Dutchman Promotes Croatia Globally: Meanwhile, in the Kingdom of Accidental Tourism…

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Two different approaches to tourism promotion in Croatia. 

In the first, a successful entrepreneur from Holland who has been living in Split since 2006. With no connection to tourism whatsoever, he was intrigued by the concept of a digital nomad visa for Croatia and the benefits it could bring. An open letter on LinkedIn to Prime Minister Plenkovic started a journey which saw Croatian bureaucracy move at lightning speed, with the first digital nomad visa issued just 199 days after Plenkovic announced his intention to make Croatia only the fifth country in the world and the second in Europe after Estonia to offer it. Meet Melissa Paul, Owner of Croatia’s First Digital Nomad Visa.

Jan de Jong is now switching his focus to growing tomatoes and creating jobs in northern Croatia with a fantastic CROP Hrvatksa project which TCN featured recently. As far as I know, he is doing all this for free (and incurring expenses) because he is passionate about exploiting the many opportunities he sees in Croatia where others do not. 

I have to admit that it is wonderful to watch him on his journey, and if you have a few minutes, then check out some of his presentations on YouTube, such as this one at LEAP Summit about Living the Croatian Dream. 

The second approach to tourism promotion comes from the Croatian National Tourism Board, also known in some circles as the Kindgom of Accidental Tourism. With an annual budget of (I think) around 400 million kuna and 70-80 full-time staff, as well as (presumably) some tourism expertise, one might think that the Kings would be killing it promoting Croatia, especially when compared to one foreigner with no tourism expertise volunteering his time. 

So how is it going?

As Jan posted recently on LinkedIN (see lead photo), it is going very well indeed. There has been outstanding coverage from CNN, Washington Post Euro News, Lonely Planet, Forbes and many more. The digital nomad topic hot right now, and his efforts combined with several others, have put Croatia at the very centre of that global discussion. Global media networks are now reaching out to Jan – expect some more great coverage of Croatian tourism in the coming weeks thanks to his efforts.

For free.

As a Dutchman trying to focus on growing tomatoes. 


I was curious to see how the Kingdom of Accidental Tourism, with that huge budget and manpower, would be responding to the latest free gift to come its way. Only after I saw this message on the Total Croatia Travel INFO Viber community did I decide to check how the Kings were rising to the challenge.  



This is what you get it you search for ‘digital nomad’ on the Croatian National Tourist Board website. Just a few days ago, CNN did a fantastic piece on nomads and the Croatian lifestyle.  

I guess at least there are no spelling errors on this page. 

As representatives of the Kingdom have correctly stated, I am no tourism expert, but I do wonder how hard all this is, especially if you have 70-80 brains and around 400 million kuna working on it. It doesn’t even have to cost very much. TCN interviewed a love American nomad couple on Hvar, which led to HRT contacting us and a fantastic feature last night on HRT Puls. Above is the trailer – I will upload the full feature when it is online. 

Cost zero. Done by a volunteer. 


Facebook Memories told me this week that it is five years since the birth of the Kingdom of Accidental Tourism. Things are even more accidental now. 

The latest 7-year tourism strategy, which never has anything to do with reality, has now finished. Of the many lofty goals prepared by experts for the 2013 – 2020 period, not one of the 30 projected golf courses was built, for example.

There is no replacement strategy as yet. Has anyone even noticed?

I have a suggestion. Why not give 2% of that 400 million kuna budget to the Dutch tomato grower to see what magic he could do with just a small budget? He has more than shown proof of concept with zero kuna. 

For more on the digital nomad story in Croatia, follow the dedicated TCN section.  


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