Nik Racic is a very happy Director of the Croatian Convention and Incentive BureauNik Racic, Director of the Croatian Convention Bureau was in very good spirits at EIBTM 2011. He was able to report that this year the number of events in his country was up by 18%. There are already 5,000 events planned into 2012, accounting for at least 395,000 delegates.
Croatia is well and truly on the world’s MICE map. Nik has been managing his country’s stand on the main exhibitions around the world for over 20 years, from a time when travel insurance companies literally had to check if Croatia came under ‘Europe’.
Another major step forward was the hosting in Zagreb in September 2011 of the 1st UNWTO International Conference on Tourism and the Media.
Held in c-operation with the Ministry of Tourism of Croatia, it was a 2-day pioneering event, dedicated to the relationship between tourism and the media. The official media partner was CNN and the world’s top media, including BBC TV, took part. The official languages for the conference were English, Spanish and French.
‘This was a fantastic opportunity’, says Nik, ‘to get global, regional and local media to appreciate what Zagreb and the rest of Croatia has to offer’.
Zagreb is the capital, but many other destinations in Croatia are enjoying increasing MICE business. They stretch from Istria to Rijeka, Rovinj, Split and Dubrovnik and the beautiful Croatian islands in the Adriatic.
‘More and more hotel chains are building quality properties in Croatia’, adds Nik. Early in 2012 there will be a new Hilton in Split, Kempinski is introducing a beautiful golf course and the Maestre group has just added the Hotel Lone to its facilities at the Monte Mulini hotel and conference complex near Rovinj on the Adriatic. It is a member of Design Hotels. (See ITCM’s personal report at HYPERLINK "http://www.incentivetravel.co.uk/itcm-visits" ITCM Visits .
Nik was able to reel off a list of high profile events recently held in Croatia, including the 2,000-delegate conference of the European Bank for Reconstruction, where 15% of the attendees booked pre- and post-tours in the country.
‘We offer value-for-money', Nik sums up, ‘a very warm welcome from everyone in Croatia, the most modern of facilities and some of Europe’s most beautiful landscapes, on the coast and in the interior.’