Monday, 16 May 2022

American Interest in Croatian Customs and Tourism Increasing Each Year

May the 16th, 2022 - It appears that the interest of American citizens for Croatian customs and tourism is growing year on year, with the number of people lining up outside the Massachusetts Avenue Croatian Embassy increasing.

As Morski writes, after a two year break caused by the unprecedented global coronavirus pandemic, which saw international travel, at least for tourism and leisure purposes, almost grind to a halt, embassies in Washington are now open to the public on Saturdays in an attempt to arouse US citizen interest in visiting various different countries across the globe.

This popular event is called "Passport DC'' and sees the many countries that have diplomatic missions located in the capital of the United States present themselves to people there in order to attract and interest them further when it comes to travel and tourism throughout 2022.

There are more than 175 foreign embassies and consulates in Washington alone, and European Union (EU) countries opened their doors to American visitors this Saturday.

Judging by the long line in front of the Croatian Embassy on Massachusetts Avenue, the interest of Americans in Croatia and as such Croatian customs and paying a visit to this country is growing every year, as reported by HRT.

In the first part of Saturday alone, the Croatian diplomatic mission was visited by more than a thousand US citizens who wanted to learn more about Croatian customs, cities, food, history and the country's very rich tourist offer.

For many people, a visit to the Croatian Embassy in Washington as part of the ''Passport DC" event is a prelude to going to the Republic of Croatia on holiday, so for a lot of those visiting, a decision has likely already been made to cross the ''pond'' and arrive in Croatia in the coming weeks and months.

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

Sunday, 15 May 2022

Tourism Minister Nikolina Brnjac and Jadrolinija Management Meet

May the 15th, 2022 - Tourism Minister Nikolina Brnjac and the Jadrolinija management board's representatives have come together as the height of the summer tourist season rapidly approaches.

As Morski writes, representatives of the Jadroilinija management board met recently at the National and University Library in Zagreb with the Minister of Tourism and Sport, Nikolina Brnjac. The meeting was held as we're now approaching the main part of the tourist year, and Minister Brnjac commented on the current tourist results and expectations from the main summer season.

Along with the President of the Jadrolinija management board, David Sopta, the meeting was attended by various representatives of the Croatian tourism sector, including members of the Croatian Tourist Board and the Council for the Recovery and Development of Tourism, as well as representatives of hotel groups and other professional associations.

''The beginning of 2022 showed an increase in the number of transported passengers and vehicles on national and international lines compared to the same period in 2021. Participating in several tourism events, increased interest in our lines was noticed, so we're very optimistic about the recovery of the market and the return of group tourist trips,'' said the President of the Management Board of Jadrolinija at the meeting.

''The results so far testify that this year we've prepared well and taken all of the necessary activities to strengthen and upgrade the position of Croatia as a desirable tourist destination with high quality and a diverse offer. It's even more important that our emitting markets increasingly recognise Croatia as a year-round destination, which is an important component in the development of the sustainability of Croatian tourism.

When we talk about the value of fiscalised receipts issued for the first four months of this year, we can be very satisfied because on average each month had an increase of 10 percent compared to the same period back during pre-pandemic 2019,'' said Minister Nikolina Brnjac, adding that she believes such good results are set to continue throughout the height of 2022's summer season when we realise 70 percent of 2019's total tourist traffic and 63 percent of that same year's total revenues.

Representatives of the tourism sector said that the demand for Croatia has been extremely good, that the country is one of the leading holiday destinations in its main emitting markets and that they believe that this summer season will continue to yield good results with continued cooperation between the Croatian Government and the entire sector.

According to the Tax Administration, in the first four months of 2022, a total of 5 billion and 457 million kuna in fiscal receipts were realised, which is 170 percent more than in the same period last year, and when compared to the first four months of 2019, the value stands at an encouraging ​​11 percent higher.

So far, more than 1.9 million arrivals and 6.2 million overnight stays have been realised across Croatia, ie 172 percent more arrivals and 154 percent more overnight stays compared to the same period back in 2021.

For more, check out our lifestyle section.

Tuesday, 10 May 2022

Prices for Croatian Apartments and Hotels Shoot Up in Post-Pandemic Surge

May the 10th, 2022 - Prices for hotels and Croatian apartments have shot up all along the Adriatic coast in a post-pandemic boom of sorts following two very troubled years. 

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, every year along the Croatian coast there are more and more expensive hotels, private apartments, restaurants and less and less places available for the average Croatian pocket. The global coronavirus pandemic hasn't worked to change that either, meaning that this year's prices for Croatian apartments, hotels and other items will surprise many, reports Vecernji list.

The past two summer tourist seasons have grown minimally due to reduced demand, and this summer staying in some hotels during the very height of the summer season will be more expensive than usual, in some cases - by up to 50 percent.

''Yes, this year we're witnessing a significant increase in the prices of accommodation and catering and hospitality facilities. Analyses have shown that accommodation in Adriatic hotels and campsites has risen by an average of 20 to 25 percent compared to last year, and due to significantly increased demand and a good pace of reservations for the main summer season, prices will rise to 50 percent in exceptional cases,'' said consultant Sanja Cizmar, the director of 505 conferences.

Rising inflation and the growth of almost all input costs, from food to energy and labour costs, haven't really left hosts with much room for maneuver. Risks are generally higher in facilities with more complex services, especially when food is included, so corrections have generally been more abrupt in hotels than they have been Croatian apartments and other such private facilities.

"The hotel and tourism sector in Croatia isn't alone when it comes to the raising of prices. Similar trends are present across most Mediterranean countries, so I don't believe that price positioning here in Croatia will stand out significantly from other destinations in the Mediterranean. Ultimately, due to the general wave of rising prices for all types of goods and services, consumers expect higher prices now. However, it will be an art to follow market trends and actively adjust our prices accordingly in order to maintain competitiveness,'' pointed out Cizmar.

It remains to be seen whether this increase in prices will end up putting Croatian residents off from visiting their own coastline. Nedo Pinezic, a consultant specialising in family accommodation, weighed in on the topic:

"Increases in prices have been the highest in those facilities that haven't touched their prices at all in the past two years. We're lucky that we do have a range for every pocket, from premium and standard to low budget offers,'' stated Pinezic, who added that prices are growing further as the main part of the summer tourist season approaches.

Prices are currently thirty percent lower than they will be from July onwards, and in the peak two or three summer weeks, we'll probably witness additional price increases. For example, nights spent in three-star Croatian apartments will now cost 110 to 130 euros, and in the very height of the season, probably well above that. Along parts of the coast with a higher concentration of lower quality facilities, one can, of course, get by a bit more favourably.

Although there is practically no Riviera without at least one de luxe hotel, the rule is that it is easier to find a zone of cheaper prices that goes down the coast to the south. For example, on the Crikvenica Riviera, some islands, as well as in smaller places in the Makarska area, where guests from Bosnia and Herzegovina with generally lower purchasing power tend to gravitate en masse. There are many affordable Croatian apartments dotted throughout Istria.

"Reservations are coming in again after the stalemate due to the Ukraine-Russia war, but the south of the country is still the weakest. For Brac, Korcula, the Makarska Riviera etc there's currently a discount of approximately 30 percent for certain periods throughout the tourist season. For stays in May there are special prices along the coast. Most guests coming from other parts of Croatia are the ones who typically want to see if there are any discounts. But it's all relative,'' stated Dalibor Canaglic, the product manager of Palma Travel.

All in all, wherever you go in Croatia, you will almost always need at least a few hundred kuna more for accommodation than you would have needed last year.

For more, check out our travel section.

Tuesday, 10 May 2022

Crikvenica Tourist Numbers Provide Hope for Height of Summer Season

May the 10th, 2022 - Crikvenica tourist numbers have been very good so far and provide hope for a good summer season ahead.

As Morski writes, by the first of this month, Kvarner had realised more than 820 thousand overnight stays, which is almost completely the same as was recorded back in pre-pandemic, record 2019, and as much as 160 percent better than last year, when the coronavirus pandemic still posed a threat.

The Crikvenica-Vinodolski Riviera has made visible progress with 100,000 overnight stays, which is 26 percent better than the figures recorded back in 2019.

This past weekend, Crikvenica tourist numbers have continued to be encouraging, with about 1,500 guests registered as staying in Crikvenica, which is very much a return to the numbers from back in pre-pandemic years.

According to the claims of the local travel agencies and hoteliers, the booking rate for Crikvenica is very good and everything is pointing firmly to the main season being more than decent.

Crikvenica has always been very well visited during the pre-season. There are larger groups of tourists, the terraces are typically quite full, and the heat of the sun is finally stronger. Guests tend to come from everywhere and preparations for increased Crikvenica tourist numbers are firmly underway, with old hotels being renovated, new ones being built, and so forth.

The only thing holding things back is the search for employees, N1 reports, which has always been an issue, but has definitely been exacerbated in the last two years. Before the tourist season, workers need to be prepared for work and also trained properly in order to be able to perform tasks at the required level. The hunt is on for workers from Croatia, even though there are more and more employers ''importing'' non-EU foreigners from Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia, for whom they must apply for work permits. Anyone who has ever dealt with MUP knows that this can be a path full of delays and issues which employers simply don't have the time for.

Ongoing inflation, not helped by the coronavirus pandemic and further worsened by the war in Ukraine has been felt by everyone, even ice cream makers are already known to have increased the price of their ice cream scoops. Each scoop will cost 10 kuna in Crikvenica at least until the end of the main summer tourist season, and for next year, who knows how much those prices will continue to rise, especially with 2023's introduction of the euro in Croatia.

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

Saturday, 7 May 2022

Grand Hotel Brioni Opens in Pula, Enriching Istrian City's Tourist Offer

May the 7th, 2022 - The Grand Hotel Brioni has opened its luxurious doors in the much loved Istrian city of Pula, enriching the area's overall tourist offer and providing its guests with stunning views over the nearby Brijuni islands, after which the facility is named.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, the Grand Hotel Brioni has just opened in the City of Pula and is ready to receive guests after a highly detailed renovation and decoration process which made it one of the largest investments in Croatian tourism, worth over 34 million euros. This luxury hotel has 227 rooms and is part of the Arena Hospitality Group's enviable portfolio. Such an investment will raise the tourist offer of Pula and the whole of Istria to an even higher level, and significantly enrich the Croatian tourist offer as a whole.

This year, the famous Pula hotel is celebrating its 50th anniversary, and throughout history it has been one of the leaders in the hotel industry in Pula and Croatia. With this investment, the Grand Hotel Brioni received a unique and modern interior and exterior design, and the first guests have already been announced. The total area of ​​the hotel spans a huge 21,000 square metres with about 27,000 square metres of landscaped exterior with oases for relaxation as well.

The exclusive feeling the facility offers is the result of carefully planned decoration, imbued with refined elegance, grey with blue details accompanied by the warm tones of wood, artistic and marine/coastal details. For the decoration of each room, works by local artists have been selected that give the impression that each room is a small art residence of sorts. The Grand Hotel Brioni is also well equipped with a system of smart hotel rooms that is in line with the latest trends and technologies. Guests can check in online and room doors are unlocked with a digital key via their own smartphone.

The City of Pula organised a lunch on the occasion of the Day of the City of Pula in the Grand Hotel Brioni on the opening day, which was also attended by the President of the Republic of Croatia Zoran Milanovic. On the occasion of the opening, Reli Slonim, the President of the Management Board of Arena Hospitality Group stated the following:

"Brijuni is an internationally attractive destination and we're pleased to be able to welcome guests in honour of one of the most beautiful Adriatic gems in this special ambience of the newly renovated Grand Hotel Brioni, which boasts a rich history. We've kept the best of the past so the quality architecture and exterior of the hotel has remained the same, but the hotel has been completely refurbished.

Guests can enjoy the luxurious furnishings and each room is equipped with the latest technology. The hotel has several conference halls, which can be adapted to the needs of congress tourism and various business and social events. Providing the perfect destination for rest, relaxation and enjoyment, but also for corporate needs, the Grand Hotel Brioni will be open all year round. Our goal is to provide permanent jobs for all 230 hotel employees, and we plan to further expand our team as time goes on.''

The Grand Hotel Brioni is preparing a top gastronomic offer for guests from across the rest of Croatia and the world, backed by an exceptional culinary team led by chef Luka Jukic, and the hotel has as many as 4 restaurants. In the relaxation areas, guests will get to enjoy the best numerous beauty treatments, massages, an indoor pool, a hot tub and saunas. With a beautiful view of the nearby Brijuni islands, the imposing infinity pool which is around 60 metres long is perfect for a hotel which will soon reach the very top of the tourist map of Croatia.

For more, check out our travel section.

Friday, 6 May 2022

Official Split Airport Passenger Figures Extremely Encouraging

May the 6th, 2022 - The official Split Airport passenger figures so far are encouraging to say the very least, with hopes high for the strong summer tourist season and some decent income following two tricky and unstable years dominated by financial insecurity and a global pandemic.

When it comes to Croatian tourism, we all thought 2022 was going to be the year in which the global coronavirus pandemic and all of the severe damage restrictions across the world caused would be left in the past. It seems as though that is going to be the case. With all entry restrictions in regard to COVID-19 when crossing the Croatian border now scrapped, and with that being the case in most of the European countries from which the most tourists tend to arrive, many are rubbing their hands.

The ongoing war in Ukraine following Russian invasion is still raging, and although this definitely poses a risk to travellers, those now wondering whether or not to visit Croatia are not typically Europeans. American travellers, who think Croatia looks a little bit too close to Ukraine on a large map of Europe have been cancelling, but it isn't occurring en masse and most of those working in the Croatian tourism sector aren't concerned. Official Split Airport figures offer a glimpse of the trends we can expect throughout 2022.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, the numerous satisfied statements of tourism industry workers from across the country about a decent and very promising pre-season could be read on numerous portals and in many newspapers over more recent days, and the official figures on the number of guests who arrived in the City of Split by plane are now in, as reported by Croatian Aviaton.

When it comes to Split Airport passengers so far, the Dalmatian airport saw 133,136 passengers during the month of April, with Croatia Airlines and EasyJet carrying the largest share of passengers. That’s 85 percent of the traffic recorded back in the same month of pre-pandemic, record 2019, when 156,381 passengers were recorded passing through Split Airport, up from a mere 14,783 last year.

If everything continues going in this direction and this trend remains as it is, there will also be good passenger traffic in May and June for Split Airport, which provides a lot of hope for those needing to fill their half-empty pockets back up after an unprecedented and extremely difficult two years.

For more, make sure to keep up with our dedicated travel section.

Saturday, 30 April 2022

Excellent Pre-Season Results for Croatian Arena Hospitality Group

April the 30th, 2022 - The Easter weekend of 2022 brought with it some excellent results for the pre-season and with it high hopes for the height of this year's summer tourist season. The Croatian Arena Hospitality Group has done very well indeed.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, for the Croatian Arena Hospitality Group, the recent Easter weekend met all of their expectations and about 15,000 overnight stays were realised. The largest share of that number was made up of guests from Germany, Austria and neighbouring Slovenia, but there was also a pronounced increase in domestic guests. Guests come mostly in their own individual arrangements, while a third arrived with organised groups. The result for the Easter weekend of 2022 is many times higher than last year and is a great introduction to the season after the past two pandemic-dominated years.

Before Easter, the hotels Park Plaza Histria in Pula and Park Plaza Belvedere in Medulin were opened. The Park Plaza Verudela settlement in Pula has also now been opened, and the Arena Grand Kazela camp in Medulin is open all year round, so that guests can enjoy 365 days a year in rest and relaxation. The Arena Holiday Hotel in Medulin and the Arena Stoja, Arena Medulin and Arena Stupice camps were also open for Easter.

"Thanks to our experience of over 40 years in the hotel and catering/hospitality industry, we know that guest satisfaction is a priority. The primary goal of the Croatian Arena Hospitality Group's facilities is to provide superior service to our guests in an authentic natural environment. The most important event of this season is the opening of the Grand Hotel Brioni in early May. We can't wait to present this new hotel, a unique experience, an excellent gastronomic offer and beautiful views of the sea and the Brijuni islands,'' said Manuela Kraljevic of the company.

In its portfolio, the Croatian Arena Hospitality Group has its own brands Arena Hotels & Apartments and Arena Campsites. As part of the prestigious Park Plaza Hotel Group Limited, it runs and develops the international hotel brands Park Plaza and art’otel facilities across 18 Central and Eastern European countries. The company is opening the first art’otel hotel right here in Croatia at the end of this year in the City of Zagreb, and it will boast 118 rooms under the name art’otel Zagreb.

Guests can visit a total of 29 facilities with more than 10,000 accommodation units in Istria, soon in Zagreb, Nassfeld in Austria and in major cities in Germany and Central and Eastern Europe - Belgrade, Berlin, Cologne, Nuremberg and Budapest.

At the peak of the season, the Croatian Arena Hospitality Group has over 1,800 employees, and the entire group has 700 full-time employees throughout the year. With the expansion of business, the need for the constant employment of quality staff is growing, as is the need to expand the company's team of seasonal workers. A professional work environment, stimulating conditions, a positive atmosphere and the loyalty of employees are the result of this company investing in human resources.

"Here in Croatia, the Arena Hospitality Group is present with more than 8,500 accommodation units through a diverse range of accommodation facilities, from hotels and resorts to campsites located in the most prominent tourist regions of Croatia, Istria, and Zagreb is now under development. We host 340,000 guests a year in Croatia, and the top service we provide wouldn't be possible without the best team of people behind our success,'' said Manuela Kraljevic.

For more, check out our business section.

Tuesday, 26 April 2022

Croatian Pre-Season Tourist Traffic Signals Excellent Summer

April the 26th, 2022 - Croatian pre-season tourist traffic has been excellent so far, with three times more having been recorded in comparison to the same period last year. This is a strong signal that the summer season will bring great numbers.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Jadranka Dozan writes, over this year's Easter holidays, spending across the country measured by the value of bills and receipts issued by all those within the fiscalisation system was significantly higher than last year.

Higher prices also contributed to the percentage increase in the value of bills and receipts issued, from those for purchases in stores to those in tourism and hospitality services. After an annual increase in the number of issued bills and receipts by 24 percent and the value of fiscalised turnover by 42 percent in the pre-Easter week (with Easter falling two weeks earlier last year), last week's turnover was almost a quarter higher (24 percent) than it was last year.

While trade (wholesale and retail) with four percent fewer receipts increased fiscalised turnover by 13 percent, the data on reported turnover in tourism-related activities (accommodation and food service activities) confirm a significantly different picture of Croatian pre-season tourist traffic. Back during this time last year, it was more than weak due to the global coronavirus pandemic. As such, those within the fiscalisation system operating within these activities issued 74 percent more bills and receipts, and their amount was almost three times higher (an increase of 190 percent) than back during the comparable week of 2021.

Comparisons of last week's turnover with 2020 primarily reflect the "lockdown" which took place during the month of April of that year, meaning that over the past seven days, companies operating within these industries reported turnover which was as much as fifteen times higher.

However, if last week's figures are compared to those for the comparable week of the pre-pandemic, record year of 2019 (which was the week of pre-Easter spending that year), the Tax Administration's data shows a 12 percent decrease in the number of bills and receipts issued, but at the same time, their value was 18 percent higher.

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

Monday, 25 April 2022

A Lot of Croatian Kuna Being Purchased on UK Market, Good Season Ahead

April the 25th, 2022 - A lot of Croatian kuna is being purchased in Britain, which signals a fantastic season ahead as Croatia's favourite Northern European visitors are set to arrive en masse in the hopes of some sunshine. With the United Kingdom having dropped all of its epidemiological measures some time ago now, Brits are hungry for travel.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Marija Crnjak writes, the Republic of Croatia and the Caribbean are at the top of the most desirable holiday destinations for Britons, according to a new quarterly edition of the analysis of currency sales by the Royal Mail's Travel Department.

The sales of a number of foreign currencies increased in the first three months of 2022 when compared to the first quarter of pandemic-dominated 2020, with strong growth in purchases for the Croatian kuna and the Caribbean currencies, suggesting that they will be popular destinations for tourists from the United Kingdom throughout 2022.

Namely, the purchase of Croatian kuna during the first quarter of this year in the United Kingdom increased by 137 percent when compared to the figures recorded two years earlier. Caribbean currencies also recorded high growth rates, mostly the Barbadian and Jamaican dollars, and the Mexican peso and the East Caribbean dollar also have a strong plus.

"We're used to seeing a spring increase in Croatian kuna sales, but the growth during the month of March was unprecedented, which indicates that the Republic of Croatia is facing another very successful tourist year," said Nick Boden, head of travel.

A review of food and beverage costs by destination showed that due to the weak Turkish lira, prices in Marmaris are by far the lowest - a three-course meal with a local bottle of wine costs around £16! The Republic of Croatia has the fifth highest prices of 11 destinations.

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

Thursday, 21 April 2022

Croatian Easter Tourism Results Reveal Country is Desired Destination

April the 21st, 2022 - The post-coronavirus tourism optimists appear to have been correct in their predictions for this year, with Croatian Easter tourism having seen such good numbers that we can hopefully breathe a sigh of relief this summer.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Marija Crnjak writes, those who predicted good forecasts for Croatian Easter tourism were right, despite the very uncertain geopolitical circumstances that continue to threaten tourism across Europe owing to the war in Ukraine.

According to eVisitor, from Friday, April the 15th, to Monday, there were about 135,000 arrivals and about 493,000 overnight stays realised, of which foreign tourists realised more than 412,000 overnight stays. Last year, a third of that traffic was generated for Easter, due to the difficult epidemiological situation with the coronavirus pandemic, which is why the pre-season was almost nothing to speak of last year, but it's also worth mentioning that Easter itself came two weeks earlier than it did this year.

In the last pre-pandemic year of 2019, Easter came a week later, closer to Labour Day, which always means better traffic. As such, in the same period back in 2019, on the eve of Easter, there were 5 percent more overnight stays realised in Croatia than this year with Easter traffic. Still, this is a result that heralds a good rest of the year, the sector believes. Equal optimism reigns in the rest of the Mediterranean and in neighbouring Slovenia.

"In addition the excellent results achieved during the extended Easter weekend, we're also pleased to note that about 145,000 tourists stayed in this country on Saturday. It's also the day with the largest number of tourists recorded on a daily basis this year, and we expect positive trends in the continuation of the pre-season, ie during May and June,'' said the director of the Croatian Tourist Board, Kristjan Stanicic.

The Germans were the most numerous over the Croatian Easter tourism period

Traditionally, the best traffic realised during Easter was always up in Istria (about 188,000 overnight stays), Kvarner (more than 90,000 overnight stays), Split-Dalmatia (more than 55,000 overnight stays) and then Dubrovnik-Neretva County (more than 43,000 overnight stays). When looking solely at overnight stays, most were realised in Porec, Rovinj, Dubrovnik, Zagreb, Split, Umag and Zadar.

At the same time, the largest number of overnight stays realised over the Croatian Easter tourism period was realised by guests from Germany, followed by those from the Croatian market and guests from Austria, Slovenia, Italy and Slovakia. Also common for the pre-season, most overnight stays were realised in hotels (more than 210,000 overnight stays), followed by household/private/family facilities (more than 112,000 overnight stays) and campsites (more than 99,000 overnight stays).

"We've exceeded the number of 3.6 million overnight stays since the beginning of the year, which is 120 percent more overnight stays than in the same period last year, but also 95 percent of overnight stays in the same period back in 2019. These results confirm the strengthening of the recognisability of Croatia as a year-round destination of added value, which is our strategic commitment.

Tourists perceive Croatia as a destination in which to have a pleasant and quality holiday, so we focused our activities on maintaining that status, but also on developing Croatia as a sustainably responsible destination,'' said the Minister of Tourism, Nikolina Brnjac.

Veljko Ostojic, the director of the Croatian Tourism Association, says that comparisons of traffic with last year's Croatian Easter tourism numbers aren't so important now, as these results are an indicator of that good trend that we wished for, but with great caution.

''We entered this year with great caution due to the war in Ukraine, but these results show that Croatia is an attractive destination and that people really want to travel. Therefore, we have no reason to be dissatisfied, even though we're facing a challenging May, and we've been equipping tourist companies to open the season at the end of May,'' said Veljko Ostojic.

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

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