Saturday, 13 August 2022

Croatian Motorways Issues Advice as Another Busy Weekend is Upon Us

August the 13th, 2022 - The height of the scorching summer tourist season is now well and truly upon us, and with more and more foreign visitors entering the country either by air and then hiring cars, or by road through Croatia's many land borders, Croatian Motorways (HAC) has issued some advice to all those using the country's roads to head to their various destinations, usually on the coast.

Yet another busy summer weekend is upon us, and with an absolutely tragic accident involving a bus recently, which took the lives of several individuals, Croatian Motorways has made sure to make Croatia's road users aware of some of the realities of driving here at this wildly busy time of the year.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, during the busy summer season here in Croatia, hundreds of thousands of vehicles enter the country, which increases the risk of accidents, some of which are fatal. The head of the Centre for the Supervision and Management of Motorway Traffic, Davor Bicanic, appealed to drivers to enable the creation of a so-called emergency corridor, as reported by HRT.

''All important information from Croatian motorways and roads, especially from critical sections, such as tunnels, arrives in real time to the control room of Croatian Motorways. We're currently implementing a traffic information system, as part of which we're replacing old analog cameras with new, more technologically advanced digital cameras, around 1,700 cameras are working at this moment in time,'' Bicanic pointed out.

"This new system has the possibility of providing automatic video detection of certain incident situations, such as people driving in the opposite direction, a pedestrian being on the motorway, a vehicle which has stopped on the road, and so on. Automatic video detection enables our operators working within the traffic control and management centres to react faster and provide the latest information to other road users who find themselves on the Croatian motorways and roads which have been affected,'' he added.

When it comes to the seemingly eternal problem of terrible accidents and some absurd moves being made by arrogantly over-confident drivers, Bicanic said that it would be nice if an emergency corridor became a routine for drivers using Croatian motorways.

"An emergency corridor enables the passage of emergency medical aid vehicles, firefighters and the police, to reach the scenes of traffic accidents as soon as possible and to provide assistance to the victims involved. The emergency corridor is formed so that vehicles in the left traffic lane move as far to the left as possible, and vehicles in the right traffic lane move as far to the right as possible. For the drivers, it's a small shift, but that shift means a corridor towards remaining alive for a critically injured person,'' stressed Bicanic.

For more on Croatian motorways and driving in Croatia, make sure to check out our dedicated lifestyle section.

Saturday, 13 August 2022

What do Tourists in Zagreb Think of the Croatian Capital This Summer?

August the 13th, 2022 - It isn't just the Croatian coast that is booming this year, with the capital attracting more and more foreign visitors keen to discover the Croatia which lies away from the sparkling Adriatic Sea. Precisely what do tourists in Zagreb think of the bustling city?

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, the devastating earthquake of March 2020 and the global coronavirus pandemic well and truly left their mark on tourism in Zagreb - some of the city's accommodation facilities haven't yet been restored after the earthquake. But despite this, the metropolis has enjoyed some truly excellent results: by the end of July, 80 percent of arrivals and 85 percent of overnight stays were achieved compared to the record year of 2019 by tourists in Zagreb. The most numerous guests there have been the Germans, Americans, English, Dutch and French, as reported by HRT.

Although the City of Zagreb seems empty during these sizzling summer months because local people have gone to the coast or have headed off abroad to enjoy time off work, the famous Tkalciceva ulica (street) and Gornji grad (Upper town) are still all full. Most of the people there are foreigners.

''We really like Zagreb. We went through the city by tourist bus where we saw the cathedral and the Church of St. Mark," said Alessia from Italy.

"I was in the Museum of Broken Relationships and it was really fun, and tomorrow I'd like to go to the Museum of Illusions. You have a lot of interesting museums," said Brandon from the USA.

The turnover in souvenir shops is incomparably higher this year compared to the previous one. Tourists in Zagreb who come from all over the world are most interested in Croatian products. "Licitar hearts and little statues of monuments like the cathedral and St. Mark's church are doing well in terms of sales,'' said Angela Zafranovic, the manager of a Zagreb souvenir shop.

“We like the relaxed atmosphere and architecture throughout the city. You never know what you'll find around the corner. Just now we discovered some stairs and decided to go through there," said Pawin from Australia.

"The culture, a beautiful landscape, history and wine. We've just come back from tasting Croatian wines, which are excellent", emphasised Eugene from Las Vegas.

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

Saturday, 13 August 2022

Croatian Maritime Traffic 50% Better Than 2021, Charter Outdoes 2019

August the 13th, 2022 - Croatian maritime traffic is 50% stronger than it was last year, and the charter sector is blowing the record, pre-pandemic year of 2019 out of the water, no pun intended.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Marija Crnjak writes, almost 8.5 million passengers were boarded and disembarked in various Croatian seaports throughout the second quarter of this year, which is 55.7 percent of the number last year, according to official statistics. At the same time, 8.2 million passengers were transported on ferries and passenger ships, which is a 50.8 percent increase compared to the same period back in 2021.

The number of vessels in Croatian maritime traffic also grew...

The increase in passengers was achieved in all major Croatian ports, as well as in international traffic. 32.5 percent more passenger vehicles and 127.7 percent more buses were loaded and unloaded on ships compared to the same quarter last year.

Out of the total number of passengers in Croatian sea ports, 255 thousand of them disembarked from cruise ships and visited, among others, the Dalmatian ports of Dubrovnik, Split and Zadar. Considering the fact that back during the second quarter of 2021, there were only 12 thousand passengers aboard cruise ships, after that period there was a noticeable return of cruise ships to Croatian seaports, the Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS) notes.

The total turnover of goods increased by 14.5 percent when compared to the same period back in 2021, and the port of Ploce had the highest growth of 55.5 percent, followed by Split with a growth of 42 percent. Furthermore, in the first half of 2022, the total number of ships arriving at Croatian seaports increased by 13.4 percent, the total traffic of passengers by 46 percent, and the total traffic of goods by 9.7 percent.

Although Croatian maritime traffic in tourist ports was significant even during the global coronavirus pandemic, and therefore the nautical sector represented the strongest segment of tourism, this summer season is bringing with it a new increase. In July 2022, there were 120,000 arrivals and 770,000 overnight stays in the nautical charter, which is a 23 percent increase in arrivals and 5 percent in overnight stays compared to July 2019.

Over the first six months of 2022 with revenues of 98 million kuna, the national chain of marinas (ACI) exceeded the revenue earned back in 2019 by 4.6 million kuna, meaning that results achieved are 16.4 million kuna or 20 percent higher than they were back during 2021.

In addition to all of the above, after last year's 44 million kuna worth of investments in infrastructure and services, in the first six months of 2022 alone, ACI exceeded that amount by an impressive 3.9 million kuna, realising new investments totalling 47.9 million kuna.

ACI claims that the income is the result of investments, thorough and adequate preparation for the season in all of Croatia's ACI marinas, and the easing of measures introduced during the coronavirus pandemic. ACI achieved a positive financial result in the first half of the year in the amount of 3.2 million kuna, while the realised EBITDA for the first half of the year amounted to 36.2 million kuna in total.

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

Friday, 12 August 2022

Zagreb Deputy Mayor: Most New Waste Collection Infrastructure to be Ready by 1 October

ZAGREB, 12 August, 2022 - Zagreb Deputy Mayor Luka Korlaet said on Friday that work was underway to provide infrastructure for the new model of waste collection and waste collection tariffs in the capital, noting that most of the infrastructure would be in place by 1 October. 

Korlaet made the statement when asked by reporters about the progress of preparations for the implementation of the city authorities' decision on a new waste collection model and a new waste collection tariff system.

He said that the first standardised surface waste containers would soon be installed at four locations in Zagreb, adding that the city had also commissioned 50 underground containers that would be successively installed in downtown Zagreb as of 1 October.

"Not everything will be smooth and easy, but I believe that in cooperation with citizens we will successfully carry out this transition," Korlaet said, adding that most of the waste collection infrastructure would be installed by 1 October.

Asked about the situation in daycare centres following the expiry of the period for complaints by parents whose children have not been enrolled, Korlaet said that there were still not enough places for all children whose parents had requested their enrolment in city-run preschool institutions, but that the number of children who were not enrolled had nonetheless been reduced, to around 800-900.

"A certain number of children were enrolled subsequently, in agreement with kindergarten heads," he said.

"There has been a significant increase in the number of children under the age of three, and we simply lack sufficient capacity. We are doing our best to compensate for it with medium and long-term measures," he said.

Friday, 12 August 2022

Croatia Reports 1,094 New Coronavirus Cases, 11 Deaths

ZAGREB, 12 August, 2022 - Croatia has registered 1,094 new COVID cases and 11 related deaths in the past 24 hours, the national COVID response team reported on Friday.

The number of active cases in the country currently stands at 7,760, of whom 631 are hospitalised and 25 of them are on ventilators, while 5,276 people are self-isolating.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, a total of 1,198,898 COVID cases have been recorded in Croatia; 16,472 patients have died as a consequence, and 1,174,666 have recovered, including 1,508 in the past 24 hours.

To date, 59.58% of the total population, or 70.86% of adults, have been vaccinated.

Friday, 12 August 2022

Fina: 233,237 Citizens with Frozen Bank Accounts at End of July

ZAGREB, 12 August, 2022 - At the end of July, there were 233,237 citizens and 14,178 business entities with frozen bank accounts, owing HRK 18.5 billion and HRK 4.3 billion in total debt principal respectively, the Financial Agency (Fina) said on Friday.

The number of consumers who defaulted on their payments decreased by 0.7% from June 2022 and by 3.9% from July 2021. Their debt principal increased by HRK 2.6 million or 0.01% month on month and by HRK 613.95 million or 3.4% year on year.

If the interest debt of HRK 6.6 billion is added, the total debt of citizens with frozen accounts at the end of July 2022 was HRK 25.16 billion.

The largest portion of the debt, HRK 5.7 billion (without interest), was related to consumer debt to banks as creditors, while debt to all financial institutions amounted to HRK 6.5 billion.

The number of business entities with frozen bank accounts decreased by 2.2% from June 2022 and by 5.6% from July 2021. Their debt principal increased by 0.9% month on month and decreased by 2.6% year on year.

With an interest debt of HRK 1.1 billion, the total debt of business entities reached HRK 5.3 billion at the end of July 2022.

Friday, 12 August 2022

Entain to Acquire SuperSport? 920m EUR Sale Likely for Largest Croatian Betting Company

August 12, 2022 - British betting group Entain has announced that it intends to buy 75 percent of SuperSport - the largest Croatian betting company and the title sponsor of the strongest class of Croatian club football - for 920 million euros. 

SuperSport, which has a sponsorship contract with the Croatian Football Federation, and after which the strongest rank of domestic football, i.e., the national cup, is called, is the largest Croatian sports bookmaker. With a 54 percent market share and strong growth in the last five years, it is the market leader, reports Jutarnji List

SuperSport was founded by Danko Ćorić, has been operating on the Croatian market since 2000, and currently has 321 branches, half of which are in Zagreb, Split, and the surroundings of Croatia's two largest cities. It is necessary to add its online betting offer to the network of SuperSport branches because online betting is becoming more and more common, and in 2019 it was additionally regulated in Croatia by banning the provision of online sports betting services to companies that are not based in Croatia. They have about 900 employees.

In May this year, they signed a contract worth 44 million euros with the Croatian Football Federation and Hrvatski Telekom on distributing television and marketing rights to the First Croatian Football League. In addition, SuperSport has committed to investing eight million euros for the marketing and betting rights of Prva HNL from 2022 to 2026. From this season, the First HNL is called SuperSport HNL.

In 2020, Supersport achieved 131 million euros in gross revenue from games and an underlying profit of 65 million euros. The work is expected to be completed in the last quarter of this year and will depend primarily on regulatory approvals. Radim Haluza, CEO of SuperSport, should then join the board of Entain.

Since 2018, SuperSport has been owned by the Czech SAZKA Group. Shortly after the takeover of SuperSport, there was a split and division of assets between two entrepreneurs, Karel Komarek and Jiri Šmejc. After the split with Komarek, SuperSport belonged to Šmejc, i.e., his company EMMA GAMMA Adriatic. Šmejc is one of the largest Czech entrepreneurs in terms of income, the number of companies he owns, and the businesses he covers. At the beginning of his business development, he collaborated with Peter Kellner, until his untimely death in March of last year, the largest businessman in Central Europe whose wealth was estimated at 17.5 billion dollars.

Since 2012, when he became independent, Šmejc has acquired companies, in addition to sports betting and gambling, in energy, financial services, and e-commerce, among others. In addition to business cooperation, Šmejc and Kellner also shared a common passion - flying airplanes. 

To make the best use of the opportunity in the mentioned geographical area, the Entain group has partnered with EMMA Capital, an investment company based in the Czech Republic. EMMA was previously part of the Sazka Group - owners of Allwyn - which recently won the next UK Lottery license and was the sole owner of SuperSport. Entain and EMMA Capital entered into a partnership and founded Entain CEE, which will own SuperSport. In the newly established Entain CEE, 75% of the shares will be held by Entain and 25% by EMMA.

Central and Eastern Europe represent a very attractive and growing betting market - the estimated value of which is five billion euros. They also recognized this potential in Entain and believe it will grow at least 10% annually until 2025. Entain said that in Central and Eastern Europe, in the context of betting, so far, local operators have largely dominated, who "often fought to increase or consolidate across the region, thus providing a convincing opportunity for Entain."

"I look forward to joining Entain and further building on this region's significant opportunity. EMMA's investment expertise combined with Entain's world-class platform will give us a competitive advantage in providing opportunities," said Haluza.

The Times writes that Entain's purchase is part of a strategy to target more than 50 regulated markets - with a combined betting industry revenue of $40 billion - where it has yet to establish a presence. The company also announced four other transactions by the end of the year, including the purchase of Dutch Avid Gaming for EUR 206 million and BetCity for EUR 850 million. A turning point in their business occurred when Jette Nygaard Andersen (53) became the executive director of Entain - in 20 months of her managing the company, nine new deals were concluded.

"We are excited to have created Entain CEE with EMMA, to support our strategy throughout the Central and Eastern European region, and to have acquired a leading betting and gaming operator in the highly attractive and fully regulated Croatian market. We see Croatia as an exciting, dynamic country, from which Entain CEE is perfectly positioned for expansion," said Nygaard-Andersen on the occasion of the latest acquisition.

Entain, formerly GVC Holdings, operates in 31 countries and employs more than 25 thousand workers in 20 offices on five continents. Last year they had revenues of £3.9bn with an operating profit of £480m.

For more on business in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page

Friday, 12 August 2022

Favorite Memories in Croatia: From Teenage Hvar Summers to World Cup 2018

August 12, 2022 - How does one choose their favorite memories in Croatia? It's impossible, but there are certainly a few highlights. 

I've been reflecting a lot on my time spent in Croatia, from visiting every summer from California growing up to finally moving here in 2015. And the two worlds couldn't be more different. 

My homeland, where my parents were born, always carried a sense of wonder - a sense of escape. And moving here by accident in 2015 has allowed me to dive deep into the country of my roots - witnessing the ins and out of a country I now know better than America, where I was born and raised. 

While there are too many memorable moments to recap over the last few decades, some, in particular, hold a special place in my heart. 

Croatia in 1996

I recently wrote about my memories of Croatia in 1996, the first time I visited the country at just five years old. It was my first time outside of America, my first time meeting many of my foreign family members, and the first real family vacation I took with my parents and older brother. It was an exploration of a new place, one that had just seen war, and a journey through a culture I only knew then in my Croatian-Californian confines. It was an eye-opening adventure through familiar yet new flavors, navigating a language I had hardly spoken, and how those little things don't matter when surrounded by fresh faces with the same bloodline. Croatia in 1996 was likely not the best time to visit, as blown-out tanks decorated the highways and the image of war was still raw - but it certainly paved my love for the homeland I had known until then only through my grandmother's lullabies. 

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Weddings in Metković

Croatian weddings are unique, but weddings in Metković are extra. I had my first Croatian wedding experience in 2004 when my uncle and his longtime partner tied the knot. Considering I was staying at their family home that summer, I was involved in every part of the Croatian wedding experience, including the traditionally male-only bachelor's party (er, fešta), complete with an endless flow of Karlovačko kegs. Croatian weddings are an all-day event, which starts early in the day at the groom's family home, then over to the bride's home, then to the church, then back to one of their homes, before a caravan of cars drives to the reception venue, where you'll continue eating, drinking, and dancing until 6 am (don't worry, you've already been going since noon). A marathon event I first learned about at 14 - Metković weddings are the best. 

IMG_7377-metko.jpegFirst summer on Hvar in 2007

It was surprising I hadn't visited the island until 2007, considering that my grandmother is from Stari Grad and my extended Croatian-Californian family never missed a summer in Hvar town. In a way, I'm glad I didn't visit Hvar until my teenage years - and that first visit included my best friend from California. Taxi boat, beach, eat, party, sleep, repeat was the routine that started that summer on Hvar and lasted until the visits in my early 20s. From Kiva Bar and Nautika to former nightclub Veneranda and watching the sunrise from our apartment balcony. It was teenage bliss. Summer on Hvar looks a bit different now, but I wouldn't trade Hvar's nightlife in 2007 for anything. 

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Sailing the Adriatic Coast 

The first time I properly sailed the Adriatic was in 2018, hosting a group of 35 Americans on a luxury yacht for a week from Trogir to Dubrovnik. I had sailed between islands before, but never in one shot or one-week-long journey - which is something I believe everyone in Croatia should experience. We sailed from Trogir to Pučišća on Brač, from Brač to Hvar, Hvar to Korčula, and finally to Mljet and Dubrovnik, exploring the magic of each island, cave, cove, and bay in between. Seeing the Adriatic Coast from this perspective cannot be compared to day trips or short visits - it's an all-encompassing experience of the Adriatic, its beauty, culture, cuisine, and customs, with no room to escape. Sailing allows you to embrace every aspect of the country - and when it's as amazing as Croatia, you'll want to dive straight in. 

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World Cup 2018

I recently published about the realities of being a female football journalist in Croatia and mentioned that even with Croatia making it to the 2018 World Cup final in Russia, I couldn't imagine being anywhere but Split or Croatia during that tournament. One of those things you never think you'll get to experience in your lifetime, especially when it seemed like that 1998 bronze medal would be our most significant achievement. From Nigeria to start and France in the final, Croatia was electric that summer - a nation united. I get chills thinking back to those nail-biting finishes, watching them from the fan zone in Split's Dardin Park. There were endless screams, tears, hugs, disbelief, and WTF moments. And countless celebrations. Croatia, that summer of 2018, was magic. 

 

Anything at Poljud Stadium

Literally, anything. And I've got to see a lot of games since moving here in 2015. While any Croatian derby is a must, you won't be able to compare watching Hajduk play Dinamo in Split, and you can always expect a sold-out crowd. European games are the only games that come close, and watching Wayne Rooney's Everton at Poljud was extra special. I can't wait to see what it will be like against Villarreal. And then there was the Croatian Cup, which Hajduk won for the first time since 2013, resulting in beautiful chaos on the pitch and into a party that was carried onto the Riva. And let's not forget the Croatia national team's return to Poljud, hosting Portugal and France in the last few years and beating Russia for a spot in the 2022 World Cup. If you have a chance to go to Poljud, no matter the match, don't miss the chance. 

 

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

 

Friday, 12 August 2022

More Russians in Croatia than Ukrainian Refugees

ZAGREB, 12 August, 2022 - Since the Russian invasion of Ukraine, nearly 50,000 Russian nationals have visited Croatia, and slightly over 7,000 are currently staying in the country, the Večernji List (VL) daily wrote on Friday.

Although the number of Russian visitors is slightly lower than at this time last year, they have continued to visit, ignoring the fact that their government has declared Croatia a hostile state. Since there are no flights from Russia to any destination in the European Union, they come via Serbia or Turkey.

Večernji List noted that since the Russian military aggression against Ukraine, more Russians have visited Croatia than Ukrainian refugees, whose number is estimated at 20,000.

Russians, except those who are under EU sanctions, can travel to the EU as usual, and can use their properties in Croatia. They need a valid visa issued by all EU states, including by the Croatian Consulate in Russia, the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs confirmed to Večernji List.

The issue of visas for Russian travellers will be a topic discussed later this month at a meeting of EU foreign ministers in the Czech Republic, the current president of the European Union, the newspaper said.

Friday, 12 August 2022

Only 56% of Registered Business Entities in Croatia are Active

ZAGREB, 12 August, 2022 - At the end of June 2022, there were 316,052 registered business entities in Croatia, of which 176,882 or 56% were active, the data from the national statistical office (DZS) shows.

Of the total number of registered business entities, 238,572 were companies, of which 141,743 or 59.4% were active.

There were also 73,924 institutions, bodies, associations, and organisations (34,322 active), cooperatives (817 active), and 93,393 sole traders and freelancers.

More than half of the business entities were registered in wholesale and retail trade, 17.6% in motor vehicle and motorcycle repairs, 7.8% in the manufacturing industry, 10.2% in professional, scientific, and technical activities, and 16.1% in services.

The ownership structure of active legal entities shows that 140,435 or 79.4% were privately owned, 0.8% were state-owned, 0.4% were in mixed ownership, 0.5% were cooperatives, while the ownership of 19% of legal entities was not monitored. 

Among the active legal entities, 88,189 or 49.9% were companies with 1-9 employees, while 70,962 or 40.1% had no employees. 13,673 had 10-49 employees, 3,467 had 50-249 employees, 319 had 250-499 employees, and 272 had 500 and more employees.

The majority of companies were limited liability companies, accounting for 71.7% of registered business entities and 72.9% of active ones, while simple limited liability companies accounted for 27.1% of registered business entities and 26.0% of active ones.

Slightly less than a third of business entities, or 32.3%, were based in the City of Zagreb.

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