Saturday, 9 March 2019

Could Next Month Mark the End of Croatian Tourism's Grey Market?

Croatian tourism continues to boom throughout the warm summer months, with visitors from across the globe descending not only on some of the country's most popular coastal destinations like Dubrovnik and Split, but further afield to hidden gems located in the rolling hills of the continental parts of the country, including but not limited to Zagreb, but gradually stretching all the way over to overlooked Eastern Croatia.

The more money a sector generates, the more loopholes can be found. The more complicated an industry becomes, the more clauses can be discovered by those who perhaps don't intend to use the system, but rather attempt to cheat it. 

From not registering guests staying in your privately owned accommodation facilities, to not registering said facilities with the appropriate authorities and the tax office, all the way to playing taxi and raking in thousands, there have always been those wanting to get as much as possible out of Croatian tourism and the hustle and bustle of the summer season, without having to jump through any of the burdensome hoops licensed entities have to. Could a new law on its way next month put a stop to that ''tradition''? Maybe.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 8th of March, 2019, the purpose of the upcoming legal changes, as was argued in the competent ministry, is not aimed at punishing people but rather at attempting to raise the overall quality of the tourist services provided. Unregistered activity, or work in so-called grey zone - is considered to be Croatian tourism's very personal plague. However, the new law, which comes into force on April the 1st, should change that.

All contained in one unified service, as it once used to be, there are seventeen types of inspections which have been operating within eight different ministries so far. Come April, any inspector will be able to record so called ''rad na crno'' (working on the black/unregistered) and issue an oral ban on the spot right there and then.

The Croatian Government considers that the consolidation of such types of inspections, or perhaps more correctly the re-establishing of an independent state inspectorate, will be much more efficient and functional. When it comes to Croatian tourism, it will enable a clearer and more concrete fight against the apparent ''plague'' of the black and grey economy.

''Now, aside from tourist inspectors, all inspectors have the right not only to deal with unregistered facilities but also those who are suspected of being unregistered,'' explained Tonči Glavina, State Secretary at the Ministry of Tourism, for HTV.

As stated, the government has claimed that the new law is not aimed purely at seeking out people to make examples of and punish, but rather to create a better environment in Croatian tourism for all. They claim that many people involved in this business need to be educated. They are not well acquainted with the laws, regulations, procedures, and therefore it is education that is missing, and not just control.

Make sure to follow our dedicated lifestylepolitics and business pages for much more.

Tuesday, 5 March 2019

Shopping in Slovenia or Croatia - Which Country Pays Off?

Croatia's infamous VAT is throwing prices around much more than one might expect at first when shopping in Lidl or Spar. Just how does your weekly shop in Croatia compare to a weekly shop in neighbouring Slovenia?

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 5th of March, 2019, when taking a walk through six Slovenian and Croatian shops, it didn't take long to realise that retailers are struggling with their own branded goods, which are already sold at relatively low prices, and they could actually save well on them.

The popular Italian retail chain Eurospin, known for its discount prices, hasn't yet opened its doors in Croatia, but it can be revealed that the retail companty is indeed looking for locations for its stores across the country. It also has its own website in Croatian language on which the following has been published: "Still a little more patience ... We're coming."

A group of 24sata journalists from Croatia visited their store in Laško in neighbouring Slovenia to check if their prices really are lower than their competitors, and what prices were in comparison to the Croatian market.

They selected a basket of fourteen different products and compared then - Eurospin was cheaper than the first competitor in Slovenia by just a few lipa.

They also compared the prices in Slovenian stores with those in Croatia - some shopping baskets are very much the same, and the difference between the cheapest Slovenian product and the most expensive Croatian one is 22 kuna. However, it should be borne in mind that Slovenians have two tax rates applied when it comes to retail - 22 and 9.5 percent, and they also have a lower VAT rate (surprise, surprise) than is applied in Croatia, of 25 and 13 percent.

Eurospin appears very similar to the already popular Lidl.

When comparing the cheapest Slovenian and cheapest Croatian basket, the difference is 10.82 kuna. There were, as stated, forteen different products in the basket. When looking around on February the 25th of this year, the group of Croatian journalists visited the popular Slovenian shops including Eurospin, Lidl, Spar, and Mercator, the majority owner of which is Croatia's formerly ailing Agrokor.

They tried to find the cheapest products (flour, oil, butter...). When comparing detergents and softeners, they looked for products that were cheaper per litre, regardless of the size of the packaging, ie, whether the product volume is one, two, four litres...

Their cart showed that Eurospin was actually slightly more expensive than Croatia's beloved Lidl, at least on that day - by 2.30 kuna, Spar was cheaper by 3.60 kuna, and Mercator was cheaper by a not so insignificant 21.53 kuna.

Eurospin and Lidl have been shown to have relatively similar prices, and according to their trade concept, each reminds one of the other. Spar, which had the biggest store in Laško, had similar and sometimes identical prices as those in Eurospin. Only Mercator was considerably more expensive than the others, but their overall offer, just like at Spar, was much richer than that of Lidl and Eurospin.

The Italian discount store, just like Lidl, often only offers its own brands on it shelves, or products made by only one manufacturer - for example, only one type of oil, one type of sugar, one type of flour, etc.

The 24sata journalists compared the products purchased over in Slovenia to those in Lidl and Spar in Zagreb the following day, once again searching for the cheapest of all.

The most expensive shopping basket in Zagreb was from Lidl and it was 13.67 kuna more expensive than Eurospin in Slovenia. Let's remember, it should be taken into account that VAT in Croatia is higher certainly has a big influence over Croatian prices. The cheapest basket was from Spar in Zagreb, but when compared to Eurospin in Slovenia, it was still more expensive - by 8.52 kuna.

Make sure to stay up to date by following our dedicated business page.


Click here for the original article by Ivancica Ladisic and Katarina Dimitrijevic Hrnjkas for 24sata

Saturday, 23 February 2019

Nike Factory Store Confirms Departure from Republic of Croatia

Amid the to all-too-frequent flow of unwelcome and typically uninspiring economic news from across the country, the Nike Factory Store has now closed its stores, offering no public explanation or concrete reason for the unfortunate move, as yet.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 23rd of February, 2019, Croatia's Nike Factory Store officially closed its doors over the last few days. received the official news of the hugely popular sport brand decision to close  its wholesale and retail trade in Croatia from Nike itself. The popular Nike Factory Store, which has been operating out of Roses Designer Outlet in the Croatian capital of Zagreb for ten years now, has been closed down.

While what appears to be a rather sudden move can easily spark questions and speculation as to what has been being going on behind closed doors from many, Nike has not yet publicly stated the reason(s) behind their departure from the Repubic of Croatia, but the giant brand made sure to emphasise the fact that their company's business operations on the Croatian market will continue to be pursued online, through websites and via mobile applications, as well as via existing distributors and retail partners.

Make sure to stay up to date with our dedicated business and news pages for more information on not only Nike Factory Outlet's closure, but on news from up and down the country, and for the latest information on doing business in Croatia and the country's current investment and business climate.

If it's just what's going on in the capital that interests you, give Total Zagreb a follow.

Monday, 4 February 2019

Dubrovnik Police Handed 43.8 Kilograms of Marijuana

A suspicious discovery as Dubrovnik police discover sodden packets of marijuana washed up in and around the city.

During the winter along the southern Dalmatian coast, numerous rather odd objects and suspicious packages end up being washed up. From waste dragged up by the strong currents from the south ending up caught in Dubrovnik's harbour, to packets of marijuana lying around on the beach, Dubrovnik plays host to some unusual debris at this time of year.

Marijuana has been discovered by people just going about their business on several occasions along the southern Dalmatian coast, where it appears to have been dropped typically by passing vessels travelling between Albania and Montenegro and Italy.

It appears that the mysterious marijuana packages have returned, as Dubrovnik police end up receiving yet more discoveries from the shoreline.

As Morski writes on the 4th of February, 2019, last weekend, Dubrovnik police found two sea soaked packages of marijuana with a total weight of 43.8 kg in two different locations, more specifically the seafront in Dubrovnik itself and considerably further away on the island of Šipan, which is part of the picturesque Elaphite islands that lie just north of Dubrovnik.

The discovered packets of marijuana are now being stored at the official premises of the Dubrovnik Police Administration, after which their destruction will follow.

The Dubrovnik-Neretva Police Administration, with the help of international police cooperation, is currently conducting a proper criminal investigation into the discovered packages in order to attempt to determine the origin of the packages, according to a statement made by the Dubrovnik Police Administration.

Discoveries such as this one give the term sea weed an an entirely new meaning.

Make sure to stay up to date with everything you need to know going on up and down the country by following our dedicated news page. If it's just Dubrovnik and southern Dalmatia you're interested in, give Total Dubrovnik a follow to keep up with what's going on in the Pearl of the Adriatic.

Friday, 1 February 2019

Ivica Todorić Discusses Mercator Purchase, Financial Situation, Agrokor

Ivica Todorić, the former Agrokor boss, thinks that the largest Croatian company, which once lay in his very hands, was destroyed by politics, and not a bad economic policy.

As VLM/Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 1st of February, 2019, Ivica Todorić, now living back in Croatia following his return from the British capital, in which he spent one year passing through London courts and attempting to fight his cause, decided to receive a television crew from Slovenia in his home and comment on the purchase of Mercator by the then enfeebled Agrokor, as well as his view on what exactly went wrong.

At first, he made sure to point out that nobody loves Mercator as he does, and he honestly believed that Mercator's takeover was going to equal success for the Slovenian company, considering it a move which gave it the foundation it needed for its future development.

Asked if Agrokor would have survived if he hadn't purchased Mercator, he replied that everyone is constantly talking about some sort of debt, but Agrokor never had big any debts.

''I mean, they were large [debts] but they weren't in amounts that were not able to be handled," noted the ex Agrokor boss.

As stated, Ivica Todorić thinks that the largest Croatian company has been destroyed politics, not a bad economic policy.

Questions about life after his flight to London and his eventual return to Croatia were met with open answers. ''It isn't easy for me, I'm dependent on the help of friends,'' he added that they helped them collect the bail money needed to leave Remetinec prison. He speaks of having living costs that aren't particularly easy to cope with, a situation one could never have expected Ivica Todorić, who once graced the glossy pages of Forbes, to ever find himself in.

Although he is currently living in a huge property of 55,000 square metres, he made sure to justify it by emphasising the fact that that particular estate is divided up into what belongs to four families.

''This is my only piece of property. My part is worth about six million euros. I'm not trying to say that this isn't much, but I was once the richest man in an area consisting of 200 million people,''

When asked about the background of court proceedings, he replied that Prime Minister Andrej Plenković and the Croatian Government were behind it. He also announced his planned entry into politics.

''We'll set up a new party. I believe we'll do well and that we'll win a parliamentary majority,'' he stated.

In just five days, Ivica Todorić collected a million euros for his release from Remetinec prison.

Make sure to stay up to date by following our dedicated politics and lifestyle pages.


Click here for the original article by VLM on Poslovni Dnevnik

Friday, 1 February 2019

Oleg Butković Reveals Fate of Croatia Airlines - Privatisation

Croatia's flag carrier hasn't had a particularly easy time of it of late. With the desperate search having been on for some time to finally locate a potential strategic partner, Croatia Airlines has been down on its luck and the enfeebled air company, despite having had a good tourist season last summer, is still struggling.

While privatisation isn't always a popular move for companies of such size, it may be the only way forward in some situations. It seems that the fate of Croatia Airlines is now not only heading in that very direction, but that it has already begun, with the process apparently ongoing.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 1st of February, 2019, after having visited Pelješac Bridge's construction site, on which work on the highly anticipated bridge is progressing faster than previously thought, Minister of Maritime Affairs, Transport and Infrastructure, Oleg Butković, spoke about the fate of Croatia Airlines. He announced that the only national airline company is now ready for privatisation.

Minister Oleg Butković told Dnevnik that when it comes to the road to Croatia Airlines' privatisation, ''the process is ongoing".

"At the next session of the Government, or at the one after that, a decision will be made on the commission [for the privatisation process], which will monitor the entire process of finding a strategic partner [for Croatia Airlines]"

"Croatia Airlines' management has begun the process of selecting a financial advisor, so all of the preparatory actions, more specifically concrete actions are ongoing, and after all these decisions are made then we'll see who is interested. There are interested people who have made themselves known, but I wouldn't say more about any specific names,'' added the minister.

Make sure to stay up to date with Croatia Airlines' ongoing situation and much more by following our dedicated news and business pages.

Monday, 28 January 2019

Croats Leaning More Towards Rural Life as Trends Indicate Change

More and more Croats are starting to see the benefits of going about their lives in more rural environments, especially young people, according to a report from Glas Slavonije.

"It's certain that today, rural life offers unparalleled benefits compared to those it did ten or more years ago, when people left in their droves for the cities. The advantages of a peaceful and stable life that smaller environments provide, and the quality of life in such place, have equalled the benefits of life in cities and have potentially even exceeded them, and for an organised life we ​​need only a safe car,'' they are unique in their assessment of young Croats, who today in small villages are often managing to become the owners of valuable properties and pieces of land with gardens that a decade ago simply couldn't have even been dreamed of.

There is now more and more support to local families from self-government units when it comes to purchasing houses, offering free textbooks and meals in schools, subsidising kindergartens, subsidising the cost of staying in dorms, bus tickets and offering scholarships to almost all students, constructing new schools, clinics and specialist clinics, and offering harmonious conditions for sport. It isn't all that surprising that many younger Croats are now dreaming of life in the countryside.

One of the areas that really proved to be one of the first to see the need to invest primarily in people, and only then in property, is the Magadenovac Municipality, writes Glas Slavonije. This small municipality could easily be a model for many for the abundance of measures it has introduced in order to support life in the local area.

With 3,000 kuna for the first-born, 5,000 kuna for the second-born and 8,000 kuna being offered for the third-born child, the amount for each subsequent child is determined by the mayor personally in order to help that particular family more in accordance with their material condition. A few years ago, almost alone, with very little help from the state, they financed the kindergarten construction, for which parents pay 354 kuna per child.

The kids who attended got free textbooks while others across the country were only just starting to consider such an initiative. High school students also received financial help from the municipality if they were staying in student dorms. Croats with young families are increasingly turning to a more rural way of life.

There are already plenty of people interested in buying cheap houses in the area, and with the new school, which will soon boast an additional hall, a renovated kindergarten, as well as better communal infrastructure and many other measures, Mayor Darko Dorkić hopes that the negative trends we have been witnessing so far will soon turn around and take a more positive direction.

Apart from the fact that smaller houses in Slavonia and Baranja are sold very cheaply, young people are increasingly attracted to the fact that village life is ready and waiting to offer a life lived in peace and in coexistence with nature, and a garden in which they can grow fruits and vegetables.

The idea of breeding pigs and poultry for their own needs doesn't put them off either, recognising that such a lifestyle is not only healthier, but much cheaper than purchasing such items in the city would be. In such small communities everyone knows everything, so there is never any problem for children to go alone to school and to playgrounds, not to mention the fact that overall living costs are so much lower.

Make sure to stay up to date by following our dedicated lifestyle page.

Thursday, 24 January 2019

Zadar - Šibenik - Split Seasonal Line Won't Begin Operations This Year

The catamaran belonging to the Šibenik-based company Envira d.o.o., which should have been connecting Zadar, Šibenik and Split since April the 1st, is set to remain firmly in the harbour, at least for this season.

As Morski writes on the 24th of January, 2019, and as the coastal shipping agency posted on January the 17th on its website, Envira d.o.o. stated that it was unfortunately unable to realise its initial intention to maintain a fast boat line without a public service obligation (implying seasonal lines) on the Split-Šibenik-Zadar route and vice-versa from April to October 2019.

As the competent state agency states, during this year, Envira d.o.o. has announced the continuation of preparatory actions for the acquisition of a vessel with the aim of realising a fast boat line connecting Zadar, Šibenik and Split, therefore covering three counties. The realisation of such preparations for this season at least, appears to be farfetched and has already been written off as a resounding no.

The plans were, and as far as we're aware still are, for the vessel to travel from Split to Šibenik and Zadar every single day from April the 1st to October the 31st. The catamaran would sail from Split to Šibenik at 09:00, at 10:35, continuing on to Zadar, where it would arrive at 12:40. It would then sail from Zadar to Šibenik at 17:30 and then from Šibenik to Split at 19:35, with an expected arrival time of 21:10.

According to the published price list, the longest route which is from Split to Zadar, will cost 158 kuna, while the route from Split to Šibenik and from Šibenik to Zadar will cost 110 kuna.

All this seems, at least for this season, to have well and truly fallen into the water (no pun intended), and it remains to be seen whether or not Envira will be able to provide an appropriate ship for such journeys by next year.

Follow our dedicated lifestyle page for more.

Tuesday, 22 January 2019

Velika Gorica Residents to Pay More for Zagreb Public Transport?

Velika Gorica locals aren't happy as as yet unofficial information that ZET could charge them more to use public transport that connects them to the capital has leaked to the media.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 22nd of January, 2019, Every year, Velika Gorica ZET subsidises about ten million kuna for the Zagreb-based company to be able to connect the Croatian capital city with other nearby areas around Velika Gorica, such as Mraclin, Poljana Čička, Strmec Bukevski, Kozjača... ZET is in charge of all sixteen lines which travel to these areas, and the contract whch was initially signed is now about to expire, which is why negotiations on extensions have begun.

But the subsidy that Velika Gorica pays to ZET could, according to the first calculations which have been discussed unofficially from that company, be even higher in the coming period. The news quickly spread to local media, leading concerned Velika Gorica residents to rightfully ask: Does this mean more expensive public transport?

''That's just what we're missing! God forbid that we get new buses for the residents in the neighbourhood. They're cold inside, the wind blows from all sides, they're old and they all shake,'' reads just one of the irritated comments caused by the news about possible price increases. Those who have been using bus number 268, which they have referred to as the "line from hell" connecting Velika Gorica to Zagreb don't sound much happier, either.

"We should negotiate more convenient transportation with regard to the condition they're in - there are often defective vehicles, unpleasant drivers, constant delays or skipping departures,'' added one Velike Gorica resident, adding that the monthly workers card costs as much as 610 kuna. Still, there is no official confirmation of the ticket price increase as yet, and Velika Gorica's administration have said that they will do anything to make sure their residents don't need to pay more.

''Negotiations are in progress and we can't say anything more specifically until they're over. The expiration contract lasted for ten years, it was signed in 2009, and the signing of the next one is a matter of agreement,'' they say from Velika Gorica. This is very similar to what they are saying from ZET, and details about the contract are still as yet unknown.

''However, as of now, the quality of service and passenger satisfaction are our imperatives, and Velika Gorica and ZET are socially sensitive partners and take care of the needs of all public transport users,'' they say from ZET.

The concession contract extension, or the possibility for a new one to be signed without the announcement of a public tender was made possible by a decision by Mayor Dražen Barišić back in 2017, and the majority of that was adopted by the City Council, but only if the contract is signed under the exact same conditions as previously, so it is not yet clear how these proposed price hikes could potentially fit into a new contract.

For news and everything you need to know as and when it happens, stay up to date by following our dedicated news page. If it's just the capital and the surrounding areas you're interested in, give Total Zagreb a follow.

Friday, 18 January 2019

ZET Changing Things Up, Removing Fifteen Kuna Tickets

Although ZET's fifteen kuna ticket that can be purchased in vehicles has hardly been a celebrated move, the four kuna ticket is still very much a hit among public transport users.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 18th of January, 2019, from the first day of next month, it will be possible to buy a new ticket at a lower price on ZET's buses and trams. Currently only the somewhat unpopular fifteen kuna ticket is currently available.

From February onwards, passengers on ZET's public buses and trams will be able to purchase tickets costing six and ten kuna, and the cheapest ones, standing at a price of four kuna, will still be available but only at kiosks, as opposed to on the vehicle itself.

"The tickets are currently being made because they will be different from those that can be bought from outside the vehicle and will have ''bought from the driver'' written on them,'' stated ZET's Anto Jelić.

He told Vecernji list that he believed that the six and ten kuna tickets would fully extinguish those currenty costing fifteen kuna, which have proved rather unpopular. As he explained, the new one that will be able to be bought for six kuna will be worth half an hour of travel, just like the one that one can currently buy outside of the tram or bus for four kuna.

In kiosks and sales points which are able to sell ZET tickets, you will be able to purchase a half an hour ticket costing four kuna, a one hour ticket of seven kuna and a one hour and thirty minute ticket of ten kuna. Tickets costing six and ten kuna will also be available for purchase in ZET's buses and trams themselves.

"This will now be a relief for both drivers and passengers, which is what we ultimately wanted," added Jelić.

Make sure to stay up to date by following our dedicated news page. If it's just the Croatian capital you're interested in, give Total Zagreb a follow.

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