On May 2 last year, I received an email invitation to cover the SMART TOURISM 5.0 conference, which the email said was “the 1st virtual gathering of tourism professionals in Croatia.”
I was not clear if I was being asked to speak as someone who is involved in tourism in Croatia, or to be the journalist covering the words of others. It turned out that the conference interest in me was to give them free PR with articles on TCN, and I politely declined.
I was curious to see who the speakers were, and I was surprised to see my good friend, Jan de Jong, as one of the speakers. A hugely successful businessman, I didn’t know that he was also a tourism professional. I called him and we chatted. He was actually about to call me to ask my advice on tourism ahead of the conference. I sent him a few articles, including a couple on digital nomad tourism, a concept that was new to him and got him really interested.
Here is Jan, speaking at that first conference, on the potential of digital nomad tourism.
What happened next was truly phenomenal, as Jan, assisted by PR guru Jerko Trgorlic from Vajt, pushed through the digital nomad permit in record time. A truly outstanding effort, and a worthy winner of the 2021 International Grand PRix Awards in the category of PR in institutions, NGOs and associations.
In Jan’s own words on LinkedIn:
What started as a dream, was followed by an unbelievable journey for everybody that was part of introducing a digital nomad staying permit in Croatia.
This regional Grand PRix Award is an amazing recognition for our efforts to help turn Croatia into a year-round destination for digital nomads from all around the world.
I would like to thank our Prime Minister, Andrej Plenkovic for the support he has given this initiation from the moment it got his attention.
Special thanks go to our State Secretary, Ms. Terezija Gras who was the driving force in bringing this staying permit to the finish line and who was the glue that held all involved ministries together.
Last but not least, a big thank you to the #LinkedIn community. Without your support this initiative would have failed before it even began.
Thank you Jerko Trogrlić and his team at VAJT d.o.o. for all your support. Its amazing to see how a small PR agency can deliver a big impact.
Congrats to Jan, Jerko and the team from Vajt. We are also following your tomato project with CROP Hrvatska very closely.
It was a good night for foreigners working to make Croatia a better place, as the Total Croatia Travel INFO Viber community also won a Grand PRix award in the category of crisis communication.