Friday, 10 June 2022

Massive 52 Million Euro Project to Begin Transformation of Vis Island

June the 10th, 2022 - A massive 52 million euro project is set to begin the transformation of gorgeous Vis island, bringing it up to a far higher level when it comes to tourism.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Marija Crnjak writes, with a huge investment of 52 million euros in the construction of a new exclusive hotel in Komiza and bringing Marriott's lifestyle brand Autograph Collection to the Republic of Croatia for the veru first time, the company Modra spilja (with the majority shareholder being PFZ Croatia osiguranje) will initiate the transformation of Vis island.

On the site of the bulky concrete building of the current two-star Hotel Bisevo, Komiza will get a five-star hotel that will fit entirely into the surrounding natural environment and the view of the city, and a promenade by the sea which will soon be walked along by some new guests, the users of Marriott's loyalty club.

In addition to the investor, the architectural studio 3LHD, the Bruketa & Zinic & Gray agency and the company Hotel & Destination Consulting have all been engaged in the realisation of this project, which has been underway for the last year now.

"Our goal on Vis island is to develop a high value-added tourism product, with a globally recognisable hotel brand that guarantees standards recognised around the world, in order to better capitalide on this remote and unique destination. We simply want to take advantage of the distance and harder accessibility of this destination which is ideal for an escape from reality, for wellbeing, and for the recovery of both body and mind from hectic lifestyles.

Autograph is ideal for such a product, because it's a brand in which each hotel is different, it has its own special story that is usually related to local culture or traditions, and the content is related to that,'' explained Mario Radakovic, a member management of the company Modra spilja.

As it is known, the pension fund PBZ CO paid its creditors back in 2019 and ended the bankruptcy proceedings of Modra spilja, after which the company was listed on the Zagreb Stock Exchange, and there was a recapitalisation to maintain liquidity during the coronavirus pandemic and to prepare investments.

Marriott is currently in the process of licensing the Autograph Collection brand, concluding a financial structure with both creditors and investors, and amending the urban development plan for the Komiza settlement (UPU) so that all permits can be obtained.

The preliminary design bears the signature of the Zagreb-based company 3LHD, which presented it to the local community about 10 or so days ago. A completely different concept of hotel will now be built, with almost the same number of rooms, but with a significantly reduced environmental impact and total visibility from the sea.

HDC was in charge of designing the concept, the market positioning, the content and the financial projection of the project, while Bruketa & Zinic & Gray will be in charge of branding and designing the central theme of the hotel.


It's worth noting that the Autograph Collection brand belongs to the so-called "premium distinctive" group of Marriott hotels, which is in the middle in terms of luxury (between luxury and select hotels), and in terms of content and style, they are unique hotels that emphasise local culture and traditions. Under the Autograph Collection brand, there are about a hundred hotels on five continents, most of them in Europe, Central America and down in the Caribbean.

It's already known that a very important segment in the up and coming Komiza hotel will be wellness, which will recreate the famous Blue Cave attraction on the island of Bisevo, with a number of indoor and outdoor pools and facilities surrounded by a rich Mediterranean garden, which is another important component of the project. Otherwise, the hotel will consist of several smaller buildings connected by corridors.

It will reinterpret the urbanism of the town with courtyards in a modern way, and Zagreb's 3LHD has placed all of the infrastructure underground, including the garage. The hotel will have a total of 133 accommodation units. An additional 28 residences are planned to be cascaded above the road and be naturally connected to the existing facilities in Komiza. With several outdoor pools, a large infinity pool with a roof top bar right next to the promenade by the sea, some rooms will have private pools, and the turnkey investment will stand at an enormous 320 thousand euros.

In addition to all of the above in the transformation of Vis island, this large project will be maximally "green", in accordance with the possibilities of this remote location, so that a good part of local materials will be built into it, and solutions will be sought that will be sustainable in the future maintenance of all of the facilities. Radakovic emphasised the great importance of existing good infrastructure on Vis island and the intentions of local authorities to further improve it.

“As a volcanic island, Vis has its own water sources, which is very important for the sustainability of the project, as well as the largest island solar power plant in the entire Adriatic. For our guests, we plan transfers from Split Airport as well as the re-establishment of sea routes to Italy, which will be interesting for the future development of tourism on the island,'' said Radakovic.

The closure of the entire construction of this huge future investment should be completed in the next six months. That in itself is a prerequisite for the start of construction, which could begin in the spring or autumn of 2023, and it is planned to last for 18 to 24 months. Objectively, the new Autograph Collection Vis could be on the market for the 2025 summer tourist season, the investor predicts.

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

Wednesday, 8 June 2022

Vir Tourism Records Being Broken Throughout First 5 Months of 2022

June the 8th, 2022 - Vir tourism records are being broken left right and centre with some outstanding results so far this year. The island is more than likely to surpass its figures from the record, pre-pandemic year of 2019 and we aren't even at the very height of the season yet.

As Kazimir Skrbic/Morski writes, excellenty arrival and overnight stay numbers during the first five months of 2022 have been a real boost for Vir. Overnight stays are 26.3 percent better, and arrivals are 21.7 percent better when compared to the record set three years ago.

If this extremely positive trend of recorded growth for Vir tourism traffic is maintained, it is very likely that at the end of 2022, we'll be able to talk about a new record season and better numbers than those recorded back during 2019. Here is a summary of the statistics of the Croatian National Tourist Board (HTZ):

With 111,362 overnight stays recorded from the beginning of this year to the end of May, Vir tourism numbers exceeded those recorded back during same period last year by as much as 113.8 percent (52,080 overnight stays), while with 6,698 arrivals of domestic and foreign guests, figures for the island are 85.2 percent better than they were back in 2021, when 3,616 arrivals were recorded.

Foreign tourists - mostly made up of Slovenes, Germans, Austrians, Bosnians and Herzegovinians and Hungarians - accounted for 55.1 percent of all overnight stays realised on Vir, and were even more pronounced in terms of tourist traffic measured by arrivals - 61.8 percent. Arrivals were also dominated by guests from neighbouring Slovenia with growth of 102.7 percent, Germans with a growth of 26.2 percent, Austrians with growth of 208.2 percent, Bosnians and Herzegovinians with growth of 148.9 percent and Hungarians with growth of 183.3 percent.

The Czechs, Slovaks and Swiss are still in the top ten in the current Vir tourism ''top 10 per night'', while for the first time, guests from Great Britain, as well as Ukrainians, were also among the top ten. In the first five months, Swedes (1,108 overnight stays) and Poles (1,003) were slightly more modest in terms of overnight stays than the leading nations, but they were ahead of the British and Swiss in terms of arrivals. Domestic guests also recorded a large increase, and during the first five months of 2022, Croats realised 49,908 overnight stays (as opposed to 25,694 a year earlier), which is growth of a very significant 94.2 percent. The situation is similar in terms of arrivals so far (2,557), which exceeded the number of arrivals from back in 2021 by 69.8 percent, when 1,506 tourist arrivals of Croatian guests were recorded.

Vir tourism's results for 2022 are also better than 2020, with 24.5 percent more overnight stays and 41.5 percent more arrivals. Here are the figures: three years ago, there were 88,194 overnight stays recorded in Vir, which means that 2022 is 26.3 percent better; In 2019, there were 5,503 arrivals of both domestic and foreign guests, meaning that this year's 6,698 arrivals represent impressive growth of 21.7 percent when compared to the record set three years ago.

Germans contributed the most with growth of 59.1 percent in terms of overnight stays and 23.7 percent in terms of arrivals, especially given the large numbers with which German tourists participate in tourist traffic on the island (14,576 overnight stays currently, 9,160 three years ago). The Slovenes are on approximately the same number of overnight stays and with 20.6 percent growth in arrivals this year, a significant shift was made by the Austrians with 91.6 percent growth in terms of overnight stays and 31.5 percent in terms of arrivals, the Hungarians with 65.9 percent growth in terms of overnight stays and 132.9 percent in terms of arrivals, and finally the Czechs with growth of 176.4 percent growth in terms of overnight stays and 284.9 percent growth in terms of arrivals.

British citizens have also been arriving en masse to the island of Vir. Last year during the same observed period, British tourists realised only 9 overnight stays, the year before, they realised 14, and the record year of 2019 is still very modest with a mere 131 nights, while this year they recorded as many as 1,203 nights. This is an increase of overnight stays compared to 2019 by as much as 818.3 percent.

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

Tuesday, 7 June 2022

Three Croatian Beaches Ranked Among Most Beautiful in Europe

June the 7th, 2022 - Three Croatian beaches have been ranked among the most beautiful in all of Europe once again, which shouldn't really come as much of a surprise to anyone who has spent any time at all on the stunning coast.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, the very height of the summer tourist season and the time of planning holidays are rapidly approaching. If you're the type whose holiday simply can't occur without the sun and the sea, you're probably in some sort of constant search for a beautiful beach where you'll spend long, hot and lazy days.

The Guardian has recommended the forty most beautiful beaches in all of Europe to its readers, writes Index. Three Croatian beaches are also unsurprisingly on the list: Krivica on Losinj, Divna on Peljesac and Mlini on the Paklinski islands.

“Maybe the fact that you have to walk for thirty minutes along a rocky path and return the same way makes the pebble beach of Krivica so special. The reward for this trip is clear, deep, turquoise water in a protected bay surrounded by pine trees where only sailboats keep you company,'' The Guardian wrote about gorgeous Krivica.

When it comes to Divna beach, they point out that it truly justifies its name, (which alludes to something being pretty, beautiful and stunning in Croatian). As it is stated, it is a beach on the northern coast of the Peljesac peninsula, with hills overgrown with pine trees, which surround a small pebble bay. The Guardian adds that there are several shady places and that the bay is great for diving. They recommend that you refresh yourself with a drink and a meal in a cafe on the beach and that you stay in a camp nearby.

"Those who visit Hvar and want to change the landscape should take a taxi boat to the bay of Mlini on the islet of Marinkovac within the Paklinski islands. This pebble beach with the scent of pine trees offers you the enjoyment of a relaxed atmosphere, with deck chairs and a restaurant on the beach. As on all Croatian pebble beaches, you will be more comfortable with swimming sandals, and the incredibly clear blue-green water will encourage you to dive for hours,'' they stated in their description of Mlini's beach.

For more on Croatian beaches, why not check out our dedicated travel section.

Sunday, 5 June 2022

Brits and Germans Dominate Dubrovnik-Neretva County Overnight Stays

June the 5th, 2022 - Northern European tourists including Germans and Brits have dominated in terms of the number of Dubrovnik-Neretva County overnight stays so far this year.

The pre-season has been absolutely excellent so far, with tourists coming from far and wide to spend time up and down the country now that the vast majority of European countries, including Croatia, have scrapped their coronavirus-induced epidemiological restrictions following two very stale and toilsome years.

With the very height of the boiling summer tourist season now very rapidly approaching, it seems that the country can finally count on reaching the figures of the pre-pandemic, record year of 2019 and filling its pockets once again. Tourism is by far Croatia's strongest economic branch, accounting for as much as 20 percent of its overall GDP, so floods of tourists and high numbers being recorded within the eVisitor system can't come soon enough for the enfeebled sector.

As Morski writes, when it comes to Dubrovnik-Neretva County overnight stays, foreign guests from European countries such as the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Germany, France, and the rest of the Republic of Croatia realised the most overnight stays, with guests from across the pond in the United States also adding to that, local portal eDubrovnik writes.

From the beginning of the year to the end of May 2022, 964,761 Dubrovnik-Neretva County overnight stays were realised. When compared to the same period back in 2021, there were 343 percent more overnight stays achieved, which is very encouraging indeed.

Most overnight stays from January to the end of May were realised by tourists from the rest of of Europe, including neighbouring Bosnia and Herzegovina, Great Britain, Croatia, Germany, and France, followed by guests from the United States of America.

When compared to the record year of 2019, there was an increase in overnight stays from the domestic market and from Ireland, while 77 percent of overnight stays came from the United Kingdom, 67 percent from Germany, 78 percent from France and 62 percent came from further afield in the United States.

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

Friday, 3 June 2022

May 2022 Sees 178% More Croatian Tourist Arrivals Than May 2021

June the 3rd, 2022 - Croatian tourist arrivals are showing some very refereshing numbers following two pandemic-dominated years in which things were extremely slow and concerning for all stakeholders in Croatia's strongest economic branch.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, more than 190,000 tourists are currently staying across the Republic of Croatia, continuing the good trend from May with 1.3 million arrivals and 4.9 million overnight stays, which is 178 and 155 percent more than was recorded back during same month in 2021.

Of the current 190,000 tourists in Croatia, about 175,000 are foreigners, most of them Germans, Austrians and Britons. Tourists from Croatia, Poland, Slovenia and the USA follow, according to data from the country's eVisitor and eCrew systems.

When it comes to the most recent Croatian tourist arrivals, most visitors are staying overnight in hotels and camps, with slightly less staying in private accommodation, while in May most overnight stays were recorded in hotels, 1.8 million of them to be precise, followed by private accommodation with 1.1 million, in camps more than a million overnight stays were recorded, and in the nautical charter, 326 thousand overnight stays were officially realised.

Back during the month of May 2022, with a total of 1.3 million Croatian tourist arrivals and 4.9 million overnight stays realised, the level of 78 and 86 percent of the traffic from May 2019, considered by all to be a record year, was successfully and very encouragingly reached.

During the first five months of this year, there were almost 10 million overnight stays recorded, or 153 percent more than in the same period last year, during which Croatia officially recorded 2.9 million overnight stays. When compared to the pre-pandemic, record year od 2019, that’s 77 percent of the results in terms of Croatian tourist arrivals and 88 percent in terms of realised/recorded overnight stays.

Croatian tourist arrivals throughout the height of the summer season are expected to continue to be excellent, as long as nothing drastic changes in regard to the coronavirus pandemic, which is barely being considered as an issue at all anymore, and as long as the ongoing war in Ukraine doesn't escalate even further.

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

Thursday, 2 June 2022

Asian Tourists Returning to Croatia, Numbers May Reach 2019 Levels

June the 2nd, 2022 - Asian tourists are likely to make a return to Croatia this year following two pandemic-dominated years. Could we see the figures we enjoyed back during the record year of 2019? Some believe so.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Marija Crnjak writes, after a two year halt, the first group of guests from South Korea this year have arrived in Croatia, organised by the Uniline agency. This is a market that was especially responsible for the tourist boom here in the City of Zagreb over the last few years before the pandemic struck.

Boris Zgomba, President of the Management Board of Uniline, expects great interest and the return of Asian tourists to Croatia in a relatively short time.

"The arrival of the first Asian tourists in Croatia is a good announcement for this year's tourist season, as evidenced by the increased interest from this market in the last two weeks, which has confirmed a number of groups that will visit this country during the months of June and July. Given the interest and the state of reservations, we can already expect the return of the level of tourist traffic from South Korea to the level of 2019, and potentially even higher numbers,'' said Boris Zgomba.

Uniline is the first destination management company in the Republic of Croatia and the country's immediate region to begin to primaril focus on distant Asian markets more than 10 years ago, opening its own branches in Seoul, among other locations, in order to grab the potential of the fastest growing tourism markets.

"Since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, tourist traffic from Asia has been almost completely interrupted all over the world, including in Europe and Croatia. However, this weekend, after a two-year pandemic period, the first group of tourists from South Korea landed at Zagreb Airport, and they'll visit Zagreb, Plitvice, Sibenik, Split and Dubrovnik. Asian tourists are known for touring destinations in several countries as part of their travels.

At the same time, Asian tourists use the services of restaurants, public transport, museums, cultural and archaeological institutions. They show a lot of interest and curiosity and are very active when they're here. They're not the type of visitors who come solely for the sun and sea, they want to get to know the area,'' said Zgomba, adding that Asian tourists bring significant traffic in the pre-season and post-season in Croatia.

The programmes of Korean and other Asian tourists whose arrival in Croatia has been announced this summer include several Croatian destinations that will be visited in seven to ten day periods. Back during the record, pre-pandemic year of 2019, more than 400,000 tourists from South Korea came to Croatia, spending more than 511,000 overnight stays here.

Until the pandemic struck, and when focusing on Zagreb, guests from South Korea were second in the number of foreign guests visiting the capital. There are announcements now circulating that as long as no new problems with the pandemic occur and as long as the ongoing war in Ukraine doesn't escalate, Croatia could have a better tourist year than the record year of 2019, and it seems that distant markets will finally contribute to that once again.

For more, check out our dedicated travel section.

Wednesday, 25 May 2022

Czech Tourists in Croatia Could Dominate This Summer Season

May the 25th, 2022 - Czech tourists in Croatia throughout this year's rapidly approaching summer season could be a ''hit'', at least according to the current indicators of Croatia Luxury Rent's sales statistics.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Marija Crnjak writes, the number of bookings in luxury private accommodation from individuals living in the Czech Republic is growing significantly according to the share of the total number of bookings, and has approached the number of arrangements sold from nearby Austria and neighbouring Slovenia. This is an increase of as much as 23 percent compared to last season, which could put Czech tourists in Croatia in 2022 very high on the list when it comes to foreign visitors.

"On the other hand, it seems that due to the impact of the war in Ukraine, instability and the influx of large numbers of refugees, the markets of Poland and Slovakia are recording a decline in reservations," the aforementioned agency said.

With that said, economic growth and gradually deepening pockets which are strengthening the Czech market have caused a significant increase in the number of requests, bookings and overall interest in coming to the Republic of Croatia this summer from that country.

The Czech Republic is otherwise one of the fastest growing economies in all of Europe, and their positive economic results of course bring an increase in wages and, consequently, purchasing power and general consumption. Those factors were visibly declining back during the beginning of the global coronavirus pandemic in 2020, but have thankfully returned to a higher level over the last year.

The fact that the Czech Republic has one of the lowest unemployment rates within the entire European Union (EU) should be especially emphasised when it comes to spending power, and as such the likelihood of Czech tourists in Croatia being very numerous this summer. Last year, Croatia recorded an impressive 775,000 arrivals from the Czech Republic with 5.2 million overnight stays also realised, about 50 percent more than back during the previous year, and it was Croatia's fifth largest emitting market of all.

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

Wednesday, 25 May 2022

Huge Sums Secured for Post-Pandemic Croatian Tourism Recovery

May the 25th, 2022 - A massive 1.3 billion kuna has been secured for Croatian tourism recovery following to unprecedented pandemic-dominated years in which very little, if anything, was realised at all.

As Dora Koretic/Jutarnji/Novac writes, according to the Ministry of Tourism, for the first time, a significant amount has been secured for Croatian tourism recovery in the next Multiannual Financial Framework, from which the sector will have access to 1.3 billion kuna.

These are funds from within the Competitiveness and Cohesion Operational Programme and the Integrated Territorial Programme for the period from 2021 to 2027, of which most of the money should be available to small and medium enterprises which operate in the field of tourism.

As has since been learned from the Ministry of Tourism and Sport, companies will have 689.4 million kuna available under the allocation for Croatian tourism recovery, which will be made available through financial instruments.

"The money is intended for investment in smart technologies, innovation and development, job creation, for the growth of competitiveness and new products, such as the construction of small hotels, renovation, digitalisation or the green transition," the competent ministry revealed.

Wellness tourism

In addition, 40 million euros/302 million kuna were provided for tourism - twice.

The first part of this cash refers to "improving the role of culture and sustainable tourism in economic development, social inclusion and social innovation", where money is being provided for investments in public tourism infrastructure, primarily healthcare, wellness and wellbeing tourism, then follows active tourism, that is, sports infrastructure and the valorization of natural and cultural heritage.

According to the ministry, this is a grant, while a new 302 million kuna has been provided through the "Integrated Territorial Programme", which is responsible for the development and implementation of the Ministry of Regional Development and EU Funds.

"These investments are focused on public tourism and sports infrastructure in urban areas, hilly and mountainous areas, as well as the islands. All of the investments, as well as those financed by the National Fund for Recovery and Resilience (Croatian: NPOO), focus primarily on the digital and green transition,'' they said from the Ministry, which noted that the ultimate goals should be to reduce the impact of tourism on the environment, reduce energy consumption, increase the production of clean energy and reduce costs in general.

This week, the Croatian tourism sector finally welcomed the announcement of the full and detailed criteria for the possibility of using the money earmarked for tourism under the National Recovery and Resilience Plan, under which, the plan for Croatian tourism recovery will have access to money amounting to a massive 2.1 billion kuna.

You can find out more about how Bjelovar is planning to utilise these huge sums by clicking here.

Tourist infrastructure

Details for applying for the first tender, intended to finance tourist infrastructure, after much anticipation, were finally announced at a public consultation this week. These are the details of the call worth 930 million kuna, intended for local and regional self-government units, but also with the possibility of applying to private investors, mainly through public-private partnerships.

Half of the money is actually intended for publicly owned spas, ie for the purpose of wellness and health tourism, while the rest relates to visitor infrastructure and active tourism infrastructure.

However, most of the sector, ie its private part, is most looking forward to the publication of all of the details and criteria for applying for the second call within the NPOO, worth 1.2 billion kuna in total.

The Tourism Ministry revealed that most of the money will be used for hotels, worth 720 million kuna, mainly for investment in accommodation facilities, including ancillary facilities such as bars, restaurants, congress halls or amusement parks.

For more on post-pandemic Croatian tourism recovery, make sure to keep up with our dedicated politics section.

Monday, 23 May 2022

Croatia Full of Lifestyle & Safety, Croatia's Tourism Jewels

Several years ago, a friend of mine on Hvar who runs a luxury tourism agency on Hvar told me about the moment he discovered the secret of Croatian tourism.

"I was in an olive grove with a group of rich New York clients," he explained. "Olive tasting, peka lunch, the standard. One of the guests came over to me and motioned to a lemon tree and its abundant fruit nearby. He asked if it would be ok to pick one. Pick ten, I replied, and off he went. At the end of the week, he came up to me to thank me for an incredible week, but he just wanted me to know what the highlight had been for him."

"Picking those lemons," he said. "I grew up in New York and have only seen lemons in a store or on a dinner plate. To pick one as nature intended was just wow."

The secret of quality tourism, my friend concluded, was understanding the things we take for granted but that have a high value for others, and then putting the two together. 

 A lot of lemons have been picked for tidy sums over the last 10 years on Hvar. A fair exchange for the authentic experience. 

Growing up on Hvar, there is no reason to think that picking a lemon from a tree could be an exceptional experience for someone else. It is human nature for people to take their surroundings for granted and to assume that others are aware of them too. But I have always found that listening to visitors and tourists helps to show where the gaps in knowledge and understanding are. And if we are aware of those gaps and can address them, then there is benefit all round. 

It is natural for people in Croatia to assume that tourists coming to visit know where Croatia is on the map, but many really have no clue. After the World Cup heroics of 2018 in Russia, 'Where is Croatia' was one of the most-searched terms out there. People knew that it was over 'in eastern Europe' somewhere, but many could not pin it on the map. 

Croatia's geography has been looming large in Google Search again recently, with one of the most-searched terms finding TCN in recent weeks - Is Croatia near Ukraine?

The reality is that what was the former socialist bloc in Central and Eastern Europe still confuses many in the West, and a bit more clarity on Croatia's geographical position would be useful, plugging one of those gaps in knowledge by potential tourists and assumed knowledge by locals. 

ukraine-croatia.JPG

I decided to write an article on the subject earlier this month - Is Croatia Near Ukraine? Some Answers to Tourist Google Searches. It was one of the most popular of the year so far. So how to plug that information gap? A simple message, reinforced often, to pinpoint Croatia's Central European location, could be done with a combination of these two facts:

Croatia, just 25 km from Italy, and with a capital city which lies west of Vienna.

The assumption that Croatia is somewhere vague in eastern Europe is gone, as is the tantalising prospect of adding it to western European itineraries. 

This article was prompted by a phone call from Croatian television last week, inviting me to appear on the national evening news to comment on a new campaign from the Croatian National Tourist Board, in particular its new slogan, Croatia - Your life, Your time, Your experience. The accompanying byline on the official YouTube channel is Our Life is defined by the memories we create, and our life goal should be to indulge ourselves and the people around us.

I politely declined the invitation, given that I currently have two ongoing lawsuits from the Croatian National Tourist Board (new episode coming soon, but you can catch up on the first two years in Diary of a Croatian Lawsuit), including one for satirical comment on their slogan.  

A little like the current Croatia, Full of Life, I am not sure how this new slogan applies to Croatia or showcases its USP or strengths and attributes. You could replace the word Croatia for pretty much any country on the planet and they would come up with a version of the same thing. 

I thought back to the episode of the lemon tree. What were the things that we take for granted here that surprise and impress our visitors?

I have spoken to a LOT of tourists, digital nomads, and expats over the years here. They all have their reasons for visiting - and staying in some cases - but there are a number of factors which are key to them, several of which are a surprise, as they were not aware of them before they visited. And a little like the lemon tree example, if we can listen and plug those information gaps, the brand of Croatia and what it really offers will be all the stronger. And the good news is that, unlike Full of Life and Your Life, Your  Time, Your  Experiences, they cannot be applied everywhere.  They include:

Safety. Croatia is one of the safest countries in the world. I am not talking about COVID-safe (or any associated campaigns claiming that with one of the lowest vaccination rates in the EU), but safety from a security perspective. I have met so many expats and diaspora who are here because it is a safe place to bring up families. My own personal experience raising two little ones on Hvar was magical. Many are stunned at the safety at night in the big cities, where young women walk home alone and unhindered. In an increasingly uncertain world, the safety of Croatia compared to other countries, is a great marketing tool, especially when coupled with everything else on offer. 

Lifestyle. Croatia really does have about the best lifestyle in Europe, and there is a lot more to it than 2-hour coffees on the riva. As more people are going down the remote work route, lifestyle is one of the key factors in choosing a destination. Imagine how popular a beautiful destination which had the best lifestyle and was one of the safest places in Europe might be. I am not a fan of the Croatia, Full of Life slogan, but one of its advantages is its flexible usage - Croatia, Full of Culture, Croatia, Full of Wine etc. And yet - according to Google - Croatia, Full of Lifestyle has never been used. Until this article. It could and should be a cornerstone of Croatia's message to the world. 

Croats speak excellent English.  This was a real surprise to me, but I have lost count of the number of visitors who have been stunned by the level of spoken English in Croatia (I just assumed people knew). Croats speak English as well as any country I have lived in (and significantly better than in Newcastle and Glasgow...), and much better than other tourism competitors, according to the many tourists I have talked to about this. Knowing that there is no language barrier to overcome is a definite factor in destination decision-making, particularly for those looking to stay a bit longer. 

The WiFi is great. This is more regarding feedback from digital nomads, but many have expressed surprise at how good the WiFi is in general in Croatia. Of course, there are more remote places where it is patchy, but the knowledge that getting online is not going to be an issue is reassuring. 

Authentic experiences. It feels like the West as it once was, with so many local traditions and authentic experiences. I hear a version of this sentence a lot. For the very simple reason that it is true. Croatia is arguably the authentic experience capital of Europe, with something happening 365 days a year, all over the country. I have never experienced so many weird and wonderful festivals and traditions elsewhere in the world as I have in Croatia, one of the reasons we are creating our new CROMADS platform. In an increasingly standardised world, destinations known for authentic experiences will become more attractive. 

How about a message of Croatia, Your Safe, Authentic, Lifestyle Destination, with a byline including English spoken, fast WiFi, just 25 km from Italy sound?

Read more: 10 Things Croatia Does Better than Anywhere Else 

 

Thursday, 19 May 2022

Dalmatian Coast Particularly Vulnerable to Fluctuating Tourism Trends

May the 19th, 2022 - It's not exactly news that Croatia as a whole is heavily dependent on tourism, with the sector being this country's strongest economic branch. The Dalmatian coast, however, is the most vulnerable location of all in this country when it comes to tourist trend fluctuations.

As Morski writes, the Institute of Economics in Zagreb recently conducted the first comprehensive study called: "The vulnerability of local self-government units of the Republic of Croatia to tourism activities" which reveals interesting trends related to the exposure of the Croatian economy and local units to tourism activities and trends. The study was implemented as part of the Mastercard project Uplift, which is intended for the development of micro, small and medium enterprises with a focus on tourism.

The results of the study, made as a step in promoting sustainable tourism and integrating tourism into the broader context of the country's overall economic development, were presented at a panel discussion.

Croatian tourism and the country's GDP

Tourism is the most important Croatian economic sector. Back in pre-pandemic 2019, tourism activity in Croatia directly generated 11.8 percent of the country's total GDP. At the same time, the gross value added of tourism activities in that year amounted to a massive 82.8 billion kuna, which is 24.4 percent of the total gross value added that year. Croatia is also much more dependent on tourism revenues than its Mediterranean competitors are. As such, tourist revenues back in 2018 and 2019 amounted to as much as 18.3 and 21 percent of GDP, and in 2020 and 2021 were reduced to 8.9 and 15.8 percent of GDP due to the negative effects of the coronavirus pandemic on tourist and travel demand. Even such reduced revenues from tourism in the two pandemic-dominated years were still, when expressed as a share of GDP, by far the largest in the entire European Union (EU).

A study by the Institute of Economics in Zagreb further analysed the situation as it was from 2012 to 2021.

Some of the interesting data from the study shows that a comparison of the values ​​of the seasonality index in 2021 compared to 2012 suggests that the shortening of the tourist season was recorded by local units in the Dalmatian hinterland that have started to engage in tourism more intensively during the summer tourist season.

When the value of the index of vulnerability to the concentration and seasonality of Croatian tourism is observed, it grows across most local units in the analysed period. This is happening because the demand for Croatian tourist products is growing intensively, so the concentration of demand in a large part of local units is increasing. The most vulnerable are the local units of Zadar County, followed by Split-Dalmatia County, Dubrovnik-Neretva County, Sibenik-Knin County and Istria County. With only Istria County standing out, it's obvious that the Dalmatian coast is extremely vulnerable to any alterations when it comes to tourism.

In addition, the study shows that the share of private accommodation in terms of total accommodation capacities has increased significantly in the vast majority of local units, while the share of accommodation in hotels, hostels and camps is declining. The most unfavourable structure of accommodation capacities is recorded by Split-Dalmatia County, which has 87.8 percent of private accommodation capacities, and the most favourable is the City of Zagreb, with 52.7 percent of accommodation capacities in hotels, hostels and camps.

Compared to the competition, the demand for Croatia is stronger

Compared to 2012, the number of beds per capita increased by 38.3 percent, which is the largest increase in the concentration of accommodation facilities among Mediterranean countries. At the same time, the number of tourist overnight stays increased by 38.2 percent in the period from 2012 to 2019, reaching 7.05 million overnight stays in 2019.

"The good news is that, compared to the competition across the rest of the Mediterranean, Croatia is also recording a significant increase in demand for its tourism. If we analyse this increase in intensity by counties in more detail, we come to an interesting conclusion: the wave of interest in Croatia spilled over from the usual coastal destinations to the interior, to locations not so much engaged in tourism - such as units in Istria, Dalmatia, Lika and Gorski Kotar, and even in the continental part of the country,'' pointed out Maruska Vizek from the Institute of Economics in Zagreb.

"We're aware of the challenges in the structure of accommodation focused on private renters and the further development of tourism should go in the direction of building accommodation facilities of this type that will allow the extension of the tourist season and create additional value. In coastal areas, the emphasis should be on quality, while in areas that are becoming increasingly interesting for tourism, such as Baranja, Lika and Gorski Kotar, we need both quantity and high quality of accommodation,''said Slavko Steficar from the Ministry of Tourism and Sport.

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