Saturday, 18 June 2022

Zadar Digital Nomad Week Diary: Third Day

June 18, 2022 - On the third day of the Zadar Digital Nomad Week, the participants were able to enjoy a program that brought them closer to the rich history and spectacular landscapes in the Zadar region, beyond the city.

After a successful couple of days introducing Zadar Digital Nomad Week, where the participants were able to familiarize themselves with the Dalmatian city and get to know each other better, the program continued with activities that would take them briefly out of the city to enjoy some gems that few know in the region. The slogan of the third day of the Zadar Digital Nomad Week was ''Recharge in Nature'', and it is unique that few regions in Croatia can boast of having so many varied National Parks located less than an hour from the city: Kornati and Telašćica in the sea, and Paklenica, North Velebit, and Velebit in the mountain range. Ideal to disconnect from work and reconnect with the natural surroundings.


But before exploring the natural landscapes of the Zadar region, it was necessary to start the third day of the Zadar Digital Nomad Week with something to eat and, as a great bonus, some important history of the area. Fifty minutes from the city by car, and located in the Pakoštane area, is the historic Ottoman residence of Maškovića Han. The construction of Mašković Han began in 1644 by the order and funds of Jusuf Mašković, originally from Vrana, a high dignitary on the Sultan's court and a supreme admiral of the Turkish fleet. Han was intended to be a summer house/residence for Mašković when he returned from Constantinople to his homeland. It was conceived as a luxuriant monumental and modern building that would have all the necessary comforts, including a Turkish bath-Hamam.


Significant funds were invested in the construction, and there were even 500 workers working on it every day. In 1645, Mašković, with 60,000 warriors, conquered Crete, and the nobility that he showed towards the captured Venetian soldiers and citizens made him one of the most prominent warriors of all time, but he provoked the anger of the sultan who summoned him to the court where Mašković was then executed. His tragic destiny left a trace also on Han, which was not completed in the planned form, but rather in a much more modest form.


Within the Ottoman walls of Maškovića Han, ZDNW participants enjoyed a spectacular Turkish coffee and baklava to calm their appetite, followed by a hearty lunch to fuel up for the day's next activities.

Following an excellent brunch and lunch at Maškovića Han, we headed to the shores of Lake Vrana, the largest lake in all of Croatia. One would think that, due to its impressive size, it would be found on a beach on the Adriatic coast, but in reality, it is a magical freshwater destination that is worth exploring in the summer as an alternative to beaches and coves. Under the shade of the trees provided by Camp Vransko Lake Crkvine, we were able not only to rest and properly digest lunch, but also to catch up on work. Isn't that the essence of being a remote worker in the middle of nature?


After recharging our batteries, a very unique activity followed. We got on kayaks and paddled to enter the waters of Lake Vrana, where Michael Freer offered a keynote on the social impact of being a digital nomad in each destination they go to. Floating in the refreshing waters of the largest lake in Croatia, we were able to learn more about the different ways one can get involved socially in Croatia, such as volunteering and social development projects. Who better to offer the keynote than Michael, who in his many years in Croatia has managed to lead various social projects.

After the keynote, we met again in Maškovića Han, where a van was waiting for us to go to the next and last destination of the day. At Maškovića Han, we had a special reunion with some dear familiar faces from last year in Dubrovnik: Marlee and Jeff McCormick, who participated in the memorable Digital Nomads in Residence program at the Pearl of the Adriatic. They flew from their home, in Texas, to spend a few days enjoying the excellent June weather in the Adriatic and to be part of the Zadar Digital Nomad Week.


We drove in the early evening hours to Vidikovac Kamenjak, just 20 minutes from Maškovića Han: a viewpoint located on the top of the peaks behind the Vrana lake with perhaps the best view I have ever had in my life. I must admit how hard it is for me to explain in detail what one can feel with the landscapes from that viewpoint and, above all, with the sunset falling.


With just a turn of the head, one is able to appreciate the island of Murter north of Šibenik, the archipelagos of Kornati and Telašćica, or the islands of Žut and Pašman, belonging to Zadar. And, of course, the lake of Vrana in all its immensity, in whose waters rested the last rays of daylight and, shortly after, a full moon that completely illuminated the lake. And the photos and sightseeing were not the only things, since Tanja Polegubić from Saltwater saw in this last activity of the day a great opportunity to share a picnic with fantastic proseccos, and delicious appetizers.


And that's how when night fell, we returned home to close a magical day in the nature of the Zadar region and ready to start the week with great energy and eager to see what the program had in store for us.

For the latest news and features about digital nomads in Croatia, check out the dedicated TCN section

Saturday, 18 June 2022

Croatian Cruise Traffic Makes Decided Return in Post-Pandemic Era

June the 18th, 2022 - Despite being the subject of endless complaints before the global coronavirus pandemic struck and forced the industry to a halt, Croatian cruise traffic is making a marked comeback as we approach the height of the summer tourist season.

Croatian cruise tourism was an enormous ecological issue up and down the coast, but the vast majority of (understandable) complaints and issues arose from Croatia's tourist Mecca - the southernmost city of Dubrovnik. The Pearl of the Adriatic felt plagued by these giant floating cities which pollute the waters and cause enormous infrastructure issues for the entire area. The pandemic, which threw a massive spanner in the works for more or less all forms of travel, especially for leisure and tourism, saw Dubrovnik's waters free of huge vessels for a very long time.

It seems now, however, that Croatian cruise traffic is making a decided return to not only the country's traditionally most visited city, but all along the coast. Sibenik, quite a bit further up the coastline, included.

As Mladen Miletic/Poslovni Dnevnik writes, Viking Sky, a 228-metre-long Viking Cruises cruiser flying the Norwegian flag, made its way through the St. Anthony's Canal in front of the Port of Sibenik a couple of days ago.

This ancient coastal Dalmatian city, which is steeped not only in history but also in rich culture, has now become almost a regular stop on the routes of this gigantic 400 million US dollar ship with accommodation capacities for more than 1,000 passengers who can enjoy two swimming pools, a winter garden, theatres and cinemas, and numerous shopping opporunities when on board.

In gorgeous Opatija last weekend, the luxurious Azamara Onward could be seen floating in front of the array of Austro-Hungarian architecture this Kvarner town is so famous for.  The Marella Explorer 2 was also moored in the nearby Port of Rijeka, whose company announced the arrival of nineteen large ships for this summer tourist season, while the aforementioned City of Dubrovnik expects as many as 345 cruise ship arrivals this season, bringing with them more than half a million passengers.

For more on Croatian cruise traffic and tourism, make sure to check out our dedicated travel section.

Saturday, 18 June 2022

Mate Rimac Registers First Nevera, Reveals More About License Plate

June the 18th, 2022 - Croatian entrepreneur Mate Rimac has registered the first Nevera supercar. He took to Facebook to make the announcement and to reveal just what the letters and numbers on the vehicle's license plate mean.

Livno-born entrepreneur and inventor Mate Rimac has done more to place Croatia firmly on the map of innovation and not just tourism than anyone else in recent times. Dubbed the Balkan Elon Musk, Rimac shines a more modern light on the country of genius Nikola Tesla's birth, attracting investment from the likes of Porsche and becoming immortally associated with the gigantic Bugatti group.

His Nevera supercar was in the making for a full five years, and this doggedly determined self-proclaimed car lover who started up his remarkable business from his garage not so long ago has shown just what can be achieved even in a country which likes to bite the heels of would-be entrepreneurs at every step.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, businessman and creator Mate Rimac took to Facebook recently to post that the first Nevera supercar had officially been registered.

"After five years of development, over 1,000 people in the project, seventeen prototypes produced, 45 crash tests, nine cars destroyed during crash tests and thousands of other tests - today, the first Nevera has officially been registered. For now, in Croatia, and soon in many other countries. Here’s the license plate, it even has its stamp. It will be interesting to see them soon on the license plates of Monaco, UK, USA, Germany, Japan, Canada, etc,'' wrote Rimac.

He then revealed what the different letters and numbers on the stunning Nevera's license plates meant.

One of his Facebook followers asked him below his published photos of the newly registered Nevera if the letters NM on the table mean "Nevera Matina''. Rimac replied that it meant "2360 Newton metres'', to which multiple people said is truly an original thought.

For more, make sure to check out Made in Croatia.

Saturday, 18 June 2022

Croatian MP Miro Bulj: There Could be No Worse Time for Eurozone Entry

June the 18th, 2022 - Croatian MP Miro Bulj has boldly claimed that there could be no worse time possible for Croatian Eurozone accession, for which it has had the green light and into which it will enter on the 1st of January 2023, replacing the kuna with the euro.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, Croatian MP Miro Bulj (MOST) spoke recently with N1 television about possible changes to the Law on Referendums. He says that MOST is against the way of defining which topics could be decided in a referendum. Bulj also believes that the imminent introduction of the euro couldn't be possibly coming at a worse time.

"In the sense of defining the topics [which could be decided in a referendum[, what they did with the constitutional referendum for which we collected 400 thousand signatures, is more than sad. We'll oppose it. We can change it to make it easier to collect signatures, not to limit them in advance and define the appropriate topics. We know that the Constitutional Court is under the control of HDZ, that these are the Godfathers and that it's a purely political body. That body is meaningless. We strongly oppose this and we will monitor how other political options will behave,'' warned Bulj, talking about the amendments to the Law on Referendums.

Croatian MP Miro Bulj also said that the HDZ had enjoyed great levels of support from other political parties when it came to the epidemiological measures introduced in the fight against the spread of the novel coronavirus, which had a hugely negative impact on the economy.

"It doesn't mean anything to them that we have more voters than we have residents, it's a disastrous proposal. This is a blow to the foundation of and the Constitution of the Republic of Croatia,'' believes Bulj.

"Where does one get the right to say that the constitutional changes for which MOST collected signatures aren't constitutional? They can't say what the people think about the Constitution. It was the same with the definition of marriage. This is a direct interference of HDZ and the Constitutional Court in the interest of Andrej Plenkovic, who has also taken over the judicial system. This isn't something new, it's a blow to democracy, it's shameful act and an anti-national blow to the Constitution,'' said Croatian MP Miro Bulj.

Bulj's beliefs on Croatian Eurozone accession

"It couldn't possibly be coming at a worse moment," Bulj said when asked if it was the right time to send the kuna to the history books and introduce the new currency, adding that we need to be taking care of our natural resources and as such, our farmers.

"We must help our farmers during these difficult times, not be spending our time on preparing to introduce the euro. It's clear to Finance Minister Zdravko Maric how much inflation will rise to and what will happen, but it's more important to listen to Brussels than the interest of the Croatian people. They've played games and it's obviously more important to Plenkovic to be the one to introduce the euro than listen to the interest of the people. Nobody knows what will happen when the euro is introduced,'' concluded Croatian MP Miro Bulj.

For more, check out our dedicated politics section.

Saturday, 18 June 2022

Adris Group Announces 3.2 Billion Kuna Investment Plans

June the 18th, 2022 - The Adris Group has announced its massive 3.2 billion kuna investment plans which cover everything from digitialisation to some well known hotels in both Zagreb and Split.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Jadranka Dozan writes, at last week's general meeting, the Adris Group voted on a proposal for the payment of dividends, which are somewhat more generous than they were last year. During the first week of July, shareholders will receive a payment of 15.50 kuna per share (compared to last year's 12.5 kuna per share and no dividends to speak of whatsoever the year before that), which means that around 254 million kuna will be directed to dividends from accumulated retained earnings from previous years.

In his concluding comment on the business results of the Adris Group and its main components (tourism, insurance and healthy food), CEO Marko Remenar said that the company is operationally and financially ready to take further business steps and engage in the continuation of "active dividend policy".

An ambitious set of plans

In addition to a "well-diversified portfolio of jobs", Remenar also underlined the high investment potential and the ambitious list of the company's prepared investments. For the period until 2024 (including this year), their investment plans are worth an enormous 3.2 billion kuna, and four-fifths of those investments, or about 2.5 billion kuna, relate to the tourism part of the portfolio, which in the case of the Adris Group primarily means the development of the luxury segment tourism.

This year and over the next two years, on average, more than 800 million kuna will be invested in this sector alone, and as the Adris Group's spokesman Predrag Grubic noted, most of that refers to the renovation of some Zagreb hotels (along with Panorama, which is already in the process of renovation, the other one will be Westin) as well as Hotel Marjan in Split, and they'll also continue to invest in camps and resorts. The three-year projections for the insurance sector envisage investments worth 410 million kuna, and in that sense, Croatia osiguranje's focus is being placed primarily on investments in digitalisation.

IT in general accounts for a significant share of the Adris Group's investments, and their current plan to invest around half a billion kuna in business digitalisation by 2025 speaks in favour of this. In terms of the sectors themselves, the three-year plan includes 230 million kuna of investments in the business area of ​​healthy food, ie Cromaris. In the aforementioned investment cycle of 3.2 billion kuna, "possible acquisitions aren't included", Grubic explained.

According to the parliamentary presentation of the Adris Group's results and business activities, over the past two years, despite the uncertainties caused by the coronavirus pandemic, almost 840 million kuna of capital investments were made. Compared to the pre-crisis year of 2019, investment activities continued at a solid pace (450 million in 2020 and 390 million last year), and in the coming period it should be further accelerated. Given that the company is still actually indebted in a low sense, the investment potential is unquestionable. Thanks to a strong recovery in operating profit, which again exceeded an impressive 1 billion kuna last year, the Adris Group entered this year with a debt ratio (net debt to EBITDA) of a mere 0.8.

The management boards of Adris' companies gave their shareholders a brief overview of the main features of how business went during the first four months of this year, and the presented data indicates further improvements in terms of results. As such, Croatia osiguranje (insurance) recorded slightly faster sales growth compared to 5.6 percent growth in the total market, which further strengthened its share here on the domestic market. In the first four months of 2022, the gross written premium of CO was higher by seven percent than it was last year, while net profit was higher by nine percent. In the tourism segment, the first third of this year was marked by strong growth in both sales revenues and physical indicators.

Compared to 82 million kuna in sales revenue back during the first four months of last year, by the end of April this year, they reached a huge 188 million kuna, with the number of occupied units being 2.5 times higher. The state of bookings and reservations at the beginning of June has significantly improved, with Istrian facilities, but also those down in Dubrovnik, exceeding the figures from the pre-pandemic, record year of 2019. 

For more, check out our dedicated business section.

Friday, 17 June 2022

Marin Čilić Books Queen's Club Semifinal Spot!

June 17, 2022 - After a standout performance at Roland Garros, Marin Čilić continues with brilliant play in London to book a Queen's Club semifinal spot!

Croatia's best tennis player Marin Čilić advanced to the ATP tournament semifinals in London played on the grass of the Queen's Club. In the quarterfinal match, Čilić was better than Finnish tennis player Emil Ruusuvuori 7-6 (2), 6-4, reports HRT.

This quarterfinal match was a bit tough, although Čilić was up 7-6 (2), 5-1. Namely, the 23-year-old Ruusuvuori (56th in the ATP ranking) went from 1-5 to 4-5 in the second set and had 0-30 on Čilić's serve. However, the Croatian tennis player, otherwise the 17th player in the ATP rankings, prevailed.

There were no breaks in the first set, although Čilić missed four break opportunities. He ruled the situation in the tie-break and easily won that part of the game 7-2.

In the second set, Ruusuvuori won the first game, and Čilić's answer was winning five games in a row, which paved the way for the semifinal spot.

Čilić recorded a total of 11 aces with a first-serve percentage of 55 percent and used two of six break points. 

Recall that the two-time winner of the London tournament advanced to the Queen's Club quarterfinals for the ninth time in his career earlier this week. 

Čilić will play against Serbian tennis player Filip Krajinovic, who defeated Briton Ryan Peniston 4-6, 6-3, 6-3. It will be their first meeting.

The second seed, Italian Matteo Berrettini, and Dutchman Botic van de Zandschulp will meet in the second semifinal.

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


Friday, 17 June 2022

Croatia and Turkey Continue Strengthening Political, Economic Relations

ZAGREB, 17 June 2022 - PM Andrej Plenković and Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu agreed on Friday that the two countries share the view about the importance of the full equality of Bosnia and Herzegovina's three constituent peoples and of closer relations between Croats and Bosniaks in the country's Federation entity. 

The Croatian prime minister and the visiting Turkish minister discussed security-related topics, energy challenges and the economic cooperation between Croatia and Turkey, as well as the situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

"Croatia and Turkey share the view about the importance of the full equality of the three constituent peoples in Bosnia and Herzegovina, as well as of the need to strengthen relations between Croats and Bosniaks in the Federation entity. In that context, the existing trilateral format, at the level of the foreign ministers of Croatia, Turkey and Bosnia and Herzegovina, should be used as an important diplomatic tool to deepen the Croat-Bosniak dialogue in BiH and help settle outstanding issues," the government said in a statement.

The two officials expressed satisfaction with the traditionally good political relations between Croatia and Turkey, as well as their ambition to further increase trade, which now amounts to one billion US dollars.

Friday, 17 June 2022

Minister: We are Monitoring Situation with Fuel Prices, Considering All Options

ZAGREB, 17 June 2022 - Economy Minister Davor Filipović said on Friday that the government was monitoring the situation regarding fuel prices and that calculations would be made over the weekend and all options would be considered.

"Fuel prices on the global market cannot be influenced by anyone, not even Croatia. Last week and this week fuel prices went up. We will wait today to see when trading closes. We will make some calculations over the weekend and then make decisions at the beginning of next week," Filipović told reporters when asked if the government is ready to react again to address the fuel price hike.

He recalled that last week the government decided on an additional reduction of excise duties by HRK 0.40 for petrol and HRK 0.20 for diesel fuel. The decision also reduced the trade margin by HRK 0.10 and limited the formation of prices to every two weeks.

"All of this has resulted in us having significantly lower prices in the past two weeks than we would have had if we had not reacted two weeks ago," said Filipović.

Asked by reporters if a new reduction in excise duties could be expected, he said all options would be considered.

"We will see over the weekend, we will consider absolutely all the options. As for excise duties, there is room when referring primarily to petrol and that reduction can be another HRK 0.36 and HRK 0.16 for diesel to reach the minimum level according to European directives. We are living in uncertain times. All options are open. We are constantly monitoring the situation and when we see what the situation will be like we will make some decisions," he said.

When asked why the price of fuel in Croatia is higher than in countries in the region, he said he would not agree. "When you look at Eurostat's figures, we are somewhere in the middle in comparison to EU member states," he said.

The last time the government reacted to the fuel price hike was on 6 June, when it further cut excise duties on petroleum products - an additional HRK 0.40 per litre for petrol, or a total of HRK 0.80, and for diesel fuel by an additional HRK 0.20 or a total HRK 0.40 all up. The government then reduced the margin to distributors by an additional HRK 0.10 - for petrol and diesel fuel from the current HRK 0.75 to HRK 0.65 and from HRK 0.50 to HRK 0.40 for blue-dyed diesel.

A government decision ten days ago introduced a 14-day accounting period and since then the price of fuel is changed every two weeks, and not every week as it was until then.

Friday, 17 June 2022

SDP Leader: Government is Not Fighting Inflation Systematically

ZAGREB, 17 June 2022 - Social Democratic Party (SDP) leader Peđa Grbin warned on Friday that inflation in Croatia had reached a record high of 11% and that the government was not using measures at its disposal to fight inflation systematically.

"Inflation affects all people, but not equally. It affects people with the lowest incomes the most. That's why the bulk of our measures is aimed at the poorest people," Grbin said while presenting his party's package of anti-inflation measures at a press conference in the northern Adriatic city of Pula.

The SDP is proposing a change to the pension indexation method, ensuring funds for a new energy allowance for the most vulnerable groups, notably workers and pensioners with a monthly income of less than HRK 4,000 (€533), modifications to the method of calculating oil prices, and an aid package for businesses suffering the consequences of the Ukraine war.

Grbin expressed hope that Finance Minister Zdravko Marić, who attends EU Economic and Financial Affairs Council meetings, would take that opportunity and put two initiatives on the table - one relating to the amount of excise tax on fuel and the other concerning the calculation of VAT on excise tax on fuel.

"Give that a huge increase in fuel prices has been announced for next week, obviously we need to take action already today," Grbin said.

Friday, 17 June 2022

Marić: This Year Could Surpass the Record 2019 Tourist Season

ZAGREB, 17 June 2022 - The value of fiscalised receipts in tourism in the first five and a half months of 2022 is significantly higher than in the same period in 2019 and Croatia could have a record tourist season this year, Finance Minister Zdravko Marić said on Friday.

"The value of fiscalised receipts in the tourism industry in the first five and a half months of this year is 22% higher than in the record tourist year 2019," Marić said in Luxembourg, where he attended a meeting of EU finance ministers.

He, however, suggested caution with predictions, considering that the peak season is yet to come, because the first months of the year may not be the best indicators. These results are very good though as data on booking is also showing.

"Despite all the challenges, the war in Ukraine, inflationary pressures, I think we have every right to expect a good tourist season. We hope there will be no negative shocks, and this year might surpass 2019," said Marić. 

He added that the government is considering how to further help the tourism sector, especially in the key challenge of labour shortages.

Page 13 of 3601