Do We Recognize All Opportunities to Brand Croatia? Here are some…

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It is no longer enough to just have the sun and the sea. Everything that evokes emotions should be used in the branding of Croatia; anything that carries a Croatian story and enables an experience available nowhere else in the world. That is the conclusion of the “We Are Croatia” panel about the chances of branding Croatia as a desirable destination.

“The success of our athletes has increased Croatia´s visibility, and those results are additionally valorized by the Croatian Tourist Board. According to our research, we are much more recognizable after the World Cup than six months ago. We also have amazing nature, gastronomy, cultural heritage and so much more – everything we need to accentuate. People today are looking for experiences that include originality, tradition and so many more elements that make a destination stand out. Croatia truly has so much to show to the world, and we often underestimate ourselves even though we belong at the very top”, stated Kristjan Staničić, Director of the Croatian Tourist Board.

The Olympic, World and European sailing champion, Šime Fantela, agreed that our top athletes are excellent promotors. ‘Each sport has its audience, and athletes take part in creating a brand with their names and results. During regattas at some of the most beautiful destinations I noticed that our natural beauties, our infrastructure and the rest of our offer is right at their level – by working together we can do the same right here.

The Dogus Group has brought some of the most attractive sailing classes to Croatia, they attracted the créme de la créme of global sailing. By doing so, the opened space for future similar events, as well a quality positioning of Croatia as a sailing destination”, stated Fantela. It is no longer enough to have just the sun and the sea, noted top chef and gastronomy aficionado Mate Janković. “The situation in gastronomy is slowly moving forward, one might say that, in our case, we are facing a sort of a turning point. We have Michelin starred restaurants, a globally relevant gastronomical guide – and we have a new generation of chefs is coming of age abroad and planning to return to Croatia. We have just published a bilingual Croatian cookbook where we worked with 36 chefs, and my plan is to write a book dedicated to “oštarijas” and “konobas” (taverns). Furthermore, we have world class wines, and our biggest assets are autochthonous sorts. You cannot promote Croatia without Croatian products” claimed Janković. It is also very vital to transfer emotion when branding a country, stated photographer and director Hrvoje Serdar. “it´s very easy to get a good emotional photo here. We can so many people taking beautiful pictures on social media. They tend to trust filters less, because they might have gone too far with them. We slowly seeing the return of real photography and the reduction of its “over-the-topness””, marked Serdar.

Foreign tourists consider us to be exotic, says Aleksandar Šekuljica of the ELFS fashion duo. “They come to shop for clothes, and that experience would be so much more interesting if they knew the story of the Croatian textile industry”, stated Šekuljica. You have to have a recognizable product, agreed Ivan Tandarić of ELFS. “Considering the fact that we are pretty small, we have to be really likeable towards foreigners for them to visit us. Different people find different things interesting”, said Tandarić.