Inga Norvilyte is a young mum and a successful woman in the world of social media who has visited Dubrovnik last week for a family vacation. Her path took her from Lithuania to Ireland, where she leads the site ''Love Belfast'', which was declared a winner of the ''UK blog awards 2016'' in category Events. It's interesting that ''Love Belfast'' isn't her job, it's what she does in her spare time, while she's actually working in a hotel. She shared her experience with The Dubrovnik Times.
When did you start your blog?
I cringe at the word "Blogger". I do not know why, I just don't like to use it. But I've been doing social media for about 3 years now. What started as a hobby has become nearly a full time job. With pages for restaurants, sport, business, fashion and charity, with over 250,000 Followers on Twitter and Facebook pages.
How did lady from Lithuania end up in Belfast?
I ended up in Belfast after visiting relatives and looking for a summer job. I ended up staying, but would visit Lithuania at least twice a year. My son will grow up speaking both English and Lithuanian and so I want to make sure that he experiences both cultures.
How did you come up with an idea to start the website? Why ''Love Belfast''?
LoveBelfast - which celebrates everything I love about Belfast, was my experiences and whats on guide to the city. Started as a hobby on Facebook, it then became a Twitter account, then a website etc., with more and more followers joining every week. Would now reach millions each week and can now write and talk about anything happening in the world. I also started TakeBackTheCity which focuses more on music concerts and sports.
Did you expect it to be this famous? How did you feel when you've won the Best UK Blog Award 2016?
I was really surprised about winning UK blog of the year. I didn't even go to the event in London, and couldn't believe when I started receiving tweets from people at the event congratulating me on winning. But I am very happy and maybe it will lead to bigger things.
I put a lot of hard work and hours into the blog and was a nice to get some recognition for it. I also recently got Belfast on the global Monopoly board game in a global social media campaign, beating London, Dublin, New York and Sydney.
Do you do it by yourself or you have people who help you?
Myself and my partner do all the social media. We got alot of information from other companies, events and PR companies so need the help. My email inbox is full every day with requests. People are surprised when they hear its not my full time job and often think i have a team of journalists working for me.
Why did you pick Dubrovnik for your vacation?
I actually found the hotel first, Radisson Hotel. I would visit a lot of Radisson hotels on my travels and came across this one on the internet. I then looked up photos of Dubrovnik and just thought I had to go there. It was also very handy that Belfast only started doing direct flights with Jet2.com from May. Both the hotel and the city of Dubrovnik have surpassed my expectations and already planning to return in September.
What are your impressions of Dubrovnik?
It is not difficult to see why Dubrovnik has become one of the up and coming tourist destinations of the Mediterranean. While the scars of shell bombardment can still be found in some places, this city has turned itself into a shiny, polished pearl, rivalling much more established seaside destinations such as Venice, Rome and Barcelona. No wonder the city is featured on the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites and the movie set of Star Wars and Game of Thrones.
What are your future plans?
I'll be visiting my home city of Klaipeda in August for 2 weeks and looking forward to relaxing on the beach. There is also many events happening in Belfast that I'm looking forward to attending.