Saturday, 2 October 2021

HRTurizam, Croatian Institute for Tourism in World Top 75 Innovative Organisations for Tourism Policy

October 2, 2021 - International recognition for popular Croatian business portal, and the Croatian Institute for Tourism for their work in innovative tourism policy.

Some well-deserved recognition for our colleagues at busines to business tourism portal, which was one of two Croatian names included in the Apolitical global list of the top 75 most innovative organisations in tourism policy, a list which was published earlier this week. In addition to the hard work of owner and editor Goran Rihelj, the Croatian Institute of  Tourism was also included. 

Apolitical explained more about the criteria to make the list:

"The organisations recognised on this list are public agencies or non-governmental organisations who use policy, programmes, and projects to build creative solutions to challenges. Often these agencies implement solutions that make it easier for governments to leverage private sector speed, technology, scale, and efficiency to accelerate outcomes.

"Most importantly, these agencies demonstrate industry leadership, innovate new approaches, and utilise technology and digitisation to create more accessible and equitable tourism communities in one of three primary areas:

  • Planning for industry recovery during and after the pandemic, including through public health efforts, testing, technology, and other initiatives.
  • Driving long-term sustainable investment that helps maximise economic justice and financial inclusion for tourism communities.
  • Improving destination management through implementation of best practices and governance models, particularly by integrating and respecting global cultures and minimising environmental impact.

"The list was released in partnership with Mastercard and the United Nations World Tourism Organization during UNWTO’s celebration of Global Tourism Day on 27 September 2021."

Here is what they had to say about 

HrTurizam is the most read business-to-business tourist portal in Croatia. HrTurizam monitors the Croatian tourism sector on a daily basis and actively works on connecting the public and private sectors with the aim of market development, synergy, and positive change. Over 5 years, under the leadership of editor and owner Goran Rihelj, HrTurizam has published over 8,000 professional articles on Croatian tourism. Since 2020, they have been a useful portal for tourism workers, providing all relevant data and news related to COVID-19 and tourism. HrTurizam is also the instigator of various tourism initiatives, such as the “The days of Croatian tourism” and the new tourism stories site.


And the Institution for Tourism: 

The Institute for Tourism is the only scientific public institute in Croatia specialising in research and consultancy services in tourism. Its expertise is founded upon scientific work, permanent research activities, and the continuous education of its multidisciplinary team. The Institute for Tourism works together with tourism industry players with whom it shares a common goal, which is to achieve a higher level of competitiveness for Croatian tourism. The Institute carries out work that supports sustainable tourism development and management, including research planning, library publishing, and administration of the Scientific Council Management Board. Specialists, such as Research Associate Izidora Marković, serve as subject matter experts for a wide range of topics, including the impacts of tourism on protected areas, development of indicators, and the Croatian Sustainable Tourism Observatory (CROSTO).

Asked to comment on the award, Rihelj had this to say:

"Being among the best in the world is a great honor and privilege, but also an obligation. I would like to thank the professional public, as well as the organizers, who have just included the portal on the list of the world's most innovative organizations in tourism policy 2021. In our tourism there are various challenges in the field, from extending the tourist season, sustainable and strategic development of tourist destinations, the workforce, lack of cooperation and synergies, etc.… But one of the main problems is that we do not have quality dialogue and communication between the private and public sectors. The question is: will we continue to talk for years about the potential and the need for change or will we all move together and we will be that change and it is this potential that has been turned into quality resources? But in order to turn these potentials into resources, I need to start proactively engaging in market development and growth. There must be dialogue and common communication and consensus on common themes and challenges. Our main focus must be on constructive open dialogue, solutions and synergy and cooperation. On that trail was the DayOne concept we were preparing, which unfortunately had to be postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.”

You can see the complete list of 75 organisations on the official Apolitical website.

For the latest tourism news from Croatia, follow the dedicated TCN section

Tuesday, 13 April 2021

Should 0,5 Remain Alcohol Limit For Drivers in Croatia? Istrian Winemakers Worried of Wine Industry Hit

April 13, 2021 - This year or no later than 2023, the new National Road Safety Plan 2020 to 2030 should be implemented in practice. The plan is so far just a proposal, and one of the suggestions is to reduce the so far allowed 0.5 alcohol limit for drivers in Croatia to 0.0.

However, as Goran Rihelj reports for Hr.Turizam, Istrian winemakers think that 0.5 should remain the upper limit as they fear this will be another blow to winemakers and winegrowers.

„With a corona crisis that has no end in sight and an average drop in wine sales in Istrian wineries of 30 percent, this could be an additional blow to our sector. Istria has positioned itself as a top end-gastro destination with the quality of wine and offer, and we believe that our country should harmonize the National Road Safety Plan with European wine countries such as Italy and France, where 0,5 is allowed, while in Great Britain, for example, 0,8“, said Nikola Benvenuti, President of Vinistra.

Istrian winegrowers and winemakers point out they advocate responsible alcohol consumption but think 0.0 should be the law only for young drivers (defined by the current law of Traffic safety as a driver of 24 years of age) and professional drivers.

Prof. dr. sc. Mladen Boban from the Medical Faculty in Split, who has been researching the biological effects of wine on health for years, says this change would contradict other action plans and strategic documents with whom Croatia plans to increase awareness of the general population about the benefits of Mediterranian cuisine.

"It should not be forgotten that moderate drinking of wine with food is one of the pillars of this diet with the relatively largest contribution to the beneficial effects on health. In this context, it is important to note that in 2013, at the initiative of Croatia and six other Mediterranean countries, UNESCO inscribed the Mediterranean diet in the intangible cultural heritage of mankind. The World Health Organization accepts the Mediterranean diet as an effective strategy for the prevention of non-communicable chronic diseases as the leading causes of premature death globally", Concluded Professor Boban for Hr.turizam.



In an article in 2019 Croatian Automobile Club magazine Revija HAK  reported that in the eight of the top fatal car crashes from 2016-2018, the leading cause was driving in the opposite direction, which happens due to driving too fast. The article also states that in the said period, 12.989 traffic accidents were caused by drivers under the influence of alcohol. In that number of traffic accidents, 235 persons were killed, and 1,709 were heavily injured, while light injuries due to "drink & drive" are owned to a number of 5,524 incidents. Statistically, drunk drivers are responsible for every fourth death, according to the article in Revija Hak.

In total, Croatia saw 883 traffic accidents with fatal consequences, and 955 people died in the 2016-2018 time spawn.

While winemakers and professor Boban advocate moderate drinking, sadly, the issue of actually respecting the current limit and personal limits of intoxication before sitting behind the wheel remains questionable for Croatian drivers. However, is reducing the allowed alcohol limit enough to make a difference remains unclear.

Learn more about Driving in Croatia on our TC page

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


Thursday, 8 April 2021

Digitalisation of Nautical Fees, Payments in Person Suspended

April 8, 2021 - Nautical tourists will now be able to pay the fees related to their stay online thanks to the digitalisation of nautical fees as Croatia continues dragging itself into the modern era.

Tourist fees for nautical tourists in Croatia can now be paid online, reports Goran Rihelj for Hrturizam. The website Nautika E-visitor, available in English, Croatian, German and Italian, offers the ability to accept payments according to the size of the vessel, which can stretch from 7 to over 20 metres in length, as well as by the number of people. These options are aligned with the Tourist Tax Act.

The site was launched last year as a service of the Ministry of Maritime Affairs, Transport, and Infrastructure and allowed tourists to pay and download an electronic confirmation of payment of navigation safety fees online. The entire system has been updated in regard to the digitalisation of nautical fees, and there is no longer an option to pay the fee in person, which was the only way to do it previously.

''Croatia has a fleet of 4,300 vessels, more than 140 nautical tourism ports with over 17,000 berths and over a million cruise passengers. The average consumption of nautical tourists is 126 euros per day, and in the charter sector, 183 euros per day. More than 30 percent of that money is spent on other forms of tourism, from cultural content to wine and gastronomy,'' reads the article on HRturizam.


port, pixabay

It goes on to remind readers that, the main website for information on tourism owned and run by the Croatian National Tourist Board (HTZ), also has a subsite for nautical tourits. The subsite, just like the main site, is available to view in Croatian, English, German, Italian, Czech, French, Japanese, Hungarian, Dutch, Polish, Russian, Slovakian, Slovenian, Spanish, and the Swedish language.

An important step in digitalisation development of Croatia has proven and continues to prove especially useful during the ongoing global pandemic, which makes frequent physical contact with other people risky.

As such, nautical tourists generally have an edge when it comes to being able to self-isolate and enjoy their holidays safely with a chosen group of friends or family on their private vessel. This is yet another argument for them to visit Croatia, along with the breath-taking coastal landscape accompanying clear Adriatic sea.

Learn more about sailing in Croatia on our TC Page.  

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

Tuesday, 11 February 2020

One Day or Day One Conference: Earlybird Tickets On Sale, Space Limited

February 11, 2020 - Earlybird tickets are on sale for the One Day or Day One tourism conference in Zagreb this April. And we promise you won't want to miss out. 

Tickets are now on sale for the conference of the year in the B2B tourism sector, which will be held on April 2 at the Forum Congress Center in Zagreb with the support of the Ministry of Tourism, the Croatian National Tourist Board and the Croatian Chamber of Economy, organized by the leading B2B tourism portal

Namely, One Day or Day One, which is held just before the start of the tourist season, will bring together everyone who means anything in the tourism sector.

"We all say that we have an incredible amount of potential wherever we turn, and that we need a change in the context of market development, in order to turn that potential into resources. But in order to turn these potentials into resources, we need to be more proactive in addressing market development and growth, there must be dialogue and common communication and consensus around common themes and challenges. The question we all have to ask ourselves is: How do we move faster and better? What can we do to make tomorrow better? Where do we see Croatian tourism in 2030?,” said the conference director and founder of the HrTurizam portal, Goran Rihelj. wants to be at the center of this story as a kind of mediator, a channel that connects through dialogue and communication, and provides concrete solutions. In the tourism vocabulary, it is necessary to define a complete tourism product, or to remove market barriers for the development of the entire tourism sector.

"And that's why there is a need to launch the #DayOne platform, which focuses on connecting the 'incompatible' or initiating communication. The main focus is not on problems and the past, but on constructive, open dialogue and solutions. The focus is on the positives, not the negatives. The focus is on synergy and collaboration. As I pointed out, #DayOne is not another conference but a platform. Because we can talk about the future of our tourism not only one day during the conference, but every day,” adds Rihelj.

An excellent story about cooperation with big brands and a positive example of synergy between public and private will be told by Denis Ivošević from the Tourist Board of Istria. The challenges and opportunities of cooperation between OPGs and destinations in the 1 VS 1 format will be discussed with Petra Butković from the Lika Destination Cluster.

The One Day or Day One conference should showcase all niches and all development opportunities in Croatia. Thus, Berislav Sokač from Run Croatia will bring an interesting vision of Croatia as a racing destination.

We continuously talk about continental tourism and emphasize the importance of developing the continent that has the greatest opportunities for year-round tourism. The best campaign of the East was the great HeadOnEast campaign as part of Croatian Tourism Days in Slavonia. Ivana Juric from the Osijek-Baranja Tourist Board will also be at the conference. 

How tourism is developed in Austria, which is one of the best examples of year-round continental tourism, will be told by Michael Fend, LAG manager at Steirischen Vulkanlandes.

Paul Bradbury, owner of Total Croatia News, One Day or Day One conference partner, and an ambassador of Croatian tourism, is someone who sees the whole story from the outside as a foreigner with a Croatian passport. His lecture, “5 tourism gifts that Croatia is ignoring, and how to fix them,” will certainly arouse great interest.

Branding in Croatia is a unique story that is talked about often, and the importance of branding does not need to be over-emphasized, because it is imperative today. The conference will also be thoughtfully themed with branding, a complex process in which we cannot go wrong. Bozo Skoko will discuss this topic at the conference, too.

The private sector in tourism has a lot to say. What are the challenges and biggest problems, what they expect from the public sector, and what solutions they propose will be shared in a large panel where there will be representatives of hoteliers, travel agencies, family accommodation, and caterers. 

Tourism Minister Gari Cappelli, who has supported the conference and expects a lot from it, will present a tourism development plan and a vision of where we see each other in 2030. The fact that the Minister of Tourism and his associates will accompany the entire conference already gives hope for the detection of genuine problems and the concept of concrete solutions. The same panel should also feature the Croatian National Tourist Board, which should be represented by Director Kristjan Stanicic. This panel will give clear guidance to the private sector, where Croatia is going, and where Croatia wants to be. The moderator of this panel is acclaimed communications expert Kresimir Macan.

How private and public sector dialogue and cooperation can look will be revealed by the example of Ognjen Bagatin and Bagatin Clinic’s health tourism development.

One of the current leading tourism experts, Doug Lansky, will speak for the first time in Croatia about positive global examples of how tourism destinations are positioned, developed and grown. Doug's lectures have always attracted a large number of listeners and attention, especially from the tourist public and the profession, and he has a large base of followers in Croatia as well.

It is crucial to emphasize that after the conference, meetings with the private sector in each area follow, in order to gather all concrete solutions into one strategic document, with a clear argument of the whole issue, and most importantly, with concrete solutions offered to accelerate market change. A document that will integrate the views of the private as well as the public sector, with the aim of consensus on the main challenges with a specific time interval on how to overcome them.

There will also be an after party in a location yet to be announced, with discounted drinks and a chance for attendees to network with like-minded progressive tourism professionals, as well as meet some of the conference speakers. 

Tickets can be purchased directly from HRTurizam.

For Earlybird entries, which run through March 20, tickets are 750 kuna, or 40% of the total ticket price. After March 20, the ticket price will be 1250 kuna. Seats are limited.

Don't miss out on the first-ever One Day or Day One tourism conference in Zagreb!

To read more about travel in Croatia, follow TCN’s dedicated page.

Friday, 31 January 2020

Finally! A Croatian Tourism Conference to Bring Change, Progress, Cooperation

Croatia seems to have more conferences than most countries, some more useful than others. A fabulous addition for 2020, however, a new Croatian tourism initiative which should bring about dialogue, cooperation and change. Why One Day or Day One #hrturizam2030 is different and deserves your support. 

A few months ago, I finally accepted a longstanding invitation from a chap called Goran Rihelj to visit him in Vinkovci in eastern Croatia. Until I first met Goran, I had never heard of Vinkovci and I was astonished to learn that it was the oldest continuously inhabited town in Europe, dating back 8,300 years (there is plenty to learn about this amazing town - here is a taster from my trip). In case there was any danger that I might forget the fact, each of Goran's emails were signed off with a greeting from the oldest continuously inhabited town in Europe. 

Goran is well-known in Croatia as the man behind the biggest and best tourism portal in Croatia, HR Turizam, an impartial B2B platform which does a great service to Croatia's tourism industry, even its the industry stakeholders do not recognise the quality and importance of his work as they should. He is a man with a vision of how things should be, with a quiet determination to see things through. Having put Vinkovci very firmly on the map, his most notable achievement last year was to move the entire tourism industry from a sexy destination on the coast to multiple locations in Slavonia and eastern Croatia for the annual Days of Croatian Tourism awards. 

When Goran first mentioned the idea on his portal, there was derision in certain quarters from conversations I had. There was no way that Slavonia could stage such an event, and the coast was a much more attractive venue for tourism officials to party at the end of the season. But Goran did not give up, and slowly his campaign got traction, and then the official announcement - Days of Croatian Tourism 2019 was to be held in Slavonia! It was a really good few days, and eastern Croatia put on a really good show, especially Osijek, and I lost count of the number of tourism officials who were not only on their first visit, but also astonished by the quality of the offer. It was a very important step of progress for tourism in eastern Croatia.

And so there we were, sitting at Goran's dining table in the oldest continuously inhabited town in Europe with his lovely wife Mirjam, discussing the problems of Croatian tourism, the potential, the dysfunctionality of the relationship between the public and the private sector. 

"Why don't we organise a conference? Cal lit something like Croatian Tourism Beyond Bullsh*t, a 2030 Vision?" I ventured. "Get the stakeholders together and talk about the real issues."

We laughed.


And then Goran told me that he had been planning a conference for a couple of years.

And then he went on to explain his concept. And his concept was rather good, much better than mine. All he needed was a little push to make his dream a reality - which it will be on April 2 at Forum Congress Centre in Zagreb. 

Although our styles are different, TCN and HRTurizam are similar in that both portals want a better future for Croatian tourism, and looking at - and learning from - best practices elsewhere, as well as engaging in constructive criticism, are tools to get to that end. Goran would rather focus on a problem and work towards a solution, which he did to such good effect with Days of Croatian Tourism and the promotion of Slavonia. 

I don't think I am revealing any State secrets when I say that there is a large disconnect between Croatia's public tourism bodies and its private businesses. And for all the potential we talk about, very little of that potential is realised. Rather than name-calling and criticising, why not accept that there are certain things that will not change and focus instead on working to change things were public and private sector can agree and move forward together? 30% change is better than zero change, and once relationships are built, who knows how much further things could progress? After all, the idea - even two years ago - that Days of Croatian Tourism could come to Slavonia was laughable. 

And Goran's determination made it happen. 

After that late-night dinner table conversation in Vinkovci in October, I left Goran to get on with his plans and then we met a month ago to chat about his progress. 

One Day or Day One - #hrturizam was a concept that was coming along nicely. Will we keep on talking about realising the potential of Croatian tourism and one day it may happen, ot shall we make this conference Day One of meaningful change?

And this was not just a one-day conference concept. His plan was to take the discussions and agreements from the conference and put them into a transparent white paper, with road maps and timeframes on how to achieve interim goals. And then to meet at the same conference the following year to discuss progress, made, resolve issues preventing that progress, and to make a road map for the following year. And he is offering the neutral HR Turizam project to be the platform to monitor progress and effect change. 

A conference which would engage stakeholders from all sides - from the openly, albeit constructively, crtiical such as myself, to the Minister of Tourism, Gari Cappelli, who has confirmed his attendance. The focus will be on positivity, looking forward, and developing strategies and initiatives together. I will be speaking, for example, on the topic - 5 Tourism Gifts Croatia is Ignoring, and How to Fix This.


I have seen the planned list of speakers, not all of whom are confirmed, but there is a nice blend from the public and private sector. In addition to Minister Cappelli, Denis Ivosevic, Istrian Tourist Board director will be talking about the synergy between the public and private sector with brands such as BMW and Bayern Munich. The pioneer of Croatia's medical tourism industry, Ognjen Bagatin, will be presenting with Deputy Minister of Health, Mate Car, on public-private cooperation in the health tourism industry. Petra Butkovic will speak on the success of clusters in Lika, Berislav Sokac from the phenomenal Run Croatia project, and PR and branding gurus, Kresimir Macan and Bozo Skoko. There were also be keynote speeches from international tourism experts, the details of which are being finalised. 

And, lest we forget the potential of Croatia's gourmet potential, a cooking show run by celebrity chef Mate Jankovic, and the wines of Croatia introduced by Sasa Spiranec, will ensure that there will be much more than just food for thought for the conference participants. 

There is a quiet determination in several quarters to improve both the quality and the cohesiveness of Croatia's tourism promotion and execution, and One Day or Day One #hrturizam2030 is an outstanding opportunity to begin that journey together. 

TCN will be fully supporting the conference, and we look forward to seeing you there. You can learn more about Goran's thoughts in this early announcement of the conference (Croatian version and link to HRTurizam website here). 

Monday, 25 March 2019

"Nikola Tesla Would Be a Great Minister of the Kings of Accidental Tourism"

March 25, 2019 - TCN in the Croatian media, as Goran Rihelj of leading tourism portal HR Turizam interviews TCN owner Paul Bradbury on life in Varazdin after Hvar, running a Balkan media business as a foreigner, and why Nikola Tesla would be a great Minister of Tourism. You can read the original article in Croatian on HR Turizam.

1. Firstly, for readers who perhaps do not know you, can you introduce yourself quickly?

I am a fat Brit who moved to Hvar from Somaliland in 2002 after seeing a Croatian National Tourist Board advert on CNN. I started a blog called Total Hvar back in 2011, and things grew a little and now we run the largest English-language media in Croatia (as well as news portals in Slovenia and Montenegro). I met the girl of my dreams on Hvar and I can honestly say that life in Croatia is a lot of fun. 

2. Thirteen years on Hvar and then you moved to a village outside Varazdin. That must have been quite a change.

A lot of people were surprised when we moved. After all, if you discover Paradise, why would you want to leave? Hvar is an exceptional island and will always be in my heart. It is also absolutely the best place on the planet to bring up kids for so many reasons. 

But the realities of full-time living on an island, the distances from the centres of business, and the lack of entertainment and travel choices meant that full-time living on Hvar was not as glamorous as the long summer holiday. The kids were also older and we wanted to give them more exposure to different aspects of life. 

Varazdin County, what can I say? I absolutely love it, and I sincerely mean it when I say I think it is the best place in Croatia for full-time living. Zagreb in 1 hour, Graz in 1.5, Budapest in under 3. The mentality of the people is a lot easier to deal with, there are four distinct seasons, so many places to explore. And Hvar is always there when we need it. Easters and Summers will be on the island. It is the perfect combination. 


3. Let's talk about Total Croatia News, the largest English-language media in Croatia. What's it like running a news portal about Croatia as a foreigner?

Ha ha. Well you need very thick skin to start. The levels of abuse are insane! I honestly had no idea what I was getting into back in July 2015. I had never even heard the word 'uhljeb' when I started Total Croatia News, that is how naïve I was. I saw an opportunity to start a news portal to fill a niche, but knew nothing of your Croatian politics. It was a baptism of fire! 

I absolutely love what I do and Croatia is a fascinating place to write about as a foreigner. I have the most amazing team of dedicated writers, expat and local, and they really help with the balance and direction. We are slowly becoming the de facto bridge between Croatia and the international community, which comes with its own responsibilities. But I am very proud of what we as a team have achieved and the level of international respect. We brought both the New York Times and The Sunday Times to Hvar, and I have just had my first article published in The Daily Telegraph. 

Our mission is to promote Croatia, but not to do so blindly. There are many problems here, and constructive criticism is something we engage in. It is rarely well-received. 

4. You are sometimes very critical about Croatian tourism. As a foreigner, what issues in particular attract your attention?

Every time I criticise, I do so not for the sake of criticising, but in the hope that the issue can be improved and we can move forward to a better future. 

Naively, I assumed that official tourism bodies would be interested in promoting tourism as their priority. It has taken me some time to figure out how Croatia works, and nothing is quite as it seems to the foreign tourist at the beach!

Croatia has phenomenal potential as a tourist destination, but when the emphasis of officials is protecting their interests and enjoying life rather than doing what they are paid to do, there is not much hope that Croatia will realise that potential. A simple example will suffice. 

Medical tourism is FINALLY attracting the attention of the powers that be. All international experts agree that Croatia has the potential to be in the world's top 10 for medical tourism within 10 years – this is a multi-billion dollar industry. 

In October last year, anyone who was anyone in tourism descended on Hvar for Days of Croatian Tourism, 3 days of self-congratulatory partying and relaxation. The next week, a really important boutique health tourism seminar was held in Zagreb, with an expensive (and excellent) consultant flown in from the States.

How many official stakeholders came to that seminar? I won't name and shame, but the lack of attendance told its own story. It was the same at the 5th Annual Medical Tourism Conference in Zagreb last week – apparently about 50 members of the Croatian National Tourist Board went to ITB Berlin, but not one could cross the road to Hotel Westin in Zagreb to learn more from global speakers on health tourism, including from the Cleveland Clinic. 

Sadly, the Kings of Accidental Tourism still run Croatian tourism, and tourism happens not because of them, but in spite of them. If Croatian tourism was handed over to the private sector, the results would be phenomenal. 

5. How do you see the branding of Croatia, and do you think tourism is moving in the right direction in Croatia?

I interviewed Nenad Bakic at the Varteks factory recently. What he and his team are doing to this majestic 100-year-old Croatian company is nothing short of sensational. Small budget, massive vision, with a very focused digital strategy. 

I thought about it a lot after the interview, and how Bakic's approach is what we need for Croatian tourism. It is an accepted fact that tourism just happens in Croatia. Imagine a situation where none of the tourism ministry or tourist board structure existed, and we appointed the late Nikola Tesla as the minister of tourism – at least he is a brand. Do you think the number of tourists would go down?

Now imagine the national tourist board budget and all the salaries of people working there who contribute less than nothing. Give that money to a team with a vision like Bakic has for Varteks. The results would be so much better. And think how much money would be saved. 

There are so many examples where we are doing nothing with the potential. Croatia has amazing wines, the original Zinfandel, 130 indigenous varieties. All true. Anthony Bourdain was not the only one to be blown away with the 'world-class food, world-class wine and world-class cheese.' That was 7 years ago. 

The Holy Grail is 12-month tourism. Gourmet tourism is one of the greatest possibilities we have (along with health tourism). So with all this amazing food and wine, how is the Croatian gastro-tourism market developed compared to say, France, Italy, Germany and Spain. We have almost zero, while they are raking in tens of millions. Why?

6. You have been actively involved in the promotion of medical tourism in Croatia. Tell us about what is happening in this sector – it seems like a real opportunity.

I was stunned when I learned what is happening in the Croatian medical tourism sector, and I have to thank Ognjen Bagatin of Bagatin Clinic for introducing me to it 18 months ago. Did you know, for example, that three of the top dermatology clinics in Europe (including Bagatin, the number one) are in Zagreb? Or that St Catherine Specialty Hospital is the only hospital in all Europe to partner with OneOme, the Mayo Clinic revolutionary pharmacogenetic test? 

The best of the Croatian medical tourism industry competes on a global level. The challenge is to get the story out there. More international experts are concurring, saying Croatia has a very bright future. 'All' that needs to happen is for the stakeholders to unite and come up with the right strategy and finance the big push. The results could and will bring a huge boost to the economy. But the concept of officials working together for the common good... 


7. You have recently launched a new Croatian tourism information website, Croatia in 100 Pages, on Tell us more.

The concept of the new Total Croatia site is very simple – Croatia in 100 pages. A quick and easily navigable site answering all the questions tourists are googling – how to get from the airport, what is the currency, how much to tip – that kind of thing. 

We have huge destination pages – Hvar in a Page, for example – where we aim to give readers all the information in one place. With more than 30,000 articles on TCN over the years, we have plenty of links to send them to the very best information. 

The site is aimed primarily at tourists, but also to local renters and tourism businesses as well. We are constantly updating the site and so we offer a very reliable source of information. Many apartment owners have websites and the stress of keeping them up to date with information.


By linking to Total Croatia, not only does the stress go away, but the apartment owner has even better information for his guest. 

We launched last week and already have some articles with more than 2,000 Facebook shares, without any promotion apart from Facebook posting. We are happy to work with anyone who has an interest in promoting their business. Our aim is to grow traffic on the site, add various languages and hopefully become the number one source of tourist information about Croatia in English, as we are already with the news. If that happens, perhaps we will appoint Nikola Tesla as our Minister of Tourism and see where we go...

Learn more about Croatia in 100 Pages, the new Total Croatia portal.