Innovative Tourism in Croatia: Alfred Hitchcock Returns for One Last Zadar Sunset with Intours

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As Croatia diversifies from its beach and sun tourism, innovative agencies are telling the stories of the country’s past. An innovative tour for international travel agents included the return of Alfred Hitchcock to Zadar on April 8, 2016. 

Croatian tourism exists in many forms, and yet some of its most innovative and successful aspects rarely make the headlines, but they tend to produce some of the strongest memories.

One aspect of Croatian tourism which tends to operate outside the official system, and often without official support, is the destination management company, or DMC, companies which are responsible for bringing in large groups of tourists via partner agencies in other countries. An important component of this approach is the FAM (familiarisation) trip for partner agencies, who are invited for an intense tour of the territory and activities on offer, so that they can experience all aspects of the holidays they are trying to sell to their customers.  

One of the more successful DMCs is Intours, which has offices throughout the region, and which offers innovative luxury tours in Croatia and Slovenia. TCN was invited to take part in the latest tour, with targeted partner agency groups from the UK, Scandinavia and Benelux to discover the attractions of one of Croatia’s up and coming regions, Zadar.  

The three-day tour, flying into Zagreb and out of Split, was a whirlwind tour of Croatia’s finest nature, adventure, gourmet and heritage tourism, with an excellently produced and executed itinerary, despite some inconsistent weather. It was a chance to showcase what the flexibility of Intours, as well as introducing Croatia away from the beach to international travel agents, many of whom were first time visitors to Croatia.  

The tour included a tour of Zagreb, visit to Plitvice Lakes, Marascino tasting, sailing around the Zadar archipelago, a spa visit, a walking tour of Zadar, rafting on Zrmaja river, 4-wheel safari on Velebit, vineyard visits, a visit to Krka national park, and tours of Sibenik and Trogir. Quite an agenda!

An important part of any FAM trip is the accommodation, and one of Croatia’s top coastal hotels, the Falkensteiner Iadera provided the appropriate comfort after a full itinerary each day. 

What sets Intours apart from some of its competition is the extra mile the company goes to add a little colour to the experience. Which is where this TCN correspondent came in… 


In May 1964, one Alfred Hitchcock visited Zadar for a night, and he declared the view from his hotel room as ‘the most beautiful sunset in the world’. Zadar, which was voted Best European Destination 2016 earlier this year, has taken advantage of this story which a remarkable attraction called Greetings to the Sun (see video above), a popular meeting point, and a meeting point, which Intours decided would be the perfect place for an Alfred Hitchcock reunion. 

Which is where this correspondent came in. I would like to think I was chosen for my acting ability rather than my corpulence, but I fear that the latter is true, and I was delighted to accept the invitation to join the group, before being handed over to the experts. Make-up has never been my thing, but I was truly stunned by the work of Bernarda Grbesa Make-Up, and the way my face was paled and transformed in less than an hour. 

Bernarda was a star, and it was fascinating to learn more of her work as she deftly attacked every part of my face. Asking her what was her best work, she showed me the picture above of her husband, who had been chasing her without success for a while, before making an appointment for Halloween, and asking her to do something creative. An one can see, the result was stunning, and a marriage ensued, as did the title of my final Hitchcock thriller – The Zadar Beautician’s Husband.  

Before I surrendered my face to Bernarda, however, it was time for costume fitting, and Ada Duka proved to be an innovative and very patient costume expert (and many thanks for your husband’s shoes…) – a quality team who showcase what is possible in Zadar with a little creativity.

It was time for the main event, an extract of which you can find below. The famous sunset had sadly decided to hide itself behind the clouds, which led to a change in the script.   

A highly successul and fulfilling trip, but as I caught up with Intours director Ante Lacman over a late night gin and tonic in the Falkesteiner bar, I was surprised to learn that he loses 80-90% of his enquiries for trips to Croatia due to the issues of flights and hotels. It would appear that Croatia is missing a huge opportunity. I asked him to list the main things that need to change to significanly increase DMC tourist arrivals in Croatia:

1) More frequent flights especially during the pre/post season.Pre post season = March, April, October, November. By that I mean No low carriers like Ryanair, Easy Jet etc..

2) More direct flights from main/key outgoing destinations/markets: Benelux, Germany, UK especially, Scandinavia

3) More hotels of the 4, and especially 5 star. International chains like Four Seasons, Kempinski, Ritz Carlton, One and Only, Hilton, Hotel under the Starwood brand like Le Meridien, local brands as well..

4) Financial support from the Croatia National Tourist Board on organising fam trips. Better networking, support on high fees they are charging for fairs specialised for MICE IBMT, IMEX…

The rest will come by itself it these four things are fulfilled…


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