Project of the year: Split-Dalmatia County launched Dalmatia storytelling destination

Let’s tell stories, our authentic stories.

Author  Goran Rihelj

31. March 2023.

Let's tell stories, our authentic stories. A sentence I have been saying since the first day of the portal. And the new project from Dalmatia is exactly that - authentic stories from Dalmatia.

Dalmatia storytelling destination, a project of the Administrative Department for Tourism and Maritime Affairs of the Split-Dalmatia County, launched a YouTube channel with a series of promotional tourist videos, i.e. tourist stories that every tourist should know and experience. 

The promotional videos are part of the online campaign of the Dalmatia storytelling destination project, which aims to present the Split-Dalmatia County (SDŽ) as a destination for authentic stories.

The total will be shown as even 22 videos through two topics, in formats of about 60 seconds, which are in English with Croatian subtitles. English first language, great move. 

The first series of videos under the concept of "Storytelling in museums'' consists of a total of 14 videos, between 60 and 75 seconds in length, and they represent a micro-destination through a revived historical figure in museums and important heritage sites.

The remaining eight videos, between 6 and 9 minutes long, are a kind of travel documentary called Storytelling hunter, and through eight episodes, they will take viewers on a journey through SDŽ, where together with licensed tourist guide i heritage interpreter you explore authentic stories.

Yes, SDŽ has already conducted education and certification of heritage interpreters for curators and tourist guides, so they fit perfectly into the project. 

It is necessary to emphasize one important element. Namely, the actors do not participate in the films curators and licensed tour guides which the visitor will meet in the destination itself, if they decide to visit the mentioned experiences and tours.

So that when guests visit, say, the Museum of Natural History in Split, they will be greeted by the curator from the video, which gives the whole story an additional positive impression and a wow effect. 

"We wrote scripts and recorded video materials for six months, attention was paid to every detail, word, performance technique, narrative fluidity, a lot of work from the entire project from the curator to the guide. It is a comprehensive project and we are very proud and satisfied with how everything turned out. Creating new experiences and interpretive walks is part of the Museum Storytelling project, which deals with bringing heritage characters to life in museums and important heritage sites. There we have made 14 videos showing some of our revived characters. These are not professional actors, but curators. When guests come, let's say to the Meštrović gallery or another museum in our county, they will see exactly those people from the movies who will guide them on a tourist tour, i.e. interpretation. We wanted it to be as original and authentic as possible, which I hope we succeeded in." expires Renata Tešija from the Board of Tourism and Maritime Affairs of the Split-Dalmatia County.

Completed project

It is crucial that visitors can experience all the stories told live, and not just digitally, since all the stories are available through interpretive tours that are commercially available, individually through guides or through travel agency tours. 

An extremely important element of the whole project, in fact, in my opinion, crucial. Because what's the point if we get the attention of visitors through social networks, and they can't experience the same stories themselves. This completes the whole project and makes sense. If there was no last element, everything would be reduced to a one-time promotion. This is how the story is alive, it makes sense and the whole project is rounded off by "ps".

Also, a website will be published soon which will contain all the information about the tours, as well as the contacts of the agencies that sell interpretation tours, which were mentioned in all the video stories, as well as many others.  

"The experience platform will show all the tours we created as part of the DSD project, as well as all other storytelling experiences from the area of ​​our county. We say that Dalmatia was a storytelling destination long before the Dalmatia storytelling destination project, and we will try to gather all those storytelling stakeholders through one platform and give them the opportunity to tell heritage stories. Storytelling stakeholders from the area of ​​our county will also be able to publish their offer, regardless of whether they are members of the DSD project, who received the quality mark, or storytelling stakeholders outside the project, who can also apply for quality mark and attach to the project. These are storytelling experiences that will be available for commercial rent in the Split-Dalmatia County," concludes Tešija. 

The only complaint is the last step - online sale of packages.

But this is a problem of a system that is not legally harmonized according to modern trends. Since we do not have a DMO or doo company that is 100% owned by the city or the county (a positive example is IRTA doo - Istrian Development Tourist Agency), the county, as well as the Tourist Boards, cannot be commercial, nor can you directly book and buy tourist tickets through them (via the above website) package.

This is the last step of the sale, when we have already received the customer's attention and "confirmation" that he wants to rent a tourist tour, he must take an additional step and leave the ecosystem of the site and contact the agencies directly via phone or e-mail. This is a big problem in the whole story and most often we lose the customer. 

AIDA model 

If we look through marketing model AIDA which is an acronym for A - Attention, I - Interest, D - Desire, A - Action in advertising, then video promotion serves for the first two acronyms. Get and keep attention. Which is extremely difficult in today's big forest of communication, especially keeping attention for more than three seconds. 

Also, if there is no additional communication or "call for action" moment after the video, then the whole process stops and has no effect. Thus, the website serves for D or desires or additional information on the way to the "holy grail", i.e. the final A (action), i.e. sales - where tourists can buy tourist packages.

It is logical that the sale goes through the county/city company, and the distribution of money in the "backend" is a matter of a simple technical solution and an agreement between the partners, which the guests/customers are neither interested in nor should be interested in. The only thing they want is to buy a product through a user friendly and secure system, which is technically absolutely feasible today. 

So the option is for the County to open a doo or for the Ministry of Tourism to convert the TZ into a DMO through legal changes. But that is a topic for another article, but a "county limited liability company" (such as Razvojne agnecije or communal companies) would facilitate and open up a lot of opportunities for the future development of tourism projects of the County and the Tourist Board of Split-Dalmatia. 

Dalmatia storytelling destination is the project of the year 

So, if we briefly summarize the whole project, we can certainly classify it as the tourist project of the year.

Guides and curators are trained through the interpretation of heritage, we have costumed interpreters, authentic unique stories that are our strongest tool, all in the domain of storytelling and quality content. agencies are involved, tours are commercial, excellent promotion through documentary and short films, a website was created and everything is well rounded. 

This is what all tourist packages should look like today - complete access and commercially available packages. An example for all other destinations. 

Watch all video tourist stories from Split-Dalmatia County on the channel:  Dalmatia storytelling destination 

Screenshots 2023 03 29 at 16
See also YouTube Shorts videos

CIFFT Circuit 2023

The videos were produced by Moonstone Production doo and are part of the promotion strategy of the Split-Dalmatia County on official communication channels, on the web and social networks, as well as through the CIFFT Circuit 2023.

The Dalmatian storytelling destination and the Tourist Board of the Split-Dalmatia County are participating in the CIFFT Circuit 2023, a global competition in which tourist ads and video clips compete for the coveted title of the world's best tourist film.

By participating in CIFFT Circuit 2023, it intends to increase visibility in the tourism industry and demonstrate its commitment to excellence and innovation in tourism communication. The CIFFT Circuit is organized by the International Committee of Film Festivals of Tourism (CIFFT) and supported by the World Tourism Organization, the European Travel Commission and other relevant tourism organizations.

During the year, "Dalmatia Storytelling Destination" will go through international festivals around the world, and it is expected that the campaign will bring international awards and recognition to the destination.

We are keeping our fingers crossed that this entire project is seen, not as a tourist promotional film, but as a whole as a rounded tourist project and a positive example of how promotion is done today. We have no doubts about the success and how the global profession will recognize and reward it.

Let's not forget, let's be who we are - that's our best tourist product. Authenticity is the best differentiation from others. We are the narrators of our story and we must tell it beautifully and package it in authentic tourist products. Let's respect ourselves, so that others will respect us. Our history, culture, identity, culture and way of life... This is what tourists want to see, experience, taste... This is the meaning and motive of travel - to get to know a new culture and way of life. 

A big bow to the Board of Tourism and Maritime Affairs of the Split-Dalmatia County. Great work has been done and strong foundations and a platform for further development have been created. 

Author  Goran Rihelj

31. March 2023.