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ZADAR

A COOL MEETINGS DESTINATION

ZADAR_panorama

It seems that Zadar has a very specific Mediterranean rhythm and urban culture. In the morning, the old town on the peninsula is full of people who shop and fill the main street Kalelarga or a wide street. The highlight is between the eleventh hour and noon. Cafes with their specific cultural experience are filled to the last corner. Each generation and each group can find a special place in Zadar. In the afternoon, the city is completely asleep in the Dalmatian siesta and looks like deserted until five o’clock, when it is revived again. And Zadar really impressed me with something. Zadar’s waterfront is quite different from the others on the Adriatic. With new architectural installations and no mass bars it is, especially early in the morning or at romantic sunsets, a true zen experience which you will not find in other places on the Adriatic.

Narodni_trg_Sv_Lovre_1196254505

The Croatian coast is a place of historic urban tradition. The majority of towns were created in the Greek or Roman times. Probably the oldest town in this area is Zadar, which has already developed in the Iron Age as Liburnian settlement and was the capital of Dalmatia until the Italian occupation in 1918. Recently the city has experienced a lot of transformation in the field of tourism and conference infrastructure. The most prominent are the architectural installations Sea Organ and Greeting to the Sun, which were built in 2006. On the organ play waves and create an interesting harmony. Sundial is also a small solar power station. With such projects, Zadar is increasingly becoming a lifestyle destination and one of the new tourist-meetings brands. To this also contribute events such as the Garden Festival, which placed Zadar on the map of Croatian club scene and in their own way raise the image of Zadar as a cool place. In recent years, it has been waking up from the former socialist drowsiness and is becoming a young and scintillating city. For the real experience of Zadar and its soul, you need to visit the well-stocked city market and the fish market. Feast for the eyes, body and soul.

Ribarnica_Zadar_1197894193

Friendly atmosphere and exceptional cultural heritage create an extremely diverse experience. In the old town alone there are over 34 old churches. Thankfully, most of them survived the air raids of the Second World War. The city, which before the war, was under the influence of architecture of Venice, has received much socialist modernist buildings. The aesthetics of these buildings could be discussed. Specialty of the micro-location of Zadar are many islands that surround it, and provide opportunities for incentive trips and nautical adventures. Zadar has one of the biggest Croatian marinas; the archipelago has 24 major and about 300 smaller islands. In the vicinity of Zadar there are five national parks: Paklenica, Plitvice, Kornati, Krka and Velebit, which offer to more responsible congress organisers more active and diverse experiences.

Zadar 3

The historical tourism development of Zadar was influenced by the establishment of regular shipping lines to Trieste. Soon after the establishment of shipping, the first hotels developed. Zadar got the first modern hotel in 1890, when the Grand Hotel was opened. A little later, in 1902, the hotel Bristol was constructed. Zadar and its surroundings have experienced a tourism boom in the sixties and seventies of the 20th century.

Zadar - morske orgle

The city experienced another tourist transformation recently. At the same time, the highway Zagreb Split built in 2005, which greatly shortened the journey to Zadar and literally allowed the development of congress tourism. Arrival of low cost airlines to Zadar is in full swing. It seems that the Director of the Zadar airport Katic Pupić Bakrač managed to revive the entire tourist region. But that’s not all. Planed ferry and cruise port Gaženica will release the transport from the old town and make it more attractive to tourists. Unfortunately, the project is in a slower implementation phase. Among the advantages of Zadar we can also add the fact that a large part of the city is closed to traffic, which makes it very pleasant for pedestrians.

Pozdrav Suncu

In April this year Zadar with its surroundings was the scene of the European premiere of the Chevrolet Trax car. Over 1000 journalists from 38 European countries have become ambassadors of Zadar. The focal point of the presentation was artistic presentation of the devilishly red Chevrolet Trax in coulours of Manchester United with signatures of all players in an artistic 3D instalation by street artist Gregora Wosik. The presentation took place in the carismatic Zadar Arsenal.

Arsenal-Trax-Media-dinner

The main locations of the event – Arsenal and the new Falkensteiner Hotel & Spa Iadera are the two key meetings engines of Zadar. Arsenal is a former Venecian armory converted in a multifunctional convention-event space. This is probably one of the most special and original convention venues of Croatia. The really special ambience is offering a large central hall, which acts as a town square and can accommodate up to 1000 participants for major concerts or events. Flagship of conference hotel offer is Falkensteiner Iadera in Petrčani. Within the resort there is a top smaller convention centre, which is among the most modern in the Adriatic. In the city centre, there are convention halls in Kolovare Hotel with the largest hall for a maximum of 230 participants. Smaller conference facilities are also in the boutique hotel Bastion. For larger events, a modern sports hall Krešimir Čošić is also suitable in principle. In addition, the city is overflowing with specific locations for receptions and other special meetings experiences. All event organisers have not yet discovered Zadar as meetings story here is relatively new and unknown.

Falkensteiner

A great advantage of Zadar is that it has a University, which is the oldest in Croatia, since it was founded in 1396 and it itself generates a lot of smaller congress events. Unfortunately, Zadar is missing a convention bureau, which would greatly help in the further promotion of the whole destination. Also because of this, Zadar and its surroundings are too often an overlooked convention destination. Even the development and diversity of congress products can be currently estimated to be average.

Zadar panorama

Congress organisers will usually choose Zadar because of its location at the crossroads of the greatest natural beauties of Croatia, history and culture as well as the better overall and conference infrastructure. Zadar is becoming very advanced and viable conference city, which boasts an exceptional cultural offer. With such potential it can compete with Mediterranean destinations of Spain, Italy, Portugal and Turkey. In the future it will have to do some urgent organisational and infrastructural interventions to capture the rhythm of most of the more advanced Croatian conference destinations.

Destination grade:    4,06 – QUALITY MEETINGS DESTINATION

Grading explanation:
5 excellent meetings destination
4 quality meetings destination
3 advisable meetings destination
2 average meetings destination
1 pretty OK meetings destination

Arsenal01_1184435164

Individual grades:

A.    Natural and Cultural Factors                                4,20
Natural geographic position at the crossroads of different regions, rich history, indented coastline and terrain and untouched nature, together with the mild Mediterranean climate and vegetation is an excellent prospect for the development of congress tourism.

B.    General and Transport Infrastructure            4,20
It seems that Ryanair transformed the tourist map of Zadar and returned Zadar among the important tourist hubs in the Adriatic. The city is experiencing a traffic and infrastructure renaissance and gives a sense of urban tidiness. Even the quality of life seems to be at a high level.

C.    Tourist Infrastructure                                              4,40
Zadar with over 4000 beds, several campgrounds and resorts is a developed summer destination for leisure and a yachting paradise. With the advent of new air connections, construction of new and renovation of existing hotel facilities, conditions for the development of congress tourism and exploitation of the extremely rich and already-developed tourist infrastructure.

 D.    Meetings Infrastructure                                        3,40
Zadar is an ideal destination for organisation of smaller conferences and incentives for up to 100 participants. In this area it has the greatest opportunity, as meeting planners are always looking for new attractive convention destinations. Unfortunately, Zadar is missing a convention bureau and a more targeted marketing, which affects the congress image of the destination.

E.    Subjective Grade                                                       4,10
The charming city with thousand years of cultural heritage, the proximity of the islands, five national parks and improving flight connections. It’s no wonder that a number of foreign media see it as a cool convention destination.

Comparison with the region:
Meeting planners are always looking for new and different destinations. Zadar is the logical choice, as it has enormous potential of natural and cultural conditions. Moreover, it is a cool destination with a specific urban rhythm. Currently, the main drawback are congress facilities that only allow smaller events as well as congress infrastructure which is not yet built and in function. Once everything is in place, Zadar will certainly be an important congress player.

Maraschino_Zadar_1336577057

Cool meetings:
Maraschino liqueur is made from ‘maraska’ cherries after the original recipe from the 16th century. It is attributed with healing effects.

Ryanair will grow at Zadar Airport in 2013 as follows:
– 1 based aircraft
– 16 routes (up 60%)
– 7 new routes: Dublin, East Midlands, Gothenburg, Haugesund, Liverpool, Paris & Wroclaw
– 68 weekly flights (up 60%)
– 300,000 pax p.a (up 60%)

ZADAR_AIRPORT_2013_1355841977

Zadar video from 2011:

Photo credits:  Turistička zajednica ZADAR and KONGRES MAGAZINE

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About Gorazd Čad

Gorazd Čad is a veteran convention tourism addict. Founder and owner of the marketing and congress agency TOLERANCA MARKETING, he has numerous years of experience in the planning, preparation and execution of major international trade shows and fairs. Having started his career in Cankarjev dom, where he project-led on fairs such as Infos, Kapital, Bits & Fun, Slovenian Wine Festival and many others, work in his private capacity has given him a long and multi-faceted experience of developing B2B trade shows, the most noteworthy of these being Conventa, Space, Natour and Hot-Rest. B2B selling solutions sit at the heart of the action of his work and are the key specialisation with proven added value and measurable results.

View all posts by Gorazd Čad

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  1. ŠIBENIK - KONGRES – Europe Meetings Industry Magazine - May 12, 2015

    […] Zadar […]

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