Neno Basic Kostadinovic is a natural ambassador for tourism to Croatia — and that’s a good thing, because his job is General Manager of Taste Dalmatia, a Destination Management Company organizing tailor-made tours to the country. Take a few minutes to get to know Neno.
Q: What is your biggest triumph?
A: I’m only in my early 30s, so I wouldn’t say I’ve had a triumph yet. I am very proud of the fact I started working in my family’s company right out of high school and also pursued a Masters Degree in Tourism at the same time. I began at the very bottom, and today I run the company.
Q: What is your biggest regret?
A: Not studying in foreign countries and spending more time seeing the world when I was younger.
Q: What was your most memorable experience while traveling?
A: Visiting Rome! It’s my favorite city — I love the history, art, great food and wine.
Q: Which company do you think is doing a brilliant job in promoting itself?
A: Rimac Automobili. Here is a guy who began in his garage developing the technology for the fastest electric car (hypercars) a decade ago, and today he’s working with Tesla, Porsche, and Aston Martin.
Q: What’s still on your bucket list?
A: Travel. I want to explore everywhere including New Zealand, Australia, U.S. National Parks, and so much more.
Q: If you could go to one place before you died, where would it be?
A: New Zealand.
Q: What makes a good destination management company?
A: 1) Knowledge – they have to back everything up they are telling a client with in-depth knowledge of all of the experiences to be had in the region.
2) Individual Approach – tours need to be customized for each client to show them the best of your destination according to their unique interests.
3) Expertise – an innate knowledge of what types of activities will make the client happy. The ultimate goal is that at the end of the day, the client comes back and is 100% satisfied because they took your suggestion of an activity and said you were right, it was a great place to see.
Q: Who or what inspires you?
A: Croatia and Croatians! We are very proud of continuing 2,000 years of history. We only became independent 30 years ago, and our natural beauty, people, wines, and regions — it’s something amazing for us to be able to share with the world.
Q: What is the biggest misconception about Croatia?
A: That as the ex-Yugoslavia, we are a Third World country still plagued by the war that happened 50 years ago. While we are still transitioning to be like the rest of Western Europe, we are a modern, safe, incredibly beautiful place to visit.
Q: What is your favorite wine?
A: Crljenak Kastelanski which turns out to be the original Zinfandel. Just recently there was DNA testing to determine that Zinfandel actually was originated in the coastal areas of Croatia in the 18th century and not in Napa.
Q: If a traveler only had one day to spend in Dalmatia, what should they see or do?
A: Drink wine, swim, relax, enjoy the food and sights and turn off their cell phone.