The knock on effect of an unusual gesture of the mayor of Croatia's hottest island destination continues to be felt around the world.
It was a story which first broke in English on Digital Journal and rippled around the world to some of the largest and most respected publications around the world, and Croatian media reported on June 28, 2012 that the letter from Hvar Mayor Pjerino Bebic to Beyonce and Jay-Z is having its desired effect, in Hungary at least.
The visit of Beyonce and Jay-Z to the Croatian island of Hvar last summer caused a media storm as Beyonce appeared in a white bikini at trendy beach club Hula Hula, revealing her baby bump to the world for the first time. Interest in the island intensified when Beyonce hinted online that their daughter, Blue Ivy, was named after a tree on the fashionable tourist island, named by Lonely Planet as its number 5 destination for 2012 (see video).
As a thank you for the increased tourism interest in the island due to the media attention, Hvar Mayor Pjerino Bebic wrote to the couple, conferring the status of honorary citizen on their daughter, a gesture which was reported over the world in respected publications such as Britain's Daily Telegraph, Sky News, Huffington Post, CNN and the Los Angeles Times.
Reaction to the gesture has had its desired effect, a surge in interest in the Croatian island, in neighbouring Hungary at least. Dalmacija News reported on a Hvar emigrant now living in Hungary who told the news portal that 60% of people entering a tourist agency in the city of Pec were asking about information to Hvar.
"At first I was surprised because increasingly Hungarians are looking to northern Croatian destinations due to their proximity, but after surfing the Internet for 20 minutes, I understood what it was. Beyonce and her daughter Blue Ivy. I was really surprised later on when I saw your interview on Hungarian television," the former Hvar resident wrote in an email to Bebic.
Hvar Mayor Pjerino Bebic with Bernie Ecclestone and Eric Clapton at the Monaco Grand Prix
Bebic is no stranger to the grand gesture, offering to rename a neighbouring island Facebook Island in a written invitation to Mark Zuckerberg, and he was recently photographed in Monte Carlo with Eric Claption and Bernie Ecclestone. An experienced operator in the media world, his Facebook page was concentrating on matters closer to home today with the promotion of one of the island's most important and unique events, the 4th Lavender Festival which starts tomorrow in Velo Grablje.
The lavender festival at Velo Grablje is one of Hvar's most important cultural festivals