Osijek Highlander Brand Reaches United Arab Emirates!

Lauren Simmonds

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As Poslovni Dnevnik/Marta Duic writes, the Osijek Highlander brand began as a mountaineering adventure, and this group of nature lovers from Eastern Croatia have taken their passion across the globe.

This Croatian team of recreational mountaineers and nature lovers from Osijek are responsible for the creation of this mountaineering adventure following their recognition of the sheer beauty of Croatia’s many stunning mountain peaks and roads.

This adventure initially took off back in 2017 on the beautiful Velebit mountain range, and five years later, new routes were announced in impressive international locations, such as Egypt and now the United Arab Emirates. Recently, a press conference was held for the latter location – HIGHLANDER55 RAS AL KHAIMAH x UAE is the official name of the event, which will take place from the 18th to the 20th of November, 2021.

The attractive trail will pass through Jebel Jais, the highest peak of the Hajar mountain range, which isn’t a desert terrain, but still takes place on a demanding mountain trail. The terrain alternates from dry sandy terrain over coastal areas and saline plains to mangrove and mountain forests, making it a fascinating place for all nature lovers and adventurers. It is also home to numerous mountain goats, camels, foxes, wild cats, as well as hundreds of bird species.

The announcement of the event in the UAE was also supported by the new global ambassador of the Osijek Highlander brand – Ryan Pyle, a researcher, adventure photographer, TV producer and presenter. He has created, filmed and hosted four seasons of the Extreme Treks series, as well as many other internationally acclaimed outdoor series. His photographs have graced the covers of the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Time, Forbes and other international publications, as well as several books.

The organisers of this mass mountaineering event from Eastern Croatia created a true and totally different kind of mountaineering story, which turned into a sporting, but also a big business venture which is rapidly conquering foreign markets. Here in Croatia, the Osijek Highlander brand is held on Velebit, and back in 2020 it was held for the fourth time despite the pandemic.

They have also recorded continuous growth in terms of their participants. Back in 2017 there were 60 of them, a year later 120, last year 250, and this year as many as 330 participants. In addition, Highlander has its variants in countries such as Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Austria and Greece, and at a press conference held in Egypt, new countries were announced to join the list, including Morocco, Portugal, Northern Macedonia, Spain, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Slovenia, Russia and Egypt. 

“After developing the event here in Croatia for three years, we decided to make a franchise last year because we’d created a concept that currently doesn’t exist anywhere, and it has an excellent business model and isn’t really demanding to implement. At the end of 2019, we sold licenses to Austria, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Greece. As soon as 2020 started and as soon as we announced new markets, we started talks with our partners around the world and negotiated the sale of the license to other countries. Then the pandemic came and slowed everything down. But, fortunately, there are entrepreneurs who see an opportunity in everything, including in the coronavirus crisis. With such visionaries, we’ve agreed on 10 more markets for 2021,” they concluded from Highlander.

For more on Croatian innovation, check out Made in Croatia.


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