Croatia in media push to attract more Britons

Tourism authorities in Croatia have hired Brighter PR to woo British journalists to the formerly war-torn western Balkan country.

The Croatian National Tourist Board has drafted in the UK agency to launch a media relations campaign aimed at encouraging Britons to think of the country as offering ‘quality’ holidays.

Brighter PR senior consultant Jules Ugo said the Croatian tourism authorities wanted to increase the revenue gained from each visitor and that press trips for journalists from Britain and Ireland would begin in April.

The campaign aims to boost the number of column inches given to Croatia. It will target trade, lifestyle and women’s titles, with the ultimate aim of ‘increasing the revenue gained’ from each visitor, said Ugo.

Media relations work will include an attempt to position capital Zagreb as a ‘hot city-break destination’.

Croatia was formerly promoted in the UK by Marketeer and, prior to that, by Brighton-based Charisma Public Relations.

Ugo reports to Josip Lozic, the acting director of the Croatian National Tourist Office in London.

Lozic, who pointed out that the amount Croatia spends on promoting itself abroad has fallen in recent years, said the decision to re-pitch the account had been made in Zagreb.

Since the country’s 1991-1995 war of independence from the former Yugoslavia, Croatia’s dramatic Adriatic coast and centuries-old heritage has attracted an increasing number of west European tourists.

In the first seven months of 2003, 4.8 million foreign tourists visited Croatia, a 5.2 per cent increase compared with the same period in 2002.

Around 170,000 British visitors are expected in 2004, when 24 UK holiday firms will feature the country for the first time.

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