The British national, who has lived in Croatia since 2003 and runs an English-language portal where he often writes critically about the work of the CNTB, called the organisation into question last summer because of their strikingly poor communication with foreign tourists.
Bradbury then said that the CNTB didn’t bother to deny the misinformation about the situation in Croatia that appeared in the foreign media, more precisely an Irish publication which claimed that Irish citizens couldn’t enter Croatia. To be more specific, he was irritated by the fact that there was no reaction to the erroneous claims that citizens of not only Ireland but also Belgium couldn’t enter Croatia.
“One of the tasks of the CNTB should be to follow the European media and then correct any misinformation, because in addition to the Irish, misinformation was also published in the Belgian media that their citizens cannot enter Croatia,” Bradbury told Index.
On the same occasion, Paul Bradbury criticised the CNTB for their lack of promotion of Croatian tourism in the markets of Switzerland, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia. He stated that one of the biggest Croatian competitors, Greece, promotes its tourist destinations across all foreign media, while Croatia has limited advertising to just seven countries.
“I don’t know why they don’t target the Swiss, who are well-to-do guests and we’re a destination they can drive to, or why the campaign isn’t being conducted in neighbouring countries like Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina, especially now that we won’t get any Americans,” Bradbury wondered.
He was also sued for the use of the word uhljeb
Bradbury’s remarks obviously hit a sensitive nerve with the Croatian National Tourist Board, which is why the organisation soon filed a lawsuit against him. In the text of the lawsuit that Bradbury published on TCN, it can be seen that the CNTB states that Bradbury presented untruths and slanderous claims against the organisation. The CNTB defends their stance by claiming that they have taken all necessary measures to achieve the best possible tourist results, and that they have promoted Croatian tourism in fourteen, not just seven foreign countries.
However, that lawsuit isn’t the only procedure initiated by the CNTB against Paul Bradbury. The lawyer Vanja Juric described the second lawsuit to Telegram. “It’s a cover photo he posted on Facebook. He placed the slogan ”Croatia full of life” but replaced the last word so that it read ”Croatia full of uhljebs”. The CNTB felt called out here, although there’s no mention of that organisation anywhere whatsoever. Despite that, they initiated another procedure against him, in which they’re also asking for 50 thousand kuna,” the lawyer explained.
”The CNTB didn’t request a correction”
Talking about the lawsuit filed by the CNTB against Bradbury for his statements transmitted by Index.hr, Vanja Juric said that it’s possible to refute it on several grounds. First and foremost, the lawyer points out that the CNTB didn’t ask for any correction to those allegations that they considered to be incorrect. “They didn’t turn to Index at all, nor did they sue Index, nor did they send a request for any corrections or anything like that. Instead, very soon after the interview was published, they just filed a lawsuit against Paul Bradbury.
Usually when someone wants to deny something, or explain an inaccuracy to the public, the first means they resort to is a request to correct the information. This means that you are requesting for the published material to be corrected, after which a link to that request is published in the original article. If this had been done in this case, it would’ve been seen that that the CTNB had corrected and explained what Paul Bradbury had claimed in his article,” said the lawyer, going on to further explain:
“In my opinion, only one thing can be concluded from the CNTB’s decision to file a lawsuit immediately: they want to punish him for what he normally does, and that is commenting on Croatian tourism and the role of the CNTB. I think that they simply want to punish and intimidate him, and that they actually want to send out a message: don’t do it anymore, because every time you say something, we’re going to sue you,” believes Vanja Juric.
”They said they were postponing their campaigns”
Juric also noted that the lawsuit shows that the CNTB has misinterpreted the concept of defamation. “I don’t see at all what part of it they’re disputing, given that in their statement on March the 30th, they themselves said that they were postponing all campaigns. There’s nothing defamatory in Paul Bradbury’s statements, considering that the things he said came from the CNTB’s own statement,” Juric said.
The lawyer also pointed out that last summer, a large amount of inaccurate information about the possibilities of foreign tourists entering Croatia was circulating in the media, as were other poorly or incorrectly written pieces of information which were, back then, very important for tourists who wanted to visit the country. In addition, she noted that it was Bradbury and his associates who started a group on Viber in which they denied all of this misinformation and helped foreigners to cope with the organisation of their visits and stays in Croatia.
Can the CNTB suffer so-called mental pain?
Furthermore, the lawyer explained that there is no evidence that Paul Bradbury’s statements caused damage to the CNTB. “Mental pain is proven by the testimony of the person who was harmed, as well as the statements of possible witnesses who saw how much that person was suffering. We argue that the CNTB, as a state organisation and a legal rather than a natural person, cannot suffer the kind of mental pain that they’re claiming to suffer.
They may suffer some damage that would be done to their reputation, however, even for that – there’s no evidence. The CNTB didn’t bring a thing to the table that would indicate that they’d suffered damage in terms of their reputation or good name,” stated Vanja Juric.
”The kings of accidental tourism”
Paul Bradbury has been publicly criticising the work of the CNTB for many years. His comments often attract the attention of the public, and many experts consider them well-founded and relevant. A few years ago, his statement quickly spread on social networks that in the event of the abolition of the CNTB Ministry of Tourism, no fewer tourists would come to Croatia than already come each year.
Bradbury often warned of the lack of content necessary for luxury tourism in Croatia, and was particularly harsh about the projects launched by the CNTB to promote Croatian tourist destinations. He once thoroughly analysed the now defunct Croatia 365 project, concluding that millions of kuna had been spent to achieve shockingly poor results. He has since called the people in charge of promoting Croatian tourism the “Kings of accidental tourism”.