Zagreb Loves You, Latest from Croatia's Best Destination Promo in Corona Era

By 15 May 2020

May 15, 2020 - Zagreb Loves You, and we love the Zagreb tourism promotion campaign during these difficult times, even without the earthquake. The best campaign in Croatia. 

One of the most fascinating things from a tourism point of view in recent months has been to observe how the tourism industry has approached this unique set of circumstances. In an age where people could not physically travel, was there any point in even mentioning tourism at all?

The reaction of official tourism bodies was very diverse. Some tried to ignore the reality that there was a global pandemic going on, promoting tourism as though nothing was happening. Others simply went into hibernation and disappeared off social media. And many others, after a period of confusion, joined the global trend of Dream Now, Travel Later. 

And while I saw many alluring photos and enticing videos, there was only one destination that I really craved during my lockdown on Hvar. And it was the destination which truly bared its soul these past few weeks, allowing future visitors to get to know it intimately. And it was the destination which easily had the best campaign to promote itself during these terrible months of any destination in Croatia. 


More than two months ago, and a week before the devastating Zagreb earthquakes, I wrote an article after a chat with the Zagreb Tourist Board. Yes, tourism was technically still possible, but with the situation changing by the hour, perhaps now was the time to put travel on hold and think about tourism in the future. With people spending more time at home and with more time on their hands, why not encourage people to stay safe, travel later AND give them lots of content to explore now while they had the time. Here is the article Tourism in the Corona Era: 10 Virtual Tools to Discover Zagreb.  

We certainly weren't the first in the world to come up with the concept of 'dream now, travel later' which has become such a one-dimensional strategy in recent weeks, but the concept of creating the desire AND giving lots of virtual content so that people had time to explore was new. And that Discover Zagreb article was one which inspired the recent TCN Virtual Croatia campaign

Then the devastating events of March 22 took place, as the earthquakes hit at the height of the pandemic. A terrible time for the people of Zagreb, with corona on the outside, earthquakes on the inside. How to even consider promoting tourism at a time like this?

My heart went out to the people of Zagreb, many of whom are my close friends in a city I have come to love in recent years after a lukewarm start to the relationship 18 years ago. If I had desire to go anywhere in these travel-restricted times, it was to the Croatian capital. 

Was that partly due to my wish to show solidarity for the people of Zagreb and my many friends there, or was that love of the city enhanced by the lovely official campaign, the like of which I have not seen elsewhere in Croatia in recent weeks. 

For Zagreb did what no other destination did - it bared its soul. Invited people into its most secret corners, allowing people to connect to the destination in a way I did feel anywhere else. 


Perhaps it started with the immediate aftermath of the earthquake and the very poignant video posted the same day.  

Perhaps it was the emotion of seeing the top of the second cathedral spire removed. 

But something happened. And while other destinations shared photos of beaches and sunsets that can be found all over the world, Zagreb sucked people into its every corner, its citizens keen to show every aspect of the city and how they were resiliently dealing with all the tragic events. 


Last month, I wrote about the continuing campaign in Damaged But Resilient: Brilliant Zagreb Tourist Board Virtual Campaign



It includes great campaigns such as 'From Zagreb Balconies' where citizens have been sending their balcony views of the Croatian capital - a delightful cross-section of shots of the city, which you can explore here.

The Zagreb Tourist Board has also created a wonderful virtual section on its website called What to Do at Home.



One of the best resources for understanding the complete situation in this beautiful city under attack from corona and earthquakes is the Love Zagreb blog, another Zagreb Tourist Board project online, which brings the heartbeat of the city into your living room. There were some fabulous texts written in recent weeks. If I could pick out a few to check out, they would be:

Zagreb - A City With a Spirit of Steel

In The Times of Hardship, We Stick Together

You Can Still Have Fun While Staying Indoors

Zagreb's Virtual Farmers' Market

I have been coming to Zagreb for years, once a week minimum pre-corona, but now I was learning something new on a  weekly basis, new places to explore when all this is over. 

This month brought a new month of discovery and emotion. 

Zagreb. Be There. Again... 

And I will be. Tomorrow. Leaving Hvar for the first time in two months, destination Zagreb. I am excited but strangely nervous about what I will find. I, who have travelled the world, lived in 10 countries and visited 96. 

A new month. A new campaign, with the dulcet tones of Emmy Award-winning reader, Rob Reider.

Zagreb Loves You. 

This video is made of memories... and soon... we will be making new ones. With YOU! 

Can't wait to see you again in Zagreb! 

And nor can I. Until tomorrow, then. 

The campaign runs until May 19, and there have been more than 300 submissions so far, making it more popular than the Zagreb balconies feature. 

And I will be adding my own contribution tomorrow, as well as eagerly awaiting the next phase of the campaign.

Follow the latest on the official Zagreb Tourist Board Facebook page.