Friday, 30 July 2021

Split PR Agency VAJT Bags Second IPRA Golden World Award for Digital Nomad Visa Project!

July 30, 2021 - The Split-based public relations agency VAJT has received a new major professional recognition.

For the second time in three years, VAJT has been awarded the most significant professional award, the Golden World Award given by IPRA, the International Public Relations Association, the world’s umbrella organization in public relations.

VAJT was again awarded in the Public Affairs category, this time for the project "Introduction of a visa for digital nomads - how a Dutchman provided Croatia with the first official digital nomad", on which VAJT worked with Jan de Jong. There are many peculiarities of this communication campaign, including the fact that it's the first one done entirely on LinkedIn, and the end result is that Croatia was among the first countries in the world and the second after Estonia in Europe to adjust its legislation and respond to the new phenomenon. in the market - young people who want to work for employers in their country, but physically out of it and at the same time enjoy the benefits that such a lifestyle provides.

"In the time of Rimac and the Olympians, little can delight, but for us there is nothing further than this. We are lucky that we can repeat good projects, and the domestic and international professional public recognizes and rewards us. The IPRA Golden World Award is the pinnacle in professional terms and I never dreamed it could be repeated to us in such a short period of time. I am especially glad that this is the Public Affairs category because working in this segment is extremely demanding, especially because the domestic public does not yet understand the role of public relations in public policies in the best way. Of course, the key to success this time was Jan de Jong as the bearer of communication. With maximum trust in us, he invested exceptional effort, gathered a small number of international experiences, was maximally positive and open to the Croatian authorities and showed how laws can be changed through affirmative communication. We are going to continue to learn and grow, and with other colleagues from Croatia we regularly take the first places because they certainly belong to us in terms of knowledge and effort ", said the director of the VAJT agency Jerko Trogrlić.


In just four months, VAJT and Jan de Jong managed to initiate changes to the law and ensure that digital nomads have a regulated stay in Croatia for a year, instead of the three months they used to be able to stay with a tourist visa. The story started with Dutchman de Jong, who moved to Croatia 14 years ago as a 22-year-old and has been changing it for the better ever since. Launching an initiative to introduce a visa for digital nomads is just one of the projects that helps its new homeland and all those who recognize Croatia as a beautiful place to live and work.

From the moment I moved to Croatia, I fell in love with this country. But that doesn't mean that everything is perfect and great here. Over the past 10 – 15 years, nearly 500.000 mostly young and talented Croats have left the country in search of opportunities abroad. At the same time, Croatia's economy depends for over 20% of its GDP on tourism. When the world stopped traveling last year as a result of the global pandemic, Croatia's economy was severely hit by not being able to welcome tourist any longer. That was the moment we connected all the dots. By introducing a digital nomad visa we could turn Croatia into a year-round destination, while at the same time reverse the brain-drain by welcoming young and talented professionals – by granting them 12-month staying permits. With a strong believe that “digital nomad tourism” could turn into a new industry for Croatia as a whole, we started our campaign on LinkedIn. After winning the support from the LinkedIn community, we managed to get the support from Prime Minister Andrej Plenković and his cabinet which I thank very much. In a country known for its bureaucracy, we have shown that Croatia was able to pivot when its presented with opportunity. None of our efforts were done with the goal to win awards. We wanted to help prepare Croatia for the next generation. This award however is an amazing recognition for the efforts we have made and serves as a reminder of an amazing journey I feel proud to have been part of“, said Jan de Jong.

For this project, VAJT has already been awarded two professional awards this year - the Polaris International Award and the Grand Prix of the Croatian Public Relations Association. In total, this is the ninth professional award for VAJT and the fourth international. As a reminder, VAJT was awarded three years ago for the campaign "Do you want to switch places?" for the client Split parking with the IPRA Golden World Award, Polaris and the Grand Prix of HUOJ.

Among this year's IPRA laureates are the world's best public relations agencies and large companies such as T-Com, Nestle, numerous banking houses, foundations ...

The annual IPRA Golden World Awards (GWA) have been awarded since 1990 for excellence in public relations practice around the world in a variety of categories.

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

Friday, 23 April 2021

Vajt, Jan de Jong Win PR Grand PRix for Croatian Digital Nomad Permit

 April 23, 2021 - Congratulations to PR agency Vajt and our favourite Dutchman Jan de Jong for winning the 2021 HUOJ International Grand Prix Award for PR in institutions, NGOs and associations for that Croatian digital nomad permit.

On May 2 last year, I received an email invitation to cover the SMART TOURISM 5.0 conference, which the email said was "the 1st virtual gathering of tourism professionals in Croatia."

I was not clear if I was being asked to speak as someone who is involved in tourism in Croatia, or to be the journalist covering the words of others. It turned out that the conference interest in me was to give them free PR with articles on TCN, and I politely declined. 

I was curious to see who the speakers were, and I was surprised to see my good friend, Jan de Jong, as one of the speakers. A hugely successful businessman, I didn't know that he was also a tourism professional. I called him and we chatted. He was actually about to call me to ask my advice on tourism ahead of the conference. I sent him a few articles, including a couple on digital nomad tourism, a concept that was new to him and got him really interested.  

 Here is Jan, speaking at that first conference, on the potential of digital nomad tourism.

What happened next was truly phenomenal, as Jan, assisted by PR guru Jerko Trgorlic from Vajt, pushed through the digital nomad permit in record time. A truly outstanding effort, and a worthy winner of the 2021 International Grand PRix Awards in the category of PR in institutions, NGOs and associations.

In Jan's own words on LinkedIn:

What started as a dream, was followed by an unbelievable journey for everybody that was part of introducing a digital nomad staying permit in Croatia. 

This regional Grand PRix Award is an amazing recognition for our efforts to help turn Croatia into a year-round destination for digital nomads from all around the world. 

I would like to thank our Prime Minister, Andrej Plenkovic for the support he has given this initiation from the moment it got his attention.

Special thanks go to our State Secretary, Ms. Terezija Gras who was the driving force in bringing this staying permit to the finish line and who was the glue that held all involved ministries together.

Last but not least, a big thank you to the #LinkedIn community. Without your support this initiative would have failed before it even began.

Thank you Jerko Trogrlić and his team at VAJT d.o.o. for all your support. Its amazing to see how a small PR agency can deliver a big impact. 

Hvala svima!

Love ❤


Congrats to Jan, Jerko and the team from Vajt. We are also following your tomato project with CROP Hrvatska very closely. 

It was a good night for foreigners working to make Croatia a better place, as the Total Croatia Travel INFO Viber community also won a Grand PRix award in the category of crisis communication