CBCC 2023: Western Balkan countries a hidden gem for digital nomads

13.10.2023

Networking, exchange of experiences, discussion of important topics and great entertainment marked the beginning of the week in Niksic and Montenegro, where the third edition of the Cross Border Coworking Conference was organized. The conference, which was organized by the Innovation and Entrepreneurship Center Tehnopolis and INTERA Technology Park with the co-organization of the National Tourism Organization of Montenegro, gathered more than 150 people from all over the world, including digital nomads, tourism operators, coworking managers and decision makers, who participated for three days in rich program.

It all started on Monday, October 9th, 2023. in the evening hours when speed networking took place in the premises of the Innovation and Entrepreneurship Center Tehnopolis, during which the participants had the opportunity to get to know each other better and learn about each other’s professional life, as well as interesting things related to the lifestyle of digital nomads. With a snack after the speed networking, the participants relaxed and had fun, creating a foundation for a productive continuation of work during the conference.

A rich program filled with the exchange of knowledge and experiences

During almost eight hours of the program on Tuesday, October 10th, 2023. participants had the opportunity to listen to presentations, panel discussions and workshops prepared by regional and world experts. After the welcome speeches, the conference opened with presentations from Montenegro and Bosnia and Herzegovina during which the natural beauty of these countries was highlighted, as well as the various offers available to digital nomads. It was pointed out that the progress in attracting nomads is clearly manifested in the offers of the states, but also that key stakeholders, especially tourism operators, are aware of the importance of adapting the offer to the needs of this target group. The conference program included the presentation of the lifestyle of digital nomads, as well as a discussion through a panel discussion about the experiences of local companies with remote work. The possibility of working remotely was identified as an important benefit of modern workplaces, but the need to adapt management styles to this trend was highlighted, with special emphasis on the care of employees in these conditions. This year, the conference was enriched by presentations of the experiences of digital nomads, who previously stayed in Montenegro and Bosnia and Herzegovina, through video messages during which both countries were defined as hidden gems that can offer a lot to this target group.

The conference also included workshops during which they discussed contemporary challenges faced not only by digital nomads, but also by other individuals in their everyday professional life. During the time management workshop, it was pointed out that the key success factor lies in focus and goal-oriented attention, with advice on how to improve focus and, therefore, productivity. The burnout workshop emphasized the lack of a positive routine as one of the most important causes of burnout and offered participants steps that can be taken to overcome this problem. During the program, 12 coworking spaces from the region presented their services, inviting everyone present to visit them and become their users.

 

The conference also discussed tips for digital nomads to get to know the local community, highlighting going out and comfort zones as a necessary factor for inclusion in various activities such as social events, volunteering, and the like. At the workshop on personal branding, five rules of successful branding were presented with an emphasis on credibility, authenticity, networking and consistency as characteristics needed to work on one’s image. The conference ended with the presentation of examples of good practices from Europe, this year the coliving space Coconat from Germany.

Networking as a key benefit

For the third year in a row, the conference proved to be a platform for presenting the region to digital nomads, but also for networking and making contacts. This year’s novelty was a cruise on the magnificent Bay of Kotor on Wednesday, October 11th, 2023, which served for additional introduction and exchange of experiences. A special value lies in the positive impressions of all the participants, who agree on one thing again this year – the countries of the Western Balkans are truly a hidden gem for digital nomads and they have a bright future ahead of them, during which the offer for this target group will be improved in order to meet their needs and make use of all benefits.

This year’s edition was co-financed by the European Union and the Government of the Federal Republic Germany through the Covid-19 Investment Response/EU4BusinessRecovery project. This project is implemented by GIZ BiH with the aim of mitigating the economic consequences caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. This project contributes, among other things, to strengthening the capacities of tourist operators, developing of sustainable tourism and branding Bosnia and Herzegovina as a destination for digital nomads. The conference was additionally supported by the Investment Development Fund, Municipality of Niksic, Regional Rural Development Standing Working Group (SWG RRD, Tourist Organization Niksic, Niksic Theater, ZenDev, DELI and Coca Cola HBC Montenegro. Media sponsors of the conference are Bljesak.info, Nezavisne novine, Večernji list and RTNK.

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