Friday, 1 April 2022

Destination Dubrovnik: Top 100 Global HR Influencer Aaron McEwan on Future of Work

April 2, 2022 - With just over a month to go until the innovative Work. Place. Culture. remote work conference in Dubrovnik, TCN continues its look at the list of high-class international speakers who will be sharing their wisdom in the Pearl of the Adriatic. Next up, a real heavyweight in the remote work world, Aaron McEwan from Australia. 

For a country where change is traditionally quite slow and bureaucratic, Dubrovnik's digital nomad journey has been nothing short of breathtaking. It is not even two years since we first pitched the concept of digital nomads to a very receptive Dubrovnik Mayor, Mato Frankovic. Work started the next day, followed by Croatia's first-ever digital nomad conference in October 2020, and the award-winning Dubrovnik Nomads-in-Residence program the following April.   

And now this. To have speakers of the calibre of Aaron McKewan addressing the latest Dubrovnik remote work conference, Work. Place. Culture. (a collaboration between the City of Dubrovnik, Dubrovnik Tourist Board, Saltwater Nomads, and TCN) is a sign of just how far Dubrovnik has come in its journey and standing. 

Aaron certainly knows his stuff. As VP, Research & Advisory for Gartner’s HR Practice for Gartner a $4.1 billion company and member of the S&P 500, he provides strategic advice to some of the biggest companies on the planet about the future of work. Recently named as a Top 100 Global HR Influencer and one of 5 HR Leaders to Follow in 2022, Aaron is clearly a voice worth listening to on the subject of the future of work. 

That voice will be addressing Dubrovnik at the WPC conference from May 5-7. Aaron kindly found some time to answer some questions ahead of the conference:

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1. With the radical changes to the workplace in the last two years, the relationship between employee and employer is changing. How would you characterise that change, and how do you expect that relationship to develop? 

Historically, pandemics have reshaped society, not just work. So I think we are seeing people’s relationship to work changing in very fundamental ways. For example 65% of employees globally told us that the pandemic made them rethink the place that work should have in their life. Employees today don't want to be seen as workers, they want to be seen as human beings. They want much more autonomy over not just where they work, but how they work, who they work with, what they work on.

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2. We also hear a lot about talent shortage in this new and flexible reality. What strategies are companies employing to successfully entice the best talent to work for them? 

The most obvious is what we call radical flexibility, where companies are offering things like round the world plane tickets and encouraging employees to work from wherever suits them. But we are also seeing the rise of compressed work hours like four day weeks, cooking and gardening lessons, child care support, access to personal career and life coaches, opportunities to learn new languages and instruments. The common thread is that it’s about giving employees more flexibility, more autonomy and helping them to be healthier and better people, not just workers.

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3. As As VP, Research & Advisory for Gartner’s HR Practice and a  Top 100 Global HR Influencer and one of 5 HR Leaders to Follow in 2022, you are at the cutting edge of the discussion. How willing are you finding global companies are to completely reinvent their modus operandi to meet the new reality? 

Unfortunately it’s still the exception, not the norm. Many executives want a return to the status quo where everyone works out of an office. These leaders simply aren’t grasping the seismic changes that are underway and the incredible opportunity that they have to attract and engage the best and brightest talent in the world. Those companies that push for a return to the old ways of working will find themselves on the wrong side of history and will likely face a “Kodak” moment that threatens their very existence.

4. The freedom of working from anywhere versus the human contact with colleagues in the office. What are the best strategies companies are implementing to balance this? 

This is where hybrid approaches are so important. Companies that get this right, match the work that needs to be done to the time and location that best suits that particular task or activity. They encourage collaboration in multiple settings to drive innovation. Some synchronous activities like brain storming, creative problem solving might work better when you bring people together in the office (though virtual collaboration is also very effective and much more time and cost efficient). Bonding and connection might be better done in a more social setting like a bar or restaurant or an engaging natural environment like the beach or forest. Asynchronous tasks that require deep thought, concentration, attention to detail, etc. like writing and designing might be better done alone in a quiet environment like a home office. In fact it turns out that asynchronous work accounts for about 49% of team innovation.

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5. Destinations and countries have an opportunity to attract remote workers in this new reality. What innovative concepts are you seeing in this regard? And what could countries such as Croatia do to make it more attractive, in addition to the introduction of the digital nomad permit? 

Yes, as the pandemic subsides people’s desire for adventure and travel will continue to rise. As with any product or service, you need to make the product attractive so countries like Croatia have much to offer – history, natural beauty, friendly people, etc. But the real secret to attracting and retaining customers is in personalizing the experience and reducing the effort that the customer needs to put in. A digital nomad passport is a great start because it means you don’t need to deal with immigration or change jobs every three months to meet the conditions of a working holiday visa. But the real opportunity lies in understanding the various personas of those who want to work differently so that you can deliver a personalized experience and remove the barriers to making that experience not just memorable but effortless. For example, what type of experience would a young single woman want to have vs. an older male with a partner and children? What about someone with a disability or mobility issues, neurodiversity? LGBTI? What about someone with lots of disposable income vs. those on a tight budget? Some might want to travel extensively and move around. Others may wish to “live” in a location and immerse themselves like a local. How do you make those different experiences possible?  And how do you make the whole thing effortless? Simplify your tax and immigration laws, invest in infrastructure and public transport, provide cheap, high speed internet everywhere, embrace the sharing economy, invest in great schools and centers of learning, facilitate communities that offer advice, support and guidance.   

6. There has been a considerable brain drain and emigration from countries such as Croatia in recent years in search of better economic opportunity. Do you sense that the flexibility of the new reality may reverse that trend, and are you seeing any examples of that? 

Yes, as the adoption of hybrid and remote work gathers pace, we are seeing people move out of the large cities, particularly those with very high real estate prices, to less expensive and more “livable” coastal and regional locations. So smaller cities that have accessible beaches and reasonable housing costs that also offer decent infrastructure and thriving cultural precincts are becoming increasingly popular places to live whilst working remotely.  

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7. Your three best pieces of advice for a company looking to attract the best talent? 

Treat employees like humans, embrace radical flexibility and offer meaningful and impactful work that they can be proud of.  

8. And so to the Dubrovnik Work. Place. Culture. conference. Why does it appeal to you, what will you be speaking about, and what do you hope to get from your time in Dubrovnik? 

Despite having a young family now and permanent roots in Australia, I’m still a digital nomad at heart. I love travel, I love adventure and I love the experience of living in foreign cities. I also cherish any opportunity to humanize work and inspire people to seize control of their own careers.   

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9. You obviously follow global trends in remote work. How do you assess Croatia's efforts so far, and what does it need to do to move things forward? 

Croatia was a digital nomad first mover and it’s a gorgeous and great place to work. Future success will be about broadening the current definition of a digital nomad so it appeals to a broader market of adventure and hungry knowledge workers and to make it an effortless place to live and work.  

About Aaron McEwan:

Aaron McEwan is a behavioral scientist, psychologist and futurist and was recently named a Top 100 Global HR Influencer and one of 5 HR Leaders to Follow in 2022. As VP, Research & Advisory for Gartner’s HR Practice, Aaron provides strategic advice to the world’s leading companies on the future of work and talent and helps leaders manage their most critical relationships across the c-suite and board. Alongside his current role, Aaron is a Fellow of the Australian Human Resources Institute, serves on the national committee for the Australian Psychological Society’s Interest Group in Coaching Psychology and is an Associate of Macquarie University’s Centre for Workforce Futures. He has lectured at Sydney Business School, University of Wollongong, University of NSW, University of Queensland, Griffith University and the Australian College of Applied Psychology and was a member of Innovation Nation, a cross-industry initiative sponsored by the Office of the Prime Minister to elevate Australia’s reputation for entrepreneurship and innovation.

You can follow Aaron McKewan on LinkedIn.

To learn more about the services of Gartner, visit the official website.

For more information about the Work. Place. Culture. conference in Dubrovnik from May 5-7, check out the event website to reserve your ticket. 

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

Friday, 1 April 2022

Beyond the Dubrovnik Walls: 1. Island of Kolocep (Kalamota)

April 1, 2022 - Dubrovnik is perceived to be a 2-day destination with everything concentrated inside the UNESCO old town, but it is so much more than that. Find out what, in the first of a new TCN series - Beyond the Dubrovnik Walls. Meet the island of Kolocep, also known as Kalamota. 

Seeing things with a fresh pair of eyes is always instructive. Almost a year ago, at the conclusion of the Dubrovnik Nomads-in-Residence programme, A Dutch digital nomad gave an initial presentation to the mayor, tourist board, media and public on his group's findings after 4 weeks as guests of the city. Their brief was to look at Dubrovnik through the eyes of digital nomads and to work with Dubrovnik to create an effective strategy for future development. His presentation was simple, concise, in many ways obvious, and made the whole room pause to think. 

His first slide showed the first 30 images on Google Images of Dubrovnik, and they all showed the same thing - the stunning UNESCO World Heritage Site that is the old town of Dubrovnik. One nomad commented that prior to coming to the city, he was not even sure if Dubrovnik had anything of interest or substance beyond the walls. The perception that Dubrovnik was a 2-3 day destination is one that changed during his stay of four weeks, and he announced that after almost a month, he was still not ready to go home. 

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The magic of Dubrovnik for all these nomads was not the gorgeous old town, stunning as it undoubtedly was, but what lay beyond the walls - the rest of living, breathing Dubrovnik and its surrounding area. In some ways it was an obvious point, but taking the focus away from the old town seems somehow innovative. And having thought about it, the perception of the reality of Dubrovnik as a destination can only change if we show Dubrovnik, the reality, rather than Dubrovnik, the Instagram poster child. 

Welcome to Dubrovnik Beyond the Walls, a new TCN series showcasing the magic of this incredible city, but away from its photogenic famous old town. There you can take in centuries of history, culture and tradition, but if you take a bus, boat, or short walk, there are many other Dubrovnik experiences to be enjoyed which complement the famous main attraction. 

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Places like Kalamota, as locals call the island of Kolocep, the closest of the three Elaphite islands. I discovered the three jewels of Kalamota, Lopud and Sipan quite late in life, having heard so many wax lyrical about them over the years. My first introduction was to Kalamota 3 years ago, and it was that stay which introduced me to the diversity on offer in and around Dubrovnik. 

Kalamota is perfection for those wanting to escape the crowds and commune with nature. A car-free island (as is Lopud), time has stood still on the island, and the 120 locals still living there like it that way. A relaxed island lifestyle, but just 30 minutes by regular ferry to the Dubrovnik port of Gruz. It means that you can easily base your holiday in the chilled island atmosphere, while enjoying the charms of the old town as you wish. Two holidays in one. 

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And if you like sandy beaches... 

There may be no cars, but the narrow island roads are not completely devoid of traffic, as golf carts and similar motors are used to move across Kalamota. One of the highlights of the trip was taking a hotel tour of the island in the back of a golf cart - it really was the best place to see the island. And there was certainly a lot to see. 

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As I have come to realise after 20 years, each Croatian island has its own unique qualities, and Kalamota was full of surprises and rewards for taking a look further than the beach. The churches, for example, were incredible. 

There are no less than 15 churches on the small island - that is one per 8 inhabitants these days - and they are some of the most interesting in all Croatia. I particularly liked the Church of St. Nikola dating back to the 10th century - just how are people expected to squeeze through a main door like that?

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Tourism is about people, and there were plenty of personalities to behold, including these two lovely ladies who gave us an impressive tour of the fields where they are growing ingredients to produce this magnificent array of natural (and very healthy) Kalamota products for tourists. 

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Talking of people, it was great to meet the teacher at the school on the island a couple of years ago. For an island with such a small population so close to the city, I was beyond impressed at the infrastructure and community.  The full-time community of around 120 people has a school (with just two pupils), a resident doctor with his own surgery, and a fire station. 

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And weddings. Although a little off the beaten track perhaps, Kalamota is a great secret venue for weddings, with Villa Ruza the preferred destination. And with sunset views like that, are you surprised? In 2019, Villa Ruza hosted no less than 57 foreign weddings. 

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It is also a very popular restaurant for day-trippers, as well as Dubrovnik locals looking for a quality lunch away from the crowds. Dubrovnik, a 2-day destination which just has the old town?!? A perfect change of pace. 

Timeless. The only sound coming from the sea and the trees, the main activity watching the Jadrolinija ferry glide gracefully back and forth between the Elaphite islands and Dubrovnik. Always on time, the ferry has become a timekeeping point of reference for locals. 

The food was excellent, and don't miss this culinary piece of art if you like your fish with a little salt (order in advance). A sea-bream of 2 kilos, wrapped and baked in no less than THREE kilos of salt and egg white, then baked before being set on fire for show.

Some dining options from the Total Croatia Elaphite Islands in a Page guide:

Even though Kolocep Island is quite small, there are a few nice restaurants in both Gornje Celo and Donje Celo villages. In fact, Vila Ruza (Rose) in Donje Celo is hailed as one of the nicest restaurants in the Dubrovnik area. Its setting and beautiful terrace are reasons enough to visit. When you add to that great food and service you quickly understand why Villa Ruza is one place attracting guests from Dubrovnik year after year. In Gronje Celo, restaurant G Chelo belonging to Kalamota Beach House Hotel is a recent addition to the island’s dining scene. It features a lovely seating area and an imaginative menu. On the other side of the bay, Konoba Skerac is the local’s favourite.

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There is even a cat hotel...

Most visitors to Kalamota come for one thing only, stay for less than an hour, and then move on. For Kalamota's most famous for its Blue Cave, perhaps not as well known as its namesake on Bisevo, close to the island of Vis, but very much a must-do on the various island tours sold in Dubrovnik. 

The Kolocep version is a small cave on the southwestern part of the island accessible by boat. Its name comes from the blue shade of the waters inside. You enter the cave by swimming or diving. It is wide enough to enter without difficulty, but the opening of it is only barely showing from the outside. It is an extremely popular stop for chartered boats and worth visiting for the ride to it as well.

Dubrovnik beyond the walls, a new way to look at the Pearl of the Adriatic. And with so many different options available, tailor your Dubrovnik experience to your specific needs. 

To learn more about the Beyond the Dubrovnik Walls series, follow the dedicated section

Thursday, 31 March 2022

Locals Fight against Dubrovnik Museums to Keep Cat Anastazija at Rector's Palace (VIDEO)

March 31, 2022 - Dubrovnik locals are fighting to keep its most famous cat Anastazija at the central Rector's Palace, which she calls home. Dubrovnik Museums, however, have not welcomed the idea. 

A tame tricolor 18-yeat old cat named Anastazija became famous far beyond Dubrovnik city limits this week. Not only is she popular amongst Dubrovnik locals, but they've constructed a small house for her on a step of the Rector's Palace, which she calls home, reports Dubrovacki Vjesnik

The extraordinary gesture by locals was not welcomed by the Dubrovnik Museums, which has evicted Anastazija from the Rector's Palace. 

And this is not the first time.

Namely, in May last year, Anastazija was evicted for the first time. The museum moved an improvised wooden house from the Palace, where she was resting during the pandemic. The then director of the Dubrovnik Museums, today the head of the City of Dubrovnik for Culture, Julijana Antić Brautović, said then that the cat house was not intended for year-round use. 

"In the winter months, there are not many people or tourists in the City, so the house does not bother anyone. However, it is already warm, the season is starting a bit, the Dubrovnik Symphony Orchestra has concerts there, and it is not appropriate to have a house in front of the entrance to the Palace. That is why I told Nikša ('Nikša Rudelić' Rudela) to remove her, and if she needs to be somewhere, she can be moved to Porat. When it gets cold again, and the crowds subside, we will return the house, as agreed. Now that we are expecting concerts, exhibitions, book presentations, and other events, the view of the Palace with a cat house simply does not work," Antić Brautović responded to the calls from residents who were committed to keeping Anastazija in the same place.

"She is very old and needs all possible care; she cannot remain homeless. In museums in Moscow, cats are pets; they are advertised as an attraction; at the Hagia Sophia in Istanbul, foreigners are photographed with cats. Yet, in our country, they are unannouncedly evicted," citizens protested at the time.

Less than a year later, Srđan Kera, known as one of the champions of the Nazbilj Association, built a new accommodation for Anastazija with motifs of the Rector's Palace and placed it in the same location on Monday, inviting Dubrovnik citizens to celebrate Anastazija's new home together. However, a day later, Dubrovnik Museums again asked him to remove his work.

 

"The opinion of the Dubrovnik Museums is still the same. The cat house has no place in front of the Rector's Palace, be it a cardboard box or a stylized dwelling. We emphasize that no one has anything against the cats that stay here for many years and which until recently had no housing," said the museum and refrained from responding to calls. 

Kera said that if he has to pay a fine for placing the house in a 'forbidden' place, he is ready to pay the fine. Building this house took 21 days. 

"I disagree with the decision of the Dubrovnik Museums because sometimes the opinion should be changed. It's easy to float; you need to swim a little. This story could have been used differently to show sensitivity to animals because it is about a cat who, interestingly, chose this area. You can take away her house and cardboard; she will always come here. It could have been a trademark of this locality because cats used to be on ships of the Republic of Dubrovnik for many reasons," Kera pointed out.

"If they had respect, why shouldn't we?" he asked himself and repeated that Anastazija was only one cat and that if there were 70, he too would protest. 

Due to their decision, Kera was forced to remove the house to an unknown location, reports Index.hr. In the meantime, the architect wrote a heartbreaking letter on behalf of Anastazija. 

"To you who have decided my fate: I am tired of these five years of torture around my stay, which I chose on the cold stone steps and the walls of the Rector's Palace, cardboard and boxes that you picked up and left. I got tired of the whispering that I was a nuisance to you, and just when I got a real warm home, dreaming that I would spend this little time left in love and peace, today, like thieves in the night, in silence, they threw me out of my home in vain and removed it. 

It's winter, I'm cold, and it's starting to rain. That's what the sky is crying about. Why do you hate me? I heard that you ordered your minions to remove my house, so when anyone saw me and could see that I was lost, they set a box up for me out of pity for me. Don't take me far. 

Will I find a way to return to my city? Don't even poison me. I don't deserve to be humiliated and in pain as an old woman.

Put me to sleep. You will get what you have always wanted. My home is gone, and I will be gone. All that will be left is the memory that you killed love with hatred."

This February, when Anastazija temporarily disappeared, the locals launched a search for her and contacted the municipal police through the Animal Friends Association, warning of the importance of proper treatment of the animal. Fortunately, Anastazija spontaneously showed up on her own. Nevertheless, Anastazija's fans warn that anyone who tries to take her away can count on an appropriate reaction. 

For more, check out our dedicated lifestyle section.

Tuesday, 29 March 2022

Niche Tourism: From Nissan Micra to Rimac Nevera, Dubrovnik, Car Launch Hotspot

March 29, 2022 - Where does one go to launch a new model of car? A look at Dubrovnik niche tourism - the car launch. 

A few years ago, on my way down to Albania, I once again passed the Sun Gardens Dubrovnik resort, one of the flagship resort developments on the Croatian coast. As I was (unusually) ahead of schedule, I decided to pop in for a coffee and finally take a look at one of Dalmatia's leading hotel resorts. 

I didn't get far, for the hotel was closed for a private event, and there were Nissan Micras EVERYWHERE. 

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It turns out that I had stumbled on the global presentation of the new Nissan Micra, and Sun Gardens Dubrovnik had been chosen for the venue. Apart from all the great PR and gorgeous shots for the destination, the launch brought more than 7,000 people to Dubrovnik from January to mid-March. These included Nissan hosting over 500 journalists from all over the world as part of the new Micra model presentation, as well as internal trainings for staff and car dealers.  

A nice business and a great promotion.

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Then five years later came the unveiling of the fastest car of them all - the Rimac Nevera. It was a spectacular event, which included cars being winched by helicopter to a castle in the historic old town, but a large part of the launch of the Pride of Croatia took place at Sun Gardens Dubrovnik, as these photos from the resort's Facebook show.  

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The Rimac Dealers Sales Conference gathered distributors and buyers, hosted test drives, and officially presented the new Rimac Nevera hypercar in early June, 2021. How nice that Rimac could find a location in Croatia fitting for the unveiling of such a global phenomenon.  

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I had never considered the joys of car launch 'tourism' before, but the spin-offs and PR must be significant. And when I finally did get to tour Sun Gardens for the first time a couple of years ago, it was easy to understand why the resort is such an appealing option, quite apart form the magnificent views and 5-star service.  

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A little research on the official website gave some additional clues as to the resort's appeal:

"The resort is car accessible and offers many great locations for vehicle displays and photo shoots. It features 200 outdoor parking spaces that can be reserved for the event, together with 200 indoor garage spaces.

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"The event spaces and the 753 sqm main ballroom are car accessible, while 16 bars & restaurants within the resort provide ample choice of venues for group functions such as lunches, dinners, and press conferences. Most can be transformed into workshops. Car maintenance and washing areas are available at the resort." 

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And not only that. With an impressive 4 km of roads within the resort and a petrol station a kilometre away, there is plenty of scope to take a car for a spin on site, and a Tesla destination charger is an additional appeal for those of electric persuasion (and the Nikola Tesla EV Rally included Sun Gardens on the quietest rally in the world in 2019). 

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Move outside the resort, and the options become magnificent. The coastal road is (especially out of season) not busy, with several stretches to step on the gas to test performance. And if you are looking to entertain a client, the backdrop of Dubrovnik and its environs is enticing indeed - from the magnificent old town to the wine roads of Peljesac to the famed oysters of Mali Ston. 

And Dubrovnik has something of a track record in the car launch industry, it seems. A little further digging shows that Sun Gardens has rather an impressive CV in this field. 

Sun Gardens Dubrovnik has hosted several other major automotive events thus far, including the three-month global Mercedes event “Mercedes Benz – Global Training Experience 2016” for 12,000 delegates, Bentley distributor convention, Hyundai CIS & Eastern European Dealers Convention, and Škoda European Sales Training in 2019. 

Interestingly, these events are held out of the main season when capacity is higher. That is one of the things I enjoy about Croatian tourism. On the surface, to many Dubrovnik is just the old town, worth a visit for a couple of days only. Dig a little deeper, and the layers of diversity are fascinating indeed. 

To learn more about the Pearl of the Adriatic, check out the Total Croatia Dubrovnik guide

Tuesday, 29 March 2022

Jan de Jong on Nomads, Visas & Dubrovnik 'Work. Place. Culture." Conference

March 29, 2022 - A lot has happened in Croatia over the last 2 years in the Croatian digital nomad story. Ahead of the new Work. Place. Culture. conference in Dubrovnik, TCN catches up with one of the instigators of change - Split-based entrepreneur, Jan de Jong. 

A busy season for Croatia's digital nomad story is about to begin. Last year's highlights included the introduction of the digital nomad permit on January 1, 2021, and destinations such as Zagreb and Dubrovnik attracted global interest with award-winning events such as Zagreb Digital Nomad Week and Dubrovnik Nomads-in-Residence project. 

Both Zagreb and Dubrovnik will continue their push to position themselves in the market in 2022, with Zagreb Digital Nomad Week 2022 set to take place in June, and a new conference before that in Dubrovnik, as previously reported on TCN - Work. Place. Culture

No self-respecting nomad conference would be complete without the participation of the nation's favourite Dutchman, Jan de Jong, whose pioneering efforts in instigating the nomad permit, as well as the co-founding of the Digital Nomad Association Croatia have been key to Croatia's rapid rise as a popular nomad destination. In the first of a series of interviews ahead of the conference, TCN caught up with Jan to reflect on a crazy couple of years, as well as looking forward to what is coming next.  

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1. Two years ago, the term 'digital nomad' was almost unheard of in Croatia, and today Croatia is one of the most cited countries in Europe on the topic. As the initiator of the Croatian digital nomad permit (only the second in Europe) and co-founder of the Digital Nomad Association Croatia, you have played a significant role in that. Reflect on that journey briefly for us.

Over the past 15 years that I have lived in Croatia, I have started several businesses and initiatives. I have to admit that even building a big business doesn’t give me the same fulfillment and satisfaction as I am getting from what we are doing by putting Croatia on the world map as a digital nomad hotspot. It’s a joy to be surrounded by amazing people with different backgrounds who all want to turn Croatia into their temporary home. I strongly believe that our efforts can help turn Croatia into a more sustainable, year-round destination and that the young and smart remote work professionals can leave a positive impact on our youngest generation in Croatia.

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(With DNA Croatia co-founders, Karmela Tancabel and Tanja Polegubic)

2. While the visa/permit was a headline attraction, the reality is that few nomads (by definition) stay in the same place for a year, and the bigger challenge is to showcase Croatia as an attractive remote work destination for 1-6 months. You co-founded the world's first Digital Nomad Association, DNA Croatia. Tell us about that, and about the excellent work it has performed in recent months connecting initiatives and building community.

Together with my co-founders of DNA Croatia, Tanja & Karmela, we are making strong efforts daily to unite and serve digital nomads in Croatia. However, truth to be told, we can’t make the impact we want to make by ourselves. That’s why we were very excited to bring Michael Freer on board as the director of DNA Croatia last November. With Michael's experience and full-time dedication, we have been able to demonstrate what DNA Croatia is capable of doing. Michael spearheaded several national and international campaigns, including community-building initiatives with a team of 8 volunteers in 8 different cities/towns across Croatia and organizing and participating in conferences in London and The Hague – promoting Croatia abroad as a digital nomad welcoming destination. I am also very proud of the support we are offering to Ukrainian remote work professionals who wish to apply for the digital nomad permit. All in all, more and more stakeholders find their way to DNA Croatia, which means that we are slowly but surely becoming the kind of NGO we want to be, which is to be the “go-to” organization for the digital nomad eco-system in Croatia. Many more developments are about to take place, including the opening up our DNA Croatia contact center. We will make a phone number available for when digital nomads have any questions during their stay in Croatia. Soon more about this.

3. One of the comments I hear a lot from visiting nomads is the level of public-private partnership in Croatia, something that hardly exists elsewhere. You had to negotiate with 5 ministries for the permit, for example, the cities of Zagreb and Dubrovnik have been very supportive of nomad events such as Zagreb Digital Nomad Week and Dubrovnik Nomads-in-Residence, and DNA Croatia recently agreed a partnership with the Croatian National Tourist Board. Tell us about the importance of this in moving the Croatian story forward. 

The first step is always to acknowledge either the problem, challenge and/or opportunity. If we as a country, region, city, but also as citizens - acknowledge that depending on strong seasonal tourism is a problem and that bringing digital nomads to Croatia – year-round, is an opportunity – only then we can get everybody on board in pursuing our goals. And none of the stakeholders can do this by themselves without support from the other stakeholders. If Croatia wants to become a top destination globally for remote work professionals, we will need to start collaboration between the government, municipalities, national, regional and local tourist boards, private sector – and I hope that DNA Croatia can have a coordinating role in all of this.

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4. This is Croatia, and even though things are moving very quickly, it is impossible to please everyone. The permit is not perfect (although it was named the best in the world by one nomad portal), and several permit holders would like to extend their stay beyond the one-year maximum. How likely is that to happen, and what changes to the permit are being worked on?

Yes, there are several changes to the permit we would like to see in the future, including the possibility to renew the permit after 12 months and some changes to tax laws. Right now, digital nomads are exempt from paying income tax on the income they have as a digital nomad, however – officially taxes on other income, such as dividend, crypto gains, rental income, etc. are not exempt. Even though the Croatian tax authorities will most likely not go after such taxes, we would like to see this changed in the law.

The ministries are informed about our wish to see some of those additional changes, however – unfortunately I don’t expect to see any of such changes happen this year, simply because it is not high enough on the priority list.

5. You are heading once more to Dubrovnik on May 5-7 for the Work. Place. Culture. conference. The city has been at the forefront of Croatia's digital nomad revolution, hosting the first-ever digital nomad conference in Croatia, as well as the award-winning Dubrovnik Nomads-in-Residence program. Tell us a little about Dubrovnik's journey so far. 

Dubrovnik was perhaps more than other cities suffering from mass tourism during the season. They were the first to acknowledge this problem and to acknowledge the opportunities that can come from hosting digital nomads year-round. And once you have a city and tourist board that understands this, you can accomplish anything you want, which is exactly what Dubrovnik is doing right now – by demonstrating real leadership when it comes to turning the city into a digital nomad welcoming destination. As a founding member of DNA Croatia, I can only say that I like what I am seeing in Dubrovnik and I hope that this serves as an example and inspiration to other cities and regions.

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6. Who is the conference aimed at, why should people come, and what will be your role?

The targeted audience of this conference is not just digital nomads, but is actually more focused on the remote work professionals in general. I think there is also a lot to learn here for employers, because the way people live and work has significantly changed over the past few years. Before, we spoke a lot about work/life balance. Nowadays you more often hear about work/life integration. This is a new way of working, for both employees, freelancers and for employers. In my opinion, as a remote work professional and employer myself – I believe that the content of this conference couldn’t be more relevant.

7. Where would you like to see Croatia in 5 years in the remote workspace, and how do we get there?

I hope that in 5 years from now, when remote work professionals speak about “working from anywhere” – that they speak and think about Croatia as the place to be. Croatia should be known for being an affordable, authentic lifestyle destination – with all required infrastructure available for working remotely, including a thriving community.

How do we get there? Content, content, content!

  • Content in terms of authentic experiences and things to do, 12 months a year.
  • Content in terms of conferences aimed at digital nomads worldwide.
  • Content in terms of user-generated blogs, vlogs, posts, stories, tweets – and local, regional and national promoted content

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8. Although you are primarily known as the Croatian Nomad Visa Guy, this is actually only a small part of what you do. One of your current missions is to help revitalise Croatia's agriculture. Explain what you are trying to achieve, how it is going, and where people can follow the story. 

Being a Dutch entrepreneur in Croatia, I wanted to be the bridge between the Netherlands and Croatia – in a way that I would like to bring more of the Dutch agriculture technology to my new home country. In the past, Croatia used to produce enough food to feed an entire region. Today, Croatia is a food importing nation. That is why, together with my friend Jerko Trogrlic, I co-founded the company CROP. It is our mission to make sure that Croatia becomes less dependent on importing food, and ultimately to help turn Croatia into a food exporting nation again, like it used to be.

Currently we are working hard, together with our Dutch partners, on developing the first project, which is a 6-hectare greenhouse for growing cherry tomatoes. With a strong focus on sustainability, we plan on using geothermal heat for heating our greenhouse and solar energy for our grow lights. An estimated investment of 18 - 20 million EURO, which would create some 60 new full-time jobs in an area that desperately needs new jobs.

You can follow Jan de Jong on LinkedIn.

For more information about Work. Place. Culture. in Dubrovnik from May 5-7, visit the official website.

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

Sunday, 27 March 2022

Affordable, Useful, Stunning Daily Croatian Internal Flights, And It is Not Croatia Airlines

March 27, 2022 - Looking to travel around Croatia quickly, at an affordable price, and with spectacular views? Meet the Croatian internal flights they don't tell you about. 

The Croatian motorways are excellent. Expensive, but excellent. 

And with so many projects on the TCN plate at the moment, from Dubrovnik to Osijek, travelling between destinations can be not only expensive, but time-consuming. 

Earlier this month, I had a long trip starting in Zagreb, which took in Split, Dubrovnik, Tivat, Tirana, Dubrovnik, Osijek, and back to Zagreb. As my car was in the garage, and with fuel prices rising due to the Ukraine conflict, I decided to use public transport for the journey, which was fine in theory, but how was I going to get from Dubrovnik to Osijek? Even if I had my car, Google told me that I had a tortuous 8-hour drive through the poor roads and eager traffic police of Bosnia and Herzegovina. 

"Why don't you fly?" a friend asked. "No, not with Croatia Airlines, but check out the amazing service of Trade Air."

Trade Air. A Croatian airline based in Osijek, but which does much of its business outside of Croatia. I was aware from blogging over the years that they had some curious routes all over Croatia, but I had never considered them before. I decided to take a look. 

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The routes, part of a Public Service Obligation (PSO) tender, seemed to have been prepared especially for me. Apart from the handy connections (the Dubrovnik to Osijek flight was a little circuitous, but it was less than 3.5 hours door to door), I had never come across anyone who had actually flown these routes before, apart from one aviation geek friend who told me that the Zagreb to Osijek route is legendary among the aviation community as being fairly pointless, with little take up - an expensive subsidy. 

Wait, there is a flight from Zagreb to Osijek, which is only 2.5 hours away by car, 3 hours by bus? Not only a flight, but a flight twice a day three times a week. And with a ticket price of just 30 euro one way, rather a cheap deal indeed. As I had one overnight stay in Osijek, I booked the 06:30 flight the next day - I would be in central Zagreb for 08:00 and ready for a new business day. 

But first, I had to get to Osijek from Dubrovnik. As part of its PSO mandate, Trade Air covers different routes through the working week, connecting Dubrovnik, Split, Pula, Rijeka, Osijek and Zagreb with its 19-seater plane. As luck would have it, on my day of travel, the Dubrovnik flight to Osijek was making quick stops at Split and Rijeka Airports (on the island of Krk). When I compared the price of the ticket (450 kuna) to the cost of fuel, tolls, time, and frustration had I gone by road, it looked a bargain indeed. And that was without the views.

So how was it?

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I was curious to see how many people would be on the flight. 10 passengers from Dubrovnik to Split, plus flight attendant - more than half-full in mid-March.  

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In many ways, the flight took me back to the era of the Croatian seaplanes of 2014-6 - a small plane hugging the idyllic Croatian coastline, flying low, and affording the very best bird's eye views out there. Having enjoyed Mljet (see lead photo), passing over Croatia's most iconic beach at Zlatni Rat in Bol on the island of Brac, while waving to my mother-in-law in Jelsa across the water on Hvar. 

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We left Dubrovnik on time at 13:20, and after 30 gorgeous sun-kissed minutes of island gazing, a gentle approach to Split Airport in the March sun. 

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A stop for 30 minutes to refuel and pick up extra passengers - 14 on the short flight north to Rijeka. 

And, rather than looking at more perfect islands, I took my seat on the other side of the plane for this leg, and was rewarded with the fabulous combination of sun, sea, snow.  

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As well as plenty of time to reflect on the vast emptiness of this beautiful country. So much of it completely untouched.  

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And if you do have island viewing FOMO on the right side of the plane, simply look left.  

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One of the joys of the flight is flying low over the islands, so that you can pick out individual idyllic spots, such as this one with one small house having the bay to itself on Vela Luka on the island of Krk.  Croatia has more than a thousand islands, each unique in its own way, and there are few better ways to get an overview than this flight. 

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Some island hopping, as we landed at Rijeka Airport. Time check 15:15. 

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A 30-minute stopover on Krk, enough time to check out some of the interesting planes which have taken up permanent residence close to the runway. Anyone know the story of this baby? Please contact me on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Subject Rijeka plane.

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Airborne again, this time heading east, with 9 passengers for the final leg to Osijek. Slavonia, my Slavonia. Once the breadbasket of the region. Could it be again? SO much land, so much potential. 

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Having started at the newly developed Dubrovnik Airport terminal, followed by a stop in fashionablee Split. arrival at Osijek Airport was a reminder of where eastern Croatia lies in the government's list of priorities.  So much potential out east, so much magic, but so little interest or meaningful investment from Zagreb. 

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Arrival time 16:55, a few minutes early. One of the few flights of the day, and the airport was largely deserted. But as for the passenger experience and price, more than 10 out of 10, thanks to Trade Air and the Croatian taxpayer. The PSO service is an excellent initiative and vital link for communities (even more so with Jadrolinija connecting islands by ferry), with one major exception, as I was about to find out the following morning.  

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The Zagreb to Osijek flight. With the Slavonian capital starved of connectivity anywhere (one international route to Munich starting in May), and with the allocated funds which could be used to support other, more useful routes (Osijek to Dubrovnik perhaps, allowing for locals to explore their own country, visit relatives, and do business), the final leg of my 10-day trip made no sense whatsoever. 

Just four people on the flight. How many are normally on it, I asked the Osijek ground crew? They smiled. Sometimes 2, something 3, almost never more than 5. Twice a day, 3 times a week. Yes it is a pointless route, they smiled, shrugging their shoulders. For 7 years now, apparently. And at what cost?

A little Googling got me to this paragraph, highlighting how insane the route is in an otherwise laudable PSO initiative:

The value of the new PSO contracts has not been disclosed. Under the previous deal, Croatia Airlines received 11.4 million euros in annual compensation for the domestic services. The largest amount, 4.2 million euros per year, went towards maintaining flights between Split and Zagreb, where the airline was remunerated some 22 euros per passenger carried, although the largest compensation per traveller was on the Zagreb – Pula - Zadar service, totalling 177 euros. The value of Trade Air's PSO contracts amounted to 2.5 million euros per year. The largest share of the subsidies went towards the upkeep of the Osijek - Zagreb service (1.3 million euros per year), where the airline was compensated approximately 599 euros per passenger.

I checked with some airline sources, who told me that these numbers were not accurate for the latest PSO contracts (as the website said, the amounts for the latest PSO contact were not disclosed). But the numbers were an indicator of the situation. An unnecessary waste of money on an unnecessary route, with so many more useful and deserving routes either underutlised or not existing. 

As I arrived at Osijek Aiport at 05:45 for the flight with just 4 passengers, the cafe was open, as was the souvenir shop. How many flights are there from Osijek today, I asked. Just two, inlcuding this one. The cafe went unvisited, the souvenir shop ignored. Total ticket sales mustered just 120 euro. 

I am sure somebody, somewhere knows why we have this flight for over 7 years now. And maybe one day, someone in authority will question its use and see how to better spend the money to serve Osijek.

But in the meantime, kudos to Trade Air for operating such an efficient and punctual service. It is one I shall be using again. If you want to check out the Trade Air daily timetable and ticket prices, visit the official website

To learn more about Osijek, check out the Total Croatia Osijek in a Page.

Thursday, 24 March 2022

First Week of 2022 Croatia Summer Flight Schedule Offering 100 Lines to 6 Croatian Airports

March 24, 2022 -  The 2022 Croatia summer flight schedule kicks off on Sunday with 100 lines to six Croatian airports! 

After a long winter, the summer flight schedule comes into force on Sunday, bringing Croatian airports back to life after months-long hibernation. After several months of slow traffic, the summer flight schedule comes into force with several new and renewed lines on several seasonal international routes to Croatian airports. Croatian Aviation brings the list of routes running in the first week of the summer flight schedule, from March 27 to April 3 to Pula, Rijeka, Zadar, Split, Osijek, and Dubrovnik.

Pula Airport
From 27.03

Zagreb / Zadar (Croatia Airlines),

London (Ryanair).

From 28.03

Split / Osijek (Trade Air),

London (EasyJet),

Brussels Charleroi (Ryanair).

Rijeka Airport
From 27.03

Stockholm (Ryanair),

Brussels Charleroi (Ryanair),.

London (Ryanair).

From 29.03

Split / Dubrovnik / Osijek (Trade Air).

Zadar Airport
From 27.03 

Zagreb / Pula (Croatia Airlines),

Vienna (Ryanair),

Budapest (Ryanair),

Dublin (Ryanair),

Dusseldorf Weeze (Ryanair),

Marseille (Ryanair),

Stockholm (Ryanair).

From 28.03

Berlin (Ryanair),

Brussels Charleroi (Ryanair),

Frankfurt Hahn (Ryanair)

Karlsruhe (Ryanair),

Cologne (Ryanair),

Rome (Ryanair).

From 29.03

London (Ryanair),

Memmingen (Ryanair),

Poznań (Ryanair).

From 30.03

Bremen (Ryanair),

Newcastle (Ryanair),

Paris Beauvais (Ryanair).

From 02.04

Krakow (Ryanair).

Split Airport
From 27.03

Zagreb (Croatia Airlines),

Munich (Croatia Airlines),

Frankfurt (Croatia Airlines),

Rome (Croatia Airlines),

Geneva (EasyJet),

Basel (Easyjet),

London (EasyJet),

Bristol (EasyJet),

Glasgow (EasyJet),

Amsterdam (KLM),

Vienna (Austrian),

Stuttgart (Eurowings),

Berlin (EasyJet),

Dublin (Ryanair),

Cologne (Eurowings).

From 28.03 

Naples (EasyJet),

Osijek / Pula (Trade Air),

Amsterdam (EasyJet).

From 29.03

Rijeka / Dubrovnik / Osijek (Trade Air),

Manchester (EasyJet),

Paris (EasyJet).

From 30.03

Helsinki (Norwegian),

Dusseldorf (Eurowings).

From 01.04

Munich (Lufthansa),

Rome (Vueling),

Osijek (Croatia Airlines).

From 02.04

Barcelona (Vueling),

Naples (EasyJet),

Frankfurt (Lufthansa),

Hamburg (Eurowings),

London (Croatia Airlines).

Osijek Airport
From 28.03

Zagreb (Trade Air),

Pula / Split (Trade Air).

From 29.03

Rijeka / Split / Dubrovnik (Trade Air).

From 01.04

Split (Croatia Airlines).

Dubrovnik Airport
From 27.03 

Zagreb (Croatia Airlines),

Amsterdam (EasyJet),

Amsterdam (KLM),

Barcelona (Vueling),

Bristol (EasyJet),

Brussels (Brussels Airlines),

Dublin (Ryanair),

Dusseldorf (Eurowings),

London (EasyJet),

London (British Airways),

Madrid (Iberia),

Paris (Croatia Airlines),

Paris Orly (Transavia),

Vienna (Ryanair),

Vienna (Austrian),

Warsaw (LOT).

From 28.03

Frankfurt (Croatia Airlines),

Istanbul (Turkish Airlines),

Rome (Vueling).

From 29.03 

Split / Rijeka / Osijek (Trade Air),

Dublin (AerLingus),

Edinburgh (EasyJet),

Geneva (EasyJet),

Naples (Easyjet).

From 30.03

Berlin (Easyjet),

Manchester (Easyjet),

Nantes (Transavia).

From 31.03

London (Jet2),

Manchester (Jet2).

From 01.04 

Helsinki (Finnair).

From 02.04 

Birmingham (Jet2)

Copenhagen (Norwegian),

Frankfurt (Lufthansa),

Munich (Lufthansa).

From 03.04 

Leeds (Jet2).

Brač Airport
Brač currently has no announced flights. For now, the first scheduled flight is expected on April 16 on the Croatia Airlines route from Zagreb.

Dubrovnik has the largest number of lines announced for the first week of the summer flight schedule (36), followed by Split with 31 lines, Zadar with 21, Pula with 5, and Rijeka and Osijek with 4 regular lines each.

Almost all lines to Zadar Airport from next week are on Ryanair, which also applies to Rijeka Airport.

On the other hand, Osijek remains on Trade Air domestic lines, which have been in traffic all winter. The start of international traffic is expected in May. At the beginning of the summer flight schedule, the novelty is the Croatia Airlines route to Split, which will start operating on April 1.

In the first week, Split and Dubrovnik expect several international routes from low-cost carriers and well-known legacy carriers such as Austrian Airlines, Lufthansa, British Airways, KLM, and others.

Zagreb Airport was excluded from this list because it had several international flights in the winter, which was not the case in other Croatian airports. 

For more on flights to Croatia and other travel announcements, check out our dedicated travel section.

Tuesday, 22 March 2022

2022 Dubrovnik Summer Flight Schedule Announced with Routes to Over 70 Airports

March 22, 2022 - The 2022 Dubrovnik summer flight schedule has been announced with flights to over 70 airports around the world. 

Dubrovnik Airport has announced its summer flight schedule for this year, which takes effect on the last weekend of this month. Thus, Dubrovnik should have direct flights to more than 70 airports this summer throughout Europe and the world, reports Croatian Aviation.

This summer, Dubrovnik Airport will be connected to more than 70 international airports, two of which are outside Europe (New York and Dubai) and only four domestic (Split, Rijeka, Zagreb, and Osijek). All other routes have been announced around Europe. 

It should also be noted that regular flights from Ukraine and Russia by several airlines have been announced in the summer flight schedule, which will certainly not happen given the war in Ukraine.

List of destinations and airlines:

Amsterdam (EasyJet, KLM),

Athens (Aegean, Volotea),

Barcelona (Vueling),

Bari (Volotea),

Basel (EasyJet),

Belfast (Jet2)

Belgrade (Air Serbia),

Bergen (Norwegian),

Berlin (Eurowings, EasyJet),

Birmingham (TUI, Jet2),

Bordeaux (Volotea),

Bristol (TUI, EasyJet),

Brussels (TUI, Brussels Airlines),

Bucharest (Blue Air),

Budapest (LOT),

Cardiff (TUI),

Cologne (Eurowings),

Copenhagen (SAS, Norwegian),

Cork (AerLingus),

Doncaster (TUI)

Dubai (FlyDubai),

Dublin (Ryanair, Aer Lingus),

Dusseldorf (Croatia Airlines, Eurowings, Condor),

Edinburgh (EasyJet, Jet2),

Frankfurt (Croatia Airlines, Lufthansa, Condor),

Geneva (EasyJet),

Glasgow (TUI),

Hamburg (Eurowings),

Helsinki (Finnair, Norwegian),

Istanbul (Turkish Airlines),

Katowice (Smartwings, Wizz Air),

Krakow (LOT),

Leeds (Jet2)

London Gatwick (EasyJet, TUI, British Airways, Wizz Air),

London Heathrow (British Airways),

London Luton (EasyJet, Wizz Air),

London Stansted (Jet2),

Luxembourg (Luxair),

Lyon (Volotea, EasyJet),

Madrid (Iberia),

Manchester (TUI, Jet2, EasyJet),

Marseille (Volotea),

Milan (EasyJet),

Munich (Lufthansa, Croatia Airlines),

Nantes (Volotea, EasyJet, Transavia),

Naples (EasyJet),

New York (United Airlines),

Newcastle (TUI, Jet2),

Nottingham (TUI, Jet2),

Oslo (Flyr, Norwegian, SAS),

Osijek (Croatia Airlines),

Paris CDG (Air France, Croatia Airlines),

Paris Orly (Transavia, EasyJet),

Poznan (Smartwings, LOT),

Prague (Smartwings),

Riga (Air Baltic),

Rijeka (Trade Air),

Rome (Croatia Airlines, ITA, Vueling, Wizz Air),

Rotterdam (Transavia),

Split (Trade Air),

Stavanger (Norwegian),

Stockholm (Norwegian, SAS),

Stuttgart (Eurowings),

Thessaloniki (Aegean Airlines),

Toulouse (Volotea),

Venice (Croatia Airlines),

Vienna (Austrian Airlines, Wizz Air, Ryanair),

Vilnius (Air Baltic),

Warsaw (LOT, Smartwings, Wizz Air),

Zagreb (Croatia Airlines),

Zurich (Croatia Airlines, Edelweiss).

According to the airline, Dubrovnik Airport is facing a very demanding season. Its biggest success is the fact that there will be a regular United Airlines line between New York and Dubrovnik, which starts significantly earlier and ends only in October.

For more on flights to Croatia and other travel announcements, check out our dedicated travel section.

Friday, 18 March 2022

Croatia Airlines 2022 Summer Flight Schedule Significantly Boosted from Last Year

March 18, 2022 - The Croatia Airlines 2022 summer flight schedule has been presented with several lines added from Split, Zagreb, and Dubrovnik!

Croatia Airlines presented this year's summer flight schedule from March to the end of October - and it has been significantly strengthened compared to last year, reports Croatian Aviation.

According to a statement, the Croatian national carrier has decided to expand its network of international destinations, renew some international routes that were not flown during the pandemic, and intensify flights on existing routes in international and domestic traffic.

This summer, Croatia Airlines plans to connect Croatia with 21 international destinations, 22 European airports, and fly on 41 international routes. In total, over 16,000 flights and approximately 1,766,000 seats are planned.

Split
Croatia's busiest airport in 2021 has 18 European destinations with Croatian Airlines, which means six new destinations compared to the 2021 summer flight schedule. In addition, five new seasonal lines will be introduced in the first half of June:

Split - Amsterdam (Tuesday)

Split - Bucharest (Wednesdays and Fridays)

Split - Dublin (Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Sundays)

Split - Milan (Thursdays and Sundays)

Split - Stockholm (Fridays and Sundays)

In addition to announcing new seasonal routes, Croatia Airlines has also announced a promotional campaign (lasting until March 28) for these flights, offering a 30% discount. You can read more about the promotional campaign at www.croatiaairlines.hr.

With the new five lines, you will be able to fly from Split to the following European destinations:

Athens

Vienna

Berlin

Düsseldorf

Frankfurt

Copenhagen

London (Heathrow and Gatwick)

Lyon

Munich

Paris

Prague

Rome

Zurich

Zagreb

In the 2022 summer flight schedule, regular international flights from Zagreb to 15 European destinations are planned, which is one additional European destination compared to last year. Namely, passengers will be able to fly to:

Amsterdam

Athens

Barcelona - renewed seasonal line (Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Sundays)

Vienna

Brussels

Dublin

Frankfurt

Copenhagen

London

Munich

Paris

Rome (via Split)

Sarajevo

Skopje

Zurich

Dubrovnik
Croatia Airlines plans to directly connect Croatia's southernmost airport with direct international flights from six European destinations:

Athens

Frankfurt

Munich

Paris

Rome

Zurich.

This season, the national airline is reintroducing Rijeka - Munich flights, and the novelty is the year-round international flights between Osijek - Munich from May 2 this year.

In addition to flights to European airports, Croatia Airlines also plans flights between 7 Croatian airports (Zagreb, Split, Dubrovnik, Osijek, Zadar, Pula, and Brac). 

For more on flights to Croatia and other travel announcements, make sure to check out our dedicated travel section.

Thursday, 17 March 2022

Remote Work in Style: Win a 5-Star Sun Gardens Dubrovnik Workation

March 17, 2022 - Join the momentum of the Croatian remote work revolution and win yourself a luxury 5-star Sun Gardens Dubrovnik workation. 

The English language is constantly evolving. 

Words that are my everyday currency in 2022 - blog, social media, digital nomads, Instagrammable - simply did not exist 20 years ago. And listening to my kids chatting to their friends, I sometimes wonder if I am still a native speaker of English anymore. 

Last year, among the many new English words that I learned was one which I now realise is going to be absolutely huge, and it represents a seismic change in the future of work. 

Workation. 

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I have seen it also spelled as Worcation, and even Workcation. A combination of two aspects of daily life which have been distinctly separate until now - work and vacation. But now, with the location independence offered by the remote work revolution, a concept which is becoming increasingly mainstream. 

Instead of driving to the office in your home town in the States each day, and coming home to the usual day-to-day existence at home, now the opportunities are endless.  You can be just as productive via your laptop during the working day, then have a coffee on the riva in Split, or a cocktail on Stradun in Dubrovnik to unwind after another productive day. 

The Croatian digital nomad story is still very nascent, but it is becoming acknowledged as one of the most dynamic in the world. Only the second country in Europe to offer a digital nomad visa/permit (which came into effect on January 1, 2021), Croatia has been very active in promoting this sector, and nowhere more so than Dubrovnik. 

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Host of the first-ever digital nomad conference in Croatia back in October, 2020, as well as the pioneering and award-winning Dubrovnik Digital Nomads-in-Residence program in April, 2021, Dubrovnik is continuing its push as an innovative remote work destination with the recently-announced Work. Place. Cuture. conference, a collaboration between the City of Dubrovnik, Dubrovnik Tourist Board, Saltwater Nomads, and Total Croatia News - the conference which brings work from anywhere to absolutely everywhere. Join remote professionals and destinations from around the world as they inspire a global workforce who have greater location flexibility than ever before, and the destinations which are reinventing to support them through policy, infrastructure and community (more on the official website).

Public-private partnership has been key to Dubrovnik's success so far, and the buy-in from the private sector is demonstrated by the very exciting offer from award-winning 5-star resort, Sun Gardens Dubrovnik - in partnership with the Dubrovnik Tourist Board and Saltwater Nomads - which is offering a fantastic Win a Workation offer. 

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The winning team will enjoy a 1-week stay (between 1 and 9 May 2022) at the 5 Star Sun Gardens Dubrovnik and have the chance to partake of a specialty workshop – strategy planning, team building, wellbeing and leadership are among the options available. The all-star team will also present at the Work. Place. Culture. Conference on 5-7 May 2022.

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The winning team will stay in 2 x 2 bedroom residences. Each bedroom has a kingsize bed and ensuite with shared living area.

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Enjoy free access to the sports centre – with gym and facilities, and free access to group trainings such as functional training or pilates.

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Laze by one of the pools overlooking the Adriatic sea, or access the spa centre – with indoor swimming pool, gym, saunas, jacuzzi, relaxation area (massages and treatments additional).

Are you part of a team working remotely for the past couple of years, whose only contact with your colleagues has been through Zoom? Why not come together, relax, reconnect and reinvigorate in Paradise?

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If your team would like to apply to win this Sun Gardens Dubrovnik workation and an unforgettable 9 days in the Pearl of the Adriatic, you can apply here. Applications are open until April 8.

Check out the magical Old Town and Sun Gardens Dubrovnik video teaser above - why would you take a workation anywhere else?

To learn more about the destination, check out the Total Croatia Dubrovnik in a Page guide, and also visit the official Sun Gardens Dubrovnik website.  

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

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