As Novac/Jozo Vrdoljak/Privredni.hr writes on the 17th of December, 2019, a project of cooperation between the Croatian National Tourist Board (HTZ) and the Bluesun hotel chain with the Korean media company A9 began last year. What followed is an excellent promotion for Croatia.
The collaboration came to pass last autumn when Martina Kovačić, director of Salve Regina, which operates the Kaj, Nestos and Sagitta hotels, and Leo Urlić, the director of marketing and sales of Bluesun Hotels & Resorts, visited Korea.
Recording the TV show is, according to Martina Kovačić, Croatia’s best promotional channel as a destination and, of course, for Bluesun that has hotels in a number of destinations both on the continent and along the coast.
The Battle Trip is a show designed in such a way that two countries, or two media stars, compete with what they have seen and experienced. In this particular case, Azerbaijan and Croatia are competing. Viewers rate which country is more attractive and better represented.
The show began airing in late November on KBS, which is viewed by more than 25 million viewers in South Korea and also by a large number of Korean expatriates, predominantly in the USA, through KBS World. It’s important to mention that it airs during prime time on Saturdays. The people who participate in it and the show itself are followed with great attention on social networks, which acts as additional promotion for Croatia.
“This is a great promotional story. We wanted to launch on the South Korean market for individual arrivals. The fact is that the TV show ”Battle Trip” is mostly watched by younger people. We expect this to be a trigger for organised groups that have not had Croatia in their travel plans so far. Koreans are great lovers of nature and active holidays, including hiking, biking, mountaineering, using wellness facilities… It’s in this direction that we develop our services. Recently, the Kaj Hotel has become the only bike hotel in Hrvatsko Zagorje, not to mention the pace of cycling in Brač and how much that has helped that destination,” explained Martina Kovačić.
The collaboration with the production company A9 came about by chance after Martina Kovačić travelled over to Seoul to meet with tourism partners, among whom she tried to answer the question about the best way for promotion for Croatia and Croatia’s Bluesun hotels.
“They revealed to us that ”Battle Trip” is the most watched Korean TV show. As we have hotels in a number of destinations, this seemed like a great promotional channel to us. In addition, we’ve had a successful partnership with the Croatian National Tourist Board, focused on the increased promotion of Zagreb, Hrvatsko Zagorje, Split, Brač and the Makarska riviera,” pointed out Martina Kovačić.
The stay of the twenty-person crew, including two stars, pop singer Park Cho-rong and Yoon Bo-mi, lasted six days. The crew visited and filmed scenes in Zagreb, Hrvatsko Zagorje, Split, Starigrad Paklenica, Brač and the Makarska riviera. During their stay, a number of Bluesun hotel staff took care of them. The Croatian National Tourist Board was instrumental in obtaining filming licenses and coordinating filming, arranging logistics, translating and taking care of all the details.
The Kaj Hotel has about 4,000 Korean guests come to stay each year, and this additional promotion for Croatia will surely enhance that figure.
”The interest of Korean guests is growing. After this, we expect an increased arrival of individual guests. The most common motive for the arrival of individual guests from Korea are honeymoons and active holidays.
The rest are the so-called Balkan tours of organised groups from Korea, which start from Venice or Ljubljana. Such guests stay one night in a destination, and can travel about 800 kilometres in one day by bus. What is certain is that their habits are changing, and we’re positioning ourselves for them to be able to stay longer in our facilities, whether it be in the continental or coastal areas.
It’s worth noting that they’re very interested in Marija Bistrica because they like historical and other sights. In addition, we’re in the process of exporting Stina wines to the Korean market, into their duty free shops. This is an important event that is significant for Croatia as a destination,” emphasised Martina Kovačić.