Monday, 1 July 2019

Croatia Records 6.5 Million Arrivals, 26 Million Overnights in First Half of 2019

Tourism Minister Gari Cappelli expressed satisfaction with the tourism results in Croatia, where during the first half of the year, there have been 6.5 million arrivals and 26 million overnight stays, which is in line with expectations, reports Novi List on July 1, 2019.

"We have the results after the first six months, and we have executed what we had predicted. With a small imbalance in May due to the weather, everything else has gone to plan. At this time we have realized about 26 million overnights and about 6.5 million tourist arrivals.

Thus, everything is in line with our predictions, both in Istria and in other parts of the Adriatic,” Cappelli told reporters at the expert meeting “Investment Potential of Tourist Land” in Funtana. 

According to last year's statistics from the Croatian National Tourist Board, in the first six months of 2018, Croatia saw 6.4 million arrivals and 25.4 million overnight stays.

The minister also said that it is imperative that in the first half of this year that neither German nor British tourists are in the minus, as was predicted.

Cappelli emphasised once again that everything was going to plan and is accounted for by the growth of physical tourism indicators this year of about two to three percent.

Minister Cappelli is in Funtana participating in a meeting on the investment potential of tourism land, in which a draft bill of unreported construction land was presented, which is in public debate.

Before the meeting, the minister attended the opening ceremony of city beach Materada, for which the Ministry of Tourism granted Poreč almost half a million kuna through the tender from the Tourism Development Fund, while the Poreč Tourist Board invested an additional 1.5 million kuna.

The settlement included a coastal area stretching between the Špadići and Materada settlements in the length of 400 meters or 2.834 square meters, which will become the largest beach to be renovated in Poreč this year. The project paid special attention to persons with disabilities.

In other words, the City of Poreč has invested nearly 20 million kuna in the town's beaches over the past four years.

To read more about travel in Croatia, follow TCN’s dedicated page

Friday, 31 May 2019

World Tourism Organisation Secretary-General: Croatia is Success Story

As Barbara Ban/Novac writes on the 30th of May, 2019, world tourism officials met this Tuesday in Zagreb at the 64th meeting of the World Travel Organisation Commission (UNWTO), which was inaugurated among others by UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili, a well known Georgian politician and diplomat. This event has now been held for the second time in the Republic of Croatia, and it's particularly important because Croatia is chairing the commission.

With that, the largest number of delegations to have come to Zagreb arrived - from as many as 44 countries. Pololikashvili has nothing but complete praise for Croatia's striking tourism success.

''Croatia is a true European tourism success story. Just last year alone, it hosted about 20 million visitors, thanks to its beautiful coastline, rich culture and heritage, and its vibrant cities. Every year, the tourism sector contributes to the Croatian economy with about 10 billion euros and employs a large number of people, including young people. In addition, Croatia has long supported UNWTO.

This is the second time for the Regional Commission for Europe to meet here and it's wonderful to come back. The meeting in Zagreb focused on the implementation of the UNWTO's Framework convention on tourism ethics, the goals of which are the establishment of tourism as a driver for sustainable development and the opening up of tourism to all.

Zagreb is also home to the Sustainable Tourism Observatory. It's part of UNWTO's global network of Sustainable Tourism Observatories and has an important task. It follows the tourist numbers of the very popular Adriatic coastal region and identifies the ways in which the sector can be managed in a more efficient, sustainable way.

How much is Croatia recognised as a tourist country across the world?

''Croatia is a very popular tourist destination, and it's understandable why that is so. It's famous for its coastline, beaches and historic towns. Croatia also offers a diversified tourist offer. The market for sport tourism as well as gastronomy is growing. The growth of these two sectors is really encouraging. For example, gastronomic tourism can play a key role in protecting the state and regional heritage and encourages tourists to visit places other than the main tourist destination-type cities, and thus the economic benefit of tourism is more evenly distributed.''

What are the expectations of tourism this year and what can we expect in the future?

''The latest UNWTO tourist barometer shows that, globally, international tourist arrivals are continuing to grow, currently at a rate of four percent per year. UNWTO expects global international travel arrivals to increase between three and four percent in 2019. Europe is still the most popular tourist destination in the world, although Asia, the Pacific and Africa are growing, within its regions, and beyond them.

We can expect this trend to continue in the coming years. We've already exceeded 1.4 billion international arrivals per year and we expect that in a little more than a decade, by 2030, that figure will reach 1.8 billion. But this growth is accompanied by different consumer habits, which determine new ethical patterns of behavior, interest in culture and communities, but also the enormous impact of new technologies, smarter cities and disruptive business practices.''

Given the increasing growth of tourism, one of the biggest problems is the so-called tourist "overproduction". Do you have any guidelines to resolve this problem?

''Tourism can bring many benefits, but also challenges. This is visible in very popular destinations. Quality management is crucial for the proper management of tourist destinations. This means that the private and public sector must jointly ensure that as many people benefit from tourism as possible and that the satisfaction of visitors isn't to the detriment of local residents and communities.

It's encouraging to see that this is happening in Croatia. The extension of the tourist season and the constant efforts to promote the country's popularisation, and not explicit focus on several locations, are positive steps.''

The fact that the World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) meeting having been held in the Croatian capital of Zagreb is important for the further promotion of Croatian tourism on a global scale, and this is undoubtedly considered to be the case for Croatian Minister of Tourism, Gari Cappelli. He said that this was an opportunity to highlight Croatia's candidacy for the Executive Council of the organisation where all UNWTO decisions were prepared, which would enable Croatia to create its activities in the world's top tourist organisation.

We've heard that global tourism has been growing for years, regardless of terrorism and unstable political situations. Has Croatia used enough of the opportunities for such trends and what can be expected of this year?

''Our tourism policy is focused on the quality and sustainability of the entire tourist system and the further activation of other economic activities, primarily domestic production in the function of tourism activities, where agriculture is extremely important.

As we're witnessing, trends are more variable and more challenging. The impacts from the environment include unpredictable socio-economic factors and therefore competitiveness can only be sustained and improved by quality and innovation and a clear tourism policy. We have recently introduced a reform package of tourism laws due to come into force in 2020 which are based on destination management. This means that we'll run public coordinating functions, from planning and organisation to control, in order to create the prerequisites essential for the development of a destination's [tourism] product.''

This is an opportunity for Croatia to be the focus of the interest of the cream of the crop of the world tourism scene. How much is Croatia recognised as a tourist country today across the world?

''Croatia is no longer only the land of the sun and the sea, although we can be proud of our resources. Our natural benefits are our great comparative advantage. By putting them in the function of tourism, comparative advantages should be made competitive. Our country is a country of knowledge, innovation, good hosts, diversity and more quality tourist offers in all segments. In addition, the fact is that we're more attractive to investment also goes in our favour. Last year, we saw almost one billion euros in investment, which means it's 55 percent more in 2019 than it was in 2016. This year, investments are about one billion and 50 million euros, and already 60 percent of those investments have been realised.''

Which markets have we not yet sufficiently addressed, and what about promotion on distant markets?

''We strive to maintain our tourist demand on our traditional foreign markets such as Germany, Italy, Slovenia and others, but also expand onto new markets, with special attention to distant markets such as the United States, China, Korea, Japan... Each year we note the rise of tourist arrivals from these areas, and this is going beyond the peak months of the tourist season. This has also contributed to the positioning of our program of Croatia as an aviodestination, in which we invested 70 million kuna in two years and this year, we're connected with 81 destinations in 25 countries across the world. We have a direct line with Korea, soon with the USA, and there's also a direct link with China.''

Given the continued growth of tourism, one of the biggest problems we face is excessive tourism. Do we have any guidance here in Croatia on how to deal with this problem?

''Excessive tourism growth leaves a negative impact and some countries are bad examples of how mass tourism and sudden growth permanently destroys key resources - the natural basis. Sustainability awareness is very important, and the implementation of the principle of responsible management is crucial to the development of the [type of] tourism we strive for. That's why we've recently included in our progrm, 25 million kuna's worth of funding for the development of sustainability studies so that residents, tourists and stakeholders of certain destinations know what the capacity limits are.''

Make sure to follow our dedicated business, lifestyle and travel pages for much more on Croatian tourism.


Click here for the original article/interview by Barbara Ban for Novac/Jutarnji

Thursday, 18 April 2019

''Business Model of Croatian Tourism is Unsustainable''

As Lea Balenovic/Iva Grubisa/Novac writes on the 17th of April, 2019, Croatian tourism's current business model is unsustainable and has some serious challenges, according to Emanuel Tutek, a partner at the Horwath HTL consulting house, who stated this at the very beginning of a conference on the challenges of the Croatian tourism sector at Edward Bernays High School, the co-organiser of which was Jutarnji list.

Since 19 percent of Croatian GDP comes either directly or indirectly from tourism, the unsustainability of the system is a more serious issue, he added.

''First of all, our tourism is an extremely seasonal sector and as much as 86 percent of all tourism activities in Croatia take place during the summer months. It's also problematic that 96 per cent of these activities are realised on the coast and in Zagreb. In translation, this means that we have plenty of room for progress and the development of our tourist offer across the rest of Croatia, as well as the extension of the season. We are well below the European average. For example, if we compare just the peak of the tourist season, ie July and August, there is 10 to 20 times more of a burden on the area and the residents in Croatia than there is in other European countries. Just remember how some of the destinations and beaches look in July or August,'' warned Tutek.

He also added that Croatia has plenty of room for progress and development in the quality of the accommodation it provides. The Croatian hotels that, as Tutek says, are the pearl of Croatia's hospitality, are very much losing the battle with the hotel industry in the rest of Europe, and the alarm that should be enough to wake the country up is also the fact that the revenue made from tourists' overnight stays in Croatia is less every year.

In addition to this, Croatian tourism is feeling the country's ongoing demographic crisis bite hard, and has a human resource problem as a consequence. This is, as was explained by Tutek, actually a global problem. However, since the international labour market is far more competitive than the Croatian one is, foreign countries are filling their gaps with Croatian workers. Croatia is, unfortunately, at an unimpressive 100 of 138 countries in the world according to the labour market competitiveness index. An even more concerning piece of information shared by the Horwath HTL consultant was that Croatia is the last and second to last in the world on the ladder of attracting and retaining workers.

''We have no solution. The answers to this can't just be some lump sums and other initiatives, we need something more fundamental,'' he warned. One of the negative factors in each case is the uncompetitive average salary. In nearby Austria, for example, in the hotel sector, wages are about 122 percent higher. Still, the hotel industry here in Croatia has experienced a great discrepancy in numbers, and they have therefore begun to increase employee salaries for the last two summer seasons, which has been a fruitful decision. With the rise in salaries and expenses, revenue also grew.

In addition to the inadequate management of human resources, huge problems are also created by the Croatian tax policy. Property tax, Tutek said, practically doesn't exist in Croatia. ''We're the champions of how good private landlords have it. Croatia is a tax oasis,'' he claims.

''We want to be competitive, but there are a number of things that we're not even close to, not even in the wider environment. VAT reduction is certainly important, and there is also the question of consistent policies. It is important for us to have a perception of what will happen in the future at some point, but if the policies constantly change then we can't have a stable business,'' said Sanjin Šolić of the Lošinj hotel group Jadranka.

Davor Lukšić, President of the Lukšić Croatia Group, agreed with him, pointing out that Croatia's 25 percent VAT rate is very high, and even with a rate of 13 percent there would still be room for progress. "We have to remain competitive, especially now when other destinations in the Mediterranean are making a come back," Lukšić added.

But if one was to as Croatian Tourism Minister Gari Cappelli, the problem of the high VAT rate is one of the easiest problems to solve in the Croatian tourism industry. The minister claims that the Croatian Government could lower the VAT rate with one decree, bringing it down to 10 or 13 percent, and such a decision is in the government's plans for the beginning of next year.

''We have a problem with having five-star hotels in two star destinations. First of all, we have to start improving the quality of the destination and spend the whole year measuring what's happening and only after a few years will we see whether both residents and tourists are happy, as well as service providers and the environment. If everyone is more or less happy, then it makes sense to invest in a four or five-star hotel,'' stated Minister Cappelli, adding that in Croatia, it often happens that investments are made in luxurious hotels first, but not in the development of the destination in which it is located.

"Well, we have cases where five-star hotels don't have sewage systems but septic tanks," he said. The minister also referred to the initial lecture by Emanuel Tutek about the key challenges facing Croatian tourism. He agreed that there was always room for progress, but he also pointed out that he was tracking the figures daily and that he couldn't bring himself to agree with all the alarming warnings about the unsustainability of Croatian tourism.

''We're a strange people, two years ago there were no tourists and they wanted to get rid of me, now there are a lot of tourists, and they want to get rid of me again, the projections of what's to come in two years keep coming in, and they're already that I'm shaking in my chair,'' said Cappelli, adding that Croatia is spending what it earns and has therefore finally got an investment rating.

''Now the pressure on public finances is being relieved and the taxes on the economy can be reduced slowly,'' he said.

If the Croatian tourism association is asked for their opinion on the matter, this is last chance saloon for this tax relief to actually become a reality. Namely, it is anticipated that hotels could reduce the volume of their investments by as much as thirty percent over the next three to four years. ''We want to warn the government that it must not let that happen. We have to invest, but we expect that the government to create measures to encourage that and not just put us off,'' said Jadranka's Sanjin Šolić.

Dubrovnik has experienced not only growth in terms of tourism but also the improvement of infrastructure in recent years, Lukšić believes. However, despite the wild popularity of this particular southern Croatian city, it has multiple problems during the winter season.

''In the last two years, we have extended the [tourist] season and the so called ''congress season'' has helped a lot. But we all have to sit around the table and design a strategy for the winter season, which is actually the only problem,'' Lukšić said, arousing a grin from Šolić, who, having being on an island, has much bigger problems.

''It's easy for Dubrovnik. Imagine how it is for us to extend the season! You need to get to the island, the bridge is a problem, the bura is a problem, everything is a problem. We're less competitive than our colleagues on the mainland whichever way you turn. The Chinese, the Koreans, whoever comes to Croatia, lands in Zagreb, goes to Plitvice, Split and Dubrovnik, nobody comes to us,'' complained Sanjin Šolić.

That is why his team sat down together at the table and decided to turn to health tourism for which Lošinj has natural resources, a strategy and a future, said Šolić. Another solution for the development of island tourism is golf. Therefore, a location permit is currently being sought for the construction of a golf course with eighteen holes, with which will be a hotel and villa that will have a total of 800 beds.

''These are the two routes we have on Lošinj. People don't play golf in July and August because its too hot. During November, December, January, February and March, the weather is wonderful and we'll fill our capacities that way,'' he noted.

Emanuel Tutek welcomed this discrepancy in Croatia's tourism development strategies at various locations.

''Not all destinations are suffering the same issues. In Dubrovnik, there is a problem with excessive demand, and the quality of the offer needs to be worked on to reduce the number of tourists. In Istria, the offer should be increased. This has, for example, been done in Maistra. Nobody thought it would pay off to build a five-star hotel in Rovinj, but after the construction of the hotel, the rest of the sector was accompanied by the arrival of tourists and the development of the destination.

However, in addition to the respective issues destinations face in Croatia, the eternal problem facing the entire Croatian tourism sector is labour and wages.

''Salaries are a problem, they're still a base for attracting workers,'' said Tutek, agreeing with the CEO of Jadranka, but as he said, it's difficult to increase salaries because there isn't enough revenue.

"When the minister sorts us out with less taxes, I'll give the rest of it in salaries," he stated.

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


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

Monday, 25 March 2019

Year-round Flights Between Croatia and US on the Horizon?

As Croatia gears up for the highly anticipated American Airlines flight between Philadelphia and Dubrovnik this year, the country also has plans to be connected to the United States for longer than the summer months, and namely from Croatia’s capital. 

As Ex-Yu Aviation reports on March 25, 2019, the newly formed organization VisitUSA Croatia hopes to expand operations between Croatia and the US. 

"We are primarily looking to secure services between Zagreb and New York as this route would fuel travel between the two countries, however, at this point, we do not have any concrete announcements for a new year-round service. This will only happen if a number of stakeholders get involved in the project. Croatia is a regional tourism powerhouse and we must also use this advantage to position ourselves as a leader in outbound US travel for the entire region,” said VisitUSA Croatia. 

Robert Kohorst, the US Ambassador to Croatia, is also a fan of the idea. 

"This new nonstop service between the USA and Croatia sends a strong and positive message to the tourism sector. I am hopeful that all of the planned nonstop flights this summer will be full and that it will lead to the launch of new routes, which will, in turn, generate additional tourism and business exchange". 

The Croatian Embassy in Washington even said that they hope to achieve direct flights “as soon as it is economically possible." 

Tourism heads in Croatia also welcome the news. Recall, Gari Cappelli, Croatia’s Minister of Tourism, stated that the new American Airlines route would be only the start. The Ministry even introduced the new project "Positioning Croatia as an airline destination,” which primarily aims to attract carriers from distance markets. The project is worth 8 million euro, and in 2020, the budget should double. 

Until anything further is confirmed, Croatia will have to live with its connection to Philadelphia, which has already shown impressive bookings. 

"We have been negotiating the Philadelphia service with American Airlines for years. Advanced bookings have so far been excellent and the Dubrovnik Tourism Board has launched a marketing campaign in the States,” Dubrovnik Tourist Board director Romana Vlašić concluded.

Read the full story on Ex-Yu Aviation

To read more about travel in Croatia, follow TCN’s dedicated page

Friday, 22 March 2019

"First Results Show that Croatian Preseason Will be Good"

T.portal reports on March 22, 2019, that Croatia is currently recording 14 percent more tourists and about seven percent more overnight stays than in the same period last year. The first results show that the Croatian preseason will be good and that we are preparing for a quality tourist year, Tourism Minister Gari Cappelli pointed out in Vinkovci on Friday.

"I think we are prepared for a quality tourist year, and we expect figures equal to last year's or one to two percent growth,” Cappelli said about preparing for the upcoming season at a meeting with representatives of the tourism and related sectors.

Cappelli also said that even though tourism is returning to some countries in the Mediterranean, such as Turkey, Tunisia, and others, Croatian tourism will not be jeopardized, and that late bookings this year is noticeable for all tourist countries.

The tourism minister emphasized that this year, more attention is paid to tourism in the continental part of the country, especially in Slavonia where the Days of Croatian Tourism will be held in the autumn.

"When it comes to the Slavonia project, the first assessment says that we will invest 575 million kuna in tourism projects in five Slavonian counties. Nineteen million euro was also given for the tourist development of Slavonia from European funds and the first grant from these sources was already allocated,” Cappelli said.

The director of the Croatian Tourist Board (HTZ), Kristjan Staničić, pointed out that HTZ approved an additional 10 million kuna for the promotion and marketing in 12 markets.

“As part of its activities, HTZ is also conducting the promotion of continental tourism, and in Vinkovci, we are coordinating with the Slavonia cluster, in which there are five Slavonian counties. It was agreed, among other things, to create a new tourist brochure, fair appearances and joint campaigns for the pre and postseason,” Staničić said, adding that a strategy for the development of tourism in Slavonia will also be worked out.

According to all surveys, security is the second most crucial factor in the selection of a tourist destination, said Deputy Chief of Police Željko Prša in Vinkovci.

He also assessed that last year's security in Croatia was high and reminded that the MUP formed the Headquarters for the implementation of security measures in Zadar, which coordinated all activities with competent bodies and services.

To read more about travel in Croatia, follow TCN’s dedicated page

Wednesday, 20 March 2019

Gari Cappelli Assures 'Everything is Under Control' for Tourist Season

Minister of Tourism Gari Cappelli was a guest on the HRT show 'Now the Government'. As expected, before the beginning of spring, there is a lot of talk about the upcoming tourist season, reports T.portal on March 20, 2019. 

Last week, reduced bookings for Croatia were announced, and those that panicked declared that the season would fail.

“Tourists reserve accommodation later, and we have to get used to it. There will be bookings in April and May. As for the preseason, we have about 13 percent more tourists and about 9 percent more overnight stays. Current predictions speak of a small minus in the peak season, but in the end, it should be at the level of last year's results,” says Tourism Minister Gari Cappelli, adding that new markets are opening up.

The US and China have double-digit growth in the number of tourists in Croatia. The British market began to grow, though it undoubtedly slowed down after Brexit announcements. Minuses can be seen in countries such as Spain, France or Portugal, which are essential destinations for British tourists. At the same time, the minister of tourism claims that the growth of British bookings in Croatia is 3 to 5 percent.

As for other traditional markets, everything is under control.

"Italy and Austria are somewhere in the middle, Slovenia has a slight growth, Germany was a bit in the minus, but we expect things to straighten out. Russia again has made a huge step forward, and has grown about 20 percent."

Easter this year falls on April 21, which is often an indicator of how the season will continue. Cappelli says a 10 percent increase is expected as many will enjoy Easter until May 1, which could be an “outstanding two weeks”. 

Some legal changes related to tourism have also been announced, and membership fees, sojourn tax and the system of tourist boards will be discussed. The counties will discuss the increase in the sojourn tax in the future, and the minister believes that they will have some significant breakthroughs. 

"We will determine the minimum and maximum sojourn tax in the rulebook, but the final decision will be made by the counties. We also want to set up the Croatian Tourist Board as a promotion agency, for example, like Italy, Austria or Portugal did a few years ago.”

In Dubrovnik, a sojourn tax for cruisers will be introduced by a new law. Similarly, it could happen in Zadar, Split, and other major cities. 

Cappelli added that private renters have flooded the market and account for 60% of the total accommodation capacities in Croatia.

“The problem is that more than 70 percent are apartments and rooms with three stars. We intended to equate quality. The market will regulate the surplus of apartments, and the loans offered are to give renters an opportunity to raise their quality. Already last season showed that there was a surplus and it is a warning that we should not continue to register new apartments and private facilities, but to upgrade them."

Investments in tourism in recent years grew by 40 percent. There are several large facilities, and there are significant investments in camping tourism. Croatia lacks large hotel chains and larger hotel capacities. We have ten percent less than what we should, Cappelli added.

"We will continue having this problem because the tourist season has been extended. We also have the first direct line between Philadelphia - Dubrovnik, three times a week. We have realized the possibility that objects can be opened a month to a month and a half earlier, and that some work until the New Year. We must send a message that we are no longer a seasonal destination.” 

Cappelli added that funds had been invested in additional medical teams on the coast.

“Next year, we should introduce a helicopter service, and build six new ships for transporting patients. There's a lot of work here, but a lot of progress has been made. They all understood that they must be in the service of tourism,” the minister concluded.

To read more about travel in Croatia, follow TCN’s dedicated page

Monday, 4 March 2019

Will Reduced Bookings Force Price Corrections in Croatian Tourism?

Tourism Minister Gari Cappelli and the director of the Croatian Tourist Board (HTZ) Kristjan Staničić, ahead of this week's ITB Berlin, pointed out that they expect a similar number of German tourists as last year, or about 3 million, and that despite somewhat slowed early bookings, they believe in a good overall annual result in Croatian tourism, reports on March 4, 2019. 

The largest international travel trade show ITB Berlin, which will be held from March 6 to 10, will gather more than 10,000 exhibitors from around 190 countries, including Croatia, whose tourist offer will be presented to a business audience from the German and other markets by the HTZ and more than 30 tourist companies and communities.

Hundreds of Croatian tourism professionals traditionally present at the ITB, who will negotiate concrete business deals with partners and hear about current trends in business and market interest for the tourist offer.

And while there should be international growth in tourist travel this year, for some regions, unlike the last two or three years, announcements ahead of this ITB are somewhat more cautious, with slower or smaller bookings for the coming months and summer, especially in the Mediterranean, which is one of the most visited tourist regions in the world.

For example, Spain, one of the strongest tourist countries in the world, recorded a decline in bookings in the first months of this year compared to the same period last year, especially from the British market, with Portugal and some other countries in the minus, while Croatia has also slowed down.

On the other hand, Turkey is pushing a great offer, has a price advantage and is investing in marketing, similar to Greece, Egypt and other countries in North Africa, who are seeking to attract as many tourists as possible since they lost them in the last two or three years due to political and other instability. 

"I know that there is anxiety because foreign markets are slower, but we need to be patient and impose quality without lowering prices, which I am against. Slower bookings are happening because now there is a lot more capacity on the market than two or three years ago when there was migrant and political turmoil in Turkey, Greece, Egypt and other countries in North Africa, which are now more stable, so tourists have more places to choose from and it is certain that this year there will be more prominent 'last minute' bookings, that is, they will wait for more favorable prices,” said Cappelli.

He is aware that those in the tourism sector are a bit nervous, but that the market will do its part. Nevertheless, Cappelli advises the sector to listen carefully to the market in the next two to three weeks, and then decide whether it is necessary to react with price corrections or other measures.

Cappelli also says that there is no panic from the big hotel houses, for the time being, and that summer bookings are now similar to last year, with slightly better pre-season bookings, which the Minister points out as more important, because “the peak season will work out last minute and come to the previous level, and there should be no problem here.”

"The ITB will show a lot, especially from the German market, for which we have already taken additional activities and investments in marketing actions. We anticipated 2.5 million kuna, which is the most for a particular market from the total, recently additionally allocated 10 million kuna for promotion from the HTZ budget for all markets. We expect Germany to keep the same figures as in 2018, and this can be confirmed by previous talks and information from our German partners, who said that Germany would not be reducing the number of trips this year,” says Cappelli.

Both Cappelli and Staničić recalled that Germany is still the most critical market for Croatian tourism, which in a certain way signals to many and what they should do.

“After the ITB, we will have clearer information about the status of bookings from the German market, from which almost 3 million tourists visited us last year. To further boost bookings and attract German tourists to Croatia, there is a large campaign on the 11 most popular German TV channels, and at the beginning of March, a pre-season campaign on 12 markets with an emphasis on the promotion of cultural, active tourism and eno-gastronomy,” Staničić.

At ITB, they will meet with representatives of numerous partners, such as TUI, FTI, Condor, British Airways, Eurowings, Jet2 and others, as well as representatives of the National Tourism Organization of Albania, and participate in the international the manifestation of the Danube countries “Donavausalon”, which this year Croatia is a partner country.

"At the HTZ booth at ITB we will have 23 co-exhibitors/companies and tourist boards, and we believe in a great presentation, as we believe that this tourist year will show good results. This optimism is thanks to the first two months of this year, where according to eVisitor, almost 485,000 tourists visited Croatia, which is 9 percent more than the same period in 2018. An increase of 4 percent was also recorded with 1.3 million overnight stays,” Staničić concluded. 

To read more about travel in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Friday, 22 February 2019

Is Continental Tourism Croatia's Future? Zagreb and Slavonia Presented

The stand of the Croatian National Tourist Board (HTZ) with its 24 exhibitors is the largest at this year's Munich Tourism Fair, with the tourism potential of both Zagreb and Slavonia having special emphasis placed on them. Gari Cappelli believes that continental tourism is the future for Croatia's tourism offer.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 21st of February, 2019, through the variety of Croatian snacks prepared by famous Croatian chefs, master chef Branko Ognjenović and the chef of the Croatian football team, Tomica Đukić, numerous visitors to the International Tourism Fair 2019 - which, as we reported recently, is being held in Munich, Germany, from the 20th to the 24th of February this year, had the opportunity to get better acquainted with the gastronomic offer of Slavonia and the City of Zagreb yesterday at the stand of the Croatian Tourist Board.

The Slavonian gastro scene showcased Ilok cellars (Iločki podrumi), Kutjevo, Belje, Brzica and Feravino. The promotion of Croatian tourism also includes some of the legends of FC Bayern - Slavonia native Ivica Olić, Giovani Elber, and Andreas Jung.

The tourist fair is otherwise the largest and most visited tourist fair in Bavaria, stretching to over 88,000 square metres, and this year, boasting as many as 1,300 exhibitors from 70 countries across the world, it is bigger than ever before.

The Croatian Tourist Board's stand, with its 24 exhibitors, was the biggest at the fair. Unlike in previous years when Croatia promoted its popular destinations on the coast mostly, this year the often overlooked Croatian continent, more specifically the capital of Zagreb and the Eastern region of Slavonia, which both have a lot to offer to tourists, are taking the limelight. The promotion of Slavonia as a desirable tourist destination is an excellent move for the Days of Croatian Tourism, which is set to be held on 4th to 9th October in the Slavonian region of Osijek.

Croatian Minister of Tourism Gari Cappelli, and Director of the Croatian Tourist Board Kristijan Stančić participated in the presentation of the Croatian tourist offer along with the director of the Zagreb Tourist Board, Martina Bienefeld, Osijek-Baranja County Prefect Ivan Anušić and the domestic manager of the tour operator for Croatia, Selimir Ognjenović.

''Of the three million tourists coming to Croatia from Germany, 1.2 million of them come from Bavaria. So I can say that the Munich Fair is always some sort of indication for us to know what's going to happen this year in regard to tourism. The Germans are the type who appreciate the quality of Croatian tourism, because when those three million tourists return home to Germany, there's a lot to talk about.

Interestingly, we're not presenting the coast but the continent, because I think that's the future through health tourism, special forms of tourism, hunting, fishing, cyclotourism...'' Gari Capelli told Poslovni Dnevnik.

Nera Miličić, head of HTZ in Germany, says that there is a sense of pride in announcing the expansion of the Croatian tourist offer with "The most beautiful Croatian tourist secret" - Slavonia, and the triple winner of the most beautiful European advent - the Croatian capital city of Zagreb.

''We're especially delighted to have organised the largest presentation of the Croatian continent in Bavaria with our partners so far,'' noted Miličić.

''Given that for Croatian tourism, Germany is the emitive market from which we have the largest tourist turnover, we've created a rich and original event program at the Croatian stand that is attracting the attention of numerous visitors.

This is also the confirmation of a well-founded cooperation with FC Bayern Munich which gives us additional promotional value on the Bavarian market, where every other German tourist comes to us from,'' commented HTZ director Kristjan Staničić.

As a tourist destination, Croatia is a serious competitor on the German market. During these times of major changes, an increase in the amount of airline passengers from Germany to Croatia has been recorded, which has positioned Croatia among the most competitive destinations, alongside Spain, Turkey, Greece, Portugal, Egypt and Tunisia, countries which many tourists seeking package deals are usually attracted to.

Although Croatia was otherwise perceived as a destination to drive to from Germany, through the country's camping and private accommodation offer, it has also entered into the package holiday segment (hotel, transfer, flight) which is sold through a tour operator network. All in all, the interest of German tourists for Croatia remains very high indeed.

Numerous tour operators are continuing to expand their programs, smaller operators have begun ''selling'' Croatia, and some airlines are continuing to announce new lines.

The Germans are still in the leading position when it comes to the number of overnight stays realised by foreign tourists in the Republic of Croatia. In addition, the largest number of tourists from Germany come from the regions of Nordrhein-Westfalen, Bavaria, and Baden-Württemberg. However, the Germans typically enjoy more family oriented holidays, often bypassing potentially more ''specialised'' types of tourism on offer.

Therefore, the presence of Croatia's more specialised tourist offers at such fairs is crucial to boost the awareness of German tourists to the country's more numerous tourist offers, and in particular to awaken tour operators to Croatia's more luxurious package of arrangements,'' stated Dragan Kovačević, Vice President of Agriculture and Tourism at the Croatian Chamber of Commerce (HGK), who is also representing Croatia's tourist offer in Munich.

Make sure to stay up to date with more on continental tourism, the Croatian Tourist Board and Croatia's various tourist offers by following our dedicated travel and lifestyle pages.

Friday, 23 November 2018

Gari Cappelli Praises Residents and City of Zadar

The City of Zadar has always been a popular destination in Dalmatia, boasting the stunning sea organ, and, as Alfred Hitchcock himself once said, the most beautiful sunsets in the entire world. Now Gari Cappelli, the Minister of Tourism, has congratulated this ancient city on its success, stating that the very people of Zadar are the ones who give it its life.

As tourists flock to Zadar from all corners of the world, with numerous airline companies having taken it upon themselves to either increase their flights to this Dalmatian gem or to introduce new lines connecting major European cities to its thriving airport, the city goes from strength to strength across the spectrum, from its entrepreneur success stories to its tourism figures. It seems that Zadar's success hasn't gone unnoticed, at least not by Gari Cappelli, who expressed his warm feelings for both the city and for the ''happy people'' who live there and make it what it is.

As eZadar/Radio Zadar writes on the 23rd of November, 2018, upon welcoming the participants of the session of the Zadar City Council on the occasion of Zadar's city day, Gari Cappelli, the long standing Croatian Minister of Tourism, stated at the beginning of his address, among other things, that Zadar is a city full of of happy people who give it life.

Gari Cappelli recalled the very welcome fact that the highly respected Lonely Planet, one of the most popular and trusted travel guides in the entire world, included Zadar in its announcement of the prestigious ''Best in Travel 2019'' guide, in its recommendations on destinations which should be visited by tourists next year.

Make sure to stay up to date with news from Zadar and far beyond by keeping up with our dedicated lifestyle and travel pages.


Click here for the original article by eZadar/Radio Zadar

Tuesday, 13 November 2018

Investment in Tourism: After Zagreb, Hilton Looks to Coast

After finding its place in the country's capital, Hilton is looking for further potential locations and opportunities along the Croatian coast for its Canopy hotels as Cappelli cites an investment in tourism for 2019.

As we reported yesterday, in a huge investment in tourism, Canopy by Hilton has found its way to the Croatian capital of Zagreb, but the search for possible hotel locations isn't over for the highly respected hotel company yet. 

As Marija Crnjak/Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 12th of November, 2018, the brand nurtures local culture, and this is Canopy by Hilton's very first hotel in continental Europe. After the opening in Zagreb, such hotels in desirable European capitals are set to open, including London, Madrid, and Paris.

Hotel Canopy by Hilton, a massive eight million euros worth of investment by Hrvoje Pezić's Zagreb City Hotels company, was opened on Monday in Zagreb's Branimir Centre.

The lifestyle brand is, as stated, set to take numerous other European cities. It nurtures local culture, and domestic designers, including Studio Franić and Šekoranja, as well as Croatian furniture manufacturers, who are engaged in decorating the Zagreb hotel, as pointed out from Hilton.

In the hotel itself, you can find various pieces of Zagreb's long history, from folklore to its rich scientific and industrial heritage, as well as some of the capital city's typical traditional dishes presented in a new, modern way at the ReUnion restaurant.

The hotel boasts 151 rooms, a restaurant and bar, a fitness room, a retreat room, a transfer room and two meeting rooms.

''After DoubleTree, we're opening Canopy, and we're expecting the opening of Garden Inn next year. We're exceptionally proud of this hotel and we're happy to have had such good cooperation. Croatia is an extremely important market for Hilton. It has a wonderful coastline and we're already looking to expand there and develop our hotels there, but the City of Zagreb is also of utmost importance because it's growing, and we also want to participate in that,'' stated Alan Mantin, Managing Director of Hilton for the development in southern Europe.

Tourism Minister Gari Cappelli emphasised that this investment with the world-renowned brand will contribute to the even better positioning of Zagreb as well as Croatia as a destination which boasts a high quality offer.

Want to keep up with more news on hotel openings, investments in tourism, or just news in Zagreb? Make sure to follow our travel, lifestyle, and Total Zagreb pages for much more.

Click here for the original article by Marija Crnjak for Poslovni Dnevnik

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