Saturday, 20 April 2019

Second Biospeleological Expedition Begins on Pelješac Peninsula

Pelješac is home to much more than just stunning views, golden sunsets and incredible wine, as if that wasn't enough. Home to a wide array of wildlife and many caves, this rugged peninsula in southern Dalmatia is as interesting academically as it is beautiful on the surface, and 2019 brings with it yet another biospeleological expedition of the area.

As Morski writes on the 19th of April, 2019, field research across the entire Pelješac peninsula was conducted at the end of 2018, in close cooperation with the public institution for the management of protected areas of nature of Dubrovnik-Neretva County, the Croatian Biospeleology Society and the Breganja Association. The announcement of the beginning of the second such biospeleological expedition - Pelješac 2019, has arrived, which has been being held since the 19th of April 2019 and will continue until May the 1st, 2019.

In the scope of the Pelješac expedition this year, the plans are to explore this rocky area's numerous caves and pits located along different parts of the peninsula and to obtain more detailed information on the distribution of certain groups and species living underground and within said caves. The expedition is likely to gather more than sixty researchers from around the entire region, meaning it will take on a much more international character, and will include the exploration of speleological ocations across the whole of the Pelješac peninsula.

The goals of the expedition include the detailed sampling and photographing the cave fauna as well as topography and the further exploration of newly found pits and caves.

On the two terrains that preceded the main expedition, the emphasis was placed on finding caves and pits known only in literature and by Pelješac's local population. Over twenty caves and pits of various sizes and in numerous locations were explored during the last such expedition, caves suitable for exploration to seek out any animal species living there were recorded, cave fauna was collected, and entry and exit coordinates were noted.

During this expedition, over 100 hundred known caves across the Pelješac peninsula will be explored.

Stay up to date by following our dedicated lifestyle page.

Tuesday, 16 April 2019

Mosque with Minaret to be Constructed for Dubrovnik's Muslim Community

A brand new building is set to be built down in Dubrovnik as a mosque for the religious needs of almost 1,500 people who identify as Muslims (according to the 2011 census) will be constructed.

As Al Jazeera Balkans writes on the 16th of April, 2019, the Islamic centre which will be located in the Gruž area of the City of Dubrovnik should become a reality in just two years, according to a report from Dubrovacki dnevnik.

As soon as all of the required documentation is dealt with and settled, the construction of the mosque, complete with a minaret, is likely to begin, which is not expected to last for a particularly long time. For now, building permits are being waited on.

The future mosque's location will be at a space on the site of former GP Dubrovnik in Gruž, the project foresees the construction of a mosque complete with a minaret, which will be built in Mediterranean or Moroccan style.

"The project will go its way, it will not take long until we get the construction permit, so we're currently preparing the paperwork, and everything will be ready for construction in two years. We have to emphasise the fact that we in the Islamic community have great cooperation with the city authorities which have been coming to meet with us,'' said the Islamic Community's president, Fehim Vukotić.

The construction of an Islamic center is a long-term desire of Dubrovnik's resident Muslim population, of whom in Dubrovnik, at least according to the census of 2011, there are 1,499. That number has likely risen since then.

By building an Islamic center and a mosque with a minaret, there will finally be a place dedicated to numerous social content and events for the southern Dalmatian city's local Muslim community, as well as prayer rooms.

Make sure to follow our dedicated lifestyle page for much more. If it's just Dubrovnik and the extreme south of Dalmatia you're interested in, give Total Dubrovnik a follow. Need ideas for what to do when visiting the Pearl of the Adriatic, check out Dubrovnik in a Page.

Tuesday, 16 April 2019

Mediterranean Festival of Books to Offer More Than 10,000 Titles

As Morski writes on the 15th of April, 2019, the Mediterranean Festival of Books, a book fair with a sales and festival nature will be organised by the Association of Publishers and Bookstores of the Croatian Chamber of Commerce (HGK) and under the auspices of the Ministry of Culture, Split-Dalmatia County and the City of Split, will be held from the 8th to the 12th of May, 2019.

A record 100 exhibitors will be offering discounted books with up to seventy percent off, with around 10,000 titles to choose from.

As always, entrance is free and during the five days of the festival, you will be able to see the latest publications covering a space of more than two thousand square metres in the large hall of ŠC (Arena) Gripe, and there are also three other stages where the Mediterranean Festival of Books program will take place.

In addition to the well-known Bookvarij and Mali Bookvarij locations where children's workshops, panel discussions and a professional program will be held, the evening part of this event related to all things books will also be located at the "Cukarin" hospitality facility in Gripe.

Fifty program activities have been prepared, and the expectation is for as many as 35 promotions of the latest works of some award-winning and acclaimed authors to take place.

 

Among other things, this year's Mediterranean Festival of Books program will include panels consisting of prominent lecturers who will talk about important local topics, and there will of course be a multitude of workshops for the youngest among the festival's visitors on offer. Numerous promotions for new children's editions are also being planned.

All information and a detailed oveview of the Mediterranean Festival of Books 2019 program with its workshop schedule is available here, as well as having been published on the event's official Facebook page and on Instagram.

The Mediterranean Book Festival is being organised with the support of numerous partners such as the Split Tourist Board, Split University, Split Student Centre, the Split Sports Facilities public institution, Hotel Zagreb - Split, Cukarin Gripe, Slobodna Dalmacija, Europlakat, Mandis, CineStar, Barcaffè, CedevitaGo, and Kala.

Make sure to follow our dedicated lifestyle page for much more.

Saturday, 13 April 2019

Why Do The Chinese Really Want To Invest So Heavily In Croatia?

From the construction of Pelješac bridge to planning to build a car factory in southern Dalmatia's Neretva valley, to displaying interest in potentially rescuing the enfeebled Croatian shipyards Uljanik and 3 Maj, the Chinese are no strangers to showcasing their investment interest in Croatia.

Croatia has earned itself a less than positive reputation among foreign investors, alright, let's not be so politially correct and say that Croatia is a burning hot mess in the eyes of foreign investors. ABC has come to mean ''Anything but Croatia'' in foreign investment circles, and many are simply bypassing the country entirely. That's not to talk about local, Croatian investors who have been dragged through the proverbial mud twice or even thrice the amount. Given the somewhat depressing statistics, just why are the Chinese suddenly so deeply interested in investing such huge sums of money in Croatia?

While many have welcomed the money-laden offers of the Chinese, others have remained cautiously optimistic, and some have made no qualms about being vocal in their dismay at the thought of the Chinese coming and ''taking over'' by investing heavily in Croatia's many pressing strategic projects. The motives that push the Chinese towards closer and closer ties with Croatia tend to end up as mere hearsay and solacious gossip in the comment sections of various portals, but what do the experts believe?

As Novac/Marina Karlovic Sabolic writes on the 12th of April, 2019, the Chinese are truly incredible people. They come to Croatia every ten years, and the Croats immediately forget about all of the Chinese "bofl" goods they've spent their lives purchasing and throwing away. They suddenly become blissfully unaware of the dreaded "Made in China" mark that everyone gets so sick to the back teeth of seeing plastered all over basically anything. Instead, their innermost desires display blurry images of an ailing Uljanik, of Tito's rotting memorial complex in Kumrovec, of Rijeka's port, and even football stadiums, Slobodna Dalmacija writes.

Does anybody bother to ask in this country what the Chinese will ask for in return, however? Entering into the dubious and somewhat unpredictable world of Croatian shipbuilding, constructing a much needed railway line and maybe rescuing a port in Rijeka all before dinner time will come with a price tag, and likely a hefty one. The situation when that bill inevitably arrives is one that tends to be what fills the militant online naysayers with fuel, and dread.

''Don't be afraid, China will not demand that the Communist Party be established in Croatia or that it rules the country,'' prof. Dr. Vlatko Cvrtila, one of the most prominent Croatian geopolitical experts, stated. He also added that in its long-term strategic plans, China really doesn't have any sort of idea of ​​introducing a single-party system in the countries in which it invests its money. Their interest, claims Cvrtila, is of quite another nature.

''The Chinese don't invest because they have a lot of money and they want to go around giving it out. There's no philanthropy in international relations. All they invest in is related to their global strategy of creating influence and linking the Eurasian world in a continental way. By investing in infrastructure, ports, roads and railways, they enable their goods to reach their customers more easily,'' says Cvrtila.

Such an approach, he points out, is legitimate for a country that has boasts such great economic potential at this time like China does. Their mega-project, the Silk Road, which would increase the possibility of land transport, aims to reduce overall dependence on maritime traffic restrictions.

Cvrtila notes the US administration's estimates and warnings that China will one day turn its massive economic influence into strategic power as well. This is something that United States, which is already competing with Russia, doesn't think well of. However, China is now quietly placing all of its cards on the economic side of the story.

''In order to maintain its economic growth, China must have a market. In infrastructure projects, they actually make the market more widespread. China can't stop, while it's riding the bike it needs to rotate the pedals. The Chinese are present everywhere where they can create prerequisites for the distribution of goods. In Greece, they're in the ports, in Montenegro, they're dealing with the construction of a motorway, in Croatia, they're building Pelješac bridge. This is a win win situation for everyone, because in the long run, any investment in infrastructure can improve a country's economic performance,'' says Cvrtila.

China has, therefore, created the 1 + 16 formet in Southeastern Europe where its usually large-scale investments help countries that otherwise don't have a lot of foreign investment.

''Europe has survived a difficult financial crisis and there is no "free finance" which would enter JI Europe. China's investment is actually beneficial for Europe, because along with China, the European Union has developed non-competitive but increasingly strategic economic relations, realising in time that they [the Chinese] can contribute to its economic growth,'' emphasises Cvrtila.

Croatia, according to him, is fortunate because it is strategically quite well positioned: it is closer to the heart of Europe than it is to Northern Europe. And, de facto, it is located at the intersection of the roads between the East and the West.

Unfortunately, Croatia hasn't used its geostrategic advantage yet. LNG terminal stands, as do the new train lines. It's also important to revitalise the Port of Rijeka so that Croatia can profit in the fast transport of goods to European consumers. We don't have our own investments, Europe has no capacity anymore, which is why the Croatian Government is seriously considering deals from China,'' concludes Cvrtila.

Therefore, there's no need for Croatia to be afraid of the Chinese, but rather actually use them for its own interests.

Make sure to follow our dedicated business page for more information on Chinese-Croatian relations, Chinese business plans in Croatia, and much, much more.

 

Click here for the original article by Marina Karlovic Sabolic for Novac/Jutarnji

Friday, 12 April 2019

Dubrovnik-Neretva County Promo Film Wins Award in New York

Dubrovnik is no stranger to winning awards and you're probably used to reading about it, but this area in the extreme south of Dalmatia continues to fascinate the world for an abundance of reasons. From its stunning natural beauty and crystal clear sea, to its rich history and equally impressive culture, the Pearl of the Adriatic and its immediate surrounding area just keep on making the world's jaws drop.

This time however, it isn't just the famous Dalmatian UNESCO protected old city and its mighty walls which are taking home yet another award for a promotional film made about its unique beauty, but the wider area of Dubrovnik-Neretva County. This truly picturesque part of southern Croatia boasts an almost equal amount of natural beauty and history, and from Ston to Konavle next to the Montenegrin border, you'll likely have your breath taken away multiple times.

As Morski writes on the 11th of April, 2019, the brand new promotional film from the Dubrovnik-Neretva County Tourist Board, ''Dubrovnik Riviera'' continues to win awards and receive recognition from all sides. To be more precise, at the 2019 New York Festivals® International Film and TV awards festival, which was held in Las Vegas, Nevada, the promo film showcasing Dubrovnik-Neretva County's sheer beauty came third place and won the bronze plaquette.

To briefly recall, at the recent ''The Golden City Gate'' ceremony in Berlin, Germany, at the biggest international ITB World Tourism Fair, the promotional film came second place in the category of regional films, the film has been made by Balduci Film from Zagreb, was directed by Herve Tirmarche and produced by Spomenka Saraga. The film depicts the beauty of Dubrovnik-Neretva County from the Neretva valley, to the islands of Korčula and Mljet, and then Croatia's southernmost municipality of Konavle, which borders Montenegro.

Make sure to follow our dedicated lifestyle and travel pages for much more. If it's just Dubrovnik and southern Dalmatia you're interested in, have a look at Dubrovnik in a Page for everything you need to know about the Rearl of the Adriatic.

Wednesday, 10 April 2019

From Osijek to Makarska, Booking.com Users Rate Croatian Hosts

What do Croatian and international travellers think of their hosts when staying in private accommodation? How do they rate them, how much interaction is too much and are privacy and inside information the key?

As Lea Balenovic/Novac writes on the 9th of April, 2019, almost two thirds of Croats believe that the host is a key factor when staying in an accommodation facility, and those who are the best rated in the Republic of Croatia, both from domestic and foreign guests, can be found in in Rakovica, Osijek, Bibinje, Korenica, Kaštela, Makarska, Brela, Senj, Trogir and Podstrana.

They are the results of research conducted by the world's leading rental company, Booking.com, on a sample of 21,500 travellers worldwide. As the survey showed, 63 percent of international travellers and 62 percent of Croatian travellers think that their stay was better because of their engagement of the host who did everything they could to make it a better stay for them.

Most travellers want to feel "at home," as they have indicated in such surveys. For 62 percent of international travellers, the main advantage of non-hotel accommodation is the ability to take advantage of the knowledge and information available from the host and decide to stay in a property owned by someone who actually comes from the region in which the property is located. The same goes for 48 percent of Croatian travellers.

Nearly half of the international travellers who partook in the survey, or more specifically 45 percent of them, and 59 percent of Croatian travellers consider the local knowledge and information at their disposal from their host important for their overall budget because they hope to be given insider advice that will help them save some cash and avoid potential tourist traps.

However, while it seems that all travellers who took part in this survey generally consider the same things to be significant, each traveller is looking for a different type of engagement from their host. Therefore, some travellers are satisfied with a simple warm welcome, while others have slightly higher expectations from their hosts.

For example, 52 percent of international passengers and 40 percent of Croatian travellers believe that their host should only be seen once during their stay in order to make them feel welcome, and more than a third of international travellers and almost the same number of Croatian travellers expect their hosts to contact them only during their arrival, registration, and then again when they eventually check out and leave the premises.

What is often even more challenging to hosts is the fact that many travellers also expect them to have some sort of sixth sense and know just how much of a personal touch is needed for each traveller. 69 percent believe that hosts should intuitively know the right amount of time they should be spending with their guests, and that is also what 73 percent of Croatian travellers think. For four out of five international travellers and the same number of travellers from Croatia that means respecting their need for personal space, which means that the feeling of privacy is key.

The hosts also agree. Namely, nearly 80 percent of Croatian hosts think that the most important thing for guests is to be able to properly ensure their privacy.

"Our research reveals that it's very important for the owners and managers of accommodation facilities to find a balance which ensures the best experience, regardless of whether guests are staying in a vacation home, an apartment, in accommodation with their hosts or any other type of facility," explained Olivier Grémillon, the vice president of Booking.com, adding the fact thatt "what is crystal clear is that there is nothing like the ability of ordinary people to turn something into an unforgettable experience."

Make sure to follow our dedicated lifestyle and travel pages for much more.

 

Click here for the original article by Lea Balenovic for Novac/Jutarnji

Tuesday, 9 April 2019

From Dalmatia to Karlovac and Rijeka, Chinese Eye Up Croatia

As Gordana Grgas/Novac writes on the 8th of April, 2019, if there was a European tender held solely to attract Chinese investment, the champion would certainly be Great Britain, followed by Germany, and then immediately by Italy and France. Croatia might not be anywhere near the top of China's European ''wish list'', but despite that, the Chinese interest just keeps on coming...

The countries which make up Central and Eastern Europe are low on the aforementioned European scale, even though with China, at least since the year 2012, they have enjoyed a special relationship through the China + 16 initiative, which, as a parallel diplomatic format, tends to irritate the larger, more powerful members of the European Union, as well as the European Commission itself. One of lowest on the list is Hungary with its Eurosceptic government led by Viktor Orban, and Croatia is at the very bottom, but the desire is to alter that.

This week, there is an official visit by Chinese Premier Li Keqianga to Croatia, and the eighth summit of sixteen countries of Central and Eastern Europe with China down in Dalmatia's southernmost city of Dubrovnik, and it might be the easiest thing to look at it all as part of a political show that could act as bait for investment. Whether or not this investment will really happen and what shape that might take, whether it will be done mainly through private projects, for example in tourism, or through major state projects in the rail and port sector, is not yet clear at all.

Croatia will sign nine general memoranda with China in the areas of trade, investment, agriculture, transport, science, technology and innovation, education, sport and tourism, and the most convenient customs administration protocol that will enable the export of Croatian dairy products, which are greatly loved in China. Croatia also intends to join the Asian development investment and infrastructure bank headquartered in Beijing, how much that will cost Croatia however, is not yet known.

How large European countries cooperate with China was demonstrated just ten days ago by the Italians and the French. For the visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping, Rome signed 20 agreements (and joined One Band, a one way system that connects China with the rest of Asia, Europe and Africa, and expands its trade and influence). In Paris, 15 such agreements were signed, where either contracted or announced transactions amounting to billions of euros were dealt with, covering a wide range of areas - from exports of Sicilian red oranges and French frozen chicken to the opening of Italian ports for Chinese investors, sales of 300 Airbus aircraft, energy projects, shipbuilding, etc.

After the construction of Croatia's much anticipated Pelješac bridge, which is funded primarily by European Union money, Croatia hopes for more Chinese investments in national transport projects. This regards the port of Rijeka and the entire Rijeka traffic route, including the line from Rijeka to Karlovac, as well as projects such as airports.

According to data which takes the whole of Europe into account, during the period from 2000 to 2018, almost 47 billion euros of direct investment from China was invested in Britain, Germany saw 22 billion euros, Italy saw 15.3 billion euros, and France saw 14.3 billion euros. Hungary saw a significantly smaller figure of 2.4 billion euros from the Chinese, Poland saw even less with 1.4 billion euros, Romania saw 900 million euros, and Croatia saw just 300 million euros. A stark contrast to the United Kingdom, which is by far one of Europe's most powerful nations.

In the region, the intensity is getting stronger, and in neighbouring Serbia, Chinese loans have come in handy when building transport infrastructure and energy projects and, but that medal, like any other, has two sides, and the takeover of companies hasn't always been met with welcome arms by the Serbs.

The aforementioned data report shows that the culmination of Chinese investment in the EU was reached back in 2016, largely through the take over of companies, and over the last two years, it has fallen, which is attributed to more stringent rules implemented by some EU member states, as well as increased capital controls conducted by Beijing.

For Zagreb, it was a bit uncomfortable to get closer to Communist China in the above mentioned period, as the common policy of overseeing and limiting the Chinese penetration of the ''Old Continent'', especially in strategic and technologically sensitive areas, was being undermined. That chapter however, appears to be well and truly over in Croatia's eyes.

While large investments and projects are anxiously anticipated here in Croatia (and the Chinese interest in Rijeka and the Rijeka-Karlovac line is at least nine years old), data on trade relations show that there is a deficit. State Secretary Nataša Mikuš Žigman notes that there has been a noticeable increase in the volume of trade between Croatia and China, but imports are growing more than exports are. Last year, exports of goods amounted to 133.4 million euros, an increase of 19 percent when compared to 2017, while imports amounted to 803 million euros, an increase of 15.6 percent.

Croatian companies might be able to export more to China in the future, and the business forum being held in Dubrovnik is an excellent chance to showcase some innovative Croatian export ideas, but for now, the main export products continue to be raw or semi-finished products such as stone, leather, untreated wood and polymers, while when it comes to imports, we can see the reign of traditional Chinese consumer goods, white electronics and telecommunications equipment, as well as a constantly increasing number of Chinese tourists visiting Croatia, too.

As the Chinese continue to ramp up their business in Croatia, from Pelješac bridge to Rijeka's port, more announcements continue to appear, and just recently we reported on the Chinese plan to open up a car factory tucked away among the citrus trees of southern Dalmatia's fertile Neretva valley, more precisely in the Nova sela business zone near Kula Norinska in Dubrovnik-Neretva County. While many remain concerned about Chinese influence in Croatia, many others are much more occupied and lured by the promise of an economic boost and employment opportunities.

Make sure to follow our dedicated business page for more information on China-Croatia relations and much more.

 

Click here for the original article by Gordana Grgas for Novac/Jutarnji

Monday, 8 April 2019

Sestrunj Shop Job Applied for From Ireland, Germany, America...

We recently reported on an unusual job offer on the island of Sestrunj in the Zadar archipelago. What might appear to many to be a simple job working in a shop has attracted a rather large amount of attention, from Croatia, Europe, and even beyond.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 8th of April, 2019, there haven't been any schools on the island of Sestrunj for a long time now, and on the island itself, there are only twenty permanent residents.

While Croats tend to move to Ireland in their droves for work opportunities, higher salaries and more job security, Sestrunj, a small island in the Zadar archipelago, has been attracting attention from all sides since the posting of a job offer in a shop on the island, with would-be employees making contact from Ireland, Germany, and even all the way from America, as RTL reports.

Sestrunj - a little island close to Zadar, hasn't even had a shop for four months, and the only the place where you can go and have a drink is at some sort of pensioner's association on the island.

Since Sestrunj has been without a shop for the last four months, supplying the island naturally poses a big problem.

Eventually, the powers that be decided that Sestrunj's store needed to make a return to the island and contacted some commercial chains, and as the first condition for the job, they needed a person who would be willing to move to the island and live there. The interest in the small shop was quite surprising, and so far as many as forty job applications from around the world have arrived on Sestrunj's quiet shores.

"There were mostly people from Slavonia, and there were also people from the United States, Germany, Canada, a gentleman from Ireland called, he was willing to come back to the area," said Nenad Šužberić from Sestrunj.

"They're sick of the crowds in the city, they're probably expecting to come and have some peace on the island and all that," said Sestrunj resident Berislav Fatović.

The shop will need to be done up, but the apartment for the person who will work there is ready.

"It's nice to live here because it's quiet and it's different way of life than in Zadar, in town, but we're missing this shop because you need to think about the most basic necessities in advance, to make sure you've everything you need to have in the house," admitted Zdravka Dilber.

With the re-opening of Sestrunj's shop, everything would be much easier for the island's residents.

Make sure to follow our dedicated lifestyle page for much more.

Sunday, 7 April 2019

Chinese Building Car Factory in Dalmatia, Jobs for 500 People

Chinese-Croatian relations grow ever closer as the Chinese expand their business empire in Dalmatia, not merely stopping at Pelješac bridge. The Chinese are now setting their sights on a vehicle factory in southern Croatia.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 7th of April, 2019, an army of unemployed people, almost three thousand of them in total who are registered at the employment centres in Metković and Ploče in the Neretva region, received the news with understandably huge enthusiasm.

The Chinese will re-launch the Neretva valley, Slobodna Dalmacija writes, breathing life back into a part of Dalmatia that really needs it. Apart from the fact that they are already working on the aforementioned construction of the much anticipated Pelješac Bridge, the Chinese will soon embark on yet another major project in Croatia - a factory for electric cars and scooters in the Nova sela business district, which has so far been being developed in the Neretva valley's Kula Norinska area, but at a very slow pace.

This slow page is set to change a lot when the Green Tech Group, registered as a company in Zadar by Karl Soong along with Croatian entrepreneurs Mladen and Anthony Ninčević, starts with the construction of electric vehicles intended for the markets of Central and Eastern Europe down in Nova sela.

There are many unemployed people living in and around the Neretva valley, which is close enough yet just a bit too far away from potential employment in tourist areas like Dubrovnik. This news naturally brought a smile to the faces of many seeking steady work as in Kula Norinska, work began on the infrastructure in the future business zone in Nova sela, thus making this potentially enormous capital project start right there on ground in Dalmatia.

Twenty people would be employed to start things up at Dalmatia's brand new factory. However, when investment in the production of electric scooters, automobiles and batteries begins to add up and things gain some motion, up to 500 workers will be able to gain employment in various positions in the electric vehicle production facilities.

Make sure to follow our dedicated business page for more on China-Croatia relations, business in Croatia, the investment climate and working in Croatia, and much more.

Friday, 5 April 2019

Croatian Company ''Include'' Continues with Exports and New Markets

At the beginning of 2019, the Croatian company Include signed a two-year distribution agreement with one of the largest global providers of telecommunications services - Deutsche Telekom.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 4th of April, 2019, 42 global markets, six continents, 260 cities across the world, more than 1000 smart benches installed, cooperation with major global corporations, the European Parliament, Deloitte, Forbes... all in just four years - this is just part of the successful results the Croatian company Include from Solin has achieved since May 2015, when the first smart bench was introduced, until the beginning of 2019.

In the first quarter, Solin's Include didn't manage to acheive any real or significant results, as most markets were still covered by snow, and the first installations usually only begin in spring, but in 2019, Include achieved significant export performance. The amount of ordered benches, when compared to the first quarter of 2018, just one year ago, increased by an impressive 109 percent to  a staggering 2.3 million kuna, while total revenues increased by 115 percent.

At the beginning of this year, Include signed a two-year distribution agreement with one of the largest global providers of telecommunications services, Deutsche Telekom. The contract was signed for fifty global markets, and Include became one of the few Croatian companies with this type of somewhat prestigious contract.

In January this year, 44 Steora smart benches worth over 1.1 million kuna were sold and a new market opened its doors, Poland. The largest share of the bench sales relate to exports, and the Steora smart bench has found its way across Europe, having been delivered to Italy, France, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, and Spain.

In February this year, Include continued its export activities - with new orders from neighbouring Montenegro, a new market opened (Chile, with two Steora Standard benches) and the month ended with deliveries of 27 smart bench to Greece, Ireland, Israel, Poland, Italy, and Hungary.

March 2019, as the ''test polygon'' for spring, resulted in orders of a new product from Include's sales portfolio - the Monna cyclo tables for Dublin. The new product was presented at the Smart City Expo World Congress in mid-November 2018 in Barcelona, Spain. In addition, two new distribution agreements were signed (Slovenia - 50 benches, France - 72 benches), five Steora benches for Chile and Bermuda were ordered, as were 38 benches for other European countries - the United Kingdom, France, and Montenegro.

It's certainly important to highlight the continuation of Include's global digital outdoor advertising project via the Steora Urban+ smart benches. After they started the project with the installation of fifteen Steora Urban+ benches in Bratislava (at the best locations in the city), at the end of 2018, the project increased its pace in March this year with the another fifteen new Steora Urban+ smart benches, this time in Dublin, Ireland.

Currently, two major cities in the European Union are using Include's external digital advertising system through the Steora smart bench, it is an advanced DOOH system developed within the company itself. The system works using Facebook-like technology, enabling you to choose multiple advertising screens at the same time, set marketing campaign goals, and track advertising results in real-time.

Croatia's Include expects significant business results in the upcoming two quarters, and in addition to that, the realisation of a new investment round is being prepared, followed by the expansion of production capacities and the recruitment of new employees.

Make sure to follow our dedicated business and Made in Croatia pages for much more.

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