Friday, 16 September 2022

Croatian Tourist Season Air Traffic Exceeds Pre-Pandemic Year of 2019

September the 16th, 2022 - Croatian tourist season air traffic has reached heights that outdo those we saw back during the record breaking, pre-pandemic year of 2019.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Marija Crnjak writes, even with numerous difficulties still being faced by airlines, air travel to Southeastern Europe throughout the summer season so far has significantly exceeded pre-pandemic levels. This also includes Croatian tourist season air traffic levels.

Both Turkey and Greece exceeded the levels of arrivals of international visitors they recorded back before the pandemic struck by 9 percent and 2 percent respectively, and of the capital cities, Istanbul had the strongest growth of 2 percent compared to 2019, according to an analysis by ForwardKeys.

Most guests are from Germany

The number of arrivals to nearby Albania has also increased by as much as 28 percent, although it only accounts for 1 percent of the market share in all European air arrivals. All other countries are still in the red compared to the pre-pandemic summer of 2019, and neighbouring Slovenia has seen the smallest drop of a mere 7 percent compared to the pre-pandemic period, followed by Iceland with a drop of 8 percent, and Portugal, which lags behind by 10 percent.

According to the latest published data published by the Croatian Statistical Institute, the number of air passenger arrivals to Croatia fell by 11 percent in July alone.

In the period from January to July this year, 5.1 million passengers were recorded as having passed through Croatian airports, equal to 81 percent of the country's pre-pandemic traffic, with the largest number of passengers in the first seven months of 2022 being recorded from Germany, followed by the United Kingdom and then France.

In July this year, the highest level of Croatian tourist season air traffic was achieved by Split Airport, followed by Dubrovnik Airport and then Zagreb Airport. The most significant amount of international passenger traffic was achieved with British airports, which accounts for almost seven times more than last year, when the restrictions due to the coronavirus pandemic were in effect.

When it comes to European cities, Athens had 7 percent less arrivals by plane in July and August than it did back in 2019, Reykjavik and Porto saw drops of 8 percent, and Malaga saw a considerable drop of 13 percent.

The main drivers of air traffic growth for Turkey are the constant decline in the value of the Turkish lira and its openness to the Russian market, from where direct flights to most of Europe are prohibited.

Departures within Europe were 22 percent lower

European destinations could have attracted more visitors during the summer months this year if the airline industry had coped better with the surge in travel demand during the late spring and early summer. If there had been no disruption, ForwardKeys estimates that the recovery of flight reservations within Europe would have been five percentage points higher. An analysis of departure markets reveals that within Europe, Greece has proven to be the most resilient, with departures to European destinations in July and August at 2019's impressive levels.

Poland saw a minus of 9 percent compared to 2019, Spain saw a drop of 12 percent, the UK saw one of 13 percent, Denmark saw a drop of 14 percent and Portugal had a drop of 15 percent. In total, departures within Europe were reduced by 22 percent. The strongest non-European market was the USA, with only a 5 percent drop compared to 2019. It was followed by Colombia and Israel, both with 9 percent.

The outlook for the next three months is optimistic, despite the still unstable circumstances. As of August the 31st, there were 21 percent less flight reservations when compared to the same period back in 2019, and the exceptions were once again Greece and Turkey, which both enjoyed a higher number of reservations than they did back in 2019, of 5 percent and 20 percent, respectively.

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

Friday, 16 September 2022

Montenegrin Admiral Vladimir Barovic Gets Memorial Plaque on Vis

September the 16th, 2022 - Montenegrin Admiral Vladimir Barovic has had a memorial plaque dedicated to him on the island of Vis. The admiral famously refused to take aim at or do any harm to Dalmatia, taking his own life instead.

As Morski writes, a memorial plaque to Montenegrin Admiral Vladimir Barovic was unveiled in Samogor on the island of Vis this past week. The unveiling of the memorial plaque was attended by the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of both Croatia and neighbouring Montenegro, Gordan Grlic Radman and Ranko Krivokapic, the Ministers of Defense of the two countries, Mario Banozic and Rasko Konjevic, and the Mayor of Vis, Ivo Radica.

In his address, Minister Gordan Grlic Radman emphasised the importance of nurturing the culture of memory, noting that the installation of the memorial plaque on Vis is a continuation of last year's commemoration of the suffering of Croatian nationals imprisoned in the infamous Morinj camp.

"Vladimir Barovic's act of humanity and his show of staunch disagreement with evil is a symbol of those values ​​that today, just as they were thirty years ago, are a pledge of relations based on mutual respect. He was deeply aware that the army of which he was the commander wouldn't be the one he could serve honourably, because its intentions were dishonourable, occupational in their nature, not to mention criminal. That September, he fired only one bullet and that was unfortunately the only possible way he could get out of the hellish plan of aggression of the Yugoslav People's Army (JNA) against the Republic of Croatia," he stated.

''His words written on the plaque that we've unveiled open up many questions within us, and they question the fundamental principles that we should all cherish towards each other, nation to nation, human to human. We feel the obligation and duty right here on the island of Vis to set up a memorial plaque to him as a thank you to him and as a memory, but also to showcase the fact that even during the most difficult times dominated by war, one man put his honour before his command and proved he'd sooner take his own life than destroy Dalmatian cities and the Croatian people,'' added Minister Grlic Radman of Montenegrin Admiral Vladimir Barovic's actions.

He concluded the presentation by pointing out that the Republic of Croatia and Montenegro will continue to work on and strengthen their good-neighbourly relations and work on open issues they both have, and that Montenegro will continue to enjoy the firm and friendly hand of support of Croatia on its European Union path.

Minister of Defense Mario Banozic also pointed out that after more than three decades, we now have the opportunity to mark a moment in history that is important for all of us.

''The act carried out by Admiral Barovic represented a big step in the relations between our countries, as well as in the relations between the navies of the Republic of Croatia and of Montenegro, which, through cooperation in the field of education at the Dr. Franjo Tudjman Croatian Military Academy, they learn and strengthen themselves not with the aim of war, but with the aim of deterrence. This was also done by Admiral Barovic, thanks to whom the ugly scenes that people in other parts of Croatia experienced during the Homeland War were averted in the area of ​​Vis,'' Banozic pointed out, adding that with this memorial plaque, we convey to future generations what Admiral Barovic and his actions meant to Croatia.

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

Friday, 16 September 2022

Many Polish Tourists Return Home with Rescued Croatian Street Cats

September the 16th, 2022 - Many Polish visitors to this country's coastline are heading home not with just a magnet, keyring or 'I Love Croatia' shirt, but with Croatian street cats they have adopted and decided to give forever homes to.

As Morski writes, it seems that while some find it impossible to resist purchasing a 'Hrvatska' mug that will struggle to survive the dishwasher, others can't get enough of the cats. Many people can't ignore a hungry street cat's sad eyes, so they return home with transporters containing cats from Dalmatia and Istria. This is especially the case with Polish tourists.

Polish national Katarzyna is one such cat foster parent. She contacted the Facebook group Chorwacja (Croatia) and asked for advice from other Poles who had come to Croatia during summer. Although many in that group exchange advice and experiences about different cities, towns and localities that should be visited, this girl asked a question about transporting rescued Croatian street cats. During the two weeks she spent here, one fluffy, four-legged and wide-eyed cat kept her company, and Katazyna decided she couldn't leave her, and that they'd return home to Poland together.

On Facebook, she received about 200 comments with instructions from other Polish nationals, who have experience with transporting their own or "new" animals they have acquired. In the European Union, you can travel with your pets without any particular difficulties. It's usually enough that the animal has a passport, which means that a veterinarian has microchipped the animal. Others shared their experiences.

''I was driving home with three little kittens. The vet gave us passports, he couldn't microchip them because they were too small, and it was too early for any vaccines. I just treated them against fleas and other parasites and that was it. Nobody checked them at the border anyway,'' wrote Kamila.

However, there are also some people who faced stricter controls when arriving at the border.

''They checked the dog's passport when we entered Croatia and again when we left it. On the way back, our dog barked at the policeman and he found it funny,'' Anna wrote.

In addition to a series of advice and support, Katazyna also heard a series of conflicting opinions. While some think that Croatian street cats are happy and at home where they are, which veterinarians and animal lovers claim is absolutely not the case, others agree that they need our help and to be given proper treatment, food and homes.

Polish society is slowly but surely changing. More and more people support shelters for abandoned animals and get their pets from there. They often organise various actions and pay large sums of money to help shelters and animals, and many are pet owners and animal lovers. Moreover, the OLX website, which is a bit like the Polish version of Croatia's much loved Njuskalo, organises a campaign to feed animals living in shelters. They place pictures of the dogs and cats instead of some items for sale, and every day one click enables the delivery of food for certain animals, writes Jutarnji list.

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

Friday, 16 September 2022

Roman Era Harbour Equipment Discovered in Istrian Waters

September the 16th, 2022 - A remarkable find in the Istrian waters as important and obviously ancient Roman era harbour equipment is discovered and archaeological research is now being carried out.

As Morski writes, a team from the Archaeological Museum of Istria in the City of Pula is currently conducting underwater archaeological research in the area of ​​the old Barbariga beach, more precisely at the location of the Roman port. The leader of the research is Dr. Ida Koncani Uhac.

What is of great interest to this team of underwater archaeologists are the remains of an ancient pice of harbour equipment lying in the waters of Barbariga bay, which most likely served the nearby ancient oil mill as part of the operational piece of coast for loading and transporting oil by sea. Back during the 1950s, archaeologist Stefan Mlakar from the Pula AMI researched the site of the Barbariga oil mill.

In the Barbariga cove, located under the sea, a team of archaeologists and divers have established a monumental structure spanning an impressive length of 57 metres, preserved in situ in three rows of stone blocks, and the foundation block was also established by probing. The width of the structure is from 16 to 24 metres, with an L-shaped protrusion. The port device is built of stone blocks measuring 3.1 metres by 2.6 metres in total.

The results of this research so far are another confirmation that the area of ​​the town of Vodnjan was known for the production of high-quality olive oil even back during ancient times. The locality of Barbariga - an oil mill in the hinterland of the bay, once boasted 20 presses, which made it the largest oil mill in all of Istria, and probably beyond. The site is dated to the 1st century. At the nearby Punta Barbariga, there are also the remains of a Roman peristyle villa. According to estimates, an oil mill of that size processed olives planted on an area of ​​240 to 300 hectares, and the size of the entire property is estimated to span around 900 hectares.

Large quantities of building ceramics, fragments of tableware and kitchenware, and amphorae were also found in these Istrian waters. Among the findings, amphorae stand out. Most of the findings can be quite easily dated back to the 1st century, which corresponds to the nearby site of an ancient oil mill.

This interesting research is being carried out as part of the "Istrian Underwater/Istarsko podmorje" project, which involves the documentation, listing and topography of all underwater sites related to Roman history.

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

Thursday, 15 September 2022

Much Anticipated Luxury Split Hotel Ambasador Now Open!

September 15th, 2022 - The much anticipated Split Hotel Ambasador is now officially open! Split's high-class tourism offer has received an extraordinary boost in the form of Hotel Ambasador.

This brand new hotel received its first guests last week and is a true jewel in the crown of the city's hotel offer; the Split Hotel Ambasador was designed from the beginning as a link that connects the urbanity of the large city centre and the untouched beauty of the nearby Dalmatian islands.

Its position in the very heart of the city, on the promenade (Riva) from which you can cast your eyes over the most beautiful panorama of Split, and get a fantastic view of the harbour and the entire Split archipelago, are the reasons why the renovation of the Ambasador - in the first incarnation of the classic modern work from 1937 by the architect Josip Kodl - was from the beginning under the enormous magnifying glass held by the wider public. The ''old'' Split Hotel Ambasador was very much a part of the city's collective memory, and every change to it inevitably aroused considerable interest.

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The new Split Hotel Ambasador will indeed offer more than any hotel in the immediate vicinity: this project by Nora Roja, Nene Kezić and Emil Šverk has been categorised as 5*, with 101 rooms (including three suites) - each of which has an open view of the city or the harbour. It is located in the Zapadna obala part of Split, which connects the famous Riva and Diocletian's Palace on one side, and the ACI marina, the city's most beautiful beaches and heavily forested Marjan hill on the other.

With its luxurious yet comfortable decoration, it invites you to indulge in some relaxation and permeation with the spirit of Split being the heart of the Mediterranean lifestyle.

The interior (designed by Pero Vuković from ARHIV studio) was created with special attention to natural materials. In its key accents, it brings the story of the tradition and exclusivity of the Split Hotel Ambasador. So, for example, all areas in the hotel, from the lobby to the rooms, are decorated with ''typically Split'' historical or recent scenes that were recorded or collected by Split photo chronicler Feđa Klarić.

 

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The reception desk is the handiwork of no less than Slavonian master carpenters, made of black oak, so-called Abonos (bogwood), which comes from the bottom of the Sava river and is 1850 years old. There is also a dedication to the architectural history of the Republic of Croatia in the form of chairs designed by Bernardo Bernardi, along with a number of other details that the trained eye will easily notice. The design of the rooms sees the use of top-quality materials and calming neutral tones combined with the lively scenes outside.

The common areas are oriented conceptually ''outside'', according to what is the greatest asset of the Split Hotel Ambasador - the sea and the city, from which the guests are separated only by a narrow strip of the promenade, and in this way, they communicate with the hustle and bustle of life in the second largest Croatian city, becoming an integral part of the city life.

 

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Within the hotel lies the Méditerranée Restaurant with a total of 210 seats, which, under the leadership of chef Ivica Katić, will offer the best of Mediterranean cuisine - from Lebanon to Gibraltar, with the use of local organic ingredients from local OPGs (family farms) and small producers as a guarantee of top product quality. Right next to it is Bar Split, dominated by an imposing-looking bar which boasts a truly excellent selection of drinks and a comfortable interior that invites you to come on in and socialise. The terrace with the most beautiful view of the city contributes to this already extremely attractive offer, so this bar will surely become a favourite gathering place for many Split locals as well.

 

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The open swimming pool with a view of the City of Split and the harbour and the associated pool bar is another in a series of effective advantages of this particular hotel, and the Split Hotel Ambassador's speciality is the multifunctional conference centre with a capacity of 80 people, which was conceived above all for high-profile business events, while the rooftop bar is designed as an exclusive space for private events intended for a smaller number of people.

The hotel, of course, also offers a whole range of beauty and spa services within the 500-square-metre Hacelia Wellness & Spa, the concept of which was designed by the consulting company Vita Vitalis. It offers guests various face, body and hair treatments and massages, all with the help of exclusive natural cosmetics, and a separate fitness centre with cardio machines ready for use.

Another feature that will make the Ambasador stand out from the current Split hotel offer is the ample garage space, which is a rarity for a hotel in the city centre.

 

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''Given that the construction of the hotel took longer than initially expected, largely slowed down by disruptions on the global market caused by the coronavirus crisis, this large project, worth more than 35 million euros in total, was extremely demanding to finalise,'' they state from the hotel's management, who also thank all participants in this process which led to the opening of the Ambasador hotel this tourist season.

The market position of this truly exceptional hotel doesn't suggest excessive dependence on seasonal trends. The Ambasador was designed and constructed to offer the best of what Split, Dalmatia and Croatia have to offer all year round - relaxed luxury, stunning beauty inside that underlines the opulence boasted outside, gastronomic highlights with the best local ingredients, being classed as a unique destination on the world map, shining the spotlight on Split, and in short, a superior experience of the Mediterranean.

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

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Thursday, 15 September 2022

Croatian Returnee Reflections: Marina Huber, from Amsterdam to Pula

September 16, 2022 - Whisper it quietly, but more and more people are relocating to Croatia from the diaspora. In a new TCN series, we meet them to find out how they are faring and what advice they have for others thinking of making the switch. Next up is Marina Huber, who moved from Amsterdam to Pula.

Born in the small town of Požega in the heart of Slavonia but lived most of my adult life in the Netherlands. Both of my parents were born and live in Croatia, mostly in peaceful Istria. So my connection to Croatia was substantial, I have family, land, and friends here, but what mostly got me thinking about moving back is the sunny climate, outdoorsy lifestyle, and nature. For the past 7 years, I worked in the tech industry, and now I am most at home in Mobile development, perhaps better to say I am an iOS programmer. I am greatly in love with the sea and surfing and looking forward to getting my charter sailboat business up and down the coast. Currently, I am working as a developer for US clients in the sector of healthcare.

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1. You made the switch to Croatia. Tell us a little about the decision process and how long it took for you to get on the plane.

Guess I just had enough of 15 years living in Amsterdam and paying huge amounts of rent for small shitty apartments. I always dreamed of being a freelancer or even maybe an entrepreneur and living in a warm and sunny place, since I was so frequently coming back to Pula, Croatia, and my IT skills and network were getting stronger, I decided to take a leap in 2019. At the time, working remotely was still pretty hard, and finding work in Croatia is way underpaid to what I was used to, but I was determined. The pandemic hit a few months after my move, and working remotely was a new norm this really made my life and business easier, and I am happy I made this change.

2. What did your family and community back home think of your decision at the time?

They were happy for me, but they knew that at any moment, I would be back easily due to the lack of work in Croatia. At the same time, I lived in a few places and tried different lifestyles before I moved back to Pula, so I guess my family is used to my partially nomadic life.

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3. Where did you get your information about the realities of Croatia prior to coming?

I was always in contact with my high school friends and family, plus on every vacation I had, I was coming to Croatia, even doing some small freelance gigs. Since I never watch the news or TV (I’m a pre-social media child), I missed a lot of propaganda but also harsh realities. This naivity made me happier at the time and made my move easier somehow.

 

4. What were you most nervous about making the switch? What was your biggest fear, and what was the reality of what you found?

My greatest fear at the time was not being able to cope in a small coastal town, financially or socially. My expectation was to have a bigger social life as that was what I was used to in colorful Amsterdam. I found out that people are here quite scared and close-minded apart from the few and when I found them I felt at home here at last. I found out that there is a thing called Balkan dark humor and that love for art and music is great. And I love it.

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5. Think back to the time before you arrived. What were your perceptions about Croatia, and how were they different from the reality you encountered?

Croatia seems to be deprived of people, young and educated, and I always wanted to change that. I guess harsh reality hit me as this is really a tribal society, and a lot of us are mostly struggling in day-to-day life. My perception was a bit gloomy, but I see there are many opportunities here that are brand new and, in the Netherlands, have been long established.

 

6. You are still here, so obviously, the pros outweigh the cons. Tell us about some of the things that you love about being in Croatia, as well as some of the things you don't like.

I love the sea and sports, and this is exactly why Croatia is home. Also, love how people around me are resilient, and that makes me too. Family values here are still important, and safety on the streets is good. Don’t like the unfairness and injustice that is surrounding a lot of daily activities here. A lot of things are overpriced and a rip-off.

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7. What advice do you have for others thinking about making a move from the diaspora?

Find your passion and go for it! Investigate what part of town or country you like to live in and make sure you have a good landlord. Try to find a way to invest in your pension funds, as the government will not do that for you. I would say speaking the language is not a must but nice to have. Contact the Digital Nomads community as they have plenty of ideas and experience, or try to find a greater expats community.

 

8. How do you think Croatia can better assist those who are looking to return to the Homeland?

This is a big question; I think Croatia needs more than just giving a couple of thousands of Euros to returned millennials or families. They need to start acting for fairness and justice, democracy and transparency.  Well, the basic problem of why the diaspora is not returning is salaries. Once this rises to a better level, we can talk about Homeland. In these hard times for all of us, connecting communities is the key. I believe the world needs people who are deeply rooted in their local communities, care about their land and its issues, and want to make a difference together.

 

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Thanks Marina, and good luck with marinahuber.com

You can follow more stories in the Croatian Returnee Reflections series in our dedicated TCN section.

Would you like your returnee story - positive or negative - to be featured in this series? Contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Subject Returnee.

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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 will be out by Christmas. If you would like to reserve a copy, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Subject 20 Years Book

Thursday, 15 September 2022

Update: KK Split is Up for Sale (Again)

Has K.K. Split been sold? Nobody seems to know & nobody seems to care (EDITORIAL)

15.09.2022 - Yesterday, at 15:00, the tender to buy basketball club K.K. Split's shares from the City of Split ran out. The result is still unknown. Rumors are that there has been no response. TCN has asked for official feedback.

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Mayor Puljak (left) and Deputy Mayor Kuzmanić presenting the tender in August (Photo: Grad Split)

 

Mayor Puljak's PR speaker replied that she has no authorized info on the topic. Deputy Mayor Kuzmanić didn't reply to two emails. The clubs' PR speaker and director have replied that they have no knowledge and referred back to the City of Split as the only official source.

So instead of news, today we have Part 2 of Burak Canboy's editorial where he answers a few questions that the initial editorial has caused and adds his opinion on the recent developments..

Here is the link to Burak Canboy's previous editorial on the topic. 

 

Dear Basketball Fans and readers from all around the world. Many thanks for giving me feedback, both critique and support on my first editorial regarding the sale of K.K. Split.

 

Yesterday, the tender to invest into K.K. Split ran out. More than 24 hours later, nobody seems to know the results. And, nobody really seems to care either as there have been no news on the topic today and social media seems to be paused. If you have read my first opinion on the topic, it shall come as no surprise why I think there is no big interest in the tender. It was just prepared way too unprofessionally. 

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Like the City of Split after the tender: Roko Ukić with his hands empty and his head down. (Photo: Burak Canboy)

Let's say you want to sell your car on Njuškalo, you would wash it first, clean it on the inside, take nice pictures, write down all extras and even list the problems if you are a fair sales person. But Mayor Puljak and Deputy Mayor Kuzmanić, seem to have thought that while that is necessary for selling any car for only several thousand Euros, it would be enough to say that the city has a "historic basketball club for sale" and that investors from all over the world would run to Split in masses at the opportunity to buy a basketball club for millions of Euros, without even knowing what that would mean. No sales presentation, no numbers, no concept, no plans, no ideas. No realism. No professionalism. No offer. No surprise. 

 

The saddest part is that this makes the club even harder to sell now. But maybe the Dynamic Duo of Puljak and Kuzmanić were not even looking for a sale. Maybe all they wanted was to have an excuse to close the club? 

 

While we can all think about that, I would like to use the opportunity to address the following topics that most people didn't agree with me on or that may have been misunderstood in my initial editorial. 

 

The very big majority of  people thanked me and told me that I was 99-100% right. Since I believe in always striving for 100%, here are my explanations to the most asked questions and some forum questions that were forwarded to me:

1. How can the name not be worth a single Lipa? It is a great name that is globally known. It must be worth a lot of money. 

I did not write that the name is not worth anything. I wrote that the club in the current condition, is not worth anything. On the contrary, I believe that the name is still globally very well known. It is one of the club's few assets. I just believe that all the current problems and the known and unknown debts in my opinion are larger than the value of the brand. Unfortunately, as so many things with the club also the name is not really owned by the club. If you refer to just "K.K. Split", then of course, it belongs to the club. However any club can call itself something similar. K.K. Adriatic Split, K.K. Dalvin Split, etc. So any basketball club in Split is allowed to be called "K.K." and "Split". This dilutes the value of the brand for an investor. If you are referring to the name "Jugoplastika",  which is what most people abroad recall the big name as "Jugoplastika Split" it gets even more complicated because it was not the name of the club but it was the name of the sponsor (like "POP84", "Slobodna Dalmacija" and "Croatia Osiguranje" later which were also all sponsors and obviously own the rights to their own names themselves. I am not sure if K.K. Split even legally owns any rights to the name "Jugoplastika". Like so many things in Croatia, now nobody says anything when the club uses the name because currently there are only Croats involved and no money is to be made, but I wouldn't be surprised if somebody appears out of nowhere claiming to own all the rights to the name "Jugoplastika" and wants to be paid, as soon as a new investor has signed all papers, paid the money and starts to use the name. So, like I wrote, it is a tricky question how to value that, but as an investor, if in doubt, you better go with a lower valuation due to the unclear ownership situation. And now you have a combination of unknown value of a name and unknown debt situation of an organization that stays alive for many years only due to taxpayers' money spent, so that's why I say the club is currently not worth a single Lipa.

 

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A club icon of long past, better times: Hall of Famer Toni Kukoč (left) in 2021 with Director Edo Blažević (Photo: Burak Canboy)

 

2. What is the value of the concession for the gym? It can surely not be zero.

I did not give a definite value regarding the concession of the gym. When reviewing the concession in 2014 it was clear that the City of Split had used it originally as another creative way to fund the club. I am not sure if the old concession has been changed or is still in place. All I recall about that was that the value of the concession was somehow estimated by some expert and the city used that value as some basis for the amount of shares it received from the club. I also remember that the value stated in the expertise seemed ridiculously high to me and I thought that the city may have used this method of funding to control all other shareholders. Anyways, today I cannot say anything about that and that's why I wrote that the value depends on the condition of the hall (which is terrible), the contracts with tenants (which are probably old and not very high) and which obligations the city will have in the future in regards to renovations and maintenance. As you see, we always come back to how the city is funding the club and how much it will do so in the future. If the gym was owned by the club, then you could say that it is an asset for which you can have an appraisal issued and I might even come to the conclusion that the value of the club is more than zero, if the debts are not too high. Since the club does not own the gym and since the details of the concession are not disclosed, I prefer to stay  conservative on any value it may have. 

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Deputy Mayor Kuzmanić (center) together with his biggest problems. (Photo: PR; KK Split)

 

3. K.K. Split is now playing in ABA League and playing for titles in Croatia, how can the club be worth less than in 2014?

Well, first of all, along with playing in ABA League and playing for titles in Croatia, the debts of the clubs are growing and with that the dependency for the city to pay for cost. Despite the additional TV airtime, there is no trikot or naming sponsor to cover the extra costs. Also, the administration in 2014 was actually a good situation for an investor. It was 100% clear what the debts are, who will get how much and when. Back then, due-diligence was easily performed within just a few days because director Metod Šolto had all books and all numbers openly lying on his table every day. All numbers and payments were verified/controlled by the administration rules. I would not at all be surprised if today not even the supervisory board of the club knows the exact financial situation of the club. So today there is a much higher risk for potential investors to be confronted with people claiming to have the rights to be paid by the club for something. They may even have the right to come forward years from now.

Back in 2014, as insolvency was obvious, the value of the club was already zero and the only reason why the club was not dissolved was because the city agreed to cover the outstanding debts and pay for the club's future activities. Just like today, if the city is not covering part debts and warrants for future expenses, the value of the organization is again zero. For these reasons I think that today, the club is also not worth more than nothing.

 

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Dominik Mavra: Few months ago succesfull with KK Zadar at Gripe, what teammates will he have in Split this season? (Photo: Burak Canboy)

 

4. Why should Kuzmanić be lying about other potential investors?

How do I say that Kuzmanić is lying about potential other investors? How should I even know that? All I am saying and thinking is that the city (that means him especially because he is the man in charge) is not acting professionally in this matter. If you have no own strategy for the club, if you cannot present the assets and problems of the club honestly and openly, if you only give an interested party 3 weeks for due-diligence for such a complex problem, then this is not something that I personally find professional business behavior. Since we are in Croatia and since Croatian politics have a history of not acting transparently, it is only safe to assume that the only alternative to this unprofessional behavior may be that something bigger is being dealt with in the background and that K.K. Split may be being used as part of such a background deal. I hope both for the club and the city that some big investor will come who believes 100% in this club and has no other intentions than to renovate this club, but how likely is that right now after what is being said by Kuzmanić?

Quite honestly, the request of 1 EUR pre-emptive rights for the city is the stupidest thing I have ever heard in my 30 years of business life. How can anyone believe that an external investor will come, spend time, effort, connections and a lot of money to make this club valuable again, if the city has a right to say: "Thank you very much for taking this big problem we have had, a club that was not worth anything and has only cost us money, thank you for taking this problem from our hands. Thank you for making K.K. Split a wonderful, successful and profitable club again. Now here is 1 EUR, so you can go home again with nothing!" Really???? This also makes the mayor (who I respect btw), appear unprofessional, just by standing next to him without objections while this is presented.

 

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How can a club with tradition but no future become a club of the future with a long tradition? (Photo: Burak Canboy)


5. Is it true that back in 2014 you only wanted to realize a real estate project on Gripe but were not allowed to. Is that why the deal didn't work out? Are you out for some kind of revenge because you still want to, but don't have enough money to buy the club now.

I have never made a secret about having been disappointed that the deal didn't work out in 2014. If I remember correctly, my answer to the first question at my press conference in Hotel Park was something like "I would be lying if I said that I am not disappointed." 

Back then unfortunately it only became clear to us very late in the process that the Baldasar administration was only trying to find an investor to realize a huge real estate project on Gripe. We found out only very late that the main goal was that an investor should take the burden of K.K. Split in return for realizing an approximated 40-100 million Euro project. I had no interest to be involved in such a deal and we as a group who had prepared our offer needed to stop our efforts because we were all 100% about basketball and nothing else. So, I think it is unfair to say I am out for revenge. I wish the club and the people of Split nothing but the best. It is just my personal belief that things need to be named as they are. I don't think that Puljak's and Kuzmanić's latest stunt will help the club but are actually making things worse.

When it comes to my financial situation, it is safe to say that I never had enough money in my life to invest it into basketball, but it has never stopped me from doing it anyways :-)



Let's hope again that the people in charge in Split will one day smarten up and understand that even the famous Aladdin had to first start rubbing the lamp before expressing his wish very clearly and precisely and he still had to do that work even though he already had the unlimited cosmic magical powers of the genie on his side. For all normal people without three magic wishes, it means that if you want to find an investor for the club, you will need to work hard like everybody else to create something valuable first, then you can think about achieving a return from selling it. Or maybe it is better that you just throw the magical lamp away and maybe someday, somebody will find it and decide to rub it really well, until it's magic reappears. 



For further reading: 

i. A sample mission & vision for the club was already gifted to the club and the city in 2014. Look for yourself how much of it has been adopted and how much more needs to be done before you can call the club valuable: KK Split Mission & Vision 2014

ii. Hrvoje Frančeski's thoughts on Croatian Basketball "We Have Nothing". It is written in Croatian but worth translating, if needed

 

The views of the author are not necessarily the views of TCN.

 

 

Thursday, 15 September 2022

TCN Split Winter Tourist Roundtable: KLM from Amsterdam 12 Months a Year!

September 14, 2022 - A massive boost for Split winter tourism, as KLM announces 12-month flights between Amsterdam and Split. And there's more... 

It is 9 months almost to the day since the first TCN Split Winter Tourism Roundtable, hosted by Chops Grill, which brought together the key tourism stakeholders in Dalmatia from the public and private sector. You can read more about that initial meetting (and excellent lunch) here.

There was a lot of scepticism going into the meeting, with few participants expecting concrete results, but that initial meeting - expertly moderated by Michael Freer - was one of the most positive business experiences I have had in my time in Croatia.

And the results - direct and indirect - are starting to show. How about this for some excellent news for those looking for connectivity to Dalmatia in winter? I heard the news a few days ago, but this has now been officially confirmed by the excellent Croatian Aviation

KLM Royal Dutch Airlines will continue to operate between Amsterdam and Split in the upcoming winter flight schedule! Namely, since the beginning of the global pandemic, the company operated to Split exclusively around Christmas and New Year (6-12 rotations per year), but the airline has now announced regular flights between the two mentioned cities from the beginning to the end of the winter flight schedule (end of October - end March).

In the summer season, KLM flies up to 3 times a day between the two cities, which is not surprising when there is extremely high demand for the second largest Croatian city in the peak of the summer tourist season.

The company is extremely satisfied with the results achieved on the Croatian market, several winter flights in recent years have recorded excellent occupancy, so this winter the airline will convert its route from seasonal to year-round. This is important news for the Split airport, which in the winter flight schedule has only a few airlines and a smaller number of international lines, which will enable passengers to and from Split to significantly increase the possibility of travel and connectivity via Amsterdam to numerous other destinations in Europe and the world.

In addition to local passengers from Split, the line is also important for winter tourism in the city and its surroundings, as well as for business people traveling to and from Split throughout the year.

Winter flights between Split and Amsterdam will be operated by KLM's daughter company, KLM Cityhopper, and E295 aircraft with a capacity of 132 passengers have been announced on the route. It is to be expected that the airline will, if necessary, adjust the type of aircraft on the route in accordance with demand, so smaller E90 and E70 type Embraers are also possible in Split this winter.

Regular flights between the two cities will take place from the end of October to the end of March next year as many as seven times a week, that is, daily, which will allow passengers complete flexibility in planning their trips.

This is KLM's second destination in Croatia, to which the Dutch airline will also operate in the winter flight schedule. In addition to Split, KLM operates to Zagreb International Airport in the winter, twice a day in both the winter and summer flight schedules.

Without giving too much away, talks are also ongoing with a major budget airline to bring in up to 80 flights over the winter 2023 season from thee European capitals. The price is reasonable, the hotels are happy to contribute, and I for one am quietly optimistic that there could be some even more good news to announce in the coming months. 

TCN will bring you more news on this as we get it.

****

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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Thursday, 15 September 2022

Plitvice Lakes Promo Week - Reduced Price Tickets Going Quickly

September 15, 2022 - The Plitvice Lakes National Park has prepared special ticket prices for all visitors in the period from October 1 until October 9 2022. The ticket price for adults is HRK 80.00 (€10.62), for students HRK 45.00 (€5.97) and for children (7-18 years) HRK 35.00 (€4.65). The offer is part of the national park's promo week.

Plitvice Lakes is an area of outstanding natural beauty. It is a forest reserve nestled in the rocky mountains of central Croatia. Consisting of a series of lakes and waterfalls, it received the title of a national park in 1949, making it the oldest Croatian national park. It is the largest as well. Ever since its opening, it has been attracting visitors from all over the world who go there to witness the genuinely outstanding natural beauty, relax in nature, or enjoy an active holiday hiking up and down, cycling, or rowing.

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Kristina Stedul Fabac / Pixsell

In recent years, with the park as its focal point, Lika-Senj County has developed and expanded its tourism and holiday offer, where you can now enjoy a variety of stays, including camping, glamping, and all-inclusive. Being Croatia's most wanted, the admission tickets for Plitvice Lakes were never exactly low, though it was always well worth it. If you've been weighing it up, though, use the opportunity and visit the park during the promo week. We promise that you'll absolutely love it!

Poslovni notes that due to high demand in the mentioned period, tickets must be purchased online via the National Park website.
As they reported from the Plitvice Lakes National Park, Lower and Upper Lakes are open for visitors, and the train and boat run according to schedule.

During the promotional week (October 1 - October 9, 2022), you can rent a wooden rowing boat for only HRK 60 (EUR 7.96) per hour, explore the corners of Plitvice's largest lake, Lake Kozjak, and enjoy the joys of an active vacation with a walk in the Park.

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

Thursday, 15 September 2022

Osijek to Host World Shotgun Shooting Championship Sept 19 - Oct 12

September 15, 2022 - From September 19 to October 12, Osijek's Pampas will be the centre of the World Championship Shotgun Shooting. 630 competitors from 77 countries will arrive in Osijek, including Olympians and the world's best shooters.

This was announced on Wednesday in Osijek's main square, where a press conference was held. The conference was attended by the mayor of Osijek Ivan Radić, the director of the competition organisation Zoran Ćelić, the president of the City Shooting Association - Osijek 1784 Zvonimir Kovačević, the president of the Croatian Shooting Association Hubert Kišpal, and the general secretary of the Osijek-Baranja County Sports Association Dubravko Ižaković.
Mayor Radić reminded that Osijek has a long history of shooting, dating back to 1774, when the first sports association in Croatia was founded.

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Photo: Grad Osijek

"The first shooting range was put up at the beginning of the 19th century in the Gradski Vrt hall, while Pampas was built in 1985. Two Olympians come from Osijek, 160 registered competitors and seven clubs, and this is a great opportunity to support this type of sport", said Radić. He pointed out that this summer in terms of tourism was a "complete success" for the city of Osijek.

"We achieved 12 percent more overnight stays than in the same month of the pre-pandemic year 2019, but also in the first eight months of this year. In terms of arrivals, we are better by as much as 55 percent compared to last year 2021. These figures certainly send a beautiful postcard of our city to the world and we have no doubt that this Championship will show that we are always good hosts", said the mayor of Osijek.

Director Ćelić believes that Croatia is one of the favourites this year, considering the medals won so far. He said that this competition is extremely important for achieving quotas for going to the Olympic Games in Paris, with 16 spots left in total.

Kovačević reported that competitors from 77 countries will perform in Osijek, including Olympians, while Kišpal added that there will be around 700 competitors, including 12 shooters from Croatia.

Ižaković pointed out that this is only one of the competitions that take place in the city and the county, and that the county and the city are happy to support the organisation of large sports events, and the shooters raise the level of tourism purely by being there.

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

 

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