Why did the scandal in Zadar resonate so much around the world? The expert explained

NEWS about how the tennis Adria Tour was canceled in Zadar and how a number of tennis players were infected with the coronavirus broke into prominent places in all relevant world media.

For example, The New York Times has published as many as three articles in the last two days on the Zadar fiasco, whose current balance is 81 people in isolation and five positive cases, including Croatian tennis player Borna Coric, Bulgarian tennis player Grigor Dimitrov, his fitness coach, a Serbian tennis player Viktor Troicki, Djokovic’s coach and a five-year-old child who was not at the tournament, but hung out with the tennis players at a family gathering.

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Plenković: This will harm tourism if there is media spin

That all this could be a big problem for Croatia, which is trying to save what can be saved since the tourist season, said Prime Minister Andrej Plenković, who also attended the tournament and met with virus-infected tennis player Novak Đoković, who was confirmed positive today. covid-19 test.

“It remains to be seen whether the organizers have taken everything they needed. HTS was given the opportunity to organize the Adria Tour. The intention of the organizers was certainly good, I do not know where such a sports center as in Visnjik exists,” Plenković said today.

And then he made an interesting claim about how this whole Zadar scandal will not harm Croatian tourism.

“This will not cost our tourism, there is a part of people who strongly want everything to be negative, it will harm our tourism only if there is media spinning,” Plenković emphasized.

Beros spreads conspiracy theories

The Prime Minister still does not give up his habit of hobbying media criticism, so now he suggests that the media should report on the focus of the infection in Zadar in such a way that “it does not cost our tourism”, probably regardless of whether it costs the truth.

Minister of Health Vili Beroš (HDZ) even embarked on the spread of conspiracy theories, stating the following: “Tourist competitors are using the tournament in Zadar against us.” There is no evidence for that so far, and it is quite insane to expect that the world media will not report on the coronavirus infection of one of the most famous athletes in the world and on the context of the interruption of the tournament in Zadar.

To clarify how the whole story about Djokovic, Zadar and the coronavirus will resonate in the world, we turned to communication expert Petar Tanta for analysis.

Petar Tanta: We all relaxed

Tanta reminds me that I am an Adria Tour and it didn’t have to turn out that bad.

“Adria Tour is an interesting event because a good part of the top tennis players gathered, led of course by Novak Djokovic, who is the biggest star. The media follow his every step. Two weeks ago, a tennis tournament was held in Belgrade, which was good. received and well covered by the media, ”says this communications expert.

The problem is that everyone has “relaxed a bit” about the coronavirus, Tanta points out, and is one of them. It is now clear, Tanta tells us, that the Adria Tour should not have been organized at all in the way it was made, and it was obviously necessary to implement more rigorous protection measures.

“Otherwise, tennis events are a great thing and are well received. I had the opportunity to work at the ATP tournament in Umag and I know first hand how it resonates well with the public. Now we have received a warning that the tournament should not have been organized,” says Tanta.

Why has Zadar become news in the world media?

He is not surprised that this has become important news in the world media.

“When it was seen that the situation was serious, that is, that Dimitrov was positive for coronavirus, then the whole story about the tournament was certainly pushed in the foreign media,” says Tanta, who reminds that the tournament aroused great interest among tennis fans around the world. given that the ATP and WTA tournaments were canceled due to the pandemic.

“We are a tourist country and people who come to us for holidays, and some are already coming, follow what is happening here. There are also sports fans, who watch tennis, and since almost everything about sports has stopped, then Adria “The tour had a bigger impact. From a good, positive story, due to non-compliance with epidemiological measures, we now have the opposite situation,” concludes Tanta.

“The organizers estimated that the tournament could take place. I believe they contacted epidemiologists, but we saw that there was no compliance, which was not done by the tennis players themselves. We also saw footage of night outs. They played all or nothing and now we have – everything, “he says.

The power of negative news

The thing is even worse for Croatian tourism because, Tanta notes, negative news is much stronger than positive news.

“If things had gone smoothly, if the tournament was over and if Djokovic had won this or that player in the final, that news would have had its reach, but limited. But given everything that happened and the tournament had to be stopped before the end, it is automatically negative news, which will then resonate much more strongly in the world public.It is similar to someone carrying out a terrorist attack on a tournament, it would resonate as well, but it would still be much worse news than the one we have “, explains Tanta.

The interruption of the tournament in Zadar was simply an interesting media story: famous sports stars, violation of epidemiological measures, partying, a sudden confession about the infection, panic and the tails of the whole affair that are still going on. All this can definitely not be ignored as a media topic, and a topic of public interest, so it is quite funny that Plenković claims that the whole thing can harm Croatia only if there is “spinning”, while Beroš already claims that some hybrid operation against Croatia is underway. tourism.

Now the key is transparency, even at the expense of tourism

We asked Petar Tanta how Croatia can best get out of this situation, ie how to reduce the negative impact of the whole event.

“At the moment it should be transparent. It may sound bad to some, but it should be transparent and communicate immediately even if we get an increase in the number of infected. In situations like this, the worst thing is to cover up or keep quiet because there is always the possibility that someone will find out sooner or later. and pull it out to the public. At the expense of tourism and everything possible now one should be honest and tell the public everything as it is “, advises Tanta.

“If you start lying, sooner or later someone will catch you in it and then you’ve become concrete in terms of communication,” he warns.

The fact that it was announced that Djokovic was also infected with the coronavirus will keep Croatia in the media in a negative tourist context for a few more days.

Zadar and Croatia will be mentioned in the foreign media in the context of the infection for a few more days

“The main news is Djokovic, and the place of action is unfortunately Zadar. If it was about any athlete of Djokovic’s caliber, football player or basketball player, it would absolutely be the news where he allegedly got infected. This will be the main news for the next few days. to mention Zadar, ”says Tanta.

It should be noted that it is not known whether Djokovic became infected in Zadar or previously in Belgrade, and considering that the virus needs an incubation of several days, the chances are much higher that he became infected in Belgrade. However, from the perspective of a good reputation for Croatia as a tourist destination, it is irrelevant because Zadar remains in the game as a place to cancel the tournament and a place where Djokovic spread the coronavirus. Not only Djokovic but also other tennis players, so Zadar remains marked as a location that is not crown-free.

Lots of unanswered questions regarding the arrival of guests

Finally, we ask Tanta what Croatia needs to do by the end of the summer if it wants to remain perceived as a desirable tourist destination in the age of the coronavirus.

“First of all, we need to rely on experts. We have started to advertise ourselves in the world as a corona-free destination, and many things are not resolved. For example, what if someone from Germany comes to Croatia, settles in his hotel room and realizes that after a few days “There are symptoms of covid-19, which will be confirmed? What comes next – are we closing that hotel, are we closing the city where the hotel is located? There are still too many questionnaires,” Tanta points out.

“Therefore, we should listen to experts and make a concrete plan based on that. We should communicate more about how to learn to coexist with the coronavirus because it shows that it is there as soon as we forget about it,” concludes this communication expert.

In any case, the Adria Tour can be an opportunity for Croatia to learn how not to: ignore precautionary measures, not wear a mask, push at sports events, etc. The second question is what will happen to the tourist season until all these lessons are finally learned.

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