The announcement of Veronica Mulhall as the ambassador of ‘Zagreb Digital Nomads’ concluded the fifth day of ‘Digital Nomad Week’ on Friday, where the organizers Saltwater Nomads, Total Croatia News, and the Zagreb Tourist Board presented the advantages, opportunities, and possibilities of the Croatian capital for remote digital nomad work, reports Jutarnji List.
In July, Veronica Mulhall will be the first ambassador – a digital nomad who will work and live in Zagreb for a month.
“Congratulations to Veronica on this election, Zagreb welcomes her, and I think she will have a wonderful time in our city; that is, she will have great opportunities to find her new job office here. We will introduce her to everything that Zagreb has to offer digital nomads,” said Petra Maršić Buljan from the Zagreb Tourist Board.
The ‘Zagreb Digital Nomads’ ambassador was preceded by three ‘Digital Nomad Week’ panels which analyzed future trends in the labor market, digital nomads as a solution to changes in the labor market, and Croatian policies in accepting and deepening global trends in teleworking.
Jose Alfonso Kusijanović
Before the panels, the participants were given a lecture by blogger and labor market researcher Albert Canigueral on the future of work.
“The future of work has three dimensions, the future of the job itself, the job and the fulfillment of business tasks or goals. Nomads are one of the solutions for the future of the workplace, and how far we have come in applying this way of working is evidenced, among other things, by the example of employers in the Swedish transport business who are committed to regulating the work of truck drivers from home,” said Canigueral. He recalled the thesis of the famous sociologist Peter Drucker that the basic question of the labor market is not to find answers to the demands that arise but to ask a key question of the labor market.
After Canigueral’s presentation, the first three panels of the ‘Digital Nomad Week’ closing day entitled ‘Sustainable and Self-Renewing Destinations’ followed. In addition to moderations by Ron Tardiff, the director of the Zagreb Tourist Board Martina Bienenfeld, the director of the Dubrovnik Tourist Board Ana Hrnić, the author of numerous travelogues Anja Mutić, and the entrepreneur in tourism Daniel Lacko spoke about sustainable and self-renewing tourist destinations.
Ron Tardiff, one of the winners of the last Dubrovnik Digital Nomads in Residence competition, discussed Sustainable and Regenerative Destinations with a panel that included Martina Bienenfeld, CEO of the Zagreb Tourist Board. (Jose Alfonso Kusijanović)
Ana Hrnić pointed out that the tourist season in the pearl of Croatian tourism in Dubrovnik is currently under the strong influence of last year’s consequences of the coronavirus and large restrictions in air traffic on Dubrovnik tourism, which, she warned, is an air destination. On the other hand, the Dubrovnik Tourist Board director pointed out that 2019 was a record year in terms of visiting guests for Dubrovnik tourism.
“In 2019, we took the first steps to ensure the long-term sustainability of Dubrovnik tourism, limiting the number of cruiser arrivals in the city port,” said Ana Hrnić. Martina Bienenfeld reminded that the Zagreb tourist offer in 2020, in addition to COVID-19 and lockdown, also faced a devastating earthquake.
“I must emphasize that we have not given up our efforts to prove that we are still ‘alive’ as a tourist destination, and we have done many great projects and campaigns since the beginning of the pandemic. I want to remind you that Zagreb changed, and we do not give up with new stories, new projects, highlighting some of the projects such as Pimp my Pump, Mali Zagreb and Triptych. When it comes to the sustainability of the city’s tourist offer, we try to prove that Zagreb is not only the capital of a beautiful tourist country but a great place to live and work,” said Martina Bienenfeld.
Tanja Polegubić, organizer of Zagreb Digital Nomad Week, moderated a panel consisting of Petra Maršić Buljan from the Zagreb Tourist Board, Paul Bradbury from Total Croatia News, Dalibor Kovačević from Raiffeisen Bank Hrvatska, and Matthew Parsons from Skift. The theme was Future of Work Trends and Croatia’s Global Standing. (Jose Alfonso Kusijanović)
The first panel was followed by a conversation between the moderator of ‘Digital Nomad Week’ Michael Freer, and Mandy Fransz, the founder of the company ‘Digital Leap’ for Digital Transformation.
“I heard about Croatia as a digital nomad destination, came here, and was convinced that Croatia provides a lot of events, but also opportunities for community development, which I consider the most important part of my job,” said Mandy Fransz.
In the second panel, moderated by Tanja Polegubić from Saltwater Nomads, Petra Maršić Buljan from the Zagreb Tourist Board, Paul Bradbury, CEO of Total Croatia News, editor of the Skift portal Matthew Parsons and Dalibor Kovačević from Raiffeisenbank. This was followed by a presentation by Dean Kuchel, who introduced himself to the participants as a nomadic lifestyle ambassador.
Jan de Jong (Digital Nomads Association), Nikolina Pejović (Hrvatski Telekom) and Tanja Polegubić (Saltwater Nomads). (Jose Alfonso Kusijanović)
The last panel of the fifth day featured Jan de Jong, an entrepreneur who initiated the digital nomad visa in Croatia, Kristina Grbavac from the auditing company KPMG, Branka Bajt Hrvatski Telekom, and Hermes Arriaga Sierra from Impact Hub.
Asked by panel moderator Michael Freer how he came up with the idea to initiate the introduction of digital nomad visas in our country, Jan de Jong said that at his first participation in a conference on Croatian tourism, he faced the question of how to make Croatia a year-round tourist destination. The answer to the latter question, Jan de Jong, as he said, was given in the texts of Paul Bradbury on the portal Total Croatia News.
In the third and final panel, moderated by Michael Greer, Branka Bajt from Hrvatski Telekom, Kristina Grbavac from KPMG, Jan de Jong from DNA Croatia, and Hermes Arriaga Sierra from Impact Hub discussed about DNA Croatia, Policy, and Connecting a Global Community. (Jose Alfonso Kusijanović)
“In Paul’s texts, three words shone on me, digital nomad tourism. Then I started to promote this concept in my public speeches, finding great support from the followers of my speeches, but, very soon after, almost all major media in the country,” said de Jong, revealing that after they received support for the development of digital nomad tourism from the Croatian Government, i.e., the Office of the Prime Minister. We managed, de Jong, concluded that Croatia becomes one of the top ten countries in the world with a visa for digital nomads. De Jong continues to implement his idea through the DNA Croatia association.
Paul Bradbury, Total Croatia News CEO, talks to Dean Kuchel, who spoke about Community Building, and Israel’s Ambassador to Croatia, Ilan Mor. (Jose Alfonso Kusijanović)
“One of the DNA Croatia association goals is to extend the visa from the current six-month residence permit for digital nomads. We also want to simplify the procedures regarding the taxation of digital nomads,” announced Jan de Jong.
Meet one of Friday’s keynote speakers, 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.
For the latest news and features on digital nomads in Croatia, check out the dedicated TCN section.