Tourism is changing, and new opportunities are presenting themselves, just as more tradiional mass tourism seem to be a thing of the past.
The pandemic has helped accelerate the previous trend towards remote work, with an oft-quoted pre-pandemic figure of one billion remote workers globally by 2035, a number which now sounds conservative.
Croatia has been one of the more high-profile countries in the world over the last year with its efforts to introduce the digital nomad permit, which came into effect on January 1, 2021.
The number of applicants is increasingly steadily, but the bigger PR message gained both from the visa push (only Estonia in Europe had a digital nomad visa when Croatia’s was announced last summer), coupled with Croatia’s more relaxed stance on allowing travellers to come in, and its position as an EU country outside the Schengen zone, has attracted a steady number of digital nomads over the last year.
Saltwater Nomads, in cooperation with TCN, the City of Dubrovnik and the Dubrovnik Tourist Board organised the first-ever digital nomad conference in Croatia last October, followed by the world’s first digital nomad-in-residence program in Dubrovnik which ended last month.
The focus has now shifted to the Croatian capital, where Zagreb Digital Nomad Week 2021 & Zagreb Digital Nomad Ambassador Project kicked off this morning at Canopy by Hilton, one of 7 locations over 7 days, exploring 7 DN-related themes.
The project is a collaboration between Saltwater Nomads, TCN, Doma Zagreb, the Digital Nomad Association Croatia, and the Zagreb Tourist Board (funded by the latter), and there was a high-profile turn out from city and national officials to open the conference.
After the opening welcome from Saltwater Nomads CEO Tanja Polegubic, State Secretary for Tourism and Sport, Sandra Herman, was next to speak. Herman pointed out the support the Ministry has given to the push for the digital nomad permit, a collaboration between various ministries, and Dutch entrepreneur Jan de Jong, whose open letter to Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic on LinkedIn last July started the permit initiative.
The new Mayor of Zagreb, Tomislav Tomasevic, was represented by Ivo Spigel, one of the founders of the Mozemo platform working with the new city administration. Spigel pointed out the excellence of the Croatian startup scene and plans for digitalisation. A younger and more forward-thinking city administration seems keen to engage with the new opportunity of remote work for Zagreb.
Martina Bienenfled, CEO of the Zagreb Tourist Board, voiced her strong support for the digital nomad initiative, seeing it as a great opportunity for Zagreb tourism to develop in a new direction. A safe, affordable European capital, with enviable lifestyle, great gourmet options, activities and nature in and around the city,, with great connectivity and English widely spoken are just some of the competitive advantages.
The 7 days will each focus on an individual theme – cybersecurty, online presence, remote careers, tax & finance, the future of work, wellbeing, and explore Zagreb. The keynote speakers are a mixture of in person and remote speakers. Mandy Fransz of Make the Leap Digital, flew in from the Netherlands, and she will have her keynote speech on Oline Presence tomorrow at 09:00 at BIZkoshnica Coworking, tomorrow’s host.
Day 1 focused on the theme of cybersecurity, with Marko Rakar – recognised by the World eGovernment forum as one of the “Top 10 who are changing the world of politics on the internet” – as the keynote speaker. Rakar gaven an entertaining and thought-provoking presentation, which had everyone in the room a little more concerned about their online security. You can read Rakar’s pre-conference TCN interview here.
And no digital nomad conference would be complete without its own mascot, and Miso the dog made his presence felt during the opening speeches.
Each evening this week includes a networking Happy Hour, followed by a themed tour of the city by local specialists, Secret Zagreb.
The rest of the programme is available online on the Saltwater Nomads website, and each session is livestreamed. Registration is free, both online and in person, and you can see the rest of the program and register here.
Meet Friday’s keynote speaker, Albert Cañigueral, one of the Dubrovnik nomads-in-residence, and recently appointed to lead the Catalan Government’s Transparency and Open Data division. Albert will be focusing on the topic of the day, the future of work.
Meet tomorrow’s host – BIZkoshnica, Zagreb Coworking Since 2015: Mirela Marovic Omerzu Interview.
Tourist Board Director Martina Bienenfeld on Zagreb Digital Nomad Week, Ryanair, Tourism in Pandemic
Want to be a Zagreb Digital Nomad Ambassador and live in the city for a month between July and December?
For the latest news and features od digital nomads in Croatia, check out the dedicated TCN section.