Monday, 7 November 2022

Could Investor Mohamed Ali Rashed Alabbar Take Over Brac Airport?

November the 7th, 2022 - With news of Arab investors more or less dominating the local press of late (see the Fortenova saga), could another investor from that part of the world end up taking over Brac Airport?

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Marija Brnic writes, before going into any details, it's important to say that the state intends to withdraw from the ownership structure of Brac Airport, located (as the name should suggest) on a certain Central Dalmatian island across from the City of Split. The first step in starting the procedure for the sale of the shares the government has within that company is contracting work with consultants to assess the company's value, and then those shares that will be offered through a public tender.

DO Advising and Agram Brokers were hired as appraisers, and judging by past practice, it can be expected that CERP will announce a tender for the sale sales in early 2023. Although, as a rule, such procedures are only initiated when investors express interest and submit letters of intent, unofficially from CERP it has been circulating that the Brac Airport government shares sale is proceeding as part of the plan to reduce the state portfolio, and allegedly without the need for prior inquiries from investors.

However, as has been heard from several interlocutors, the majority owner of the company - Sunce hotels, which holds 50.2% of the shares, is interested in the complete takeover of Brac Airport. CERP, on the other hand, has 33.8% of the shares available for sale, and according to data from the ownership structure of Brac Airport, the state has a total of 38.5%, while smaller shares are held by Svpetrvs hotels, HT, the municipality of Puscica, Sardina and some other small shareholders.

Sunce hotels was taken over a year and a half ago by an Arab investor from the United Arab Emirates - Mohamed Ali Rashed Alabbar and his company Eagle Hills Real Estate. Several people in the know claim that until now he has been focused exclusively on the hotel business, but he is allegedly interested in the complete takeover of Brac Airport as well, which is extremely important for Brac's tourism.

However, significant investments are needed, and projects have been being discussed and prepared for years. Admittedly, other investors related to the tourism sector on that island, which were involved in the relatively recently opened (and controversial) Grand Hotel View, could also be interested, and more greenfield investments are underway.

New airport director Petra Bonacic-Sargo also announced the investment in the annual financial report for last year, but when asked about the plans, she didn't go into details.

"Even before the coronavirus pandemic, we applied for two infrastructure projects in order to extend the track and reconstruct the passenger buildings with the help of EU funds. We haven't given up on them, we're still working on them and we hope for a positive outcome,'' said the director of Brac Airport.

At the time when the projects were being prepared, the head of the company from Brac was Tonci Peovic, and the plan was to extend the runway from 1,760 to 2,400 metres and widen it from 30 to 45 in order to enable the landing of larger planes. Investments were also prepared for upgrading the terminal building, and the airport was then going to be made to be able to receive three large aircraft at the same time.

A total investment of around 21 million euros was foreseen, however, in the meantime, certain changes have taken place and now, according Peovic, there is no reason for such a large investment and expansions for Brac Airport. Originally, the project was prepared based on cooperation with the Austrian TUI and a fleet whose planes had 175 seats, but that cooperation no longer exists, and Croatia Airlines has been renewing its fleet and replacing the existing planes with the Airbus 220, and the tendency, he adds, is to switch from turbo-propellers on jets and airplanes that carry fewer passengers.

According to his assessment, and he left the company before the summer, it is enough to extend the runway to 2100 to 2200 metres and keep the width as it is now. Considering the characteristics of the terrain, this will greatly reduce the cost of the investment, estimated to stand at a whopping 6-8 million euros, and there remains the possibility that part of the money for reconstruction and modernisation will also be provided through EU funds.

For more, make sure to keep up with our dedicated news section.

Monday, 7 November 2022

Vladimir Mozetic, Kvarner Health Tourism Cluster President on Croatian Medical Tourism

November 7, 2022 - Croatian medical tourism is back after the pandemic. TCN catches up with Kvarner Health Tourism Cluster Vladimir Mozetic after the successful 10th edition of the Crikvenica  

The 10th CIHT conference is behind you, congratulations. Give us an overview of this year's event. What were the highlights for you?


At this year's jubilee 10th CIHT Conference, over 120 participants were on the location, and over 300 participants attended online. During the Conference, over 20 eminent experts from the USA, UAE, Germany, Poland, and Croatia took part in presentations, workshops and panels. The titles of the panels and workshops speak for themselves:

New, Newer and the Newest in Health Tourism,

Health and Health Industry: Investment and Development,

Medical Tourism and Patient Expectations,

Natural Healing Factors and Health Tourism

Health tourism and sports rehabilitation

Workshop I – Careers in Health Travel

Workshop II – Accessible Tourism

Workshop III - Plan for the promotion of Croatian health tourism on the US market 2023-2025

During the Conference, we also presented 13 awards in recognition of personal/institutional contribution to the development of health tourism in Croatia. The winners were:

1. Special Hospital for Orthopaedic Surgery Akromion

2. University Eye Hospital Svjetlost

3. Glavić Clinic

4. Special Hospital for Medical Rehabilitation Krapinske Toplice

5. Special Hospital for Medical Rehabilitation Stubičke Toplice

6. St. Catherine Specialty Hospital

7. Special Hospital dr. Nemec

8. Rident Dental Clinics

9. Thalassotherapia Opatija

10. Therme Selce

11. Thalassotherapia Crikvenica

12. Ognjen Bagatin

13. Marcel Medak


Ten years is quite an achievement, and both CIHT and Kvarner Health Tourism Cluster have made considerable progress since 2013, when you started this conference. Reflect on the last decade. Are you happy with progress so far?

I am certainly satisfied with the direction of the development of the Conference, which over the years has established itself as one of the most significant conferences in the region in the field of health tourism.

CIHT Conference was held for the first time in 2013 on the occasion of marking 125 years of organized health tourism on the Crikvenica Riviera, and in 2015 Kvarner Health Tourism Cluster joined as the organizer, alongside the Crikvenica Tourist Board.

Currently, CIHT Conference is the result of cooperation between the Crikvenica Tourist Board and the Kvarner Health Tourism Cluster as organizers, and the Special Hospital for Medical Rehabilitation Thalassotherapia Crikvenica and the Terme Selce Polyclinic as co-organizers. This year as well, the general sponsor was Jadran-galenski laboratorij d.d., the largest Croatian pharmaceutical company with global success and a member of the Cluster.

Also, for many years, both the Ministry of Tourism and Sports and the Ministry of Health have supported the CIHT Conference, as well as the Primorje-Gorski Kotar County, the Croatian National Tourist Board, the Kvarner Region Tourist Board, the Croatian Chamber of Economy, and the City of Crikvenica.

With the development in the past 10 years, experts from about 20 countries from 4 continents have participated as speakers at the Conference, bringing new knowledge and trends every year both in the organization and content of the service program in health tourism. The importance and possibilities of using new technologies in the provision and promotion of services, as well as the role of accreditation and certification, were also highlighted. A special area is dedicated to presenting knowledge about investment opportunities in health tourism, as well as the scientific segment of the CIHT program.

In addition to the exchange of knowledge, a very important area in the development of the Conference was the creation and maintenance of a "network", which also enables the continuation of business cooperation. This was also confirmed to us through a large number of active projects between the participants.

Of course, a non-negligible part of the Conference is getting to know the tourist / cultural / gastronomic / oenological qualities of our region.


Where was Croatian health tourism back then, and where is it today?

Given that in the past period, legislative changes were made at the national level and health tourism was included in national and regional strategic plans, the gradual development is obvious. Health tourism has been designated as one of the guidelines for the development of tourism, and at the same time it has become an integral organizational part within the field of health. Also, investments in personnel, space and equipment, as well as marketing and sales, have made it possible to talk about health tourism as one of the most significant economic branches in active development. At the same time, with the financing models offered through various EU programs, the necessary preconditions for further development are made possible. 

The pandemic obviously severely disrupted the industry. How would you assess things now, and what permanent changes resulted from that disruption?

Certainly, the pandemic has slowed down the planned development, hitting some sectors more than others. At the same time, adaptation to the new situation led to new ideas, adaptation of the type of services to the new situation and greater use of technology in communication with users (digitalization, mobile applications, telemedicine). The way institutions and services are advertised has also partially changed. Auto destinations and shorter air destinations without major transfers are a more acceptable choice at the moment. As expected, the pandemic contributed to additional investments in the health industry, through research and products in the preventive, diagnostic and therapeutic segment.

What the members of our Cluster offer is a large number of POST-COVID rehabilitation programs, which are offered to both the domestic and foreign markets. At the same time, the offer is adjusted and developed in accordance with the trends in preventive and personalized medicine, physical and mental rehabilitation, the so-called "lifestyle" medicine, i.e. medicine of the style of life, and active and healthy aging programs. Although our focus is primarily on the surrounding countries (76 million people live within a 500 km or 5-hour drive, of which 15 million are over 60 years old), we also direct our advertising towards Scandinavia, Great Britain, but also the US, the UAE, India, and integration of various service models depending on the market. Research shows that for now about 50 million EU residents use health services outside their home country (about 10%), while about 250 million (53%) of those who wish to do so would, and this is an indication that there is no shortage of markets.


You have done a fantastic job branding Kvarner as a health tourism destination, and the Kvarner brand is bigger than Croatia within the industry. What is Kvarner doing differently?

I believe that the main reason is that in the Kvarner Region and in the entire county, and based on a tradition of over 180 years, we realized in a timely manner that mutual association of participants in health tourism (health, health industry, tourism, science and education) can bring greater visibility and better organization to everyone, a more economical approach and long-term investment. At the same time, each of the members additionally develops and uses its comparative advantages. For many years, most institutions have been continuously investing significant funds in staff, equipment and premises, as well as in the promotion of their own services on markets. Top quality service at an optimal price, and excellent transport connections by land and air are the main reasons for competitiveness. We provide an offer that includes the organization of the arrival, accommodation, health services, but also local cultural, gastronomic and "outdoor" activities. It is important to note that the health industry, of which health tourism is a significant part, is positioned as one of the strategic economic branches of development in our region. It also contributes to the quality of life of citizens, and creates products that can be offered to the market.

The Kvarner health tourism cluster ( is an independent association (NGO) founded in November of 2014. It brings together members from the health sector (medical and dental), the health industry (pharmaceutical company), the tourism sector (tourist associations, agencies, hotel groups) and the scientific and teaching field (faculties of the University of Rijeka). Currently, the Cluster has 37 members, with over 9,500 employees, of which almost 5,500 are health personnel. The members are from both the private and the public sector.

Of course, we have high-quality cooperation with partners from all over Croatia, as well as state, regional and local institutions. We are also aware that additional connection is needed at the national level and we wish for this to happen as soon as possible, as this will achieve additional competitiveness and quality, both on the European and global markets.

Your priorities over the next 2-3 years to develop health tourism in Kvarner and Croatia?

The first step that we need to achieve at the national level is to turn from talking about potentials in health tourism to the realization of these common potentials. Legislation has been created that enables this, strategies have been written, and sources of financing are visible. If we jointly accept the health industry as a strategic economic branch, if we connect stakeholders in health care, the health industry, tourism, science, education and research, we can expect successful results. Destination certification projects, destination management, accreditation of service providers, the use of public-private partnerships, joint application to EU projects, and the use of comparative advantages and opportunities of individual sub-regions of Croatia will enable us to achieve the desired results.

For those perhaps not so familiar with the Kvarner region as a health tourism destination, paint a picture for us. What range of services and excellence are on offer, and what other facilities can people enjoy?

We often use the saying that "A week of stay in the Kvarner Region means health for the whole year". The name Kvarner comes from the Latin word "Quaternarus", which means a region that has mountains and a hilly region (Gorski kotar) in the north, the Istrian peninsula in the west, a long sea coast in the east, and islands in the south. This geographical area creates a uniquely healthy microclimate, and in addition to the natural healing factors we have, they were recognized as early as the first half of the 19th century, when the first spas in Kvarner began to open.

We still use this "positional rent", in addition to high-quality health and tourism staff, investment in equipment and space, as well as research and education, as well as high-quality land and air traffic connections. This is complemented by a high-quality and healthy gastronomic offer of local foods, in accordance with modern nutritional guidelines, activities in nature, at the sea, along the coast and in the hilly part of the region. The offer also includes wellness programs, as well as modern and traditional cultural facilities. Come and get to know Kvarner.

You can learn more about the Kvarner Health Tourism Cluster on the official website.

Read more about CIHT - CIHT 2022: Croatia's Premier Health Tourism Conference Turns 10 in Style.

Monday, 7 November 2022

SuperSport HNL Round 16: Hajduk Beats Osijek at Poljud, Wins for Dinamo, Rijeka, Istra

November 7, 2022 - The SuperSport HNL 16th round was played from November 4 to 6, 2022. This round featured the derby between Hajduk and Osijek at a rainy Poljud Stadium, while Dinamo, Rijeka, and Istra locked in 3 points. Here's our SuperSport HNL round 16 recap. 

Istra 1961 v. Gorica (1:0)

Istra and Gorica met on Friday, November 4, in Pula in front of 890 fans. 

The only goal of the match came in the 90th minute when the freshly substituted Bakrar scored for the 1:0 win. Gorica dismissed coach Igor Angelovski after the game. He will be succeeded by Mensur Mujdža, the former Gorica juniors coach. 


Istra is in 6th place with 20 points and a game in hand, while Gorica is in last place with 7 points. 

Slaven Belupo v. Lokomotiva (0:0)

Belupo and Lokomotiva met on Saturday, November 5, in Koprivnica in front of 683 fans. 

Ibrahim was shown a red card in the 67th minute, forcing Lokomotiva to play with a man down for the remainder of the match. The match ended without goals. 


Belupo is currently in 4th place with 25 points, while Lokomotiva is in 8th with 15. 

Hajduk v. Osjiek (3:1)

Hajduk and Osijek met for the big derby of the 16th round on Saturday, November 5, in front of 9,720 fans at Poljud. 

Hajduk took the lead in the 10th minute when Livaja assisted Sahiti for 1:0. Leovac managed to equalize for Osijek just before halftime, scoring for 1:1 in 45+1'. Hajduk was given a penalty in the 69th minute due to a handball in the box - Livaja routinely scored for 2:1. Mlakar secured Hajduk's victory two minutes after being subbed on, scoring a header for 3:1 in the 79th minute. 


Hajduk is currently in 2nd place with 34 points, while Osijek is in 3rd with 27. 

Varazdin v. Rijeka (0:3)

Varazdin and Rijeka met on Sunday, November 6, in Varazdin. 

Lamine Ba was excluded with a red card in the 45th minute, forcing Varazdin to play with a man down for the entire second half. Frigan scored Rijeka's first goal in the 47th minute. Selahi made it 0:2 in the 85th, and Grgić scored for the final 0:3 in the 3rd minute of stoppage time. 


Varazdin is in 5th place with 22 points, while Rijeka is in 7th with 15. 

Dinamo v. Sibenik (3:0)

Dinamo and Sibenik closed the 16th round on Sunday, November 6, at Maksimir. 

An own goal by Mina put Dinamo ahead at 1:0 in the 10th minute. Drmić made it 2:0 in the 34th minute. Petković scored for the final 3:0 in the 68th minute. 


Dinamo is currently in first place with 38 points and a game in hand, while Sibenik is in 9th place with 13. 

You can see the HNL table HERE.

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

Sunday, 6 November 2022

Congolese Basketball Player Nsimba Luzenga Louange Still Not Found

November 6, 2022 - After being reported missing from Požega last week, Nsimba Luzenga Louange has still not been found.

The Congolese basketball player, Nsimba Luzenga Lousange, 25, was reported missing from Požega on October 28th. She was playing basketball for the ŽKK Plamen from Požega, and Vladimir Englman, the club's coach, reported her missing. The police have asked the public to share with them any information about her whereabouts, and her profile has been shared on the National Missing Person's Registry.

And now, after more than a week, 24 sata is reporting that she has yet not been found. Mr. Englman told them that the police were unable to confirm that she's gone across Croatian national borders (which is weird, as she is a Congolese national and her passport should be noted at every border-crossing). The coach thinks that she's decided to go somewhere to have surgery on her knee. She was recently diagnosed with anterior cruciate ligament injury. She was given the option to have surgery in Croatia, using the regular route, but he thinks that it might've been to long for her to wait until January of 2023 to have that surgery done. The coach also confirmed that he's spoken with Nsimba's manager, who has checked if she was able to return back home to the Democratic Republic of Congo - but the answer is no. So, nobody knows where she is as of now.

If you know anything about Nsimba Luzenga Louange, a missing basketball player from Congo in Požega, please notify the closest police station, call the phone number 192, or report over email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


Sunday, 6 November 2022

Zagreb County Wine Promo Film in World's Top 10 at ART&TUR in Portugal

November 6, 2022 - More success for Zagreb County's wine promotional film, this time at ART&TUR in Portugal. 

Good things are happening around Zagreb...

There has been considerable promotion of the goumet scene in Zagreb County in recent times, part of the strategy to better connect the county with the city through the excellent Around Zagreb initiative. The year started with the presentation of the Gault & Millau Zagreb restaurant guide, which included many restaurants from the county in an English guide for the first time, and it has been a very useful addition to to the city's culinary scene. And the year is now ending with more recognition, this time for yet one more award for the excellent Zagreb County wine promotional film, Taste above Everything, which has just picked up its second presitigious award at ART&TUR in Portugal, a short time after success at the Zagreb TourFilm Festival, as previously reported on TCN.

The official press release below.

The wine film of the Tourist Board of Zagreb County entered the top 10 in the world with awards at these two festivals

The best wine film of the Zagreb TourFilm Festival "Taste above Eveything" of the Zagreb County Tourist Board won another international award at the prestigious XV International Tourism Film Festival ART&TUR in Portugal. At the awards ceremony, which took place on Friday, October 28, 2022, in the city of Ourém, in competition with tourist films from as many as 16 countries, the film "Taste above Everything " was awarded a silver award for second place in the Wine Tourism category, thus with awards at these two festivals, entered the top 10 in the world.


ART&TUR as well as ZAGREB TOUR FILM FESTIVAL are members of CIFFT (International Association of Tourist Film Festivals), an organization that evaluates the best tourist films in the world.

With awards from prestigious international tourist film festivals, the destination film Tastes first and foremost, created in cooperation with the Zagreb County Tourist Board and the production company Sekunda, is a strong move and incentive in the promotion of tourism and the wine roads of Zagreb County. "Being among the top 10 best tourist films in the world is a great recognition for the Tourist Board of Zagreb County and a great compliment to our work of three and a half years, as well as to destination marketing and the direction we have set. The wine roads of Zagreb County were introduced to many festival participants and the expert jury through the film, which allowed us to successfully continue the promotion of the unforgettable locations of our county," said the director of the Tourist Board of Zagreb County, Ivana Alilović. "In addition to destination campaigns such as the Via VINO film festival in the vineyards and wineries of the county, which we have been successfully conducting for the last two years, we are glad that our activities in the promotion of tourism in Zagreb County have been recognized and rewarded on international markets."


A particularly important award from the wine country, Portugal

For a wine-themed film, the awards of film festivals in wine countries are especially important. Portugal is one of the most important European wine destinations, which makes the award from the ART&TUR festival even more important in the international promotion of Zagreb County's wine routes.

"Participation in international film festivals, where the films of the world are evaluated together and the best ones are chosen, is a strong indicator of how well you can convey a message through a film. On the production side, we are proud of the success in the international film competition, where we were able to highlight the destination of the wine roads of Zagreb County and, together with the Tourist Board of Zagreb County, make a film that was awarded at all the film festivals where it was submitted," said the film's producer, Martina Miličević.

This year's films were evaluated by an expert jury of 35 members from numerous countries around the world, from Brazil, Mauritius, Iran to Canada. The Croatian representative in the jury, Spomenka Saraga, film producer and director of the Zagreb Tour Film Festival did not hide her enthusiasm and pride for the award-winning films submitted from Croatia. "Croatia presented itself in the best possible way, several Croatian tourist films were shown on the big screen, which entered the competition for one of the awards, and in addition to the film program, accompanying activities were also prepared for festival guests, such as a tasting workshop that showed how wine and extra virgin olive oil, the perfect accompaniment to film art and tourism. The sugar in the end was definitely the four prizes that went to Croatia. I am proud of the fact that thanks to the Zagreb Tourfilm Festival, the trainings held with the support of the Croatian Tourist Board, these excellent films got the chance to compete and eventually win significant awards. I hope that this will be a wind at everyone's back and that these and other Croatian tourist films will continue to be submitted to festivals and win a number of awards. I congratulate the awardees and the Tourist Board of Zagreb County on the film "Taste above Eveything", which was another wine and gastronomic invitation to the guests of the festival in Portugal to come to Zagreb and its surroundings and the next Zagreb Tourfilm Festival.


(Ivana Alilovic with the award at Zagreb Toufilm Festival)

Watch the award-winning wine film of Zagreb County!

The film takes us through the preparation of the wine cellar of the Šoškić family, the production of genuine wines by the Tomac family, otherwise the first ecologically certified winery in Zagreb County, which recently completed the construction of an impressive new winery. In the film, you will also see the fairy-tale manor house Nespesh, on the Zelina wine road, where the Litterarii winery is located today. The bearers of the tradition of Zagreb County's wine roads are families that have been producing wine for generations, such as the Kos winery.

In the Braja vineyard house, we follow the preparation of the homemade Plešivica copanjek, and the free domestic animals on the slopes of Žumberac are a reminder that the genuine wines of the Zagreb County follow the originality of the ingredients found on the menus of recognized restaurants.

Sunday, 6 November 2022

Croatian Aviation Reports Excellent Late Season Air Traffic to Split

November 6, 2022 - Some very encouraging news for the Split Winter Tourism flights initiative, reports specialist flight portal Croatian Aviation.

Build it and they will come. 

It is almost a year since the TCN Split Winter Tourism Roundtable brought together key players from the public and private sector with one aim - to increase flights out of the season in order to extend the season. 

The initiative is still ongoing, and progress is being made. The initiative received a large boost a few weeks ago when KLM announced it would fly 12 months a year between Split and Amsterdam.

And, according to Croatian Aviation, it seems that things are going pretty well.

Even though we are at the beginning of November and in the winter flight schedule, the occupancy of aircraft on lines to and from Split Airport is excellent!

November is the month in which the winter flight schedule is in effect, at the end of October many airlines canceled their seasonal routes to Croatia, including Split Airport. However, several rotations on seasonal lines are also carried out at the beginning of November, and there are previously announced lines that will be in service throughout the winter.

What is somewhat surprising is the fact that almost all lines from Split Airport are still very full. This is partly due to the fact that a certain number of tourists are just returning from vacation, but it should also be mentioned that tourists are still coming to Dalmatia on vacation, so the planes are full in both directions.

As we have learned, Croatia Airlines flights to international destinations such as Frankfurt, Munich and Rome, and KLM flights to Amsterdam record high occupancy. This is partly due to the US aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush, which sailed into Split and has up to 3,500 crew members. Part of the crew will do a shift in Split and travel to their destinations in the USA, while a certain number of them will arrive in Split for boarding.

The people of Split also have several flights on low-cost airlines, which will be relatively short in traffic, but enough so that after the summer season those interested can make a city break trip to London, Amsterdam, Paris and other well-known destinations.


What is it like to live in Croatia? An expat for 20 years, you can follow my series, 20 Ways Croatia Changed Me in 20 Years, starting at the beginning - Business and Dalmatia.

Follow Paul Bradbury on LinkedIn.

Croatia, a Survival Kit for Foreigners is now available on Amazon in paperback and on Kindle.


Sunday, 6 November 2022

New Central Dalmatia Tourist Board Director Ivana Vladovic Talks Tourism

November 6, 2022 - Central Dalmatia has a new tourist board director, after Ivana Vladovic took over the position in July. TCN asked about her plans for the region in an email interview. 

1. You are very new to the position of Central Dalmatia Tourist Board director, taking over in July. Give us your impressions of the season so far. 

We are all very pleased with the season so far, results are great, and there is a significant improvement in the quality of events and tourist offers. The season is extending, and we are heading in the right direction. 


2. A new director often brings a new perspective. What are your priorities for tourism in Central Dalmatia County?

My vision of developing tourism in the area of ​​Split-Dalmatia County is based on tourism that is authentic, high quality, sustainable and year-round. Also united and presented to the world through modern channels of communication and promotion. My perspective is based on bringing traditional products up in the first plan, values, gastronomy, and authenticity of local products. We have so much to offer as a destination, but we need to be authentic, recognizable by our values and unique way of life. 

3. Let's talk about Split, which has been in the media for all the wrong reasons this summer. An explosion of pub crawls, a significant increase in public drunkenness. What are your thoughts on the season in Split in particular, and how do we get the balance right?

Split has generated great numbers this season and delivered significant projects, but before anything is mentioned, the collaboration of different entities is what makes the difference. Great numbers often bring different issues that we need to cope with. Tourism needs to improve the quality of life for local inhabitants, and they need to feel positive effects.

It is our responsibility to offer quality contents and destinations that are opposite of what was happening this season. In cooperation with the city officials, we are working on keeping the order of communal infrastructure.

4. Having followed Croatian tourism for a decade, I have noticed an official obsession with numbers, numbers, numbers, with little consideration for quality or the damage to the environment or quality of life for locals. And yet in the same breath, we hear the mantra of sustainable tourism. Where do you stand on this?

Numbers are important but not crucial. Almost every interview begins with questions about numbers and results. We must not be obsessed with the results measured in numbers; we need to enforce ourselves with the quality of the offer, impress with tradition, and protect our way of living. Traditional values, local inhabitants, protection of our culture, and tradition are what make us distinct and unique. Tourism needs to be an advantage, not an issue for our citizens.


5. What specific ideas and plans do you have to introduce a more sustainable tourism strategy to the region?

I am addressing the problem of sustainability with projects branding our tradition,  and the specific way of life here in Dalmatia. We have plenty to offer, starting with our history, natural beauties, rich gastronomy, high quality of living, authentic products, and people. Branding our county as a whole year tourism destination including lots of potential that we have in the nautical segment is what makes us sustainable.

6. The beach and islands are understandably popular - tell us more about your plans to promote inland Dalmatia.

It is important to develop the area of Dalmatia Inland according to the principles of sustainable tourism and valorize the rural area, natural and cultural-historical resources and autochthonous traditional elements in the best possible way.

The goal is to encourage the development of tourism and eco-agriculture in symbiosis, to network the tourist communities of this part of the county, and to offer a number of unique products.

7. Last December, TCN and local partners organised the Split Winter Tourism Roundtable initiative, which brought all the stakeholders from the public and private sector together. Momentum is building, and KLM has just announced year-round flights to Split from Amsterdam. How much of a priority is winter tourism for you, and will you financially support the concept of winter flights?

I support the extension of the season, but it must be planned and sustainable. We are aware of the fact that 80% of the total accommodation capacity in the area of ​​our county is private family accommodation, which is occupied by students during post and preseason. Namely, our capacities, from infrastructure to the offer of events as well as gastronomy, must work together in synergy in order to achieve a true extension of the season. Winter flights are a very important part of market strategy, and we are in communication with airline companies. They are important, but by themselves, without an elaborated overall strategy, they are not enough. 

8. The remote work revolution is here, and Split is the de facto digital nomad capital of Croatia, even though almost nothing has been proactively done by official bodies. How important is developing this sector in your plans?

Digital nomads are another trend that became popular during the covid pandemic. People have embraced technology that allows them to collaborate virtually and increase flexibility. They are excellent promoters and tourism ambassadors of the country in which they are located. 

9. Define Central Dalmatia as a destination in a paragraph, including why people should come.

All the great emperors and kings who came to our region came in early spring or late summer, when Dalmatia is the most beautiful. The colors are the most intense, the sounds are the purest, and the fruits are ready for tasting. This is exactly what we want to show the world.

10. And finally, 3-5 of your favourite places in the region, and why?

The first place I hold dear is my native Marina, the place of my heart. The second in order for me is the unreplaceable view from Vidova Gora. And third but not last is the particularly moving and emotional place of Sinj during the procession on the day of the Great Lady.

For the latest news and features on tourism in Croatia, follow the dedicated TCN section.


What is it like to live in Croatia? An expat for 20 years, you can follow my series, 20 Ways Croatia Changed Me in 20 Years, starting at the beginning - Business and Dalmatia.

Follow Paul Bradbury on LinkedIn.

Croatia, a Survival Kit for Foreigners is now available on Amazon in paperback and on Kindle.



Sunday, 6 November 2022

Advent in Zagreb 2022, Winter Fun is Back: Your Full Guide

November 6, 2022 - Festive fun is back in the Croatian capital, as the plans for Advent in Zagreb 2022 are unveiled. A return to normality and arguably the best programme yet from the 3-times best Christmas market in Europe.  

It is almost 50 years since I last got really excited about Christmas and the Advent festive period, but I felt a little tingle of nostalgia, excitement - something - as I attended the Advent in Zagreb 2022 press conference at Hotel Sheraton on Friday. 

The pandemic and other doses of bad news have done much to dampen the mood and restrict activities over the last two years, and I found myself warming to the promise of a return to the magic of winter socialising on the streets, parks, squares and courtyards of Zagreb with the forthcoming season. A sudden yearning for festive cheer began with the promotional video for this year's event.

Zagreb may have a bigger budget than other tourist boards, but there is no denying that they are superb at press conferences, everything flawlessly orchestrated, with a little touch of style. Mayor Tomasevic and Zagreb Tourist Board CEO Martina Bienenfeld were the key speakers, flanked by two important transport partners for this year's Advent - Croatia Airlines and Turkish Airlines.  


After the press conference, participants were invited to an adjacent room at the Sheraton for a glass of wine and some nibbles, and that is when the Christmas buzz began to start - a little preview in the video below before the guests arrived en masse.  

And so to the presentation itself. What would Advent in Zagreb 2022 look like? After three glory years of being voted the best Christmas Market in Europe (2014-2016), the Croatian capital became synonymous with festive cheer, and the event grew in stature and popularity until the fateful year of... 

... but even as most other cities cancelled or severely scaled back their Advent programmes, Zagreb tried (and succeeded) to keep the tradition alive, albeit it in a more virtual and hybrid form in 2020 and 2021. 

But the good news is that Advent in Zagreb is back, in full force, to the memories of 2019 and before. These have been tough times for all, and the prospect of a jolly festive city full of life is one that I, for one, will be very much looking forward to.  


So what can we expect this year? Firstly, the dates. Advent in Zagreb 2022 will officially open on the evening of November 26 and run until January 7. The iconic ice rink on Tomislav Square will return, and Advent will take place in more than 20 locations throughout the city, with more than 100 concerts, as well as a rich programme for kids, and a multitude of exhibitions. 


Both the Upper and Lower Towns will be a hive of festive activity, including three new locations this year - Dr. Franjo Tudjman Square, Park Gric, and Stara Vlaska. 

Meet some of the superstar locations:


The Ice Park on King Tomislav Square next to Advent in Zrinjevac will once more play a central - and very picturesque - role. 


While Strossmayer Square and Ban Jelacic Square are also sure to be popular. 


And Europe Square and the Gradec Plateau are your go-to places for foodies and Christmas scenery.  


Head to Strossmayer Promenade for the charming 'kucice', or little wooden huts, and no Advent would be complete without a little fooling around - Fuliranje 2022 will take place on the terrace of Hotel Esplanade. 


The official lighting of the candles on Mandusevac will take place at 17:00 on November 26, and the long-awaited opening of the ice rink will happen at 19:00, with the symbolic lighting of the lanterns on Zrinjevac at 20:00

And then let the fun begin! 


Magical locations in both the Upper and Lower Town.


Art and culture have always been strong pillars of Advent in Zagreb, and this year is no exception. 

Music all over the city, including Advent Classic Fest, Advent concerts of the Zagreb Chamber Orchestra, Advent concerts of Zagreb soloists, The Festival of Advent and Christmas Songs in Zagreb, Concert of "Ivan Filipovic" Chamber Choir, Evenings with Brahms, Advent under the Lantern, To Zagreb from Christmas Balconies, Advent postcards from Zagreb, and Advent at Katarinac Square.

For more on the musical component of this year's event, click here.


Cultural highlights are to be found at Advent in the Ethnographic Museum, Advent in Vidra, Advent in Mala Scena Theatre, the Museum of Chocolate, and Advent at Dagmar's in Krlezin Grad.

For more on this year's cultural offer, click here.


Some of the main attractions for kids can be found at the Advent in Mala scena theatre, Advent in Zagreb Zoo: Croatian Tales of Long Ago, the Museum of Chocolate, the Croatian School Museum, the Live Nativity Scene, and the Backo Mini Express - Train Museum. Some of the main attractions for kids can be found at the Advent in Mala scena theatre, Advent in Zagreb Zoo: Croatian Tales of Long Ago, the Museum of Chocolate, the Croatian School Museum, the Live Nativity Scene, and the Backo Mini Express - Train Museum. 

For more on what awaits the little ones, click here.


(Photo Zagreb Tourist Board/D. Miloslavic)

Other events include Advent of the University of Zagreb, Project Ilica Q'Art, and the annual Zagreb Advent Run. Other events include Advent of the University of Zagreb, Project Ilica Q'Art, and the annual Zagreb Advent Run.

For an overview of other events, click here


A key component of the success of Advent in Zagreb in recent years has been the participation of the private sector, including hotels. There is once more a strong show of support from some of Zagreb's leading hotels, who are actively taking part in this year's event. Learn more about this.


The promotional campaign looks impressive, with a focus on countries in the region, as well as other European countries accessible by air. Promo campaigns are being conducted in Austria, Belgium, BiH, Czechia, Denmark, France, Croatia, Ireland, Italy, Canada, Holland, Hungary, Norway, Germany, USA, Slovakia, Slovenia, Serbia, Spain, Sweden, and UK.

Accessibility is enhanced by Advent partnerships with Croatia Airlines, as well as a more global partnership with Turkish Airlines. In a nice gesture to the domestic market, train travel to and from Zagreb will be half-price within Croatia, and free from within Zagreb County. 


The stage is set. Advent in Zagreb 2022 is ready for you. Are you ready to once more feel the Christmas magic? 

Follow all the latest on the official website.

For more information about the Croatian capital, check out the Total Croatia Zagreb in a Page guide

Sunday, 6 November 2022

Filip Ude 8th in Liverpool World Cup: "Finals Felt Like Winning a Medal"

November 6, 2022 - Filip Ude came in eighth in the world on the pommel horse! In his fifth final at the World Championships in Liverpool, he made a mistake on a jump that cost him a score of 12.500 and the initial score of 5.7. However, Filip was anything but a disappointed finalist.

"I survived. I decided to take a risk. I had no chance with that qualifying exercise. The last time I competed in this exercise was a year ago, and unfortunately because of that Gymnova horse tlly doesn't suit me, I couldn't train for the exercise I did today. For the first time now, I raised my hand and tried it. I decided to take a risk; it doesn't matter, it's fifth or eighth, it doesn't matter to me', Filip said in a breath after the final in which he took a risk with the element of "three Russian rounds between the grips" which significantly increased his starting rating.


Photo: Slobodan Kadić

Before the final he said, "when I come to the last warm-up and try that element, I will know if I will go for it or not." And it worked great on that "one touch." "I did it well during practice, too, but it took an awful lot of energy. 30% of my energy is taken away by that element, that's why in the qualifications I did one that comes easy to me. Well, after the "roller coaster" it was as if someone took away all my energy. I dragged on, I don't even know how I dragged it to the end. On the jump I thought I would fall on the horse like the Dutchman De Munck, but I shot the jump in the wrong direction. It could have been better, but the maximum I could do with that exercise was fifth because I spread my legs. I'm not going to say 'if this, if that'..., the Čakovčan, who in his career already won world silver in 2014, was fifth in 2010 and seventh last year on pommel horse, said in all honesty.

What impressed everyone the most with Filip was that he really took risks and that he fought until the end. After a mistake on the jump, he got back on the horse and went for another jump. "Honestly, I don't know, I have no idea why I even went to do the jump again, because then I made a mistake. I was so exhausted... I don't know, I wanted to try to do an E jump to at least finish in style, but my hands weren't mine. Anyway, I'm satisfied, I'm happy." And he looked happy.


Photo: Slobodan Kadić

"I'm happy that I entered the final at all, considering the problems I had in training with that horse. I have nothing to complain about. Yes, the grade is what it is, but for me this final is like I won a medal, considering everything I went through. I'm in the top 8 in the world, being this old... Look, an Armenian won bronze at 38. I have a few more years for sure, but next year I have to practice more. This time I took a risk, it didn't pay off, but my time will come."

The world champion on pommel horse is the Irishman Rhys McClenaghan (15,300), bronze medalist from the 2019 WC and European champion in 2018. The runner-up is Ahmad Abu Al Soud (14,866), who brought Jordan the first medal in the history of the gymnastics WC. The bronze medalist is the oldest finalist here, the 38-year-old Armenian Harutyun Merdinyan (14,733), current European champion and bronze medalist from the WC 2015.

"The boys were better today. Next time I have to prepare better", said Filip Ude.

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

Sunday, 6 November 2022

Looking for a Job in Croatia? This Week's Top 10 from (November 6, 2022)

October 29, 2022 - Looking for a job in Croatia? A new weekly feature on TCN, in partnership with leading job site agency,, who present a selection of weekly job listings.

How hard is it to find a job in Croatia, and what is on offer?

We spoke to Ines Bokan, director of leading jobs site, who kindly took the time for this excellent interview overview.  

Ines has kindly agreed to work with us on a new weekly feature on TCN - a weekly selection of 10 job listings, as chosen by  Details and links to the job opportunities below in the latest edition of this feature.



verovis GmbH sucht einen Finance Specialist – German speaking (m/f/d) für remote work. Sie bieten 30 Tage für Deine Weiterbildung, einen Firmenlaptop und ein Firmenhandy, und vieles mehr. Bewerben Sie sich hier bis zum 10.11.

GVS Bullion Group is hiring a Sales Advisor (m/f) in Zagreb. The company is offering a long-term perspective in an internationally growing company, stability in rapidly changing times, training in all major fields of the company, and understanding of economic connections. Applications can be submitted until Nov 13th by clicking this link.

TRESCON Betriebsberatungsgesellschaft m.b.H. is looking for a SAP Professional (m/f), a Technical Professional (m/f) and a Software Engineer (m/f) in Austria. All the details are available here, and applications can be submitted until Dec 4th.

Gi Group Staffing Solutions is hiring a Service Sales Engineer (m/f) in Zagreb on behalf of their client. The company is offering use of the company car, laptop, and mobile; various allowances; life insurance; and additional bonuses and rewards. Apply here by Nov 7th.

Eumetsat is hiring a Network Architecture Engineer (m/f) in Darmstadt, Germany. The company is offering a net salary of up to €7.500 a month, flexible working time, full medical coverage, 30 days annual leave and more. Apply here until Nov 19th.

Falkensteiner Hotelmanagement d.o.o. is looking for a Head of Sales MICE & Sports (m/f) in Zadar. The company is offering a competitive salary, all-inclusive onboarding, a buddy program, and much more! Apply by Nov 12th via this link.

Next Step career network is looking for a Receptionist / Front Office Manager (m/f) in Vienna, Austria. The company is offering a net monthly salary of €1.700, 14 salaries paid out a year, full social benefits and daily meals, hotel accommodation, and much more! Apply by clicking this link before Nov 13th.

TELUS International AI Inc. is hiring an Online Data Analyst (m/f) for remote work. If you are fluent in English and Croatian, have been living in Croatia for the last two consecutive years, and are familiar with current affairs and news in Croatia, this might be a great role for you! Apply here until Nov 30th.

Workforce Ljudski Potencijali d.o.o. is looking for a Group Parts Analyst (m/f) for work in Zagreb. The company is offering a dynamic work in a well organized, positive and creative international environment, the possibility of constant trainings and career development and a stimulating compensation plan. Apply by clicking this link until Nov 25th.

AA Euro Croatia d.o.o. is hiring a Senior Backend Developer (m/f) for remote work. The company is offering a 12 month contract, fully remote work, competitive salary range depending on qualifications with weekly payments, and an opportunity to work with a skilled team of professionals. Apply here until Nov 11th.


For more career options and job listings, visit


These weekly job listings will appear in the weekly TCN newsletter - you can subscribe here.


What is it like to live in Croatia? An expat for 20 years, you can follow my series, 20 Ways Croatia Changed Me in 20 Years, starting at the beginning - Business and Dalmatia.

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