May 7, 2020 – Competition for post-corona tourists is going to be fierce. A look at how tourism countries are updating visitors on the latest travel situation so that they can play their trip. Oh dear, Croatia.
I am getting 30-40 emails a day from people asking for information about their summer holiday to Croatia. When will the borders be open? Is Ultra happening? When will flights restart? There is, many of them claim, very little information out there about the current situation in English. This surprised me, as if ever Croatia needed to keep people updated about the current situation for tourists, it is now. Competition from a much-reduced number of tourists is going to be insane when tourism starts up again, and Croatia needs to make it as easy as possible for potential visitors. At least in my opinion.
During the corona crisis, TCN has been putting together regular travel updates with all the things we can find in various places – the HAK updates on border closures, Jadrolinija ferry info, that kind of thing, as well as links to TCN articles on discussions of tourism starting again. This is the last one we did yesterday, and we will do a big update on May 11, when more restrictions will be lifted, including the resumption of internal flights. You can see the latest update here, and I would kindly ask people to read this rather than asking me when their flight will resume. I have included an airline by airline update on their plans, with links to the relevant page on the airline website.
With so many people contacting me due to lack of information elsewhere, I was curious to see what our official tourism heroes were doing to inform potential visitors about the current situation. And how did that compare with the compeition?
Here is what I found. Please make sure you are seated.
The lights are out at the Ministry of Tourism home page in English. There doesn’t seem to be a corona crisis. There is nothing happening, and the calendar is empty. The good news is that Vogue Paris and Belgian TV think Croatia is pretty cool, the chaps at the Bol Tourist Board are making some videos stories, and hotels and campsites are opening in Istria next week. Can we visit Croatia? When will flights start? Who needs to share that kind of information. We are only the Ministry of Tourism homepage.
The Croatia homepage of the ministry website has more information – and some real gems. Here is the quick contact box for those of you who want to find out what is happening. No email contact, but why not send a fax? A nice, modern means of communication from a tourism country in 2020 which currently holds the Presidency of the EU. You can learn more about the fax obsessions of Uhljebistan in An Ode to the Fax, Digital Champion of Uhljebistan 2.0.
I contacted the Croatian National Tourist Board to ask where they send people for the latest travel advice. As I have said previously, although I do not agree with much that the national tourist board does, they are the most responsive Croatian institution I deal with, and their reply was swift. They had a dedicated page of travel information, which was linked to a COVID-19 banner on the homepage.
This is the start of it.
The advice begins by telling you to check something called the EU2020 page, but there is no link, so how are tourists supposed to find it?
The second piece of advice is to send an email (not a fax) to the ministry to ask them what is happening. Given that the coronavirus seems not to be happening according to the ministry website, one can only wonder what the response time might be.
But let’s continue with the travel advice from the national tourist board. It is a thrilling read.
“Pursuant to Article 22.a of the Civil Protection System Act (Official Gazette no 82/15, 118/18 and 31/20) the Civil Protection Headquarters of the Republic of Croatia adopts on the 19 March 2020 the following.”
What the hell does that mean? I just want to know when I might be able to sit on a beach in Croatia, not read up on sub-sections of an official gazette.
This is not some random blog, this is the official attention-grabbing page for a country where tourism makes up 20% of GDP, and our official advice for updating visitors talks about Article 22.a of the Civil Protection System Act (Official Gazette no 82/15, 118/18 and 31/20).
Where do I book my plane ticket?
With the Kings of Accidental Tourism on fire, how can the competition possibly compete, and what are they doing to try and match Croatia’s innovative approach to updating visitors?
Meanwhile, in Greece, the homepage takes you to this FANTASTIC update, including a PDF document detailing all the measures for the easing of restrictions. Gold star and a chocolate biscuit to Greece.
The Italian Tourist Board is going to have to work hard to get tourists after the corona stigma. And it is. More gold stars and chocolate biscuits.
And congratulations to Serbia. Not only lots of prominent info.
But also links to applications and hotlines.
And over the border in Slovenia, I actually think they care about getting tourists, and they have even invested in the concept of being responsive to their needs, with a detailed optional survey on the homepage.
Meanwhile, in the Kingdom of Accidental Tourism, it is business as usual.
For the latest on Croatian tourism, follow the TCN travel section.