Monday, 1 August 2022

Croatian 2022 Tourist Season Pushes Spending and GDP Up

August the 1st, 2022 - The Croatian 2022 tourist season is succeeding in pushing GDP and spending up, but with the German stagnation still ongoing, things on that front continue to remain a valid concern from a very important market for the country.

As Morski writes, thanks to the excellent Croatian 2022 tourist season so far, spending and consumption back in June continued to grow on an annual basis for the seventeenth month in a row: retail sales increased by 3.8 percent, and at the same rate, data from the National Bureau of Statistics (CBS) shows, industrial production also increased, for the second month in a row and more rapidly than back in May.

These latest indicators confirm previous announcements that economic activity in the second quarter of the year could be even higher than it has been during the first and that GDP growth should exceed five percent this year despite the negative consequences of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. However, this means that consumers aren't aware of the circumstances in which they find themselves, as reported by Jutarnji list. While it continued to grow on an annual basis, retail trade fell by 1 percent compared to the month of May, which also recorded a faster annual growth of 4.3 percent.

While the data on fiscal receipts and invoices for June pointed to a strong growth in retail trade turnover, as noted by RBA analysts, "it was certainly supported by increased tourist spending", and indicators of consumer optimism simultaneously pointed to a slowdown in the annual growth rate, "which recorded deterioration on a monthly and annual basis in June".

Disposable income

The consumption structure itself points to the increased caution of consumers, given that the turnover of food, beverages and tobacco products is growing at a rate of 5.2 percent, on an annual basis, while non-food products (except for the trade in motor fuels and lubricants) fell by 0.3 percent. However, for as long as the Croatian 2022 tourist season continues to last, it is quite likely that encouraging figures will thankfully prevail across the nation.

''We expect a good season and a double-digit growth rate of both physical and financial indicators, which will positively affect consumption. This will certainly contribute to the preservation of disposable income and thus have a positive effect on retail trends,'' concluded the aforementioned RBA analysis. However, the effect of the base period and the strong uncertainty due to geopolitical events, they believe, will certainly slow down the dynamics of positive changes in trade activity. The high perception of inflation, which is strongly influenced by the rise in food and energy prices, also has a direct effect on restraining consumption.

What the Croatian economy can expect largely depends on global trends, especially in Eurozone countries that are its main foreign trade partners, and which it is set to join on the first day of 2023.

The latest data suggests that the Eurozone's economy is more resilient than previously expected. According to Eurostat's initial data, GDP in the second quarter increased by 0.7 percent compared to the previous three months, while economists expected a growth of only 0.2 percent. In addition, despite the shock caused by the war in Ukraine, growth accelerated compared to the first quarter, when it stood at 0.5 percent. Nevertheless, the data indicates that the German economy is very much stagnating, and as stated by the statistical office Destatis, this is primarily due to "weak trade".

While Germany is visibly suffering the consequences of higher energy prices and inflation, the leaders in terms of growth in the Eurozone are now Spain (+1.1), Italy (+1.0), France and other countries that are supported by tourism and higher consumption. Quarterly declines were recorded by Latvia (-1.4 percent), Lithuania (-0.4 percent) and Portugal (-0.2 percent), but year-on-year growth rates were positive for all countries.

Although the Eurozone achieved faster growth than expected, the pressure on the cost of living is still intensifying. The official estimate of inflation for the month of July reached 8.9 percent, compared to 8.6 percent back in June.

Across the pond, the USA is in recession...

Analysts pointed out that difficult days are yet to come for the Eurozone, especially for Germany. A technical recession in that country, the Dutch Ing Group analyst Carsten Brzeski pointed out, "looks like a done deal", given the high prices of energy and raw materials that continue to undermine purchasing power and profit margins.

The American economy, on the other hand, is technically already in recession after the announcement that GDP fell for the second quarter in a row, by 0.9 percent. At the same time, in an effort to curb inflation, the US central bank raised key interest rates by a further 0.75 percentage points. However, they said that any further moves will depend on future economic indicators, so a slower pace of monetary policy tightening is now expected.

Production growth is modest, remaining below two percent.

Industrial production back in June grew by 3.8 percent on an annual basis, and by 1.2 percent compared to the previous month. Almost all sectors recorded solid growth, especially the production of capital goods (12 percent) and energy (9.6 percent). Only the production of durable consumer goods fell, 4.7 percent. However, this year, a modest growth rate is expected on average, below two percent, RBA analysts estimate. The main reason for this is the potentially unfavourable influence of geopolitical conflicts, "that is, the dependence of certain important Croatian trade partners on Russia,'' concluded Jutarnji.

For more on the Croatian 2022 tourist season, keep up with our lifestyle section.

Monday, 1 August 2022

Groznjan Jazz Programme Gathers Generations from Multiple Countries

August the 1st, 2022 - The Groznjan jazz programme has succeeded in gathering together generations of jazz music lovers from a multitude of different countries from all across the world.

As Morski writes, exceptional cooperation between participants of various educational programmes and their mentors, along with top-notch knowledge and great talent have been woven into the foundations of the International Cultural Centre of Croatian Musical Youth under whose auspices jazz programmes are being held in Groznjan, which is fondly referred to the smallest jazz metropolis in the world.

The Groznjan jazz programme, Festival Jazz is Back! BP, the Summer Jazz School and the Croatia Drum Camp, has successfully brought together all generations from as many as twenty countries spanning four continents, as well as a large audience, that enthusiastically followed the musicians this summer.

Along with the main organiser, Croatian Musical Youth (HGM), the co-organisers of Festival Jazz is Back! BP, is the Istrian Municipality of Groznjan itself, and the Polyvalent Cultural Centre in Groznjan.

''With its favourable geographical, climatic and traffic conditions, this small, old Istrian town on the one hand optimally meets the needs of artists and the Musical Youth for a place to gather together and work, and on the other hand, the artists and the Musical Youth offered a superior programme back to Groznjan,'' pointed out Dubravka Dujmovic Kusan, the secretary of the HGM.

The participants of the Groznjan jazz programme were from all over Croatia, Germany, the neighbouring countries of Hungary, Slovenia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Montenegro, as wellas Israel, Bulgaria, Austria, Australia, USA, Italy, Finland, France, Sweden, the Czech Republic, Russia, Puerto Rico, Greece, Ukraine, Spain, Switzerland, and the Netherlands.

Workshops were held daily as part of the Groznjan jazz programme, and music was also played on the streets of this quaint Istrian town, sometimes in an organised manner, and sometimes quite spontaneously, which was enjoyed by both Croatian and foreign visitors to the town.

It is important to mention that the participants of the Groznjan jazz programme were accompanied by their mentors Luis Bonilla, Alex Sipiagin, Famoudou don Moye, Elvis Penava, Karlheinz Miklin Jr., Lea Lovrencic, Joe Kaplowitz, Goran Rukavina, John Riley, Dick Oatts and Marko Lazaric. Also performing were Jim Rotondi, Jon Boutellier, Gary Smulyan, Andrea Pozza, Aldo Zunino, Bernd Reiter, Primoz Grasic, Mario Mavrin, Vid Jamnik, Blaz Jurjevcic and Tijan Grasic, all of them being truly excellent musicians immortalised by their numerous awards, and among them were and multiple Grammy and Porina winners.

Zvjezdan Ruzic, Borna Sercar and Lado, Zdenka Kovacicek and the Green House Band, Amira Medunjanin and Ante Gelo, Branko Sterpin, Srdjan Kolarevic, Srdjan Kuzmanovic, Marco Quarantotto and Edi Maruzin with the Edi East Trance Blues Band also performed as part of the Groznjan jazz programme.

Young talent is continuing to arrive in Groznjan to attend the string seminar led by Andjelko Krpan, Milan Cunko, Branimir Pusticki and Ilin Dime Dimovski, and the programmes of the International Cultural Centre of the Croatian Musical Youth in Groznjan are going to be held until the middle of September.

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

Sunday, 31 July 2022

Varaždin Baroque Evenings Festival to be Held from 23 Sept to 9 Oct

ZAGREB, 31 July, 2022 - The 52nd edition of the Varaždin Baroque Evenings Festival will take place in this northern Croatian city from 23 September to 9 October, and the programme will include 35 concerts in 15 towns in six counties, the organisers have announced at a recent news conference.

This year's partner country is the Republic of Ireland.

The festival will kick off with a concert by the Irish Baroque Orchestra on 23 September, and an Irish youth orchestra will also perform a week later. An Irish Corner will be set up in Varaždin as part of a supporting programme..

Irish Ambassador Ruaidhri Mark Dowling said it was an honour for his country to be the partner.

So far, the partner countries have been Germany, Czech Republic, Poland, Slovakia, Israel, Austria, the Russian Federation, Italy, France, Spain, Hungary, Japan and Sweden.

"The Varaždin Baroque Evening Festival is the most important music and stage event in central Croatia, founded in 1971, and today, as a specialised festival of early music, it is one of the most eminent festivals of its kind in the world. The festival is under the permanent auspices of the President of the Republic of Croatia, and the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Croatia awarded it national significance 20 years ago," the festival's website says.

Sunday, 31 July 2022

Eel Brudet, Traditional Boats added to Register of Cultural Properties

ZAGREB, 31 July, 2022 - The art of preparing Neretva eel brudet, or brodetto, and the art of building and navigating traditional boats in the Kvarner region of the northern Adriatic have been added to the Croatian Register of Cultural Properties, the Ministry of Culture and Media has announced on its website.

Eels and brudet are inseparably connected with the way of life of the people in the Neretva river valley of southern Croatia and are part of their identity. Neretva brudet belongs to the Mediterranean family of simple dishes based on locally available ingredients, and today, with eels in shorty supply, it is prepared only on special occasions, the ministry said.

The intangible value of the art of building and navigating traditional boats in the Kvarner region is reflected in the transfer of knowledge and skills related to this aspect of cultural heritage throughout the 20th century. Builders of traditional boats, such as "pasara", "gajeta" and "guc", make them to their own design or to order, the ministry said.

Sunday, 31 July 2022

Tourism and Investment Ace Damir Vandjelic to Lead RoomOrders Expansion

July 31, 2022 - DELAWARE, United States_ Highly accomplished manager Damir Vandjelic, who previously presided over an HRK 8 billion tourism portfolio, has been appointed CEO of RoomOrders Global, bolstering the start-up’s international expansion.

Vandjelic, who has held executive positions in leading companies like Pliva, Interbrew, Croatia osiguranje and INA, notably headed capital investment in tobacco, tourism and fish-farming giant Adris Group.

Vandjelic, who will focus on strategic expansion across European resorts and raising capital, will join RoomOrders Inc. CEO Eugene Brcic Jones, who will focus on the group’s marketing and PR from its US headquarters.  

“Mr Vandjelic is among Croatia’s most capable business leaders today and his understanding of the hotels and resorts sector in Croatia, as well as Europe, is very impressive,” said Brcic Jones. “I look forward to working with Damir and synergising with our internationals operations.”

“This is a major coup for RoomOrders,” said RoomOrders Inc. founder and Chairman Viktor Matic. “There is a long list of strong corporations pursuing Mr. Vandjelic as well as political parties, who see him as a candidate for Croatia’s highest offices.”

“Luckily Mr. Vandjelic is eager to share his vast experience in the start-up sector and is able to juggle RoomOrders with his other engagements,” Matic said.

Matic revealed that Vandjelic has already dabbled in several start-ups and hopes his experience and relations will elevate RoomOrders as it enters a period of accelerated growth.

RoomOrders is a cloud self-serve platform that allows guests contactless ordering and payment of food and beverages in hotels, restaurants, bars, and cafes; whether they are in lobbies, rooftops, or poolside and beachside deckchairs, using their own smart devices.

RoomOrders is used in about 300 venues across the world, including leading hotel chains like Hilton, Marriott, IHG and Accor.

Vandjelic most recently held the position of Chairman-Supervisory Board at INA-Industrija nafte dd and Chairman-Supervisory Board of Cromaris dd. He was also on the board of Croatia osiguranje dd and Member-Management Board at Adris Grupa dd and Member of Adria Resorts doo. In his past career, Vandjelic was Chairman-Management Board at Croatia osiguranje dd. and also president of Council of HANFA, a financial regulator in Croatia. Vandjelic received an MBA in economics from The University of Liverpool.

“I am glad to be joining this exciting group of local entrepreneurs, who have already positioned their brand internationally as a leader in the hospitality industry,” Vandjelic said.

“Mobile ordering and payments is a trending sector and I hope to put RoomOrders in good stead when it becomes a booming sector very soon.”

“There is strong potential across Adriatic beaches, particularly camping sites and resorts, which can easily be replicated globally,” Vandjelic said.

The corona virus has had a major impact on hospitality providers, with many forced to close completely in nationwide lockdowns over the past two years. However, many surveys indicate that one of the first things people want to do emerging from the forced seclusion is to go and dine with friends.

Hoteliers have resisted digitalisation fearing it would remove a key ingredient of hospitality – ‘human touch.’

However, low-touch technology is now not only becoming an interesting idea, but a necessity.

                                                               —————–

RoomOrders Global is a part of the RoomOrders Inc. group, providing a mobile ordering and payments solution for hospitality, particularly hotels and resorts. RoomOrders is used in some 300 leading venues across the world, from New York, Barcelona to Sydney.

For more information visit www.roomorders.com or contact Eugene Brcic Jones on 385-95-777-8743.

Sunday, 31 July 2022

Deputy PM's Head of Office Remanded in Investigative Custody

ZAGREB, 31 July, 2022 - Dalibor Šemper, head of the Office of Deputy Prime Minister Anja Šimpraga, has been remanded in investigative custody after seriously injuring a child in a road accident and trying to flee from the scene. 

Karlovac County Court investigating judge Elma Kaleb Mamić confirmed to Hina on Sunday after a two-hour hearing that she had upheld the prosecution motion and ordered one-month detention because of the risk of the suspect interfering with witnesses and repeating the crime.

The accident occurred on Friday evening in Štikada, near Gračac, about 70 kilometres inland from the coastal city of Zadar. The 45-year-old driver, driving under the influence of alcohol, skidded off the road and hit a 10-year-old boy who was walking by the edge of the road in the opposite direction.

Prosecutors said after the hearing that the suspect had failed to administer first aid to the injured boy even though he could have. The suspect left the scene but was soon stopped by members of the public.

The child suffered multiple injuries and was transferred to the Gospić General Hospital and from there to the Zagreb Clinical Hospital Centre, where he underwent surgery on Saturday. "He is now in stable condition and his life is not in danger," the hospital's director Ante Ćorušić told Hina.

Deputy Prime Minister Anja Šimpraga confirmed to Hina on Saturday that the driver was the head of her office.

Šimpraga said that the police were investigating the case and that she would initiate the procedure for the dismissal of her head of office.

"As soon as we learnt this, we contacted the boy's family to express our regret for this unacceptable and unjustifiable act. What is most important is that the child's condition is stable, and we wish him a speedy recovery," Šimpraga said.

Sunday, 31 July 2022

"Hospital" for Griffon Vultures Opens on Cres island

ZAGREB, 31 July, 2022 - A new "hospital" for griffon vultures, with an indoor and an outdoor enclosure for intensive care, has been opened in Beli on the northern Adriatic island of Cres as part of a project to enhance the capacity of the Beli Rescue Centre for Griffon Vultures.

The value of the project, which includes the necessary diagnostic and laboratory equipment, is HRK 888,000 (€117,300), of which HRK 755,000 (€100,000) was allocated by the European Union, while the rest came from the Environmental Protection and Energy Efficiency Fund.

The newly-renovated facility will be of great assistance to young vultures when they fall into the sea during their initial flights. Their rescue and recovery will contribute to the survival of griffon vultures in the Kvarner region, the last population of this species in Croatia which is protected by law, the Primorje-Gorski Kotar County administration said earlier week.

Primorje-Gorski Kotar County is committed to preserving its biodiversity, especially protected species, County Prefect Zlatko Komadina said at the opening ceremony.

The Beli Rescue Centre treats any griffon vultures found injured, sick, exhausted or poisoned, helping them to recover and return to nature.

Currently, about 125 couples of griffon vultures nest in the Kvarner region, most of them on Cres island. A dozen birds on average, mainly young vultures, are saved from death annually and are given care at the Rescue Centre.

Sunday, 31 July 2022

Over 2,200 People Apply for Adult Education Vouchers, 1,762 Granted

ZAGREB, 31 July, 2022 - This year, 4,000 people in Croatia can apply for adult education vouchers, and so far over 2,200 applications have been submitted and 1,762 have been granted.

This measure was launched on 1 April, and both employed and unemployed persons can apply for vouchers. A total of 2,221 persons have done so by the end of July, the Croatian Employment Service (HZZ) said in response to the query from Hina.

The HZZ is conducting the voucher-based adult education scheme together with the Labour Ministry.

So far, 1,762 vouchers have been granted, 459 applications are being processed, and 1,587 are under preparation, as applicants have chosen the skill they want to acquire but are still gathering the necessary documents, the HZZ said.

Although more than half of the planned quota of vouchers has been used up so far, the HZZ was reserved in predicting whether all 4,000 vouchers planned for this year would be used. A total of 30,000 vouchers will be offered over the next four years.

The HZZ said that in addition to programmes for the acquisition of green skills, there was demand for the development of programmes at all levels of education, including those for persons holding university degrees. That's why it has invited adult education institutions to get actively involved in the development of new programmes and request their registration in the education programmes database.

To qualify for a voucher, a person must be at least 15 years old and have at least primary school education. The same conditions apply regardless of whether applicants are employed in the private, public or state sector. Education programmes last up to six months or 10 months, depending on whether the applicant is unemployed or employed.

In the last four months, more women than men and more employed persons than unemployed have applied for vouchers. The average age of voucher recipients is 34 years, and the employed to unemployed ratio is 77.3 to 22.7 per cent.

The greatest interest in new occupations has been shown by residents of Zagreb, Osijeka, Rijeka and Split.

Sunday, 31 July 2022

Croatian Fathers Entitled to Paid Paternity Leave as of 1 August

ZAGREB, 31 July, 2022 - As of 1 August, all fathers in Croatia will be entitled to paid paternity leave of 10 or 15 days, depending on whether they have one child, twins or more children born at the same time.

Paternity leave is not obligatory, but if a father chooses to take this leave, his employer must grant it. This right is governed by the Act amending the Maternity and Parental Allowances Act.

"Paternity leave can be taken during the first six months of the child's life. Fathers are advised to exercise this right, and employers have an obligation to make this possible, otherwise they face a fine of between HRK 10,000 and 50,000," Željka Josić, State Secretary at the Central State Office for Demography and Youth, told Hina in an interview.

"We believe it would be good if in the first months of the child's life both parents participated in its care to build a better emotional connection," she said.

All employed or self-employed fathers will be entitled to paid paternity leave if they have at least nine months of continuous service or 12 months of interrupted service over a period of 24 months, regardless of whether they work under open-ended or fixed-term contracts.

Fathers who choose to take paternity leave will receive their full pay at the expense of the state budget and not the employer, Josić noted.

She said that the exact number of fathers who would choose this option was not known at this moment, expressing hope that all fathers entitled to paternity leave would exercise this right, and that the planned HRK 91 million would be spent for this purpose until the end of the year. 

Josić said that her Office had noticed that very few fathers had taken maternity leave and that they had more often opted for parental leave, namely between 1,800 and 2,000 fathers, which is 5% of fathers.

"We believe that the possibility for fathers to spend more time with their child in the first days of the child's life will encourage fathers to stay with their children on parental leave," she said.

Josić said that adoptive parents would not be able to exercise the new right, adding that preparations were under way to draw up a new law to make that possible.

The maximum amount of the monthly parental leave allowance, for the other six months if this right is exercised by one parent or for the first eight months if it is used by both parents, is increased from the present HRK 5,600 to 7,500. For those working part-time, the allowance is increased from HRK 2,328 to 3,658.

Josić said that the government had paid out HRK 2.83 billion for maternity and parental allowances in 2021, which is 55% more than in 2016, when HRK 1.82 billion was disbursed.

The number of recipients increased by 8%, from 161,190 in 2016 to 173,444 in 2021. The number of fathers receiving these allowances increased by 152%, from 3,459 in 2016 to 8,719 last year. The share of fathers in the total number of recipients also increased, from 2.1% to 5%, Josić said.

Sunday, 31 July 2022

Head of Office of Deputy PM Šimpraga Arrested for Causing Road Accident

ZAGREB, 31 July, 2022 - The driver who attempted to flee from the scene of a road accident in which a child was seriously injured has been arrested, police said on Saturday. 

Deputy Prime Minister Anja Šimpraga confirmed to Hina on Saturday that the driver was the head of her office.

The accident occurred on Friday in Štikada, near Gračac, about 70 kilometres inland from the coastal city of Zadar. The 45-year-old driver, driving under the influence of alcohol, skidded off the road and hit a 10-year-old child who was walking by the edge of the road in the opposite direction. He attempted to leave the scene without helping the injured boy, police said.

The child suffered multiple injuries and was transferred to the Gospić General Hospital and from there to the Zagreb Clinical Hospital Centre, where he underwent surgery. "He is now in stable condition and his life is not in danger," the hospital's director Ante Ćorušić told Hina.

Šimpraga said that the police were investigating the case and that she would initiate the procedure for the dismissal of her head of office.

"As soon as we learnt this, we contacted the boy's family to express our regret for this unacceptable and unjustifiable act. What is most important is that the child's condition is stable, and we wish him a speedy recovery," Šimpraga said.

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