Tuesday, 5 July 2022

Croatian 2022 Tourist Season: 24% Percent More Spent Than 2019!

July the 5th, 2022 - The Croatian 2022 tourist season has been beyond excellent so far, and tourist spending is 24 percent better than it was back during the pre-pandemic, record year of 2019.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Josipa Ban writes, tourist traffic is slowly but absolutely surely returning to pre-crisis figures, and data from Croatia's highly praised eVisitor system shows that in the first half of this year, 83 percent of arrivals and 94 percent of overnight stays were achieved compared to the record year of 2019. The financial results for the Croatian 2022 tourist season so far are even better.

Data from the Tax Office shows that in the first six months of this, fiscal year bills/receipts issued accounting for a huge 12.8 billion kuna were fiscalised, which is 129 percent better than back in the same period last year and 24 percent more than during 2019.

"The current results we're achieving are almost at the level of those from back during 2019. The data so far is particularly important because it all confirms the increasingly significant demand for Croatia outside the main summer months and the positive results of activities aimed at making Croatia recognisable as a sustainable and quality destination which can be visited and enjoyed throughout the whole year,'' said Nikolina Brnjac, Minister of Tourism and Sport.

In the first six months of 2022, despite a war on European soil breaking out, due to which it was feared that the Croatian 2022 tourist season could be disrupted, Croatia was visited by 5.7 million tourists who realised an impressive 24.7 million overnight stays. The share of foreign tourists in overnight stays stands at almost 87 percent.

Traditionally, guests from Germany (6.1 million), Austria (2.4 million), and Poland (1.3 million) realised the most overnight stays in the country. Most of those overnights were spent in hotels (7.5 million). Negligibly fewer nights were recorded in private apartments - 7.4 million, while campsites recorded 5.1 million overnight stays.

Istria is the most popular destination of all so far in the Croatian 2022 tourist season!

There have been no significant changes in the attractiveness of various locations either, and in the first half of this year, the most overnight stays were realised in gorgeous Istria (7.9 million) and Split-Dalmatia County (4.2 million). The most popular destinations are Rovinj (1.3 million overnight stays) and Dubrovnik (1.2 million). They're followed by Porec (1.1 million), then by Zagreb (909,000 overnight stays).

As for June 2022 when compared to June 2019, 89 percent of 2019's arrivals and 98 percent of 2019's overnight stays were achieved. Expectations are also very high for the two prime tourist months, July and August.

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

Tuesday, 5 July 2022

Croatian General Government Debt Reaches 342.5 Billion Kuna

July the 5th, 2022 - Croatian general government debt now stands at a whopping 342.5 billion kuna, according to what was calculated back during the month of March this year.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, the Croatian general government debt calculated back at the end of March this year amounted to 342.5 billion kuna, which is 1.1 billion kuna or 0.3 percent more than just one year earlier, according to the latest data from the Croatian National Bank (CNB/HNB).

The annual increase in Croatian general government debt was caused by an increase in domestic debt by 4.1 billion kuna or 1.9 percent and a decrease in foreign debt by 2.5 billion kuna or 2 percent. Looking at these enormous figures a monthly basis, the Croatian general government debt actually decreased by 1.7 billion kuna.

Observed as a ratio in annual GDP, the total debt at the end of March 2022 amounted to 77.3 percent of GDP, which is 12.8 percentage points less than a year earlier, when total debt reached 90.1 percent of the country's GDP, they stated from the Croatian National Bank.

Otherwise, the Croatian Government expects that by the end of this year, the share of public debt in GDP should amount to 76.2 percent of GDP, or 3.6 percentage points less than back in 2021.

As a reminder, the debt of the general government back at the end of February this year amounted to 344.2 billion kuna, which is 13.7 billion kuna or 4.1 percent more than a year earlier.

Analysts previously estimated that this year, they expect the Croatian general government debt to continue to grow in absolute terms due to growing financing needs.

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

Tuesday, 5 July 2022

Unions Want Croatian Public Sector Wages to Match Inflation Rate

July the 5th, 2022 - Unions want Croatian public sector wages to match the rate of ongoing inflation as the government's budget framework for the period from 2023 to 2025 brings the biggest increase in expenditures due to the increase in costs for the payment of pensions.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, over the next year, the government will spend a massive 50.2 billion kuna on pension payments, which is 4.2 billion kuna more than was paid out this year.

The reason is, unsurprisingly, ongoing inflation, that is, the expected record adjustment of pensions in the second half of this year, which will spill over into next year as well. The increase in the average pension of 150 kuna, with a double-digit inflation rate, will not help any pensioner much. In a country with more than 1,200,000 resident pensioners, this significantly increases the largest budget expenditure, but the situation is also being eased by the large increase in income brought to the budget by inflation.

Negotiations this September

However, the state doesn't yet know how much the second largest expense from the budget will cost, and that relates to the payment of salaries for 250,000 employees in the Croatian public sector. The four percent increase in the base rate as of May the 1st didn't even cover the previous rate of inflation, and in September, the government is expected to negotiate with the trade unions regarding an additional increase in the base rate. The negotiations that will begin immediately after the end of 2022's tourist season will destroy the government's budget framework for the next three years, but will bring very welcome changes in this year's budget.

Back in April, the unions agreed to an increase of only four percent, although they'd asked for eight percent, and they based their request on the growth of budget revenues and the fall in the price of labour in the Croatian public sector because the inflation rate was much higher than the growth of the base rate was. They agreed to give the government a break until the results of this year's tourist season could be properly seen, but the results so far that the government keeps on bragging about mean that the trade unions will also have high demands themselves.

According to Novi list, Zeljko Stipic, president of the Preporod trade union, will demand that the base be increased as early as October the 1st this year, because the four percent increase from May has long since been overtaken by increasing inflation. Trade union veteran Vilim Ribic adds that the four percent increase from May the 1st is an annual increase of 2.3 percent, which is several times lower than the expected inflation rate this year.

''We should start the negotiations during the second half of September, but I believe that we can finish them quickly enough to increase the base rate from October the 1st onwards. The government insisted that the negotiations regarding the additional increase of the base rate this year continue when they have the results from the tourist season, but by all accounts, it will be better in terms of revenue than that of 2019 and the increase of the base rates as such cannot be avoided,'' believes Stipic.

The trade unions are ready...

The trade unionists don't want to say how much they will request from the government for this year's base rate increase for Croatian public sector wages, but Stipic notes that, at a time of constant price changes and accelerating inflation, the solution could be to agree that wage growth follows the growth of inflation rates and thus avoid the need for negotiations several times a year.

''Inflation is continuing to accelerate and we still can't see an end to it. By the time we agreed to a four percent wage increase and the government's offer to talk in autumn, the inflation rates at the time had already cancelled out that growth, and the solution is to include in this new agreement that the increase in Croatian public sector wages follows the increase in living costs,'' notes Stipic, adding that this is how the issue of compensation for transportation costs is typically regulated. The ''April agreement'' increased the transport fee to 1.35 kuna per kilometre, instead of the previous one kuna, with this amount being adjusted every time fuel prices rise by ten percent.

Ribic doesn't want to reveal how much, in his opinion, Croatian public sector wages should rise in autumn either, but he says that it's no longer possible to accept things as they currently stand, and that also includes attitudes towards the public sector.

''Back in May, the salary base increased by four percent, and in the same month, inflation, compared to May 2021, stood at 10.8 percent. It's clear to everyone that this isn't even close to what the employees in the Croatian public sector should have received as a salary. This increase of four percent means an annual wage growth of 2.3 percent. Inflation will be several times higher and the work of employees in the Croatian public sector will once again be devalued, that is, the price of their work will fall. The government must compensate for this in the negotiations in September,'' warns Ribic.

The growth of the base of four percent this year comes at an enormous cost of 850 million kuna, but the state will obviously not be able to avoid increasing that amount, writes Novi list.

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

Tuesday, 5 July 2022

How Much Are Croatian Tourists Willing to Pay for One Week on the Coast?

July the 5th, 2022 - Just how much cash are the average Croatian tourists ready to part with for a week on the coast? Some choose to head abroad, but most choose to remain in this country.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, typically speaking, most Croatian tourists continue to choose this country's coastline as their first holiday choice, and most of the reservations come from the continental part of Croatia, with only a very small percentage choosing to head abroad to countries such as Greece, Turkey and Tunisia.

This was shown by the statistics of the Arriva travel travel agency. On average, Croatian tourists, let's say a family of four, spends about 9,400 kuna on accommodation, they stay a maximum of seven nights, they usually pay by card in installments and mostly travel by car, and 20 percent go by organised bus transport. Arriva travel notes that one of the trends that emerged as a result of the global coronavirus pandemic is that when booking a holiday, clients want to complete the entire process from inquiry to payment electronically, which wasn't the case before the novel coronavirus took over the world back in 2020.

"Before the coronavirus pandemic, Croatian tourists typically insisted on personal contact with us, while today communication by phone or e-mail is sufficient for them. Likewise, when arranging vacations in other parts of Croatia, the new trend is that clients more often arrange travel cancellation policies, which wasn't the case before the pandemic either,'' pointed out Tamara Cerneka, the director of Arriva travel, noting that tourists are no longer looking for more isolated, out-of-the-way places like they had been during the previous two years.

The difference compared to 2020 and 2021 can also be found in the demand for air tickets to other European destinations. The increase in purchased tickets for European metropolises in comparison to back in 2019 is as much as 80 percent higher, which Arriva travel justifies with the increased desire of travellers to compensate for everything that they couldn't go and everywhere they couldn't visit over the previous two years. Cruise ships that sail the Mediterranean are also returning, but most of them still require valid Covid certificates.

As for the places where Croatian tourists like to travel elsewhere in Croatia, the most sought-after destinations for travellers from Eastern Croatia are the Crikvenica Riviera due to its geographical proximity and the Makarska Riviera due to its stunning natural beauty.

"In terms of numbers and income, this summer season will certainly be at 80 percent of the record year of 2019. It's difficult to say whether it will be reached or exceeded because the largest number of customers book at the last minute, i.e. a few days before their departure. Those who are hoping for ultra last minute discounts will be disappointed, because there are none to speak of, and apparently there won't be any coming up this year either. All capacities on the Adriatic coast are very well filled, in the very height of the summer season, and even during the post-season. Namely, the pre- and post-season(s) are well filled by school groups who continue to choose the Croatian Adriatic coastline as their destination of choice," pointed out Tamara Cerneka.

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

Monday, 4 July 2022

Matea Jelić Wins Gold, Nika Petanjek Bronze at Mediterranean Games

ZAGREB, 4 July 2022 - Olympic gold medalist Croatian taekwondo athlete Matea Jelić has won a gold medal at the 2022 Mediterranean Games in Oran, Algeria, defeating Cecilia Castro Burgos of Spain in the women's under-67kg final 8-7.

Jelić first defeated Anamarija Georgievska from North Macedonia 28-5 in the quarter-final and Aya Shehata from Egypt 8-5 in the semi-final.

Today, another Croatian taekwondo athlete won a medal in Oran - Nika Petanjek took the bronze in the over-67kg category.

To read more about sport in Croatia, follow TCN’s dedicated page.

Monday, 4 July 2022

National Call Centre for Victims of Crimes Wins European Award

ZAGREB, 4 July 2022 - The National Call Centre for Victims of Crimes (NPC) has won the first European Award on Quality in Youth Volunteering, the Victim and Witness Support Service said on Monday.

The call centre offers free and confidential help and support to victims and witnesses, as well as their families, at the helpline 116 006, where victims and witnesses can receive legal and practical information, contact information of relevant institutions and organisations, and emotional support.

Since 2013, more than 13,000 callers have contacted the call centre.

Over 270 volunteers, most of whom are law, psychology and social work students, have received training to date, and together they have done over 40,000 hours of volunteer work.

For more, check out our politics section.

Monday, 4 July 2022

Zagreb to Continue Supporting InMusic Festival

ZAGREB, 4 July 2022 - The City of Zagreb and city institutions will continue to support the InMusic festival in the coming years, this year's support amounted to nearly HRK 2.4 million, and with the support from the Zagreb Tourist Board, it amounts to nearly HRK 3.3 million, the City of Zagreb said.

The statement was made in response to claims by InMusic organiser Zoran Marić, who announced that the largest festival in Croatia might close down, saying that it would definitely not be possible to hold the next edition without strategic partnership with Zagreb and an increase in funding, in accordance with the practices of other European cities.

The City of Zagreb said that the InMusic festival was an important popular culture phenomenon and positioned Zagreb on the popular culture map of Europe in the best possible way, underscoring that the City of Zagreb and its partners supported and would support the festival in the coming years.

The city's support for InMusic includes support from the City Office for Culture, International Relations and Civil Society, the Sports Facilities Management branch of the Zagreb Holding multi-utility conglomerate, which allows the festival to use free-of-charge three Jarun islands for 42 or 20 days, and the Zagreb Tourist Board, which supported this year's edition with HRK 1,750,000, or 40% more than in 2019.

The City said that the Tourist Board had written a letter of intent for strategic partnership, saying it would support InMusic in the coming years in the same amount as this year or greater if possible (depending on tourism trends).

In addition to these three sources, a fourth one will be available as of this autumn - the City Office for Economy, Environmental Sustainability and Strategic Planning will launch a tender for events, and the organisers of InMusic can also submit their application.

InMusic is also a commercial event, financed by the sale of (25,000) tickets, and it has its sponsors and lessees of hospitality premises.

"It is therefore necessary to strike a balance between the commercial and sponsored part, while maintaining the high quality of the programme," the City of Zagreb said.

For more, check out our lifestyle section.

Monday, 4 July 2022

Petrinja Receives HRK 77 mn Grant for Reconstruction of Three Important Buildings

ZAGREB, 4 July 2022 - Petrinja city authorities have received a grant of more than HRK 77 million from the European Union Solidarity Fund (EUSF) for the reconstruction of three buildings important for the city and its identity - the City Hall, the Gavrilović Slaughterhouse and the Petrinja Open University.

The total available amount of HRK 77,271,141.84 for the buildings was applied for through a call for funding for reconstruction financed by the European Union Solidarity Fund (EUSF), the city administration reported on Monday.

The Ministry of Culture selection committee decided on the allocation of grants to the Petrinja city administration in the amount of HRK 29,506,250.00 to prepare project documentation and implement the reconstruction project for the City Hall building, and HRK 9,442,500 for the Old Gavrilović Slaughterhouse.

The Ministry of Education also adopted a decision on a grant of HRK 38,322,291.84 for the reconstruction of the Petrinja Open University, which was damaged in the 2020 earthquakes.

For more news about Croatia, click here.

Monday, 4 July 2022

Minister: Ina Will Help Small Distributors

ZAGREB, 4 July 2022 - Economy Minister Davor Filipović said on Monday that the wholesale price of fuel would be restricted for the next two weeks so that major oil market stakeholders, including Ina, would bear the brunt compared to small companies, which had done well in previous years.

He underscored that the government aimed to protect citizens and help the economy, so fuel prices at off-motorway filling stations would be the same as in the past two weeks, namely HRK 13.08 for diesel and HRK 13.50 for Eurosuper 95 petrol. He added that fuel prices at motorway filling stations would be reduced to HRK 13.83 for petrol and HRK 14.28 for diesel.

Filipović said that under the latest government decision, the wholesale price would be limited for the next two weeks so that the most significant stakeholders in the oil market could bear most of the burden compared to small distributors.

"We have been continually communicating with retailers. In the past two weeks Ina did not increase its wholesale price, and small distributors on the most part sold their own stocks. Therefore, we can say that in the past two weeks they did not earn as much as they had planned," said Filipović, adding that in the next two weeks, INA would take on most of the burden and would not increase its prices for retailers to make it easier for them to operate.

He said that there were 40 small oil distributors and that in 2021 they generated total sales revenue of almost HRK 3.5 billion, and a profit of HRK 133 million. They operated equally successfully in 2020, the minister said. All of that should be taken into account and it is necessary to take a look at the bigger picture because we are in a delicate situation, Filipović said, adding that without the government's intervention, the price of diesel would be more than HRK 16.

Asked what the Prime Minister referred to when he mentioned tax scissors for profiteers, Filipović said that the government was considering all options and monitoring the situation and would act in the interest of citizens and the economy when it assessed it to be appropriate.

When asked if small distributors were unjustly complaining, he underscored that the aim was to limit wholesale prices. The situation is difficult for everyone, small distributors are not accustomed to it because their business has been successful in the past, he said.

"These past two weeks and the next two weeks will certainly not be easy for them, but I believe that we will all successfully overcome this situation together," the minister emphasized.

For more, check out our politics section.

Monday, 4 July 2022

Igor Tudor Named Head Coach of Olympique de Marseille

July 4, 2022 - It had been rumored for days, and now Olympique Marseille has officially confirmed Igor Tudor as the club's new coach. The Croatian coach signed a contract with the former European champion for two years.

The former head of Hajduk will sit on the bench of the French club after Croatia, Greece, Turkey, and Italy. Last season, Tudor successfully led Hellas Verona, and those results attracted one of the biggest French clubs ever and a great rival to PSG.

Tudor boasts over 50 caps for the Croatia national team and at the club level, he spent most of his career at Juventus Turin, recording over 170 games with the Bianconeri as a central defender and winning two Italian Championship titles.

"In the 1998-1999 season, his teammates were Didier Deschamps and Zinedine Zidane, with whom he played in the UEFA Champions League semi-final.
He returned to the "Old Lady" in the 2020-2021 season as an assistant coach alongside Andrea Pirlo," wrote Olympique Marseille in their announcement. 

The boss of Olympique was delighted by his attacking football in a league otherwise known for defensive football. He booked his ticket to Marseille with victories against Juventus, Roma, and Atalanta. They point out that during his playing career he shared the national team dressing room with their legend Alen Bokšić.

The club will return to the Champions League this season, and Duje Ćaleta Car will welcome Tudor to the team. 

"I think we have found what we need in Igor Tudor, and I am happy to welcome him to our club. Igor is a fighting man, as he has demonstrated throughout his career, both as a coach and as a player. Trained in Split, I am convinced that he will feel at home in Marseille. Moreover, his experience as a coach at Galatasaray and PAOK, as well as at Juventus as a player, have prepared him for the level of passion that defines and unites our club and his city. But above all, as he recently proved at Hellas Verona, Igor is an authentic leader who offers a bold vision of soccer, who does not shy away from any challenge and who is determined to pursue excellence," concluded Olympique Marseille owner Frank McCourt. 

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated sports section

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