Damaged But Resilient: Brilliant Zagreb Tourist Board Virtual Campaign

Total Croatia News


April 19, 2020 – How to respond to corona on the outside, earthquakes on the inside and economic collapse all around if you are in the tourism business? Respect to the Zagreb Tourist Board and their new online campaign.

This is a period of our lives that none of us will ever forget. A period with such seismic change and total shock for all of us, where we are coming to terms that things will never be quite the same. In terms of shocks and the embedded memory, it is up there with 9/11, the 2008 crash and (for some reason, even though I have no interest in the Royal Family) the death of Lady Diana. 

And in this time of crisis – whether that crisis be health, economic, mental or social unrest, a combination of these four things or perhaps all rolled into one – there is arguably not a person on the planet who has not been affected by the corona crisis. And with so many stories of personal misery and suffering, it is totally understandable that people do not have the time or capacity to take on the pain and suffering of others. 

But if you do have the time and the capacity to hear about what others are going through, I want to tell you about an incredible city with a big heart, which has suffered much more than most, and whose resilience and determination to survive and prosper is beyond admirable. 

The city is Zagreb, the City of One Million Hearts. 

And the online response of the Zagreb Tourist Board and the Croatian National Tourist Board has been magnificent.


With the corona crisis at its height, the Croatian capital was rocked by a series of earthquakes on March 22, as reported by TCN. Those harrowing pictures of the poor mothers and their newborns went all over the world.

TCN has covered the earthquake and its aftermath extensively, and you can see the entire coverage here, but for this article I want to focus on the response of both the national and Zagreb tourist board in its online handling of the tragedy. Because it was magnificent. 

The same day as the earthquake, the national tourist board posted this very moving video, above, with the following message:

“This is my city, my streets, my love. My city with a million hearts… I hope we will smile again, drink coffee with friends and, soon, welcome new friends from around the world who will fall in love with Zagreb, just like I did.”


A similar message can be seen on the homepage of the Zagreb Tourist Board.

And then this, the very symbol of the Zagreb skyline, shared by the Croatian National Tourist Board, the removal of the top of the damaged cathedral spires.

Symbols of the Zagreb skyline, the Zagreb Cathedral…
Even without both spires, still, beautiful and strong…
Video by RTL.hr
Thank you RTL.hr
#ZagrebStayStrong #Zagreb #CroatiaFullOfMemories #Croazia #Croatia

Heartbreaking, heartwarming, emotions all over the place. But once one looks at things from a more detached view, how is the Zagreb Tourist Board responding, and how to promote tourism in an age when nobody is travelling?


The Zagreb Tourist Board Facebook page became a focal point for the pictures of its residents. Some excellent pictures, such as this one from Bojan Rakic. Check out the Zagreb Tourist Board Facebook page for more.

A few weeks ago, I wrote an article called Tourism in the Corona Age: 10 Virtual Ways to Discover Zagreb. The article looks at the online resources available to explore Zagreb virtually for a future visit, a strategy which the Zagreb Tourist Board has been quietly rolling out in recent weeks, using hashtags #DreamNowTravelLater and #ZagrebLovesYou. 

zagreb-tourist-board (1) (1).png

It includes great campaigns such as ‘From Zagreb Balconies’ where citizens have been sending their balcony views of the Croatian capital – a delightful cross-section of shots of the city, which you can explore here.

The Zagreb Tourist Board has also created a wonderful virtual section on its website called What to Do at Home.


This section is an excellent collection of ways to enjoy Zagreb virtually, from museum tours to theatre productions. You can check it out here.

One of the best resources for understanding the complete situation in this beautiful city under attack from corona and earthquakes is the Love Zagreb blog, another Zagreb Tourist Board project online, which brings the heartbeat of the city into your living room. There were some fabulous texts written in recent weeks. If I could pick out a few to check out, they would be:

Zagreb – A City With a Spirit of Steel

In The Times of Hardship, We Stick Together

You Can Still Have Fun While Staying Indoors

Zagreb’s Virtual Farmers’ Market

What people perhaps are not aware of is what is happening behind the scenes. I have had several messages from Zagreb tour guides saying that the tourist board had been in contact to discuss how best to promote the city and their agency with whatever online tools the agency had. 

Here is one such resource, which our TCN interns filmed quite independently recently, a video guide to the unique Secret Zagreb Badass Women of Zagreb Tour

zagreb-tourist-board (1).jpg

And how about THIS? At 16:00 Croatian time today, there will be a live and free walking tour of Zagreb in English. You can follow it live on Facebook

Zagreb, the City of a Million Hearts, stay strong in this incredibly trying time. 

I, and many other foreigners, look forward to seeing you soon in the flesh. 

You can learn more about the virtual and non-virtual offer of the Zagreb Tourist Board on the official website


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