It’s a rule to be prepared for an interview. If you know that person well – it’s even more challenging… Then you figure that he will answer what he wants… And you start to enjoy 🙂
So – the two of us, for the umpteenth time, with a glass of refreshment (It’s hot in the city!!) ..casually talk about the most profitable branch of the Croatian economy – tourism. But actually – we are talking about the promotion of Croatia.
We both love what we do – and that’s why I will try to convey our profession’s passion because that’s exactly what it is…The profession!
How will I introduce you; Vuka? Ivan Vuković Vuka?
Not the famous Bond, not even Ivan the Terrible (hahaha) but – certainly the famous Vuka! (Vuk in Croatian means the wolf/ any resemblance to reality is accidental 🙂
Ivan Vuković Vuka
Shall we talk about you as a guide, expert associate of many television channels and online portals, promoter, photographer, globetrotter, travel writer, or just Dubrovnik resident?
Let’s start with one of the last ‘catchers’, recently you wrote on your social media platforms;
“You either love Croatia or you’re wrong.”
One sentence or a boastful slogan?
It sounds excellent to me. Is it too direct? It is. Is it provocative! Oh yeah. There is no point in extracting some slogans and postulates of communication. Let’s break this one down.
How correct is this sentence?
Vuka: There is no better slogan than that. Direct, provocative, and you want to get on a plane and come to Croatia when you hear it. If you don’t like Croatia, then you are wrong 🙂 Or you are an idiot. (he is enjoying himself and makes me burst out laughing.)
I also like to use dry sarcasm and provocations in my tours because that way, you can see how educated people are, and the country’s guidance and promotion will be more memorable. I don’t like promotions like ‘sun and the sea’ and ours, Croatian promotions are always slow and boring.
After all – this sentence, a slogan – a phrase is correct, as you and many others like us who try to promote and sell Croatia to tourists can prove, by our persistence and desire for better things.
But is it ‘politically correct?
What do Italians call Croatia?
Vuka: Well… do you know what Italians call Croatia?
Shitaly ( he burst out laughing.) ???? Isn’t that a great slogan? Sloppy but deadly with direct marketing. And very memorable.
Do you know of a case of someone’s provocation in advertising the destination?
Vuka: For instance, New Zealanders made the one where they make fun of people with selfie sticks and Instagram influencers. 🙂
Croatia is the safest and cleanest place
What do you communicate? What do you say to your guests?
Vuka: The first thing I tell outsiders is that Croatia is the safest and cleanest place they will visit, and they will see it for themselves. There are no beggars, no homeless, and everything is orderly and safe. That sounds like a utopia to the western market, but it is 100% true.
Which Croatian slogan was the most attractive to promote Croatia?
Vuka: Marketing works best for us through sports.
What do our competitors communicate today?
Vuka: Italy, Spain, and Greece communicate and do campaigns, even though they don’t really need any. They are a brand unto themselves and a league above us. We are the ones who need to be creative, pick up the crumbs with good campaigns and thus brand ourselves step by step.
We were lucky that the film and TV shows branded us and removed the stigma of the wartime nineties so that what people see on film wants to visit. Iceland as a country owes 40% of the total visits to the film.
A boutique destination
Are they better in tourism services, from quality to price? I mean these in the neighborhood …
Vuka: A lot of quality has been lost in crises and transitions, and that’s why I remain of the opinion that we should be a boutique destination where the price can be high, but the service should also be top-notch.
I can do 5 tours a day, but I don’t want to. After the second one, there will be no quality, no concentration, and that’s why I don’t want to. I want quality, not quantity. Although Jenny is Jenny (in original; Fata is Fata), but twice is twice 🙂
Who exactly do we communicate with? Should we search for a ‘new’ audience and market like younger, wealthier neighbors, or do we need a totally different approach to attract new clientele?
Vuka: Sometimes we don’t know who we communicate with because we want to communicate with everyone. I don’t see a reason to spend money on promotion in the Balkan countries because everyone knows our attributes, but we should definitely turn to western markets because Croatia can be a year-round destination and the extension of the season depends on air traffic, not that the whole of northern Europe flies to Portugal and Spain, thinking that they have better weather than us, but they don’t 🙂
This is where a switch should be made when Croatia wants to be promoted as a 365 destination. In addition, northern countries have greater purchasing power. You just need to decide and start working on it 🙂
What are our shortcomings, apart from inefficient administration and ignorant and unsexy hospitality workers who are mostly underpaid?
Vuka: The world has become a global village, everyone is looking for a better job, and those who managed to collect good workers and keep them with a good salary and relationships are at an advantage. We lost that battle because we didn’t value hospitality workers, and we lost them forever and got cheap labor from the east. Some you win, some you lose.
You work with a lot of production companies, as well as with guests. You must have heard interesting reflections….
Vuka: In Croatia, we have everything; guests sometimes snort if they fall into a tourist trap. Everything is based mainly on Dubrovnik – Hvar – Split, which sometimes annoys me because Croatia is much more than that. I also try to verbally encourage people to island hopping to Lastovo, Vis, Cres, and of course, a gourmet location like Istria.
Welcome to the homeland of Zinfandel 🙂
What is the most significant advantage of Croatian tourism? A great promoter and friend of Croatia, Ashley Coulbourn – said that Croatia has three advantages; food, food, and food.,..What do you think?
Vuka: All influencers can find a niche like Ashley and target food. That’s perfectly fine, everyone can specialize in something, but we’re not all the same. The food here is excellent. And wine especially, welcome to the homeland of Zinfandel 🙂
Suppose ‘someone’ invites you to the national tourism board. You might be in a position to make crucial decisions…Would you join?
Vuka: I could never be involved in politics and work with tourism boards and communicate nicely and politely, not to mention to listen ‘my superiors :)’ I can’t do that. I prefer ‘the Bourdain style’ that sounds cheeky.
When cruise ships arrive, I always say, “do you know when the best time to visit Croatia is? Never :)”
So Hvar – so good!
I just remembered another pearl of yours? So Hvar – so good! You definitely suggest modern and provocative slogans?
Vuka: Let’s be direct and provocative. Let’s show our tits with the sun and the sea 🙂 ???? Let everyone have their own ideas and dreams. Micro locations, small ideas, and big dreams. That is CROATIA as I dream!
Croatia is your next big thing!
Vuka 🙂 That can be our slogan.
P.S. Stay beautiful (that’s so typical for Vuka 🙂
Editor in chief: La Prush – Andreja Horvatić 🙂