Place2Go Promotion Aims to Attract Indian Tourists to Croatia Post-Pandemic

Lauren Simmonds

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As Poslovni Dnevnik/Marija Crnjak writes, after a two-year break due to the global coronavirus pandemic, this spring the International Tourism Fair, Place2Go, is returning to the Zagreb Arena, where thirteen countries will present their local exhibitors, mostly from Croatia’s more immediate region, but also from distant areas such as Indonesia, Maldives and India.

Moreover, India is a partner country of the Place2Go fair, which is accompanied by the fortunate circumstance that India opened up to international travel just five days ago, two years since the closure of its borders due to the coronavirus pandemic. A Place2Go promotion could be just what is needed to attract a huge market of people to this country.

Opening a new niche

Croatia may well be able to count on this distant and very important market, with which a new niche of “startup tourism” is opening, the organisers and partners of the fair announced on Thursday. “We’re happy that after a two-year break, and several failed attempts to organise this fair, we can finally announce Place2Go, which we managed to organise over the last month, and do the job that used to last ten months before the pandemic struck.

We have equipped ourselves, taken reinforcements, we ‘e happy to have our loyal sponsors with us, and things are going well. Additionally, over this period we were at fairs in Belgrade and Ljubljana and we noticed a great interest in Place2Go,” said the organiser of the fair, Damjana Domanovac, at a recently held press conference.

As usual, the first day of the fair is reserved for B2B meetings and networking with the topics of smart tourism, the green transition and digitalisation, and the weekend will be intended for visitors, for whom admission is free.

The audience will enjoy lectures by bloggers and travel writers, a game with a prize being a trip to the Maldives, as well as a rich entertainment programme. Currently, entry is planned only for those who possess a valid COVID certificate or a negative test, but an interpretation by the Croatian Institute of Public Health is still pending as to whether this will remain mandatory, according to Domanovac.

The Place2Go fair is an opportunity that India wanted to use to further promote a country that has worked hard in the last two years to strengthen its tourism infrastructure, said Indian Ambassador to Croatia Raj Kumar Srivastav.

“I believe that travel restrictions, as well as the coronavirus pandemic, are now behind us, and that provides us with many opportunities for economic cooperation and tourism. Indian tourism over the last two years has been limited to domestic traffic, so Indians are eager for both cross-border guests and to travel abroad themselves. 85 percent of India’s population has been vaccinated against the novel coronavirus. Back in 2019, 70,000 Indians travelled to Croatia, up from 50,000 one year earlier, a significant increase that I expect to continue now. I believe that Croatia will reach its pre-pandemic figures from the Indian market this year, and we’ll exceed that next year, if there are no major surprises,” said Ambassador Srivastav.

Startup tourism

The Indian Ambassador also expects that additional tourist exchange with India will be stimulated by economic cooperation, for example through the India-Croatia Startup Bridge project, which is entering a new phase in early April.

As is already fairly well known, this is a digital platform launched at the end of last year with the aim of strengthening trade and economic cooperation between Croatia and India. In a few days, more precisely on April the 4th, the first startup challenge will start, sponsored by Koncar and Infobip from the Croatian side, and the winners of the challenge will have the opportunity to exchange, Croatian startups will travel to India and vice versa.

“We can call it startup tourism because it’s a two-week trip and different destinations will be visited, and families will also be able to be taken on these trips. For example, I would like to see our startups from the gaming industry in Novska, which is one of the best ecosystems for this industry in Europe,” said Ambassador Raj Kumar Srivastav, who clearly believes that a Place2Go promotion will offer many benefits to both India and Croatia.

For more, make sure to check out our travel section.


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