With the Croatian tourist season in full swing on the Adriatic coast and the Dalmatian beaches full, several cultural festivals are also taking place, and the Tourist Board of Omis has taken the enterprising step of inviting Johnny Depp to the annual Pirates of Omis festival, which takes place on August 18, 2012, according to a report in the Croatian Times
Depp, one of the world's best known pirates through the character of Jack Sparrow in the successful Pirates of the Caribbean film series, is unlikely to come, but the invitation has generated publicity for the festival, which was last year attended by 10,000 people. The highlight of the annual festival is the reconstruction of a 13th Century sea battle between the Venetian empire and the pirates of Omis. The battle will include more than 100 participants fighting with original weapons (see video below for 2011 event).
The aim is to promote Omis as a centre of culture and tradition, and to show that the Dalmatian coast has a lot more to offer than its fabled beaches and coast line. The village of Igrane, some 50km further down the coast, is also taking a closer look at the tourism potential of its history and last year held a Night of King Arthur for 3,000 guests, in honour of Arthur's mother, Igraynne, who it is claimed is from the area
While the invitation may be seen as a gimmick by some, there is no doubt that such invitations are effective in generating publicity and interest, and this is not the first such invitation coming out of Croatia.
Last year the mayor of Hvar Town - one of the most popular tourist destinations on the Adriatic - invited Facebook supremo Mark Zuckerberg to the island, offering to rename a neighbouring island 'Facebook Island
' if he came. The high profile visit of Beyonce to Hvar last year (where she revealed her baby bump to the world) and the revelation that the inspiration for the naming of her daughter, Blue Ivy, came from Hvar, lead to Bebic conferring the status of honorary citizen of Hvar
on the small child. The story went around the world and, as previously reported on Digital Journal
, led to an immediate upsurge in tourism interest in the island.
Croatia is becoming more popular as a celebrity destination, where the approach to the rich and famous is a lot more relaxed than elsewhere, and Eric Clapton and Michael Schumacher were two visitors to Hvar earlier this month.