ACI Sail presented one of the most popular panel discussions at this year’s Weekend Media Festival
On Friday, September 24th, the first panel discussions were presented at this year’s Weekend Media Festival in Rovinj. One of the first and currently the most popular among them was the panel “Athletes As Brands” sponsored by ACI Sail. This panel discussion looked at the branding strategy of the Republic of Croatia through sport, focusing principally on sailing and boating. In addition to many excellent Croatian athletes, Croatia has also a great global reputation for its tourism. And it is, indeed, its boating and nautical industry that perfectly brings together sports and tourism, having all the potential to become the key factor in Croatia’s branding strategy. These were the topics discussed during this year’s Weekend Media Festival in the panel “Athletes As Brands” by the Croatian ski legend Ivica Kostelić, a professional sailor and ACI Sail Manager Ivan Kljaković Gašpić and a multiple Olympic, European and World Cup medal-winner in water polo Dubravko Šimenc, moderated by Bruno Kovačević.
The boating industry forms the backbone of Croatian branding strategy
“Thanks to its favourable climate conditions, thousand islands and natural resources, Croatia has the worldwide best domestic grounds for boating activities and we should definitely take advantage thereof. I think that we should enjoy more the sea itself. It would be very desirable if as many children and young people as possible would join sailing, considering it a sport and a lifestyle, because this is definitely how we, as a country, can make great things happen”, stated Ivan Kljaković Gašpić, ex Olympic-medallist and European champion and the ACI Sail Project Manager, and added:
“Thanks to the ACI Sail project, Croatia can offer so much more to its youth nowadays than ever before. This project of nautical excellence aims to place Croatia in the top of the world’s boating and sailing elite and make it become a true nautical superpower. ACI Sail has formed an exclusive and unique partnership with Nautor’s Swan, the renowned constructor of the most luxurious sailing yachts in the world. Furthermore, ACI Sail runs one of the most impressive fleets of ClubSwan 36 sailboats, the world’s best boats in this category”, Ivan pointed out. In addition, the ClubSwan 36 Training Centre, the only one in the world, is based in Split, where everyone has the opportunity to learn how to master these sailboats and compete in the world’s most prestigious regattas that take place in locations like Palma de Mallorca (Spain), St. Tropez (France) or Porto Cervo (Italy).
“This project certainly marks an important step forward for the Croatian boating industry. Considering the fact that nautical tourism has proven to be an extremely safe and pandemic-resistant industry, we must grab the chance and take advantage of this positive trend combined with our natural resources and use it to brand our country as a prominent nautical destination favourable for both – sports and tourism,” concluded Ivan.
Sailing is not just a sport – it is a lifestyle
“Sailing is not just another ordinary type of sport. It is a lifestyle that has a very beneficial effect on body and mind like very few others”, said Ivica Kostelić, a multiple Olympic medal-winning alpine ski racer and sailor. “An excellent example of good practice is France, where everyone living in the coastal areas sails and where sailing is literally a school subject. Finally, sailing is not just a sport, but it gives you a whole new perspective on life,” concluded Ivica.
Photos by: Matija Habljak