Thursday, 26 August 2021

Excellent 2021 Croatian Hotel Postseason Expected

August 26, 2021 - The 2021 Croatian hotel postseason has excellent expectations, especially with September bookings. 

Based on the current state of reservations, the largest Croatian hotel houses are announcing an excellent postseason, especially in September, reports HRTurizam.

Although the end of school holidays in Croatia in our most important countries will significantly reduce the number of guests in family accommodation and camping, announcements for hotel accommodation are excellent.

“We are especially looking forward to the return of groups, whether it is events, congresses, or trips of special interest. Following the epidemiological instructions received from the national and local civil protection headquarters, careful preparation is the key to successfully implementing the stay of larger groups of tourists. It is estimated that based on market interest, about 800 hotels (80-90% of the number of hotels now open) would continue to operate during September and thus further improve the results achieved so far," said Veljko Ostojić, director of the Croatian Tourism Association.

Croatia remains the epidemiologically safest EU country in the Mediterranean. This is confirmed by comparisons of all relevant public health institutes. For example, according to the 14-day incidence, the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control ECDC ranks Croatia 8th on the list of EU members in terms of security, with a significantly better epidemiological situation than other Mediterranean countries.

The German Robert Koch Institute, which monitors Croatia by counties, did not put any county in Croatia on the list of risk areas in the last update on August 20, while all Mediterranean countries have been on that list for weeks. Also, on the European map updated daily by the American Johns Hopkins University, according to the rolling 7-day average of new cases per 100,000 inhabitants, Croatia has a significantly better situation than its Mediterranean competition.

Two counties that attract a total of more than half of tourists to Croatia, Istria and Primorje-Gorski Kotar County, also have a better epidemiological situation than the national average. Istria County has a 14-day incidence of 46 new cases per 100,000 inhabitants, and Primorje-Gorski Kotar County has an incidence of 55, making these two counties a safer environment for most tourists from Europe than they have in their home countries.

On Wednesday, 677 new cases were recorded, so the number of active cases in Croatia on Wednesday was a total of 2,951. Among them, 356 patients are in hospital, of which 46 are on a respirator. In the past 24 hours, 282 people recovered, and 10,453 were tested.

The jump in new cases in Croatia is worrying, and everyone in tourism has been anxiously awaiting Thursday when the new ECDC epidemiological map comes out. Although there is the worry that Croatia will turn red this week, it is certain that such a drastic drop, i.e., the number of tourists, will not happen again, like last year.

However, this year, the context and situation are different, as a large number of the population has been vaccinated or contracted Covid-19. Additionally, test centers have been secured, and, regardless of the spread of the Delta variant, much more is still known about the coronavirus. Therefore, the biggest problem may be caused by the possible need for quarantine, which would certainly lead to a drastic decline in tourists in Croatia. 

For all you need to know about coronavirus specific to the Republic of Croatia, including test centres, vaccination points, and travel and border rules, make sure to check out and bookmark our dedicated COVID-19 section and select your preferred language.

Tuesday, 17 August 2021

500 Would-be Small Croatian Hotels Hindered by Outdated Regulations

August the 17th, 2021 - As many as 500 small Croatian hotels with forward-thinking owners are being hampered by Croatia's draconian, outdated rules and regulations. The pressing matter is set to be discussed soon.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Marija Crnjak writes, the topic of the non-competitive match between small family hotels and private accommodation will be on the table in a few days at a meeting with the Minister of Tourism Nikolina Brnjac, this time at the initiative of the group of small luxury hotels - Stories. The topic was already opened at last week's meeting of the sector with Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic, as has since been learned.

“We have a lot of facilities that are de facto hotels, so they falsely present themselves on rental platforms, and operate as apartments or rooms, and consequently have significantly lower operating costs and tax burdens, which is why they represent unfair competition to small Croatian hotels which cater primarily to families.

At the same time, we can see that it's the segment of small Croatian hotels which are classed as luxury across the country that are recording great business results, a segment that fills the budget and creates added value for destinations. The Croatian Government is aware of the problems, and we'll soon discuss the details with the competent Ministry,'' Nenad Nizic, president of the Stories group and the owner of the Vestibul Palace hotel in Split stated.

The goal is to devise new incentive measures to strengthen the segment of small Croatian hotels, which currently has about 400 facilities, with great potential, but above all, regulations need to be changed.

Namely, small Croatian hotels still have the same standards as large ones have, which imposes high business costs and demotivates businessmen. The transformation of part of the private/apartment accommodation into small hotels, with the opening of new facilities, was one of the failed tasks defined by the previous Tourism Development Strategy.

The National Programme for the Development of Small Family Hospitality from 2013 envisaged the creation of a more appropriate and stimulating institutional environment for the development of small family hospitality units, through more flexible labour legislation, the less rigid prescribing of minimum technical requirements and the establishment of financial or fiscal incentives. Quite unsurprisingly, absolutely none of this was ever actually implemented.

Anamarija Cicarelli, the founder of a family accommodation counseling centre with many years of experience in renting rooms in and around Split under her belt, shared her experience:

"As the former owner of a building with eight apartments which could accommodate 45 guests, I'd be very happy to convert it into a hotel, but due to a number of technical requirements, it was too expensive.

For example, the law requires a small Croatian hotel to have an internal staircase, a reception, a breakfast room, and if I only invested in that then my project wouldn't be sustainable, and at the same time there are many criteria that are no longer crucial for the quality service of a small hotel. There are a lot of such examples on the market, we meet more and more owners who would like to expand their business, but the current requirements for categorisation discourage them,'' warned Cicarelli.

She pointed out that in Dalmatia there are more and more landlords who, due to the increasing turnover, are moving from the status of natural persons in terms of property rental to legal entities. This brings with it higher costs, but also better creditworthiness and opportunities to invest in quality, and thus higher profits.

There are currently about 400 small family hotels across Croatia, and several incentive measures were crucial for their development at the beginning of this century, such as the Incentive for Success lending programme and Under the Old Roofs.

It can be seen from the Croatian eVisitor system that about 600 thousand beds in private/family accommodation are currently owned by natural persons, while 101 thousand such beds are owned by legal entities. Nearly 400 privately owned properties offering breakfast services are available on in September.

This represents a proverbial pool from which at least another 500 small Croatian hotels could be recruited. If Austria and Greece have 10,000 such hotels each, and there are over 23,000 in neighbouring Italy, this would be just the beginning of more serious and rational development for Croatia.

For more, follow our business section.

Monday, 19 July 2021

Terme Sveti Martin First Hotel in Croatia Awarded EU Ecolabel

ZAGREB, 19 July 2021 - The Terme Sveti Martin hotel in Međimurje is the first hotel in Croatia to receive the EU Ecolabel after it met the relevant 22 criteria about general management, energy efficiency, the use of renewable resources, rational water consumption, reduced waste, and proper waste management.

Tourism Minister Nikolina Brnjac presented the EU Ecolabel to the hotel's director Igor Nekić at a ceremony held on Monday in the hotel located in the town of Sveti Martin na Muri, the ministry said on Monday.

The EU Ecolabel is approved by the Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development for products and services that motivate innovations and contribute to the aim of the EU's climate neutrality by 2050 and the circular economy.

Congratulating the hotel on that important step towards sustainable business and a sustainable destination, Minister Brnjac recalled that market surveys around the world have shown that guests no longer look for massive tourism but that they prefer sustainable and ecologically aware destinations that provide an authentic experience and an active vacation and services providing health tourism which comprehends spas and wellness treatments.

She said that the government encourages and invests in developing green and sustainable tourism through its National Recovery and Resilience Plan and the Multiannual Financial Framework.

The Terme Sveti Martin comprises the hotel, apartments, a wellness center, and other amenities. There are more than 200 people employed in this establishment.

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

Tuesday, 6 July 2021

Overnight Stay Share Rises in June as Croatian Hotels Regain Momentum

July the 6th, 2021 - The share of overnight stays realised in Croatian hotels as the epidemiological situation improves thanks to vaccinations has risen, providing hope for the height of the 2021 tourist season which is yet to come.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Marija Crnjak writes, unlike the first pandemic-dominated year in which Croatian hotels sadly had the lowest occupancy of all accommodation segments, hotels this year can be relieved at least in that regard, as can already be seen from the first tourist statistics.

Although the busiest traffic is still expected, in the first half of the year, Croatian hotels had 83 percent more overnight stays than last year during the same period, and in June there were as many as 2.8 times more overnight stays realised than in June last year. No less important, currently out of a total of 1187 Croatian hotels, 846 of them have been opened, 200 more than were open before the peak of the last summer season.

What has changed? There is also some maths to be looked at in this equation, as Croatian hotels were closed to a greater extent last year due to epidemiological measures than this year, but again, until recently the borders were barely open to tourists. With the vaccination programme giving tourism some optimism as opposed to the uncertainty of 2020, what has perhaps changed the most is the perception of guests this year.

This year, many guests see Croatian hotels as safe facilities, whose service and organisation of operations can guarantee guests will not get infected. This is due to the fact that last year no tourist staying in any of the Croatian hotels was recorded as having caught coronavirus from a facility. Then came the introduction of the national Safe Stay certificate.

"In 2020, Croatian hotels, when we compare all types of accommodation capacities, had the largest decrease in arrivals and overnight stays when compared to 2019. The index of arrivals was 24.36 percent, and overnight stays 27.12 percent. The lowest quality hotels had the smallest decline, which is proof that quality is in demand in the conditions of this crisis and is certainly a signpost for the future,'' pointed out Bernard Zenzerovic, the director of the Croatian Hotel Employers Association (UPUHH).

He noted that the success of this summer season will be measured by its length, if we're in the green all summer and during the post-season then we can expect great results.

Croatian tourism success will also be counted in terms of revenue, and Croatian hotels are known to be the strongest link in the sector in that regard, all the more so because the pandemic hasn't significantly lowered hotel accommodation prices.

Current figures from eVisitor from the Croatian National Tourist Board indicate that overnight stays spent in Croatian hotels in the first half of the year accounted for 23 percent of total overnight stays realised, compared to 19 percent last year. So far this year, the largest share of overnight stays of about 30 percent is held by private accommodation, which in the pre-pandemic year of 2019 was still slightly lower (27 percent), while hotel overnight stays in 2019 amounted to 35 percent of total tourist traffic.

With 3.5 million overnight stays (at 660 thousand arrivals), compared to 2019, family/private accommodation is currently at about 48 percent of turnover, while hotels are at 29 percent of the realisation of overnight stays when compared to 2019.

The Association of Hoteliers points out the data of the Hotel Benchmarking study conducted by the Faculty of Management in Tourism and Hospitality from Opatija, that in accordance with the increase in the number of overnight stays in June, the utilisation rate of work capacity in hotels increased from 7.18 percent in May 2020 to 26 , 97 percent in May 2021.

"But when we know that the capacity utilisation rate in hotels was 65.76 percent in May 2019, according to the same study, we can see that there's a long way to go ahead of us to reach that record year," explained Zenzerovic.

The quality of service and investment in numerous protocols have contributed to the growth of guests' trust in Croatian hotels, noted Zenzerovic.

"Croatian hoteliers have decided to create their own health & safety programmes and protocols, as well as branding, promotion and cooperation with international certification companies in order to emphasise this component that is currently crucial for guests. We've shown all guests that we know how to set up and manage hotel operations in a way that provides them with the pleasure of staying there while respecting epidemiological measures. This is exactly the capital we're bringing into the tourist year 2021. At the same time, projects such as "Safe stay in Croatia" raise the image of Croatia as a safe destination. All of the above gives us reason for optimism regarding the business performance of the hotels, and we expect a better season than last year,'' concluded Zenzerovic.

Vaccination is also considered an important link for optimism. Spring polls show that 70 percent of hotel staff want to be vaccinated against the novel coronavirus, and they are now dealing with an estimate that about 60 percent of the entire Croatian tourism sector has been vaccinated.

For more, follow our dedicated travel section.

Tuesday, 29 June 2021

Varazdin Hotel Turist to Open Doors Thanks to Spancirfest

June the 29th, 2021 - The Varazdin Hotel Turist, which is one of the most significant tourist facilities in the town, has faced some questions of late. It seems that despite rumors, it will not be altering in any way and will soon open its doors to visitors once again.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Darko Bicak writes, following a change in the ownership structure of the most important tourist accommodation facility in this Northern Croatian town, the Varazdin Turist Hotel, at the end of last year, there was a fear in the baroque city that they could be left without significant accommodation capacities because the new owner allegedly planned to turn it into a retirement home.

Late last week came information that the hotel should open its doors soon. Namely, as the new mayor of Varazdin, Neven Bosilj, said, the Varazdin Hotel Turist will be in function for Spancirfest, and the new rooms will have 4 stars.

“I spoke to Darko Kisicek, the new owner. We talked about the opening of the Varazdin Hotel Turist, the full arrangement of which is set to be completed over the coming days. It will be a capacity increase of 60 rooms with 120 four-star beds. It has been promised that for Spancirfest, the hotel will be operational, so we'll have increased capacities for receiving foreign guests,'' said Mayor Bosilj.

He adds that he doesn't know whether the renovated space will be a nursing home, a senior hotel or something else, and that he doesn't want to enter the business policies or plans of the owner.

The Varazdin Hotel Turist is otherwise the largest hotel in all of Varazdin, which has been operating since 1964, and was privatised in 1991. For the next 30 years it operated under the ownership of the Bek family. Its capacity was 174 beds in 46 single and 58 double rooms, and the hotel has become well known for its conference facilities over recent years because it could accommodate about 500 guests in its halls. Before the coronavirus crisis struck, it employed 69 employees, and in 2019 it had a revenue of 16.2 million kuna.

At the end of last year, the Varazdin Trading Company (TPV) took over the ownership of the Turist company, which manages the Varazdin hotel of the same name.

For more, follow our business section.

Thursday, 22 April 2021

Croatian Accommodation Providers Must Adapt for Tourism Recovery

April the 22nd, 2021 - The ongoing coronavirus pandemic has changed the whole world as we know it. Working from home has proven more than possible in several sectors in which it was previously unimaginable, and the leisure and tourism industry, which has taken among the hardest blows, will have to change considerably. Croatian accommodation providers will need to adapt as guest habits change and recovery begins.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Marija Crnjak writes, summer resorts are a growing focus of investors of late, as this segment of tourism is expected to be the first to recover after the coronavirus crisis finally draws to a close, and despite the fact that issues continue to persist seemingly unrelentingly, optimism still reigns in the sector.

That being said, investors and decision-makers must keep in mind that the pandemic has changed guest behaviour and accelerated hotel business transformation trends, primarily through the development of mixed-use resorts and residential properties, as was explained by Philip Bacon, the director of planning, development, valuation at Horwath HTL, in an interview for Hospitality Insights magazine. As Croatian tourism and Croatian accommodation providers rely heavily on summer resorts, alterations and adaptations are in the works.

This crisis is lasting longer than expected. What keeps your hopes high?

I believe there are differences between where we were a year ago and where we are today, and that tourism will continue to show resilience and introduce innovations that will save the day. It's important to keep in mind that this virus will not simply disappear, we're all going to simply have to learn to live with it. The good thing is that this isn't a demand crisis but a supply crisis, and with more than a year of working from home, we've never stopped working with our clients, helping them plan for the future and aiding them to adapt to changes in consumer behaviour brought by the pandemic.

This bizarre situation has served to accelerate some trends which were already taking place before 2020: a focus on healthcare and wellness, combining work, travel and private life anywhere in the world, the power of technology to connect people more effectively and efficiently, and the importance of truly sustainable values, especially those related to the production and consumption of energy and food. There's also the realisation that in tourism you cannot simply sit back and take anything for granted, where there are still only two types of hotels, the ones that needs to be changed and the ones that you have to demolish.

Numerous hotel companies that have developed business or city tourism are now turning to resorts. What advice would you give them?

We mustn't forget that bringing urban hotels to the beach was a good idea about 40 or 50 years ago, but that the world has changed significantly since then and guests are no longer attracted to the 20-square-metre air-conditioned room spread over several floors with narrow hallways. The way of life and the demands of guests have changed, and it is time to give people what they want, not what you already have, which is why the transformation of summer resorts across Europe has already begun. Today’s guests, especially when it comes to families and small groups, want a much more independent, residential style of accommodation, combined with excellent service when and where it's needed. As a result, more and more hotel operators are looking for a real estate concept, and this pandemic has only heightened the value of that approach.

Furthermore, it's time for a rethink in terms of the concept of health and wellness and we need to use it to create more reasons for people to come to a certain facility - the breadth and depth of the health and wellness segment is so extensive that today there's no reason not to put it at the centre of creating a measurable competitive advantage.

Which regions will be the first to return to the game when it comes to holiday tourism?

Currently, the possibility of safe travel without too many practical problems will determine the rate of re-growth for individual destinations in the short term. We're already seeing plans to create passenger corridors between countries based on a set of rules. This can create some short-term shifts in travel patterns, and of course, short trips close to home will be more popular, which could lead to rural destinations around the world being recognised as being just as attractive as beach resorts.

Places that offer a sense of space and place a real emphasis on health and wellness will be what many people are looking for now, and I believe this could become a long-term habit of guests. We'll also see a growing interest in travel involving adventurous experiences with little impact on the environment, especially to more remote regions of the world. This comes down in part to a change in generational attitudes that had already begun a few years ago, and what is interesting is the convergence of the older generation and the younger generation in terms of values ​​and behaviour. I think we’ll see more of that, as well as less strict segmentation based on age groups. What brings people together is their shared values.

How has the pandemic affected the real estate segment in the rental market?

Most of the development projects that have preoccupied me over the last year have been either combined-purpose projects (hotel and branded residences) or have focused on service apartments, either in urban centres or in resorts. Even before the pandemic struck, we knew we could work from home, and the digital nomad wasn't something simply thought up and invented last year. When travelling away from their primary place of residence, many will look for a place where they can easily set up their home offices and work.

Some guests want to stay longer than the holidays, and this will affect the operation of such resorts. We're also seeing a growing interest in residential private membership clubs, both in urban areas and in resorts. The desire to meet the people you're sharing a holiday with is stronger than ever.

Branded residences have long been a great opportunity for tourism and that's why they're still finding ready and willing buyers all over the world. That's why more and more hotel chains are entering the market of branded housing and the market of short-term and long-term rent. There are more and more projects that aren't putting much focus on the traditional hotel room, but instead are offering more flexible forms of accommodation in a residential style that can be used in multiple segments and at different times of the year.

For more on Croatian accommodation in 2021, from high end hotels to hostels and everything in between, make sure to bookmark our dedicated section.

Saturday, 17 April 2021

Heritage Hotel Fermai Split: MGallery Hotel Brand Comes to Dalmatian City

April the 17th, 2021 - The ongoing coronavirus pandemic has shelved many a previously planned investment, placing business plans firmly on pause and waiting for better times. The Heritage Hotel Fermai Split hotel was just one project which faced delays, but didn't let the global crisis stop it entirely.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Marija Crnjak writes, the pandemic postponed the opening of a planned new hotel in the Dalmatian city for a year now, the Heritage Hotel Fermai Split, which will open its doors in May, and from July it will operate under the prestigious brand MGallery of the global hotel chain Accor.

This is the result of a long-term franchise agreement between Accora and Quatro Company, a local construction company owned by Ivan Pulic, for whom this is the first entry into the hotel business.

All on their own, they renovated the old rectory building a few steps from Diocletian's Palace, invested a total of 5.5 million euros in a boutique hotel with 35 rooms, a cafe and a garden terrace, and entered the popular MGallery chain. The building itself is the work of architect Petar Senjanovic from back in 1914, and the interior was signed by Studio Franic Sekoranja.

“The designers did a fantastic job and we implemented all their solutions, so the partners from Accor provided us with a contract without any adjustments as soon as they visited the facility, with praise for both the project and the performance, which makes us especially happy. We're in the process of joining and we'll enter the chain on July the 1st, we'll open the Heritage Hotel Fermai Split at the beginning of May,'' Denis Pulic, the sales director of the aforementioned company, stated. The hotel will employ about 25 people, and the name ''Fermai'' was given as an honour to a localism which means "stop, wait".

“Croatia, and especially Split, are the perfect place for all those who want a dream summer holiday. Each MGallery hotel offers its guests unforgettable moments and rituals of relaxation. The Hotel Heritage Fermai Split will provide the most authentic experience of Mediterranean culture to travellers coming to Split from all over the world,'' said Dilek Sezer, Accora's Director of Development for Southeastern Europe in a recent statement.

It's worth mentioning that Pulic started cooperating with Accor a few years ago when they had a plan to build a 150-room hotel in Split that would be carried by the Mercure brand, but this project is still awaiting GUP changes and is not currently in the company's focus.

Collaborating with Accor on the Heritage Hotel Fermai Split project was logical as it fits into the philosophy of the MGallery brand, a luxury 4 and 5 star hotel chain that promotes authenticity and local architecture and heritage, design and history. Back in pre-pandemic 2019, Accor removed Sofitel from the brand name, and their plan is to develop MGallery in new, undiscovered destinations in addition to global capitals.

"Through a franchise agreement with such a global brand, we get their know-how and sales channel, their reservation system, with our own pricing policy and management, which suits us very well," explained Pulic, who hopes that this tourist season the hotel will bring enough traffic at least to cover costs, although it is currently very difficult to make predictions because of the ongoing public health crisis.

Unlike the tourism business, which was devastated by the unrelenting pandemic, the sale of apartments in Split is going very well and the coronavirus crisis is failing to affect the growth of real estate prices, confirmed Denis Pulic.

The company is signing for a number of luxury residential and business projects in Split, including serviced apartments in the Bel Etage project, which worked in cooperation with investors from both Germany and Russia. The successful realisation led them to embark on Bel Etage 2, a similar project in which they entered independently, and the apartments are already sold at an average of 3.5 thousand euros per square metre.

For more on Croatian hotels and other forms of accommodation, from hostels to private houses and everything in between, make sure to check out our dedicated section.

Friday, 16 April 2021

Brand New Opatija Riviera Hotel Being Constructed in Autumn

April the 16th, 2021 - Yet another beautiful Opatija Riviera hotel is set to be constructed in autumn this year, bringing yet more luxury to this picturesque part of Croatia.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Marija Crnjak writes, although there are still a lot of challenges ahead of this Opatija Riviera hotel project, the construction of a brand new luxury hotel next to the marina in Icici should begin this year. It marks an investment from the Hungarian entrepreneur Lorinz Meszaros worth a massive 50 million euros, which may bring a new global hotel brand to Kvarner.

Optimism despite the ongoing coronavirus crisis

Denis Sikljan, the owner of the DDG Group, which developed the project on the land of a former hospital, which covers 20,000 square metres next to Marina Icici, confirmed that the main project has faced delays because of the pandemic.

The new Opatija Riviera hotel will be a five star facility with 180 rooms and 12 villas, next to which a square for public use will be built, and the project includes the construction of an access road, a pedestrian bridge to the sea, and a new rainwater drainage system from Ucka. Fountains, shopping facilities and complete horticultural landscaping are planned on the public square, which will become the new center of Icici.

"We're very optimistic about it all, although we do still have a lot of work to do, precisely because a number of public institutions are involved in all of this, from the state to local government and public companies, and it involves a series of permits that must be obtained for implementation.

For now, everything is going according to plan, although slower because the pandemic has slowed down the administrative processes, and part of the property status of some of the land needs to be resolved. Once the works start, and we expect them to begin to be right after this summer season, everything should be completed within two calendar years.

It would have been earlier, but we have to take into account the ban on such work during the tourist season, which automatically takes away eight months of work,'' revealed Sikljan, who took over the project from Karlovacka banka after the bankruptcy of Industrogradnja, which initially purchased it from KBC Rijeka. There used to be a hospital for lung diseases on the land, and it end up being left totally neglected for a long time.

The investor, Meszaros, is known to the public as the owner of NK Osijek, and he connected with Sikljan, a well-known developer of luxury tourist projects in Kvarner, mostly on Krk, through sport.

The investor profile

The company that is implementing the project in Icici is Rivas Hotels & Resort, registered back at the end of 2019 in Rijeka, and its founder is the company Talentis group, owned by the family of Lorinzo Meszaros.

The company has 30 hotels in its portfolio in Austria, Hungary, Romania and Montenegro, and soon plans to develop a strategy for its expansion in Croatia, with Icici as the first hotel project.

Meszaros is also the owner of the company Mirno more, which owns Vila Maria in the bay of Ceprljanda in Ugljan, and reached the eyes of the media when five years ago a group of hooligans shot at the windows in the house where national team member Ivan Rakitic was staying with his family.

The Talentis Group points out on its Linkedin profile that it is one of the most prestigious investors in Hungary, which is currently developing a new innovative city on 5,000 hectares, with more than 300 real estate projects in the western suburbs of the capital city of Budapest.

Over the last few years, they have completed projects worth more than 100 million euros in total, and in addition to hotel facilities, they have also developed a shopping centre and logistics centres.

For more on upcoming business ventures and projects in Croatia, follow our dedicated section.

Wednesday, 7 April 2021

Opening of Fascinating New Dugi Otok Hotel to Attract Attention

April the 7th, 2021 - The opening of the doors of a very interesting new Dugi Otok hotel is set to attract a lot of attention despite the ongoing pandemic and the difficulties both business and tourism continue to face.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Marta Duic writes, the brand new Dugo Otok hotel, more precisely Villa Nai 3.3 in Zman, is on course to open its doors on May the 28th this year. The conceptual design of the building was designed by academician Nikola Basic back in 2013, and it was designed on isohypsis, which gives it an unexpected and deeply unusual geometric shape.

This is a project that received support from measure 4.2 and was created with the support of both the HBOR and the ESIF loan through HAMAG-BICRO.

As Goran Morovic explained, who, in addition to the production of organic olive oil, is also entering the tourism business with the opening of this new Dugi Otok hotel, it is a facility surrounded by a thousand olive and other fruit trees. The yard of the building stretches out for about four hectares, and their family farm normally takes care of six of those hectares.

“Villa Nai 3.3 is an exceptional architectural and construction achievement, designed by academician Nikola Basic. It's a facility that fits perfectly into the landscape of the island and the microlocation inside the olive groves. Under the same roof, there are eight accommodation units, an olive oil tasting room and a small oil mill "in charge" of processing the olives grown from its own olive grove, as well as a small shop selling Croatian products,'' Morovic pointed out.

A five star organic farm

The excavated stone was used for the production of concrete and stone cladding, and additional facilities include an outdoor overflow base, an indoor pool with a wellness area, a spa with treatments based on olive products, a cigar/smoking room, a lobby bar and a tennis court.

It's worth adding that this new Dugi Otok hotel is already a member of The Leading Hotels of the World, and their May opening was announced by Forbes magazine, which declared them one of the nine new addresses to head to for the summer ahead of us.

Morovic pointed out that the accommodation units, a total of five deluxe rooms and three deluxe suites are individually decorated and each of them has access to the terrace. He added that attention is paid to every detail, from the design and quality of the furniture, the bedding, the bathtubs and walk-in showers to the floor and wall coverings, and the total accommodation capacity is sixteen people.

The basis of all dishes sold within the new Dugi Otok hotel are foods of organic origin, grown on ecologically clean island land or caught in the Adriatic sea, and the wine list offers a selected selection of Croatian wines and international classics, a total of more than 200 labels, according to Morovic, who with his wife Nives, also produces organic extra virgin olive oil.

As many as 1,100 trees

Their olive grove covers five hectares and boasts 1,100 trees, a third of which are centuries-old, and the rest have been planted in the last fifteen or so years.

The branding for the new Dugi Otok hotel was entrusted to the Bruketa & Zinic & Gray agency, and the chosen name Nai means snow in the Dalmatian-Romance, extinct language of the area.

For more, follow our travel and business pages.

Friday, 5 March 2021

Jadran Crikvenica Weighs Up Upcoming Tourist Season with Caution

March the 5th, 2021 - Jadran Crikvenica stood out during a difficult 2020 for its continued business expansion despite the less than favourable economic circumstances which saw many other companies shelve planned investments and put their keys in their locks. How do things stand now?

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Suzana Varosanec writes, the Crikvenica-based hotel company Jadran was saved from bankruptcy´s proverbial jaws. After that, and after going through all of the associated pre-bankruptcy agony, it was privatised under the ownership of two pension funds and is currently facing a unique challenge, very well known in the Croatian hotel industry to smaller entities.

As touched on above, during the difficult pandemic-dominated year of 2020, Jadran Crikvenica was one of the few large Croatian hotel companies to significantly expand its business capacities, partly through the long-term lease of new capacities and partly through the reconstruction of existing capacities started back in 2019.

Could that fateful decision now end up firing back at them like a boomerang? Possibly. The treatment of new units when it comes to being permitted state aid for job preservation is not yet known and it is doubtful whether the development will be treated positively in order for the company to use this measure in the continuation of business activities in rented facilities for the Easter period. Perhaps it is better not to begin working yet, in the case that the turnover of accommodation units which were not in use back in 2019 is not excluded from the company´s income.

All these investments bring greater competitiveness and higher prices, and thus the comparison of revenues in 2019 and 2021 should be taken with a grain of salt. Things, under these dire circumstances, continue to sit firmly in the hands of the state, which would have no real negative effects if Jadran Crikvenica, as well as other such smaller entities in the tourism industry, were to be approved such measures, because if there was no lease agreement, the financial aid would be paid out to the actual hotel owners.

The high level of indebtedness of the parent company and the Jadran Group does not jeopardise current liquidity, but it is a logical business interest that the capacity for hotel business within Jadran Crikvenica, which increased by 25 percent last year in the sense of solid capacity and more than 17 percent in terms of total capacity, do not just sit there empty.

They still have a lot of units of lower categories, but for the second year in a row they have to consider the Lisanj Hotel in Novi Vinodolski, which will have 220 accommodation units, and the Garden Palace Resort in Umag with 109 such units. Hotel Noemia in Baska Voda also has 63 4-star accommodation units.

All these new capacities were created as a classic "green feel" or through the reconstruction of existing old capacities of a lower category. These are facilities that are new, and were taken out on a long-term lease precisely in order to create the preconditions for extending the tourist season, and thus enable the better use of existing resources, with an emphasis on the employment of permanent workers.

While the Esplanade Hotel in Crikvenica opened its doors this Monday, for the hotels in Novi Vinodolski and Umag, as they claim, management wants the same because of the high quality and the fact that they are located in destinations one can more or less easily drive to.

"By opening up these facilities, we want to send out the message that we are here, we´re present on the market, and that we are above all else confident in these new circumstances, and that is why we want to enter the market as soon as possible," said Jadran Crikvenica´s CEO Goran Fabris.

With the earlier opening of these facilities, new revenue wil be generated, the local tourist board will be able to collect the sojourn/tourist tax, the state will get its VAT, and employees will actually be able to do some work, which brings with it higher salaries. However, the prices realised in the early season are not at the level of those in the peak of it, so profitability is naturally reduced. Looking exclusively through the glasses of maths, sometimes it is better not to work and exercise the right to grants instead, than to work and lose that right entirely.

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