Tuesday, 15 February 2022

European Sustainable Tourism Plan Looks to Croatian eVisitor System

February the 15th, 2022 - Croatia certainly loves to sit back and count the overnight stays during the tourist season, but as sustainable tourism becomes the direction in which more and more countries are heading in, how much can other countries look towards the Croatian eVisitor system for inspiration?

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Marija Crnjak writes, in the near future, EU member states will no longer measure their tourism results through arrivals and overnight stays being registered, but with the help of digital technologies and artificial intelligence, unique, standardised tools will be developed to monitor EU-wide social, environmental and economic impacts.

So far, the deadlines for the introduction of these new metrics haven't been defined, which will include changes in legislation and a number of new infrastructure solutions, but national tourist boards will play a key role in this.

The experience of the Croatian eVisitor system could have a significant impact on the process, as has since been learned. The plan for the introduction of new statistical methods for monitoring the results of tourism, with the introduction of sustainable solutions and digitisation is the most important topic of the just published report of the European Commission (EC).

It is a document that confirms the agreement of EU tourist boards to implement new tourism metrics and to give priority to both residents and tourists when it comes to tourism services, instead of harmfully imposing the number of nights as the only criterion for growth and development.

The report was created together with the destinations of the European Union and industrial players. Some analysts of global trends suggest it could be a turning point for the future of EU tourism, while others are skeptical about its future implementation, which has not yet been defined.

"We believe that European national tourism organisations should be the European Commission's main partner and play a major role in implementing these solutions in the coming years. While most have well-established tools to provide a wide range of key performance indicators related to the quantitative economic aspects of tourism, most still struggle with the lack of a broader picture of the impact of tourism,'' said Luis Araujo, President of the European Travel Commission.

He is convinced that expanding metrics and coordination at European Union level will significantly facilitate the sustainable transition of destinations. The Croatian National Tourist Board (CNTB) will also actively participate in the process.

"This is a document created in the context of pandemic-induced disorders and which, among other things, emphasises the need for more sustainable tourism and tourism that is more resilient to crises. Green and digital transitions stand out as key, especially in areas such as sustainable competitiveness, legislation and policy, technical solutions and infrastructure. Great emphasis has also been placed on the collection of other types of data, such as tourist traffic, as well as environmental, economic and social indicators.

In this regard, the ETC and national tourism organisations are already working to establish a single set of indicators that could monitor and compare European Union destinations in terms of the impact of tourism and tourism sustainability,'' the CNTB revealed.

They also added that the CNTB can contribute to the collection and processing of this data with existing solutions, such as the world's unique technological solution for monitoring and analysing tourist traffic, the Croatian eVisitor system, but also by developing new smart digital solutions and services and improving knowledge and skills, as well as the further development and management of tourist destinations and products.

They also added that various national documents that are being drafted, the Strategy for the Development of Sustainable Tourism until 2030 and the National Plan for the Development of Sustainable Tourism from 2021 to 2027 should also contribute to the process.

For more, check out our travel section.

Friday, 11 February 2022

Croatia-Dedicated ADAC Brochure Targets German Tourists for 2022 Season

February 11, 2022 - A Croatia-dedicated ADAC brochure has been released to persuade German tourists to choose Croatia for their 2022 holiday. 

With the intention that many German guests come to Croatia this summer, the Croatian National Tourist Board is highly active in marketing in this area. As Nera Miličić, head of the Branch Office of the Croatian Tourist Board in Munich, revealed, the German ADAC has published a brochure entirely dedicated to Croatia, reports Slobodna Dalmacija.

The largest German and European car club, with 22 million members, has published a brochure entitled "Kroatien: ein Land zum Verlieben" ("Croatia: a country to fall in love with"), which is entirely dedicated to Croatia as a tourist destination.

"The ADAC is the most important source of information for Germans when it comes to traveling abroad, which is especially important if we know that over 70 percent of guests from Germany in the pandemic years realize their travels by car. In this context, our cooperation with ADAC is of great importance because, in this way, we provide our guests with accurate information on travel conditions and planning. Furthermore, we also have the support of one of the most influential German institutions that enjoy the great trust of its citizens and our most numerous guests," said Miličić, adding that Croatia is presented in the brochure as a destination of rich diversity and unforgettable experiences.

The brochure highlights Istria as a picturesque peninsula among the Croatian regions, which stands out for its medieval towns and places, beautiful beaches, Venetian heritage, Roman relics, and numerous bays. Kvarner is said to be a region that stands out for its beautiful coast and islands, of which Krk, Rab, Cres, and Lošinj stand out. Plenty of sun, natural beauty, and cultural heritage are associated with Dalmatia; the capital Zagreb is highlighted as the center of Croatia, while Central Croatia and Slavonia are shown as hidden gems of our country.

"The importance of ADAC is evidenced by the fact that this voluntary association enjoys the greatest trust of citizens in Germany and is the first address for service information when planning a trip. Furthermore, ADAC operates in more than 150 branches throughout Germany and is one of our most important strategic partners in the German market," said the director of the Croatian Tourist Board, Kristjan Staničić.

At the very end of the brochure, many readers will find helpful information about traveling to Croatia, from tips for traveling by car to camping-related information.

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

Monday, 7 February 2022

Croatian Ports Visited by 208 Foreign Cruise Ships in 2021

7 February 2022 - During 2021, Croatia was visited by 208 foreign cruise ships, which is considerably more than in 2020 when a mere 26 foreign cruise ships were registered in the Croatian Adriatic seaports, and markedly fewer than in 2019 where there were as many as 726 foreign cruise ships.

According to the data provided by the national statistical office, as many as 194,000 guests were on those 208 ships that visited Croatia last year.

In 2020, a mere 4,000 guests cruised the Croatian Adriatic Sea.

In 2019, as many as 1.1 million passengers were registered on foreign cruise ships visiting Croatia, according to the data of the DZS.

In 2021, the first foreign cruise ships arrived in Croatia in June and in that month, 15 such vessels were registered.

In July 2021, there were 34 foreign cruise ships, two more, that is 36, were in August, whereas 49 foreign cruise ships were recorded in September and 50 in October, while 21 were in November, and three in December.

For the sake of comparison, October 2019 saw as many as 105 cruise ships under foreign flags.

In 2021, nearly two thirds, that is 63% of cruise ships, visited the ports in Dubrovnik-Neretva County, while the seaports in Split-Dalmatia County accounted for 27.4% of visits, and the remaining destinations were in the rest of Croatia's coast. 

Monday, 31 January 2022

Austrian Tourists Choosing Croatia in 2022: 2nd Most Sought-After Foreign Destination

January 31, 2022 - A new survey reveals that Austrian tourists are choosing Croatia this summer, as it is the second most sought-after foreign destination behind Italy. 

According to the survey results on travel plans of the Austrians in 2022, conducted by the association of national tourist organizations Corps Touristique Austria, Croatia is among the top five most sought-after foreign destinations. Italy leads the list with 58 percent, Croatia is second with 46 percent, followed by Germany, Greece, and Spain, reports Dalmacija Danas

"The results of the research confirm that, despite all the challenges and circumstances, we have successfully maintained the position of one of the leading and most beloved foreign destinations among Austrians. We are also pleased with the indicators according to which 83 percent of Austrians plan to travel this year, of which about 66 percent plan to travel abroad. Furthermore, compared to last year, these new indicators represent an increase in interest and demand for travel of about 20 percent, which indicates the continuation of positive trends this year," said Branimir Tončinić, director of the Croatian National Tourist Board office in Austria.

The results show that Austrian tourists will travel most during the main summer season with a trend of increased interest in holidays in September, while they will most often travel by car (about 77 percent), by plane, and by train.

"Austria is one of the traditionally most important markets for Croatian tourism. Last year, we recorded about 6.4 million overnight stays by Austrians, which took a high fourth place in terms of results. This year we expect even better results and a practical approach to the trends from the pre-pandemic 2019 ", said the director of the Croatian Tourist Board, Kristjan Staničić, adding that Austrians spent the most nights last year in Istria, Kvarner, and Zadar County.

The research results show that the demand of Austrians this year will be most pronounced for swimming holidays, city break tourism, wellness, and cultural tourism. At the same time, they will prefer to choose hotels, holiday homes, and apartments. However, the most important criteria by which Austrians will choose destinations include cleanliness and hygiene, safety, and weather and climate.

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

Saturday, 29 January 2022

Ryanair's David O'Brien: We Opened 80 Croatian Routes, Hired 180 Staff

January the 29th, 2022 - Ryanair's arrival in the City of Zagreb has been a fantastic move for all of us residents of the capital who are keen to travel elsewhere in Europe for next to nothing. With only Croatia Airlines and their often unjustified ticket prices for basic economy flights being the only option for many for years, the Irish low-cost carrier's presence is reassuring for frequent flyers. David O'Brien of Ryanair has stated that the company has opened more than 80 new Croatian routes, and hired 180 new staff members.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Darko Bicak writes, although the ongoing global coronavirus pandemic has led to changes and temporary reductions in some Croatian routes, Ryanair has almost fully met its expectations since last year's opening of its Zagreb Airport base.

This was confirmed by David O’Brien, who is the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Ryanair Group for Lauda and Malta Air - the aircraft under this brand have been stationed by Ryanair at Zagreb Airport.

"Zagreb is a metropolis of one million inhabitants within its surroundings, and so many more people gravitate to it. Based on our rich experience I can say with certainty that the planned 3.5 million passengers per year is a very conservative estimate. It will probably grow even more in the coming period,'' said O'Brien, who visited Zagreb recently and announced some new Croatian routes and three more aircraft to be based there.

Ryanair were observing Zagreb for a very long time...

He added that the Croatian capital has been in Ryanair's focus for a long time now and that he is happy that they finally managed to open up a base here, not only the route, but also the base.

"We've long viewed Zagreb as Lufthansa's backyard because the fact is that, although there are other carriers, you actually have to use Lufthansa and its partners to go anywhere in Europe. Ryanair wants to change that and be a quality competition that will give Croatia's residents and passengers coming to Zagreb a much better and cheaper service,'' stated O’Brien.

He added that Ryanair currently has six routes to Croatia country this year - Zagreb, Zadar, Rijeka, Pula, Split, Dubrovnik, of which there are bases in Zagreb and Zadar where it holds three aircraft.

“We've opened more than 80 Croatian routes and created 180 direct jobs. This is a total investment of 600 million US dollars from Ryanair in Croatia, and all this without a single euro of any state subsidies from the government, unlike the 12 million euros that Croatia Airlines receives annually,'' he explained.

He added that Zagreb as an air destination differs from the other five in Croatia because it is the capital city, which is a model that, for airlines, means that it has a year-round interest in travel, and also that it can represent a short trip of just several days.

For the base in Zagreb itself, O'Brien pointed out that this is an investment totalling 300 million US dollars, given that three aircraft are or will be based there, each worth about 100 million dollars

"We've remained in operation throughout the entire coronavirus pandemic and our aircraft occupancy is solid, standing at over 85 percent. However, the emergence of the Omicron strain has led to certain disorders - France and Germany previously banned arrivals from the United Kingdom, Morocco banned arrivals from many European countries, and many other European countries introduced their own individual travel restrictions.

Therefore, we had to temporarily reduce the number of flights by about 30 percent, which was followed by reductions in flights related to Zagreb, but we expect a recovery from March onwards and that in the summer of 2022, we should reach 100 million passengers,'' assured David O 'Brien.

For more on Croatian routes by air, land and sea, check out our travel section.

Saturday, 29 January 2022

Normal Croatian Easter Tourism This Year? Good Pre-Season Expected

January the 29th, 2022 - Could Croatian Easter tourism this year look anything like the ''old normal'' from back in pre-pandemic times this year? It seems so as optimism for the pre-season is high.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Marija Crnjak writes, this may not be being indicated by the current booking rates, which have slowed down and in some unfortunate cases stopped due to the current epidemiological situation, but the pre-season in Croatia will certainly still function according to the last minute model, without significant organised traffic to speak of.

"This year, we're entering the pre-season under significantly different circumstances than we did over the past two years, which gives us a sense of optimism. If the pandemic starts to subside in the spring, with the vaccination rate being higher than last year, then we have plenty of time to prepare for Croatian Easter tourism, as Easter will fall relatively late this year, and that’s a good circumstance.

Easter is closer this year to May the 1st, and we'll have, if we're lucky, the theme of filling up in terms of tourist numbers for the rest of May, as was the case back during normal years. Moreover, it could positively surprise us because our partners are confirming that people's desire to travel is very strong, and customers are now just waiting for the administration procedures to loosen up,'' said Boris Zgomba, president of the Association of Travel Agencies at the Croatian Chamber of Commerce (HGK).

In this sense, the new rules of the Council of Europe have already been well received in the sector, according to which the individual status of passengers will be looked at instead of just going by larger epidemiological maps. It is also to be expected that the chances of the country ending up in a very bad situation pandemic-wise will fall further and further as we head towards spring.

The Croatian National Tourist Board (HTZ) expects further growth in interest in travel and even a better pre-season than last year, and this includes Croatian Easter tourism numbers. "This is being indicated by the current course of tourist traffic. In Croatia, more than 502 thousand overnight stays have been realised so far this year, which represents 98 percent of the results from the same period back in 2019.

The highest number of overnight stays was recorded by local guests, followed by those from Germany, Slovenia and Austria. At the level of the whole of 2022, we expect the realisation of about 90 percent of the results from the record year of 2019, and the results achieved in the pre- and post-season periods will play a big role in that,'' believes Kristjan Stanicic.

When it comes to promotional activities for the pre-season, in the German market on the most important and largest travel and booking platforms such as Weg, Expedia, Reise reporter and Urlaubspiraten, a campaign will be conducted during the month of February to target those who tend to book holidays much earlier.

"There is great interest in the German market for early travel reservations. Promotional activities will be carried out in other markets that will be assessed to likely have the best response to those promotional activities, and additional optimism is being provided by information and announcements from certain European markets, such as the United Kingdom and Denmark, which will introduce much more lenient epidemiological protocols as of February which will go hand in hand with the revitalisation of the travel industry,'' added Stanicic.

More lively air traffic

From the beginning of April, a higher intensity of air traffic is expected, as well as a reduction of restrictions, ie the simplification of measures related to international travel. The Croatian National Tourist Board expects that Croatia will record a larger number of flights in the rest of the year than it did in 2021.

"The interest of airlines in programmes to Croatian destinations is at a high level, which is, among other things, certainly due to the fact that Croatia has been at the top of the Mediterranean for two years in a row in terms of the interest of tourists and tourist traffic," concluded Stanicic.

For more, check out our travel section.

Wednesday, 26 January 2022

Croatian 2022 Nautical Tourism: Record Charter Season Ahead?

January the 26th, 2022 - Could Croatian 2022 nautical tourism be excellent this summer season? It seems as if Croatian charter companies have good reason to expect a record season, despite the pandemic.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Marija Crnjak writes, judging by the last tourist season and the current state of reservations, Croatian 2022 nautical tourism could result in record traffic, but not without some accompanying challenges.

One of the challenges will certainly be disrupted supply chains due to which there will be no new vessels, but Croatia has a comparative advantage because it has a relatively young fleet. Taking everything into account, charterers should finally try to come to their senses and stop lowering their prices to the limits of profitability, especially in the post-season, which is currently filling up rather well indeed in terms of bookings.

This is the message of Selma Cmelnik, the director of the Charter.hr portal, on the occasion of the publication of the analysis of the charter market in 2021, a year which, despite pandemic-induced conditions, was extremely successful for the Croatian nautical tourism segment.

Although there's somewhat more caution in the pre-season, trends still provide a sense of hope and optimism, but the charter still lacks better strategic planning and unified statistics, believes Cmelnik.

"Boat rental reservations in Croatia for the summer are going very well at the minute, so far everything indicates that Croatian 2022 nautical tourism could hit the records. Currently, the months of July and September appear to be the best, and September has traditionally become a very popular month for sailing, and there are more and more guests.

During the coronavirus pandemic, this segment has proven to be very resilient and desirable to guests, and it’s time to sort out that market, introduce some digital tools, and start thinking in line with trends.

An example is the month of September, a month in which prices are significantly lower than they are in the month before, which is one legacy of the past that is slowly changing in the charter segment, and so profitability is falling. With the increase in supply over recent years, the dumping of prices has appeared in nautical tourism, which should now stop, because the demand is strong,'' pointed out Cmelnik.

This was shown last year as well, as stated in the analysis of the Charter.hr portal. Although it started relatively late in early May, the charter season last year achieved some truly outstanding results, with high occupancy of accommodation from June all the way to the end of October 2021.

In the charter season of 2021, 3.1 million overnight stays were realised, equal to about 90 percent of the arrivals recorded back in pre-pandemic 2019, with a reduced fleet of about 500 vessels when compared to the pre-pandemic year. Therefore, with the increased demand, the capacity was also quickly filled up.

''The arrival numbers of guests from certain markets have doubled compared to 2020. The traditional markets of Germany, Austria and Slovenia continued to show their loyalty in arrivals, as did the Czechs and the Slovaks. That said, last year also saw the largest number of guests from the United States to date. We can rightly speak of a kind of discovery of Croatia as a nautical destination for guests from America,'' noted Cmelnik.

It is predicted that charters and nautical tourism will be on the rise across all spheres precisely because of the easily sustainable safety and privacy parameters. Looking at the bigger picture, nautical tourism saw its opportunity, both because of the delayed bookings in 2020 that shifted to last year, and because of the flexibility that charter companies have shown. The biggest change that stood out were inquiries for longer-term rentals, ie the amount of time that guests wanted to spend on board increased.

There are many parameters that the current charter statistics don't actually record, in addition to being partially unavailable, warned Selma Cmelnik, who is looking forward to the opening of new databases announced by the Ministry of Maritime Affairs, Transport and Infrastructure for this year.

“The eCrew system, which is integrated with the eVisitor system, published by the Croatian National Tourist Board (HTZ), gives us data only when guests are actually in Croatia. Charter companies need to review the trends before guests do arrive so that they can more easily plan their sales and marketing strategies for the season and during the season,'' believes Cmelnik, who is actively working on the availability of this data so that the market can be better researched and monitored.

For more, check out our travel section.

Wednesday, 26 January 2022

Value of Bills and Receipts Issued in Croatian Tourism Sector 219% Higher

January the 26th, 2022 - The value of bills and other receipts issued in the Croatian tourism sector for 2022's maiden month of January seems to promise a good year ahead.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, across all economic activities registered in the fiscalisation system last week, the value of fiscalised bills and receipts increased by 16 percent compared to the same comparable week back in 2021, and by eight percent compared to the same period in 2020, according to data from the Tax Administration which was published on Monday.

From the 17th to the 23rd of January, 2022, the total value of fiscalised accounts across all industries reached 3.3 billion kuna, which is 16 percent more than was recorded back in the same period last year. At the same time, the number of bills issued in general increased by 20 percent.

The number of bills and receipts issued in the most important activity in the fiscalisation system jumped by as much as seven percent - wholesale and retail trade, the repair of motor vehicles and motorcycles, while their value was higher by 8 percent. Last week, 23.5 million bills/receipts were fiscalised in trade, reaching a grand total of 2.3 billion kuna.

When it comes to the Croatian tourism sector, more precisely the umbrella covering the fields of both catering/hospitality and tourism - activities which include the providing of accommodation and the preparing and serving of food, fiscalised bills/receipts stood at 341 percent more, with 4.8 million of them issued, and their value increased by a very encouraging 219 percent, reaching a massive 216.9 million kuna in total.

It's worth noting that in the same sense regarding the Croatian tourism sector, from the end of November 2020 and throughout January 2021, due to the severely unfavourable epidemiological situation, stricter measures were in force, including the suspension of the work of cafes, bars, pubs and restaurants.

This recent announcement from the Tax Administration also compared last week this year with the same week back in 2020, which is a month or so before the pandemic hit Croatia, 4 percent fewer bills/receipts were issued, but their value was 8 percent higher.

For more, follow our business section.

Tuesday, 25 January 2022

Croatian 2022 Season Lacks 35,000 Workers, Some Hotels May Not Open

January the 25th, 2022 - It might seem like we're far from the sweltering heat of summer and an influx of tourists at the moment, thanks to the temperatures and the weather, but the Croatian 2022 season will be here before we know it. As many as 35,000 staff are required and apparently are struggling to be found, leading some facilities such as hotels to perhaps not even bother opening their doors this summer.

As Novi list/Alenka Juricic Bukarica writes, there will be an estimated shortage of between 30,000 and 35,000 tourism employees for the Croatian 2022 season. The problem of labour shortages escalated last year when some hotels, and not only those of lower category, didn't bother to open their doors during the main summer season because there were no employees who would work the season to be found.

The tourism sector therefore calculated that around 800 million kuna more revenue could have been generated if they had been able to hire labour under more relaxed conditions.

Most of the Croatian tourism sector, with the exception of, for example, travel agencies, no longer have job preservation measures introduced in 2020 available for their employees, which is why the sector launched a series of proposals back in early autumn, immediately after the season, to alleviate the problem of staff shortages and to further facilitate employment. The sector also expects the labour market test obligation to be scrapped.

The problem of waiting for work permits for third country nationals

The 2021 Croatian census showed a sharp decline in the number of inhabitants of the country, and thus the working population, and in the conditions of the pandemic, the trend of local workers going abroad increased, meaning that the already insufficient pool of domestic labour was further emptied. As expected, the Croatian 2022 season will come with great demand for staff from other, mostly neighbouring non-EEA/EU countries, but also the Philippines, India and Ukraine.

Last year, when it came to hiring foreigners, employers ended up having to wait for several weeks to get valid work permits for their staff to that they could work legally, and waiting for even one month during the height of the busy tourist season is unrealistic.

According to the Croatian Employment Service (CES), two thousand and 463 waiters, two thousand and 101 chefs and 689 maids were registered at the bureau at the end of December. According to the same institution, a total of 235,219 workers were wanted for last year's season, of which 27,792 were seasonal workers.

Out of a total of 27,792 sought-after seasonal workers, most were in Istria, Split-Dalmatia, Primorje-Gorski Kotar and Dubrovnik-Neretva counties. When it comes to labour market tests, in 2021 - 28,838 workers were in demand. Thus, work permits were issued to more than 2,000 cleaners from abroad, about 1,700 foreign waiters, 1,300 assistant cooks, about 1,200 cooks, and about 700 hotel maids.

The highest number of requests for the labour market test was received by the Zagreb Regional Office, amount to around 8,500, while Pula is in second place with about 6,800 such requests, and Rijeka is in third place with about 5,400 requests. It's worth mentioning that back during the record-breaking year of pre-pandemic 2019, about 20,000 seasonal workers from abroad were employed in the Croatian tourism sector.

Crisis reactions

Commenting on the situation with staff in tourism last year and this year, Marina Cvitic, the president of the Trade Union of Istria, Kvarner and Dalmatia (SIKD), pointed out that in tourism, it is more than necessary to specifically increase salaries, all the more so given the situation with inflation.

''This was the biggest mistake employers in tourism made at a time when there were staff to be hired. There were enough of them, and the employers had enough money and they could have financially increased the salaries of their employees. Now they have less money, and they give bigger increases than when they did have money. But, unfortunately, there are no staff now. It's a vicious circle. Now, salaries should be increased by at least 50 percent in order to get people to come back,'' she warned.

She added that today anyone who is healthy can find a job. It might not be a quality job, but it will be enough to get by. People don't leave Croatia because there is no work, but above all to find better jobs and more stability. Last year, she said, the staffing situation became very difficult.

''On the one hand, I understand why it was how it was. Employers couldn't plan in time because the pre-season was marked by lockdowns, and until the very beginning of summer, it was practically unknown whether there would be a tourist season at all. Then in June everything started again rather abruptly, and of course all those who weren't invited to come here to work until June, had been looking for a livelihood elsewhere. A large number of workers who would otherwise have decided to work in Croatian tourism went and did other things, usually being engaged in the construction or trade sectors. Wages in these industries increased, so tourism offered low incomes in relation to them. Therefore, without a concrete increase in salaries, I'm afraid that there will be no progress for the Croatian 2022 season and that part of the facilities will remain closed once again due to lack of staff,'' said Cvitic, adding that now is the time to negotiate the price of labour for the upcoming tourist season.

This time last year, the negotiation was to reduce, not increase wages, because there was no need for workers. During the season, through non-taxable awards and other things, they tried to compensate for that.

As for foreign workers, Cvitic revealed, they were really from everywhere, from Nepal, Brazil, Argentina, India, to the Philippines to Ukraine.

''From those countries where it is worse than it is in this country, things are easier, on top of that, Croatia is actually just a stop on their way to Western European countries. The problem is that this type of employee, when in contact with the guest, cannot provide the service that a person who lives here and who is representing this country can do. Croatian are known for their quality and professionalism, and unfortunately we're in a situation in which we educate quality staff, invest in their education and practice, and then those people go to work elsewhere. This is clearly indicated by the latest census data. Personally, I expected that there would be no decline in Istria, precisely because of the progress in tourism, however, the peninsula didn't remain immune to this negative trend,'' concluded Cvitic.

LRH: We are raising the standard for employees

Liburnia Riviera Hotels (LRH) also touched on the Croatian 2022 season staffing issues, said that this year, they will need about 600 additional employees.

''We always need waiters, cooks, receptionists, maids... We'll also need additional strength in other areas. On a smaller scale, we'll also hire staff for some specific positions such as lifeguards, gardeners or handymen, as well as people to come and work in administration. The search for new human resources has already begun. We believe that it is very important to start the search in time to find the best employees, especially given the poor market situation,'' they said.

Initial talks with potential future employees for the Croatian 2022 season, as well as negotiations with some key partners in the recruitment process (employment agencies) began late last season, they said from LRH, adding that they offer employees competitive market conditions with adequate accommodation and food, as well as working continuously and intensively to improve overall working conditions and raise standards in all aspects of employee relations.

Jadran/Adriatic: Scholarships and a stable job

''Considering the situation on the labour market, primarily starting from the ambitious plans for next year, activities related to the labour force haven't stopped for this company.

As of September the 1st last year, a total of 46 employees received indefinite contracts, and some of them had their contracts extended for another year, meaning that Jadran now has 165 full-time employees, an increase of 12 percent compared to the same period back in 2019,'' said Lucija Jukic, the director of sales and marketing of Jadran Crikvenica.

She added that, in addition to continuously advertising the need for labour force and cooperation with the CES, Jadran will also perform at the upcoming virtual job fair Sezonac.hr.

In agreement with the High School in Crikvenica, the Faculty of Hospitality and Tourism in Ika and the PAR Business School in Rijeka, Jadran applied to the programme of the Ministry of Tourism and Sport for scholarships for students studying for tourism professions for which employment approval has been obtained, adding nine new scholarship recipients into the mix.

''Unfortunately, due to technical difficulties, we had to abandon the planned, year-round operation of the Boutique Hotel Esplanade, which was to become a centre of excellence, but we're glad to announce the opening of Hotel Lisanj, which will begin working on February the 11th and will not close until the end of the year. Jadran will also employ another 450 seasonal workers during the Croatian 2022 season,'' concluded Jukic.

Valamar: Permanent job and awards

The largest tourist company in Croatia, Valamar Riviera, says that this year, according to the plan, about 7,000 employees from Istria to Dubrovnik will work in their facilities.

''An additional advantage of working at Valamar is the possibility of working in our hotels in Austria during the winter months. After their first season working here, employees can enter the permanent season and have a seasonal job, with year-round income. Last autumn, Valamar started with the selection and employment for the Croatian 2022 season within the Good Job at Valamar programme and invited all those interested in developing a career in tourism to apply for a job with us.

During the COVID-19 crisis, Valamar, with the support of social partners and government measures, preserved all jobs through the Pause, Restart programme, which last year enabled the realisation of a solid tourist season, and we're already intensively preparing for the season ahead. At Valamar, we offer the best working conditions and have been recognised as a top employer in tourism for many years now. We expect to fill most of the job positions this year with employees from Croatia, and we're satisfied with the interest of candidates from the immediate region,'' said Valamar.

When asked what conditions they offer, they stated that last year, they hired 400 employees for an indefinite period of time, and paid the highest awards for the season, awards for excellence and a 13th salary and Christmas bonus.

For more on how companies are preparing for the Croatian 2022 season, check out our business section.

Saturday, 22 January 2022

Feel Croatia Project Promotes Domestic Products, Services and More

January the 22nd, 2022 - The Feel Croatia project (Osjeti hrvatsku) has been launched, placing a focus on Croatian products, services, producers and local communities.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Lucija Spiljak writes, the Croatian economy is extremely vulnerable, and at the same time, in true Croatian paradoxical style it is brimming with potential. It relies heavily on personal consumption and tourism, therefore requiring some new ways to identify opportunities on both the domestic and on foreign markets.

Therefore, a group of about 30 experts and entrepreneurs launched the Feel Croatia project, which aims to educate young people to understand why it's important to buy local, and promote product quality and innovation here on the Croatian market.

They also launched the eponymous digital platform www.oh.hr, which has been launched and created a group of exceptional experts and professionals experienced in several areas of economic activities - market communications, tourism, economy, journalism, presales and sales, marketing and digital marketing, and of course - entrepreneurship - to help Croatian businessmen, producers and service providers in one place.

The Feel Croatia project grew out of economic activities that took more than seven years to build through the NGO Centre for Entrepreneurs www.poduzetnica.hr, a former Women's Entrepreneurship Centre boasting more than 2,300 members and 128 members from 2015 to 2021.

"I'm looking forward to being the first user of the services of the team of experts and the Feel Croatia project and I'm also looking forward to the cooperation that is coming to us in this new year. In my range of entrepreneurial activities, I have a whole range of originally Croatian tourist, health, medical products and services, which have long since crossed the borders of Vukovar-Srijem County and my city of Vukovar, where I work. I'm sure that with the Feel Croatia project and these exceptional project experts, I will ensure a proper market position, clients, sales, promotion, but also recognition within the borders of our beautiful country, but also outside it, which is why I gave them my trust,'' said Dr. Mirjana Semenic Rutko , an entrepreneur from Vukovar.

"For many years, I've been watching everything that has to do with Croatia being 'devastated', and everything that comes from abroad is being put on a pedestal, praised and appreciated. We all know very well what is true, which is that domestic production, services and activities must not be neglected and devalued. Croatia certainly has something to offer. I'm glad that I was among the first to recognise the Feel Croatia project and that I'll be able to participate in it as an innovator, and an entrepreneur who appreciates Croatian products and services, but also provides them,'' said Davor Kovacic, an entrepreneur and innovator.

“The Feel Croatia project isn't only a new dimension for communication for presenting, connecting and promoting Croatian producers and products and service providers, the local community, as well as everything on the Croatian market, it's also systematic work done in order to raise awareness of domestic customers and all users on the Croatian market who will have a number of projects on offer. We'll do a lot of things that should further strengthen the market and develop domestic potential economically.

We want to work effectively on organic growth and development through numerous examples of success from across all parts of Croatia, from small family farms (OPGs) to large food giants and from the ordinary man to the world stars with Croatian roots because only then can we get the best Croatia and offer that to those who are the only ones competent to evaluate it - and these are our current and future customers and consumers,'' concluded Sanela Dropulic, the co-founder of the praiseworthy Feel Croatia project.

For more, check out Made in Croatia.

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