the topic at a workshop in Lazareti today, as the Dubrovnik Digital Nomads-in-Residence case study was presented, along with the city announcing co-working spaces, a co-living space, and the Dubrovnik Digital Nomad card. 

It has been quite a journey. 

And we are still only at the beginning. 

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It is just 15 months since the Mayor of Dubrovnik, Mato Frankovic, gave me 30 minutes of his time to hear some ideas we had regarding sustainable Dubrovnik tourism. Half an hour later, we had an agreement to cooperate, and work started the next morning with Deputy Mayor, Jelka Tepsic, and Dubrovnik Tourist Board director, Ana Hrnic. 

Despite the considerable restrictions caused by the pandemic, progress has been swift. In October last year, the first-ever digital nomad conference, Dubrovnik for Digital Nomads, was held in Dubrovnik. It was a cooperation between the city of Dubrovnik, Dubrovnik Tourist Board, Saltwater Nomads, and Total Croatia News. 

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It was followed by the Dubrovnik Digital Nomads-in-Residence program, the first event of its kind in the world, where 10 international nomads from different backgrounds and experiences, came to the city for 4 weeks to work with the city, tourist board, and community to co-create a strategy to help Dubrovnik develop its digital nomad strategy to attract more remote workers. 

 

The DN-i-R project achieved international recognition at the recent Conventa 2021 awards in Ljubljana, as well as being presented at the recent Cross Border Coworking Conference in Budva as an example of regional best practice. 

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At today's event '1 Year On, Dubrovnik for Digital Nomads Workshop' (so-called as it a year since that inaugural conference), Saltwater Nomads CEO and architect of the DN-i-R program, Tanja Polegubic, presented the case study of the findings of DN-i-R. Deputy Mayor Tepsic and Director Hrnic also presented their impressions, with DN-i-R facilitator extraordinaire Erin Maxwell also on stage. 

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The case study outlined a strategy to success for the project created by the DN-i-Rs, with some very early quick wins to help Dubrovnik on that journey. 

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The image and perception of Dubrovnik as a one-dimensional destination with only enough content for 2-3 days was evident at the presentation of the DN-i-R initial findings at a press conference back in May. A simple Google image search of Dubrovnik provided the same results - a spectacular and historic old town, but nothing more. And one of the key findings of the strength and potential of Dubrovnik's tourism was what lay 'Beyond the Walls'. Far from being a 2-3 day destination, find out why these 10 DN-i-Rs concluded that 30 days was not enough to spend in Dubrovnik

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Changing the perception of Dubrovnik is going to take time after the horror years of overtourism prior to the pandemic, but the image (and a real image) of a more sustainable Dubrovnik is already taking hold. Few newspaper editors would have chosen Dubrovnik for the lead photo for an article about digital nomads a year ago, as The Times did recently, for example - in stark contrast to the Death of Dubrovnik headlines in the UK media just 4 years ago. 

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Leading DN website NomadList is one of the biggest online resources for DN opinions and statistics. The recent 2021 survey was extremely good news, with Croatia named as the 2nd most liked destination after Japan. Data extrapolated from the Trends, based on real geographical data of users of the site showed that nomads were visiting Croatia - including Dubrovnik - in ever greater numbers.

The DN-i-R program can only achieve so much on its own, and it would have had limited success had its recommendations not been implemented. Too often in Croatian tourism, projects finish, a box is ticked, perhaps the right person has been thanked for a favour by being awarded a project. For Dubrovnik's Dn journey to continue, it is essential that the city maintains the momentum, builds the nomad community, and engages the local community. 

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And not only did Dubrovnik rise to the challenge with their announcements today, but they exceeded my expectations. Among the things Ana Hrnic announced:

  • The opening of no less than 3 coworking spaces, at strategic parts of the city - Lazareti by the old town, the Red History Museum in Gruz, and Sunset Beach in Lapad.
  • The first co-living space in Dubrovnik.
  • A new planned information website for Dubrovnik, with its own visual identity, dedicated to longer-stay visitors.
  • A check-in point for DNs at the main tourist board office at Pile Gate by the old town.
  • A Dubrovnik Digital Nomad Card.

The Dubrovnik digital nomad card, believed to be the first of its kind in the world, will be launched soon, offering discounts for nomads from participating businesses. As TCN recently reported, the city recently invited businesses to provide special offers for digital nomads staying for an extended period. So far, 17 businesses have joined the programme, with more expected to follow. 

Deputy Mayor Tepsic also stressed the importance of involving and educating the community, with plans to hold monthly hybrid workshops to help Dubrovnik's tourism businesses better understand and adapt to the DN opportunity. 

Participation of the local community and local authorities will be crucial for the success of the initiative, and the facilitators of DN-i-R have been extremely impressed at the high level of engagement from the local community. This was in evidence once more today, as community members from the adventure tourism, restaurant, and private accommodation businesses explained how they were adapting their offers to welcome digital moments. Continued education, encouragement and information will only bring out more such offers. 

There is a long way to go, but Dubrovnik is demonstrating once again its willingness to take the lead in an attempt to build a more sustainable Dubrovnik tourism model. 

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

Thursday, 21 October 2021

Dubrovnik Digital Nomads-in-Residence 6 Months On: Kelsey Kay Love

October 21, 2021 - In April this year, 10 digital nomads from all over the world came together for the inaugural Dubrovnik Digital Nomads-in-Residence (DNIR) program. As part of European Freelancer Week 2021, TCN catches up with some of them 6 months on - next up Kelsey Kay Love from Los Angeles. 

A year ago, the city of Dubrovnik held the first-ever digital nomad conference in Croatia - Dubrovnik for Digital Nomads - as part of European Freelancer Week. The city has made great strides advancing its DN credentials and strategy, thanks in part to the award-winning Dubrovnik Digital Nomads-in-Residence program, which ran from April 23 - May 23. 

 

The program was all the richer for the presence of Kelsey Kay Love from California. TCN caught up with KKL 6 months later to get her current perspective on the program, Dubrovnik and the Croatian digital nomad journey.

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1. It is 6 months since you arrived in Dubrovnik for the Dubrovnik Digital Nomads-in-Residence program. Firstly, a brief look back at that month. How was it for you, and how did it change your perceptions of Dubrovnik as a nomad destination?

Dang 'ol dang, time flies. I can say, with zero hesitation, that the month spent in Croatia for the Digital Nomads-in-Residence program was my best month of life for both 2020 and 2021, and we're not even through the rest of this year yet. 

It was an incredibly memorable experience, not only because of my glorious fellow nomads and our amazing organizers, but in terms of it being my first ever reference of Croatia itself. Before that experience, I had no real frame of reference for Dubrovnik at all, as I'd never met anyone who'd spent any real time there. This opportunity changed that in every way; spending four whole weeks there during a period where tourism was still incredibly scarce was a real eye-opener, and allowed us to see the city's potential in a way that we likely couldn't have during any other normal year.

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2.  Have you kept in touch with others from the project? Spent any more time in Croatia?

Yes! I have been on a couple of Facetime calls with the nomads, and speak regularly with them through Discord and social media.  

I have unfortunately not spent any more time in Croatia (yet), as I live just about half way across the globe at the moment, but dearly hope to return next year.

3. It seems that a lot has been happening in the DN scene in the last few months since the program. Zagreb Digital Nomad Week, Digital Nomad Valley Zagreb, the Cross Border Coworking Conference in Budva, Croatia performing strongly in the Nomad List 2021 survey. What changes have you noticed since arriving in Dubrovnik back in April?

At least from where I'm sitting in the States, there's a very noticeable trend and preference for remote jobs and work opportunities, digital nomad visas and a growing realization that living in Europe is easier than it ever has been, and perhaps ever will be, for U.S. citizens and residents. 

Because I still have a Google alert for 'digital nomad visa Croatia' — the very reason I found out about the contest in the first place — I also see how often Croatia is being talked about in international and local media, which is exciting and very well deserved. If Croatia wasn't a consideration for digital nomads before, I'd say it very likely is by this stage. 

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4. Have you noticed any change in the way Croatia is talked about in the global DN groups you engage with online? In what way if yes?

After publishing a post about my experience on my own blog, Travelin' Fools, I received several emails and comments from complete strangers asking about coworking spaces and my opinions on the city itself as a long or short term liveable destination. To me, this clearly indicates an interest in Dubrovnik as an intriguing next option. 

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5. What would you say are the key next steps for Dubrovnik on this journey, and for Croatia as a whole

Start marketing the opening of a Dubrovnik coworking space, regardless of a set opening date. Additionally, start talking to well-known travel writers, photographers and videographers and creating long term partnerships for content related to Croatia's growing digital nomad opportunities. The more content you have to work with — both in terms of quality and quantity — the better it will be to those looking for information on moving to Croatia, and what areas they'd potentially like to settle in. 

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6. Your favourite memory/experience from DNIR, and when do expect that Dubrovnik will see you next?

I will never, ever forget eating lunch at Konoba Maha in Korcula. Watching giant Croats with tiny man buns fasten dainty leaves to my delicious cocktail before serving me a giant plate of peka? Into it.

Well, the nomads have already talked about a European reunion in time for Eurovision next year, so I fully expect to step foot in Croatia again in 2022. Until then, I'll have to enjoy my wine in an overpriced bar in Hollywood. Sigh.

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

Wednesday, 20 October 2021

Emergency Maritime Medical Service in Dubrovnik and Coastal Cities in Next Two Years

October 20, 2021 - Mali Lošinj, Rab, Zadar, Šibenik, Supetar, and Dubrovnik will receive modern high-speed medical boats in the next two years, finally establishing an emergency maritime medical service in these areas.

This long-awaited project worth almost HRK 77 million is co-financed by EU Funds and will significantly increase the level of health and safety of people in the coastal area, while with all the necessary equipment in outpatient clinics at initial destinations will be performed to determine the need for emergency intervention and transportation to the nearest hospital on land, reports HRTurizam

The procurement of 6 fast boats with the necessary equipment to provide emergency medical care will be located in stationary ports in Mali Lošinj, Rab, Zadar, Šibenik, Supetar, and Dubrovnik. The boats will be built by the communities of bidders: Tehnomont Shipyard and ISKRA Shipyard.

Boats and related equipment will also be used for search and rescue purposes and to provide medical assistance in cases of maritime accidents and maritime disasters. Also, to prevent unnecessarily high costs of transport from the island to the mainland by fast boats, in dispensaries at the initial destinations of patient care, it will be possible to perform simple qualitative or quantitative medical-biochemical tests using automatic biochemical analyzers to determine the necessity of emergency intervention of transport to the nearest emergency medical institution/hospital on land.

For this purpose, the project will provide 12 automatic biochemical blood analyzers that will be distributed in 12 branches of the Institute of Emergency Medicine - Blato on Korcula, Korcula, Lastovo and Mljet in Dubrovnik-Neretva County, Cres, Mali Losinj, and Rab in Primorje-Gorski Kotar County, Jelsa on Hvar, Supetar, Šolta and Vis in the Split-Dalmatia County and Preko in the Zadar County.

While this is great news, HRTurizam writes that it is also necessary to provide helicopter services on the islands and the coast and that it is the civilizational reach of the 21st century where we must provide all island residents with quality health care, and thus for the safety of tourists as a serious tourist destination.

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

Wednesday, 20 October 2021

Dubrovnik Digital Nomads-in-Residence 6 Months On: Marlee McCormick

October 20, 2021 - In April this year, 10 digital nomads from all over the world came together for the inaugural Dubrovnik Digital Nomads-in-Residence (DNIR) program. As part of European Freelancer Week 2021, TCN catches up with some of them 6 months on, starting with Marlee McCormick from Texas. 

A year ago, the city of Dubrovnik held the first-ever digital nomad conference in Croatia - Dubrovnik for Digital Nomads - as part of European Freelancer Week. The city has made great strides advancing its DN credentials and strategy, thanks in part to the award-winning Dubrovnik Digital Nomads-in-Residence program, which ran from April 23 - May 23. 

 

The program was all the richer for the presence of Marlee McCormick, who broadcast her Dallas radio show each day from the Lazareti coworking space just outside the historic Old Walls of Dubrovnik. Together with husband Jeff, Marlee had a great month in the Pearl of the Adriatic. TCN caught up with Marlee 6 months later to get her current perspective on the program, Dubrovnik and the Croatian digital nomad journey.

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1. It is 6 months since you arrived in Dubrovnik for the Dubrovnik Digital Nomads-in-Residence program. Firstly, a brief look back at that month. How was it for you, and how did it change your perceptions of Dubrovnik as a nomad destination?

Is it a cliché to say being selected for the DNIR program was a life changing experience?....because that's really an accurate description.  Being able to live and work in a wonderful and inviting city like Dubrovnik was an opportunity and an experience that will stay with me forever.  My husband and I had been wanting to try living abroad for quite sometime, we just had to wait for the right opportunity and for the kids to grow up and leave the nest.  The pandemic made that dream a possibility and the Dubrovnik Digital Nomad program made it a reality.  Once I started working remotely from home, I tested the waters by taking my show on the road, a week here and there.  Those trips were more of a working vacation, but I learned how to make it work and with good WIFI, I could work from anywhere in the world. 

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It wasn't until coming to Dubrovnik that I truly got to experience what it would be like to live and work abroad.  I was able to do a job I love in the U.S. while living as a local in a beautiful European city.  When you add in the facts that I didn't have to get up at 4am for work because of the time difference, had a 10 minute stroll through the old city to the Lazaretti workspace instead of a long commute in traffic, and a postcard view of the Adriatic Sea..... well I would say quality of life just doesn't get any better than that.  My husband Jeff was also working from home and able to join me for our test run at being digital nomads.  Not only did we quickly adapt, we thrived!  Although the DNIR program was only 30 days, we can both see ourselves coming back for extended periods of time and now thanks to Croatia's digital nomad visa, we'll be able to. 

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2.  Have you kept in touch with others from the project? Spent any more time in Croatia?

We have kept in touch with the other nomads in our group despite the time differences and the geographic challenges.  Social media is a great way to stay connected.  I consider these people as sort of an extended family.  We were all very different, but each brought something unique to the table and we all got along so well despite our differences in age and backgrounds.  There have been talks of a reunion get-together in the future.  I really hope it happens.  Jeff and I also made friends with people outside of our core group and we look forward to reuniting with them as well.

 

3. It seems that a lot has been happening in the DN scene in the last few months since the program. Zagreb Digital Nomad Week, Digital Nomad Valley Zagreb, the Cross Border Coworking Conference in Budva, Croatia performing strongly in the Nomad List 2021 survey. What changes have you noticed since arriving in Dubrovnik back in April?

In my opinion, Croatia and especially Dubrovnik's foresight to get out of their "seasonal tourism" comfort zone and attract visitors year-round was smart planning for the future.  There is so much more to this community than just a daytrip to the old city for gelato (Although, full disclosure, I do love the gelato in Dubrovnik) during a cruise ship stop.   I really hope we DNIR's helped bring that to light.  I know every situation is different, but compared to where we live in Dallas, Texas, we found the cost of living in Dubrovnik to be very reasonable - options for every budget and lifestyle.  Since returning home I have kept up with happenings in Croatia thanks to Total Croatia News.  Croatia is gaining more prominence on the world stage away from tourism.  Businesses are growing and moving there and I'm excited to see what happens with the transition into the EU.

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4. Have you noticed any change in the way Croatia is talked about in the global DN groups you engage with online? In what way if yes?

Without a doubt, the Dubrovnik digital nomad program got the world's attention.  The DNIR roadmap is being used by other countries as a model to launch their own digital nomad programs.  I think we all, including the City of Dubrovnik, the tourism board, TCN and of course our champion Tanja Polegubic at Saltwater Workspace can all be proud of what we accomplished in blazing the trail.  My time as a digital nomad was brief and I'm definitely a newbie, but my experience has allowed me to encourage others to take that leap and even give advice to those that already have through a Dubrovnik Digital Nomad Facebook group. 

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5. What would you say are the key next steps for Dubrovnik on this journey, and for Croatia as a whole

It's encouraging to see that the city has taken some of our suggestions and ideas to move the digital nomad program forward.  I hope when the pandemic is over and tourism fully returns, that Croatia as a whole will stick with the program to attract more dn's from across the world.  Word of mouth and the sharing of information is the best way to do that.  Total Croatia News has played a big part in that.

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6. Your favourite memory/experience from DNIR, and when do expect that Dubrovnik will see you next?

There are so many great memories to choose from - a boat day on the Adriatic with the other DNIRs, dining on Peka at an amazing restaurant owned by two brothers on the island of Korcula, having coffee and people watching at cafes on the Stradun.  One of my favorite memories was interacting with the Dubrovnik cats.  I'm a big animal lover and its a charming aspect to the old city.  I left a little piece of my heart in Dubrovnik.  We can't wait to go back next spring and pick up where we left off.  

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

Wednesday, 20 October 2021

Dubrovnik Digital Nomads-in-Residence 6 Months On: Rob Schubert

October 20, 2021 - In April this year, 10 digital nomads from all over the world came together for the inaugural Dubrovnik Digital Nomads-in-Residence (DNIR) program. As part of European Freelancer Week 2021, TCN catches up with some of them 6 months on, starting with Rob Schubert from the Netherlands. 

A year ago, the city of Dubrovnik held the first-ever digital nomad conference in Croatia - Dubrovnik for Digital Nomads - as part of European Freelancer Week. The city has made great strides advancing its DN credentials and strategy, thanks in part to the award-winning Dubrovnik Digital Nomads-in-Residence program, which ran from April 23 - May 23. 

 

Far from forgetting Croatia, several of the DNIRs have been very active in Croatia. None more so than Rob Schubert, who has been enjoying a lot more of Croatia, including representing the Extra Virgin Digital Nomads at the 4th Olive Picking World Championships on Brac last week. TCN caught up with Rob to reflect on all things nomaddy 6 months on. 

1. It is 6 months since you arrived in Dubrovnik for the Dubrovnik Digital Nomads-in-Residence program. Firstly, a brief look back at that month. How was it for you, and how did it change your perceptions of Dubrovnik as a nomad destination?

The month was simply lovely! The Dubrovnik Digital Nomads-in-Residence program surpassed my expectations in many ways. 

Firstly the organization was fantastic by all involved partners. Together with the local community's participation, this organization provided an encouraging environment for the service design process. Secondly, it was my first time in Croatia, and it opened my eyes. I experienced that Dubrovnik and more areas of Croatia aren't just tourist hotspots (what I normally like to avoid). There is much opportunity and existing facilities to create a perfect environment for middle/long term stays.

2.  Have you kept in touch with others from the project? Spent any more time in Croatia?

Being on the road and having an international lifestyle means you a lot of new people. Usually, people just come and go, but that was not the case for this group. We all have different backgrounds, but the month in Dubrovnik created a strong bond between us. The group chat is still very active, and we have meetups all over the continent.

I was pleased to meet a bunch up North in Estonia and very recently in Croatia again. So yes, I have spent more time in Croatia, and I will be back sooner rather than later! 

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3. It seems that a lot has been happening in the DN scene in the last few months since the program. Zagreb Digital Nomad Week, Digital Nomad Valley Zagreb, the Cross Border Coworking Conference in Budva, Croatia performing strongly in the Nomad List 2021 survey. What changes have you noticed since arriving in Dubrovnik back in April?

I attended the Cross Border Coworking Conference in Budva, and I was very charmed by the presentation given by the tourist board of Dubrovnik. Not only were they able to very clearly explain the outcomes of the Digital Nomads-in-Residence program, but they shared new developments to attract digital nomads. To me, this is a confirmation that Dubrovnik and Croatia are serious about developing a sustainable economy/society where digital nomads are warmly welcomed. 

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4. Have you noticed any change in the way Croatia is talked about in the global DN groups you engage with online? In what way if yes?

Yes, I notice a big difference! Significantly more people talk about Croatia in both online and "offline" groups I am part of. Of course, I always have seen great images and heard great stories from Croatia, but now the communication is also about the digital nomad infrastructure. Articles often support the new communication. Lately, I got sent a Dutch item about Croatia as a digital nomad destination.

5. What would you say are the key next steps for Dubrovnik on this journey, and for Croatia as a whole

Croatia created a great buzz with the introduction of a digital nomad visa. The eyes of digital nomads are aimed at Croatia, and locals start to understand what these new types of travellers are. To have a significant impact and create an attractive environment for digital nomads, it's key to keep the momentum of this program going. With follow-up programs like the ones mentioned above, it's reassuring to see that outcomes keep developing.

Consequently, I think it's key to keep pace with development. With most of the Asian countries still closed, more digital nomads are thinking of European destinations. So this is the right time for Dubrovnik and Croatia to amaze other digital nomads with the welcoming infrastructure. 

6. Your favourite memory/experience from DNIR, and when do expect that Dubrovnik will see you next?

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Picking a favourite of such a fantastic experience is difficult. There were many great days! Yet there was one evening that particularly comes to mind now. It was a sundowner on a beautiful rooftop in the middle of the old town. Energized by the company of this great group and fresh mussels from Ston (and some watermelon), this evening presented great conversations and many moments of laughter. 

I first-person heard about the developments and plans Dubrovnik has for digital nomads. As soon as these are in place, I have a perfect "excuse" to come back and try them out. See you soon!

 

Rob was part of a very international and all DNIR extra virgin digital nomad team which came a creditable 5th at this year's world championship. They were joined by fellow DNIRs Alyssa from California, Charlie from Wales, Sam from England, and coach Tanja from Australia.

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

Monday, 18 October 2021

Dubrovnik Digital Nomads-in-Residence 6 Months On: Charlie Brown

October 18, 2021 - In April this year, 10 digital nomads from all over the world came together for the inaugural Dubrovnik Digital Nomads-in-Residence (DNIR) program. As part of European Freelancer Week 2021, TCN catches up with some of them 6 months on, starting with Charlie Brown from Wales. 

A year ago, the city of Dubrovnik held the first-ever digital nomad conference in Croatia - Dubrovnik for Digital Nomads - as part of European Freelancer Week. The city has made great strides advancing its DN credentials and strategy, thanks in part to the award-winning Dubrovnik Digital Nomads-in-Residence program, which ran from April 23 - May 23. 

 

Far from forgetting Croatia, several of the DNIRs have been very active in Croatia. None more so that Charlie Brown, who together with husband Sam, have been enjoying a lot more of Croatia and its excellent wines, as well as representing the Extra Virgin Digital Nomads at the 4th Olive Picking World Championships on Brac last week. TCN caught up with Charlie to reflect on all things nomaddy 6 months on. 

1. It is 6 months since you arrived in Dubrovnik for the Dubrovnik Digital Nomads-in-Residence program. Firstly, a brief look back at that month. How was it for you, and how did it change your perceptions of Dubrovnik as a nomad destination?

It was excellent, on many levels. It was such an exciting project to be a part of, from meeting other digital nomads to learning more about Croatia and the untapped potential for remote workers. Dubrovnik was to be honest, never on my list of destinations to visit as a digital nomad, but that has changed. During my month I found it filled with excellent people, excellent experiences and beautiful scenery. 

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2.  Have you kept in touch with others from the project? Spent any more time in Croatia?

Yes! In fact I just spent a week with two of them in Split and I saw another every week during a month in Barcelona. 

And yes, I've spent a lot more time in Croatia; Hvar and Zadar straight after the program, and I returned to Split in September. I'm heading to Zagreb next week and Istria a couple of weeks after that; it seems I want to explore every nook and cranny (and with the islands, there are a lot of them) of this country.

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3. It seems that a lot has been happening in the DN scene in the last few months since the program. Zagreb Digital Nomad Week, Digital Nomad Valley Zagreb, the Cross Border Coworking Conference in Budva, Croatia performing strongly in the Nomad List 2021 survey. What changes have you noticed since arriving in Dubrovnik back in April?

That there is more hunger than ever to attract digital nomads. I was part of the Cross Border Coworking Conference in Budva, Montenegro and it was amazing to see and hear what other countries are doing to appeal to digital nomads, not just DN visas but also welcoming communities, co-living situations and co-working spaces. I was also delighted to hear about how Dubrovnik has implemented our recommendations, from opening new co-working spaces to DN-friendly accommodation.

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4. Have you noticed any change in the way Croatia is talked about in the global DN groups you engage with online? In what way if yes?

I see it crop up as a recommended destination more and more. Reasons are usually amazing scenery, good value, particularly as we head towards winter, and friendly people. 

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5. What would you say are the key next steps for Dubrovnik on this journey, and for Croatia as a whole

I always think this time of year is an excellent time for Croatia to be attracting DNs. so in the very short term, I would make the most of that. Accommodation is cheaper and more plentiful, there is hiking, skiing, and other outdoor pursuits to be done and the opportunity to rest and re-charge in the quietness of the winter. Beyond that, continuing to build on things DNs want and need. Good quality and value accommodation (it's great to see DNA Stay has just launched), building communities, and co-working.

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6. Your favourite memory/experience from DNIR, and when do expect that Dubrovnik will see you next?

There were a few post-beer nighttime swims that were pretty awesome. And just being able to socialize with a like-minded group of people - the first time most of us had been able to do that in a sustained way for over a year. I will be back in Croatia in Spring 2022, and Dubrovnik will for sure be seeing a bit more of me!

 

Charlie and Sam were part of a very international and all DNIR extra virgin digital nomad team which came a creditable 5th at this year's world championship. They were joined by fellow DNIRs Alyssa from California, Rob from the Netherlands, and coach Tanja from Australia.

If you are in Split on Wednesday and want to see if Charlie really can drink that much wine, she and Sam are doing what promises to be a fun presentation about life on the road at Zinfandel. More details here

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

Sunday, 17 October 2021

Dubrovnik Digital Nomads-in-Residence Giving Back at European Freelancer Week

October 17, 2021 - European Freelancer Week kicks off tomorrow, with participants in the Dubrovnik Digital Nomads-in-Residence taking part in events in both Split and Dubrovnik.

It is a year since the first-ever dedicated digital nomad conference in Croatia. Dubrovnik for Digital Nomads was held this time last year as part of European Freelancer Week, an event delivered by Saltwater Nomads, TCN, the City of Dubrovnik, and Dubrovnik Tourist Board.

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One of the highlights of the conference was the virtual presentation by Kashlee Kucheran, co-owner of the influential Travel Off Path website and community, which is dedicated to travel information for remote workers. You can read Kashlee's subsequent interview with TCN in full here, but one of the quotes of the conference - and I will confess that it surprised me a little - was in Kashlee's slide above, that Croatia was the Number 1 Digital Nomad Country in her opinion. 

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Fast forward a year, and it appears that a growing number of nomads are beginning to agree with her, as Croatia was named the second-most liked country by users of Nomad List in a major survey recently

There is no conference in Dubrovnik for this year's European Freelancer Week (but watch this space for 2022), which runs from October 18-24, but there will be plenty of activity for participants of the award-winning Dubrovnik Digital Nomads-in-Residence program, which was delivered by the same team in April this year. 

Saltwater Nomads will be offering a week of free coworking in Split, as well as hosting what should be a very entertaining evening of good food, wine and conversation with Charlie and Sam Brown, two of the stars of the DNIR programme. 

Charlie and Sam Brown: from couple to colleagues to competitors (but still a couple!)

British digital nomad couple Charlie and Sam Brown talk about how they sold everything they own, from their successful wine business (voted the best Independent Wine Shop in the UK!) to their house for a life on the road.

They are now both freelance writers in the same field, so have gone from being colleagues to competitors.

They'll be talking about everything Life on The Road, from giving up everything they own in their mid-thirties when most of their friends were settling down, to the challenges (and advantages) of travelling as a couple, to what it's like working together, then against each other...

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Meanwhile in Dubrovnik two of the very active contributors to the DNIR programme from the local Dubrovnik community, Vesna Celebic and award-winning photographer, Ivan Vukovic, will be hosting a wine night at D'Vino under the topic - Fearful + Fearless Freelancers with lessons from Dubrovnik. 

Details of all the events here

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

 

Friday, 15 October 2021

Zagreb, Dubrovnik in Top 10 New Europe Congress Destinations, Hvar & Split Feature

October 15, 2021 - From Venice and Baku and Mosocw and Istanbul, where are the best congress destinations in New Europe in 2021? Many are in Croatia, it seems. 

After the devastation of the pandemic on the congress industry in 2020, events are slowly getting back to a semblance of what they were pre-pandemic, although there is obviously a long way to go. 

But it seems that Croatia is more than ready to meet the demand. The 2021 Meeetings Experience Index (MTLG - MEETAOLOGUE) was published recently, a comprehensive analysis of 118 congress destinations in 'New Europe', nad there was a very strong showing by a number of Croaita's congress destinations.

MTLG defines New Europe as:

The answer to this question is something of an unsolved conundrum. A clear definition of New Europe doesn’t exist, the most general definition being that these are the countries of Eastern Europe that were once behind the Iron Curtain. Technically, this means 24 countries of Eastern Europe, adding Greece and Turkey to them. In our Editorial, we include the fresh, energetic and lesser-known European destinations in New Europe.

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There was a particularly good showing for Zagreb and Dubrovnik. Zagreb was named 5th best destination overall, as well as third in the category of large congress destinations, with Dubrovnik coming in 7th. 

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It seems that Croatia's niche is perhaps in the medium sized category, where no less than 4 Croatian congress destinations featured. Dubrovnik topped the list, followed by Split in second, Opatija in 5th, Rovinj in 7th, and Sibenik in 8th. 

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And there was good news for the island of Hvar as well, which came second in the category of small congress destination. 

This is what they had to say about Zagreb:

A great congress future awaits Zagreb. It is well established in the international congress market and in addition to Ljubljana and Belgrade, it represents the future backbone of the continental meetings industry of the region. All three cities are progressing steadily on the charts of developed meetings destinations; the final breakthrough of the entire region is intertwined and dependent on the marketing of major regional congress cities in the international market.

About Dubrovnik:

Dubrovnik is the flagship of regional tourism and is commonly the first association of meetings organizers we meet daily. It is the closest in the region to renowned Mediterranean convention destinations Cannes and Monte Carlo. The modern and well-equipped centres at hotels such as Dubrovnik Palace, Excelsior, Bellevue, Grand Villa Argentina, Importanne Resort, Dubrovnik President, Valamar Lacroma and Radisson Blue are all great for hosting a variety of events. Well-developed is the entire conference infrastructure including destination management and creative agency scene. The city is safe and one of the tourist icons of the Adriatic and justifiably the most painted tourist skyline with unprecedented experiential diversity for conference guests.

About Split:

Among the Adriatic congress destinations Split has become serious competition to Dubrovnik in the last years. The main disadvantages of the destination are bad cooperation between the service providers, lack of air traffic connections to key markets and not enough destination marketing. If Split gets a real convention centre in the future, it could become one of the leading congress destinations in the Mediterranean. New and excellent hotel capacities, good road connections to Europe and wonderful surroundings, with islands offering numerous incentive programme opportunities, all bolster this proposition. Split is still one of the most unexploited congress destinations in the Mediterranean.

About Hvar:

None of the more than 1,000 Croatian islands has such karma and recognition as Hvar. Definitely, a “must” Croatian destination, right behind Dubrovnik. Distance from the mainland gives it a touch of boutique smallness. On the beauty of the island, reminiscent of the Garden of Eden, there is no point in wasting words, since there is no shortage of various urban legends and superlatives. Among other things, it used to be called Austrian Madeira. In Hvar, the urban has been coexisting with the rural for centuries.

About Opatija:

Opatija is without a doubt the ultimate meetings destination. Why? Because few destinations provide such a rich assortment of luxury accommodation in such a small area, whilst Opatija provides 33 hotels offering over 2700 rooms and more than 50 meeting and conference halls along the 3 km of the coastline. At the beginning and the end of the Opatija Riviera, there are two boutique hotels that contribute to the exclusivity of Opatija.

About Rovinj:

If at the destination you have owners who have clear goals and who look at congress tourism strategically, then in a short time you can do a lot. It is possible to revitalize the old factory premises and build a superior conference hotel. Maistra in Rovinj has undoubtedly left its mark. Taking into consideration the geographical location of Rovinj as one of the closest Mediterranean congress destinations for Central and Western Europe, the future of this industry is guaranteed. Missing is only a convention bureau, which would know how to step out of corporate governance of the destination and would be able to serve as attorney of the meetings industry. Otherwise, forecasts of mayor Sponza that Rovinj will be more exclusive than Dubrovnik, can be realized.

About Sibenik:

Šibenik very rarely raises any association with the meeting industry. In the process of transition from an industrial city into a tourist destination, it has not yet asserted its image among competing cities. Despite this, it is a fact that it has excellent conditions and is somehow considered to be a hidden jewel of the Croatian congress offer. For ease of accessibility, it may be a suitable location for small association conferences as well as a variety of incentive programmes.

Regarding the methodology, Kongres Magazine explained the criteria assessed:

The Meeting Experience Index is one of the most complex destination evaluations that is not only based on the number of congress events but delves deeper analytically. The methodology addresses all key meetings industry segments and thus all key MICE products. 75 evaluation criteria are used to determine the final destination score. That is why the Meeting Experience Index has become the bedrock for selecting destinations for meeting planners.

All destinations are evaluated based on fieldwork and thorough research of individual criteria with the objective to come as close as possible to the real situation. Moreover, the editorial board of Kongres Magazine strives to present up-to-date information that is objective and transparent. Each year, the destination scores are revised and corrected with timely information.

You can see all the results on Kongres Magazine's website.

Monday, 11 October 2021

United Airlines Flights to Dubrovnik Extended to October 26, 2022

October 11, 2021 - United Airlines flights to Dubrovnik have been extended until the end of October next year!

After an extremely successful summer season in which United Airlines launched a route between New York and Dubrovnik (from July to early October), they have announced more flights to Dubrovnik Airport next summer, reports Croatian Aviation.

United introduced a regular line between Dubrovnik and New York in early July this year. Three flights a week were announced which quickly increased to four times a week from the beginning of July to the beginning of October this year.

Encouraged by the great interest, the airline has already announced the continuation of traffic between Dubrovnik and New York in the summer flight schedule next year.

Unlike this year, next summer, United Airlines plans to launch the first flight between Dubrovnik and New York at the end of May (May 27, 2022). This summer season, the last flight was at the very beginning of October, and for next year, United plans regular operations until the very end of October (October 26, 2022). Thus, this line will be in traffic for a full two months longer next summer compared to this season.

Unlike United, Delta Air Lines, which also operated regularly between New York and Dubrovnik this summer, has not yet released tickets on this route for next summer season. If this route doesn't relaunch, United may increase its capacity to Dubrovnik, either by introducing a larger type of aircraft or by increasing weekly rotations.

With the announcement that Croatian citizens will no longer need visas to visit the USA from December 1 this year, and with 8 weekly operations between Dubrovnik and New York this summer, another regular line from the United States to Croatia may be announced for next summer season, concludes Croatian Aviation.

For more information about flights to Croatia, follow the dedicated TCN section.

To learn more about Osijek Airport, click here

Monday, 11 October 2021

Dubrovnik: Panel Debate with Citizens on Future of Europe

ZAGREB, 11 Oct 2021 - As part of the Conference on the Future of Europe, the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs on Monday held, in cooperation with the Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, European Union and Cooperation, a panel debate on the EU's future global and regional role.

The panel debate was held at Dubrovnik's Lazzarettos buildings, once used as a quarantine station during the Ragusa Republic era.

The aim of the panel debate, entitled "Preparing for tomorrow: The European Union's Global and Regional Role," was to encourage discussion, particularly among young people, on the EU's geopolitical and strategic issues.

The European Commission Vice President for Democracy and Demography and the co-chair of the executive committee for the Conference on the Future of Europe, Dubravka Šuica, underscored that it was essential to talk with citizens because of new technologies and digitization were changing democracy.

"We want citizens to be involved, not just for elections but during this opportunity too, to state their ideas which will be examined on a multi-lingual digital platform which is the heart of the conference. They will participate in European and local panel debates which will be followed by a large plenary conference and its conclusions will be presented to the presidents of the European Union's three main institutions," Šuica explained. 

She added that there was a gap between politicians and citizens and that citizens needed to feel that they can create European policies.

"Citizens need to be active because our future depends on them. Young people aged between 16 and 25 in particular because they are creative and they will live that future. Naturally, older citizens can help too. This is the EU's preparation for a new generation, but with them," she said.

She mentioned that more than 3.5 million EU citizens had registered with the multi-lingual digital platform but underscored that so far citizens had not acquainted themselves sufficiently with that complex project.

Spain's State-Secretary for the EU Juan González-Barba said that he expected the most from young people in the panel debate because it mostly concerns their future.

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

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