Sunday, 24 October 2021

Popular Terme Jezercica Taken Over by Zminj-based Company Rudan

October the 24th, 2021 - The Zminj-based company Rudan has taken over one of the most popular places of its kind in all of the Republic of Croatia in its latest big business move - Terme Jezercica.

As Jutarnji/Novac/Jozo Vrdoljak writes, Rudan, a company from Zminj in Istria which is well known for its energy saving projects, has been making an increasing step towards tourism over more recent years. The company recently took over the popular Terme Jezercica from its previous owners, Zrinka and Ivana Lekic who are also known as owners of various nursing/care homes for the elderly and infirm. Graciano Rudan, the founder and owner of Rudan, also took over the management position at Terme Jezercica. Rudan reveals that his company has so far invested around 200 million kuna in various tourism projects.

As for Terme Jezercica, Rudan notes that his company's spatial plan envisages the construction of another high-category hotel, and the existing hotel will be demolished in order to build a new one in its place. He added that the pools remain in good condition considering the fact that they've been recently renovated. He is especially satisfied with the quality of the area's thermal water, which he says is of such quality that it can be used for drinking, which is quite rare.

''Now comes the management team, and then the investments in the area of ​​Terme Jezercica. If everything goes according to plan, it's possible that we'll start part of the investments in Terme Jezercica in September next year. Of course, all this will depend on the speed of drafting projects and obtaining a building permit,'' explained Rudan.

''As a company, Terme Jezercica is currently in the process of merging with Rudan, and this is a process that has already begun, so we're merging the tourism sector with a parent company,'' Rudan pointed out.

In Vodice, the Rudan company has also snapped up Hotel Radin and Hotels Villa Antonina and Arausana over the last few years. They also have a 28 percent stake in Hotels Vodice. Three years ago, they took over the Ucka Hotel on Ucka mountain, and given that this is a devastated hotel and a former INA resort, the hotel, as Graciano Rudan revealed, is currently in its initial design phase. Hotel Ucka otherwise boasts 32 rooms and sports fields on a space covering about 55,000 square metres in total.

As for the last tourist season, Rudan says he is satisfied.

''The tourist season was above our expectations, and when we complete all the projects we planned, we can expect a slow start to return on investment. For now, we're continuing to operate sustainably,'' stated Graciano Rudan.

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

Sunday, 24 October 2021

EU Funds Provide Cash for Croatian Projects Worth 515 Million Kuna

October the 24th, 2021 - There can be no doubt that European Union (EU) funds have done wonders for Croatia, and now another very generous EU fund cash injection has provided the means for yet more Croatian projects.

As Jutarnji/Novac/Gordana Grgas writes, the first 36 small enterprises from the manufacturing industry recently received grants according to an EU tender entitled "Strengthening the competitiveness of companies by investing in the digital and green transition" which was announced last spring. This cash amounts to 155 million kuna in support, and the Croatian projects it will work to bring to life total as much as 515 million kuna.

In the top ten from this list are the following domestic companies: Sisarka, Agro Simpa, Turkovic, Zlatko-Commerce, Rotoplast, Spiroflex, Limrol, Molaris, Pivovara Daruvar and Akord, and they will use the subsidies to strengthen their production capacities. Sisarka from Zupanja will, in particular, invest in technologically advanced and energy efficient production, which is a project worth 9.9 million kuna, and this company received 3.5 million kuna in non-refundable funds.

Agro Simpa from Sisak will receive support totalling 1.1 million kuna for their project worth 3.2 million kuna, and Zlatko-Commerce will receive a grant totalling 3.7 million kuna for a project to increase their production capacities, a move otherwise amounting to 10.3 million kuna.

There were as many as 842 proposals...

As announced by the Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development, as many as 842 proposals for Croatian projects were received back in May, and 70 percent of those Croatian projects, or 596 of them, were positively evaluated in the award procedure. It hasn't yet been announced when the remaining decisions will be made, and it is expected that it is set to occur "in the next short period".

It's worth mentioning that when the results of this project evaluation was published back in August, it was explained that the money would primarily go to those who have satisfied their project applications to the greatest extent, ie achieved the best results and points. That said, 245 entrepreneurial proposals for Croatian projects were evaluated negatively.

This tender aroused great interest because it was the first major tender from ESI funds this year for small and medium-sized enterprises, and was launched with the intention of strengthening recovery from the crisis caused by the global coronavirus pandemic and in preparing a more green, digital and resilient economic recovery.

In total, this tender regards about 1.14 billion kuna intended exclusively for the processing industry, which the Minister of Economy Tomislav Coric assessed recently at the awarding of the first contracts as "the best placed money of the Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development over the past four years". He also noted that the manufacturing industry is and will be in focus in the coming years, too.

Enterprises who receive grants from this tender must use them up quickly, more precisely by the end of 2023.

All of the Croatian projects that will be co-financed by EU funds from this tender and in this way are expected to launch an investment cycle worth more than 3.6 billion kuna, and as HAMAG-BICRO's CEO Vjeran Vrbanec said recently, calls for the transformation of entrepreneurship into green and digital will be available in the coming period within the National Recovery and Resilience Plan.

In 2022 and 2023, support for the transition to an energy-efficient economy of 1.9 billion kuna, 960 million kuna for innovation and digitalisation and 1.1 billion kuna for encouraging investments that are a prerequisite for a circular economy are expected, as was announced back during this summer.

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated business and politics sections.

Sunday, 24 October 2021

Popular Crikvenica Hotel International to be Torn Down and Replaced

October the 24th, 2021 - The popular Crikvenica Hotel International, which has stood proud on this coastal town for many years, is set to be torn down and replaced with a brand new, modern and luxurious facility.

As Morski writes, the much-loved Crikvenica Hotel International, located in the city port just a few dozen metres from the shoreline will soon be demolished. In its place, a brand new, more modern and luxurious hotel is set to arise.

The Crikvenica Hotel International was first opened back in 1964, and in the 1970s it was the heart, centre and symbol of all singing and dancing carnival events for the Crikvenica and Crikvenica-Vinodol area, as well as for the wider Rijeka area which spilled over into it. The hotel was renovated and redesigned back in 1986 and remains an active hotel within the Crikvenica-based hotel company Jadran (Adriatic).

''At this moment in time, I'm not prepared to into too much detail because we believe that the representatives of the City of Crikvenica should be informed about everything first. However, what I can say is that we've started the project and that - on the location of the current hotel, which would be completely demolished - the construction of a five-star hotel is planned, which would also bring some other, completely new accompanying facilities to the city centre which are currently missing,'' Goran Fabris, President of the Management Board of the aforementioned hotel company said in conversation with Novi list, emphasising that this year's summer tourist season was high above anyone's expectations.

Novi list has since learned that the future Crikvenica Hotel International will be a wider and taller building, it should have a spacious passage through the centre of the building and a much larger number of rooms than the previous fifty. Precisely what kind of investment is in question isn't being discussed openly yet.

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

Sunday, 24 October 2021

Dubrovnik Police Donate Mandarins to Central Croatian Colleagues

October the 24th, 2021 - Dubrovnik police have shown that their Central Croatian colleagues haven't been forgotten as they donate over one tonne of mandarins from this southern Dalmatian area, more precisely the Neretva Valley, to the Petrinja and Glina police forces.

Central Croatia has had an extremely difficult time over the last year since the devastating earthquake struck Petrinja back at the very end of December last year. The area has far from recovered from that horrendous natural disaster and the authorities there have been working hard than ever before as a result.

As Morski writes, almost ten whole months have passed since the devastating earthquake that hit Sisak-Moslavina County at the end of last year, and Dubrovnik police officers have offered a small but extremely thoughtful gesture in the form of much-loved southern Dalmatian fruit.

Together with the Chief of the Dubrovnik-Neretva Police Administration Ivan Pavlicevic, the Deputy Chief of the Police Administration Miro Bajo, as well as police officers from the Neretva Valley from which this fruit was sourced, they delivered mandarins for all employees of the Petrinja and Glina police stations in a simple act of kindness and solidarity.

The aforementioned citrus gift is a sign of togetherness and friendship towards all police officers and employees of the aforementioned police stations, who suffered the most in the earthquake of December 2020. On October the 21st, the mandarins were handed over to the Petrinja police station in person by the Deputy Chief of the Dubrovnik-Neretva Police Administration, Miro Bajo.

For more, make sure to check out our lifestyle section.

Saturday, 23 October 2021

Putting Off Seeing a Doctor because of Pandemic Results in Fewer Diabetes Diagnoses

ZAGREB, 23 Oct, 2021 - The Croatian Federation of Diabetes Associations on Saturday launched the campaign "Pokreni se (Get Moving)" to raise awareness among diabetes patients about importance of physical exercise and regular medical exams.

The representatives of the associations and doctors today warned that the COVID-19 pandemic had decelerated the rate of diagnosing this disease.

The latest data show that approximately 310,000 people in Croatia have diabetes, but their actual number is estimated at 500,000. The situation concerning medical investigations and regular check-ups has deteriorated because of the pandemic.

Tamara Poljičanin of the Croatian Institute of Public Health said that for the first time since the official records began, a decrease in the newly diagnosed cases of diabetes had been registered, due to fewer medical examinations and fewer visits to hospitals.

The experts today warned about a low turnout of diabetes patients for vaccination against coronavirus.

Only 6 in 10 diabetes patients fully vaccinated

An analysis made on 1 September showed that only 60% of patients suffering from diabetes had fully been vaccinated.

The head of the "Andrija Štampar" School of Public Health, Mirjana Kujundžić Tiljak, called on diabetes patients  to get vaccinated.

During today's event, doctors warned that 80% of diabetes patients are overweight.

The campaign for raising awareness about the importance of physical exercise for diabetes patients has been launched in Croatia to mark the centenary of the discovery of the hormone insulin, one of the most important breakthroughs in treating diabetes.

For more on lifestyle, follow TCN's dedicated page.

For more about Croatia, CLICK HERE.

Saturday, 23 October 2021

About 420 Service Providers Included in Croatian Tourism Month

ZAGREB, 23 Oct, 2021 - About 420 enterprises in the tourist industry have taken part in the campaign "Croatian Tourism Month" in October, and so far a surge has been registered in visitors' arrivals and bed-nights compared to October 2020, the tourism ministry reported on Saturday.

The campaign was launched on 1 October by the ministry and the Croatian National Tourism Board (HTZ) with the aim of extending the tourist season by offering a range of services available at special benefits and discounts of at least 35 percent throughout October.

Considering the interest shown by both service providers and guests, the campaign will be extend to include the first seven days of November, too. In this way, the extended campaign will coincide with the school holidays around the All Saints' Day, a public holiday in Croatia.

A source from the ministry has told Hina that they are satisfied with the turnout of service providers and visitors.

Domestic guests are mainly users of these benefits, and there also foreign visitors during this month.

In the first 20 days of October, 484,000 guests were registered in Croatia, a surge of 208% compared to the corresponding period in 2020, and the number of their overnight stays skyrocketed by 121% to nearly two million.

Compared to the pre-pandemic 2019, this October's number of visits accounted for 56% of the statistics in the corresponding period two years ago, and overnight stay amounted to 66%.

The e-visitor system shows that in the first 20 days of October, 118,000 Croatians visited local destinations, or 57% more than in 2020 and 14% fewer than in 2019.

The top destinations have been Dubrovnik, Zagreb, Split, Zadar and Rovinj.

For more on lifestyle, follow TCN's dedicated page. 

For more about Croatia, CLICK HERE.

Saturday, 23 October 2021

Korčula Hosts Conference on Renewable Energy Projects on Islands

ZAGREB, 23 Oct, 2021 - Energy transition has become a major topical issue on Croatian islands, notably large ones such as Krk, Cres, Lošinj and Korčula, over recent years, however, local inhabitants need more education and information on the matter, heard a conference held in Korčula last Thursday and Friday.

Islands are areas where the need for energy self-sufficiency is more compelling than elsewhere, and in the case of Croatian islands it is even more conspicuous during the tourist season in summer when glitches in electricity and water supply systems are more frequent, it was said at the conference, organised by the Movement for Islands and the Clean Energy for EU Islands Secretariat.

"Although they are faced with specific challenges, islands are in a unique position to be front-runners in efforts to achieve energy transition, thanks to abundance of renewable energy resources," said Antonia Proka of the Secretariat.  

During the secretariat's two-day academy, experts discussed financing tools and mechanisms as well as citizen engagement in energy transition.

The implementation of clean energy in the farming and tourist sectors, which are dominant on islands, reduce operating costs and boost the competitiveness of businesses in those sectors.

Also, improvements in waste management on islands can be attained by implementing clean energy technologies, it was said.

A great challenge is insufficient awareness of islanders and inadequate education. Although over recent years a series of successful projects have been launched, transition to clean energy on the Croatian islands is still slow.

The conference presented the example of the island of Samso in the Kattegat sea area between Denmark and Sweden, which has been successful in the use of renewables since 1997. A part of the local wind parks on that Danish island belongs to the local model renewable energy community. Now 100% of its electricity comes from wind power and biomass.

In 2000, the local community established the Samso Energy Academy, which today serves as a centre for development of technologies and a meetinghouse for knowledge and solutions.

Participants in the Korčula conference called on the Croatian authorities to organise energy transition seminars, conferences and training for local population.

For more on lifestyle, follow TCN's dedicated page.

For more about Croatia, CLICK HERE.

Saturday, 23 October 2021

Croatian Sustainable Cultural Tourism Destinations Named Among Best in Europe

October 23, 2021 - Croatian sustainable cultural tourism destinations have been awarded at the 14th International Cultural Tourism Conference held in Athens. 

As part of the 14th International Cultural Tourism Conference in Europe, organized by the European Cultural Tourism Network (ECTN), an award ceremony for the best European destinations for sustainable cultural tourism was held in Athens on October 21, 2021, reports HRTurizam.

The awards have been presented since 2014 to create a platform to exchange experiences and knowledge and promote networking among destinations. The competition is open to all tourist destinations across Europe, and this year's theme was related to the regeneration of European tourism through culture, heritage, and creativity. Therefore, the competition was open to tourist destinations across Europe to showcase their results in sustainable cultural tourism in seven categories.

Among the winners in all categories were representatives of various culturally valuable projects from all over Europe; The Netherlands, Italy, Romania, Germany, Slovenia, Portugal, Spain, Greece, Slovakia, Latvia, and Croatia, with four representatives as best practices of sustainable cultural tourism.

In the Archaeological Sites and Museums as Cultural Tourism Attractions category, 1st place was won by the Krapina Neanderthals Museum and the Hušnjakovo site. The 2nd place in the same category was won by the Lošinj camp Nerezinac project.

The awards were given in five other categories, among which Walking Tourism and Slow Travel - Synergies with Cultural Tourism should be highlighted. The first place went to Rab Archeological races - open-air museum, a project nominated by the Lopar Cultural Center. In the Cultural and Creative Industries category, 3rd place was won by the Chocolate Museum in Zagreb.

"I am extremely honored that the Nerezinac camp is recognized as one of the best examples of sustainable cultural tourism, and I would like to thank everyone who participated in renovating and constructing the interpretation center of the maritime heritage of the island of Lošinj. This year, Croatia has distinguished itself as a leader in cultural tourism with four award-winning projects, and this is further proof that through culture and heritage creatively and innovatively can develop year-round sustainable tourism," said Dalibor Cvitkovic, director of the Mali Lošinj Tourist Board, who accepted the award in Athens together with the author of the project, Ferdinand Zorović.

Nerezinac is a valuable example of traditional shipbuilding. Since 2010 it has been included in the list of protected cultural assets of the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Croatia. It was restored with the cooperation of many experts from various institutions to local masters, following the example of the Lošinj camps from the end of the 19th century.

Three of the winning projects from Germany and Romania were submitted by members of the ETC, the German National Tourist Board, and the Romanian Ministry of Economy, Entrepreneurship, and Tourism.

The German National Tourist Board launched a digital social media campaign called Feel Good to promote Germany with reliable and diverse sustainable tourism products. The campaign has direct synergy with cultural tourism due to topics such as local tradition and regional products (arts, exhibitions, handicrafts, regional food, urban gardening, organic restaurants) and the involvement of the local population. Also, visitors were inspired by the use of public transport and various slow travel options such as hiking and biking.

The marketing campaign #WanderlustGermany of the German National Tourist Board addressed nature and active travelers, emphasizing cycling and hiking that are just around the corner from the main cultural attractions or even next to them.

Following the stagnation in global tourism caused by the coronavirus pandemic, studies have found that customers consider the risk of COVID-19 to be a tiny nature-oriented vacation and individual forms of vacation. Accordingly, the campaign focused on a diverse range of products with well-thought-out hygiene and safety concepts and first-class service. Furthermore, through the targeted use of digital communication measures and events in local markets with great potential, the campaign focused on targeted impulses for a fresh start to incoming tourism in Germany.

The Romanian Ministry of Economy, Entrepreneurship, and Tourism has created a voluntary system for the recognition of national cultural tourist routes, developed by tourism organizations and local public bodies. The initiative stems from the recognition of local potential in promoting historical and archaeological heritage and religious or gastronomic traditions in Romania.

The cultural-tourist route of wooden churches in Romania and the Republic of Moldova is a transnational network that connects villages, towns, counties, districts in which local communities have built their churches over the centuries. It is a remarkable journey into history and local legends.

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

Saturday, 23 October 2021

2021 Croatia Rally Records Fascinating Figures, But Will It Continue?

October 23, 2021 - The 2021 Croatia Rally, the first-ever in the country, was watched by more than 100 million people in more than 150 countries. Organizer Danijel Šaškin reveals the fate of the international racing event and what needs to happen to fo it to continue. 

At this year's Sports Fest, one of the most exciting presentations was that of motorist Danijel Šaškin who, together with Davorin Štetner, brought the World Rally Championship race to Croatia. He addressed the observers with fascinating figures that the Croatia Rally was watched by more than 100 million people in more than 150 countries. Furthermore, estimates of how much consumption was related to this elite car competition, which was held in Croatia for the first time, are also impressive, reports Vecernji List.

"We are talking about 15 million euros, and we could not count on the spectators because, due to the pandemic, we were not allowed to have them. But according to police data, there were about 150,000 of them in the speed tests. We believe that in a typical year we can have half a million of them, and then the profit for the state would be about 50 million euros. The state would sell 12 to 15 million euros from the VAT alone for an event that lasts four days.

I was surprised that we are record-holders on social networks, that we had millions of impressions, that the follow-up of our Facebook channel and WRC was terrific. I was also surprised by so much media value. The most conservative estimate was about 50 million euros, and the strongest, with reruns, almost 200 million euros. And the Croatian National Tourist Board has not spent so much on the promotion of our tourism in ten years," Šaškin explains of the great coverage. 

"Croatia is new in this story, and in the last few years, we have imposed ourselves as a new tourist destination. It seems that we are currently the 18th destination in the world by profession, and I believe we can enter the top 10. The next reason for the great follow-up was that Finnish driver Rovanpera, the youngest driver in history to lead in this competition, crashed on the fourth kilometer. In addition, it was the third most uncertain race in history as the winner celebrated with only 0.6 seconds ahead of the runner-up. Ahead of us is only Jordan with 0.1 seconds and New Zealand with 0.5 seconds."

The interest in the Croatia Rally was also helped by the traffic incident of the seven-time world champion Frenchman Sebastien Ogier.

"This provoked a lot of comments all over the world, including stories that he would end up in prison in France. So like that, for us organizers, there were more heart attack moments, but we survived and managed to impose ourselves to the extent that the day after the race, we got an open offer to continue with it."

And for that to happen, Croatian organizers need three million euros.

"The Croatian Government has guaranteed us seven and a half million kuna a year, or one million euros. And where will they get the remaining two million? We would close the second million with commercial sponsors such as HEP, Ina, ACI Marina, Konzum... We have to earn the third million ourselves, from tickets, sales of our products and services, and the City of Zagreb would participate with a little more than half of that amount. And that is the agreed amount that needs to be formalized. We are waiting for that amount to be confirmed by the City Assembly so that Mayor Tomašević can sign the contract. But if we do not close the financial construction by mid-November, we will have to give up because the FIA will no longer wait for us."

It would be a pity for such a project to fail due to Croatian bureaucracy.

"You know what, there are great people in the Ministry of Tourism and Sports, just like in the CNTB, but they are also struggling with the system in which they work, and in the end, in this country, it all comes down to a few people who make such decisions. And the biggest problem is getting to them."

One such initiative led by Šaškin was dropped because there was no decision from the political top. 

"About ten years ago, Ozren Muller and I brought the main organizers of the Dakar Rally to Croatia. Given that the Lisbon start was canceled due to terrorism, we convinced the organizers that it would be good for this famous rally to start from Zagreb. The idea was to drive to Pula on the first day, to Dubrovnik on the second, and that the participants boarded the ferry to Tunisia there, and they liked it. Unfortunately, the then Prime Minister Jadranka Kosor did not like it. Either she did not understand the significance of everything, or we failed to convey it to her. And when a small country misses such an opportunity, it is a pity because, unlike big countries, big opportunities do not come to us often. It would be good if we had a special office for such events that would evaluate, approve or reject events of potential benefit to Croatia," concluded Šaškin.

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Saturday, 23 October 2021

Morski Kukumar: Graduate Student Creates Beer from Adriatic Sea Yeast

October 23, 2021 - Morski Kukumar is a beer made from sea yeast produced by a master engineer of Ecology and Marine Protection, Petar Puškarić.

Petar Puškarić is now a former student of the Split University Department of Marine Studies and someone who will indeed remain inscribed in the history of this faculty. Namely, this master engineer of Ecology and Marine Protection worked at the L.A.B. brewery in Split. When choosing a topic for his dissertation, he came up with an exciting idea - to make beer. But not just any beer - a beer made from sea yeast, reports Dalmacija Danas

His product was also given an appropriate name - Morski Kukumar (Sea Cucumber). 

"The topic was called 'isolation of sea yeast and its application in brewing.' It is a slightly different diploma than the professors and students are used to. I used to work occasionally at L.A.B. brewery from Split, and it occurred to me that I could connect it. At a lecture on Marine Microbiology, I approached my future mentor, prof. Marina Ordulja and asked if there were yeasts in the sea and if we could ferment them. We discussed a bit and came up with the idea to try making a beer with sea yeast," Petar described.

The yeast formation process is very complex.

"We had the most problems with how to find yeast that can ferment. So the yeast was collected from a sea sample and was taken near the shore, at a depth of about 30 centimeters. First, we isolated it by standard microbiological methods for the isolation of microorganisms. After that, we planted the filter paper on nutrient media, and thus the microorganisms from which we extracted sea yeast grew," Petar added. 

The beer was produced as any standard beer.

"The only difference is in the type of yeast because marine yeast was used instead of standard yeast. We brewed this beer in very small quantities, even small ones for home use. We only made a few tasting bottles. The taste of the beer is similar to the sour / farmhouse type of beer. It is slightly sour and gives fruity notes and aromas. Of course, a change in the recipe needs to be made, and the beer had 4.6 percent alcohol," Petar said.

Reactions at the faculty are more than positive.

"My mentor told me that everyone is interested and that this is a good idea. I think they were very pleased with my thesis. And my friends are thrilled. They said that it was something completely different from what they had been drinking so far but expected it from me. So they tried the beer and immediately gave me some ideas on how to develop it further - they will be satisfied."

And he has a plan.

"I need to find a way to develop the product and test it better, to see if it is one hundred percent safe for higher production. The next thing is to find investment, after which it will be much easier to work and develop the product," he added.

Unfortunately, despite his obvious abilities and potential, he has not found a job.

"I am planning further steps regarding beer. I have some opportunities to help through the Croatian Bank for Sustainable Development. They fund and co-finance projects that connect science and industry. Of course, the plan is to apply for EU funds, but there is more to it. Everything is still in the experimental phase, and it remains to be seen how the yeast will react to larger amounts of beer. I could find some more yeast in the sea, which will give even better results, so I will work on that. I'm going step by step," Petar said modestly.

His faculty is critical to our society.

"At my faculty, there are two majors at the graduate level. One is ecology and marine protection, and the other is sea fishing. It educates staff experts in marine protection and management of marine resources and fish farming and ecological and sustainable use of marine resources. As for our awareness of keeping the sea clean, I think it’s increasing more and more. Of course, it is never enough, but we are on the right track, and I believe that we will soon get the results," concluded Petar.

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

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