Who Will Win the Clash of Europe's Great Wine Producers?

By , 14 Jul 2018, 11:03 AM News

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July 14, 2018 - The whole world is talking about Croatia right now, a true gift horse of tourism promotion. 

Croatia, one of the absolute global buzzwords around the world right now after the national team's impressive run to the biggest game of all - a World Cup Final against France in Moscow tomorrow. 

While most of the column inches are - rightly - being written about football, the success on the field has provided an unprecedented chance to present Croatia on the world stage, with millions of people googling Croatia looking for information ranging from where the hell it is to how to book a holiday. Croatia's leading media monitoring service, Mediatoolkit, announced that after the quarter-final win against Russia, there were more mentions of Croatia in the international media in the last three years combined. 

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And then Croatia beat England - this is how the Mediatoolkit view of interest in Croatia looked, above. 3 years of mentions when beating Russia? Check out the interest after England. And what if - dare to dream - a World Cup Final victory against France tomorrow?

People were quick to jump on the bandwagon and claim their part in the success of course. The director of the Croatian National Tourist Board told of a 250% increase in traffic compared to the same time last year on the tourist board website, adding something about their geo-location targetting of a promotional video featuring the team contributing to this great surge of interest. 

Wait, what?

Eleven Croatian footballers kick a football around a field in Russia, and their efforts bring about more mentions in the international media for the last three years. And then they kick the ball around again, and almost double those record-breaking mentions a few days later. And someone else takes the credit?!?

Isn't the bigger question what the Croatian National Tourist Board was doing for the last three years with its massive budget to make so little impact on the international media? Would there have been such a big spike in traffic if the national team had been eliminated in the qualification stages?

TCN too had a huge spike - indeed the last two days have been the most popular in our short, chaotic history. Would we have had that much traffic if Croatia had been knocked out? Of course not. Do we attribute the rise in traffic to something special we did? Perhaps some articles helped 0.000000000001%, but as almost 60% of our traffic is from organic search from Google, it doesn't take Einstein to conclude that the spike was caused by sites being well-ranked on Google for keywords related to those successful chaps in Moscow kicking a football around. Despite not being in 15 languages, with more than 1.6 million Facebook fans less, zero budget and not having hundreds of tourist board websites linking into it, TCN still somehow manages to attract more visits than the national tourist board, according to the latest statistics on SimilarWeb (471k v 459k).

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I have asked several fans over in Russia what evidence there is of Croatian tourism promotion, but they have seen nothing to report. Surely now, when the whole world is watching and trying to find out about where Croatia is and what it has to offer, we should be getting that message out as much as possible, particularly in Russia, which is a huge potential market for Croatia. Before EU entry, 40% of passengers through Istria's airport of Pula were Russian. EU visa requirements decimated that market after July 1, 2018, but the market is there. 

Just as the team has excelled on the pitch, a special tribute to the role of Croatia's travelling fans, who have won international praise and made millions of friends all over the globe. It would be hard to script a better scenario for promoting the very best of Croatia, and the time is now to do that work, rather than take credit for things over which you had no influence whatsoever. 

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Take wine, for example. The French are the opponents tomorrow and are taking an increasing interest in holidaying in Croatia. The French love their wines, and I really liked this football line-up below - the grape varieties of France versus the grape varieties of Croatia. Not many people will know that Croatia has 130 indigenous grape varieties, and even less that one of them is the original Zinfandel. So why not tell people and use this opportunity to present Croatia and all its magic off the football field to the world? Such opportunities come by very rarely. 

 

 

 

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