Our journey starts back in May 2015, some two months before the launch of TCN.
I made a decision on one of our early portals, Total Split, to do an interview that I knew would be controversial and probably result in the loss of a number of readers, as well as possibly some ‘friends’.
I decided that we would interview ‘the most hated woman in Split’ and give her some media space to give her side of the story after she had been vilified in the national media without having a right of reply.
It taught me an awful lot about free speech and hate speech in Croatia, as well as losing us quite a few readers and the recipient of a couple of death threats (or, as one delightful typo put it, death treats).
And I would do it again, exactly the same with the benefit of hindsight.
I didn’t know Jacine Jadresko that well, but I always found her to be fun company. I didn’t like the fact that she was very in your face about her hunting, but then I reasoned that I was a meat-eater, so maybe I was being hypocritical. Jacine went from being relatively obscure to a national hate figure overnight after photographs of her hunting escapades on Facebook surfaced in the Croatian media.
While I didn’t necessarily agree with her stance, I also thought that in a (supposedly) democratic society, she was entitled to present her side of the story. And so we did an in-depth interview. And while the interview did not change my basic opinions on the subject, it did educate me and others (those who read further than the headline, that is) about some hunting issues. You can read it yourself here – Exclusive: Not Your Typical Split Chick…Huntress Jacine Jadresko in Her Own Words.
I thought of Jacine once more after a recent press release from the Croatian Kingdom of Accidental Tourism, celebrating 60 million viewers on Hainan TV watching a documentary about Croatia. I didn’t realise that Hainan is that big (apparently it isn’t – only 9 million people), but let’s let that thing slide. I checked my analytics for unusual search traffic after the programme aired, as we do rank pretty well for most tourism topics for Croatia. Baidu is a more frequent visitor by the week, but for that particular time, nothing.
I thought of Jacine.
In the 6 years since that original interview was written. I get random spikes from all over the world in my analytics for Jacine’s interview. We still rank well on Google for various keywords, and I have learned that a sudden spike in hits from Finland or Mexico is due to the fact that there is a documentary playing there about her. And as soon as it is over, interested people want to know more.
So with SIXTY MILLION viewers, how many people would be Baiduing for info about this wonderful Croatia?
Wait, did the Croatian Kingdom actually even offer their website in Chinese?
At first glance, it seemed that they didn’t, but nothing is ever quite as it seems in the Croatian Kingdom of Accidental Tourism.
For there IS a Croatian National Tourist Board website in Chinese, which is so well hidden that several Croats living in China are not aware of its existence.
And it has the best destination page in the history of global tourism
Before we take a closer look at this little nugget of gold, you should know something about running a website with a big readership. The TCN server goes down occasionally, for a variety of factors. If the site is down for more than 10 minutes, I will typically have 5-10 messages informing me or complaining to me.
But here, it seems, nobody even noticed. Despite the sensational promotion watched by 60 million people.
And here is the best bit. Adobe stopped supporting this feature THREE months ago.
And nobody noticed.
The Kings have an established office and director (who I am told is very nice) in Shanghai, and a potential market of 1.3 billion people to attract to Croatia. And yet, despite all the chest-thumping of another amazing promotion. nobody noticed – or cared – that there was no accessible information about Croatian destinations on the official website. Quite why there is a separate website could be an interesting topic for next time.
Now I was intrigued. How was the Croatian Kingdom’s social media presence in this vast market of 1.3 billion? They must have killed it with all those 60 million people gasping for more about this beautiful country.
I asked a Chinese friend to check out the most popular posts on Weibo (the Instagram equivalent). And she reported back that in the last 3 months, the biggest number of shares for a post on the official Kingdom Weibo account was…
Not 586 million.
Not 586 thousand.
I don’t use Instagram, and my 12-year-old daughter manages Insta for TCN between finishing her homework and going to bed. She gets more engagement in the 10 minutes a day she allocated to it.
So how is the big Croatian promotion going in Shanghai with a full office and director? As you can see from the screenshots from Weibo, rather well. The TV programme DID have an effect as ‘most of the posts prior to that got only single-digit likes’.
Croatia has a full office and director and 25,971 fans.
Slovenia, the supposedly ‘tiny’ neighbour, has no office at all in China and 500,000 fans. More than 20 times more than Croatia, without the expense of an office. But then I suppose they don’t get incredible promotion of Hainan TV to 60 million people.
Quite by chance, as part of our preparation for our new TC tourism website, going live on May 1 in 10 languages, including both simplified and traditional Chinese, my Chinese translator finished the first translation, the Top 10 things to do in Croatia in 2021. It was warmly received, and we shall be doing a lot more of the site in Chinese, both simplified and traditional.
So congratulations to the Kings of Accidental Tourism on yet another incredible promotion with a huge number.
As with every other pointless number to come out of the Croatian kingdom in the last 10 years, what does it actually mean?