Ana Hrnic, director of the Dubrovnik tourist office, on nomads, work. Place. Culture. Conference
April 25, 2022 – Dubrovnik’s enthusiastic embrace of the nomadic digital revolution continues. Ahead of the net work month. Place. Culture. conference, an in-depth look at the state of play with Ana Hrnic, director of the Dubrovnik Tourist Board.
In October 2020, Dubrovnik hosted the very first conference on digital nomads in Croatia, Dubrovnik for Digital Nomads. This was followed in April 2021 with the award-winning Dubrovnik Nomads-in-Residence program, the first of its kind in the world where digital nomads and a destination co-created a strategy for the destination’s nomadic offering.
Croatia’s most famous tourist destination continues its push towards more sustainable tourism and builds on its early success as a digital nomad with a series of new initiatives. Then the work. Place. Culture. conference next month, a collaboration between the City of Dubrovnik, Dubrovnik Tourist Board, Saltwater Nomads and Total Croatia News. Before this latest conference, TCN met with the director of the Dubrovnik Tourist Board, Ana Hrnic.
1. Dubrovnik is Croatia’s most famous tourist destination, attracting millions of visitors every year, but it’s also emerging as a regional leader in the digital nomad/remote work revolution, which has surprised some. Tell us a bit more about the context of this initiative.
One of our strategic objectives is certainly to extend the season. In this context, we recognized the potential of positioning the city of Dubrovnik as a digital nomad-friendly destination, which digital nomads will choose for their stay, especially outside the main tourist season. We can also say that the Covid crisis prompted us to turn to this fast-growing segment, of which we recognized great potential.
2. You organized the first digital nomad conference in Croatia in October 2020, followed by the first global digital nomad residency program a year ago. What were the key takeaways for you and how did that help shape your future planning?
The Dubrovnik Tourist Office and the City of Dubrovnik have been successfully implementing a project for two years aimed at diversifying the tourist offer and aimed at digital nomads. Faced with the challenges of the pandemic and the stagnation of tourism, we decided to focus on the growing digital nomad market. The first event was held in October 2020, titled “Dubrovnik for Digital Nomads” as part of European Freelancer Week 2020 and aimed to showcase Dubrovnik as a year-round destination for digital nomads, which contributed to the future positioning of our city in this modern way of doing business in the world. The positive feedback from the conference was the motive for an extremely successful project – a program called “The Dubrovnik digital nomad-in-residence”. Through a series of activities, workshops and excursions, participants explored the city and its surroundings in detail, familiarized themselves with the way of life of local people, cultural events and other offerings. With their experience, they have helped create a better atmosphere for future nomads who will choose Dubrovnik as a place of work, but also contribute to the overall promotion of the destination.
3. Rather than just ticking a box – event completed – Dubrovnik has and is implementing an impressive array of recommendation-based initiatives. Give us an overview of these.
So far, we have launched a series of activities, inspired by all previous knowledge and experience from the previous two years. Let’s mention just a few – we have organized a coworking space in Lazareti, we are finalizing a special website dedicated to digital nomads and all those who are planning or staying in the Dubrovnik city area for a long time. We are also launching special profiles on social networks, where we will be available for any questions. We have created a special visual identity, as well as other materials and content. Our information office in Pile will be a special DN checkpoint where all digital nomads can get all the useful information they need. We are also working on a special DN card, which will include various benefits and offers. I also consider it important to highlight that we introduced the local community to the needs and expectations of digital nomads, as we can say that before these activities, for most people, it was a completely new and unexplored subject. There’s still a lot of work ahead of us, but I think we’re headed in the right direction.
4. And so on until 2022, and the Work. Place. Culture. May 5-7 conference. What is it and why should people attend?
From May 4 to 7, the second conference entitled “Work.Place.Culture” is organized by the Dubrovnik Tourist Board and the City of Dubrovnik, created by Saltwater Nomads. The conference aims to strengthen Dubrovnik’s position as a globally recognized working environment. This is a conference that will bring together around 100 participants from around the world, with eminent speakers and workshop leaders, aimed at professionals working remotely and decision-makers.
5. You obviously worked hard to position Dubrovnik on the remote work scene. Are you satisfied with the progress made so far and what are the short and medium term objectives?
We are very happy with what has been done so far, but as I mentioned before, there is still a lot of work ahead of us. In the short term, the objective is to finalize a new website, carry out the conference, launch the Dubrovnik DN card… We will continue to work on encouraging players in the tourism sector to get involved in projects related to digital nomads – from private accommodation, to restaurants and shops, to transport… In the long term, I believe we will position ourselves as one of the most popular digital nomad destinations in the world.
6. And finally, there’s so much more to your beautiful city than remote work conferences. What can people expect this year in Dubrovnik?
Every season in Dubrovnik brings something special. Dubrovnik is a magical city that, after two years of pandemic, is finally getting back to normal. Optimism is felt at every step, and all of our visitors are sure to have an unforgettable and unique experience when visiting Dubrovnik. Welcome!
Tickets are still available for Work. Place. Culture. – more information about the conference on the official website.
Learn more about the pearl of the Adriatic in the Total Croatia Dubrovnik in a Guide Page.
For more news and features about digital nomads in Croatia, check the dedicated TCN section.