Tuesday, 12 October 2021

Historic Chance to Abandon Old Croatian Mass Tourism Model

October the 12th, 2021 - The Croatian mass tourism model (if you can even call it a model) could finally be sent to the history books as the country has a historic chance before it to bin this method and become more sustainable than simply counting the number of arrivals.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Marija Crnjak writes, no matter how successful they considered this tourist season to be due to the sheer volume of overnight stays and income, it was incidental. Many things which occur in Croatia end up being totally accidental, and this season we had a favourable epidemiological picture to thank more than pretty much anything else. While this summer was fantastic for the domestic economy, finally pumping what it desperately needed back into it after a lean 2020, we actually ended up with what we were declaratively running away from, Croatian mass tourism, which is far from sustainable.

Therefore, in 2022, but also every following year, Croatian tourism should build itself on everything that has been learned throughout the coronavirus pandemic, and that is that guests are looking for quality, premium product and are willing to pay more for it, and that the primary interest is sustainability. Getting excited over rising numbers on the eVisitor system is dying of death, and Croatian mass tourism has done far more harm than good if one dares to glance outside of the state budget's purse strings.

More cooperation in the EU

In addition to the above, this country's tourism sector needs to communicate more and set some proper models for building common strategies, and the European Union and its member states all need to work more together to maximise passenger mobility and strengthen people's confidence in travel safety following this unprecedented public health crisis in which faith in airlines and travel companies was lost.

Some of this was pointed out by the participants in the conference on year-round tourism "Tourism 365" held on Friday in Tuheljske toplice in continental Croatia, with the participation of various ministers and state secretaries in charge of the tourism sector from four European Union countries, and the Prime Ministers of Croatia and Slovenia Andrej Plenkovic and Janez Jansa.

"Our goal is not to stick to counting tourists and arrivals and thinking about how to break records. The goal is sustainable tourism, to have a distributed number of tourists throughout the year. Therefore, the Month of Croatian Tourism project, which is ongoing, is also important to us,'' Croatian Tourism Minister Nikola Brnjac stated.

Slovenian Minister of Economy and Technology Development Zdravko Pocivalsek pointed out that even before the coronavirus crisis, Slovenia had begun developing its own model for sustainable tourism, and during the pandemic, they invested more than a billion euros in aid to the tourism sector, including vouchers for residents of Slovenia, which strengthened domestic tourism.

Fernando Valdes Verelst, Spanish Secretary of State for Tourism, stressed the importance of strengthening co-operation between EU countries in the future, in order to stabilise tourist flows.

"There was cooperation this year as well, but it could have been stronger. We also need cooperation in terms of marketing, and the stronger advertising of Europe as a destination towards distant markets, whose opening is expected,'' said Verelst. The extention of the tourist season is part of the policy of sustainable tourism, and in the pandemic, Croatia got a historic chance to develop a sustainable product,'' said Ivana Budin Arhanic from Valamar, adding that this year tourists showed great interest in quality and premium products.

Kristian Sustar from the Uniline agency warned that we shouldn't brag too much about this year's season, so that it doesn't somehow end up becoming an example of good practice. "We had a fantastic result, but it must be seen for what it was, incidental. In reality, we had three months of work and Croatian mass tourism, and that isn't what we say we want,'' concluded Sustar.

For more on sustainable tourism, check out our travel section.

Tuesday, 12 October 2021

Record 1.6 Billion Kuna in Income Reported by Croatian Private Landlords

October the 12th, 2021 - September set an absolute record, with four times more income from Croatian private landlords who rent their accommodation out to tourists reported to the Tax Administration.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Jadranka Dozan writes, experimental stories from the field and exact summary data shows that the post-season in Croatia this year well and truly exceeded the expectations of the past few weeks. The latest published figures of the Croatian National Tourist Board (HTZ), on arrivals and overnight stays in the first nine months, only confirmed this. There were 70 percent more arrivals and 52 percent more overnight stays than there were last year!

The last detailed picture of fiscalised receipts by activity/sector offers some clear indications of the financial effects of the strong growth of physical indicators at the end of the tourist season.

Four times more income reported than last year!

The Tax Administration claims that 1.6 billion kuna worth of fiscalised receipts were issued for accommodation services last month alone. Compared to last September, with a reported turnover of 420 million kuna, this is almost four times more. Moreover, September 2021's 1.6 billion kuna is also the largest ever fiscalised turnover for that month in that industry. In pre-pandemic 2019, 1.22 billion kuna was recorded in September, 1.19 billion was recorded back in 2018, and approximately one billion kuna was recorded two years before that. Apart from the Croatian private landlords who most directly reflect this truly excellent post-season, the data on fiscalisation in the catering and hospitality industry, primarily cafes and restaurants, also speaks volumes about it.

In September 2021, the catering and hospitality industry issued receipts worth a massive 1.9 billion kuna, which is an increase of more than 70 percent when compared to the same month last year, when they reported 1.1 billion kuna. If September alone is observed, this is a record number for the activity of preparation and serving food and beverages, because, for example, in that month back in 2019, 1.7 billion kuna passed through the fiscalisation system, 1.6 was recorded one year earlier, and a year before that, the figure stood at 1.4 billion.

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated business section.

Tuesday, 12 October 2021

American-Croatian Entrepreneur Boris Miksic Makes €7 Million Investment

October the 12th, 2021 - American-Croatian entrepreneur Boris Miksic has made an enormous seven million euro investment, and although the Croatian public still thinks of him in a political light, there's much more to this businessman than many notice, unless you're from Slavonia...

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Sergej Novosel Vuckovic writes, a very long time has passed since businessman Boris Miksic was a rival to politicians Stjepan Mesic and Jadranka Kosor back in the 2005 presidential election, becoming a sensation in the number of votes won, behind these two the third of thirteen candidates, but even today this episode seems to be the first association with him the public has.

For many people, on the other hand, in Eastern Croatia, he was and remains above all, an entrepreneur, innovator, and an employer, which he became known as with the beginning of his business development in Croatia way back in the early 2000s.

In Beli Manastir, Boris Miksic has had a Ecocortec polymer processing plant for about fifteen years now, which boasts anti-corrosion protection technology, which he patented in 1977 over in the USA in the Cortec Group. At the end of the year, the construction of a new factory in the Business Zone of Beli Manastir is now set begin. Boris Miksic's own investment stands at more than seven million euros.

''As part of the new factory (which will stand on land covering 5,000 square metres, with the hall spanning 2000 square metres itself), there will be a modern line for recycling plastic packaging and a plastic processing plant for further extrusion in our existing factory and in the factories of our partners in Japan, Turkey, Italy, France, Germany and Spain. Another three-layer extrusion line will also be installed in the existing hall and a new line for making plastic bags intended for industrial packaging will be there,'' explained the businessman.

Raw materials from renewable sources

After the construction of the plant in the Ecocortec production and logistics complex, about a hundred people will work there. According to Boris Miksic, Beli Manastir will be the largest factory with such an assortment in all of Europe and the second in the entire world, after the American Cortecs. It should be operational by the end of 2022 if there are no major delays in the supply chain. So far, Miksic has invested more than 20 million euros in the Republic of Croatia.

The entire Cortec Group is, by the way, still the world's largest manufacturer of so-called VCI packaging (which protects against corrosion) sold in hundreds of countries worldwide, and among the clients are some major players in the automotive and electronics industry (such as Mercedes, Toyota, Ford, Bosch, IBM, GE, Airbus, ExxonMobil, and Croatia's very own Koncar).

"With a new range of patented products based on raw materials from renewable sources, such as PLA plastics, we're positioned as leaders in the circular economy," added Boris Miksic.

The need for anti-corrosion protection didn't abate even during the coronavirus pandemic, on the contrary, business results last year and so far in 2021 were, according to Miksic, solid, and "in Croatia, they were above expectations". Revenues in 2020, according to Poslovna Hrvatska (Business Croatia), amounted to close to 50 million kuna, with profits soaring to an impressive 5.78 million kuna.

"Ecocortec had sales growth of 25 percent, which is just proof that my investment in my homeland was well thought of and even better performed thanks to excellent management teams and the dedicated work of all employees," said Boris Miksic. 90 percent of everything done in Slavonia is exported - to the EU, USA, China, Indonesia, Turkey, and Russia. Due to the lockdowns of 2020, the supply was somewhat disrupted, but more than 98 percent of the deliveries to customers was still carried out properly and on time.

"Our competitive advantage is vertical integration, so we didn't really have any delays," added Boris Miksic.

Recently, he further strengthened his position, his company Cortecros took over the Crosca/INA logistics centre in Kastel Sucurac in Dalmatia. They have been using this facility since way back in 1998 but now it is completely theirs and they have some very ambitious plans for it.

"Over the past few years, we've started the production of ecological anti-corrosion products for the market of Southeastern Europe, which we're expanding to the EU, Russia and the Middle East, thus doubling our capacities,"  Miksic announced.

Although he has very much distanced himself from the often murky world of Croatian politics, at least actively, when asked about the assessment of the entrepreneurial climate in Croatia in relation to what he found upon arriving here, the owner of Ecocortec recalls the motto of his political activity: ''when the economy breathes, society flourishes''. He added that he'd like to see Croatia dragged up from being at the very bottom of the EU in many cases.

''I've always had a vision of Croatia as an ecological oasis in the heart of Europe,'' concluded Boris Miksic.

For more, follow our business section.

Tuesday, 12 October 2021

Croatian Underwater Photography Talent Wins Medals at Madeira Ceremony

October the 12th, 2021 - Croatia comes first in many areas, producing a lot of talent from sport to science and medicine and everything in between. Croatian underwater photography skills are the latest thing to be awarded however, at a ceremony which recently took place on the beautiful island of Madeira.

As Morski writes, four underwater photographers from the Republic of Croatia won two medals at the World Underwater Photography Championships held in Madeira, Portugal, on Saturday, October the 9th. Croatian national team member and two-time world champion Damir Zurub with his assistant Katarina Marija Mihaljinec once again won a new world title in the Close up category and in the same category, and fellow Croat Marino Brzac and his assistant Sandra Sertic came in third place.

For the past 36 years, CMAS (Confédération Mondiale des Activités Subaquatiques) has been organising the World Underwater Photography Championships. Held every two years, this competition brings together photographers and videographers from around the world to compete for this world title.

This year, from October the 4th to the 10th, the ceremony was held on the Portuguese island of Madeira, more precisely in Porto Santo, and all of the competitors were accommodated in the Hotel Villa Baleira, which was the base of all events. 97 competitors from 21 countries with 10 teams took part in the world championship, and competitors from 8 countries competed in the video category.

The Croatian national team was represented at this world championship by Damir Zurub (photographer and captain of the national team), Marino Brzac (photographer) and assistants Katarina Marija Mihaljinec and Sandra Sertic, who are all members of the Roniti se mora diving club from Zagreb.

Croatian underwater photography is extremely popular due to the rich array of life the Croatian Adriatic boasts, and the country's national team members submitted photos in 4 categories, coming within the TOP 15 best photos of all in each.

In the overall standings of the world's national teams, Spain eventually won first place as a team. The Croatian national team in underwater photography (Zurub/Mihaljinec/Brzac/ Sertic) has once again shown that it has been at the very top of the global scene in terms of underwater photography over recent years, and this new title has only confirmed that.

For more, make sure to follow Made in Croatia.

Monday, 11 October 2021

United Airlines Flights to Dubrovnik Extended to October 26, 2022

October 11, 2021 - United Airlines flights to Dubrovnik have been extended until the end of October next year!

After an extremely successful summer season in which United Airlines launched a route between New York and Dubrovnik (from July to early October), they have announced more flights to Dubrovnik Airport next summer, reports Croatian Aviation.

United introduced a regular line between Dubrovnik and New York in early July this year. Three flights a week were announced which quickly increased to four times a week from the beginning of July to the beginning of October this year.

Encouraged by the great interest, the airline has already announced the continuation of traffic between Dubrovnik and New York in the summer flight schedule next year.

Unlike this year, next summer, United Airlines plans to launch the first flight between Dubrovnik and New York at the end of May (May 27, 2022). This summer season, the last flight was at the very beginning of October, and for next year, United plans regular operations until the very end of October (October 26, 2022). Thus, this line will be in traffic for a full two months longer next summer compared to this season.

Unlike United, Delta Air Lines, which also operated regularly between New York and Dubrovnik this summer, has not yet released tickets on this route for next summer season. If this route doesn't relaunch, United may increase its capacity to Dubrovnik, either by introducing a larger type of aircraft or by increasing weekly rotations.

With the announcement that Croatian citizens will no longer need visas to visit the USA from December 1 this year, and with 8 weekly operations between Dubrovnik and New York this summer, another regular line from the United States to Croatia may be announced for next summer season, concludes Croatian Aviation.

For more information about flights to Croatia, follow the dedicated TCN section.

To learn more about Osijek Airport, click here

Monday, 11 October 2021

2022 World Cup Qualifiers: Croatia and Slovakia Draw 2:2 in Osijek

October 11, 2021 - Croatia and Slovakia draw 2:2 in Osijek on Monday as part of their 2022 World Cup qualifying campaign. 

After the Croatia national team convincingly won 3:0 against Cyprus on Friday, Croatia continued its 2022 World Cup qualifying campaign in rainy Osijek against Slovakia on Monday.

Before this match, Croatia and Russia led Group H with 16 points each. 

Lineups

Croatia: Livaković - Stanišić, Vida, Gvardiol, Barišić - Brozović, Modrić - Ivanušec, Pašalić, Perišić - Kramarić

Slovakia: Rodak - Koscelnik, Šatka, Škriniar, Hancko - Hrošovsky, Kucka - Schranz, Hamšik, Haraslin - Almasi

Andrej Kramarić thus started at the top of the attack instead of Marko Livaja, Luka Ivanušec took over the right wing, while Borna Barišić filled in for Sosa on left back. Domagoj Vida returned to the stopper position and Ćaleta-Car moved to the bench, while Mario Pašalić was in the starting 11 instead of Nikola Vlašić.

Recall, Zlatko Dalić didn't have Mateo Kovačić available due to yellow cards.

Croatia possessed the game in the first 5 minutes, showing their dominance at home but without any real chances to score. Slovakia certainly pressed up the pitch in the minutes that followed and was awarded their first corner kick in the 9th minute. 

Brozovic and Modric had the best attacking play so far in the 11th minute though the Slovakia keeper denied a shot on goal.  

A Hamšik free kick in the 20th minute found the head on an unmarked Schranz who scored for the 0:1 Slovakia lead. 

Modrić angrily shot far post in the 24th minute which was deflected for a corner. Kramarić scored the equalizer with his head off Modrić's cross for 1:1 and his first national team goal in 13 games! 

Croatia almost took the lead nearing the 30th minute but the Slovakia keeper was brilliant to block Pašalić and keep the score even. Barašić shot two minutes later forcing the keeper to make another save. Kramarić's confidence from scoring could be seen on the pitch as the striker had another great chance. Brozović also tested the Slovakia keeper with a shot in the 37th minute. 

Haraslin, however, was the one to take the lead in the 45th minute for 1:2. Kramarić hit the post in the post in the final seconds of added time. The match ended 1:2 for Slovakia at halftime. 

Dalić subbed on Nikola Vlašić for Luka Ivanušec to start the second half. 

Slovakia came out with a few chances to start the second half, with close calls for Livaković. Kramarić had a brilliant chance in the 57th minute which he shanked off target. 

Pašalić came off for Brekalo in the 59th minute. Modrić had a shot on target in the 60th. 

Perišić and Vlašić had a nice play in the 65th minute which was hit wide of the goal. 

Livaja was subbed on for Stanišić in the 67th minute, showing Dalić's offensive strategy to not only get the equalizer but the win. 

Croatia was awarded a free kick on the edge of the penalty area in the 69th minute, and Croatia got their chance. Luka Modrić brilliantly hit the ball through the Slovakia wall for 2:2! 

Croatia was awarded another free kick a bit further outside of the penalty area in the 77th minute. Vida almost had a header in the goal in the next play. 

Just when we thought Croatia did it again after a stunning Kramarić ball into the box and Vlašić goal, the referee ruled it offside. 

Brozović almost put Croatia in the lead with 3 minutes to go but weakly shot at the keeper, and Vlašić missed in the 89th. 

The referee added 4 minutes of injury time to the end of the match, in which neither team could score. 

Croatia has two final qualifiers against Malta and Russia next month. 

To follow the latest sports news in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

To learn more about sport in Croatia, CLICK HERE.

Monday, 11 October 2021

Forbes 30 Under 30 Chef Mario Mandarić Readies for New Journey in Uganda

October 11, 2021 - The already famous Croatian chef Mario Mandarić, whose name was included in the Forbes 30 Under 30 list for his innovative waste-free Michelin-style meal, is readying for a new journey outside of the kitchen and in Uganda.

Mario Mandarić, welcome to Uganda - a group of Ugandan children shouted with a smile, sending a warm welcome to the famous chef in a video, reports Slobodna Dalmacija.

Madarić, currently employed as a chef at the Time Hotel in Split and the popular Baraka pub, will soon arrive in East Africa, bringing what is most important to them in life - water!

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Namely, Madarić bought a one-way ticket and decided to live in Uganda and finance the construction of a well. In a country where 2,696 children under the age of five die every year from diarrhea caused by consuming dirty water, a well means life.

Madarić shared the children's excitement in a video on his Instagram profile, as they will finally be able to quench their thirst with clean drinking water for the first time without fear of fatal consequences.

"And I don't want to stop at one well; that's just the beginning. I will finance them; without thinking, I decided to set aside 8 to 12 thousand dollars for them. But when I’m already going down, when I can already help, then it would be a shame to keep it on just one, and that’s why we’re organizing a charity donor dinner on October 16 at the Time Hotel.

I will prepare six top fine dining courses for guests, who will eventually help build more wells with their donations. It will be a minimum of 400 kuna per person. All the funds we collect at the dinner, and donations that will be sent to an account opened for that purpose, will go to Uganda," says chef Mario.

Mario is already well-known in the public eye. Last year, the prestigious Forbes included him on the "30 under 30" list from Europe in the "Art and Culture" category.

Screenshot_2021-10-11_at_16.43.43.png

This was decided by a series of articles in a British newspaper praising his charity dinner of seven Michelin-style dishes made entirely from produce and ingredients that would have ended up in the trash.

He then explained to a crowd of dignitaries who attended that 47 million tons of edible uncooked food end up in waste every year in Europe, while at the same time, tens of millions of people have nothing to eat. Chef Mario forwarded donations from the dinner to the London Center for Young Homeless People. Mandarić also worked at the famous "The Fat Duck" restaurant with three Michelin stars. 

"The idea came to me one morning during this summer, which I spent cooking in a Hvar restaurant for higher-spending guests. I sat with colleagues from a restaurant over coffee, scrolled Google news, and at one point read about the problems of Ugandan children caused by dangerous, dirty water. I said I have to do something. I'm going down there; I'll build a well. I will make that money again, I am young, on the verge of 30, and it will mean a lot to them. I can change the life of an entire village that way.

So if I can do that, if I can impact their lives with that money, I want to help. And when I'm already building one, then I can make more, so I decided on a donor dinner," said Mario.

He contacted many people and finally got in touch with Amar Gader from Uganda, who is building wells in small villages with a few workers. An agreement was reached, and Mario will take off in a few months. And this all in a country where children are dying from not having clean drinking water, and which at the same time has vast reserves of drinking water underground.

"What an absurdity. The construction of the well costs from 8 to 12 thousand dollars, and the expectations are that the work will be completed in about 15 days. Amar has found the village, he is waiting for me, and then we go into action.

Yes, I will take an active part in it, I want to do it and help them. Maybe there are more people like me. If they are there, I invite them to join us," concluded Mandarić.

For more on lifestyle in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page

Monday, 11 October 2021

FinMin: There's Room for Stronger Economic Cooperation Between Croatia and France

ZAGREB, 11 Oct 2021 - There is room for stronger economic cooperation between Croatia and France, notably in energy, transport, and environmental protection, Finance Minister Zdravko Marić said after meeting with a high-level delegation of French companies in Zagreb on Monday.

Some of these French companies are already present on the Croatian market, while some are interested in investing in the Croatian economy, in particular in energy, renewable energy sources, the green, and digital transition, transport, and environmental protection, Marić said.

He said that there was an interest in various aspects of cooperation, with emphasis on the use of EU funds and the areas covered by the National Recovery and Resilience Plan, such as environmental protection and water management.

The meeting also focused on political aspects of cooperation, including the planned purchase of fighter jets for the Croatian Air Force, and "hopefully, a forthcoming visit by French President Emmanuel Macron." 

The French are the ninth-largest investors in Croatia, Marić said, citing the Istria motorway project and the Zagreb airport project.

Marić said that they also discussed the investment environment in Croatia. He said that since the beginning of its term in office, the government has focused on economic issues. He said that the government has embarked on tax reform and consolidation of public finance to improve the business climate.

Marić said that great emphasis was also on the National Recovery and Resilience Plan and Croatia's aspirations to join the Schengen area and eurozone, which he said would also help increase the interest of investors.

Asked to what extent the purchase of military aircraft from France would help attract French investors to Croatia, Marić said that this was difficult to say, but that today's visit showed that Croatia was recognized in the right way.

For more about politics in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Monday, 11 October 2021

Grabar-Kitarović New Chair of Future Host Commission for the Games of the Olympiad

ZAGREB, 11 Oct 2021 - Former Croatian president Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović has been appointed as the Chair of the Future Host Commission for the Games of the Olympiad, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) reported on its website on Monday.

A press release by the IOC notes that Grabar-Kitarović, an IOC member since 2020, will immediately replace former Chair Kristin Koster Aasen, who stood down following her election to the Executive Board (EB) because no EB member can serve on the Future Host Commissions.

"I am grateful for this opportunity to collaborate with potential hosts on Olympic projects, which will help them to achieve their long-term goals for development, public health, sports participation and inclusion. I would like to continue to build on the great work begun under Kristin's leadership. It is an exciting chance to develop innovative ways to steer the Olympic Games into the future and explore the challenges facing upcoming hosts, such as climate change," Grabar-Kitarović said.

IOC President Thomas Bach also commented on Grabar-Kitarović's appointment.

"The Future Host Commissions have an important role in shaping the future of the Olympic Movement. Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović will bring rich and diverse skills and experience, including at the very highest levels of government and international relations. As a member of the same Commission, she has already contributed to the successful delivery of the first election under the new approach to choosing Olympic and Paralympic hosts, with the selection of Brisbane 2032," he added.

For more about politics in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Monday, 11 October 2021

Conference "IPA III: Connecting People Beyond Borders" Held in Split

ZAGREB, 11 Oct 2021 - Over the next seven years more than €14 billion will be available to Western Balkan countries as EU pre-accession aid to facilitate their integration into the European Union, a conference called "IPA III: Connecting people beyond borders" was told in the southern Croatian coastal city of Split on Monday.

"IPA III (Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance) will be the most important tool for the European Union in its enlargement policy in the coming years. With a historic budget of more than €14 billion, the EU has reaffirmed its commitment to support the Western Balkan countries with their reform agenda and to progress on their European integration," said Croatian MEP Željana Zovko, vice-chair of the European Parliament's Foreign Affairs Committee and co-rapporteur on IPA III.

She noted that these funds were very important for cross-border cooperation between Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina.

"It will be possible to use IPA III funding for the border areas of Split-Dalmatia County in Croatia and the neighboring three cantons in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and now we have an opportunity to use these funds. It is up to us to prepare ourselves and that's why we organized this conference," Zovko said.

She said that the bulk of the money will go towards economic development and investment to create jobs, improve infrastructure and strengthen human and social resources. This will include education and youth employment projects to prevent further brain drain, she added. 

The conference was attended by the mayor of Split, the prefect of Split-Dalmatia County, and the heads of government of the three adjacent cantons in Bosnia and Herzegovina - Herzegovina-Neretva Canton, West Herzegovina Canton, and Herceg-Bosna Canton.

For more about politics in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

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