Thursday, 29 April 2021

Croatian National Tourist Board Files Further Motion Against Paul Bradbury

April 29, 2021 - In a lawsuit that has been likened to 'The Trial' by Franz Kafka, the Croatian National Tourist Board has filed another motion against TCN CEO Paul Bradbury.

I often wondered how I would feel if I got sued and had to go to court. 

Earlier this month, I found out, as I finally had my first day in court after the Croatian National Tourist Board sued me not once, but twice. You can read their complaint and my lawyer Vanja Juric's replies here:

/ / / Croatian National Tourist Board Sues TCN: Lawsuit 1 (50,000 Kuna)

/ / / Croatian National Tourist Board Sues TCN: Lawsuit 2 (50,000 Kuna)

It was certainly reassuing to see Vanja's cheery and smiling face as we went to the room allocated for the first hearing. 

"It will not take long, and then we can go for a pint," she said warmly. 

And indeed it didn't. 

I was all over very quickly in fact. 

Vanja spoke first and very eloquently. She is such a gentle soul, but I would not want to be on the opposite side of the courtroom. She argued that the case was clearly ridiculous and should be dismissed. 

The judge then responded that the CNTB lawyer had filed an additional motion the day before, which my lawyer was not given prior to the hearing. Apparently, it was done so late because the lawyer had been in hospital all week. The law firm apparently has 6 partners (at least according to the lawsuit documentation) and allegedly 50 lawyers in the firm. But I guess they were all too busy to cover for their sick colleague.

By law apparently, this has to be considered and so the entire hearing has been adjourned until July.

All over in 3 minutes. 

You can read the last-minute motion in translation below, as well as Vanja's reply. I waited until today to publish this latest installment, as Vanja sent the reply today, and I wanted to include in the update. 

Meanwhile, we have the first hearing for the other lawsuit scheduled for Monday May 3, at 09:40. 

Vanja was contacted yesterday by the CNTB legal team asking for a postponement (the fact that the elections are on May 16 is purely coincidental, I believe). Apparently the lawyer had another case to go to and could not attend. The other 49 colleagues must have also been busy, as nobody could apparently deputies. 

We saw no reason for delay but were not given the opportunity to decline, for the judge ruled that May 31 is the new date of the first hearing. 

So there we are. None the wiser (actually all the wiser, am learning a ton of stuff, and it really is fascinating to watch The Beautiful Croatia in action). More soon I guess, if only to report another 3-month delaying tactic.  

The plaintiff's preparatory submission

I The plaintiff has received a response to the defendant's lawsuit and in relation to the same they state the following and propose [an insight into] further evidence. The plaintiff disputes all the allegations from the defendant made in the response to their lawsuit and points out that the objections made by the defendant are unfounded in their entirety.

II The plaintiff is actively legitimised in this legal matter for the following reasons:

The defendant erroneously states that the disputed publication does not refer to the plaintiff and that the slogan "Croatia full of life" is not a trademark of the plaintiff.

Contrary to the defendant's allegations, the slogan ''Croatia full of life'' represents the official logo of the plaintiff and is a trademark in the eyes of the State Intellectual Property Office, where the plaintiff is entered in the trademark register as the holder of the slogan "full of life" (number Z20150201).

Consequently, it is clear that the defendant's complaint about the lack of active legitimacy of the plaintiff is unfounded.

Evidence: A print-out from the trademark database for trademark number Z20150201, (attached)

A copy of the decision of the State Intellectual Property Office, (attached)

Aside from the fact that the above is a trademark registration, the plaintiff has been using the trademark and several variants of the same slogan for many years and translations of that slogan on their website, www.croatia.hr, for all promotional materials and at congresses, and the general public in Croatia clearly connects the slogan and its visual elements (especially the font of the lettering) precisely with the plaintiff, and not with Croatia in general or with Croatian tourism in general. It is an umbrella communication concept that was presented back in 2015 by the President of the Croatian National Tourist Board.

Evidence: An insight/view into/of the plaintiff's website at www.croatia.hr

A print-out of the first page of the plaintiff's website with a visible logo, (attached)

The examination of witness Davorin Purgaric, of the plaintiff's staff, on the circumstances of using the slogan and the circumstances of the lawsuit.

The examination of witness Lucija Zupancic, Head of the Prosecutor's Production Department

At the same time, the word "Croatia" in the defendant's [Facebook] post corresponds exactly to the sign used by the plaintiff as a legal entity, which consists of the inscription Croatia and two squares and as such is used in translations in several languages ​​by the plaintiff.

By using the official signs of the plaintiff, turning it into offensive content and changing the plaintiff's slogan, the defendant violated the plaintiff's rights, both the plaintiff's rights as a trademark holder and the plaintiff's personal rights as a legal entity.

Pursuant to the provisions of Article 128 of the Trademark Act, the trademark holder may claim damages under the general rules on damages against a person who has caused damage to the trademark holder by the unauthorised taking of any of the actions referred to in Article 11 of the same Act.

III With regard to the defendant's allegation that the plaintiff didn't request the publication of a correction or the removal of the publication, the plaintiff considers it necessary to point out that these are not procedural preconditions for filing a lawsuit for damages either in terms of the Trademark Act or the Civil Obligations Act. Therefore, the plaintiff was not obliged to do the same before initiating this proceeding.

In this specific case, the non-pecuniary damage caused cannot be remedied by removing the defendant's publication or by receiving an apology from the defendant, because the publication itself caused reputational damage to the plaintiff's reputation.

As pointed out in the judgment of the County Court in Varazdin, posl.br. Gz-491/19 of 19 May 2020 (…) ''in modern society, information spreads easily and quickly and it is common knowledge that subsequent denials or findings of untruthfulness of [previously] publicly disclosed information don't reach all those who have previously been informed with what is in fact misinformation.'' Taking into account the way in which the misinformation was published, on Facebook, the plaintiff believes that removing the post would have no effect.

At the same time, the allegations of the defendant that the plaintiff showed that they weren't harmed because they never sought an apology or a withdrawal of the [offending] publication are disputed. The stated/aforementioned allegation made by the defendant, apart from being incorrect, isn't logical either, because this is merely the right of the injured party, it is not an obligation for them to demand compensation for non-pecuniary damage by asking for the publication of an apology or a correction, and in addition, as stated above, the reputational damage to the plaintiff wouldn't be repaired with the removal of the post. After the post has already been seen by many Facebook users due to the way the Facebook functions, as users do not seek out old posts again, removing the post would not have the purpose of repairing the damage incurred.

IV Furthermore, the plaintiff points out that the plaintiff's claim is not aimed at forcing the defendant to stop talking about tourism problems, as the defendant is incorrectly trying to portray. The defendant is legitimised in this lawsuit because he is [acting in a] harmful manner - by distorting the official slogan of the plaintiff and entering the word "uhljebs" instead of "life", meaning that he tried to state that the plaintiff's employees were unqualified or incapable of doing their jobs and thus created a negative image of the plaintiff and their employees - causing harm to the plaintiff.

Evidence: 

- The hearing of the plaintiff's legal representative, director Kristjan Stanicic

Namely, the term "uhljeb" is always used in society in a negative and derogatory context and is associated with a person who is unskilled and incapable of doing the job for which he is paid, and is employed thanks to political or family ties, without any real merit. Due to the use of the word in question within the plaintiff's slogan, an extremely negative image of the plaintiff was created, as a result of which the elements provided by law for the award of non-pecuniary damage in a particular case were met.

In addition, the defendant did not substantiate his position that these [HTZ/employees] were "uhljebs", it was a statement made without any evidence, so it's clear that this is an obvious insult, which damaged the reputation of the plaintiff. It is indisputable that the issue of good reputation is extremely important for legal entities, so if such an incident attracts questions/attention, it also constitutes a violation of rights.

The plaintiff additionally points out that the defendant's Facebook profile is followed by 1283 people, while his profile is public, and the defendant's posts can be viewed by people who do not follow the defendant.

Evidence: 

A print-out of the defendant's Facebook profile (the introductory part - with the number of persons following the defendant's profile - attached)

The plaintiff further proposes that the title court order the defendant to submit information on the number of reviews of the publication in question on the defendant's Facebook profile, and in the alternative, they propose that an IT expert conduct an expert examination in the same circumstance.

Evidence: 

The obtaining of the data from the defendant on the number of reviews of the subject publication.

V As regards the defendant's allegation in point 5.2. and 6.1 [of the] response to the lawsuit, the plaintiff considers it necessary to point out that they do not question the right to freedom of expression, which is one of the fundamental principles. However, it should not be forgotten that freedom of expression is not an absolute right and that the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms and the Constitution do not guarantee unrestricted freedom of expression, as the defendant seeks to portray, this right is limited by other rights, such as the right to the reputation and honour of others. In other words, freedom of expression must not be to the detriment of other human rights.

The same view has been expressed through case law:

"The right to freedom of expression must, however, be interpreted in accordance with the highest values ​​of the constitutional order, namely freedom, equality, national and gender equality, peace, social justice, respect for human rights, the inviolability of property, nature and the environment, the rule of law and the democratic multi-party system (Article 3 of the Constitution).

Likewise, the Convention in the further provision of Art. 10 paragraph. 2 stipulates that, as the exercise of these freedoms (as referred to in paragraph 1 of the same article) includes duties and responsibilities, it may be subject to formalities, conditions, restrictions or penalties prescribed by law, which are necessary in a democratic society for the interests of the state, security, territorial integrity or public order, to prevent disorder or crime, to protect health or morals, to protect the reputation or rights of others, to prevent the disclosure of confidential information or to preserve the authority and impartiality of the judiciary.

The plaintiff has to show a greater degree of tolerance for public criticism than private individuals who are not exposed to the public are obliged to do. Ensuring the right to freedom of expression is of great importance for a democratic society, but that does not mean that it is an absolute right, and it is also subject to restrictions.''

Source of the above: Judgment of the County Court in Varazdin, posl.br. Gz-491/19

In addition, in assessing the balance between the right to freedom of expression on the one hand and the right to respect for the private life of others on the other hand, the European Court of Human Rights in Axel Springer AG v. Germany stated the circumstances according to which in principle it assesses a fair balance conflicting rights, and these are the following criteria:

a) The contribution to the debate in the public interest;

b) The extent to which the person concerned is known to the public and the content of the statements made;

c) The previous conduct of the person to whom the statement relates;

d) The methods of collecting information and their verifiability;

e) The content, its form and the consequences of published information;

f) The seriousness of the sanction imposed and the discouraging effect it has

If all of the circumstances and the elements of the publication in question are considered, it is evident that the defendant in the disputed publication did not state any well-founded position or value judgment or otherwise participate in the public interest debate, but from the general "tone" of the defendant's publication, without any argument or evidence, was only intended to ridicule/insult the plaintiff as a legal entity and its employees (who are referred to as uhljebs). Moreover, the defendant did not even provide any evidence that there would be a current public debate at the time of the publication that would have any links to that publication.

In that same sense, the plaintiff also points to the decision of the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Croatia in the case posl.br. U-III / 4336/2017 of June 26, 2019:

"The Constitutional Court is aware of the debate on these issues in public and understands the desire of many individuals to participate in it, however - given the context in which the disputed statement was given, the circumstances that preceded it, as well as the content of the disputed statement - it can be concluded that in the present case - it is not a debate of public interest.

Namely, the issuance of the disputed statement was preceded by the circumstance that the complainant was interrupted by an HRT employee, whose director at the time was the plaintiff, in giving a statement that was to be broadcast on HRT's fourth programme as part of the election campaign, because the content of his promotional statement was inappropriate and offensive for HRT, as a public television station, to broadcast on one of its programmes. The complainant then commented negatively on the event in front of HRT's main building, complaining about the interruption of his statement as part of the election campaign, stating that it was censorship and referring to HRT employees as "cowards, wretches, bandits". He also made a claim about the plaintiff, the then director of HRT, as a former and further associate of KOS [the former counterintelligence service of the former state], which was filmed by his colleague Natko Kovacevic.

23. In view of the above, having in mind the context in which the disputed statement about the plaintiff being an associate of KOS was given, the Constitutional Court finds no reasons for the existence of a public hearing on the alleged cooperation of the plaintiff with the notorious counterintelligence service of the former state. Moreover, it follows from the context in which the impugned statement was made that the complainant's sole intention was to insult the plaintiff.''

29. The Constitutional Court notes that the impugned statement, in the circumstances in which it was given, was intended to present the plaintiff - at the time during which he was acting director of HRT - as someone who was a member of the notorious counterintelligence service of the former state, which is in itself dishonorable, all with the aim of harming his reputation and honour. Accordingly, the Constitutional Court finds that the applicant did not act in good faith when giving the disputed statement about the plaintiff.''

Finally, it should be borne in mind that the plaintiff invested both time and money in the drafting of the slogan in question (as with any other slogan), and the use of the slogan in an inappropriate manner by the defendant diminishes the property value of the trademark holder.

VI In the light of all the above, the plaintiff proposes that the title court determine that the defendant is liable and that it the violation is of a strength that justifies the determination of fair monetary compensation and for the defendant to accept the lawsuit and the claim in full, and oblige the defendant to compensate the plaintiff for the the cost of the proceedings within a period of fifteen days.

Reply from Vanja Juric, lawyer representing Paul Bradbury

The defendant's submission

The defendant remains in full agreement with his [previous] response to the lawsuit and all of the previous allegations and objections, and, in the continuation, he comments on the allegations of the preparatory submission of the plaintiff, dated April 7, 2021.

1. The defendant disputes that the slogan "Croatia full of life" is a sign/mark by which the plaintiff - as a public authority - presents itself to the public. This can be seen by looking at the very title page of the plaintiff's website, which shows that the sign/mark of the Croatian National Tourist Board is a stylised inscription which reads: "Croatian National Tourist Board/Hrvatska turisticka zajednica".

EVIDENCE:

- An insight into the print-out of the title page of the Croatian National Tourist Board, dated April 28, 2021.

1.1. As previously stated, the defendant does not dispute that the "Full of life" slogan is a slogan that is protected under the Trademark Act, however, it is not the plaintiff's label, but the promotional slogan of Croatia as a tourist destination. After all, the plaintiff itself confirmed this in the lawsuit, stating that the slogan "presents the Republic of Croatia as a tourist destination on global tourist markets."

1.2. It is also incorrect that the public associates this slogan with the plaintiff, since it is indisputably associated with the promotion of Croatia in the world. However, even if the public really believes that this slogan represents the plaintiff (and the plaintiff's employees) directly, such a possible public attitude would still not be sufficient to prove the plaintiff's claim that the disputed publication of the defendant refers to the Croatian National Tourist Board. Likewise, the website www.croatia.hr, as cited by the plaintiff, is not a page about the plaintiff nor does it exist for the purpose of promoting the plaintiff (as a public authority), but - as its name suggests - it is a page about Croatia as a tourist destination. For this very reason, the slogan "Full of life" is on that page, as the tourist slogan of Croatia.

1.3. Not one of the allegations against the defendant are disputable in this procedure - he does not address the plaintiff, he does not state or mention the plainiff, nor does he mention the plaintiff's employees. The plaintiffs' interpretations in this regard are completely irrelevant, as the impugned publication has been submitted to this file and it is quite clear what it reads and what it involves. Since the plaintiff, therefore, is not actively entitled to conduct this procedure, since the said (disputed) publication does not refer to or mention the plantiff, it is proposed - without further discussion - to reject the claim as unfounded.

2. Although the defendant considers that it is completely out of place to emphasise it in this case, we would still like to emphasise that this dispute is not because of the violation of the plaintiff's rights as a trademark holder, but for the alleged violation of the plaintiff's personality, by publishing satirical content on the defendant's Facebook page. To that extent, the plaintiff's reference to the provisions of the Trademark Act and the payment of damages, based on the Trademark Act, is completely pointless. If the plaintiff, however, does seek damages in this case, it is proposed that the court summon the plaintiff to state the legal basis of such a claim, so that the defendant is informed in time of the facts and circumstances which he must prove in this case.

2.1. Alternatively, as a precaution, the defendant points out that no provision of the Trademark Act has been violated. Article 11 of the Trademark Act, to which the plaintiff refers in their statement, refers to the possible unauthorised use of another's trademark "in commercial trade, in connection with products or services". It is indisputable that the defendant did not use anyone's trademark, and especially not the plaintiff's trademark - in trade (commercial or otherwise}, or in connection with products or services, but as a satirical illustration/comment, posted on a private Facebook page.

3. It is not disputed that the filing of a request for correction/apology or removal of the publication, as well as the request for withdrawal of the statement are not procedural preconditions for filing a lawsuit in this case. However, given that the plaintiff did not take a single action to stop the further occurrence of the alleged damage or to otherwise obtain satisfaction - it is clear that no damage was even caused to the plaintiff. The Law on Civil Obligations prescribes the primary ways to repair/put a stop to damage. The plaintiff undoubtedly didn't utilise any of those possibilities.

3.1. The decision of the Varazdin County Court cited by the plaintiff in his statement is contrary to the decision of the Supreme Court of the Republic of Croatia, case no. Rev-1331/16, dated January 23, 2018, in which the Supreme Court explicitly recognised the removal of harmful publications as one of the important ways to stop the occurrence of further damage: "... there are no legal obstacles to making such a request. Moreover, the Supreme Court of the Republic of Croatia found that, in cases of this kind, "there is no effective legal protection without the possibility of removing the disputed content from the Internet because otherwise proceedings for violation of [personality] rights continue, and even increase the damage caused.''

4. The defendant will not comment in more detail on the allegations of the plaintiff from item IV, since he insists that the disputed publication does not refer to the plaintiff, nor does it mention the plaintiff.

4.1. However, as a precaution, if the plaintiff continues to insist on such allegations [being true], the defendant will propose evidence of the fact that there is a sufficient factual basis to allow the plaintiff to be called/referred to as an "uhljeb" (although this is not the case here).

5. In relation to the plaintiff's allegations about the scope of the right to freedom of expression, among which they state that "freedom of expression must not be to the detriment of other human rights", the defendant points out that freedom of expression is one of the fundamental human rights. It is indisputable that this is not a right that is absolute and that it is as such subject to certain restrictions, however, it is completely incorrect that there are no circumstances in which "this may be to the detriment of other human rights".

Namely, if there is a sufficient factual basis for the publication of certain information and if the information is published in the public interest and good faith - it is allowed to damage the reputation of another person. These are the basic standards of freedom of expression that have been established in a number of decisions of the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Croatia, as well as decisions of the European Court of Human Rights.

5.1. The Decision of the County Court submitted by the plaintiff, case no. Gz-491/19, just confirms these allegations, as it explicitly establishes the general views of the European Court of Human Rights, according to which entities ''must show a greater degree of tolerance towards public criticism than private individuals are obliged to do." In this context, both the plaintiff's leadership and the plaintiff themselves, as a public authority, absolutely open up all the criteria for the application of this principle.

6. In addition, contrary to the plaintiffs' allegations, a public debate on the state of tourism has been taking place throughout the disputed period, ever since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic. It is therefore undisputed that the defendant's announcement was part of a broad public debate on Croatia's ability, as a tourist destination, to cope with the challenges caused by the pandemic.

6.1. During this period, all Croatian media reported on the state of tourism and the activities and campaigns of the competent authorities, all with the aim of initiating a public debate on these issues, and finding solutions to the problems encountered by Croatian tourism. In the same period, a number of inaccurate and chaotic pieces of information about the conditions of arrival in Croatia, the conditions for crossing borders and other important circumstances that tourists should have known were spread in Croatia, as well as in the countries from which tourists come. This was, as such, commented on by numerous tourism and communication experts.

EVIDENCE:

An article entitled: "The Minister of Tourism revealed three scenarios for this year's season: It is possible that overnight stays will drop by 90 percent", Glas Istre, April 2, 2020.

- An article entitled: "Disaster on the horizon: A steep decline in tourist overnight stays - 94.8 percent fewer tourists came in May [this year] than in [May] last year", www.net.hr, June 10, 2020

- An article enttirled "Croatian tourism is on its knees: The situation is uncertain, and the announcements aren't promising: We're opening the hotel, but we have no reservations", www.net.hr, from June 1, 2020

- An article "Let's strip naked to the end/We're being stripped naked to the end! A country of missed opportunities with 314 tourist boards ", from April 10, 2020

- The hearing of witness Kresimir Macan

6.2. Tourism is one of the economic branches from which a significant number of Croatian citizens live. Additionally, Croatia's revenues from tourism reach as much as 25 percent of GDP, so there can be no doubt that the success of tourism and tourism as such is a matter of significant public interest. In addition, the plaintiff is a public authority, whose activities are financed with taxpayers' money, from the budget of the Republic of Croatia, and which is responsible for the affairs and functioning of the tourism industry in Croatia. Therefore, any member of the public or the media has the right and duty to comment, criticise and problematise their public actions and all circumstances related to the performance of tasks delegated to them.

7. In conclusion, the decision of the Constitutional Court referred to by the plaintiff in his statement is not applicable to the present proceedings. The case decided by the USRH refers to the proceedings conducted by the director of HRT against a person who stated that he was an "associate of KOS". In this case, it is, therefore, a matter of making a false and extremely harmful statement, while in this case it is a matter of satirising the tourist slogan of Croatia.

8. It is not entirely clear to the defendant why, in the present proceedings, the plaintiff mentions the “property value of the trademark” at all, since the proceedings, as stated earlier, are not about the trademark, the unauthorised use of the trademark or compensation for property damage (?). In that sense, the defendant hasn't violated the plaintiff's rights in any way. Therefore, the defendant will not comment further on this part of the plaintiff's submission.

* * * * *

Following the above, it is proposed to the court to reject the plaintiff's claim in its entirety, and to oblige the plaintiff to reimburse the defendant for the litigation costs incurred.

Read More: Croatian Media Compares Paul Bradbury Lawsuit to Kafka's 'The Trial'Croatian Media Compares Paul Bradbury Lawsuit to Kafka's 'The Trial'

Wednesday, 28 April 2021

Croatian Media Compares Paul Bradbury Lawsuit to Kafka's 'The Trial'

As the articles surrounding the Paul Bradbury lawsuit launched by the Croatian National Tourist Board (HTZ) continue being published in the Croatian media, one portal even brings the likes of Franz Kafka into the mix.

As Express/Emir Imamovic Pirke writes, had Franz Kafka been born exactly 100 years later, and not in 1883, and if he'd been born in Zagreb instead of Prague, he would be less than forty years old today, and he'd have started writing his most famous novel only in 2014.

His (would-have-been) Croatian publication "The Trial" wouldn't have had just under 300 pages in the Croatian case, and readers would have to either go to the library in a car or have his book delivered with a vehicle of some sort.

"Someone must have slandered Josef K." is the first part of the first sentence of "The Trial,", a famous book which is still relevant to this very day. The situation surrounding the Paul Bradbury lawsuit must ring true to the feelings brought about by Josed K these days. He doesn't know who is going to judge him, nor does he really have a clue as to why.

"Ha! What have I done... My lawyer Vanja Juric is trying to understand that herself. The thing is that I've been writing in Croatia for a decade now and nothing about the Croatian National Tourist Board surprises me anymore. Honestly, all of this is quite hilarious to me, but I was shocked when I received the lawsuit,'' Paul Bradbury told N1 when commenting on the lawsuit filed against him by the Croatian National Tourist Board, who allegedly did so because they felt offended because he'd played around with the slogan ''Croatia full of life "on Facebook, turning it instead into “Croatia full of uhljebs”.

If, then, the move on social media was defaming or slandering the Croatian National Tourist Board, then Bradbury is a slanderer who must now defend himself against such an accusation in a Croatian court of law, even though he expressed what has become very much a majority opinion with a bit of satire. Most people, however, cannot be prosecuted, so the British blogger and promoter of Croatian tourism will, sooner or later, have to face slander at his own expense because he can't be punished for this otherwise. Namely, his guilt in this case must first actually be invented.

Almost two decades ago, Paul Bradbury sold his house in the UK and, thanks to a TV commercial, decided to come and live here in Croatia. What caught his eye was a video with the usual depiction of the natural beauty of the country and that old slogan about the Mediterranean as it allegedly used to be, and it was produced and paid for by no less than the Croatian National Tourist Board.

Yes, that very same Croatian National Tourist Board that has since created the very bizarre Paul Bradbury lawsuit all because of a Facebook post.

"The crazy Englishman/Ludi Englez", as Bradbury is affectionately referred to in Jelsa, didn't realise his Croatian dream by converting pound sterling from the sale of that house in Britain into euros and merely buying a Hvar property with them, then sticking that familiar old blue ''Apartments'' sign somewhere near the door - much more than that was done.

In his now long time spent discovering a country that advertises its own tourist offer as if the whole world is still using dial-up, he first launched the portal Total Hvar, then Total Split, Total Inland Dalmatia, Total Zagreb and Total Dubrovnik, and finally Total Croatia News, which has since been declared the most influential local medium in the English language. In addition, Bradbury is considered the most influential Croatian blogger and a very sharp critic of the Croatian National Tourist Board, considering it to be cumbersome, expensive and passive, and aldo claiming that its abolition wouldn't negatively affect the tourism industry in any way.

There are, for example, county, city and local offices of the Croatian National Tourist Board that have purposes for themselves and themselves only, as well as those without which a good part of the independent cultural scene on the coast would find it even more difficult to survive than today, just as there are employees whose only obligation is to come to work, and there are those who aren't lazy at all and often find themselves engaged in tasks which go far beyond those prescribed by their employment contract.

However, the naturalised British journalist won't go to court because of his lack of a distinction between any of the above, but because of the excess fears of certain individuals whose dire inefficiency is inversely proportional to the opposite effects of Bradbury's hard work, and because the deep urge for self-preservation has become stronger than the interests of the body itself.

Recalling the events which take place in the aforementioned, famed publication, in the Croatian Trial, had Kafka been born in a different time and place - the Croatian National Tourist Board vs. Paul Bradbury - the prosecutor, ie the Croatian National Tourist Board, is actually performing a Kafkaesque play in which they turns their own guilt for the success of the independent initiator of tourist portals around, but not because the accused is wrong - quite on the contrary - because he's essentially right.

After all, could the Croatian National Tourist Board have launched the Total Croatia News portal? After the success of the Total Hvar or Total Split platform, could the Croatian National Tourist Board not simply purchase both the name and the concept from the author and then go on to further develop them? Couldn't someone, given that Paul Bradbury has already dotted all of the i's and crossed all of the t's, have had the bright idea to hire him the way production companies are hired to create videos of pretty panoramic shots of the islands and close-ups of wine glasses that would bring British tourists with deep pockets flocking to Brela during summer?

Why, after all, does the Croatian National Tourist Board not use resources it has within reach to develop its own network of sites made in foreign languages ​​- media that will offer better content than that of Paul Bradbury, whose Croatian mixes an English accent with a Hvar dialect? As simple as the answers are to each of these questions - each of them would imply effort being made. The very notion of that would mean that the entire local administrative apparatus would end up working against itself.

Namely, it all rests on the fact that nothing changes at any cost, so that, when it is shown that changes are both possible and necessary, instead of autocorrection and moving forward, it starts the Kafkaesque process of removing evidence that would not exist if Bradbury hadn't managed to find empty space to profit from tourism in a country that otherwise lives from tourism almost entirely. Oh, and of course, from EU funds, loans and... And... That's mostly it.

For more on the Paul Bradbury lawsuit (both of them), click here and here.

Tuesday, 13 April 2021

We Don't Know Why We Pay the Tourist Board, But Certainly Not to Sue Bloggers

April 13, 2021 - If the Croatian National Tourist Board starts suing all those who are dissatisfied with their work, the courts will soon be overwhelmed by tens of thousands of lawsuits, Marko Repecki comments.

Although many, even some critics of the existing CNTB, believe that there should be one such system that will deal with the promotion of Croatian tourism in the world, the existing method of financing is problematic, and no less problematic is that the money raised is spent on lawsuits against its critics. 

The Croatian National Tourist Board, which lives off one of the more bizarre parafiscal levies, has sued Paul Bradbury, founder of Total Croatia News, for criticizing their work. Bradbury has been writing about Croatian tourism for years and is quite critical of the CNTB's work.

Like other state organizations and institutions, the CNTB does not submit criticism, although it is financed with taxpayers' money, so they are asking Bradbury for a total of HRK 100,000 through two lawsuits.

One lawsuit refers to statements he made to the Index.hr portal in which he criticized the CNTB for insufficiently following what is written about Croatia in foreign media and for not reacting to incorrect information. The second lawsuit refers to Bradbury's cover photo on Facebook, which read "Croatia full of uhljebs", in which the team from the CNTB obviously recognized themselves, although he did not mention them anywhere. But that was enough to cause them mental pain.

If the CNTB starts suing all those who are dissatisfied with their work, the courts will soon be overwhelmed with tens of thousands of lawsuits. Namely, most of those who pay membership fees to the CNTB, which are practically all companies registered in Croatia, except for a few industries, are not only dissatisfied with their work, but it is not clear to them why they have to pay them, because they have nothing to do with tourism.

Membership fees range from a few hundred kunas a year, when it comes to micro-entrepreneurs, to tens of thousands of kunas for larger companies, which often turns out to be the amount of the annual net salary of one worker. The membership fee is paid according to income, not according to profit, so there are situations where tens of thousands of kunas in membership fees are paid by companies that are in losses.

And of course, for a company to pay a membership fee, it does not have to have anything to do with tourism. There is an example of the wood industry, which really has nothing to do with tourism, and which pays about 60 thousand kunas in tourist membership fees. 

The CNTB system consists of over 300 local tourist boards - one in almost every village. Then there is the CNTB at the state level and nearly 20 other offices around the world, from China, South Korea all the way to Los Angeles in the US. There is no system for measuring their results, or the public does not know about them, so we do not know how many tourists were brought by the CNTB office in Los Angeles, what they actually do, and what their results are.

Although many, even some critics of the existing CNTB, believe that there should be one such system that will deal with the promotion of Croatian tourism in the world, the existing method of financing is problematic, and no less problematic is that the money raised is spent on lawsuits against its critics. 

The Index article in question is still online - you can read it here.

Wednesday, 7 April 2021

Croatia Resumes Issuing Tourist Visas to Russians

ZAGREB, 7 April, 2021 - The Croatian Embassy to the Russian Federation has received initial applications for tourist visas from Russian citizens and currently there is a good interest on the Russian market in vacationing in Croatia, the Croatian Tourist Board (HTZ) said on Wednesday.

Russian national airline Aeroflot will fly from Moscow to Pula, Dubrovnik and Split every day from the start of June to the end of September, the HTZ said in a statement.

Currently, Aeroflot flies between Moscow and Zagreb once a week and plans to introduce a second weekly flight as of May, while in the summer it will operate on this route three times a week.

S7 Airlines will fly from Moscow to Pula and Dubrovnik from late April to late October, while Nordwind will connect Moscow and Zagreb during the same period.

The head of the HTZ office in Russia, Rajko Ružička, said that there is a growing demand on the Russian market for safe summer destinations, and that Croatia is one of them.

Russians can enter Croatia with a negative PCR or antigen test, a certificate proving that they have recovered from COVID-19 or a certificate showing that they have been vaccinated against COVID-19, Ružička said.

A great interest in Croatian destinations has also been shown at the recent MITT travel show, the HTZ said.  

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

Friday, 26 March 2021

Croatia, Your New Office: British Media Promote New Digital Nomad Campaign

March 26, 2021 - Croatia, your new office, is a new campaign by the Croatian National Tourist Board to attract digital nomads. 

HRTurizam reports that the Croatian National Tourist Board (CNTB) has launched a campaign to position Croatia as an attractive destination for digital nomads.

Thus, the campaign started in the renowned and most widely read British dailies, The Mirror and The Independent, which published articles in which Croatia was presented as a desirable and attractive destination for digital nomads. They are some of the most widely read media publications in the UK, with a total follow-up of more than 50 million readers.

"Croatia is recognized in Great Britain as an attractive destination whose rich natural and cultural heritage the British admire. We are sure that our gastronomy, climate, and nature will inspire many Britons to get to know our country even better as digital nomads and enjoy its benefits," said the director of the Croatian National Tourist Board in the United Kingdom, Darija Reić, adding that these announcements significantly contribute to the general visibility of Croatia as a tourist destination in this important market.

The Independent states that a special visa for digital nomads has been introduced in Croatia this year, making Croatia one of the few countries in the world where formal conditions for the life and work of digital nomads have been created. In the continuation of the article, the journalist writes about the Croatian Tourist Board's promotional campaign, "Croatia, your new office!" launched to promote Croatia as an interesting destination with quality living conditions for digital nomads.

The Mirror says that "Croatia's new remote worker visa allows Brits to come and stay for up to a year," listing the excellent living conditions in Croatia in the status of digital nomads, emphasizing the unique natural beauties of Croatia, such as islands, national parks, interesting cities, and beautiful beaches.

In addition to PR and media activities, the advertising campaign will be conducted through the social networks Facebook and Twitter with a special focus on the markets of the USA, Canada, and the United Kingdom, the CNTB points out.

As a reminder, the Croatian National Tourist Board (CNTB) recently published on its website a special subpage for digital nomads - Croatia, your new office, which contains all important information related to the registration and stay of digital nomads in Croatia.

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

Wednesday, 24 March 2021

Croatian Tourist Board Budget Stretched, Support for Athletes, Events

March the 24th, 2021 - The Croatian Tourist Board budget has been stretched due to the issues caused by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic which has taken the entire world into its iron grip. As a result, cash is tighter than usual, but support will still be given to some in the form of promotion.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Marija Crnjak writes, at a session of the Tourist Board of the Croatian National Tourist Board (HTZ) held on Monday, a decision was adopted on the announcement of a call for expressions of interest for the implementation of marketing cooperation with the organisers of TOP events and top Croatian athletes throughout 2021.

This is a particular sort of programme that includes marketing collaborations related to important sporting, entertainment and other such events with great media visibility that are in the function of raising the attractiveness and recognisability of the overall outrist offer boasted by the Republic of Croatia, but also includes collaborations with top Croatian athletes to promote Croatia as an attractive tourist destination to viewers across Europe and the world.

Back during pandemic-dominated 2020, this call didn't get the green light because of the uncertain and entirely unpredecented situation in which we found ourselves, which was sponsored by a significant budget cut for this project when compared to the time before the pandemic struck. Back in record 2019, the budget stood at 9 million kuna, and this year  the current plan is to spend 5 million kuna at the absolute most.

"We're approaching the Easter holidays, which in previous years would mean the beginning of more intensive tourist trips in and to Croatia. This year, due to the current situation, we don't really expect the greater realisation of tourist traffic, but in compliance with the prescribed measures and protocols, we expect tourist activities with an emphasis on the domestic market, as well as markets such as Germany, Slovenia, Italy or the Czech Republic, to go ahead,'' explained Kristjan Stanicic when discussing the Croatian Tourist Board budget and how things stand with the country's main markets.

Minister of Tourism and Sport Nikolina Brnjac pointed out that testing and vaccination against the novel coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, remain among the key elements of tourist season preparation for this summer, revealing that the Safe stay in Croatia project has so far involved almost 10,000 tourism stakeholders across the country.

For current information on coronavirus specific to Croatia, including travel info, border rules, testing centres and much more, bookmark this page.

Wednesday, 17 March 2021

Croatian National Tourist Board Forgets Slovenia in Safe Stay in Croatia Campaign

March 17, 2021 - Slovenian media has noticed that the Safe Stay in Croatia campaign is not available in the Slovenian language, although Slovenians are the second largest market for Croatia. 

According to the Slovenian daily zurnal24.si, the Safe Stay in Croatia page can be translated into nine foreign languages on the campaign's main website, but there is no Slovenian among them. Thus, they have sent an inquiry to the Croatian National Tourist Board (CNTB) Head Office to explain this to Slovenian readers, reports Jutarnji List.

Slovenjezikkkk.pngScreenshot

A similar inquiry was submitted by Jutarnji List, after which the Croatian National Tourist Board clarified that the Safe Stay in Croatia page will be translated into Slovenian by the end of March and that they have decided to carry out activities that do not involve the classic lease of advertising space.

"Regarding the accompanying promotional campaign, the Croatian National Tourist Board carries out PR and marketing activities, i.e., advertising activities within the Safe Stay in Croatia campaign, in the markets of Germany, Austria, Italy, Poland, Great Britain, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, France, and the Netherlands.

On the other hand, in the Slovenian market, due to its proximity and excellent knowledge of the Croatian tourist offer from Slovenian partners and the guests themselves, activities are carried out through other communication channels.

In other words, the Croatian National Tourist Board Representation in Slovenia organizes training and presentations of the Safe Stay in Croatia project, intended for travel agents, partners, carriers, and today begins a two-day b2b workshop where all segments of the project will be explained in detail.

PR activities are continuously carried out through Slovenian media to inform the general public, and information about the project is also placed through newsletters," explained the CNTB.

By the way, according to the CNTB data for 2020, the importance of Slovenian tourists is best evidenced by the fact that last year they realized as much as 15% of the total number of overnight stays in Croatia, ahead of German tourists who achieved 23%.

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

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

Join the Total Croatia Travel INFO Viber community.

Wednesday, 10 March 2021

Croatian Tourist Board Promoting Croatia as Attractive Destination For Digital Nomads

ZAGREB, 10 March, 2021 - The Croatian National Tourist Board (HTZ) has launched a new promotional campaign "Croatia, your new office!" with the aim of promoting Croatia as a suitable destination for digital nomads.

As part of the campaign a special landing page Croatia your your new office was created in English on the Croatia.hr website together with the Ministry of Tourism and Sports, which contains all the important information related to the permit application process and stay of digital nomads in Croatia, the HTZ says.

At the end of November 2020 the Croatian parliament adopted the Aliens Act, which entered into force at the beginning of 2021 and the legislation enables digital nomads to be granted temporary residence in the country for up to a year.

"Croatia is one of the first members of the European Union to regulate a one-year temporary stay for digital nomads, and this is the result of the cooperation between the Ministry of Interior, Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs, Ministry of Health, Ministry of Finance and Ministry of Tourism and Sports," Tourism Minister Nikolina Brnjac was quoted as saying.

"Digital nomads are an excellent opportunity for the Croatian economy, and we are pleased with the fact that digital nomads are showing increased interest for numerous Croatian cities," the minister said, adding that she is sure that Croatia will impress digital nomads with its natural scenery and cultural heritage.

"I wish all current and future digital nomads a warm welcome to one of the most desirable and unique European destinations - Croatia," Brnjac said.

"Croatia is a country where English is widely spoken, a country that offers a unique way of life with authentic experiences, has a good internet connection, favourable climate and beautiful natural surroundings, good proximity and is easily accessible to the rest of Europe, highly affordable compared to European standards and good and affordable healthcare," the HTZ Director Kristjan Staničić said.

"The above has also been recognized by many foreign media outlets, including the world's leading brand of travel guides Lonely Planet which dedicated a recent article to the topic of digital nomads and the conditions that foreigners must meet to spend a year in Croatia as digital nomads, while the reputable magazine Forbes, in both the French and American editions, published an article about our country as a desirable and open destination for digital nomads. Also, many American media list Croatia and Dubrovnik as extremely desirable destinations for digital nomads," the HTZ says on its website.

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

Wednesday, 10 March 2021

Croatian Tourism Representatives Seek Tour Operators During Online Berlin ITB

March the 10th, 2021 - Croatian tourism representatives from the Croatian National Tourist Board (HTZ) are on the hunt for tour operators as the Berlin ITB takes place online amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, the popular and highly respected tourism fair, ITB Berlin, which will be held online as a result of the pandemic will bring together world experts from the industry and try to find answers to the "new normal" along with the representatives of hotel companies, travel agencies and others as another unfortunately very uncertain tourist season approaches.

The fair, which will go on until March the 12th, will be attended by a Croatian delegation led by the director of the Croatian National Tourist Board, Kristjan Stanicic, and the director of the CNTB Representation in Germany Romeo Draghicchi. Croatian tourism representatives are seeking answers to pressing questions as the virus continues to throw spanners in the works of leisure travel.

They announced yesterday that they plan to meet with representatives of the most important agencies in the German capital, including tour operators and other partners in the German market.

"Among the agreed meetings is the one with the representatives of the second largest European and German tour operator, DER Touristik, which in 2019 had traffic to Croatia of about 60,000 passengers, and there will also be talks held with the representatives of FTI, the third largest European and German tour operator, which in 2019 had traffic to Croatia of about 70,000 passengers,¨ the Croatian tourism representatives explained from HTZ.

The focus of the presentation of the Croatian tourist offer at the ITB fair will be eleven different Croatian tourist products: active holidays, camping, nautical tourism, cultural tourism, eno-gastronomy, health and wellness, business tourism and more, and the project and accompanying promotional campaign will be highlighted with the now already fairly well known ¨Safe stay in Croatia¨ campaign, as the epidemiological situation across the globe will continue to dominate bookings throughout 2021.

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

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

Join the Total Croatia Travel INFO Viber community.

Monday, 8 March 2021

Below Deck and Break Time: How Stray Cats Connected US Reality Show and Split Nautical Jewelry

March 8, 2021 - So, how was Split's famous nautical jewelry shop connected with one of the most famous reality shows in the US? Stray cats. A look at the Below Deck and Break Time bracelet story. 

The Croatian National Tourist Board reports that the new season of the highly popular American reality series Below Deck Sailing Yacht, filmed in Croatia last summer, began airing on American cable television Bravo TV, the head of the Croatian Tourist Board in Los Angeles, Iva Bahunek, revealed on Monday. 

"The show will last at least 16 weeks, which is the perfect time to additionally promote Croatia because it is the period when Americans most often book their trips. An additional benefit is that this series is shown in other countries. We are especially pleased with the production team's assessment that, of all previous seasons, the most attractive and interesting season was filmed in Croatia," said Bahunek, adding that the recent Golden Globe Awards broadcast an advertisement for the new Below Deck season, which gave the series, but also Croatia, additional visibility on the American market.

This famous American reality show has been airing since 2013, and the concept of the show includes following the professional and private lives of the crew and their guests on mega yachts. The new season of Below Deck Sailing Yacht 2 - CROATIA was filmed in the Split waters during July, August, and September 2020. During the filming, the 54-meter-long Parsifal III sailboat was used, anchored in front of the Le Méridien Lav Hotel in Podstrana near Split. It is also interesting that this was the first Hollywood production that was filmed entirely and without interruption outside the United States during the coronavirus pandemic, in which a significant contribution was made by the Split Institute of Public Health.

 

Just how much they liked Croatia and their kind hosts was confirmed by the $40,000 donation from the production company 51 minds and Bravo TV through the Global Giving Charity to help earthquake victims in Sisak-Moslavina County. Furthermore, all fans and viewers will also be able to donate to the same cause.

Namely, during the premiere of the first episode of the series, the show's biggest stars invited viewers to donate, which will be shown during the broadcast throughout the spring and early summer of 2021. Fans of the show will be able to donate through the Ministry of Finance portal, and the entire action was initiated by Iva Bahunek, head of the CNTB in Los Angeles.

But that's not all. 

During their time in Split, Below Deck's main charter guests were connected with one local nautical jewelry shop TCN fans know well - and it was all thanks to stray cats. 

"On August 11th, 2020, a group of cool American tourists entered our shop. If you watched episode 1 and 2 of the Below Deck Sailing Season 2, then you know them: the main charter guests Nikki and Rusty, along with their friends, came to our Trogirska 8 Split Atelier & Outlet Store in Split to leave a very generous donation of 1200 USD on behalf of their ARNI Foundation in Daytona Beach, Florida to help with the stray cat situation in the Split area, a donation which was put to very good use by the ladies who run the Macke & Co. Group

They read Daniela Rogulj's article in Total Croatia News about the work that the ladies from the Macke group are doing and about the bake sale we organised in our shop to support the stray cats of Split. They came to us straight after getting off Parsifal III," said the Break Time owners Mirela and Leonard on their blog about the news, which they were only now able to reveal to the public! 

And it gets better.

"Nikki and Rusty had no idea what our shop was actually about, but they immediately fell in love with our nautical bracelets and, besides getting some for themselves and friends back home, they ordered 12 of our Yacht Club anchor bracelets for the crew of Parsifal III, all custom engraved with the message "Live long, sail hard" to honour Nikki's father (you probably say also the Tshirts they were wearing in episode 1 of Below Deck Sailing).

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www.nautical-bracelets.com

We also made a special Captain by Break Time all-black nautical bracelet for Captain Glenn, engraved with PARSIFAL III (and from what we could gather from the teaser images, he is wearing it)," they added. Being big fans of the show, they decided to deliver the bracelets to the Le Meridien Lav marina themselves. 

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www.nautical-bracelets.com

While Mirela and Leonard could not meet the crew due to COVID-19 restrictions, the story uncovers an even happier ending. 

"A couple of weeks later, Nikki wrote to us and asked us to make 80 more custom engraved "Live Long, Sail Hard" anchor bracelets from our YACHT CLUB by Break Time original collection for the entire production team of the Below Deck Sailing Yacht Season 2 Croatia. It was our biggest private order in 2020, and we were happy to oblige. My partner, Leonard, worked non-stop for a whole day to make them and engrave them while I helped packing them nicely."

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www.nautical-bracelets.com

The Below Deck series is shown on the Bravo TV network, one of the most-watched American cable channels, which in 2020 recorded a large increase in "on-demand reviews," 427 million to be precise, as well as 222 million "live broadcasts." So far, a total of 15 seasons of this TV franchise have been filmed, consisting of Below Deck, which is filmed in tropical destinations, Below Deck Mediterranean, which is filmed in the Mediterranean, and the latest Below Deck Sailing Yacht, which is filmed on large sailboats unlike other variants of the series that are filmed on motor yachts.

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

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