(New York, NY – February 27, 2018) – Perhaps it’s Croatia’s geographic location, situated along the Adriatic Sea and a source of stunning natural light that attracts television and filmmakers to its shores. Or can it be the medieval towns, which serves as a natural backdrop for some of today’s blockbuster films, or its stunning coastline of 3,625 miles dotted by more one thousand islands and world-class beaches set along the endless crystal-clear blue waters that is the draw? Whatever it may be, it is clear that Croatia has made and will continue to make its mark on the entertainment industry, securing its rightful place as a strong supporting role in numerous movies and television shows.
It’s evident the country continues draw attention and inspire travellers. Each year, it grows more and more in popularity as television shows and movies, film on location in Croatia, bring its familiar sights into American living rooms and there is no doubt that this trend has inspired many to visit and experience it for themselves. During 2017, the country attracted 18.5 million international tourist arrivals, and increase of 13%, compared to 16.3 million in 2016 and tourist overnights was 102,028,675 in 2017. During the last five years from 2011 to 2016, Croatia has experienced robust growth of arrivals from the U.S. as that number doubled, totalling 338,000. This growth trend from the U.S. continued throughout 2017, as the country experienced 475,992 tourist arrivals, or an increase of 35% in visitation when compared to 2016 and overnights from the U.S. market increased a whopping 34%, to 1,364,497.
With the awards season going strong in Hollywood and the biggest night of all, the Academy Awards, set to take place on March 4th in Los Angeles, we celebrate all things entertainment and its ties with Croatia. Since 2016, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences tapped New York foundry Polich Tallix to manufacture the coveted statuettes. Polich’s founder, Dick Polich’s (or originally Polić) family is from a Zlobin, located near Primorje and Gorski Kotar along the Adriatic coast in the north. Another Oscar connection to Croatia this year is the film, Ne gledaj mi u pijat (Quit Staring at My Plate) directed by Hana Jušić has been nominated in the Best Foreign Language Film category.
Many Americans have had Croatia on their travel radar since 2011, when the HBO epic fantasy series Game of Thrones debuted and quickly became a blockbuster sensation. It is without a doubt this series had a part in putting Dubrovnik on the map for Americans, as the iconic walls of the Old City is the setting for King’s Landing. Other notable sites are St. Dominika Street, Stradun, Minceta Tower, Fort St. Lawrence, Arboretum Trsteno and Lokrum Island. However, it’s not just Dubrovnik that has charmed the producers of Game of Thrones, with other filming locations for the series taking place around the country such as Diocletian’s Palace in Split, Fortress of Klis, Trogir’s St. Dominic Monastrey, Sibenik and Kastel Gomilica. Demand for tours related to this series became so popular that in 2014, the Tourist Board published a GOT site map of Dubrovnik, allowing visitors to check out various filming locations throughout the city and cottage industries of various GOT-themed tours have developed and are very popular among visitors.
This past December, Star Wars: The Last Jedi was released globally and featured Dubrovnik as a Monaco-inspired casino planet, Canto Bight! This blockbuster series will no doubt continue to entice eager fans to visit and attract visitors for many years. In addition to Star Wars, Robin Hood: Origins, another major Hollywood blockbuster produced by Oscar-winner Leonardo DiCaprio and starring Oscar-winner, Jamie Foxx, 50 Shades of Grey heartthrob Jaime Dornan, Taron Egerton, and Eve Hewson was filmed on location throughout Dubrovnik. This production is considered to be the highest budgeted film to be shot in Croatia to date. Finally, Dubrovnik will also be the setting for the next installment of the long-running James Bond franchise and we cannot wait to see Agent 007 emerging from the blue waters of the Adriatic on the big screen!
In summer of 2018, another hidden Croatian gem will debut as Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again!, the sequel to the first blockbuster starring Meryl Streep and Pierce Brosnan, was filmed on the idyllic island of Vis, Croatia’s farthest inhabited island. Vis, mysterious to even Croats, is home to the sleepy fishing village Komiza where production made its home base and also one of the best beaches in the world – Stiniva. We cannot wait to see how the sequel’s cast starring Lilly James, Amanda Seyfried, Christine Baranski, Pierce Brosnan, Colin Firth, Stellan Skarsgård, Dominic Cooper, Andy Garcia, Cher and Meryl Streep and others as well as beautiful Vis will look onscreen this summer! It was certainly fun following along with the cast on various social media platforms while they were filming!
Other parts of the country continue to be a huge draw, especially during the summer as the music festival heats up, just like the Croatian summers. In 2017 and after 12 years, Will Smith & DJ Jazzy Jeff reunited last August for MTV Summerblast, performing in the Istrian town of Poreč. Their only other performance was in the UK at Blackpool for the Livewire Festival. Grammy, Oscar and Golden Globe holder, David Byrne recently announced that he will be in Croatia’s capital city of Zagreb for the INmusic Festival June 25th. What an exciting summer it’s going to be for Zagreb and music lovers all over the country!
Croatia’s architecture and old-medieval towns may have put it on the map as a viable filming destination, but it’s the country’s fascinating history, rich culture, award-winning food scene and vineyards, scenic hiking trails, beautiful beaches, and charming people that will keep people coming back year after year.
Stretching along the Adriatic Sea, just a stone’s throw from Central Europe, Croatia is a country defined by a rich cultural legacy. Today, history perfectly combines with a youthful spirit and vibrant energy that prove irresistible to those seeking diversity. Breath-taking natural beauty, endless coastlines, diverse gastronomy, adventure, sports and wellness, can be enjoyed all year round. Whether exploring the old city of Dubrovnik, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, island hopping around the Split archipelago, truffle hunting in Istria, paragliding across the Plitvice Lakes, delving into Zagreb’s streets and hidden passages, birdwatching in Kopacki rit, partying the night away at Zrce beach in Novalja or taking time out with the family on Zlatni Rat beach, there truly is something for everyone in Croatia. For more information, visit: http://croatia.hr