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.

Friday, 14 January 2022

Tonči Glavina: Success During Challenging 2021 Croatian Tourism Season Due to Good Prep

January 14, 2022 - Tonči Glavina, State Secretary of the Ministry of Tourism and Sports, believes that 2021's success is due to excellent tourist season preparation.

Despite all the challenges, the last tourist year achieved extraordinary results. Considering the circumstances, and compared to the results in 2020, slightly less than 70 percent of arrivals and 80 percent of overnight stays were recorded in 2021 compared to 2019. 

Slobodna Dalmacija spoke with Tonči Glavina, State Secretary of the Ministry of Tourism and Sports, who believes that the success stems from the excellent preparation for the tourist season.

"And I intentionally say season, not tourist year, because, unfortunately, due to the flourishing pandemic and travel restrictions, we didn’t have a pre-season. But, nevertheless, a great effort was made by practically the entire Government of the Republic of Croatia, headed by the Prime Minister. We were the first EU member to open borders for tourists from third countries, the first country to introduce the EU digital COVID certificate, we managed the health crisis by being in the "safe" zone for most of the tourist season, we vaccinated tourism workers, provided a large number of tourist testing points, co-financed antigen tests for tourists, we were among the first and one of the few who provide tourists with vaccinations," says the Secretary of State, recalling that the Minister of Tourism established the Council for Recovery and Development of Tourism, the implementation of tourism in 2021 and improving the tourism offer, which brought together all relevant stakeholders in the tourism sector.

The Ministry designed and implemented the "Safe stay in Croatia" project, which resulted in one million visitors to a website translated into ten world languages, with about 17,000 labels and an award for media promotion of security of the Croatian Association of Security Managers.

"Minister Nikolina Brnjac visited and presented the "Safe Stay" project in our emitting markets, and with this project, we branded Croatia as a safe destination. In 2021, we also paid great attention to domestic tourists and year-round tourism, and accordingly, the Ministry initiated and launched the first national campaign, "Experience local. Explore rural Croatia!" Glavina added.

Aware of the importance of tourism for the whole country, the Government has provided special measures to help the tourism sector, not only in preserving jobs (which was vital for the tourism sector) but also providing state aid to companies in the tourism and sports sector through the Program granting state aid in the form of guarantees to the tourism and sports sectors in the pandemic. For the Program, with a total value of 1.5 billion kuna, the threshold of allowed aid was subsequently increased to 1.8 million euros. Furthermore, the duration of support was extended until the last day of this year. Therefore, it is not unimportant to say that by November 2021, state guarantees had been issued under the program for as many as 156 companies.

In the sea of ​​numbers and dizzying amounts, it is essential to say that HRK 36 million has been provided through a public call for support to travel agencies and travel organizers. In addition, the sector was relieved of HRK 118 million by adopting the Ordinance on deferral or exemption from paying tourist tax, Ordinance on the exemption from paying tourist tax for persons using the overnight service on a nautical tourism vessel (sailors), Ordinance amending the Ordinance on annual lump sum membership fees for persons providing catering services in the household and on family farms and the Tourist Board forms for paying membership fees to the Tourist Board. All of this was of great importance to entrepreneurs and our private renters.

On top of all this, I must highlight and praise our entire tourism sector, which has once again shown resilience and was one of the main generators of good economic results in 2021, and this is confirmed by record GDP growth," said the Secretary of State.

Europe also recognized the effort and work of our tourism workers; for the first time, a package of direct grants from EU funds was provided for the tourism sector, worth HRK 2.2 billion. The Ministry held eight workshops for potential beneficiaries within the NPOO in Osijek, Varaždin, Zadar, Split, Dubrovnik, Rijeka, Pazin, and Zagreb about 3,000 interested stakeholders participated live and online. A database with a questionnaire on the status of projects has been established. For better preparation through webinars, guidelines for project preparation, examples of good practice, and a B2B platform for connecting investors and suppliers in the tourism sector were presented.

This year, Croatia was very active in foreign policy in terms of tourism.

"In addition to our very active role in the EU institutions in facilitating tourist travel in the second pandemic year. This year, we also achieved great international success by electing a member of the Executive Council of the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) for the period 2021-2025 during the session of the 66th meeting of the Regional Commission for Europe in Athens. In addition, the Republic of Croatia took over the Committee on Tourism and Sustainability chairmanship from 2021 to 2023. As a result, the reputation and influence of the Republic of Croatia in the EU and the world in tourism policy are constantly growing. Therefore, we will use every opportunity to put tourism topics and policies that are important to us on the agenda," reveals Glavina.

There will be significant changes in the system of tourist boards. Announcing vacancies for directors of all levels of tourist boards is topical, as well as the new Ordinance on special conditions for employees in tourist boards and the Law on Tourist Boards adopted in 2019, and provisions relating to the selection, appointment, and the statuses of directors of tourist boards come into force on the first day of next year.

"As far as ordinances and laws are concerned, I must remind you that before the pandemic in 2019, the reform of the legal framework began. It is focused on the sustainability and professionalization of the tourist board system, where directors will have a four-year term. The aim of these reforms is, among other things, to make the tourism market more accessible and competitive, and to provide an opportunity for all those who can contribute to the best positioning of Croatia as a sustainable and responsible tourist destination to try and achieve it, with clearly defined conditions. The draft rulebook also gives the opportunity to apply for the position of director to persons who have work experience in management positions outside the field of tourism, but in that case, twice as many years of work experience are required as for persons who have work experience in tourism," concludes Glavina.

For more, check out our dedicated travel section.

Friday, 14 January 2022

Zagreb International Airport Crosses Fingers for Better Air Traffic

January the 14th, 2022 - Zagreb International Airport experienced some fairly promising recovery in 2021, when a then very favourable epidemiological picture and the advent of the vaccine allowed for a surprisingly good tourist season during the summer months. It has its fingers crossed that this year will see things make the likely slow but steady return to pre-pandemic normality.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, Zagreb International Airport (MZLZ), the Franjo Tudjman Airport concessionaire, hopes for better business trends throughout 2022 than it experienced duing the last two years, especially after the remarkable increase in traffic in 2021, but this also depends on the global situation in air transport, which is still under strong impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

“Due to the rapid changes which take place owing to the situation with the pandemic, for the second half of January and partly for February 2022, certain flights were cancelled, but most have been placed back on sale again as of February. Zagreb International Airport is in contact with air carriers from around the world. However, due to the confidentiality of the data, we can't share more information so far,'' they said in answer to a question asked about business and expectations for 2022.

Noting that in the last month of 2021, Zagreb was connected to 51 destinations with regular traffic lines with 19 airlines. also had 15,000 more passengers than it did back in November.

They served just over 179.5 thousand passengers, 138 thousand more than back in December 2020, and the most successful month last year was unsurprisingly August with 194.9 thousand passengers, September with 191 thousand, and then October with 182.8 thousand people. The number of flights increased by about 8000 compared to 2020, to 29,605, as did cargo turnover when looked at annually, to 10,781 tonnes, compared to 9848 tonnes transported back in 2020.

"In 2021, Zagreb International Airport recorded a significant increase in passenger traffic, an increase in the number of destinations and in the number of airlines. The turnover of business aviation and charter flights was also higher, but it is still significantly below the results from the record-breaking pre-pandemic year of 2019,'' they stated from the airport.

All of Zgreb Airport's affiliated companies employ about 680 workers, they didn't lay anyone off during the pandemic, and at the beginning of this year they've been looking for new employees in ticket sales.

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

Wednesday, 12 January 2022

Official 2021 Croatian Tourism Figures: A Nice Surprise

January 12, 2022 - The official 2021 Croatian tourism figures are surprisingly fruitful, given the pandemic. 

Namely, 13.8 million arrivals and 84.1 million overnight stays were realized in Croatia last year, reports Slobodna Dalmacija.

Compared to 2020, there are 77 percent more arrivals and 55 percent more overnight stays.

At the same time, foreign tourists realized 71.9 million overnight stays and domestic tourists had 12.3 million overnight stays. This is a continuation of the trend from 2020, in which domestic tourists crossed 15 percent of all arrivals for the second year in a row and had 13.3 percent of all overnight stays in 2020 and 14.5 percent a year later.

The pandemic deterred many from traveling abroad, so many tourists spent their vacation on the Adriatic.

According to the number of overnight stays, the results from recent years were achieved. The only better period was from 2017-2019. Last year reached 2017 with a 2.4 percent difference as 86.2 million overnight stays were realized in that year.

"On the other hand, 2021 set a record in the size that is the goal of every tourism policy - the average number of stays exceeded six nights per tourist for the first time in tourism history. Moreover, by the end of the third quarter, the average number of overnight stays was 6.7, close to a 7-day average stay. This speaks of the growing interest of tourists to stay in Croatia, which, thanks to the efforts of tourism workers, local communities, and the hospitality and tourism sector has more to offer than the sun and sea," says private consultant Ivica Žuro.

Most tourist overnight stays were recorded in Istria (23.5 million), Split-Dalmatia (15.5 million), and Primorje-Gorski Kotar County (15.3 million).

They are followed by Zadar County (12.7 million overnight stays), Šibenik-Knin County (5.9 million), and Dubrovnik-Neretva County (5.4 million). The destinations that attracted the most visitors were Zagreb (638,000 arrivals), Rovinj (549,000), Dubrovnik (543,000), Split (529,000) and Poreč (431,000 arrivals).

Looking at the markets in 2021, most arrivals were made by Germans (2.9 million, 84 percent growth compared to 2020), domestic tourists (2.3 million or 41 percent more than in 2020), Slovenes (1.2 million, 18% growth compared to 2020), Austrians (1.1 million, 180 percent growth compared to 2020), Poles (1 million, 50 percent growth compared to 2020) and Czechs (775.00 or 50 percent more than in 2020).

Compared to 2020, there were 78% more Italians, 100% more Hungarians, 168% more French, and 324% more Dutch.

Central and Eastern Europe is still our primary market, especially compared to the record  2019. Poles achieved 8% more overnight stays; Germans are on the same number, Czechs achieved 97% of pre-pandemic overnight stays, while Slovenians and Austrians achieved about 82% of overnight stays from 2019.

Most overnight stays by type of accommodation were recorded in households (32.1 million), camps (17.4 million), and hotels (15.7 million). In addition, 3.1 million overnight stays were realized in the nautical charter segment. Compared to 2020, the highest traffic growth was achieved in hotels (+124 percent), camps (+92 percent), nautical (+87 percent), and household facilities (+45 percent).

According to the Croatian National Tourist Board, in the first nine months of 2021, revenues from foreign tourists amounted to 8 billion and 268 million euros, representing a growth of 90% of revenues from the same period in 2020 (the first corona-pandemic year). Compared to the first nine months of 2019, 88% of revenues were generated.

During the summer months and the third quarter of 2021, revenues from foreign tourists amounted to 6 billion and 775 million euros, an increase of 100% of revenues generated during the same period in 2020.

For more, check out our dedicated travel section.

Tuesday, 11 January 2022

Croatian Festive Tourism Results Give Hope as Zagreb Continues to Lead

January the 11th, 2022 - Croatian festive tourism results are allowing for the thought that this summer season could be the comeback for what we've missed over the last couple of pandemic-dominated tourist seasons, despite how remarkably well summer 2021 turned out. Zagreb, famous for its Advent in Zagreb offer, is still in the lead when it comes to winter tourism.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Marija Crnjak writes, although the situation with the coronavirus pandemic in Croatia and the immediate region isn't exactly encouraging at this moment in time, in December and during the winter festive period, the positive trend for Croatian festive tourism results continued, even in Zagreb, which was all but empty and rather sad looking during the last Advent in Zagreb.

As the Croatian Tourist Board (CNTB) reported on Friday, the Christmas and New Year period brought Croatia three times more tourist traffic than it did the year before, although this is a quarter less than before the pandemic. From December the 24th, 2021 to January the 6th, the country welcomed 144,000 arrivals of people who realised an impressive 424,000 overnight stays, which is three times more arrivals with 190 percent more overnight stays than we saw last winter.

Istria, Kvarner and Split

Most overnight stays realised down on the coast took place in Istria, Kvarner and in Split-Dalmatia County, while on the continent most were recorded in the City of Zagreb, which also had best Croatian festive tourism results in terms of traffic. Behind Zagreb are Opatija, Rovinj, Dubrovnik, Split and Zadar.

Most of these overnight stays were realised by domestic guests, followed by Austrians, Slovenes and Germans. In that period alone, Zagreb was visited by about 30,000 tourists who realised 72,500 overnight stays, while back in December, Zagreb recorded a turnover of 74,000 arrivals and 161,000 overnight stays, equal to an encouraging 2.5 times more than one year ago.

It has also since been found out that half of these Croatian festive tourism results (in regard to traffic) were realised in Croatian hotels, with about 92,000 arrivals and 221,000 overnight stays, while there were 104,000 overnight stays in household/private/family facilities.

"These results allow for a dose of optimism and confirm Croatia's market position as a high quality and well-prepared destination. Numerous Croatian cities such as Opatija, Dubrovnik, Split, Osijek and Zagreb prepared interesting content that could be enjoyed in compliance with all of the current epidemiological measures against the spread of coronavirus,'' said the director of the CNTB, Kristjan Stanicic.

Minister of Tourism Nikolina Brnjac also considers this an optimistic beginning of a brand new year, adding that the Croatian festive tourism results will contribute to the overall positive impact of tourism on final revenues.

According to the Zagreb Tourist Board, Zagreb's many hoteliers were sold out for New Year's Eve, and the Snow Queen Trophy took care of bookings for the following days. Private accommodation in Zagreb is also beginning to recover from the damage caused by the pandemic, which is best felt by enterprises who had developed sustainable business practices even before the pandemic struck in early 2020.

An example of that is the company Irundo, which is currently renting out about 15 buildings all over Zagreb, along with apartments in Rovinj and down in Dubrovnik, but is already starting to expand its portfolio, which had been reduced in the public health crisis.

A late start

''The 2021 tourist season started late, but last year was much more successful for us than the previous one was, we had a growth of 100 percent, and we expect the same growth in 2022, with the expansion of the portfolio. Partly due to the return of tourist traffic and demand, but mostly because owners and investors saw that we successfully overcame even the most difficult year, so people who come to Irundo want us to take over their facilities and manage them. We're hiring two more workers who will deal with these acquisitions and we're very optimistic about this year,'' said Igor Kordic, the co-owner of Irundo, which, especially in this crisis, has strengthened the consulting part of their business.

For more, check out our travel section.

Monday, 10 January 2022

Adriano Palman: Croatian Campsites Gain Impressive Tourism Results

January the 10th, 2022 - Croatian campsites have risen sharply in terms of their popularity ever since the coronavirus pandemic struck, with many preferring to be outdoors rather than stuck in hotels and complexes. They have achieved some truly impressive tourism results which were above all expectations.

As Novac/Jutarnji list/Barbara Ban writes, Croatian campsites, along with holiday homes, has proven to be the most sought after form of accommodation back during 2021's and previous pandemic-dominated tourist seasons. Croatian campsites performed excellently all summer long, but also after the height of the season passed. If the pre-season had been epidemiologically more stable, the results would have been even better.

The world of Croatian campsites cannot be dissatisfied with what they've managed to acheive, especially if numerous awards are added, both from Croatia and from abroad,. All of this was revealed by Adriano Palman from the Croatian Camping Association, which recently held its annual congress at the popular Terme Tuhelj.

How did Croatian campsites take advantage of another pandemic season in 2021?

In 2021, the Croatian camping sector realised as many as 91 percent of overnight stays when compared to the very good pre-pandemic year of 2019, and compared to 2020, we achieved exactly twice as many overnight stays. Realistically, we have to admit that it was expected that Croatian campsites would be one of the first forms of accommodation to be used when it comes to tourism recovery, but these results are above all of our expectations. The fact that there were a record number of German tourists in our campsites in 2021 speaks volumes about their quality, because never before have we had more German guests in the history of camping in this country.

Of course, there are several reasons for explaining such results, but, in particular, probably the first and main reason is that - as predicted at the beginning of the year - there is a great desire to travel and return to normal, and our warm sea and quality camping content which allows for a top quality holiday are certainly one of the first choices of guests, providing a holiday in the greenery with an increased sense of safety and isolation.

However, it should be honestly acknowledged that we aren't following some sort of exclusive trend and that the fact is that camping has become increasingly popular throughout Europe and there's been a real boom, as evidenced by record numbers in sales of camping equipment (campers, caravans, tents) in all major camping countries such as Germany, the Netherlands, Italy, Austria, neighbouring Slovenia, and even here in Croatia.

According to the German ADAC, which is still a ''guru'' when it comes to camping across Europe, Croatia is still second in the average quality of camping in Europe and third in the number of the best campsites that ADAC classifies under the ADAC Superplatz label. Thus, in 2022, Croatia will have as many as 21 Superplates, while two countries that have ten times larger capacities in camping have only a few more - France has 29, and Italy has 33.

What's the situation on Croatia's competitive markets?

One of the things that foreign experts pointed out to us at the recently concluded Croatian Camping Congress is that Croatian results were achieved at higher prices and without giving discounts that have often been applied by some of our competitors over these crisis years. So, when it comes to prices, it's important to emphasise that in 2021, we were second in Europe in terms of camping prices, right after Italy, which is 9 percent more expensive than we are, but we're significantly more expensive than Spain, which is 8 percent cheaper than us. In addition, France even reduced their prices by 5 percent in 2021. We know that in the conditions of intensifying competition, price positioning is an important factor and that is why we're even more convinced that our path is correct and that the very high average quality of Croatian campsites and what they offer provides a good basis and justifies our prices, which our guests have confirmed. This will hopefully continue to be the case as long as we have the right price-quality ratio.

What about the issue of the unresolved ownership issues of tourist land, which has often been a major barrier to investment...

Much like the entire tourism sector, Croatian campsites do have certain problems that hinder further development of competitiveness, and what is high up on that list is unresolved issues of tourist land. It wouldn't be correct to say that this has completely stopped investments. After all, quality indicators also refute this, but it's quite correct to say that this has conditioned the planning and implementation of investments in camping to an extent, while ideas and plans and already reserved funds were much higher. Therefore, we're pleased that in the coming months we definitely expect the adoption of the appropriate regulations that will properly regulate this issue and define the prices, which creates the proper preconditions for regulation and safety, which will certainly encourage an even greater investment wave and launch Croatian campsites and the whole sector very close to the first position in terms of quality in Europe.

In addition to that, another key issue that has plagued us for more than a decade now is the long and repeatedly announced adoption of the new Maritime Property Act, which is a very important topic for camping and a condition for maintaining competitiveness. Here, too, we can announce that cooperation has been established and that work on the new version of the Law is finally expected to begin at the beginning of next year, which will hopefully satisfy the interests of the public and provide Croatian campsites with the necessary competitiveness.

Further issues are also important, from labour shortages onwards, however, these are issues of general concern for tourism as a whole and are already being discussed on various sides.

What kind of camps does Croatia lack today, when looking at global trends?

In Europe, camps have been designed differently from the very beginning than in America or Australia. Sustainability and green business must play a key role in the development of camping here, and a concrete product in several typologies is built on them. The first and most commercially important is the sector of large camping resorts, which offer the widest range of services and very high quality, and the concept represents real hotels out in the open air.

Other routes are small, often family camps, camping resorts and similar sorts of facilities, which are located in attractive positions with natural beauty, urban and rural centres, intersections and traffic routes, islands and the like, and which provide a different kind of guest experience and emphasise intimacy, personal contact with the owners, socialising with other guests and joint activities. Such facilities are often simpler, and are especially important for the tourist development of continental Croatia and for the extension of the season, ie year-round work, which is still in its infancy in Croatia today, but for which there is truly exceptional potential.

Today's most modern and highly sought after trend, is glamping. Glamping mainly exists as part of the offer of the ''main'' camp, but there are more and more examples throughout Europe, including here in Croatia, that such an offer stands out from the rest and moves towards the independent development of specialised, exclusively glamping facilities.

Did we manage to raise what we have offer for the winter?

Year-round work is a relatively new trend in Croatian tourism in general, and it becomes even stranger when it is connected with the context of camps and the weather conditions of holidays which depend entirely on weather conditions. However, we still have prejudices against the outdated sun and sea system, while many European countries with poorer climatic conditions and no warm sea, such as Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands or Austria, have one of the strongest year-round camping scenes in all of Europe.

Today ,you can stay all year round in as many as 33 Croatian campsites from Istria, to Zagreb, all the way down to Dubrovnik and all the way to the East in Slavonia.

For more, check out our dedicated travel section.

Saturday, 8 January 2022

High Prices in Croatia Won't Win 2022 Tourist Season as Mediterranean Competitors Return

January 8, 2022 - High prices in Croatia won't work for the upcoming tourist season as Mediterranean competitors came back into the game. 

Croatian travel agencies are once again facing another challenging tourist year. Boris Žgomba, president of the Association of Travel Agencies at the Croatian Chamber of Commerce (HGK), said that Croatian tourism hopes for better results in 2022 than last year, but a fight awaits for every guest as other Mediterranean countries return with possible lower prices than Croatia, reports Novi List.

"Behind us is a very bad 2020 and surprisingly good 2021 compared to what was expected. However, this year is uncertain, partly due to the spread of the virus in the first days of the year, and partly due to the expected return of our closest competitors in the market," says Žgomba. Namely, he said that apart from Croatia, most other destinations and countries are preparing for better results, including returning traffic to the level of approximately 2019. Furthermore, according to the announcements, strengthening air traffic is expected. This means that Croatia cannot afford the high price jumps in 2021, which was justified by increased demand.

But also the fact that in the last two pandemic years, Croatia enjoyed a specific privileged position when it comes to epidemiological conditions, and it also positioned itself as a car destination. However, it seems that Croatia is no longer safe in that position because it is expected that other countries will be in a better epidemiological situation than they were last year. And that means that the fight for each guest will be more complex than ever.

As for tourist agencies, he said their business was significantly affected by a higher number of individual tourist arrivals during the pandemic than organized tours. Therefore, in 2022, the agencies would welcome job preservation measures, at least until the end of March and the beginning of April, to bridge the time until spring and the beginning of stronger tourist traffic.

According to the Association of Croatian Travel Agencies (UHPA), UHPA member agencies in the first ten months of 2021 recorded a decline in traffic of about 70 percent compared to 2019, which is a slight recovery compared to 2020 when the drop was about 90 percent. But it is far from recovering, and agencies remain among the hardest-hit part of the tourism sector.

Therefore, they are still on state support and hope that the continued impact of the pandemic on business will continue to help preserve jobs at least until April 2022.

"Most agencies have survived the corona crisis, primarily with government action, but many have exhausted a variety of financial options, from loans to property sales, so we still need action, at least until April 2022, to survive until spring when we expect some tourist traffic," said the UHPA at the last annual Assembly.

However, the agencies also expect that traffic will be difficult this year, especially since the pandemic is raging worldwide and thus throughout Europe, which has already been felt in reservations and payments for skiing and winter holidays through agencies, which went well in the autumn. Skiing was expected to return to pre-pandemic figures, but as the epidemiological situation worsened, bookings fell, and there were last-minute cancellations.

It should also be added that the specificity of agency business is based on the tourist offer and services created for specific market niches whose realization is related to periods outside the tourist season, such as group travel, congress tourism, and school travel, which were also in sharp decline last year.

Also, many agencies specialize in creating and providing services for specific foreign markets from which, or according to which, due to travel restrictions, it was not possible to realize trips such as Asia, Australia, Canada, and so on. 

For more, check out our dedicated travel section.

Page 5 of 74

Search