Continuing our popular look at the bloggers of Croatia, TCN caught up with something of a rarity on February 29, 2016, a lady who blogs about Croatian politics in English. Meet Ankica Mamić, who has some very interesting opinions on both politics and tourism in Croatia.
1. Introduce your blog and tell us why you started it, and what you hope to achieve?
I was unhappy with the approach and the way in which our media covered specific themes, which I think are very important, and I believe that there are many topics that even can’t reach the media scene and through the media, reach the general public. Interest groups are holding the media focus on things they want to be in public’s focus and being aware that I am an insider in Croatian politics since the country’s establishment, I wanted to introduce a new view on hot topics. Although this blog initially started one day as a means of fighting off my frustration, I started to believe that I can create a new focus and show a different point of view to selected topics I write about.
2. You write about politics and tourism, two emotive topics in Croatia. Tourism first. Are you satisfied with the direction being taken by the Croatian tourism chiefs? What mistakes are being made, and what opportunities missed?
Tourism is one of the hottest Croatian topics, while politics is hot no matter which country we are talking about.
Tourism is, although contributing to our GDP a share of over 15 percent, still something that in most of the cases is happening by itself and is highly dependable on weather conditions and very seasonal. It sometimes amuses me how our governments rely on a huge amount of our budget on an industry that is operational 3 months in a year and depends on the number of rainy or sunny days.
There is no actual strategy that would define the direction, conditions and preconditions for achieving set goals, or how to gain profits from our most valuable assets. There is a highly influential small group of tourist professionals and politicians who make the most important decisions regarding our tourism, and in that they strive to pursue their own individual goals instead of taking the national interest and agenda into consideration. Istrian politicians took a huge advantage of using public money that is distributed through the Croatian National Tourist Board which was not fair and was not done in order to improve Croatian tourism on the whole, but to fulfil the private interests of that specific group of people.
Additionally we miss opportunities on daily basis, we are lacking behind on using potentials of new media such as social networks and bloggers. Moreover, tourism is not connected to the food processing industry which means that we are missing on huge opportunities for exporting our product to tourists that come to Croatia. In short there are lot of things that can be done differently and I could write on these topics every day.
3. The project Croatia 365 has been in the media recently. What concrete and affordable steps can be taken to genuinely extend the season and attract new types of tourism to Croatia?
I support the project Croatia 365 and I think that it is a very good idea, but without a proper execution, it only stays an idea and a wish. The first and foremost condition for this project to be successful are flight connections. The Croatian National Tourist Board should promote the introduction of new flights to various destinations and negotiate with airlines to prolong their summer schedules to the spring and autumn period. If more tourists came, more attractions would be opened, more restaurants and hotels would work longer and even new attractions and experiences would be developed.
4. Coming to the very hot topic of politics – your overview of events on the Croatian political scene from the elections of November 8 to the present day?
I’m still trying to keep my optimism about the new government. I think that somebody is trying very hard to push the Partizani-Ustashe agenda in order to move the focus from actual problems and issues – economic problems that need to be solved urgently. Again here the emphasis is on emotions instead of rationally solving issues one by one.
5. Croatia is a very divided society politically, with political allegiance taken seemingly almost at birth. Reconciliation does not seem to be high on anyone’s agenda. Why is that do you think, and is there any hope that Croatian society can reconcile itself?
As a communications professional, I think that we have never actually developed a communication strategy regarding issues that are dividing our society. Also, both the main political parties are forcing these issues on their agenda because it gives them a reason to exist. Their economic programs are not understandable to the general public and are not so different, so the only thing that makes a difference between them is are you on Ustasha or Partizani side.
There is always hope, and I honestly believe that it will start to change with new generations.
6. You run your own marketing and PR company. How do you see the business climate in Zagreb these days? Any discernable improvements since EU entry, and what should be the business priorities of the new Prime Minister?
Every new government creates a positive atmosphere for a short period of time. Croatian entrepreneurs strongly believe that this government will create a positive change and that something positive will start to happen. So, let’s give them two more months.
EU entry had a positive impact on the Croatian economy and growth of our GDP. Investments should be the first priority of the new Prime Minister. With investments, new workplaces are open and further economic growth can be achieved. We have an insupportable difference between the number of people who are actually working and retired people, and in this situation opening new work places is of the utmost importance
7. Your thoughts on the blogging scene in Croatia?
There are some good bloggers who are making a difference but in politics I believe that only pollitica.com, a platform developed by Marko Rakar, is truly developing good content.
About Ankica Mamić
Ankica Mamić is the owner of the IM&C public relations agency. She has been in the business of marketing and public relations for more than 20 years and according to her achieved results and influence, she can rightly be considered a PR pioneer in Croatia. As an expert she has led some of the most important communication projects in Croatia. She is certified CIPR lecturer and member of Croatian Public Relations Association (HUOJ), International Public Relations Association (IPRA), Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR), European Public Relations Education and Research Association (EUPRERA).