April 25, 2018 – Best known perhaps as one of Europe’s top tourism destinations, Croatia is punching above its weight on the global stage in many different ways, and 2018 has begun with a wave of creativity.
As TCN moves its primary focus from tourism to the realities of daily life in Croatia, there is a wealth of discovery to be made. Some tragic stories, some inspiring, but an undercurrent of the modern Croatia is a class of entrepreneur who is succeeding outside of the system, not with the help of the system but in spite of it. And the closer one looks, the more impressive their stories become. 2018 is in many ways a typical year of private enterprise and innovation, an area we have perhaps not focused on sufficiently thus far. For when begins to look at what ordinary Croats are achieving in the private sector, it really is magnificent.
2018 is not yet four months old, and here are just five Croatian achievements which have caught TCN’s eye this year so far.
1. Rimac Automobili and C_Two
He initially lit up the Geneva Motor Show with his Concept One, and Mate Rimac returned to the iconic Swiss auto show earlier this year to do the same again, with the unveiling of his latest masterpiece, the Rimac C_Two, which stunned the motoring world in a similar fashion to his Concept One appearance. This, in a country with no car industry, a private business competing with – and beating – the best in the world. The Rimac success story is quickly going global, and the recent announcement of a Rimac factory to be built in China is the start of a global story for the luxury Croatian car maker.
As for the C_Two, take a tour in the video, but if you want to be one, you are sadly too last – the limited edition electric vehicle quickly sold out.
2. Tesla Conquers the Sahara, Croatian Style
Croatia is, of course, the birthplace of one Nikola Tesla, a fabulous branding opportunity for Croatian tourism which has been largely ignored until now. It was somewhat fitting, therefore, that two crazy Croats should be the first to conquer one of the final frontiers, as Oleg Mastruko and Sasa Cvetojevic are heading to the Guinness Book of Records as the first people (ably assisted by Tomas, Ceh bez Fejsa) to cross the Sahara Desert with an electric car on the recent Budapest to Bamako Rally. You can read more about their achievement here, as well as enjoy a pre-departure interview with TCN in the video below.
And while the Sahara duo’s efforts were impressive indeed, kudos too to another duo who have done much to expand the electric vehicle story in Croatia. Igor and Tina Kolovrat, organisers of the Nikola Tesla EV Rally in Croatia for several years, have just announced a major expansion to their operations – and what a fabulous promotion of the land of the birthplace of Nikola Tesla – by taking their 2019 Nikola Tesla EV Rally to China. We will have much more on this story shortly.
3. TripAdvisor Who? Local Food Around the Globe, Recommended by Experts. Meet TasteAtlas
A global map of local food, with recommendations of the best places to try that food, as recommended by food critics, not fake TripAdvisor reviews. Such an obvious concept, and yet not available. Until now. Meet TasteAtlas and owner Matija Babic, who has turned his attention from running Croatia’s most popular news portal, Index.hr, to the world of food. And with stunning effect – TasteAtlas is already providing tourists with the very best local food experiences all over the globe, and it is still in pre-launch phase. Learn more about TasteAtlas with TCN’s recent interview with Matija.
4. Croatian Health Tourism: From Medical Breakthroughs to European Excellence
Did you know that organised tourism in Europe began in Croatia, way back in 1868 on the beautiful island of Hvar? Or that next month, on May 15, the island will celebrate 150 years of organised tourism in Europe, tourism which today is based on beaches, sun and nightlife, but back then was very much centred on health tourism, after the founding of the Hvar Health Society back in 1868, which was formed to help the sick aristocrats from the Austro-Hungarian Empire recuperate? Croatian medical excellence continues today, in a variety of fields, as we have previously explained in Why Zagreb is Destined to be the Next Hit Medical Tourism Destination.
Croatia’s health tourism credentials have been enhanced considerably in the fields of research and medical excellence already in 2018, with numerous examples to cite. St. Catherine’s Specialty Hospital, already with a global reputation after just a few years of existence, was involved in yet one more piece of groundbreaking research, discovering a possible early diagnostic tool for rheumatoid arthritis. Meanwhile, in the field of dermatology, no less than three Zagreb clinics were voted in the top six in Europe. You will be hearing a lot more about the quality and potential of Croatian health tourism.
5. Croatian Student Innovation, Of Waves and Smart Benches
Despite being a small country off the radar of the big IT companies, Croatia has consistently been providing innovative excellence for a number of years now – this is the land of Tesla after all. Arguably the most successful student entrepreneur in recent years is Ivan Mrvos, whose smart benches have captured the imagination and eco-credentials of many local authorities around the globe, and 2018 has started brightly for his company, with a continuation of his company’s global expansion. Others are following suit, and Croatia is becoming known as a global force in the smart bench industry. There is more to Croatian student innovation than Mrvos, however, and one of the early discoveries of 2018 from the Croatian student quarter has come from Split student, Branimir Jurun, who has devised the first instrument to measure sea wave pressure.
There are just over eight months left in 2018 – who knows what Croatia will contribute to the global stage in that time?