Thursday, 18 May 2023

Osijek Mosquitoes Problem to be Approached Systematically

May 18, 2023 - As the regional center of Slavonia and Baranja, Osijek is known for its history, culture, being the greenest city in Croatia, and other interesting things. Among them, unfortunately, the Osijek mosquitoes. So much so that there are statues and artwork dedicated to the little flying nuisances, festivals that have one as their logo, and even an enclosure in the bushes of the city zoo with their name. Summers in Osijek are equally fun and itchy.

This year, the city of Osijek will, for the first time, approach its mosquito problem from a wider angle by including the area of several neighboring municipalities from whose floodplains the mosquitoes come to the city. As announced by the City Administration, they expect that a more systematic approach will gradually reduce the mosquito population.

Deputy Mayor Dragan Vulin said at a press conference that for the first time since Croatian independence, the city of Osijek reached an agreement on the financing of larvicidal treatments in the area of the surrounding municipalities of Petrijevci, Darda, Bilje, and Erdut, where the largest floodplains from which mosquitoes come to the city can be found, writes Index.

Research has shown that 95 percent of mosquitoes in Osijek come from those flood areas, so the city has taken on the obligation to finance and carry out the treatment to prevent the emergence of mosquitoes in those areas, explained Vulin.

The city will finance the larvicidal treatments in total, and in addition, Vulin points out, it was agreed with the municipal authorities that 90 percent of the amount will be co-financed from the Osijek city budget for corrective adulticidal mosquito treatments, intended for mosquitoes that survive the larvicidal treatment, while the municipalities will provide the remaining 10 percent.

Planes will dust over the residential areas

Given that larvicidal treatments are not fully effective anywhere in the world, Vulin announced that Osijek would also carry out adulticidal treatments from the ground and the air in the city, and the first treatments are scheduled for this Thursday and Friday. He noted that the City Administration is having discussions with the Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development regarding obtaining a permit for the larvicidal treatment of the peripheral areas of the Kopački rit Nature Park, as a large number of mosquitoes come to Osijek from the park's southern parts.

Vulin reported that 700,000 euros have been provided in the city budget for mosquito control this year, while the Osijek-Baranja County will participate in financing with an additional 200,000 euros.

When the funds allocated by individual municipalities are added, it amounts to more than 1.1 million euros. In addition, the City of Osijek expects help from the government, from which Mayor Ivan Radić requested funds.

Vulin believes that more than 1.5 million euros will be available for the fight against mosquitoes this year, which is more than in the past few years.

Regarding the agreement with the surrounding municipalities, Vulin says that they wanted to fight mosquitoes outside the city, which will also help municipalities that cannot provide enough funds for an effective fight against mosquitoes. This does not mean that there will be no mosquitoes at all, but it is certain that with this systematic approach, the mosquito population will decrease this year and in the following years, Deputy Mayor Vulin said.

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

Thursday, 18 May 2023

TZV Gredelj Completing 'De Luxe' Night Carriages for Siemens Mobility

May the 18th, 2023 - TZV Gredelj (Zagrebacka tvornica zeljeznickih vozila Gredelj) is completing a set of so-called de luxe night carriages for the transport of passengers across Europe.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Suzana Varosanec writes, TZV Gredelj boasts a tradition spanning longer than 120 years in the provision of services for the production and repair of railway vehicles, and it has now seemingly having recovered following the introduction of a new ownership structure. TZV Gredelj got itself out of somewhat troubled waters and is now performing beyond successfully with all of its international competition, and in April this year, it began cooperation on night train carriages Siemens Mobility, which is one of the absolute global leaders in the railway industry.

As such, with Siemens Mobility as its customer, TZV Gredelj will ensure the final completion of 35 carriages for night trains, and as they say, this represents highest level of quality intended for passenger transport across Europe.

"Approximately seventy production workers, logisticians, technologists and engineers will be employed. The project began in April and the completion of the first part is planned for the end of 2023, with the possibility of further continuation of other selected projects", they stated from TZV Gredelj. According to the President of the Management Board of TZV Gredelj Ivan Petricek, the expert teams from both Siemens Mobility and TZV Gredelj are actively cooperating on their first project together.

"We expect for this cooperation to bring us not only new business opportunities, but also significant orders from the rest of the railway industry and the strengthening of our position on the market of railway vehicles,'' stated Petricek. As for this new job which is significant business for a customer like Siemens Mobility, they pointed out that several months of negotiations resulted in the eventual signing of a cooperation agreement, which made Croatia's TZV Gredelj a success among its international competitors.

The first eight such wagons were taken over at the Resnik freight station on April the 20th, 2023. After their delivery to the production facility of TZV Gredelj, a technical inspection of the condition and preparation for the execution of the contracted works began according to the previously agreed schedule.

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

Thursday, 18 May 2023

Mate Rimac and Sandro Mur Invest in Juicefast Food Tech Startup

May the 18th, 2023 - Croatian entrepreneurs Mate Rimac and Sandro Mur have decided to invest in the already fairly well known Croatian Juicefast food tech startup, founded at the start of 2020.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, the Juicefast food tech startup has found a way to provide a complete nutritional solution with its cold-pressed juices and nutritionally balanced meals. It was founded at the beginning of 2020 by two brothers David and Marko Dravinec. Since then, it has been successfully growing here on the domestic market and winning over more and more fans of leading a healthy life and ensuring proper nutrition.

All of the products produced by the Juicefast food tech startup are 100% natural, without any additives and preservatives, which ensures top quality and taste, and product safety is achieved using the most modern high-pressure processing technology. With the new energy and capital that Rimac and Mur will bring to Juicefast, the innovative brothers behind it plan to do even more.

With the investments from Mate Rimac and Sandro Mur, already known for their innovative business ideas and wildly successful investments, Juicefast ended up with a dream duo backing their startup. This investment is just another example of two world-class entrepreneurs investing in young companies and encouraging the growth of the startup ecosystem across the Republic of Croatia.

"Over the last few years, I've supported and invested in several domestic business ventures in their early stages, all with the aim of strengthening the Croatian start-up ecosystem. When considering who to support, the most important thing for me is the team behind the project, scalability beyond Croatian borders and the potential to influence the growth of the Croatian economy and create more jobs. The story of my entry into Juicefast is quite unusual, though.

David sent me a short email in which he introduced himself and the brand. Although I receive a large number of similar emails, I wanted to learn more about Juicefast because you can immediately see when someone knows what they're doing and has a professional approach to things. When we met, I recognised the potential of the project and David's passion combined with the persistence needed to create a company. David and the team have a clear vision for their further development, and I believe that the market in which they're located will be increasingly important and larger in the future. After the first meeting, we quickly agreed on an investment." Rimac stated.

The founder of Bellabeat and well-known investor Sandro Mur, who, with his business instincts and passion for technology has become one of the most successful Croatian entrepreneurs of all, also wants to help young domestic startups realise their dreams.

"The Juicefast food tech startup is a brand whose products I first of all used privately, and then over time I realised how much potential there is in the whole story. We're used to the tech sector being the area where the biggest breakthroughs in the startup industry take place, but I'm sure that healthy lifestyle habits and everything that Juicefast represents are the future. They have a vision and they're passionate, and now, with our support and resources, they'll get the opportunity to expand and grow. This is just another step towards the creation of successful Croatian brands that will go on to conquer the world,'' said Mur.

"We have more than 50,000 clients and more than 500 monthly subscribers here on the Croatian market. We recently opened up on the neighbouring Slovenian market, where we also expect excellent business results. The company currently has 20 employees, but we're also planning new hires. So far, we've already sold over 3,000,000 bottles of juice, which is excellent,'' said Juicefast founder David Dravinec.

"We're currently focusing on the B2C segment, primarily through webshop sales, while in the future we will pay more attention to the corporate sector and other B2B channels. I've always believed in the vision of the Juicefast food tech startup, but actually having the support of two ''magicians'' in this game, such as Sandro and Mate, gives me even more hope that we'll manage to achieve everything we've got planned. I'm extremely grateful and happy," concluded David.

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

Wednesday, 17 May 2023

How to Croatia - How Foreigners Can Get a Croatian Driving License

May the 17th, 2023 - When it comes to getting your hands on a Croatian driving license (by swapping your foreign document) there are differences in the procedure an applicant must undertake with the Interior Ministry (MUP) depending on whether they hold an EEA passport or not. This edition of How to Croatia will explain further.

Citizens of the European Union and the European Economic Area

If you're the citizen of an EU (European Union) or EEA (European Economic Area) country, then getting your hands on a Croatian document is a bit easier. As with everything administrative like this, you'll need to pay a visit to the administrative police station responsible for issuing driving licenses. Unlike with residence applications, the clerk fills in the application form for a Croatian driving license and not you. You then confirm the accuracy of what the clerk has written by signing the form. Any mistakes can be highlighted and corrected before you put your signature on the application form.

In addition to signing the aforementioned form, you'll also need to provide MUP with several items:

Proof of your identity (this can be your EU/EEA passport or your Croatian biometric residence permit/ID card)

Your valid EEA/EU driving license

A photo of you that is a current representation of how you look now (35x45mm) 

Proof of you having paid to lodge your application for a Croatian driving license of 20.04 euros (a fixed exchange rate which would equal 151 kuna in old money) for the application to be processed as a regular procedure


Proof of you having paid for your request to be processed as an accelerated procedure (26.54 euros)

Proof of you having paid for your request to be processed as an urgent procedure (59.73 euros)

The slip you'll need to make the payment will be given to you at the administrative police station. Alternatively, this fee can be paid via Internet banking. 


You may not be required to provide the aforementioned 35x45mm photograph if you were issued with an e-ID card, a biometric passport or an e-driving license after the 4th of September, 2017, as long as your appearance hasn't dramatically altered. That said, you should still come prepared and have a photo ready anyway.

If your EEA driving license doesn't display the date of first issuance on it, you'll also need to get hold of and enclose a certificate or similar document issued by the EEA country in question which specifies the date of first issuance. If you hold a license to drive multiple forms of vehicle, you'll need to obtain and certificate/similar document for each category. 

Third-country nationals (individuals who do not hold the citizenship of an EU or EEA country)

Just like with residence procedures, things get a little bit more complicated if you don't have a passport issued by an EU or an EEA country. All individuals who come from outside of the EU or EEA and who are not British nationals who have post-Brexit rights under the Withdrawal Agreement are referred to as third-country nationals.

You'll need to provide MUP with more than EU/EEA nationals do. The following documents will be required of you:

Proof of your identity (your passport or your Croatian biometric residence permit/ID card, but be ready to provide both)

Your valid non-EEA driving license

A photo of you that is a current representation of how you look (35x45mm)

A valid medical certificate (not older than six months) which confirms that you're competent to drive a vehicle

An official translation of your non-EEA driving license if it isn't clear which categories of vehicle you're licensed to drive/which categories you can be issued a Croatian driving license for

Proof of you having paid to lodge your application for a Croatian driving license of 20.04 euros (a fixed exchange rate which would equal 151 kuna in old money) for the application to be processed as a regular procedure


Proof of you having paid for your request to be processed as an accelerated procedure (26.54 euros)

Proof of you having paid for your request to be processed as an urgent procedure (59.73 euros)


You may not be required to provide the aforementioned 35x45mm photograph if you were issued with an e-ID card, a biometric passport or an e-driving license after the 4th of September, 2017, as long as your appearance hasn't dramatically altered. That said, you should still come prepared and have a photo ready anyway.


For more on moving to Croatia, living in Croatia and conquering everything from snake bites to health insurance, make sure to check out our lifestyle section which has a dedicated How to Croatia article published every Wednesday.

Wednesday, 17 May 2023

Harfa International School - Now enrolling generation 2023/2024!

May 17, 2023 - The international school scene has blossomed in Croatia in recent years - time to enrol at Harfa International School for next year.

It's that time of year again, the most stressful for parents and an important milestone for children: school enrollment. In Croatia, the school year starts in September and ends in June. Typically, during May, children undergo testing, and decisions are made regarding their entry into the schooling system and enrollment in the first grade. Children usually begin first grade between the ages of 6.5 and 7.5. If everything meets certain expectations, after initial school interviews, medical exams, as well as psychological and basic academic tests, the child receives an "ok." Parents feel overwhelming pride, and celebrations ensue among grandparents, aunts, uncles, and close friends. Everyone is excited and eager to witness their little one embark on a new chapter in life: school. However, reality often sets in, and disappointment follows. The main question many of us face is, "How is it possible that everything changes, but education remains the same?" What is education preparing children for in today's world? As parents, we have numerous unanswered questions that leave us frightened and frustrated.


Education is an essential part of every child's life, and it is crucial to choose a place that will help your child reach their full potential and prepare them for the future. As school enrollment season is underway, parents are now considering schools that provide a well-rounded education focusing on more than just academics. The traditional education system has long been criticized for failing to address the emotional needs of children. It has been overly focused on competition and excelling in everything, often neglecting the unique talents and interests of individuals. Unfortunately, many of the tragedies we witness worldwide are partly a result of this educational focus.

With the increasing number of dissatisfied parents and children who struggle to understand the existing education system, schools that offer something different are becoming more and more appealing. These schools provide better opportunities for our children, adequate preparation for the future, and, most importantly, a framework for their growth into happy, successful, and resilient young individuals. 

Harfa International School is certainly one of the leaders in this region, attracting people not only from other parts of Croatia but from all over the world. Why? Harfa strives to create an educational system that prioritizes the emotional needs of children as the foundation for developing intrinsic motivation for learning. This serves as not only a basis for academic excellence but also for success in life in general. 


As a candidate school for the International Baccalaureate (IB) program and a school that emphasizes social-emotional learning (SEL), Harfa offers a well-rounded learning experience that develops skills to thrive in an unpredictable future. Let's explore some of the most important skills Harfa is dedicated to developing in children: 

Critical Thinking and Problem Solving

In today's world, it is not sufficient to merely memorize facts and information; students need to analyze and interpret information, using it to solve complex problems. Education should focus on developing students' analytical skills, teaching them how to identify problems, gather information, and develop solutions. 

Creativity and Innovation

The world is constantly changing, and students need to think outside the box, generating new ideas and solutions. Education should encourage students to be creative, take risks, and experiment with new ideas.


Technology Skills

In today's world, technology is ubiquitous, and it is essential for students to learn how to use it effectively. Education should focus on teaching students how to use technology, navigate the digital world, and stay safe online. This includes not only learning specific tools and software but also developing an understanding of how technology works and how it can be used to solve problems. 

Communication and Collaboration

Education should prioritize the development of students' communication skills, encompassing both written and oral communication. Students learn how to work collaboratively with others, manage conflicts, and function as part of a team.


Global Citizenship

Finally, education should prepare students to be global citizens, fostering an understanding and appreciation of different cultures and perspectives. This includes developing awareness of global issues, such as climate change and human rights, and learning how to collaborate with individuals from diverse backgrounds. 

So, how does Harfa achieve these goals? One important approach is by ensuring personalized and individualized education. Students learn best when they are engaged and interested in the material, and when the learning is tailored to their specific needs and interests. This means that education should be flexible and adaptable, allowing students to learn at their own pace and in their own unique way. And this is precisely what Harfa is dedicated to developing.

As a premier educational institution offering a distinctive and high-quality educational experience for children, Harfa International School stands out from other schools for several reasons:


Bilingual Education

Harfa International School provides a bilingual education program, with English as the formal school language and Croatian taught as the host country's language. Bilingual education has been proven to provide cognitive benefits to children, such as increased problem-solving skills and improved communication abilities. In higher grades, additional elective languages are offered. Pretty cool, right?

Hero Teachers

Dedicated to creating a supportive and challenging learning environment that nurtures a love of learning in students, the teachers at Harfa are the real superheroes of this story. They provide personalized attention to each student, ensuring they receive the best possible education along with the necessary emotional support. And that’s the most important thing a parent asks for!

Innovative Curriculum and Methodology

Harfa International School follows an innovative curriculum designed to engage and challenge students. The curriculum combines Croatian national curriculum learning outcomes with the best international educational methodologies, including the IB (International Baccalaureate) program and an approach based on social-emotional learning (SEL). The curriculum is regularly updated to remain relevant and aligned with cutting-edge scientific recommendations for the teaching and learning process. At Harfa International School, the curriculum is designed not only to prepare students for success but also to help them develop as well-rounded individuals.


Beautiful and Safe Environment

Situated in a green and picturesque setting, the school's facilities are designed to enhance students' learning experience. Students have the opportunity to play outdoors and utilize the space in alignment with Harfa's project-based learning approach. 

Extracurricular Activities

Harfa offers a wide range of afternoon workshops covering various needs and interests. These activities provide students with the opportunity to explore their interests and develop their talents outside of the classroom. The school organizes numerous field trips and events, ensuring that students have a well-rounded educational experience. The more experiences they have, the more they learn about themselves, which is crucial for making life choices, right?

By integrating social-emotional learning and cutting-edge academic approaches into the educational process, Harfa prepares children for the future and helps them succeed in an ever-changing world.

Are you searching for a high-quality educational institution and a happy place for your child? A school that students prefer even during the holidays? A school where kids love to come and learn? Then take note that Harfa International School is now open for enrollment for the 2023/2024 school year.


Reach out and make an appointment to meet the team and book a school tour: e-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. , telephone: +385 99 380 1295 or website: 

Let's build a sustainable future together!

Harfa International School – School for the Future

This article is in paid partnership with Harfa International School

Wednesday, 17 May 2023

Jadran Split Wins Historic First Croatian Water Polo Championship Title!

May 17, 2023 - An incredible feat and a water polo first - Jadran Split has beat Jug to become the Croatian Water Polo Champion for the first time in the club's history! 

The decisive fifth match of the Croatian water polo championship finals was held between Jadran and Jug on Wednesday at the Poljud swimming pool in Split. 

All tickets for the final were sold out last week after the fourth final match. All 650 tickets in the stands were sold, and Jadran decided to install prefabricated stands to seat more. One was placed under the scoreboard, on the other side of the main stand, for 175 seats, and two smaller stands behind the goals, with about 100 seats on each side. In total, a maximum of 1,025 people were in attendance tonight. 

Before tonight the finals series was tied at 2-2, with both teams celebrating in their pools so far.

Split Jadran won the fifth, decisive game of the final series 11:8 (4:1, 0:2, 4:2, 3:3) and, in their sixth final, finally secured their first Croatian title!

Jadran has never been the champion of Croatia until now. Today, they created history. This triumph ended the 18-year fast of Split men's clubs in team sports (soccer, basketball, handball, water polo, volleyball). The last Croatian champion was Hajduk back in 2005.  

Jadran opened the match brilliantly and took a 4:0 lead. Jug responded and returned to the game, but in the third quarter, Jadran gained a three-goal advantage again. Finally, four minutes before the end of the game, Jadran secured all doubts of who would be the winner, leading 10:6. The final score was 11:8. 

The final's best player was Rino Burić, who scored four goals for Jadran. Marinić Kragić and Butić scored two each.

On the other side, Joković scored two goals for Jug, while Fatović, Vukojević, Biljaka, Kakaris, Lazić, and Žuvela scored one each.

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

Wednesday, 17 May 2023

"Made in Croatia" Opens as Hvar Celebrates 155 Years of Organised Tourism

May 17, 2023 - A wonderful collision of tradition, heritage, and FINALLY quality tourism content away from the beach, as Made in Croatia opens as Hvar celebrates 155 years of organised tourism. 

Something quite extraordinary happened in Hvar Town on Monday evening, even though it was uncharacteristically raining on Croatia's sunshine island. Indeed, perhaps the rain was a good thing, as it highlighted the event and the new addition to this season's tourism on Hvar. 


The location was a magnificent building on the corner of the largest square in Dalmatia, the date May 15 - exactly 155 years since the birth of organised tourism in Europe with the founding of the Hvar Health Society in 1868, right across the square where today luxury 5-star Palace Elisabeth hvar heritage hotel welcome's Croatia's premier island's luxury guests. 


The building in question is an extraordinary one, and one with lots of hidden layers. On the top floor of the imposing Arsenal is one of the island's secrets that often goes unnoticed by tourists and passers-by - the oldest public theatre in Europe, which opened in 1612, and which has recently undergone a complete renovation. 


Below the building, are Roman ruins which were discovered during renovation works a few years ago. And the main building itself is the magnificent Arsenal, whose name explains part of its illustrious past, guarding the entrance to Hvar's magical centre stage. ITs renovation complete, the Arsenal is a delightful multi-purpose entertainment centre, which has been taken over for the next few months for a quite magnificent exhibition which opened on the 155th anniversary of Hvar's organised tourism story. 


The Made in Croatia exhibition is an outstanding interactive showcase of the very best of Croatian innovation and invention over the centuries, featuring some 38 topics in an original and engaging way. Croatian tourism often falls short of quality content for all the family away from the beach, but here is an outstanding exhibition in a stunning location, which is guaranteed to bring in tourists and locals alike, and to educate and showcase the magic not just of Hvar, but also of Croatia. It would have been easy just to dedicate this exhibition space to Hvar and its considerable offer over the island, but what a fantastic way of representing the whole country in one prime tourist location.  


Our good friends from the Turisticke Price portal attended the opening: Here is what they had to say:

In the historic Hvar Arsenal, one of the trademarks of the city of Hvar, the exhibition "Hvar presents: Made in Croatia" was opened, which presents in one place the builders of the foundations of the Croatian identity, whose inventions, knowledge and ideas have become part of civilizational assets and artifacts of cultural heritage without which today it is almost impossible to imagine the functioning of modern life.


The exhibition "Hvar presents: Made in Croatia" is part of the program by which the Town of Hvar and the Tourist Board of the Town of Hvar commemorate 155 years of organized tourism in Hvar, and the opening ceremony was held on the very day of the founding of the Hygiene Society, the first such association in Europe, a kind of forerunner of tourist boards. that we know today. Back in 1868, spa tourism was the main reason for coming to Hvar, and with this exhibition, we want to focus on cultural tourism. Because Hvar, in addition to the beautiful nature, superb food and wine and vibrant atmosphere, is a city where culture is an integral part of its identity.


This specially tailored exhibition is a unique event in which, through a multimedia encounter with great men, their inventions or works of art that left their mark on the world level, a part of Croatian heritage is presented to the people of Hvar and their guests. The exhibition is on display until July 20.

Originality, visionary, wide application of ideas and inventions were the criteria for selecting the individuals represented at the exhibition. The unique national, scientific and cultural heritage is presented in the curatorial conception of Dr. sc. Anita Ruso Brečić.

@turistickeprice Hvar presents -Made in Croatia This is Croatia ✔️ #glagoljica #nikolatesla #bascanskaploca #slavoljubpenkala #rudjerboskovic #penkala #faustvrancic #lavoslavružička #doramaar #baltazar #ivanmestrovic #andrijastampar #jurajdalmatinac??? #torpedo #zepelin #parachute #petarhektorovic #davidschwartz #haniballucic #modric #drazenpetrovic #hvar #hvararsenal #croatia?? #croatiantiktok #fyp ♬ Memories - Lux-Inspira

Invention and art
The exhibition consists of a total of 38 topics. Some of the topics refer to individuals such as Nikola Tesla, Faust Vrančić, Doraa Maar, Slavoljub Eduard Penkala, Ivan Vučetić and Hanibal Lucić, while certain topics refer to groups of people (from the same field of activity) and separate cultural heritage specific to the island of Hvar and/or Croatia.

The main guiding thought of the exhibition concept is to create links between the inventive and artistic past, present and future. Various works of art, author's designs, patents, archival documents and videos can be viewed in the exhibition, as well as devices and devices created according to the patents and ideas of deserving individuals.

The Hvar Arsenal, itself a cultural asset of national importance, is once again becoming a unique exhibition space and a place for meetings, exchange of ideas, and perhaps inspiration for some new visionaries.


Excellent stuff, and I do encourage you to check it out if you are visiting Hvar before it closed on July 20. 

But that is not the only piece of magic in this most impressive of buildings, for upstairs in Europe's oldest public theatre, the 50th edition of Hvar Theatre Days kicked off (see the program below), a unique opportunity to experience this historic and delightful theatre. 


Hvar's special anniversary was remembered in other ways as well, including a special panel of influential tourism personalities, called Culture in Tourism. Tourism in Culture. From the Hvar Tourist Board Facebook page:

At today's panel discussion "Culture in tourism, tourism in culture", held on the basis of celebrating 155 years of organized tourism in Hvar, there were discussions about the connection between tourism, culture and creative industries, the valorization of cultural heritage and its inclusion in the tourist offer, what is the tourist potential but also what are the challenges we face.


The following participated in the panel:

• Tonči Glavina, State Secretary, Ministry of Tourism and Sports of the Republic of Croatia
• Renata Tomljenović, Institute for Tourism, Zagreb
• Nataša Bušić, HGK Split – cultural tourism section
• Ivana Vladović, director of Central Dalmatia Tourism Board Director
• Miro Drašković, director of Dubrovnik Tourist Board
• Katija Vučetić, head of the Department for Culture and Public Relations of the City of Hvar
• Damir Kanaet, culture manager and executive producer of the "Made in Croatia" exhibition
• Goran Rihelj, owner and editor of HRTurizam portal, moderator of the panel

Peak season is coming, which will attract a different type of tourist to this most versatile of tourist islands, but these last few days have been a powerful reminder of cultural and traditional Hvar, one of the richest islands in the Mediterranean for its history and culture. 

Wednesday, 17 May 2023

Croatia Ranked 5th Most Attractive Investment Location in CEE Region

May the 17th, 2023 - The Republic of Croatia has been listed among the five countries most attractive for investment out of sixteen nations located in Central and Eastern Europe.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, the analysis of this year's economic research conducted by the German-Croatian Chamber of Industry and Commerce for the 18th year on 141 companies has found that more than 80% of companies would be ready to invest in Croatia again.

This is an extremely positive indicator that the willingness of companies to reinvest in Croatia has remained at the same level as it was back in 2021 and 2022. Croatia ranked highly at 5th place among the 16 countries of Central and Eastern Europe surveyed when it comes to the attractiveness of the location for investors. Almost 90% of entrepreneurs rated the business operations of their own companies as good or satisfactory despite the typically very complex economic conditions in which they operate.

Business expectations for 2023 are significantly worse than the assessment of the current economic situation, and those in business are pessimistic as a result - only 23% of respondents expect the business situation to improve during the remainder of 2023.

The availability of professional labour has been characterised as the biggest risk in business, followed by the high prices of energy and raw materials and the cost of labour. For the third year in a row, membership of the European Union, the qualifications of workers and the academic education of said workers have all been rated positively in Croatia. The suppression of crime and corruption has been cited as the biggest drawback of doing business in Croatia, followed by tax burdens, the overall tax system and public administration.

40% of respondents consider the work of the current Croatian Government to be poor, and the same percentage considers it to be satisfactory

"In an active dialogue with our members and state bodies, the Chamber, as the largest bilateral business community in the country, advocates for the strengthening of conditions that favour the greater attractiveness of Croatia as an investment location. This year, Croatia took a high fifth place among sixteen countries across the region with regard to the attractiveness of the country as a business location.

Croatia's entry into the Eurozone and into Schengen certainly contributed to it being seen as having a positive business climate. The Croatian Government is making great efforts to mitigate and prevent the spillover of energy price increases to both people and to business entities, but according to the results of the survey, entrepreneurs in Croatia as well as in other countries in Central and Eastern Europe cite the increase in energy prices as one of the biggest risks for their business. When we talk about the results in Croatia, those in business state that the first limiting factor in business is the lack of skilled labour," said Mr. Marjan Vucak, president of the German-Croatian Chamber of Industry and Commerce during the presentation of the results of this particular economic survey.

The current state of the Croatian economy has been rated as satisfactory for more than half of the respondents

Almost 60% of respondents rated the current economic situation in Croatia as satisfactory, which represents an increase of 5% compared to the previous year, while 20% of them consider the situation to be good. Comparing those percentages with those from back in 2022, 22% of respondents believed that the economic situation in Croatia is better. When it comes to the perception of the economic situation, the countries of Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) rate the economic situation of their own countries in almost the same percentage as the survey participants in Croatia.

Despite the polycrisis, entrepreneurs are optimistic when they talk about business in their industry

57% of the respondents to this survey rated the current business situation in their own industry as satisfactory and 32% as good despite the uncertain economic situation. Compared to 2022, the share of companies that consider the situation in their industry to be good fell by 10%. 50% of the respondents rated business in their own company as good and 45% deemed it satisfactory. Similar results were recorded in the other 15 CEE countries, among which, in addition to Croatia, an economic survey was also conducted. Only 7% of respondents in CEE countries rate their business situation as bad. Slightly more than 60% of entrepreneurs state that turnover has increased compared to the previous year, while exports have increased by 38% compared to 2021.

Economic expectations for next year remain somewhat pessimistic

When it comes to forecasts of the economic situation for 2023, the estimates continue to be pessimistic. Those in business estimate that the situation will remain unchanged (55%), and only 23% believe that it will improve at some point in 2023. We can look for and easily find the reasons for that sentiment in the very complex economic conditions caused by the ongoing war in Ukraine, the still record high inflation rate and the continued economic consequences of the global coronavirus pandemic.

The level of attractiveness of an investment destination

Croatia's entry into the Eurozone and the Schengen area is expected to create a more positive business climate, as was confirmed by the research results (71% believe that Croatia's entry into the Eurozone have a positive impact on business throughout 2023, while 77% believe that Croatia's entry into Schengen will have positive business consequences. The above is not surprising considering that more than 80% of Croatian trade is also done with Schengen countries.

Croatia was, as stated, ranked in the first 5 most attractive locations for investment among 16 countries of Central and Eastern Europe. Slovenia (1), Poland (2), the Czech Republic (3) and Estonia (4) were among the four most attractive countries. Back in 2021, Croatia was in 8th place, and this year's result is the best result since the Chamber has been conducting economic research. An encouraging 81% of the companies that participated in the survey would choose Croatia again as a location for investment. This means that the number of companies that would invest in Croatia again has been at almost the same level for three years.

Risks in business - the lack of skilled labour is a dominant challenge for companies

For the first time, companies surveyed stated that the availability of qualified labour is the biggest threat to the development of their company (51%). In a high second place are the prices of energy and raw materials (43%), then labour costs (41%), domestic demand (26%), which has been significantly reduced as a risk compared to last year's research (48%), the predictability of economic policy (25%) and payment discipline (23%).

Analysing the data across the CEE region, the increase in energy prices as a risk factor when it comes to doing business is most represented in Poland (82%), Macedonia (71%), Hungary (67%), Slovenia (62%), the Czech Republic (60%) and Latvia (58%). The availability of professional labour as a business risk was especially highlighted by companies operating in Macedonia (71%), Bulgaria (65%), Albania and Romania (61%), Hungary, Kosovo and Slovakia (57%).

Work and the workforce

47% of respondents stated that the number of employees in their company will increase, while an insignificant number (5%) estimates that the number of employees will decrease. Given that inflation back in 2022 stood at a high 10.8%, it's rather interesting to note that the largest number of respondents believe that salaries will increase by 10-20% during the rest of 2023.

Changes in the international division of labour are ubiquitous on a global scale. Survey respondents estimate that long-term changes in international supply chains will manifest themselves in increased political influence on supply chains (37%), changes in transport routes (30%), growth in protectionism (29%), changed risk assessments of business destinations (27%), moving production to new locations (27%) and moving production closer to the German/European domestic market (27%).

Expanding the offer for internal education (43%) is the most common measure that employers plan to take when talking about the lack of professional labour. This is followed by increased automation and the digitisation of business (36%), an increase in the average salary (32%), encouraging employees nearing retirement to stay with the company (29%), an increase in allowances paid alongside employee salaries (25%) and increased cooperation with various types of educational institutions (25%).

The dire economic consequences of the war in Ukraine

A little over a year after Russia's aggression against Ukraine began, the global economy continues to face various negative consequences. High prices for energy, raw materials and other such items (which are a concern for almost 82% of respondents) represent the greatest concern for business owners when it comes to the short-term consequences of this war. This is followed by disruptions in supply and logistics chains (46%), a shortage of raw materials (27%), increased legal uncertainty (19%), a reduction in incoming orders (14%) and the loss of business partners (14%).

The advantages and disadvantages of doing business in Croatia

Membership of the European Union, employee qualification(s), the adequacy of higher education, payment discipline, infrastructure, productivity and the commitment of employees to gaining better work results are all mentioned as positive aspects of doing business in Croatia. The insufficient fight against corruption stands out as the biggest shortcoming of business in Croatia. As disadvantages, entrepreneurs then cite tax burdens, the tax system, the poor public administration and the lack of transparency of public procurement.

The application of the EU taxonomy

Only 3% of respondents were familiar with the EU taxonomy, the EU classification tool that signals the success of companies in contributing to sustainability. 54% of them consider their own knowledge of the application of the EU taxonomy to be insufficient.

For more, check out our news section.

Wednesday, 17 May 2023

Croatian Brands Zvijezda and PIK Vrbovec Partner Up With Mlinar

May the 17th, 2023 - The popular Croatian brands Zvijezda (star) and PIK Vrbovec have decided to team up in partnership with the much loved Mlinar. They have already announced three brand new products.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, Mlinar, as one of the largest bakery groups within the Adria region that continuously innovates and follows trends, has recently been offering Planet of plants products in its assortment: burek, hot dogs made in puff pastry and a plant-based sandwich. In the first phase, the offer will be available at more than 70 Mlinar sales points throughout the Republic of Croatia, and in the second phase, it will be available in the entire Mlinar network and for other wholesale customers. This is the result of cooperation with the popular Croatian brands Zvijezda and PIK Vrbovec, which, several years ago, designed the very first Croatian line of plant-based products; Planet of plants.

Planet of plants burek contains pea protein instead of minced meat, and along with it, there is also a leafy one with a Planet of plants hot dog created on a plant-based basis which is made from pea protein and potatoes, with a side of mustard combined with a creamy sauce made of ginger, turmeric and cumin. The third product that can recently be found in Mlinar is a sandwich with salami made from sunflower protein, along enriched with egg-free mayonnaise.

"When we say plant-based, most people still think of vegans and vegetarians. However, the market shows that we're increasingly choosing plant-based foods, this even goes for all of us "others" for whom meat is still an important source of protein, but are ready to try something new and introduce new eating habits. Our strength lies in the experience of production based on the use of the power of plants, and we're glad that we have the opportunity to build the development of a new category of products together with consumers and create some new habits,'' said Gaspar Novak, the director of marketing and development of Zvijezda, which developed the line in synergy with PIK Vrbovec within the Fortenova Group.

Mlinar, on the other hand, stated that they always try to keep up with trends and offer their customers something new.

"Following the trends, cooperation with Planet of plants, as the first Croatian line of plant-based products, was a logical step forward. We combined tradition with innovation and offered our customers practical and tasty snacks at sales points throughout the Republic of Croatia. Burek is Mlinar's best-selling product of all, and we're glad that with this step into plant-based alternatives to meat, we've been able to further expand our offer," said Mario Scherr, Mlinar's executive director of marketing and retail.

In the Planet of plants line, in addition to the new bakery products that can now be found in Mlinar stores, there are a total of nine products: burgers, salami, minced meat, hot dogs, dumplings, mayonnaise, sauce, spread and coconut cubes. In addition to Croatia, these new products can be found on the markets of Slovenia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Macedonia, Serbia, Montenegro and Hungary, and further expansion of placement on foreign markets is planned.

For more, check out our news section.

Wednesday, 17 May 2023

American Wine Enthusiast Gives 95 Points to Fakin Winery's Teran

May the 18th, 2023 - The American Wine Enthusiast magazine has given the wine made by one popular Fakin Winery in Istria an impressive 95 points. Fakin's Teran il Primo from 2019 is certainly winning people over across the pond in the USA.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, Wine Enthusiast, the leading American expert magazine in the wine industry and one of the most influential of its sort in the world, rated Teran il Primo from the 2019 vintage of Istria's Fakin Winery with an impressive 95 points. The magazine both celebrates and promotes the innovation of individuals and companies that have significantly contributed to the success of the competitive wine world.

With this valuable recognition, Fakin's Teran il Primo from the 2019 vintage is the first teran on the US market with 95 points and was included in the Wine Enthusiast Buying Guide for the month of May 2023, which is another great achievement from Marko Fakin and his young, authentic family winery from the village of Bataji at the foot of Motovun in Istria. The Fakin Winery continues to carve its way forward on both the American and domestic markets and position the native Teran variety as a world-class wine, proving the consistent quality of Istrian winemaking.

"I'm extremely honored that Wine Enthusiast, one of the world's most relevant wine magazines, whose evaluations have a great influence on the formation of the wine order on the international market, rated our Teran il Primo from the 2019 vintage with an amazing 95 points. I'm especially happy because Teran, my lifelong project and greatest pride and the most famous variety of the Motovun vineyard, has achieved such a respectable success as one of the most awarded Croatian wines in the world," said Marko Fakin.

Teran Il Primo is otherwise an elegant, top-quality wine which ensures its directness and reliability of taste, as well as the fullness and richness of the body through the precise selection of the highest quality hand-picked grapes from vineyards whose roots date back to 1972. Il Primo draws its uniqueness from the aging process done in oak barrels for 24 month periods. In addition to the extraordinary success of Il Primo, the Fakin Winery can add another high 93 points to its list for its Teran from the 2021 vintage and 90 points awarded to Malvasia (Malvazija) La Prima from 2020 to its opus in this year's Wine Enthusiast evaluation.

The love of Croatian wine across the pond is all furthered by the support of Croatian Premium Wine Imports, a company that imports and distributes Croatian wines in the USA. The co-founder of the company and the ambassador of Croatian wines in the USA, Mirena Bagur, strategically educates the market about Croatian varieties, thus creating a category of Croatian wines in American stores and restaurants.

For more, check out our dedicated news section.

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