Ajme Meni! Shocking Truth of Amazing Official 'Croatian Tourism Month' Project

By 7 October 2022
Ajme Meni! Shocking Truth of Amazing Official 'Croatian Tourism Month' Project

October 7, 2022 - Ajme Meni! If you ever wanted an example of the difference between what our tourism gurus tell us, and the reality, read on - a closer look at the wonderfully successful 'Croatian Tourism Month.'

I have moved on from writing about Croatian tourism. Our new book, Croatia, a Survival Kit for Foreigners, is out next week. My new departure into the world of YouTubing brought over 50k views with the first video, and I have just been offered my own TV show.

Apart from some client commitments, I had moved on from Croatian tourism being a main focus. 

Or so I thought. 

One event I really enjoy attending each year is the annual Days of Croatian Tourism in October. It is a wonderful affair, where all official tourism workers gather for 2-3 days to congratulate themselves on another successful season. There is great food, wine, entertainment, endless selfies, and awards, awards, awards. It really is a splendid affair, so splendid that last year I renamed it as Days of Croatian Self-Congratulation. You can read more in my article on last year's gathering - Ever Been to a Party Where the Host is Suing You?

Because I am one of the rare attendees who offers some constructive criticism on occasion, I am not particularly welcome at the event in certain quarters, perhaps even more so now that the Croatian National Tourism Board decided to sue me twice in 2020 (the only blogger/journalist to be sued by them that year - cases ongoing). The reaction when I walk into the room is always wonderful - and threefold. There are those who turn their backs and want nothing to do with me. There are those who welcome me as a friend and express appreciation for what I do. And there is a bigger number who turn their backs but message me privately saying that it is nothing personal and we can meet for beers in their hometown, but that they can't be seen to be a fan of mine at such an event. 

I totally understand, for after many years, I know how Croatia works. 

I decided to come to Days of Croatian Self-Congratulation in Sibenik with the sole intention of enjoying and catching up with friends and clients. And then...

Last night's round of self-congratulations was only a warm-up to the main event tonight, which will be beamed live on national television and attended by the Prime Minister. Sustainable tourism, extending the season, all the usual buzzwords will be trotted out as usual. There is an ongoing project, Croatian Tourism Month, of which all the kings are very proud - their effort to extend the season, and a tremendous success if you believe all the official words. 


I smiled when I saw a headline in the Croatian media yesterday. Apparently, the promo video for Croatian Tourism Month, just 30 seconds, included some stock footage of a train in Norway. It must be hard to get such things right when you are busy congratulating yourself so much. 

Just for fun, I checked the stats and info below the video.


Almost a million views, but only 7 likes. Comments turned off, the post only in Croatian, and no live link to the dedicated website (which is also in Croatian only, despite Croatian National Tourist Board Director saying that the project was also targeted at foreign tourists). 

Last year I was more than a little shocked when I checked the site to find that the ONLY thing to eat all month on this incredible project was popcorn in several counties. Yep, had Cinestar not offered 35% off their popcorn, there would have been nothing to eat in four counties. (Read more in Gourmet Croatia: 35% Off Popcorn the Only Offer in Kingdom of Accidental Tourism)


Come back Cinestar!

This year the ONLY things currently available (one week into this wonderful month-long promotion) is strukli and a wine tasting in Zabok.

And that's it.

For the whole country. 


In fact, if you take accommodation out of the offer, here is what this incredible promotion has to offer in numbers:

24 - cultural attractions

26 - active tourism

13 - natural attractions

4 - wellness

1 - sailing

5 - excursions

1 - transfers (a discount on motorway tolls ENC)

18 - package holidays

2 - rural tourism

67 - experiences

The 67 experiences are fascinating. They include things like walking through Tunnel Gric in Zagreb, something I do every day, finding the planets of the sun, or taking the Zagreb funicular. All without discounts. And if you look a little closer, there is a little disclaimer:


Bajkovite prirodne i kulturne znamenitosti. Očaravajući mirisi i zvuci. Odjeci davne prošlosti. Iako nisu dio ponude akcije "Mjesec hrvatskog turizma", posjetite ove znamenitosti tokom godine i doživite Hrvatsku na jedinstven način.


Fairytale natural and cultural sights. Enchanting smells and sounds. Echoes of the ancient past. Although they are not part of the "Month of Croatian Tourism" offer, visit these sights throughout the year and experience Croatia in a unique way.

So if we take out the experiences and the accommodation, we are going to be pretty hungry with nothing to do. 

Officially, however, it seems that this excellent project is one of the saviours of 12-month tourism in Croatia, with Minister of Tourism and Sports, Nikolina Brnjac claiming in the press release:

The month of Croatian tourism, which we started at the beginning of my term as a weekly event, and last year was extended to a month due to great interest, certainly contributed to these results.

Like so many things in Croatian tourism, the idea is not bad, the execution appalling. Offering discounts of 35% in the shoulder or low season to encourage people to travel then makes sense. 

Except October is not the shoulder or low season on the continent. It may be on the coast which is where most interest and resources are invested. And expecting small businesses to take 35% off the bottom line is crazy. Being a little more creative and perhaps taking off VAT on services might attract more interest from service providers. Interestingly, the Amadria Park in Sibenik, which is hosting Days of Croatian Self-Congratulation, is not part of the Croatian Tourism Month programme.

One well-known and very successful hotelier in continental Croatia told me that the kings had asked if she was interested in joining the programme and offering a 35% discount in the month of October. She is already overbooked for the month, and her reply was brilliant:

"I will be the first to give a 35% discount in October, one of my busiest months, when I see hotels in Dalmatia offering a 35% discount in August."


Osijek, 91% booked tonight. Things may be slow on the coast right now, but if one of the aims is to boost continental tourism, they have picked the wrong month. 

I am looking forward to tonight, to see how much praise will be heaped on this wonderful official initiative. Sadly, unlike last year's Croatian Tourism Month, I won't be able to ask someone to pass the popcorn. Strukli, anyone?


Read more - What is it like to be sued by the Croatian National Tourist Board?

What's it like living in Croatia, and where can you get the best survival tips? TCN CEO Paul Bradbury and TCN Editor Lauren Simmonds have teamed up to publish Croatia, a Survival Kit for Foreigners.

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