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Novi Sad through two European titles

October 20, 2023

The year 2016 was special for Novi Sad, because during that year our city was awarded the organization of two important titles – Youth Capital of Europe 2019 and European Capital of Culture 2022. First, in Brussels, after the presentation of the “Novi Sad 2021” project, a panel of independent experts decided that Novi Sad would win the title of European Capital of Culture for 2021, and a few months later, the decision of the expert jury for the title of Youth Capital of Europe for 2019 would arrive from Varna. As it was a great success for the city, which we were all happy about, the initial excitement was followed by continuous work in planning the best possible realization of both titular years, because we were aware of the challenge that this success brings, and our desire was to respond to it in the best way.

We started preparing for 2019 even before the year in which Novi Sad was declared the Youth Capital of Europe, because an important segment of the candidacy was the “Youth Fair” tourism fair, which we have continuously organized in cooperation with the “EXIT” foundation and the Department of Geography, Tourism and Hotel Management of the Faculty of Sciences of the University of Novi Sad for several years. In the titular year, the manifestation was called “OPENS Youth Fair”.

During the preparatory years, as well as in the titular year itself, we made an effort to create special brochures in several languages that talked about Novi Sad as a city of young people and what they can visit and experience when they come to our city. In addition to these, we regularly sent other promotional materials about Novi Sad to the embassies where the “OPENS 2019” project was presented, while the audience through the traveling caravan had the opportunity to learn more about the city’s offer through our brochures.

Along with planning as many programs as possible for 2019, we have been continuously working on preparations for 2021, thinking of all the ways to encourage the public to visit Novi Sad.

During both titular years, numerous promotional campaigns were organized, both through digital channels and traditional media, as well as through the so-called “outdoor” forms of communication. We produced about 15 videos on various topics that concerned young people, while during the European Capital of Culture more than 50 videos were made in different language variations, which were placed on the organization’s networks or on national, regional or local television. Numerous stories and invitations were published by journalists who were on an organized visit to our city, whether they came at our invitation or in cooperation with the Tourism Organization of Serbia, the Tourism Organization of Vojvodina, the “Novi Sad – European Capital of Culture 2021” foundation and the “OPENS” association. In addition to the media, numerous delegations have visited Novi Sad over the past few years and have given additional importance to our joint success.

Given that the corona virus delayed the holding of the European Capital of Culture title in Novi Sad for a year, we used that period for final preparations, which enabled us to publish several publications in 2022, among which “Cultural-Tourist guide” stands out, created especially for this occasion.

Recognizing the importance of the global platform “Tripadvisor”, through which tourists explore new destinations, receive useful tips and guidelines and book their trip, during 2021 and 2022 we successfully implemented campaigns through which we invited tourists from Russia, Croatia, Germany, Austria and Turkey to visit Novi Sad in the year of the European Capital of Culture. With more than 934 million reviews about eight million tourist locations and businesses, this platform facilitates travel planning, is present in 43 markets and 22 languages, and for that reason was extremely important for the promotion of Novi Sad’s tourist offer.

As for promotion through digital and online channels, on Facebook alone, thanks to well-thought-out publishing, thematic diversity and paid advertising, in 2022 all published content on this network reached 3.72 million users of this network. On the other hand, the reach achieved on Instagram in the same period was 2.7 million users.

In the same year, on some of the largest regional online portals, close to 80 thematically different texts and banner solutions were published, which, according to information received from the media, were read more than 355,000 times.

Written by: Bojan Petrović