The first quarter has just flown by, and we have been hard at work promoting Croatia as a digital nomad destination, continuing the work DNA Croatia did in 2021. We have been working with public, private and nonprofit organisations in each city, and answering questions from digital nomads. We’ve been a lot more visible with what we’ve been doing, and this is mostly down to capacity and social media of course!
But enough about 2022, we will talk more about that in 2023! Having looked at Croatia as a whole, what were DNA Croatia doing in 2021?
Getting the Permit (Digital Nomad Visa) up and running
If you don’t know the story by now, then here it is in short: An epic tale of private and public institutions, thrashing things out and moving things forward, thanks to some very persistent and dedicated individuals that we are immensely appreciative of.
From when Jan de Jong, President and cofounder of DNA Croatia, wrote that open letter on the 11th July 2020 to the Croatian Prime Minister, until the online application appeared on the 1st of March 2021, five ministries and who knows how many meetings were held to ensure it could come a reality.
So in the first quarter of 2021, DNA Croatia was very much part of getting things up and running for our MVP version of the online application form. This is very much a first for MUP, and we are working with them now to improve it, gathering feedback from nomads and making suggestions on what else would make it that bit better. Who knows – in the future it could be the model for all applications for permits!
Sharing the news within Croatia, and getting buy-in from stakeholders
Whilst that was happening in meeting rooms and offices, we were getting messages over LinkedIn every day asking about the permit, and what it meant for Croatia. From your landlord to your tourist agency, to development agencies and mayors, we even heard the local baba talking about digital nomads.
So to make sure we could share what we wanted and our vision, Jan and Tanja, our other cofounder, appeared at events, conferences and in news articles to enlighten the wider population. We also launched our website, which over the past year has also gone through a lot of transformation based on feedback, and will continue to be updated and improved.
Here’s a list of everywhere a DNA Croatia rep was, in 2021, discussing Digital Nomads, DNA Croatia and the future:
04.02.2021. – Bug future show, opening keynote speech
18.02.2021. – Internal event Hrvatski Telekom
05.03.2021. – KonFETrencija MarkeTalks
13.04.2021. – Grand PRix award
16.04.2021. – Regional Grand PRix award
12.05.2021. – Smart Tourism
18.05.2021. – FMCG Marketing Summit
28.05.2021. – JCI Zagreb (Digital nomads & LivingTheCroatianDream)
31.05.2021. – Rotary E-Klub Hrvatska (panel)
14.06.2021. – Dani Komunikacije – Panel
02.09.2021. – Work From Anywhere (Panel John Lee)
04.09.2021. – Opening International School Split
08.09.2021. – AmCham panel in Zagreb
16.09.2021. Paul Prescott – interview documentary Zagreb.
23.09.2021. – HR Days panel)07.10. – 09.10.2021. ArchiBau ARTUR in Zagreb (Virtually)
01.10.2021. – StartUp Regatta Europe (Split)
22.10.2021. AIESEC conference Zagreb (Key-note speech)
04.11.2021. Crikvenica International Health & Tourism Conference
15.11.2021. Virtual – Second regional conference on Migration Governance after COVID-19 pandemic
26.11.2021. Conference Dubrovnik by Centar za Poduzetnistvo
Promoting to the world
We felt Croatia was getting enough of us, so we also made sure that the whole world would know too. This culminated in supporting three award winning, hybrid conferences and events, all put on during Covid, whilst other event organisers shifted everything online.
The first of these was the Dubrovnik Digital Nomads in Residence program in June, organised by Tanja and Saltwater Nomads. This brought 10 nomads and their partners to Dubrovnik to provide insight into how best to develop, adapt and improve Dubrovnik as a digital nomad destination.
Not long after, Zagreb hosted Digital Nomad Week in June, organised by Tanja and Saltwater Nomads and with DNA Croatia as a partner this time. A whole week dedicated to digital nomads, followed the announcement of a digital nomad ambassador, every month for six months, really changed the international reputation of Zagreb.
This was apparent six months later, as we spoke at Jolly Wrap Up, to really soak in the Christmas spirit and good work by all those involved
Other international events we attended
14.09.21. ANZ – AUstralia New Zealand Women’s Leadership Group. Guest speaker,
4-6.10-2021. Cross Border Coworking Conference – InterReg. Speaker (Tanja – Presenter – Zadar as a 2CODE Hub destination and the work of DNA and other initiatives in Croatia).
30.10.2021. University of Sarajevo (virtual panel)
International media mentions
Dubrovnik DNIR Short
Winner – Audience Award at the Conventa Best Event Awards:
Other URLS of media links and coverage:
Skift – Matthew Parsons
Skift – Matthew Parsons interviews one of the Dubrovnik DN-I-Rs
Travel off Path
Formalising and building capacity
With more and more requests and enquiries, and with a few corporate sponsors on board, we were able to look at adding to the team. In November we brought on a Director, Michael Freer, who was then able to actively reach out and meet all the key players in the digital nomad community, Croatia wide. He was also able to get our digital marketing together, make updates to the website and support Jan, Tanja and Karmela with all the work they had been doing up until now.
In turn this connected us to a great network of volunteers around Croatia and beyond, who worked hard to support us with marketing and now are a greater part of the DNA Croatia team, supporting with events and community building.
That about wraps it up for 2021. A year focused on information and promotion, whilst 2022 we have turned a lot of our words into action. With plenty of news and information coming your way, keep an eye on both our Facebook page and LinkedIn page for the latest news.