Wednesday, 12 April 2023

Croatian Easter Tourism: More Than 940,000 Overnight Stays Recorded

April the 12th, 2023 - Croatian Easter tourism, or more precisely tourism throughout the country so far this month, has been excellent and by far outdone the numbers which were recorded back during the pre-pandemic, record year of 2019.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, although Easter fell earlier this year than last year and earlier than the one back during the record-breaking year of 2019, according to some figures, Croatian Easter tourism attracted more guests compared to last year. This is a more than promising sign for the upcoming summer season.

According to e-Visitor data, in the current part of April, more specifically up until Easter Monday in Croatia, there were around 300,000 arrivals and more than 940,000 overnight stays recorded, which, when compared to the same period of April last year, represents growth of 55% in arrivals and 73% in overnight stays. When compared to the figures recorded back in April 2019, the aforementioned represents growth of 27% in arrivals and a very encouraging 54% in overnight stays.

At the same time, the most overnight stays were realised in Istria, Kvarner and in Split-Dalmatia County, and in terms of destinations - Dubrovnik, Porec, Rovinj, Zagreb and Split all did very well indeed. The top markets in terms of overnight stays are all European ones - Germany, Austria, Croatia, Italy, the United Kingdom and Slovenia.

The company Awaze, which includes three leading domestic agencies for renting luxury accommodation (Croatia Luxury Rent, My Istria and Istria Home), reported that during the Easter holidays there was a 7% increase in the number of visitors compared to their record Croatian Easter tourism year of 2022. At the same time, current sales results indicate that the total number of sold reservations stands at 32% more than compared to the first quarter of last year.

"This is excellent, although, of course, earnings and profits are more important to us than physical arrivals, and that's why we have to focus on quality and thus earn the maximum with a sustainable number of guests, while at the same time using our physical resources as little as possible,'' commented Veljko Ostojic, the director of the Croatian Tourism Association.

For more, check out our news and travel sections.

Wednesday, 12 April 2023

Croatian Tourism and Services Union Calling for Seasonal Worker Membership

April the 12th, 2023 - The Croatian Tourism and Services Union (STUH) is calling for foreign seasonal workers to join it this year, and there's a very important logistical reason as to why.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Marija Crnjak writes, after the model of cooperation with foreign workers from a couple of years ago proved to be very successful on the example of seasonal employees from Macedonia, the Croatian Tourism and Services Union (STUH) has now launched a campaign for the first time ahead of this summer's tourist season, inviting all foreign seasonal workers to join the union and thus protect their rights.

On the one hand, this is an opportunity for the Croatian Tourism and Services Union to strengthen its overall membership, which was lost due to the emigration of workers from Croatia abroad, and to find new models of action in this increasingly unpredictable labour market, and on the other hand, it can bring additional security to foreign seasonal workers when it comes to their labour rights in this country.

Lower membership fees

The president of the Croatian Tourism and Services Union, Eduard Andric, expects that over time, a significant interest of these foreign workers from third countries, which therefore have no EU protection to fall back on, will gradually develop.

"The share of foreign seasonal workers in the Croatian hospitality and tourism industry is increasingly taking a significant place on the labour market due to the great need for workers in the aforementioned sectors. This year, a large number of workers are expected to come from third countries which aren't members of the European Union, and we see that this is not a temporary trend, but a new reality to which we need to adapt, and ensure the maximum levels of respect for these workers' rights.

It's also true that the number of members of our union is falling because people are moving away from Croatia, and this is an opportunity for us to find new members,'' says Andric, recalling the example of STUH's cooperation with the tourism union of Macedonia, which started two years ago and proved to be very successful, as touched on above.

In addition to workers being registered with the union during their time working here during the tourist season, thanks to this kind of cooperation, employers get professional workers who are selected by the unions based on their explicitly expressed needs.

"In fact, numerous employment agencies have appeared on the market that don't care so much about the quality of their workers, they usually bring in anyone who applies and then employers have the problem of not getting the workers they actually need," says Andric. In addition, as the Croatian Tourism and Services Union explains on its website, a large number of seasonal workers, especially workers from countries that are not members of the European Union, are entirely unaware of their labour and other rights. Most often, these workers are the most vulnerable category of workers, according to the European Commission (EC).

At the same time, the EU Directive on foreign seasonal workers, which binds the Republic of Croatia and whose provisions are included in the Law on Foreigners, in most of its provisions provides for the totally equal treatment of seasonal workers and EU/EEA citizens, with certain restrictions related to the legal length of stay in Croatia. The union is strong here when it comes to the proper infrastructure, because it has a branched network of commissioners in the field and alsp boasts its own lawyers.

"In accordance with the provisions of the Foreigners Act, the Labour Act, the national sectoral collective agreement for the hospitality industry, as well as a large number of collective agreements concluded with most employers in large hotel companies, The Croatian Tourism and Services Union provides free legal assistance to all workers in the hospitality industry and tourism who are members of the union, this includes foreign seasonal workers if they become members, all with the aim of the uniform application of legal regulations to all workers present in Croatia, their legal security and their better adaptation to the country," they explain from STUH. Andric notes that the membership fee for foreign workers is lower, given that they are only there for the tourist season.

They noted that their members have the right to access help when concluding an employment contract with a new employer, control of their rights from the Collective Agreement and the company's bylaws, or the national collective agreement, free legal protection at all times, including free representation in court if needed.

For more, check out our news section.

Wednesday, 12 April 2023

Pula Airport Desires American Visitors, Eyes Infrastructure Changes

April the 12th, 2023 - Pula Airport has a strong desire to attract more visitors from North America, as more and more people from that part of the world flock to Croatia. This is especially the case for US citizens, who are appearing more and more frequently in Croatia, especially along the coast, for various reasons and not only for tourism.

As Darko Bicak/Poslovni Dnevnik writes, as stated above, the general level of interest of travellers from the North American continent to the Republic of Croatia, especially to the Adriatic coast, whether it be for tourist or personal and family reasons, has never been in question. The abolition of American visas for Croatian citizens has also only further increased the interest of Croats in making trips the other way across the pond.

Air carriers have also recognised this trend, and it is increasingly likely that in the coming period, this country will be much more connected to North America, meaning by more than the existing two seasonal routes. In addition to the airports in Zagreb and Dubrovnik, in the foreseeable future it will likely be possible to see a connection between North America (including Canada) and Pula Airport.

New York and Toronto

As its chief director Nina Vojnic Zagar confirmed last week, Pula Airport recently ordered a study as it eyes up expansion, that is, moving the threshold of the runway.

"Pula Airport is considering extending its runway in order to be able to operate long-haul flights, with a focus on transatlantic services. This means that we're investigating the possibility of extending the runway to 3,200 metres to accommodate long-haul flights, i.e. flights to the east coast of North America. The current runway is 2954 metres long and lacks another 250 metres for this purpose. We have space both to the east and to the west to extend the runway, but we have to take the slopes into account," said Vojnic Zagar for local portal Glas Istre/The Voice of Istria.

She added that it will certainly not be a project that will be realised this year, but that the first steps have now been taken to make it happen as soon as is realistically possible. According to her, passengers from Pula are already well connected to the North American continent through various other European hubs, including Frankfurt, Munich, London Heathrow and Belgrade.

That said, she admits that current flight schedules are not ideal for transfer passengers as most airlines target point-to-point passengers on flights to Pula Airport. Based on indirect traffic flows to and from North America, Pula Airport records the most passengers to New York, followed by those coming from the Canadian city of Toronto.

Air Transat "operates" between Toronto and Zagreb Airport with its Airbus A330-200 aircraft, after restoring traffic between the two cities last year after a two-year break due to the coronavirus pandemic. The Canadian airline served 21,597 passengers between the two cities during its six months of operations last year. On the other hand, United Airlines connects its New York Newark airport hub with Dubrovnik Airport (Cilipi) using Boeing 767-300 aircraft along that route. Last year, it carried 28,445 passengers on this route between the two cities during its four-month operational period.

Split isn't remotely interesting

Back in the pre-pandemic year of 2019, Air Transat planned to start a weekly seasonal summer service between Toronto and Split, but ticket sales were suspended several months before the launch for "commercial reasons". Split Airport previously announced that it was simply not interested in accommodating or dealing with long-haul flights.

The reason for this is, of course, that these long-haul flights with wide-body aircraft would mostly be performed on weekends, most often on Saturdays, when Split is the most crowded. As intercontinental wide-bodied aircraft take up much more space and need a larger maneuvering area, the operations of smaller aircraft that form the air traffic base in Split would suffer because of them, and it is precisely on them that Split Airport relies.

Before the coronavirus crisis, there were announcements circulating around about connecting Zadar with several Chinese destinations, but after the end of the pandemic, there is no more speculation about such an idea, at least for now.

For more, check out our dedicated news and travel sections.

Tuesday, 11 April 2023

Jadrolinija to Spend 99 Million Euros on Both New and Used Vessels

April the 11th, 2023 - Jadrolinija is set to purchase both new and used vessels for use in its fleet, an investment on which it is going to spend as much as 99 million euros.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Marija Brnic writes, back at the beginning of this year, after several years of criticism from the wider public and indeed from some experts, the Croatian shipping/ferry company Jadrolinija finally resorted to purchasing completely new passenger ships for the renewal of its temporary fleet.

They will be built for the company a few years after it chooses a contractor, until the end of the year 2026, but a decision is still awaited on who that company will be from the seven interested parties who submitted their respective bids for the job at hand with an estimated value of 45 million euros.

In the meantime, rejuvenation continues for Jadrolinija with the quick solutions that have been mostly resorted to so far, by acquiring used ships. A tender has just been announced for the purchase of two such catamarans, for which Jadrolinija is ready to pay up to 14 million euros without the inclusion of VAT.

However, while until now vessels up to 18 years old were acceptable to Jadrolinija, the condition for these ships is that they must be no more than 5 years old. Catamarans should be up to 40 metres long and up to 12 metres wide, each with a capacity of at least 300 passengers, and intended, as stated in the tender, for international lines operating in the waters of the Adriatic Sea. Offers for these high-speed passenger ships will be being accepted until May the 3rd, 2023.

It's also worth noting that Jadrolinija has planned to invest a total of 99 million euros in their business plans for this year. The two catamarans that are now being sought from the used boat market should replace the existing old-timers from the shipowner's fleet, which currently numbers 53 boats with an average age of 28.7 years.

There are four ships currently on the list of ships that Jadrolinija intends to decommission during 2023. Among them is the ship Tijat, which is arguably the oldest in the entire fleet, 68 years old and slightly younger than the company itself, which celebrated its 75th anniversary last year. The plan is also to dispose of the ships Olea, Valuna and Dubrovnik (all of which are now over 40 years old).

Before it is sent to scrap, ''Dubrovnik'' is trying to sell itself off. Although the news was not encouraging at first, Jadrolinija says that one offer was received and accepted, and work is being done to conclude a sales contract. The initial price, by the way, stood at 2.9 million euros. In addition to the construction of three electrically powered passenger ships, the plan for Jadrolinija is also to announce a tender for the design and construction of another newbuild in 2023, namely a ro-ro passenger ship, the capacity of which would be 80 vehicles and 500 passengers.

The tender for that should follow in June, and the intention is to acquire two more used ro-ro passenger ships, one for the reception of 110 to 120 vehicles and between 600 and 700 passengers, and the other for 90 and 100 vehicles and 800 to 900 passengers. According to that plan as it currently stands, the latter would replace the Lastovo vessel, which is over half a century old at this point.

The start of the activities on the procurement of another ro-ro passenger ship, one for international navigation, with a capacity of 500 vehicles and 1,200 passengers, is scheduled for April. This ship should join Jadrolinija's existing fleet at the end of the year. Just how important the rejuvenation and modernisation of Jadrolinija's fleet really is, is best shown by the fact that three ships are over 60 years old. Along with Tijat, these are Postira and Premuda. Fast passenger ships over 30 years old (Olea, Silba, Novalja and Karolina) and ships that will soon no longer meet ecological standards (Dora, Sis, Sv. Juraj, Mate Balota and Lastovo) are all also now scheduled for replacement.

For more, check out our business section.

Tuesday, 11 April 2023

Croatian Chiriboo Released to Public After 3 Months of Experimental Work

April the 11th, 2023 - The Croatian Chiriboo platform is the very first regional digital tool for the purchase of cars, and after three months of experimental work, it has finally been made available for public use.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, Chiriboo is now available for public use, and with a very impressive database. The Croatian Chiriboo platform has the prices, photos, technical data and equipment composition for more than 3000 models of vehicle currently available here on the Croatian market.

From Chiriboo, which was started by well-known names from the automotive, financial and developer scene - Juraj Sebalj, Darin Jankovic, Marko Stojakovic, Mladen Herceg, and Damir Skrtic - they state several advantages of this tool. They claim that it is unique in how it actually works, because searching for a model with the help of an intelligent "Search Engine" is simple, because a smart "Comparator" enables the comparison of different models, and also because it is possible to find a car according to your own very personal preferences. On top of all of that, everything is made that much easier because the Croatian Chiriboo platform already has a database of cars, which was mentioned above, ready and waiting for quick delivery to customers.

"At the moment, users can use the Chiriboo tool completely free of charge, and in the near future we will offer the service of finding the best offer according to specific user criteria," they say.

The Croatian Chiriboo platform is otherwise a virtual address of sorts that will connect its users with various car dealers, car dealerships, financial services, insurers, and the offer will constantly expand to all domains of mobility.

For more on Croatian companies, startups, entrepreneurs and innovations, make sure to check out our dedicated business section.

Tuesday, 11 April 2023

Yet More New Croatian Fuel Prices as of Today, Here's a List

April the 11th, 2023 - There are yet more new Croatian fuel prices in force today, meaning yet another set of calculations for road users. Here is a list of the cost changes for petrol, diesel and more.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, just last Friday, a telephonic government session was held at which the Regulation on determining the highest retail prices of petroleum derivatives was once again adopted, as it has been being for a long time now.

According to that aforementioned Regulation, the highest retail Croatian fuel prices are calculated according to the formula according to the base price of fossil fuel in the previous fourteen-day period, with a limited premium of 0.0995 EUR/l (0.75 HRK/l) for diesel and petrol, and 0.0531 EUR/l (0.40 HRK/l) for blue diesel, and in the amount of 0.8229 EUR/kg (6.20 HRK/kg) for the mixture propane-butane for bottles, or 0.3716 EUR/kg (2.80 HRK/kg) for large containers.

The new Croatian fuel prices are active as of today (April the 11th, 2023), and this regime will be valid for the next fourteen-day period. The new prices will be as follows:

1.43 EUR/l (10.77 HRK/l) for petrol (an increase of 0.04 EUR/l)
1.33 EUR/l (10.02 HRK/l) for diesel (a reduction of 0.01 EUR/l)
0.83 EUR/l (6.25 HRK/l) for blue diesel (a reduction of 0.01 EUR/l)
1.30 EUR/kg (9.79 HRK/kg) LPG for tanks (an increase 0.01 EUR/kg)
1.86 EUR/kg (14.01 HRK/kg) LPG for bottles (an increase 0.01 EUR/kg)

If there were no government measures and if retail prices were completely freely formed at the level of premiums of energy entities before the first Regulation, Croatian fuel prices would amount to the following:

1.66 EUR/l (12.51 kn/l) for petrol
1.56 EUR/l (11.75 kn/l) for diesel
0.95 EUR/l (7.16 kn/l) for blue diesel
1.54 EUR/kg (11.60 HRK/kg) LPG for tanks
2.17 EUR/kg (16.35 HRK/kg) LPG for bottles

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

Tuesday, 11 April 2023

More Than Half of Investigations DORH Initiates Collapse, End Up Scrapped

April the 11th, 2023 - It's discouraging to say the least that more than half of the investigations DORH launches simply end up collapsing and being taken no further. With corruption and organised crime still posing a very serious threat to the wellbeing of society in Croatia, it has left many feeling even more disenchanted.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Marija Brnic writes, when it comes to legal entities, last year, DORH tried harder with its accusations, but the results ended up being even weaker than they were back during the year before. This was showcased by the recently published data of the CBS, according to which last year, state attorneys' offices made decisions on reports for 680 perpetrators of criminal offenses from among legal entities, which is an annual increase of 4.1%.

The number of those accused based on reports increased by 8.2%, from 73 to 79, but the judges declared 12.8% less legal entities responsible than they did back in in 2021, with a number of 34.

Over the past five years, the highest number of people found guilty was in 2020, a total of 49. The statistics also recorded the largest number of accused persons in that period in 2018, 99 of them, and the record number of reported cases was in 2019, when 768 were reported for criminal offenses and were also legal entities.

In the last year as well, criminal offenses against the economy prevail both in terms of reports and in accusations and judgments. Out of 680 reports, 365 of them refer to these criminal acts, while 109 reports were filed due to property damage, and 52 related to labour relations and social security issues. Increasing attention is being paid to the environment, violations against which are the reason for 16 DORH reports, much less than when there are criminal offenses against general safety (42) or official duties (32), and only one report refers to a criminal offense against intellectual property.

Of the 680 reports, 78% were rejected (531), any sort of investigation was suspended for 26 reports, and indictments were filed, therefore, only based on 123 reports, which is a 12 percent decrease compared to last year's result.

Among the 34 legal entities found responsible by the courts following a DORH investigation, we also come across the largest number of criminal offenses against the economy (49), and the largest number of fines in the range of 10,000 kuna to 50,000 kuna, 27 of them to be more precise. Only one fine was imposed in the highest financial category above the sum of 100,000 kuna, and the was the case of an offense against general security.

For more, make sure to check out our news section.

Tuesday, 11 April 2023

More and More Croatian Gun Owners, Expert Explains Why

April the 11th, 2023 - There are a growing number of Croatian gun owners, and an expert has explained that this is due to an increasing feeling of a lack of safety and security, as well as issues with the police.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, the number of Croatian gun owners and people who generally carry weapons on their person is gradually increasing, reports N1.

"This is due to the feeling of general insecurity. In many situations, it ends up turning out that when you call the police, they don't turn up. It's mentioned that there are 19,000 individual pieces of a certain weapon that Croatian gun owners possess, but this is unlikely to be as black and white as it seems, as there are many pieces of memorabilia that people own from the Homeland War. You have a large disproportion going on here, you have 250,000 Croatian gun owners who have the permitted (legal) right to keep and carry weapons, and 40,000 of them only have the right to keep them and not carry them, and these are mostly war veterans," expert Pavle Kalinic said.

"We tried to prevent the possession of weapons by short actions where people would return their weapons without facing any sort of punishment, but this did not give great results. The fact is that nothing has changed in that regard. The current estimates are that there are probably over 100,000 of a certain weapon being held at home by Croatian gun owners. I can guarantee that," he concluded.

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

Tuesday, 11 April 2023

10 Things that Amaze about Hvar's Oldest Town, Stari Grad, Croatia

April 11, 2023 - Continuing our video journey through the magical land of Croatia, 10 things that amaze about Hvar's oldest town of Stari Grad.

It was the first capital of Croatia's Premier Island.

It has its very own UNESCO World Heritage Site.

And SO much more...

I have been watching Stari Grad and its development since 2002 after I bought a house on Hvar. The slow transition to high-quality tourism has taken time, and the investments have been significant, but the results are there.

If you are looking for a destination reachable from Split which is actively shunning party tourism in favour of families, foodies, activities and sailors, Stari Grad on Hvar should be on your radar.

Find out why in this video on what I think make Stari Grad so special.

This video was made in paid partnership with the Stari Grad Tourist Board - find out more about this destination on the official website -

Video credits (and watch the full videos here)

Pointers travel

Muzej Grada Staroga Grada

Hvar TV


You can subscribe to the Paul Bradbury Croatia Expert YouTube channel here.

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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Tuesday, 11 April 2023

Discover Underground Osijek: Crypt of St Michael's Church

April 14, 2023 - Osijek is undoubtedly one of those places that keep surprising with their little secrets. Whether that's the number of parks and green areas the city offers, the IT scene that has been slowly but surely developing there, or the little gems of culture and history that pop up now and again, the capital of eastern Croatia never ceases to amaze. Today, we're exploring underground Osijek.

As SiB writes, there are many things we don't know about the places we pass by every day, and so much we don't know about the places we even walk over every day. 

Following this thought, the FB group Tajanstvena Hrvatska (Secret Croatia) received a treat from Roko Poljak, a local photographer who published his photos of the crypt under the church of St. Michael, built during the 18th century in Osijek's historic core, known as Tvrđa. Judging by the records, this crypt was in operation even before the completion of the construction of the church itself. The crypt was primarily used for Jesuit burials, as well as for other citizens who could pay for a burial, as the space was extremely limited.


The crypt occupies an area equivalent to almost three-quarters of the church and consists of a staircase, several corridors, and rooms with burial places. Unfortunately, the names of most of the deceased are not known because the inscriptions on the grave sites have long since faded, and many names were not mentioned in the list of those buried. Although today crypts under churches are a rarity, Osijek has got quite a few of them, including the church of St. Cross in Tvrđa, the Capuchin Church of St. Jakov, the church of the Most Holy Name of Mary in Donji Grad, the Chapel of St. Anna at the cemetery.


Burials in crypts were gradually banned in 1788 after the decree of Emperor Francis Joseph II, and the last recorded burial in the crypt was on August 27, 1829, although burials most likely took place until the middle of the 19th century.


The Croatian government in Zagreb had the final say on burials in crypts in 1867, which decreed that no more new tombs may be built in churches, and existing crypts must be closed if they do not have an entrance from the outside of the church. Then the door of the crypt was walled up, and the crypt remained intact until 1928 when the entrance to the crypt was accidentally discovered during work on the church. Because of the extremely thick walls, the crypt served as a bomb shelter during World War II.

Special thanks to Roko for letting us use his pictures!

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

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