Thursday, 1 September 2022

25% More Overnight Stays Realised by German Tourists in Campsites

September the 1st, 2022 - German tourists have always been extremely populous and very important for the Croatian tourism sector, and there has been a significant 25% increase in the amount of overnight stays realised by German visitors in Croatian campsites.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Marija Crnjak writes, the Republic of Croatia is very well recognised over on the German market for its rich camping offer and the country is one of the absolute favourite foreign destinations for German tourists when it comes to this particular segment.

German guests have realised about 860,000 arrivals in various Croatian campsites up and down the country this year and achieved about 6.5 million overnight stays so far, which represents growth of about 25 percent when compared to the same period back in the pre-pandemic, record year of 2019.

''The continuation of these extremely positive trends from German tourists and the German market is also expected during the post-season,'' said Romeo Danghicchio, the director of the Croatian National Tourist Board's (HTZ/CNTB) representative office in Germany, on the occasion of the participation of HTZ at the Caravan Salon Fair, which is being held in the City of Dusseldorf until September the 4th, 2022.

The aforementioned German event is otherwise one of the world's leading fairs of this type, whose visitors have the opportunity to view the offer of a total of 736 exhibitors, whether they are popular destinations or a wide range of vehicles and all kinds of camping equipment.

In addition to the HTZ as the main exhibitor, the Kvarner Tourist Board, the Plitvice Lakes National Park, the Camping Association of Croatia and Valamar, are also presenting their respective offers at the fair.

In Croatia this year, faithful German tourists have realised more than 2.6 million arrivals and over 19 million overnight stays, which is impressive growth of about 15 percent compared to the record year of 2019.

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

Thursday, 1 September 2022

NP Ucka Hosting Biggest Fair of Traditional Istrian, Kvarner Products

September the 1st, 2022 - NP Ucka is set to play host to the largest fair of traditional products from the Istrian peninsula and Kvarner on September the 4th, with free transport heading there from the gorgeous town of Opatija.

As Morski writes, the fourteenth edition of the Ucka Samanj will be held on Sunday, September the 4th, 2022 at NP Ucka, from 10:00 to 20:00. The fair will also be expanded to cover lectures, workshops and the screening of a film which will take place during the morning hours.

This traditional manifestation will finally take place once again after two pandemic-dominated years, and it is otherwise known as the largest fair of traditional products in Istria and Kvarner. Ucka Samanj will also showcase sales and exhibitions, educational lectures and workshops, a programme for children and a cultural and entertainment programme this year.

This event at NP Ucka will work to promote the cultural and natural heritage of this protected area and support local producers of traditional products from across Kvarner and Istria. As such, this year, local products from both sides of NP Ucka will be presented at the fair, and visitors will have the opportunity to experience the legacy of the Istrian peninsula and the hinterland of the Opatija Riviera, through the presentation of associations that nurture the traditional culture of this area, as well as through the presentation of old crafts and native animals. About 50 exhibitors, associations and organisations will participate in the event. 

Visitors will be able to get much better acquainted with the traditional production of locally-made instruments in this part of the fair, including the forging of iron, the making of wooden figurines, mushroom hunting, local cultural heritage and much more.

The sales part of the fair will cover the rich offer of local manufacturers, and among other things, various dairy, meat and dried products, honey, fruit, brandy and liqueurs, wines, craft beers, teas, vepin products, jams, and natural cosmetics will be sold at the booths. Free bus transport to the NP Ucka fair will be provided from Opatija.

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

Thursday, 1 September 2022

Less and Less Slavonian Employees Working on Croatian Coast

September the 1st, 2022 - There are less and less Slavonian employees working along the Croatian coast, particularly in Dalmatia where they were once commonplace in bars, restaurants and in hotels.

As Morski writes, the number of Slavonian employees who work seasonally along the Croatian coast has dropped significantly. For years, Slavonian employees were a kind of "sign" of every summer tourist season along the Adriatic, but that seems to have come to an end.

The statistics of the Osijek Regional Office of the Croatian Employment Service (HZZ), which was the (second) largest pool of seasonal workers for the Adriatic, show that there has been a significant drop in the number of seasonal workers from Eastern Croatia.

During the first seven months of this year, around 1,100 people from Osijek-Baranja County were employed in various seasonal jobs along the coast. Compared to the same period back in 2019, there's been a decrease, as 1,823 people were employed in those jobs back then. The figures were even lower over the past two summer seasons, but these were the unprecedented pandemic-dominated years, which cannot be compared to anything else.

Ankica Vuckovic, head of the Labour Market Department of the Osijek branch of the Croatian Employment Office, concluded that there is less interest in Slavonian employees heading to work at various Adriatic hotels because there is an increasing need for employers in Osijek-Baranja County itself, meaning that much more stable job offers are now available to the unemployed in their own home county through year-round employment.

The strengthening of Croatia's continental tourism is one of the main reasons why there are fewer Slavonian employees now working on the Adriatic coast, but it isn't the only one. Well known Croatian economic analyst Damir Novotny believes that there are three aspects of this reduction. First of all, the costs during the height of the summer season are very high; if an employer doesn't provide workers with accommodation, seasonal employees simply cannot survive.

People from Slavonia aren't ready to live in containers or similar accommodation units, which their employers along the coast intend for them to stay in. Second of all, the wages on the coast are lower than what they can earn in, say, Austria, Germany, and Switzerland, which has opened up to Croatian workers and absorbed a lot of labour from here. Higher-quality staff, who speak the languages of those countries, could very easily get a good job in the aforementioned Central European countries, especially in the ''boom'' after the pandemic. There's a great demand for catering, hospitality and tourist services in these countries, so the labour force from Slavonia is mobilised more towards these countries than towards Dalmatia,'' explained Novotny.

He added that the domestic component should not be neglected either, i.e. the increase in the number of small OPGs and family tourist accommodation capacities, which is visible in the entire Danube region, from Baranja to Ilok, as reported by Vecernji list journalist Suzana Lepan-Stefancic/N1.

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

Wednesday, 31 August 2022

Croatia Impresses against France for Second Win at Water Polo Euros in Split!

August 31, 2022 - Another win for Croatia at the European Water Polo Championships in Split! After beating Malta on Monday, Croatia secured a victory against France on Wednesday at Spaladium Arena (13:7). 

The European Water Polo Championships continued in Split on Wednesday. The Croatia women's team secured a historic quarterfinal on Tuesday, and after their opening win against Malta, the Croatia men's team faced France in the second round of Group B. 

"It is important that we be good. France is not as strong as, say, Hungary, but they showed quality. They drew against Greece, which is enough of a warning," said Croatia coach Ivica Tucak.

Beating France definitely separates Croatia from the worst or third place in the group - and is even better going into their final Group B match against Greece on Friday. Greece and France drew 12:12 on Monday. 

Match report

1st Quarter

Croatia won the swim-off and the first attack of the match. France hit the crossbar in their first attack. Bukic shot at the keeper in Croatia's next attack. Luka Bukic scored Croatia's first goal with 5:39 on the clock for 1:0! France equalized for 1:1 with 5:20 to go. The next two minutes went without goals. France scored with 2:08 left in the quarter for 1:2. Kragic nailed the net with 1:30 left for 2:2! France went back ahead for 2:3 with 1:09 left. The first quarter ended 2:3 for France. 

2nd Quarter

France won the swim-off this time and the first attack but could not find the goal. Lazic's shot skipped over Croatia's goal in their first attack of the quarter. France was awarded a penalty with 6:53 to go. Croussillat scored or 2:4. Loren Fatvovic made it 3:4 with 6:11 on the clock. No goals for the next two minutes and a few questionable missed calls by the ref resulted in a timeout for France with just over 4 minutes to go. Bijac made two super saves in France's next attack. Kragic hit the post in the next play. Bijac kept a clean net in the next France attack, but Croatia was unable to score either. With less than a minute to go, it was still 3:4 for France. Andrija Basic equalized with 32 seconds on the clock. The second quarter ended at 4:4. 

3rd Quarter 

Croatia won the swim-off to start the third quarter. Croatia's first attack was saved by the France keeper, though France was unlucky in their first attack as well. Kharkov put Croatia back in the lead at 5:4 with 5:42 to go in the quarter. France hit the post and then won a penalty. Lazic was also given his third exclusion. Bijac brilliantly saved the penalty to keep Croatia ahead! And in the next attack - Zuvela scored for 6:4 with just over 4 minutes on the clock. France scored for 6:5 with 2:51 left. Basic nailed the net with 2:23 left for 7:5! And another rocket by Zuvela for 8:5! Croatia had the last attack of the 3rd quarter, which Kragic scored for 9:5 going into the final quarter. 

4th Quarter 

Croatia won the swim-off of the final quarter, and Bukic scored immediately in the first attack for 10:5. A quick counter for Croatia aw Kharkov one-on-one with the France keeper to score for 11:5! Croatia called a time-out with 5:48 left in the match. Bukic scored for 12:5 with 5:28 left. Bijac continued to keep Croatia's net clean with a save in France's next attack. France scored for 12:6 with 3:53 left. Rino Buric scored for 13:6 with 3:27 left! Croatia called a time-out with 1:26 left in the game. France scored for 13:7 with 37 seconds to go in the game. And Croatia won it 13:7! 

Croatia and Greece play in the final Group B on Friday at 20:30. 

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

Wednesday, 31 August 2022

Croatian Pilots' War Crimes Trial Starts on 14 Oct, Serbian Newspaper Says

ZAGREB, 31 August 2022 - Belgrade's High Court has set for 14 October the start of a trial of four Croatian Air Force pilots accused by Serbian prosecutors of targeting a column of refugees in Bosnia and Herzegovina in August 1995, the Serbian Politika newspaper has said, Beta news agency reported on Wednesday.

Serbia's War Crimes Prosecutor's Office has indicted Vladimir Mikac, Zdenko Radulj, Željko Jelenić, and Danijel Borović for war crimes against civilians.

Although prosecutors suggested that they be tried in absentia, the High Court has not made a decision on that, Politika said.

Mikac's attorney Aleksandar Olenik has said it was clear a war crime was committed, and that there is plenty of evidence, witnesses, and victims confirming that on 7 and 8 August 1995 Croatian planes shelled the refugee column. However, he adds, in this case, "essentially there is no evidence against the four accused."

The indictment for alleged war crimes committed during Croatia's Operation Storm as a case "does not exist" for Croatia, Prime Minister Andrej Plenković said on Monday, adding that this stand will not change.

"Serbia's jurisdiction in cases concerning alleged crimes committed on the territory of other countries, by citizens of other countries, has been unacceptable to use for years, it is out of the question," he added.

Belgrade's Court of Appeals on 20 August upheld the High Court's decision which upheld the indictment against the four Croatian pilots.

Plenković said the indictment was "politically rigged" and that Croatia had been a victim of aggression, that the Homeland War had been a liberation war and that the pilots would be under special state care.

Croatian President Zoran Milanović said last week that Serbia "has no right to file such indictments."

The government has said it will use every mechanism available to effectively protect pilots from Serbia's accusations.

Croatia has received no official information from the Serbian authorities about the filing or upholding of indictments against its Air Force pilots and war veterans.

The pilots in question have not been informed of the launching of criminal proceedings nor interrogated nor has their interrogation been requested via the Croatian authorities.

Wednesday, 31 August 2022

Croatia Women's Water Polo Write History at European Championships in Split

August 31, 2022 - The Croatia women's water polo team defeated Romania 15:6 in the 3rd round of the European Championships in Split and secured a historic quarterfinal spot at the tournament! 

After beating Germany 15-8, Croatia claimed another huge win, netting 15 goals again, this time against Romania. This result likely sends them to the quarterfinals for the first time in history.

Head coach Aljosa Kunac called for a time-out after just 3:03 minutes – with 0-0 on the scoreboard. Then, in just 2:40 minutes, Croatia led 4-0, scoring from four straight possessions. Another 4-1 quarter followed the first, and Croatia led 8-2 at halftime.

The second half continued on the same path. With this second win, Croatia secured their spot in the quarterfinals – a historical result for the hosts as they couldn't achieve the same in their previous three appearances.

“We needed him to achieve this historical result (holding his baby boy on his arm). Seriously, I had to call that time-out as the players started taking shots from everywhere without setting up anything; they thought it was just about shooting and once they’d score. I told them to stop this; we have a plan, stick to that, and play according to it as a team. It turned out that it was worth listening to me, the plan worked, so we are really happy now," said Croatia coach Aljosa Kunac. 

In the 4th round, Croatia will play against Hungary, and they still have Greece.

"We have done our job, but we do not intend to stop there. There will be more games in the battle for 5th to 8th place where we can look for another victory. The first task before us is preparing for Hungary, our next opponent. We will prepare as best as possible, try not to make a big difference, and for the girls to play it without stress."

“First, I would like to congratulate the whole team as this victory truly was a team effort. Today was my day; I scored 4/5, but five players plus the goalkeeper worked hard so the sixth player could score, and today that was me. I am proud of everything we have done so far. We did everything we said we would before coming here. Only the first match with the Netherlands didn’t go as planned, but that was normal. It was our first official game together, and the pressure of playing at home in this great arena made an impact. We will now try and prepare for Hungary and give our best again," said player Matea Skelin.

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

Wednesday, 31 August 2022

Reduced Excise Duties on Fuels Continue for Next 30 Days

ZAGREB, 30 August, 2022 - The government on Tuesday held a conference call at which it decided on the extension of the lowered excise duties on unleaded petrol and diesel in the next 30 days.

Thus, the excise duty on 1,000 litres of unleaded petrol remains HRK 3,060 and the excise duty on 1,000 litres of diesel is HRK 2,660.

In early March, the Andrej Plenković cabinet slashed the excise duties, by 400 kuna on 1,000 litres of petrol and by 200 kuna on 1,000 litres of diesel.

In early June, the fuel excise duties were further slashed by an additional 400 kuna on unleaded petrol and an additional 200 kuna on diesel.

Wednesday, 31 August 2022

INA Supervisory Board's Croat Members Meet with PM and 3 Ministers

ZAGREB, 30 August, 2022 - Prime Minister Andrej Plenković, Deputy Prime Minister Oleg Butković in charge of the economic affairs, and finance and economy ministers, Marko Primorac and Davor Filipović, on Tuesday held a meeting with the Croatian members of INA's nine-member Supervisory Board.

The meeting took place in Government House on Tuesday afternoon ahead of a session that the Supervisory Board is expected to hold on Wednesday after the arrest of five suspects who are believed to have been involved in the gas resale scam and thus embezzled at least HRK 848 million (approx. €113 million) from INA.

The President of the Supervisory Board, Damir Mikuljan told the national broadcaster (HRT) on Tuesday evening that during the meeting in Government House they had exchanged information concerning that case.

"So we have exchanged all the information available to us, however, it is not enough to help us to get a complete insight into the case. Therefore we expect tomorrow's session (of the supervisory board) to help us to get a complete insight."

Mikuljan expects the answers to the questions of how the management chain failed and what should be now done to amend the business processes in INA and to make them transparent.

Mikuljan said that the claims made by the ex-chairman of the Supervisory Board, Damir Vanđelić, that he had warned about the losses and personnel changes in INA, surprised him since the Supervisory Board "has made all the decisions unanimously."

 Of course, discussions were held and some differences in the opinions were expressed at that session, however, in the end we would make unanimous decisions, said Mikuljan, who wondered about the purpose of Vanđelić's claims.

INA is jointly owned by the Hungarian energy group MOL and the Croatian state, with MOL being the biggest individual stakeholder.

The nine-member Supervisory Board consists of five seats allocated to MOL, three to the government, and one to the employees. The Supervisory Board chair is designated by the Croatian government.

INA's Management Board has six members, of whom three represent the government and three MOL, while MOL nominates the Management Board chair, who has a casting vote.

Wednesday, 31 August 2022

Croatia Osiguranje's LAQO Introduces Cryptocurrency Payment Option

August the 31st, 2022 - Croatia osiguranje's (insurance) LAQO has introduced cryptocurrency payments on its webshop, making it the first insurance company in all of the Republic of Croatia to enable this type of payment.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, the owners of cryptocurrencies can now buy Compulsory and Kasko car insurance, completely digitally, in a simple, quick and smart way on the LAQO website. This innovation was introduced in cooperation with the well-known Croatian fintech company Electrocoin, and payment with cryptocurrencies takes place through their electronic payment service PayCek, which guarantees security to customers.

As many as thirteen different cryptocurrencies can be used on the LAQO webshop - bitcoin (BTC), bitcoin cash (BCH), ether (ETH), ripple (XRP), EOS, stellar lumen (XLM), DAI, tether (USDT), USDC, binance USD (busd), saltwater (SOL), dogecoin (DOGE) and litecoin (LTC).

"LAQO is the first insurance company in the Republic of Croatia to introduce payment with cryptocurrencies, which has brought us even closer to our more digital users, offering them a completely new shopping experience. As a digital insurance brand, we continuously introduce innovations which take care of the community in which we operate and encourage a wave of innovation throughout the market, and we're preparing even more news soon," said Ana Zovko, Director of the Digital Development Sector of Croatia osiguranje.

The cryptocurrency payment option can be selected at the end of the insurance purchase, where a list of available cryptocurrencies is provided. When choosing the option of paying with cryptocurrencies and accepting the conditions, the amount in kuna equivalent is displayed where you need to enter your email and select the desired cryptocurrency. After choosing a cryptocurrency, the customer can then scan the QR code with their crypto wallet, and after making the payment, they will receive a confirmation email.

LAQO osiguranje is a digital brand of Croatia osiguranje, which operates as part of the Adris Group, and in its current offer offers car insurance which can contracted in just a few clicks on their website. The introduction of cryptocurrency payments is just one in a series of LAQO innovations, another one being LaqoPrevent, a digital platform that uses telematics technology to promote responsible behaviour when on the road.

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

Wednesday, 31 August 2022

If 40% of Tourists Aren't Registered, How Can Croatian Numbers be Correct?

August the 31st, 2022 - How can Croatian numbers tallied up during the summer tourist season be accurate if as many as 40% of visitors are allegedly not even being registered properly?

As Morski writes, the Republic of Croatia has just passed the peak of the height of the summer tourist season. Forecasts say that income from tourism could reach an enormous twelve billion euros, that is, it will exceed the previous record set back in pre-pandemic 2019 by at least 800 million euros. However, not everyone in tourism did equally well. Travel agencies aren't keen on opening the champagne just yet. They're not at 2019's levels and for them, this season isn't exactly a "record" one.

Among those specialising in "organised tourism", this year also saw a major consolidation of the market. A major global player in the private accommodation segment recognised the potential of smaller renters, this was commented on by the president of the Association of Croatian Travel Agencies, Tomislav Fain.

He said that tourists have arrived at various Croatian destinations as evidenced by the congestion on the roads and at the airports, adding that the post-season now stretches until November the 1st, which is the result of the work of both the public and private sectors.

Croatian numbers aren't even close to accurate

''I'm extremely satisfied with the tourist season and we have a large number of guests here, however, the Croatian numbers that are displayed through eVisitor, which we have at our disposal, aren't even close to being accurate. The actual numbers of guests are up to 40 percent higher because a large number weren't even registered at all,'' he pointed out.

''I don't think any agency operating along the coast can possibly complain about July or August this year. Even if this year ends like 2019 did, we can't forget that we had two years in which we worked at a mere 10 to 30 percent, and just one normal season isn't enough for travel agencies to recover from what happened. In order to keep hold of our clients, property was sold, debt was incurred and it will take at least 4.5 years to recover,'' he said.

''School trips are coming back, and as the situation was uncertain, everyone showed up at the last minute. At one point, we couldn't respond to all the needs of the market. I hope that with the beginning of this school year it will also normalise. As for congress tourism, one part of that was completed in April and May, and in September and October, we can expect that additional boom in that regard,'' Fain believes.

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

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