We had the privilege of sitting down with Tina Eterović Čubrilo to delve into the world of tourism journalism, FIJET and its role, and the nuances of the tourism industry itself. With a career spanning over four decades, Tina has been a journalist, editor, and commentator at Hrvatski radio (Croatian Radio), where she closely followed political events, economic developments, and the ever-thriving tourism industry, which became her specialization. Beyond her impressive journalistic journey, she co-founded the Croatian Journalists' Union and served as the president of the Croatian Journalists' Society's Tourism Journalists Group from 1996 to 2014.
Tina's accolades are a testament to her unwavering commitment to quality reporting. She was honored with the prestigious Golden Pen Award by the Croatian Journalists' Union in 1992, and she has received multiple awards from the European Federation of Tourism Journalists. Today, she holds the esteemed position of Vice President at the International Federation of Journalists and Writers in Tourism (FIJET) and presides over the FIJET Croatia chapter.
Can you tell us about FIJET and its role in the world of tourism journalism?
FIJET, or the Fédération Internationale des Journalistes et Ecrivains du Tourisme, is an organization that brings together journalists, writers, bloggers, and media professionals in the field of tourism. It was founded in 1954 and is one of the oldest non-profit organizations in this sector. FIJET promotes quality media services and tourism promotion programs worldwide. Our role is to support the international projects of our members and collaborate with national associations to achieve our objectives in tourism promotion.
How many members does FIJET currently have, and what is the composition of its membership?
FIJET currently has about 700 members from more than 30 countries. Our members include journalists, publishers of trade publications, book authors, and freelancers in various media formats. These professionals are dedicated to maintaining objectivity in their work and raising the level of global tourism recognition.
Can you tell us about the history of tourism journalism in Croatia and its significance?
Tourism journalism in Croatia began to develop more intensively in the 1960s, coinciding with the growth of tourism in our country. Notably, from 1963 until 1992, we hosted the "Majski susreti turističkih novinara" (May Meetings of Tourism Journalists) on the Makarska Riviera. These meetings, organized by FIJET and tourism journalists from the former Yugoslavia, played a crucial role in refining journalism and tourism while also questioning the state's tourism policies. Croatia joined FIJET in 1964, and our country has produced some remarkable tourism journalists who have made significant contributions to this field.
Could you tell us about FIJET awards and their significance in the tourism industry?
The most renowned FIJET award is "the Golden Apple" or "La Pomme d'Or," often likened to an Oscar in the tourism sector. This award is given annually to recognize outstanding efforts in promoting and raising the level of tourism. Since its establishment in 1970, the FIJET Golden Apple Award has been presented to more than 60 recipients, acknowledging their exceptional contributions to the industry.
What are some of the awards and projects initiated by FIJET Croatia?
FIJET Croatia has initiated various projects, including the "Marko Polo - slavni putopisac" award for travel writers promoting Croatian regions, values, and traditions. We also introduced the FIJET Hotel Partner project, aimed at promoting hotels with exceptional quality and service. Furthermore, we've introduced the FIJET Tolerance Award, which recognizes individuals promoting values of other nations, religions, and cultures, as well as positive emotions and tolerance. These initiatives are supported by international FIJET and inspire our foreign colleagues.
In the age of the internet and social media, what is the role of tourism journalists in providing information and promoting destinations?
Tourism journalists play a crucial role in a world filled with information from various sources. While new technologies have made information more accessible, they have also created a need for reliable, filtered, and analyzed content. Tourism journalists bring expertise and in-depth reporting to the industry, providing valuable insights that go beyond mere information. They help raise the quality and recognition of destinations, making their role as important as ever.
What are the main advantages of tourism in Croatia, and how has the tourism industry evolved in recent years?
Croatia's main advantages are its natural beauty, clean seas, diverse landscapes, quality infrastructure, accessibility, rich gastronomy, and a wealth of tradition and heritage. Despite the challenges, Croatia's tourism industry continues to grow. However, it's crucial to strike a balance between tourism and sustainability to ensure its long-term success.