Media Relations: Croatia aims for culture vultures after PR switch

The Croatian National Tourist Board is to begin a PR offensive underlining the country's cultural credentials as it continues to grow in popularity with holidaymakers.

It has reinstated the agency that originally positioned post-war Croatia as a holiday destination in the late 1990s, Charisma PR.

The agency had resigned the account after six years in 2000, citing 'operational issues' in Zagreb.

It regained the account without a pitch and plans to emphasise Croatia's history, wildlife, unspoilt coasts and islands to families with children who do not want a 'theme park experience'.

Young couples and groups of friends will also be targeted, although Charisma director Julia Berg stressed the board was keen not to attract clubbers and shoppers.

'There is not a plethora of cheap bars and food but a quality coastal experience for tourists who like good food and wine,' said Berg.

Media targets include special interest food, wine, environmental and children's press and websites, as well as lifestyle and family TV programmes and publications.

The culture and heritage of Croatia will be emphasised through case studies demonstrating the preservation of the country's traditions and the range of special interest holidays available, including wine-tasting and truffle-hunting tours and painting and sailing packages.

The board anticipates 250,000 Britons will visit Croatia this year, up from 201,000 in 2004.

Incumbent Brighter PR resigned the account in December due to a conflict of interest with Adriatic Holidays (PRWeek, 21 January). The Croatian National Tourist Board then put the account up for pitch, but failed to find an agency until it approached Charisma.

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