Miriam Kelečić she left Bratislava a few years ago and started a new life in Croatia on the island of Vir. The "culprit" for her life change is a runner on mountain trails, Željko Kelečić, with whom she has an eight-year-old daughter. She was a successful manager in Bratislava and is now one of the biggest promoters of the island of Vir as a tourist destination.
In his blog for the portal Tourist stories Miriam introduced herself and told the story of where the idea for writing books about Croatia came from and where so much love for promoting Croatia towards the Czech and Slovak markets came from.
In my case, first there was love for man, then it became love for Croatia, and eventually it developed into love for the sea. The first encounter with the coast in Croatia took place back in 1986. Although I did not meet my husband then, but many years later, I fell in love with Croatia at first sight. I was delighted by the people, tradition, customs, natural sights, in general the whole culture of living in Croatia.
When I married my husband and moved permanently to Zagreb, and spent the summers in our cottage in Vir, I realized that I wanted to share this love and beauty of Croatia in writing with people from my native Slovakia. Guided by these desires, I have so far published two books and thus become a kind of "ambassador" of your country in my country. These are first and foremost projects that I did from the heart, with heart. The books are written in Slovak, but they are by no means typical tourist guides, because through pictures and stories written in my style, the Croatian tourist destination is branded as the closest car destination for tourists from Slovakia and the Czech Republic, who do not want sun and the sea as the main trump card, but they also want additional facilities.
How did the books fare in this market?
In the first book, I recommended to readers how they can experience Croatia in a different way, and in the second I supplemented it with mysterious legends of historical nature, as well as some culinary recipes and secrets. I published the books at my own expense and they all sold out in record time. I am currently writing the third book, about Croatian cultural heritage. In this project, I myself encouraged cooperation with the Elementary School "Marija Jurić Zagorka" in Zagreb, where children will get involved and describe with their children's eyes of small Croats what they consider Croatian heritage. I believe that this project of mine, in addition to the marketing effect in the markets, would have great benefits for raising the quality and diversity of the tourist offer of the target destination, but also a better experience of the tourist offer in the eyes of our tourists. I have a plan, and when I plan something so ordinary, it will be, as I mentioned above, a project with children in primary school to see what our Croatian children consider cultural heritage, and for me to get to know the differences by counties and beautiful folk costumes. and what individual costumes mean. Personally, I find the folklore of each country wonderful.
It is interesting how he presents his marketing on the same philosophy as we, the initiators of this portal. The emphasis is on being different.
In the world of marketing, the thing is simple: you have to be special, different, special. You have to have what others don’t have. You need to know how to inspire others, and you will only be able to do that if you inspire yourself. Something that especially deserves to be talked about, to be noticed. That is something extraordinary. New. Interesting. It's a blue cow. Boring is invisible. “It’s a boring brown cow,” wrote Seth Godin, marketing guru and author of the world bestseller Blue Cow. So somehow she would specify her work for Croatia and our tourism. Everything I do is not always a paid job, but something that is done from the heart because you love this country, the culture, the tradition and, after all, the infinitely beautiful blue of this Adriatic Sea.
When asked what tourists from the Czech Republic and Slovakia are most interested in in Croatia and what they expect from their vacation, she answered that they are actually interested in everything.
I know exactly how Slovaks experience our coast and Croatia, because I used to be what they are today, and that is a tourist. I know what I was missing in the offers in the accommodation equipment and in the contact with the host. That is why I try, as the administrator of a large group in Slovakia, but also as the owner of my brand zazivir.sk or in translation "Experience Vir - experience Croatia", lead the group in a different way. I make sure that tourists are only legal renters, that guests can come into direct contact with the owner of the accommodation to directly arrange their reservations without intermediaries, and that each owner is promoted with his own website because today without it his object is lost in the ocean of offers and not visible enough. My Slovaks and Czechs are interested in everything about Croatia. From food, mountaineering, exploring continental Croatia all the way to the coast. They may sometimes seem a bit demanding, because they like to have everything available and clear, but Croatia has a lot to offer us Slovaks and Czechs. And we are bound by a common history from the time of Austro-Hungary, and we are especially connected with Slavonia, which is beautiful in terms of landscape, cuisine and customs, very similar to Slovakia.
She hopes for the support of the local self-government, and her mission is to help foreigners who own real estate in Croatia and want to deal with renting.
I believe that with the support of the relevant ministry, tourist board, or municipality, I would be more efficient. Every project needs support to succeed, including mine. I asked for support in the municipality of Vir, which I mostly promote in my projects. Unfortunately, I found neither support nor understanding, but I was told that they could not give me any sponsorship because the book was not written in Croatian. I dare say that behind me in the past few years I have a clearly visible result in raising the number of guests from the Czech Republic and Slovakia, which resulted from my promotion of the Croatian coast as a top holiday destination. Clearly, co-financing would make it easier for me to publish the third part of the book.
Unfortunately, small renters are often forgotten and left to fend for themselves and have quite a lot of levies. In short, they are doing some work that should be dealt with more by the individual tourist community to which they belong - when we started this business, my husband and I were lost in a sea of incomplete information and bureaucracy. The problems of small people do not always reach the ears of competent people, especially in this time of pandemic. This "new normal" showed us that we, the little ones, must be united, because together we can achieve much more than individually. Not all landlords are just from a traditional family where tourism has lived for years and where grandparents were still involved in this business. Today, landlords and foreign property owners are in Croatia. That's why I started the idea of giving them instructions on how to run this business, because they are also ambassadors of Croatian tourism.
She works through various channels, leads groups on social networks where she is followed by a large number of lovers of traveling to Croatia, and promotes Croatia on the then national television.
In addition to promoting Croatian tourism in Slovakia and the Czech Republic, writing books about the Croatian coast, I also lead a large group on Facebook in which more than 18 members, what renters, what tourists. Last year, Slovak state television hired me to report on the state of tourism during the season, when everything was uncertain. Without false modesty, I am free to say that my name is very well known in Slovakia and the Czech Republic, especially in "tourist circles". So it often happens that guests contact me even about general information - when they need a translation to visit a doctor, help with various breakdowns on the trip, and in this time of epidemic most often for information about the epidemiological situation.
Some small people are not recognized by the small things they do, these small people include people who are engaged in renting and thus indirectly promote not only their accommodation but also their country Croatia. Every man has the opportunity to be a great ambassador of tourism, the ideas, so to speak, lie on the road, you just need to get to work and seize the opportunity. That is why I ask you to think a little about such small people like me about us active promoters of Croatian tourism and the coast. There are a lot of us, only a few know how to be visible and ensure that their voice is heard where it is needed. I believe and hope that all the "branding" campaigns of Croatia as a safe tourist destination will be successful, and that with all this, a little man like me will not be forgotten.
"From the bottom of my heart for our beautiful destination Croatia, I greet you until the next blog !, said Miriam Kelečić, a nice Slovak ambassador of our tourism with a permanent address in Zagreb, who is a good example of how promotion is done. Stories like this need to be highlighted and encouraged, every promotion is important, and stories that come first hand and from field experience are the best promotion. Especially in this time of the crown of the crisis when security comes first for guests, then first-hand information is crucial in choosing a destination.