For the second time in three years, VAJT has been awarded the most significant professional award, the Golden World Award given by IPRA, the International Public Relations Association, the world’s umbrella organization in public relations.
VAJT was again awarded in the Public Affairs category, this time for the project “Introduction of a visa for digital nomads – how a Dutchman provided Croatia with the first official digital nomad”, on which VAJT worked with Jan de Jong. There are many peculiarities of this communication campaign, including the fact that it’s the first one done entirely on LinkedIn, and the end result is that Croatia was among the first countries in the world and the second after Estonia in Europe to adjust its legislation and respond to the new phenomenon. in the market – young people who want to work for employers in their country, but physically out of it and at the same time enjoy the benefits that such a lifestyle provides.
“In the time of Rimac and the Olympians, little can delight, but for us there is nothing further than this. We are lucky that we can repeat good projects, and the domestic and international professional public recognizes and rewards us. The IPRA Golden World Award is the pinnacle in professional terms and I never dreamed it could be repeated to us in such a short period of time. I am especially glad that this is the Public Affairs category because working in this segment is extremely demanding, especially because the domestic public does not yet understand the role of public relations in public policies in the best way. Of course, the key to success this time was Jan de Jong as the bearer of communication. With maximum trust in us, he invested exceptional effort, gathered a small number of international experiences, was maximally positive and open to the Croatian authorities and showed how laws can be changed through affirmative communication. We are going to continue to learn and grow, and with other colleagues from Croatia we regularly take the first places because they certainly belong to us in terms of knowledge and effort “, said the director of the VAJT agency Jerko Trogrlić.
In just four months, VAJT and Jan de Jong managed to initiate changes to the law and ensure that digital nomads have a regulated stay in Croatia for a year, instead of the three months they used to be able to stay with a tourist visa. The story started with Dutchman de Jong, who moved to Croatia 14 years ago as a 22-year-old and has been changing it for the better ever since. Launching an initiative to introduce a visa for digital nomads is just one of the projects that helps its new homeland and all those who recognize Croatia as a beautiful place to live and work.
„From the moment I moved to Croatia, I fell in love with this country. But that doesn’t mean that everything is perfect and great here. Over the past 10 – 15 years, nearly 500.000 mostly young and talented Croats have left the country in search of opportunities abroad. At the same time, Croatia’s economy depends for over 20% of its GDP on tourism. When the world stopped traveling last year as a result of the global pandemic, Croatia’s economy was severely hit by not being able to welcome tourist any longer. That was the moment we connected all the dots. By introducing a digital nomad visa we could turn Croatia into a year-round destination, while at the same time reverse the brain-drain by welcoming young and talented professionals – by granting them 12-month staying permits. With a strong believe that “digital nomad tourism” could turn into a new industry for Croatia as a whole, we started our campaign on LinkedIn. After winning the support from the LinkedIn community, we managed to get the support from Prime Minister Andrej Plenković and his cabinet which I thank very much. In a country known for its bureaucracy, we have shown that Croatia was able to pivot when its presented with opportunity. None of our efforts were done with the goal to win awards. We wanted to help prepare Croatia for the next generation. This award however is an amazing recognition for the efforts we have made and serves as a reminder of an amazing journey I feel proud to have been part of“, said Jan de Jong.
For this project, VAJT has already been awarded two professional awards this year – the Polaris International Award and the Grand Prix of the Croatian Public Relations Association. In total, this is the ninth professional award for VAJT and the fourth international. As a reminder, VAJT was awarded three years ago for the campaign “Do you want to switch places?” for the client Split parking with the IPRA Golden World Award, Polaris and the Grand Prix of HUOJ.
Among this year’s IPRA laureates are the world’s best public relations agencies and large companies such as T-Com, Nestle, numerous banking houses, foundations …
The annual IPRA Golden World Awards (GWA) have been awarded since 1990 for excellence in public relations practice around the world in a variety of categories.
For more news and features on digital nomads in Croatia, follow the dedicated TCN section.