Saturday, 28 August 2021

Zagreb Digital Nomad Week Wins Sustainability, Best Crossover Awards at Conventa 2021

August 28, 2021 - A good night in Ljubljana for Zagreb's emerging digital nomad story, as Zagreb Digital Nomad Week scoops two awards at the Conventa 2021 Best Event Awards in Ljubljana.

The buzz is getting louder...

An excellent night in the Slovenian capital last night for the Croatian and Zagreb digital nomad story, as this year's inaugural Zagreb Digital Nomad Week won Best Event for Sustainability and Best Event in the Crossover (B2B/B2C) categories at the Conventa 2021 Best Event Awards. Zagreb Digital Nomad Week & Zagreb Digital Nomad Ambassador Project is a collaboration between Saltwater Nomads, Total Croatia News and Zagreb Tourist Board, and it was one of two Saltwater Nomads projects to make the finals of Conventa 2021.

The Conventa Crossover Best Event Awards have been held annually since 2018, and follows on directly from the Conventa Events Trade Show. It brings together Event and Live Marketing leaders and awards events on their innovation, creativity, legacy, execution, results and sustainability. There are 4 categories (B2B, B2C, B2I and Crossover) plus an audience award, creativity, sustainability and best agency. The event every year brings together leading speakers, workshops and in 2021, over 300 MICE professionals.

Both Saltwater Nomads projects, Zagreb Digital Nomad Week and Dubrovnik  Digital Nomads-in-Residence made the final six in the Crossover section, along with Travelling with ICare (Italy), World of Synergy Confluence (Slovenia), 'Promotion of Entrepreneurship' by Komunikacijski Labatorij for the Croatian Chamber of Commerce, and Photomath Press Event (Croatia). 

The panel of international judges and audience voting (which contributed to 20% of the overall vote) placed Zagreb Digital Nomad Week first  and Dubrovnik Digital Nomads-in-Residence third. Zagreb also came in first for the overall Best in Sustainability Award in all categories. You can learn more about Zagreb Digital Noamd Week here.

Saltwater Nomads CEO, Tanja Polegubic, was in Ljubljana for the event, where she had 60 seconds to pitch each event live, in addtion to the pre-recorded video showcase above. 

I consider what stood out foremost was the audience: digital nomads. Everyone is working from home, so could relate and quickly grasp that a destination would want to connect with this audience and see how they could suit these needs. The format, which took you around the entire city, engaged businesses who had suffered from covid and the earthquake.

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(Zagreb Digital Nomad Week opened on June 21 at Canopy by Hilton in Zagreb)

The challenge was - Croatia was trending among digital nomads, and yet no one was really considering Zagreb. This was ZAGREB’s challenge. Get on the map!

We needed to see how might we - in the shortest space of time, and while the topic was hot - showcase the city to this audience? We also knew working while traveling was new to a lot of people - so we brought together experts and topics which would help them - and inspire them to consider Zagreb. 

The pitch was only 60 seconds and took a lot of focus to craft. How do you convey an event and try win over a crowd? 

I have to acknowledge and applaud the leadership and trust Zagreb Tourist Board  showed in us by taking on this project. Beyond the success for the tourist board, providing great outcomes for the city -  the broader events industry in Europe recognises this is a viable segment in tourism and the value of these programs.

Winning these awards demonstrates this is a sustainable model Croatia can develop to engage this audience.

Zagreb is already seeing the benefit of the international participants of Zagreb Digital Nomad Week. Dean Kuchel from Digital Nomad World and a keynote speaker at the conference, was beyond impressed with his time in Zagreb, declaring that not only does the Croatian capital tick all the boxes for digital nomads, but that the only thing missing is more digital nomads. A hidden gem for nomads just waiting to be discovered. And these are not just words on Kuchel's part, for he is returning to Zagreb next week to take up residence as the third ambassador of the associated project to ZDNW, the Zagreb Digital Nomad Ambassador Project. 

You can learn more about Conventa 2021 and all the winners on the official website

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

Saturday, 26 June 2021

5th Day of Zagreb Digital Nomad Week and Beginning of Ambassador Program

June 26, 2021 - A look at the 5th day of Zagreb Digital Nomad Week and the first digital nomad ambassador!

The announcement of Veronica Mulhall as the ambassador of 'Zagreb Digital Nomads' concluded the fifth day of 'Digital Nomad Week' on Friday, where the organizers Saltwater Nomads, Total Croatia News, and the Zagreb Tourist Board presented the advantages, opportunities, and possibilities of the Croatian capital for remote digital nomad work, reports Jutarnji List

In July, Veronica Mulhall will be the first ambassador - a digital nomad who will work and live in Zagreb for a month. 

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"Congratulations to Veronica on this election, Zagreb welcomes her, and I think she will have a wonderful time in our city; that is, she will have great opportunities to find her new job office here. We will introduce her to everything that Zagreb has to offer digital nomads," said Petra Maršić Buljan from the Zagreb Tourist Board.

The 'Zagreb Digital Nomads' ambassador was preceded by three 'Digital Nomad Week' panels which analyzed future trends in the labor market, digital nomads as a solution to changes in the labor market, and Croatian policies in accepting and deepening global trends in teleworking.

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Jose Alfonso Kusijanović

Before the panels, the participants were given a lecture by blogger and labor market researcher Albert Canigueral on the future of work.

"The future of work has three dimensions, the future of the job itself, the job and the fulfillment of business tasks or goals. Nomads are one of the solutions for the future of the workplace, and how far we have come in applying this way of working is evidenced, among other things, by the example of employers in the Swedish transport business who are committed to regulating the work of truck drivers from home," said Canigueral. He recalled the thesis of the famous sociologist Peter Drucker that the basic question of the labor market is not to find answers to the demands that arise but to ask a key question of the labor market.

After Canigueral’s presentation, the first three panels of the ‘Digital Nomad Week’ closing day entitled ‘Sustainable and Self-Renewing Destinations’ followed. In addition to moderations by Ron Tardiff, the director of the Zagreb Tourist Board Martina Bienenfeld, the director of the Dubrovnik Tourist Board Ana Hrnić, the author of numerous travelogues Anja Mutić, and the entrepreneur in tourism Daniel Lacko spoke about sustainable and self-renewing tourist destinations.

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Ron Tardiff, one of the winners of the last Dubrovnik Digital Nomads in Residence competition, discussed Sustainable and Regenerative Destinations with a panel that included Martina Bienenfeld, CEO of the Zagreb Tourist Board. (Jose Alfonso Kusijanović)

Ana Hrnić pointed out that the tourist season in the pearl of Croatian tourism in Dubrovnik is currently under the strong influence of last year's consequences of the coronavirus and large restrictions in air traffic on Dubrovnik tourism, which, she warned, is an air destination. On the other hand, the Dubrovnik Tourist Board director pointed out that 2019 was a record year in terms of visiting guests for Dubrovnik tourism.

"In 2019, we took the first steps to ensure the long-term sustainability of Dubrovnik tourism, limiting the number of cruiser arrivals in the city port," said Ana Hrnić. Martina Bienenfeld reminded that the Zagreb tourist offer in 2020, in addition to COVID-19 and lockdown, also faced a devastating earthquake.

"I must emphasize that we have not given up our efforts to prove that we are still 'alive' as a tourist destination, and we have done many great projects and campaigns since the beginning of the pandemic. I want to remind you that Zagreb changed, and we do not give up with new stories, new projects, highlighting some of the projects such as Pimp my Pump, Mali Zagreb and Triptych. When it comes to the sustainability of the city's tourist offer, we try to prove that Zagreb is not only the capital of a beautiful tourist country but a great place to live and work," said Martina Bienenfeld.

DSCF3144.jpgTanja Polegubić, organizer of Zagreb Digital Nomad Week, moderated a panel consisting of Petra Maršić Buljan from the Zagreb Tourist Board, Paul Bradbury from Total Croatia News, Dalibor Kovačević from Raiffeisen Bank Hrvatska, and Matthew Parsons from Skift. The theme was Future of Work Trends and Croatia's Global Standing. (Jose Alfonso Kusijanović)

The first panel was followed by a conversation between the moderator of ‘Digital Nomad Week’ Michael Freer, and Mandy Fransz, the founder of the company ‘Digital Leap’ for Digital Transformation.

"I heard about Croatia as a digital nomad destination, came here, and was convinced that Croatia provides a lot of events, but also opportunities for community development, which I consider the most important part of my job," said Mandy Fransz.

In the second panel, moderated by Tanja Polegubić from Saltwater Nomads, Petra Maršić Buljan from the Zagreb Tourist Board, Paul Bradbury, CEO of Total Croatia News, editor of the Skift portal Matthew Parsons and Dalibor Kovačević from Raiffeisenbank. This was followed by a presentation by Dean Kuchel, who introduced himself to the participants as a nomadic lifestyle ambassador.

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Jan de Jong (Digital Nomads Association), Nikolina Pejović (Hrvatski Telekom) and Tanja Polegubić (Saltwater Nomads). (Jose Alfonso Kusijanović)

The last panel of the fifth day featured Jan de Jong, an entrepreneur who initiated the digital nomad visa in Croatia, Kristina Grbavac from the auditing company KPMG, Branka Bajt Hrvatski Telekom, and Hermes Arriaga Sierra from Impact Hub.

Asked by panel moderator Michael Freer how he came up with the idea to initiate the introduction of digital nomad visas in our country, Jan de Jong said that at his first participation in a conference on Croatian tourism, he faced the question of how to make Croatia a year-round tourist destination. The answer to the latter question, Jan de Jong, as he said, was given in the texts of Paul Bradbury on the portal Total Croatia News.

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In the third and final panel, moderated by Michael Greer, Branka Bajt from Hrvatski Telekom, Kristina Grbavac from KPMG, Jan de Jong from DNA Croatia, and Hermes Arriaga Sierra from Impact Hub discussed about DNA Croatia, Policy, and Connecting a Global Community. (Jose Alfonso Kusijanović)

"In Paul’s texts, three words shone on me, digital nomad tourism. Then I started to promote this concept in my public speeches, finding great support from the followers of my speeches, but, very soon after, almost all major media in the country," said de Jong, revealing that after they received support for the development of digital nomad tourism from the Croatian Government, i.e., the Office of the Prime Minister. We managed, de Jong, concluded that Croatia becomes one of the top ten countries in the world with a visa for digital nomads. De Jong continues to implement his idea through the DNA Croatia association.

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Paul Bradbury, Total Croatia News CEO, talks to Dean Kuchel, who spoke about Community Building, and Israel's Ambassador to Croatia, Ilan Mor. (Jose Alfonso Kusijanović)

"One of the DNA Croatia association goals is to extend the visa from the current six-month residence permit for digital nomads. We also want to simplify the procedures regarding the taxation of digital nomads," announced Jan de Jong.

Meet one of Friday's keynote speakers, Albert Cañigueral, one of the Dubrovnik nomads-in-residence and recently appointed to lead the Catalan Government's Transparency and Open Data, division. Albert will be focusing on the topic of the day, the future of work.  

Tourist Board Director Martina Bienenfeld on Zagreb Digital Nomad Week, Ryanair, Tourism in Pandemic

Want to be a Zagreb Digital Nomad Ambassador and live in the city for a month between July and December? 

For the latest news and features on digital nomads in Croatia, check out the dedicated TCN section

Monday, 21 June 2021

Martina Bienenfeld: Zagreb will Become a Desirable Digital Nomad Destination

21 June 2021 –  The Zagreb Tourist Board (TZGZ) organises the first-ever Zagreb Digital Nomad Week from the 21st to 27th of June after which the project called Zagreb Digital Nomad Ambassador will start. The latter will enable selected digital nomads to spend a month in Zagreb for free and share their experiences. A closer look at why Zagreb is a desirable digital nomad destination. 

As translated from Seebiz.eZagreb Digital Nomad Week 2021 and the Digital Nomad Ambassador project TZGZ is organising together with Saltwater Nomads (a company specialising in organising digital nomads' stays in Croatia) and Total Croatia News (media portal).

It is these programs focusing on digital nomads that were the motivation for our conversation with Martina Bienenfeld, the head of the Zagreb Tourist Board.

SEEbiz: what was the main motivation behind deciding for the Zagreb Digital Nomad Ambassador program?

Bienenfeld: Last year changed the way of life for many people. The pandemic, which made working from home common, accelerated the trend of digital nomads and we now have generations of employees that are no longer bound by working hours, but wish to enjoy a more flexible way of life. Also, at the beginning of this year, the new Law on Foreign Nationals came into power. Under it, digital nomads can be allowed to stay in Croatia for up to a year on a non-resident basis. Zagreb, being the capital city, didn't want to miss out on this growing opportunity, so we've decided to organise Zagreb Digital Nomad Week and the Zagreb Digital Nomad Ambassador project.

SEEbiz: it is no secret many fast-expanding IT companies have their headquarters in Zagreb. Is this one of the reasons Zagreb is perceived as a destination for digital nomads? What are the prerequisites Zagreb needs to fulfil to become an attractive and desirable destination for this demographic?

Bienenfeld: That certainly is one of the reasons, but there are numerous factors that influence the choice of a destination. Above all, digital nomads are staying within one place as long as they can and want, and because they are working they value quick and reliable internet connection more than anything, which means the destination needs to have good quality telecommunication infrastructure. After that, they need good value for money and accessibility of co-working spaces. Nice weather is also high on the list. Also, proximity or at least easy accessibility of the destination is one of the conditions. Zagreb offers all these things. In this sense, the level of attractiveness of Zagreb is high and I believe there is potential to grow further, especially seeing how we are one of the first countries to regulate this type of work by law.

SEEbiz: Do you believe digital nomads are just a trend that is, among other things, here because of a global pandemic or is it something that will remain after this situation has subsided?

Bienenfeld: Assessments and research suggest more and more people will want to work independently like this in the future. In other words, they will want the freedom to travel and the ability to work where ever they are at any given time. Therefore, I believe this is not a passing trend, but a new style of working and living that will remain long after this situation.

SEEbiz: The Croatian Tourist Board (HTZ) digital nomads campaign “Croatia, your new office!” garnered great results in the first two months. What are you expecting from the projects taking place in Zagreb?

Bienenfeld: I’m expecting Zagreb to further improve its position as a desirable destination for digital nomads. Croatia’s capital can surely be positioned as a centre for digital nomads and draw in foreigners coming for work and leisure.

SEEbiz: Zagreb has been recognised as a city break destination. In spite of all the restrictions, Zagreb was a good host for Croatia Rally, and then there is also the World Rowing Cup. Is sport, professional or recreational, one of the ways of attracting digital nomads?

Bienenfeld: As I mentioned before – you always need a combination of different factors in order to attract digital nomads. Generally, when speaking of sporting events, we have to be aware they are one of the most important ambassadors of any country or the city in which they are being held. We at TZGZ are especially pleased Zagreb hosted such huge sporting events – World Rally Championship and World Rowing Cup – during these times of uncertainty. This points to the significance of our city in the segment of sports tourism as a special part of the travel industry which contributes to the creation of new quality and competitive position in the travel market. Namely, events like these cast a spotlight on the host destination and make organisers of other similar events across the world consider organising their future events in the same city or country. In the same way, the effects of such a synergy of sports and tourism add to the popularity of the destination hosting these events and represent one of the best ways of promoting Zagreb as well as Croatia.

SEEbiz: Zagreb Tourist Board saw a focus on developing new digital platforms proving successful. How do you view the importance of digitalisation in tourism?

Bienenfeld: Tourist Boards always kept pace with new technological trends and implemented them readily into their projects. We need only remember Zagreb Be There app developed in now distant 2014, which was a multiple award-winning treasure hunt sightseeing app, or QR code city tour implemented in 2013. The pandemic and, unfortunately, Zagreb earthquakes, taught us the importance of being able to respond well and quickly to new situations, follow trends by using digital tools and platforms, and adjust our tourism offer to new conditions. We have turned to digital innovations that allow us to add value, attractiveness, but also visibility to our tourism offer. A recent example is the interactive AR project Virtual Christmas Windows, in which we were first in Croatia to apply augmented reality technology in our Christmas festival awareness campaign. Digitalisation in tourism is imperative today. Tourism and technology are tightly intertwined and travel is unthinkable without digital technology.

SEEbiz: The Around Zagreb project and cooperation of the Zagreb Tourist Board and Zagreb County Tourist Board is one of the first big steps in strategic destination development in Croatia because the focus is on quality content and finding new benefits for tourists, seeing how it promotes quality tourist-focused content in Zagreb’s surroundings or only half an hour from the city centre. Zagreb and its surroundings as a unique green destination, is this the strategy for the post-pandemic period?

Bienenfeld: I’m glad you’ve asked me that as we are just starting with our refreshed campaign in cooperation with the Zagreb County Tourist Board, and soon we will go ahead with Krapina – Zagorje County as well. Project Blizu grada, blizu srca (Close to the City, close to Heart) / Around Zagreb is created with a long-term goal and vision and we would like to have started it even without the pandemic situation. It is natural for Zagreb and its surrounding area to promote together because guests do not care about our administrative borders. They are after quality and interesting content. The pandemic in a sense helped the campaign along because guests are now, more than ever, searching for the options of spending time in nature, on fresh air, surrounded by greenery, all combined with diverse local culture and gastronomic offer.

Last year, most of the visitors to www.aroundzagreb.hr came from Croatia (40%), but also from the markets where the campaign was run – Slovenia (35%), Austria, Germany, and Bosnia and Herzegovina (25%). Interestingly, we are seeing a rising interest from the American market as well, even though there was no advertising campaign specifically aiming at that market, which represents a guideline for future activities. Inspired by the success of the campaign so far, recording over 37 million views, we have improved our platform and are showing it to the important markets again. With this in mind, along with refreshed visuals and itineraries, we have started a new section called “Did You Know?” which showcases various interesting points from our surrounding areas. Besides that, we also have cooking videos featuring authentic local cuisine recipes from Zagreb and the surrounding area. They are made by the famous Croatian chef Mr. Almo Catlak. He set out to present local delicacies to a wide audience with an emphasis on tradition with a bit of a modern approach. We are now starting the campaign for the markets of Austria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Slovenia, Serbia, and Germany and soon we will be updating it with Krapina – Zagorje County materials. I would hereby also like to give my thanks to all involved in this.

SEEbiz: Zagreb is also an airplane destination. What effects do you expect as a result of RyanAir coming to Zagreb Airport, or how important in this respect is the survival of the national airline company?

Bienenfeld: We welcome all new airlines coming to Zagreb and will be glad to see the RyanAir airplane “tales” among those of other companies already landing in our city. This will contribute to the further positioning of Zagreb as a city break destination and will make it more accessible to interested visitors. As far as the national carrier is concerned, we mustn’t forget it was Croatia Airlines that connected us to the rest of the world when all other companies stopped flying here during the toughest pandemic restrictions. In this sense, I wouldn’t compare these two airline companies because their profiles and business models are vastly different.

SEEbiz: We know we are living in very uncertain times, but at the end of the interview, let me ask you: What is your vision for the long-term tourism development of Zagreb.

Bienenfeld: We need to keep in mind it will take a few years after the pandemic for tourism to bounce back. The earthquake made things even more difficult because it damaged a variety of buildings, some of which contribute to tourist offers or architectural and urban distinctions of the city. The state of tourism will depend on the organisation and readiness of the destination to adapt to new conditions and provide solutions. Further development of tourism in a smart, responsible and sustainable way will depend on how much are we as a sector prepared for new challenges. From the perspective of tourism, it is clear more and more travellers take into account ecology and sustainability, and we, therefore, need to apply sustainable concepts in order to potentially make them into one of the key promotional factors.

Also, it is important to activate underused tourist resources and continue to develop key tourist products of the destination. With the goal of defining a stronger position in the travel market in this context, it is necessary to support innovative and creative development initiatives that contribute to further building of the destination as a centre for urban, regenerative, and cultural scene and encourage dispersion of tourist activities. For the MICE segment we are expecting a slower recovery, but we need to continue communicating with the organisers of conferences and events and position Zagreb as a regional centre for business meetings, gatherings, and conferences. I see additional potential in health tourism, sports and active tourism, and of course food tourism. In any case, what is important and we’ll continue to insist on is that Zagreb is and always was a people’s city.

For more on Digital Nomads in Croatia, click here

Tuesday, 1 June 2021

Ask KPMG Anything about Tax at Zagreb Digital Nomad Week

June 1, 2021 - Zagreb Digital Nomad Week & Zagreb Digital Nomad Ambassador Project kick off on June 21. A look at some of the content and speakers, starting with Kristina Grbavac from KPMG on everyone's favourite subject - tax. 

These are early days in Croatia's digital nomad tourism journey. It is less than a year since a Dutch entrepreneur sent an open letter to the Croatian Prime Minister, requesting that the introduction of a digital nomad visa for Croatia.  

Since then, a lot has happened. Both the Foreigners Act and the tax code were amended, and the visa (actually a permit) came into force on January 1, 2021, with the first successful applicant getting her permit some 3 weeks later. (Meet Melissa Paul, Owner of Croatia's First Digital Nomad Visa). The online application form was launched on March 1, and there have been several other milestones to note as well. The Digtal Nomad Association Croatia was formed by Jan de Jong, that Dutch entrepreneur, Tanja Polegubic, and Karmela Tancabel. 

The first digital nomad conference in Croatia was held last October in Dubrovnik, and it was followed by the world's first Digital Nomad-in-Residence program (also in Dubrovnik), which has already been copied by a destination in Spain

The next significant milestone will start in the Croatian capital later this month, with Zagreb Digital Nomad Week 2021 (ZDNW) & Zagreb Digital Nomad Ambassador Project beginning at Canopy by Hilton on June 21. Apart from bringing together nomads both physically and virtually, ZDNW will also look at some of the biggest issues and unknowns in the Croatian digital nomad story. 

The week will consist of 7 days and 7 themes - cyber security, online presence, career advice, tax + finance, wellbeing, explore Zagreb, and the future of work.

Te full programme will be published shortly, and you can find the latest version on the Saltwater Nomads website - this is where it will be updated. 

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Thursday, June 24, is dedicated to tax and finance, with a key session led by Kristina Grbavac from KPMG. Kristina and KPMG have been enthusiastic supporters of the whole digital nomad initiative, and they are working closely with and supporting the Digital Nomad Association, as well as participating in both Dubrovnik projects above. She has also been kind enough to write a couple of great articles about digital nomads and tax for TCN.

While bearers of the digital nomad permit do not have to pay income tax in Croatia for the duration of their stay, the tax issue is a lot more complicated than that. For a start, not all nomads will be here on a permit (EU/EEA citizens, those on a less than 90-day stay, for example). And income tax is just one type of tax that faces us. 

In an attempt to add a little clarity to the thorny issues of taxation and digital nomads, Kristina has kindly agreed to host an AMA (Ask Me Anything) session on tax and digital nomads. We will shortly be publishing details on how to submit questions in advance. 

For the latest information on ZDNW - and to apply to be a Zagreb Digital Nomad Ambassador - follow the latest version of the programme here

You can contact Kristina about KPMG services here.

For the latest news and features regarding digital nomads in Croatia, follow the dedicated TCN section

Tuesday, 25 May 2021

Tourist Board Director Martina Bienenfeld on Zagreb Digital Nomad Week, Ryanair, Tourism in Pandemic

May 25, 2021 - After the successful conclusion of the Dubrovnik Digital Nomad-in-Residence Program (DNIR), the remote work focus moves to Zagreb next month, with Zagreb Digital Nomad Week 2021 & Zagreb Digital Nomad Ambassador Project starting on June 21. The project is a collaboration between Zagreb Tourist Board (who are financing the project), and Saltwater Nomads and TCN, co-organisers of both Dubrovnik for Digital Nomads (the first conference of its kind in Croatia in October 2020), and DNIR, in association with the City of Dubrovnik and Dubrovnik Tourist Board. 

TCN caught up with Zagreb Tourist Board Director, Martina Bienenfeld, to discuss the project and the wider digital nomad opportunity for the Croatian capital, as well as a range of other topics.

2020 was a horrendous year for global tourism with the pandemic but Zagreb also had to deal with the devastating March 22 earthquake. Tell us a little about the challenges of running the city's tourism in these circumstances.

I would say last year has been the most challenging for everyone, especially in the travel industry. At times, for all of us living in Zagreb, it seemed like we were in the middle of an American blockbuster movie, one I certainly wouldn't like to watch again. But we have not surrendered, so the challenges resulted in new projects, in adapting to the situation and creating a new quality.

I am especially glad to see that most of our tourism service providers adjusted to the new circumstances as much as possible, and that they came up with various innovations and services that followed the “new normal” routine very closely. The focus should be on sustainable tourism through an adequate strategy for the development of safe and health aspects of the stay in the destination, and more than ever, on cooperation, support and mutual trust of all tourism stakeholders.

Only through coordinated action we can expect a better and more competitive tourist product and its greater sustainable and positive social effects.

I follow Croatian tourism a lot, and Zagreb has been without question the most proactive tourist board responding to the crisis. The Around Zagreb website, campaigns such as 'Zagreb Loves You' and; ‘From Zagreb Balconies', as well as pulling off Advent in Zagreb despite the restrictions, kept Zagreb tourism very visible in a difficult year. Tell us a little about this strategy.

Thank you for saying that! Yes, we were working under entirely different circumstances than previous years, which was incredibly difficult, but we didn’t want to surrender. Simply, we had to be prepared for ad hoc reactions and possible last-minute changes because the times were really uncertain, and they still are. Therefore, in accordance with the recommendations and decisions by the authorities, we prepared suitable events and adjusted our online and offline campaigns.

The pandemic, and in Zagreb, unfortunately, earthquakes have taught us how important it is to respond in a very short period, react quickly to new situations, follow trends using digital tools and platforms and adapt the tourist offer to new conditions. In this sense, the Zagreb Tourist Board developed and supported projects that allowed us to create new outdoor content with emphasis on ambiental, non-invasive events, and, also, on virtual and interactive content for our potential visitors.

And now Zagreb is one of the early movers in the digital nomad tourism sector. Tell us firstly why you believe that the Croatian capital is a great destination?

The vibrant Croatian capital Zagreb is becoming one of the most popular European city-break destinations in this part of the EU. Through an eclectic mix of the Central European and Mediterranean lifestyles, it pairs well the Austro-Hungarian tradition and warm Southern flavor. Whether for a weekend or a longer stay, Zagreb will charm visitors with its natural allure, exceptional cultural heritage, but also with modern and digitized services.

Zagreb is a home to a large number of co-working spaces, as well as hotels, hostels and private accommodation with an excellent internet connection. Add to that – unspoiled nature in the city center, markets with local, homemade products, beautiful surroundings and proximity to Croatia’s famous coast and national parks – Zagreb is definitely the place to be! The journey through Zagreb is always captivating, but the biggest value is its atmosphere and the people who never allow you to feel alone. Zagreb has a story to tell and especially for digital nomads.

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You recently announced Zagreb Digital Nomad Week & Zagreb Nomad Ambassador Project. Tell us more.

Last year changed the lifestyle of many people… The pandemic that has made working from home quite common, has further accelerated digital nomadism and now you have generations of employees who are not tied to the workplace and want to enjoy a flexible lifestyle as much as possible. At the beginning of this year, the new Law on Foreigners came into force in Croatia, according to which digital nomads can be granted temporary residence for up to a year. Zagreb as Croatian Capital didn’t want to miss this growing opportunity and therefore, we are thrilled to be able to put the digital nomad opportunity in the spotlight through Zagreb Digital Nomad Week & Zagreb Nomad Ambassador Project.

Who is ZDNR week aimed at, and what are you hoping to achieve? 

Zagreb Digital Nomad Week will take place from June 21-27, with a combination of workshops, presentations, social and tourism activities focusing on the key themes. I hope ZDNR will provide a comprehensive and stimulating week for anyone engaged in the digital nomad lifestyle and make them put Zagreb on the list as their next place to work remotely.

Local education and participation is key to the success and development of the digital nomad tourism opportunity. What do you see as the key challenges to getting the local community and tourism providers on board for this new type of tourism with its specific needs? 

Even before the term digital nomad has emerged, we always had digital nomads. Digital nomad is not a tourist in the sense of a definition, but a national of another country who is employed and works online for its own or another company that is not registered in the Republic of Croatia through. In this sense, I see a challenge in the preparation and adaptation of accommodation facilities to this type of visitors to our city, since they will definitely need to rent their living space for a longer period of time. Also, it is important to inform the local population about the existence of digital nomads in their communities in order to dispel stigmas such as "these are people who do not work in Croatia and do not pay taxes, so what is their benefit for tourism in our country." That is why it is important to talk about digital nomads, raise awareness of their way of life and the benefits they bring to the society.

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If you had to explain 'Why Zagreb' for digital nomads in a sentence, what would that sentence be? 

Croatian capital has the best ranking among all Croatian cities according to www.nomadlist.com – so, come and check why it is so… ?

And lastly - and totally unrelated - I must ask you about flights. The number of Ryanair announcements to Zagreb is fantastic news for those trying to get to the capital as a tourism, as well as to take advantage of the excellent and affordable medical tourism offer. How significant is the Ryanair arrival for the city's tourism, and do you expect more budget airlines to follow? And final flight question... three airlines have announced direct flights from USA to Dubrovnik this summer. Are we close to a New York - Zagreb route?

The arrival of Ryanair in Zagreb and connecting our city with 12 lines to eight countries (Belgium, Montenegro, France, Italy, Norway, Germany, Sweden, UK), is important for the development of tourism in the capital of Croatia and the whole country. Low-cost airlines connect the cities of various countries, so it is logical to choose Zagreb as a year-round destination for a city break vacation. We welcome every new airline that comes to Zagreb and we will be glad to see the "tail" of Ryanir among other companies that are already landing in our city. This will contribute to the further positioning of Zagreb as a city break destination and will further facilitate its accessibility to interested visitors. It is also a great trigger for digital nomads because it makes the arrival to Zagreb easier and affordable. As far as the national airline is concerned, we must not forget that Croatia Airlines was the only one connecting us with the Europe and the rest of the world when all other companies stopped flying during the most severe pandemic measures. The profile and the business philosophy of the low-cost and mainline carries is different and we welcome them all.

Regarding the NY – Zagreb route, the news about three airlines with direct flights from USA to Dubrovnik is fantastic not only for Dubrovnik, but for whole Croatia and Zagreb, as well. I hope this is a step closer to direct connection with Zagreb, and for now, people can come via Dubrovnik – it is a short 45 min flight…

For more information about Zagreb Digital Nomad Week & Zagreb Digital Nomad Ambassador Project, visit the Saltwater Nomads website

For the latest news from the Croatian capital, follow the dedicated TCN Zagreb section.

Tuesday, 11 May 2021

Zagreb Digital Nomad Week 2021 Announced by Saltwater Nomads/Zagreb Tourist Board

May 11, 2021 - The digital nomad buzz in Croatia is about to get even louder, with the announcement of the Zagreb Digital Nomad Week 2021 & the Digital Nomad Ambassador Project.

The future of work is evolving, and Croatia is in a great position to take advantage of the new reality with its unbeatable combination of safety, authentic experiences, and lifestyle. 

The global pandemic has highlighted even more the lifestyle and opportunities for digital nomads around the world, and Croatia has been one of the quickest countries to seize the opportunity. Thanks to the efforts of Dutch entrepreneur, Jan de Jong, and his team, the Croatian digital nomad permit became a reality on January 1, 2021. A number of permits from as far away as Guatemala have so far been approved. 

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And the digital nomad eco-system is developing nicely in Croatia, an eco-system which will be strengthened by a new project announced today and funded by the Zagreb Tourist Board, in cooperation with Saltwater Nomads, the Digital Nomad Association, and Total Croatia News. Welcome to the Zagreb Digital Nomad Week 2021 & the Digital Nomad Ambassador Project.

The first part of this innovative project, Zagreb Digital Nomad Week 2021, will take place from June 21-27, at various partner locations around the Croatian capital.

Seven themes for 7 days, with one day focused on the following: cyber security, online presence, remote careers, tax & finance, future of work, wellbeing and exploring Zagreb.

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The week will showcase the whole city, with events being held in hotels, hotels, coworking spaces, bars, cafes, and parks, with each evening featuring a different theme. 

Zagreb Digital Nomad Week 2021 is aimed at current and even “wannabe” digital nomads and remote workers. Croatia’s new legislation has really put it on the map for the global remote workforce - the organisers expect to see a diverse group of professionals coming to Croatia in years to come, with Zagreb as a top choice.

You can see an overview of the program here, with a detailed look at the daily activity here

Zagreb Digital Nomad Week 2021 will kick off at Canopy by Hilton on June 21, before moving to other partner locations, including Swanky Mint Hostel, HUB385, Bizkoshnica and Impact Hub. 

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A second component of the initiative is the Digital Nomad Ambassador Project, which will see one lucky nomad in residence as a guest of Zagreb for a month, starting on July 1 until December 31. This will allow nomads to experience the magic and diversity of this vibrant city, with its changing seasonal experiences over a six-month period.

The Ambassador project is expected to be another way Zagreb demonstrates its warmth and the winners will show the diverse, year-round offer and lifestyle you can enjoy here - whether you come alone, as a couple or even family. There’s a lot happening and with a regular work schedule, one month is just a taste of life in Zagreb.

Applications for the Ambassador project are now open on the Saltwater Nomads website

Zagreb Tourist Board has worked hard to diversify its tourism in the wake of the double blow of the pandemic and devastating earthquake. Its partnership with the county tourist board in the Around Zagreb project has been a big success, opening up new tourism possibilities to visitors to the city. This digital nomad strategy is an extension of that strategy. 

For more about digital nomad tourism in Zagreb, visit the Zagreb Tourist Board dedicated page.

For the latest on digital nomads in Croatia, follow the dedicated TCN section

 

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