Home » Business » Scottish expat living in Croatia behind successful new start-up

Scottish expat living in Croatia behind successful new start-up

Scottish expat in Croatia behind successful new Rijeka start-up

Simon Neal with his family in Croatia

Simon Neal, CEO of the international company CampMap, based in Rijeka, has found a green solution for camping with much less stress. 

Neal has developed interactive digital maps for camps. He started the project at the beginning of 2020, and today the company employs 10 people and cooperates with over 40 camps in 6 countries and recorded growth of 120% in 12 months.

As a lifetime camper born in Scotland, Neil has been a fan of active enjoyment of nature since he was a child. But it was only when he started camping with his family that he realised how much energy it took to find all the necessary information, which is needed for booking and good travel organisation.

Scottish expat in Croatia behind successful new Rijeka start-up

(Private album)

Lots of paperwork, research and information gathering as well as communication and negotiations with the camp; from whether there are free pitches for booking, what are these pitches and what they look like, is there enough shade if traveling with children, how close is the sea, to information on whether there is a doctor near the camp or recommendations of good restaurants, shopping options and similar to, Simon says about his frustrations camping all over Europe.

Now guests no longer need to spend time researching information on different portals – CampMap has it all in one place and states that it was these issues and problems that made him think and he came up with the idea of creating a digital, interactive map for campsites, which makes camping simpler for both guests and camp owners. CampMap is something like Google Maps and Booking.com for campsites.

Scottish expat in Croatia behind successful new Rijeka start-up

(Photo: CampMap)

CampMap creates interactive maps of campsites, which are available on all devices, which greatly facilitates travel planning, but also navigating the camp during your stay. Guests get all the information in one place; plot size, restaurant or reception opening hours and the like.

Our company also makes 360 photos of the camp, so the guest can immediately see photos of the pitches in the camp on the map, which makes it easier for him to choose a plot or zone for booking in a particular camp, Neal adds.

Scottish expat in Croatia behind successful new Rijeka start-up

(Photo: CampMap)

CampMap is a young start-up company – last year they started cooperating with several camps near Rijeka, today they are already cooperating with several camps outside Croatia – in Slovenia, France, Austria. 

“Take only memories, leave only footsteps”

“Paper trail” has been the main mission from the very beginning of the company’s development. Camp owners have mentioned to us that they also print over 15,000 maps a year for their camp. Our common goal is to reach zero in a few years. We really want to be a green company. We start from the fact that you do not need a pile of paper to get accurate information, and the very essence of camping starts from the assumption of “back to nature”, and we must be aware of what is left behind when we finish a vacation in nature and camping. Using our maps on any device, the guest can move freely around the camp without having to use the printed version of the camp map. Most campers use mobile devices and can explore all the attractions of one camp and destination via a map, Neal says.

Scottish expat in Croatia behind successful new Rijeka start-up

(Photo: CampMap)

The growth trend of the camping sector continues from the pre-COVID period, and further stable development is predicted in the future. Return to nature is a logical answer to the fast lifestyle, as shown by both world and Croatian statistics. “In 2020, family accommodation proved to be the most desirable type of accommodation in Croatia during the COVID-19 pandemic, with 55% of overnight stays in 2019, while in 2021 it became camps with 90% of overnight stays. 2019,“, the Institute of Tourism said.

The goal of CampMap is to open up to other markets in Europe, but also to markets in other parts of the world. The challenge is still to find a way to present products to different types of campsites. The product adapts to each client and the company’s goal is to show the specifics of each camp.

Scottish expat in Croatia behind successful new Rijeka start-up

(Photo: CampMap)

As the company grew, so did the team. Recruiting and looking for new employees is always a challenge, they says, especially in the digital services development sector. 

“We are facing new challenges in the future because we plan to continue to develop our business both in Croatia and abroad.”

Scottish expat in Croatia behind successful new Rijeka start-up

(Private album)

You can find out more about CampMap on the website here. 

Share on:

Sign up to receive the Croatia Week Newsletter

Related Posts