How is Zadar Taking Advantage of Its Luka Modric Fame Gift?

Total Croatia News


July 21, 2019 – Just over a year after the incredible success of Croatia’s team and fans at the World Cup in Russia, how is Luka Modric’s birthplace taking advantage of such an amazing free gift? The view from Zadar.

Zadar, this time last year.

The birthplace of one of the hottest names on the planet – Luka Modric, captain of the tiny country which dared to dream, and reached the World Cup Final. 

It wasn’t just the team, it was the fans and THAT shirt. Croatia was as hot as the sexy men and women who make up its population. As a tourism country, was there a greater gift?


Sixty BILLION article views mentioning Croatia. Incredible. The 2019 season was assured, a statue of Modric was assured, and Croatian tourism was going to cash in like never before. 


If only Croatia was not located in the Kingdom of Accidental Tourism. Google Trends documented ‘the World Cup effect’ a year later. 

The concept of branding football with tourism was obvious, surely? I felt motivated to write an article on the very subject


I didn’t understand. This was the party as Luka Modric came home a year ago.

World Cup celebrations as they once were. 

There were even more gifts. It was almost as though a higher being was guaranteeing that Croatian tourism could not fail. At some point during the World Cup, a video emerged of a 5-year-old Luka Modric herding goats as the wolves circled. I don’t know much about Luka’s childhood, but to be fair he knows less about mine. His family is from the small village of Modrici close to Zadar, and they sounded like a very traditional Dalmatian village family 

I was having a Croatian tourism promotion orgasm at the prospects of what the Kings of Accidental Tourism could do with this, but here was my foreplay.

Welcome to Zadar, the birthplace of Luka Modric. Bring your kids to play football in the streets where he learned to become a World Cup star. All in a nice welcoming mural like they used to have for other Croatian heroes (see lead photo). 

Come and discover the Mediterranean as It Once Was and visit the village where Luka was born. Perfect selfie material, away from the crowds. And while you are there, why not learn more about traditional village life and cuisine with our special tour?

Zadar is pleased to host a Luka Modric World Cup kids tournament in the streets where he honed his skills. Contact us here for more information. 

Come and meet Luka’s teacher and classmates, and learn how good he was at school. 

The Luka Modric goat herding experience for the kids. Pay a little extra, and add some wolves for a truly authentic experience. 


Looking for a Luka shirt as a souvenir? Zadar is full of them.

Except not quite. A Zadar friend told me tonight how shocked he was that you couldn’t even buy a Modric shirt. 

I contacted the Croatian National Tourist Board to ask them for more information about how they capitalised on the World Cup gift. Here is what they had to say:

Looking at the World Cup and how the CNTB (HTZ) used this to promote Croatia, the CNTB used social media channels and UGC (user-generated content) to amplify the impact of the win both prior to, during and after the World Cup, especially with the tourism ambassadors video which starred numerous players from the Croatian National football team, which had had both great organic reach and engagement. We also had real-time campaigns across Twitter – where the CNTB had engagement higher than that of other countries, where we capitalized on real-time interaction with fans, Facebook video and posts across markets that used the aforementioned video in shorter vignettes to promote tourism products such as gastronomy, nature, active tourism, cultural tourism, etc. The Croatia Feeds campaign utilized the success via paid promotion on digital channels landing on the CF platform via the following link.

There was also over 24 hours of live broadcasts through Instagram during the World Cup. The video was also picked up and shared by 9gag, Lonely Planet and reshared by numerous other pages and individuals. Croatia also took advantage of the unintentional trampling of AFP photographer Yuri Cortez to extend an invitation to visit Croatia, which resulted in great PR and media coverage both in Croatia and abroad both prior to and during his visit to Croatia.


I have to confess the article on Croatia Feeds WAS rather good. The author’s style was vaguely familiar. 

But my immediate reaction to myself was that it sounded that the job of the Croatian National Tourist Board was now over promoting the World Cup. Surely it was just beginning?

Jebiga, what do I know? A few years ago, I was persuaded to dress up as Alfred Hitchcock to celebrate the content of the filmmaker’s 1964 assertion that Zadar had the best sunset in the world. It was a cloudy day and I looked a little more like Churchill, but the event was a success. And the idea has never been repeated. How hard would it be to dress up a Hitchcock lookalike at Greetings to the Sun and charge a euro a time for those beloved selfies?

But the overnight stays keep on growing. 

My ultimate fantasy for the Kingdom of Accidental Tourism is that one day the focus may shift from statistics to content. 

To learn more about Zadar, check out the Total Croatia Zadar in a Page guide



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