Alijana Vuksic of Split Tourist Board: "We Have a Chance as an Auto Destination"

May 2, 2020 - Split Tourist Board director Alijana Vuksic talks about the kind of tourist activities we can expect during the corona crisis.

The coronavirus pandemic has posed a significant challenge to the whole world, and at a time when the #stayhome message is still in place, the tourism sector is particularly at stake.

On the topic of what kind of tourist activities can be expected during this crisis, Slobodna Dalmacija spoke with the director of the Split Tourist Board, Alijana Vuksic.

"In a crisis, it is first and foremost important to think strategically and positively. The situation is changing day by day, each market has a specific situation, so we follow the recommendations of competent national authorities and those globally such as UNWTO, especially monitoring the situation in our leading markets, in the UK, USA, Germany and France. Still, we also plan to focus on those markets that are the most stable in this situation," says Split Tourist Board Director Alijana Vuksic, and points out that in such crises, we must first think about changing the target markets.

"All important facts must be considered; for example, more trips will be made from destinations accessible by road, so we will directly communicate in that way. It is very important to emphasize those tourism products that are in high demand in a given situation, that is, to identify which products are. We have the advantage that Split and its surroundings is a destination that offers a full range of tourist products throughout the year.

Thus, through communication, we will emphasize those products that allow people to maintain social distance, such as sports, recreational and nautical tourism, but also health tourism, because if measured and mitigated, it is estimated that social distance could last until 2022," says Vuksic, adding that since the first day of the crisis, they have continued to communicate with their partners and tourists, via social networks and internal channels, while listening to experts' estimates of possible scenarios and tourist movements.

"I take the opportunity to announce the 'Together in Split' campaign, which, like many destinations, will inspire people with creative content to fantasize about the moment when they will be able to enjoy the beauties of our city and region again. This will send a message to tourists that we are together even though we are separated. With this campaign, in addition to the message of community with tourists, we want to primarily send a message of community to all tourism professionals in Split. We will invite employees of all our agencies, hotels, museums, travel guides to join this campaign. We aim to increase the visibility of Split through our joint efforts, primarily on social networks and communication with other digital channels, as this form of communication is now crucial. In this first phase of the campaign on our Facebook and Instagram profile VisitSplit, we have many interesting things to come, such as the 'Conference Call' section, through which our guides will tell interesting stories about Split, the 'Heritage quiz', which is a cultural knowledge quiz about Split, and interesting stories from our Welcome magazine. There are also recipes from our restaurants and hotels through the 'Cook o'clock' section and many other exciting things," the director announces.

"The fact is that the expectations from this season are very low compared to the previous year's record, only 10 to 15 percent, and according to the estimates of the Institute of Tourism, significant market stabilization will happen at the end of next year, so we will direct certain activities accordingly. Of course, I note that the situation could change day by day, so we regularly monitor changes in all markets. We will all bear the brunt of this crisis, and thus the system of tourist boards remains without revenue, but I am sure that together we will overcome this situation with the help of all measures and the Government of the Republic of Croatia, as well as the local government, or the City of Split. We are ready to do our best to bring benefits to our local community with minimal investment," says director Alijana Vuksic, and when asked if there is a chance for tourism to come to life, she says:

"Tourism is the most affected sector in the corona crisis and it will take time for the system to stabilize. This is an opportunity to build responsible and sustainable tourism based on quality offers and to channel communication messages properly. The situation we are in further emphasizes the importance of developing other branches of the economy. The chances of tourism coming to life depend solely on the epidemiological situation and adherence to the prescribed measures and instructions. As a tourist country, we are currently in a very good situation because we have strengthened the image as a health-safe destination, but it is still very uncertain as the situation can change, and it largely depends on the epidemiological picture in the main markets."

If tourists come to Split, how might it look?

"Tourism is partly possible if we all adapt properly to the situation and directions. Split also offers a range of outdoor activities that help maintain social distance, and it is precisely these contents that we will strive to present to the maximum to our local guests in the second part of the campaign. When it comes to foreign markets, we are monitoring the further development of the epidemiological situation and measures introduced at higher levels such as the "corona-passport" and accordingly, we will emphasize the specific offer through communication.

In the end, I will quote the message of our campaign that we want to emphasize encouragement, because in this situation, my team and I see an opportunity for new beginnings, new ideas and, above all, an opportunity for the community that we all often miss.

The world stopped because it was the only way to go again. The people parted, because that was the only way they could help each other.

But soon, travel will bring strength and love back into our lives, it is in human nature to move and to travel. And then, Split is here to offer you its beauty, heritage, lifestyle. We are waiting for you, we will be together again in Split," concludes the Split Tourist Board director.

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