Sunday, 5 December 2021

Sustainable Croatian Tourism: Valamar Announces New Investment Cycle

December the 5th, 2021 - Sustainable Croatian tourism is a goal that the vast majority of actors in this most important economic branch are busy aiming for as mass tourism continues to bring as many issues as it does kuna into the country. Valamar is making concrete moves in this direction.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, following on from the finalisation of the second phase of the capital increase in Imperial Riviera worth a massive 690 million kuna, the Supervisory Boards of the Valamar Group companies approved the transfer of three hotels down in Dubrovnik from Valamar Riviera to Imperial Riviera, a joint venture for Valamar and Allianz ZB for the management of mandatory and voluntary pension funds.

This capital increase and the transfer of the hotel to Imperial aims to accelerate significant investments in the reconstruction and further construction of resorts in the destinations of Dubrovnik, Makarska and Rab, for which Imperial has planned 2.1 billion kuna over a five-year period. Soon enough, the Valamar Group will launch investments totaling 500 million kuna in hotel and tourist facilities and facilities managed by Valamar.

Sustainable Croatian tourism, more precisely ''green'' tourism, and digital transformation, as well as investments in the premium segment, will form the backbone of the development of Valamar's portfolio in the coming period. In order to implement investments and transform their business, the management of the Valamar Group will be reorganised, for which the top management was given a mandate until 2026.

President of the Management Board Zeljko Kukurin and member of the Management Board Marko Cizmek have been reappointed for a new five-year term, while former Vice President Ivana Budin Arhanic has been appointed to the Valamar Riviera Management Board with a focus on further internationalisation, sustainable Croatian tourism and business digitalisation.

Alen Benkovic has been appointed President of the Management Board of Imperial, and is set to become Senior Vice President of the Valamar Investment Group. Davor Brenko has been appointed Senior Vice President of the Valamar Sales and Marketing Group with a focus on product development and increasing direct sales. David Poropat will take over the position of Senior Vice President of Operations with a focus on strategic partnerships and service management.

Sebastian Palma has been appointed to a new term as a member of the Board of Finance for Imperial Riviera and becomes Vice President of the Strategic Controlling Group. Ines Damjanic Sturman has been appointed Vice President for Human Resources Development as a strategic function in Valamar's business, and Tomislav Dumancic is becoming Vice President for Dubrovnik and Dalmatia, where significant investments are planned in the coming period. Vlado Mis, the current President of the Management Board of Imperial Riviera, will become an Advisor to the Management Board and Director of the destination of Rab.

Croatian sustainable tourism is something that will allow the country to escape from the binds of the classic ''three months of sea and sunshine'' that it has been embedded in ever since tourism took off here following independence. Given that this little country has so much to offer and diversity like few others, making this move could place it firmly on the year-round tourism map and allow for a far more stable economy.

For more, check out our dedicated business section.

Friday, 3 December 2021

Croatian Tourism Provides Desperately Needed Cash Injection for Economy

December the 3rd, 2021 - The Croatian tourism sector has provided a very, very welcome cash injection to the domestic economy following this summer's remarkably successful season. It couldn't have come soon enough.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Radmila Kovacevic/VL writes, 2021's summer tourist season was above all expectations. While summer might well be over now, Croatian tourism for this year is not over yet. About 13,000 guests are currently staying in the country, among them certainly some digital nomads, who additionally marked the unexpectedly successful 2021 for Croatian tourism and the economy as a whole.

All of this is, of course, in the shadow of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, but the issues caused by that were far less problematic than we feared before the arrival of the summer months and almost negligible in relation to the damage suffered by some other countries in the rest of the Mediterranean, ie Croatia's competition.

Let's just mention the southern European tourist superpower, Spain, which before the pandemic hosted up to 48 million tourists a year, this year in the first eight months had to settle for a meager 30 percent of the traffic they enjoyed back in 2019. Croatia, on the other hand, concludes the eleven-month period of 2021 with 13.5 million guests who spent 83.5 million nights in the country. All of this is primarily thanks to an exceptionally favourable epidemiological picture which lasted and lasted. That has now, of course, changed quite a lot.

From the beginning of the year to November the 29th, Croatian tourism managed to ''grab'' 67 percent of arrivals from the best tourist year ever, 2019, and measured by overnight stays, things were even better - the country reached as many as 77 percent of those recorded back in pre-pandemic, record 2019. It should also be noted that some destinations across the country in the peak summer weeks even surpassed the traffic from that record year.

Croatian tourists with 2.2 million arrivals were second, following the Germans, and with 12 million overnight stays, they reached 89 percent of the results from 2019. Slovenians and Austrians with 1.1 million arrivals share third place, and the Poles, with a million arrivals, set new records. Tourist successes are unfortunately not evenly distributed along the coast. The season was simpler and more successful for places and regions accessible by car, while air destinations in the south such as Dubrovnik still struggled with minuses in air traffic, and then with a greater shortage of guests.

However, it turned out that the tourists who managed to arrive in Croatia during the coronavirus pandemic remained on holiday for a few days longer than they typically did before, and they filled the best and most expensive Croatian Adriatic accommodation without any real problems. This was the cass even with higher prices than last year, which is a luxury that some hotels could afford thanks to good demand. This was made all the easier because some wealthy tourists, who used to choose either exotic destinations in Asia or Central America, or, if they wanted to stay in Europe - Tuscany, Provence, South Tyrol zbog, finally discovered the Croatian coast this summer, primarily heading to beautiful Istria.

However, Croatian hosts from the north to the south of the country were convinced that quality and safety are much more important to guests during the pandemic than pricing. We will have to wait a few more months for the data on foreign exchange earnings from tourism to see whether or not that's true, but it was already clear in the first half of the summer from the fiscalised receipts and invoices issued that we've had some generous guests visiting in 2021.

Minister of Finance Zdravko Maric announced on August the 1st that with the last day of July, the value of all purchased goods and services across Croatia since the beginning of the year exceeded that of the first seven months of the record year of 2019. August was even better, with 93 percent of the overnight stays from back in 2019 realised, which is especially important because in that month, the country's hosts achieved practically the highest prices of the entire year. The value of fiscalised invoices in Croatian tourism's economic activities during the month of August exceeded the amount from August 2019 by 21 percent.

At the annual level, their value at that time was almost 18 billion kuna (84 percent of the results from 2019). It gives all the right to those who expect that foreign exchange tourist revenues this year may exceed the figure of eight billion euros.

In the record-breaking year of 2019, that figure stood at ten billion, and in the first pandemic tourist season of 2020, less than five. Whatever the final data for 2021 turns out to be, it is clear that Croatian tourism this year provided a welcome and handsome injection into the Croatian economy. That was undoubtedly more necessary than ever given the unprecedented situation with the global pandemic.

For more, check out our dedicated business section.

Wednesday, 1 December 2021

Croatia Among Top 3 'Close Destinations' by National Geographic Traveller Readers

December 1, 2021 - Croatia has been voted among the top three 'close' destinations by National Geographic Traveller readers in the latest Reader Awards. 

This year, for the sixth time, National Geographic Traveller (UK) organized the "Reader Awards", as part of which readers ranked Croatia among the top three countries in the "best close destination" category, reports HTZ.

Italy was declared the best destination in this category, while Greece was also a finalist in this category.

"At a time when travel is still uncertain, Brits are constantly looking for inspiration for future travel. In doing so, they rely on reliable media such as National Geographic, which has been dominating the UK media space in the travel magazine segment for more than a decade with its content and quality. We are extremely pleased and glad that the readers of such a large media paid tribute to the uniqueness of Croatia and thus highlighted our country as one of the destinations that the British are always happy to visit, " said Darija Reic, director of the CNTB Representation in the UK.

The awards were also given in other categories, such as the "best city" category, with Barcelona and the finalists Amsterdam and New York City, while the "best distant destinations" category was won by Japan, followed by New Zealand and the United States. This is a list of the best destinations, tour operators, airlines, and experiences, which was created according to a shortlist of readers of this prestigious magazine.

"This is another in a series of awards to all my colleagues and the entire Croatian tourism for a job well done in a year marked by the global coronavirus pandemic, especially if we know that National Geographic awards are given by readers, i.e., British travel enthusiasts," said the Croatian Tourist Board director Kristjan Staničić.

The National Geographic Traveller (UK) magazine is printed in almost 60,000 copies in Britain alone, while their websites generate more than 10 million unique visitors a year.

A list of all winners is available HERE

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

Wednesday, 1 December 2021

Croatian Winter Tourism to be Advertised on Fourteen Foreign Markets

December the 1st, 2021 - Croatian winter tourism will be tempting for many a foreign visitor who fancies a quick trip abroad over the next few months as fourteen markets get a look into what this country has to offer outside of the summer season.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, the Croatian National Tourist Board (CNTB/HTZ) has launched a new winter campaign "Croatia-Winter Wonderland". By January the 10th, 2022, fourteen foreign markets will see Croatian winter tourism opportunities offered to them via social media in the form of promotion of Croatian destinations and products of enogastronomy, culture and wellness.

The CNTB will conduct this campaign across a number of European markets, more precisely the markets of: Germany, Slovenia, Austria, Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Italy, the Netherlands, France, the United Kingdom, Belgium, Sweden and Norway, via Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok and Pinterest, using the hashtags #CroatiaWinterWonderland and #MagicalCroatia.

"The promotional campaigns we conducted this year have positioned Croatia as a quality, safe and well-prepared destination. The fact that we were very successful in this was confirmed by the European Travel Commission (ETC), which pointed out that the CNTB, during the autumn campaigns, was the most active European tourist organisation on the Visit Europe portal and social media pages'' said CNTB Director Kristjan Stanicic.

He also explained that the Croatian tourism winter campaign will highlight the Advent offer prepared by Croatian destinations, as well as promote traditional recipes and customs and the best locations for taking stunning winter photos. From all that, as well as from other Croatian tourism campaigns, the realisation of a certain level of tourist traffic is expected by the end of this year and beyond.

If the epidemiological conditions allow for it, as part of that campaign, the plan is for foreign influencers to visit Rab, Plitvice Lakes, Zagreb, Dubrovnik and see the winter magic live, the CNTB announced.

For more on Croatian winter tourism, check out our dedicated travel section.

Tuesday, 30 November 2021

Croatian 2021 Tourist Results Almost Nullify Coronavirus-Induced Drop of 2020

November the 30th, 2021 - The pace of economic recovery seems more difficult to assess than the decline that followed the unprecedented situation that dominated 2020. Croatian 2021 tourist results, however, have well and truly outdone themselves.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Jadranka Dozan writes, what can be taken from what has been released by the Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS) on the first estimate of GDP for the third quarter of 2021 and the real growth rate of 15.8 percent compared to the same quarter last year (according to seasonally adjusted data), is that most analysts can admit that it exceeded their expectations. The Croatian 2021 tourist results were excellent, and with this being the country's strongest economic branch, it certainly poured some much needed cash back into the country's wallet.

Apart from personal consumption, which was mostly in the double-digits, and although the published data of 16 percent also largely exceeded forecasts, some economists will point out that they were pleasantly surprised by the positive contribution of net foreign demand, primarily due to significantly lower growth in the import of goods and services in relation to exports. In the summer months, this is primarily ''stamped'' by tourism.

The growth rate of total Croatian exports reached almost 49 percent, while imports of goods and services increased by just 14 percent when compared to the third quarter of last year. Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic didn't miss the opportunity to boast about the fact that this is the second highest annual rate of quarterly GDP growth so far (behind the one recorded in the second quarter, of almost 17 percent).

At a press conference, he pointed out that in the first nine months of 2021, Croatia had annual growth of 10.7 percent, which is the highest rate, in his words, since independence. With the message that “the Government will do everything to make the growth at the end of the year reach at least nine percent, he noted that among the EU member states for which data for the third quarter has been made available, Croatia's 15.8 percent is by far the highest GDP growth.

Admittedly, at this time last year, Croatia also took the lead in the CBS estimates of quarterly GDP, but at a rate of decline. At that time, Croatia was the only country with a double-digit decline in the EU, but it turned out a little later that it was slightly larger down in Greece.

At the level of the whole of 2021, it is almost certain that the Croatian economy will record the highest growth rate to date. Bearing in mind that epidemiological measures were tightened due to the coronavirus crisis at the end of November last year, which ultimately contributed to an annual decline of 7.4 percent in the last quarter, solid growth is also expected for the last quarter of this year. In any case, all indications are that year-round growth could be very close to the double-digit rate. However, even 9 percent growth would mean catching back up with the GDP levels of the pre-crisis 2019 this year, although it was calculated at the beginning of this year that after last year's sharp decline, we'd have to wait until at least the end of next year.

Although it is now quite certain that Croatia will be in the group of several countries with the highest GDP growth in the EU this year, less impressive is the fact that in 2019 Croatia only managed to exceed the level of GDP from 2008. According to the latest estimate from Government statisticians, growth in the third quarter of 2021 was recorded by all major components of domestic GDP, with the exception of Government spending, which fell by 4.5 percent compared to the third quarter of last year.

The largest contribution to growth came from a 16 percent increase in personal consumption as the largest component, and from the exports of goods and services (with significantly slower growth for imports). With as much as 71.6 percent higher exports of services compared to the three summer months of last year, the exports of goods increased by 13 percent, while the imports of goods increased by 12.4 percent and services increased by 22.3 percent.

Positive rates also continued with gross fixed capital formation, although growth (7.4 percent) was slower than in the previous quarter (18 percent). Observed according to the production method, quarterly gross value added (GVA) recorded an annual increase of 13.5 percent. As expected, the largest contribution was made in the group of activities related to tourism, and Croatian 2021 tourist results have been truly remarkable, primarily due to a lasting favourable epidemiological situation. This allowed Croatia to excel in comparison to its Mediterranean competition.

In the category that unites wholesale and retail trade, transport and storage, as well as accommodation and food preparation and serving activities, GVA increased by almost 40 percent. Positive rates were also achieved in the remaining ten categories, with double-digits also recorded in the following activities: Information and communication (11 percent) and Professional, scientific, technical, administrative and support service activities (16 percent).

For more, check out our business section.

Saturday, 27 November 2021

Wine Roads of Jastrebarsko, Samobor, Sv. Ivan Zelina Presented through New Website

27 Nov 2021 - Central Croatia is rightfully getting more and more acclaim as a top-notch travel destination. This is especially true when it comes to its offer of food and wine. Another step in the right direction is the unveiling of the new project Gourmet Tourism – GoWine.

There are numerous attractive towns, villages, and micro-regions around the Croatian capital Zagreb. Some of them are well known among Croatians, most of them unfairly neglected by international travellers. However, things are changing at a rapid pace and we are seeing an increase in promotional actions uncovering the wonders of Central Croatia. The Gourmet Tourism project is a joint effort by tourism boards of three towns: Sv. Ivan Zelina, Jastrebarsko, and Samobor and aims at promoting the food and wine offer in these three areas. This project is backed by the Zagreb County Tourism Board and authorised by the Croatian Ministry of Tourism and Sports.

Increasing visibility of Jastrebarsko, Samobor, and Sv. Ivan Zelina

The primary goal of the project is to communicate a local offer of authentic food and wine more clearly and efficiently by creating interactive and printed maps, a promotional website (www.gowine.hr), WebVR app, as well as to give the project its own recognisable visual identity. The most attractive parts of all these three areas covered in the project are their wine roads. Using stylised maps, the users will now have an easy time navigating them. The locations of numerous local wineries and countryside estates offering quality, authentic bites and sips are now there for all to find and enjoy. With plenty to explore in the area, the creators of the maps had their hands full at selecting those local businesses that will represent the area well.

GoWine_web-2850_1.jpg

The presentation of the project itself took place at the beautiful Mirnovec Ethno Farm. While there was plenty of information to go through, representatives of the three tourism boards and their associates kept the protocol dynamic and interesting. With plenty of mouth-watering local food and delicious wine, all gathered members of the press were able to taste for themselves exactly what wonders lie in the vicinity of Zagreb. Well-known names of the Croatian food and wine scene: Mr. Bakalovic, Mr. Spicek, and Mr. Spiranec created a lunch menu perfect for showcasing the finest this region has to offer. 

So, next time you get a chance, make sure to explore the areas of Jastrebarsko, Samobor, and Sv. Ivan Zelina. With gowine.hr and all the local information one click away, you now officially have no excuse not to do so. Just make sure you go hungry and thirsty.

For all the tourism information in Croatia, do not miss Total Croatia

Saturday, 27 November 2021

October Blues: Imagine the Global Economy Had a Dalmatian Work Ethic

November 27, 2021 - Some in Dalmatia want winter tourism, others are exhausted after the season. How would things look if the global economy adopted the Dalmatian work ethic? 

I love Dalmatia.

I love Dalmatians. Hell, I married one, and she is as lovely as ever, as well as one of the most dedicated and hard-working people I know. 

My wife got that work ethic from her father, who is from the village of Brusje on the island of Hvar. One of ten kids, there was never money for anything, and the 12-kilimetre round-trip walk to school in Hvar Town each day certainly kept him fit. Without ever taking a kuna of credit in his life, he managed to buy land in the most prime part of Jelsa, build a 4-storey house and put all four kids through university, while at the same time spending hours in the family field each day, supplying the family with much of its food. 

Total respect, and I am only sorry that he did not get a proper son-in-law who loved to spend time in the field and not on a laptop, or at least one who adored blitva... 

When people say that Dalmatians are lazy, I always smile and think of my father-in-law, who is always on the road about 5 am each day to tend to the field before his daily chores. I think of the many Dalmatians who left the country in the 19th century, who emigrated out of economic necessity with little more than the shirts on their backs and went on to build incredible businesses and new lives in countries where initially they did not even speak the language. Seriously impressive stuff, and I read somewhere that if the Croatian diaspora was its own country, it would be one of the richest in the world in terms of GDP. 

And yet... 

I know I am going to get slaughtered on social media for this article (particularly by those who don't read beyond the title), and I am ok with that. When you have a double lawsuit ongoing from the Kingdom of Accidental Tourism, a little additional social media abuse it like water off a duck's back. 

I am also aware that nothing will change with anything that I write, for a learned a long time ago that there is a reason that Dalmatia seems to be a little slower in time, without all the latest brand stores and latest technology - the locals like it that way. Like many foreigners coming to Dlamatia over the years, I used to get frustrated at the lack of local interest in embracing change and things that I called 'progress'. The reason these things did not exist were because locals did not want them. It took me 15 years but I managed to condense my advice to incoming foreigners into one sentence. If they could accept and live by this sentence from day one, they would truly have found paradise. But if - like me - you spend years fighting against that sentence before finally accepting its truth, a long period of frustration ensued. The sentence is this:

Do not try and change Dalmatia, but expect Dalmatia to change you. 

Dalmatia definitely changed me - for the better - and I long ago gave up trying to change Damlatia. But there is one small area where I think I can contribute to a small change  that I think would be beneficial to all, and it is one which divides locals. 

Winter tourism. 

Not many people know that organised tourism in Europe began in Dalmatia. 

With a focus on the winter. 

The founding of the Hvar Health Society in 1868 attracted convalescing aristocrats in the Austro-Hungarian Empire to rest in the temperate climes of the island known as the Austrian Madeira. Even as late as 1990, winter tourism was rocking, with Americans coming for up to 6 weeks for the art, nature, food and wine - read this fascinating interview with a UK tour rep based here from 1986-91. Croatian Winter Tourism in 1990: Full of Life! Tour Rep Interview.

The issue of winter tourism comes up each year, and I always smile at the responses. We are tired, we have worked so hard in the season. We made enough in the season, we don't want it. I have to attend to my olives and fields etc. It is October after all, and the season has now been a full six months. 

While I used to smile at this more when I actually lived in Dalmatia, it is somehow a little less amusing living in continental Croatia, where people work equally as hard, usually without the benefit of lucrative tourism that happens accidentally, and they have to slog it out 12 months to survive. 

But that I guess is one of the joys of being born a Damatian in Dalmatia - it really is God's own paradise. 

The thing is, though, that this seasonality is - at least in the humble opinion of this foreigner, if he is allowed one - is that it is really affecting the quality of life in Dalmatia, and I think this seasonality is becoming a real issue. Living on Hvar was an incredible experience, and running TCN kept me shielded from the extremes due to the interesting assignments that constantly popped up. But the reality is that during the season, most people are working 5 jobs to make the most they can in the season, and in the winter, there is nothing open to enjoy. 

I was in both Osijek and Split this month, and there is no question which is the better city to live in during the winter. And it is not the Dalmatian capital. Split SHOULD be one of the top cities in Europe for lifestyle. It has so much to offer, and it has the potential to be one of the most attractive remote work destinations in Europe. And yet sadly, it is showing signs of esging towards overtourism in summer and a strangulation of life in winter. It really doesn't need to be that way. 

One of the most interesting points in TCN's recent winter tourism initiative (which has led to the Split winter tourism round table with Mayor Puljak and others on December 13), was in this great interivew with the team from The Daltonist, who lament the lack of local life in town. This is detrminental both to tourism, as people want to exeprience the local vibe (did I mention Osijek?), but also it is not that much fun for locals either. 

Not all people want to work all year in Dalmatia. And that is fine - that is one part of the essence of the Dalmatian lifestyle. But others do. Why not look at rather than working 12 hours a day 7 days a week for a seasonal worker, who is then unemployed during the winter, perhaps closing for a day or even two each week to give the staff a chance to breathe and enjoy life a little. At the same time, work with others to develop content and local life, so that things are open longer. By moving away from seasonality, workers can be given permanent contracts, find stability and become invested in the company's success. 

And there would be life in winter. And that would be a win for both tourists and locals. 

And creating content and fun out of season need not be that complicated or successful. Build it and they will come. Check out Nomad Table by Saltwater Nomads at Zinfandel each Friday through the winter in Split. A sell-out each week. 

But imagine that Damatian work ethic of only working for half the year was applied to the global economy. Those Wall Street brokers and the like who work 50 weeks a year so that they afford the fortnight in Croatia on the Dalmatian coast - now working for just 26 weeks and staying home, with the appropriate mild negative effect on Dalmatian tourism. In fact, if all of Dalmatia's visitors only worked half a year, how many would be able to afford to come to Dalmatia at all? 

The difference is, of course, that they are not Dalmatian, living in God's Own Paradise. 

 

Do not try and change Dalmatia, but expect Dalmatia to change you. But build in a little winter tourism for those who want it - it will improve the quality of life all round. 

Read more about the Split Winter Tourism initiative, which will take place on December 13. 

Thursday, 25 November 2021

Stronger Seasonal Tourism Results in Less Fast-Growing Croatian Companies

November the 25th, 2021 - Fast-growing Croatian companies are few and far between in areas of the country where seasonal trends are the strongest, which shouldn't come as much of a shock to most.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Jadranka Dozan writes, demand for travel across Europe has shown a solid recovery this past summer, although according to the latest quarterly report on trends and prospects, a return to pre-pandemic levels is still not expected before 2024.

Judging by this year's achievements of the tourism sector here in Croatia, this seems likely that this recovery will occur much earlier on, especially in relation to competing countries with which we usually compare ourselves across the Mediterranean.

While announcing the continued recovery of the travel industry for next year, it is generally warned that the increase in international travel costs could adversely affect travel availability itself, the Zagreb Institute of Economics continues to analyse some of the broader effects and aspects of Croatia's high reliance on tourism as part of the TourCro project.

In a paper recently published in the Tourism Management journal, Maruska Vizek from EIZ and Nebojsa Stojcic from the University of Dubrovnik and Josip Mikulic from the Faculty of Economics in Zagreb all analysed how tourism activity affects the emergence of fast-growing Croatian companies in local government units across the country.

In short, the results of this analysis suggest that both the vulnerability of local government units to tourism activity and the increased seasonality of tourism has negatively affected the emergence of fast-growing Croatian companies. This aspect is important because of the importance of fast-growing Croatian companies in terms of overall economic activity.

According to the OECD definition, fast-growing Croatian companies are those that achieve sales revenue growth of at least 20 percent within three years and had at least ten employees at the beginning of the observed three-year period, and according to some research are responsible for creating 50 percent of all new jobs and revenues in the service sector, recalls Vizek in a comment on the Institute's website regarding the results of the said analysis.

Fast-growing Croatian companies cause, he says, positive ups and downs of spillovers within the value-added chain to which they belong, and are often in sectors characterised by the high-intensity application of knowledge and technology.

He also explained how the empirical analysis in the paper has been conducted at the level of local self-government units from 2012 to 2019, where the subject of the analysis is the population of more than 100,000 companies (legal entities) registered in the country in that period. Tourist activities are presented in two ways: as an index of vulnerability to tourism of local self-government units and as the intensity of the seasonality of tourist activities in these same local units.

“The negative impact of increased seasonality of tourism in local units on the emergence of fast-growing Croatian companies is reflected in the finding that increasing the seasonality of tourism by 10 index points leads to a decrease in the share of fast-growing Croatian companies in terms of total companies by 3 to 6 percentage points.

At the same time, an increase in the tourism vulnerability index of 10 index points reduces the share of fast-growing Croatian companies by 0.6 to 1.5 percentage points on average,'' said the assistant director of the Institute of Economics in her review. In other words, he says, both greater vulnerability to tourism and the more pronounced seasonality of tourism in local government units is associated with a decrease in the share of fast-growing Croatian companies in the total number of companies which exist within local units.

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

Tuesday, 23 November 2021

Croatia is Key Market for New Sustainable Quartz Inn Hotel Chain

November the 23rd, 2021 - The Republic of Croatia is a key market for the new Quartz Inn hotel chain, and the move could finally kickstart Croatia's more sustainable ambitions as a tourist destination, as this chain places an emphasis precisely on that.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Marija Crnjak writes, after the recent official presentation at the London Tourism Fair WTM, a new European hotel brand will be launched in around one month, the new Quartz Inn Hotel chain for independent sustainable hotels, and one of the main markets they plan to expand to is Croatia, where they're already negotiating with facility owners.

The was confirmed to the above-linked publication by Ignacio Merino, the co-founder and director of the Quartz Inn Hotel chain, revealing details of the expansion to at least 100 hotels across Europe. Quartz Inn Hotels Ltd. was founded by Spaniard Merino and Dutchman Alexander Zawadzki, both of the men have extensive experience in the hotel industry, as well as with online travel agencies and travel startups.

“We're the first sustainable hotel brand for independent hotels in Europe, our goal is to connect sustainable accommodation from all European countries, while preserving the authenticity of each facility. We're helping hotels become ''green'' and creating a more sustainable tourism industry. By joining our brand, hotels gain greater international visibility, which leads to higher revenue and more direct bookings,'' explained Ignacio Merino of the business idea that came to him in the midst of a global pandemic, partly as a result of the crisis it caused.

"Independent hotels have been hit hardest and don't have the same resources as larger chains do in order to properly overcome this situation. We talked to many people and decided to form a community that will support them. Through our partners, we provide them with the latest technology to manage things for them, covering all commercial areas, such as OTA distribution, connectivity, marketing, online reputation, online sign-up, additional sales, reservations and revenue management, to optimise hotel prices and maximise benefits,'' he explained.

They also offer members a free academy for hotel owners and their staff. It will focus in particular on direct bookings to bypass online platforms and expensive commissions, ensuring more revenue for hotels and a better deal for guests. Hotel owners aren't charged a fee to enter the Quartz Inn Hotel brand and they promise the lowest commission on the market, depending on the services the hotel wants to provide. In addition, the goal is for each property they're associated with to become a brand shareholder.

“Hotels make up our brand, so they deserve to own part of the Quartz Inn Hotel chain itself. Depending on the number of shares and the length of the cooperation agreement, we will determine the amount of shares that we'll assign to each owner,'' said the co-owner of the brand whose name is inspired by the mineral quartz, which has is very hard and is claimed to purify energy.

In addition to hotels, guesthouses and holiday villas are also welcome to join the chain. So far, they have dozens of contracts signed across Europe, and in 2022 they plan to conclude with at least 100 facilities in the Quartz Inn Hotel chain. Although they say their focus is primarily on sustainability, the propositions for members don't seem too strict, the main goals sound rather generic - to reduce energy and water consumption and eliminate the use of disposable plastic in rooms, all while encouraging sustainable healthier eating habits and contributing to local culture and economy.

That said, if a certain facility doesn’t meet the criteria, they can still work with them, and they'll be helped and provided with technology to grow and aid them in becoming much more sustainable. Once they reach the sustainability standards of the Quartz Inn Hotel chain, they incorporate them into their portfolio. Chain members get keep their names, but are free to add a brand name to it should they so wish. They're completely focused on Europe, and Croatia is one of their main markets, they consider it an attractive coastal destination and a paradise for nature lovers.

“I visited Zagreb for the first time back in 2009, and learned more about Croatia while working in a hotel in Munich with several Croatian colleagues who were proud of their country and recommended many places to me. Since then, I've visited not only places on the coast, but also many national and nature parks. We want to offer our guests a wide selection of conscious and sustainable accommodation. We're currently in talks with several hotels from Istria and Dalmatia and I sincerely hope that Croatia will soon become part of our hotel family,'' concluded Ignacio Merino.

For more, check out our business section.

Sunday, 21 November 2021

Brnjac Announces National Reforestation Project at EU Ministerial Meeting

ZAGREB, 21 Nov, 2021 - Addressing an informal online meeting of EU tourism ministers last Tuesday, Croatian Tourism and Sports Minister Nikolina Brnjac spoke about a new Croatian reforestation plan that is being launched by three ministries.

In line with the Paris Agreement, the EU has pledged to achieve climate neutrality by 2050 and of the numerous projects to be launched by the Croatian government, one of the first projects is related to tourism. A reforestation project for the period until 2030 is expected to result in the planting of around one million trees every year to compensate for a portion of the greenhouse gas emissions caused by tourists arriving by car, said Brnjac.

The reforestation project is being launched by the Tourism and Sports Ministry in cooperation with the ministries of economy and sustainable development and agriculture.

Brnjac also said that the making of a joint long-term plan of work of the EU must be accompanied by the availability of specific and continued EU funds for the sustainable development of tourism.

The informal meeting of EU tourism officials, held as part of the Slovenian presidency of the Council of the EU, focused on plans for activities and the adoption of a European Agenda for Tourism 2030-2050.

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