Tuesday, 28 June 2022

German Portal BR24 Warns German Tourists of High Croatian Prices

June the 28th, 2022 - The German portal BR24 has warned would-be German tourists of the currently ''high Croatian prices'' as ongoing inflation continues to pinch pockets and tighten belts.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, the German portal Bayerische Rundfunk 24 has stated: ''Whether it's a city trip to Dubrovnik or a beach holiday on Krk - tourists must be prepared for higher Croatian prices.''

Back in 2019 - before the global coronavirus crisis - 2.88 million inhabitants of Germany spent their summers here in the Republic of Croatia, and travel agencies in Germany are announcing that this year, the number of visiting Germans could exceed 2019's figures, reports BR24.

However, the aforementioned German portal also warned its fellow citizens about high Croatian prices as a result of inflation, which amounts to almost ten percent, and they say that the price of everyday basic items in stores is now even higher, RTL reports.

“It seems that in some cases, the prices have remained the same, but the packaging has become smaller. According to the Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS), the prices of food and non-alcoholic beverages in May 2022 increased by 15.2 percent compared to the same month last year,'' stateed BR24 when explaining high Croatian prices.

They also say that the huge increase in prices is noticeable in the hospitality industry. Thus, they state that before the coronavirus pandemic, a beer in a pub in the City of Zagreb cost twelve kuna, or about 1.60 euros, and that German visitors will now have to pay 19 kuna for it.

"In places and islands popular with tourists, such as Split, Dubrovnik or Rovinj, the prices are much higher. Lunch for a family of four can cost 700 kuna and more, which is the equivalent of about 93 euros. According to the Croatian Bureau of Statistics, hotel prices have also risen. They were more expensive by more than twelve percent this May compared to May 2021,'' writes BR24.

In the end, BR24 warned the Germans to be careful when exchanging money, more precisely switching euros to the Croatian kuna.

“You can try to save at least some money. Because, depending on where you exchange euros for kuna, the exchange rate varies. As a rule, exchange rates in exchange offices are much cheaper than when you withdraw money from ATMs,'' they say.

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

Tuesday, 14 June 2022

Germans Looking at Croatian Business Climate More Optimistically

June the 14th, 2022 - German business owners are beginning to look at the Croatian business climate a bit more optimistically than they have done so far, which is good news for Croatian companies.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Marija Brnic writes, a mere three percent of German companies operating here in the Republic of Croatia are concerned about their own businesses, which is a better result than in previous years and better than in the rest of Central and Eastern Europe (CEE), where in this year's German-Croatian Chamber of Industry and Commerce research (AHK), nine percent of respondents rate their business opportunities as bad.

In the seventeen years that this survey has been being conducted here in Croatia, this year, as pointed out by AHK President Thomas Sichla, the largest number of companies said they would re-elect Croatia for business, accounting for 84 percent among a total of 105 respondents. This means that German business owners are clearly seeing the Croatian business climate in a far better light than they had done in the past.

When compared to the pre-pandemic year of 2019, that's a thirty percent better result. The current economic situation here in Croatia is also assessed as the best so far, only 26 percent see it as worse, while in 2021, that share stood at a rather unimpressive 50, and in 2019 - at 61 percent.

For the first time ever, soaring energy prices and the lack of skilled labour currently available in the country are cited as the biggest risk to a company's operations in Croatia. Thomas Sichla explained the need and importance of a predictable tax system for doing stable business.

One of the biggest challenges this year will be hiring skilled and qualified employees, and according to the survey, 42 percent of companies expect to increase their numbers, which is more than in previous years.

Half of those companies intend to solve the problem of the shortage of workers through further employee education, and 39 percent by increasing the wages they're willing to pay their employees to above the market average. For next year, AHK is expecting positive effect on Croatia following its entry into the Eurozone, as it will facilitate business operations and reduce currency risks.

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

Sunday, 22 May 2022

German Lurssen Group Opens Rijeka Engineering Centre

May the 22nd, 2022 - The German Lurssen Group has opened its Rijeka engineering centre, which will come very handy when it comes to the development of ideas and design.

As Morski writes, the German Lurssen Group, which specialises in the design and production of luxury megayachts, has opened the doors of its brand new Rijeka engineering centre. It will develop ideas and design some of the most modern and expensive vessels in the world there, and after the Rijeka engineering centre, the German group has announced further investments.

Since entering the Croatian market just a couple of years ago, the German Lurssen Group has become one of the most frequently mentioned names in all of Kvarner when it comes to investments. It first became the majority owner of the largest hotel chain in Opatija - Liburnia Riviera Hotels, and then chose Rijeka as a centre of excellence for the development and design of vessels, hence the new centre.

''This is a city in which we've found highly motivated and quality employees. This is where we see great potential in terms of engineering, as well as the development of tourism,'' said Peter Lurssen, the co-owner of the Lurssen Group.

Hundreds of Croatian experts are already working on projects that represent the future of the maritime industry, according to a report from HRT.

''Our people aren't heading abroad, they're staying here and carrying out high value-added jobs as parts of international teams and we believe that this is a great thing for our region,'' said Teuta Duletic, Executive Director of the brand new Lurssen Design Centre in Kvarner.

Yet another capital investment in this sense can also be boasted of, as in cooperation with ACI, they're also working on the construction of a nautical port, worth more than 360 million kuna in total.

''These are significant investments and will certainly affect the quality of the nautical offer in Croatia. We've already outlined this through the strategy of sustainable tourism development,'' emphasised Nikolina Brnjac, Minister of Tourism.

''Over the next five years, the face of the City of Rijeka will change, especially when viewed from the sea. Let's look at this investment as an investment in highly educated people, so it's definitely something good that is happening in Rijeka,'' said Marko Filipovic, Mayor of Rijeka.

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

Saturday, 21 May 2022

German Desire for Croatian Holidays Enormous According to Tour Operators

May the 21st, 2022 - German desire for Croatian holidays as we approach the height of the summer season is enormous according to happy tour operators who are glad to be back to normal after two unstable and depressing pandemic-dominated years.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, record inflation and the ongoing war in Ukraine don't seem to be having any particular affect the desire of Germans to finally book their Croatian holidays, reports Deutsche Welle. Multiple tour operators are happily reporting a large influx of summer arrangements, and the number of Croatian holidays sold to German tourists already exceeds the figures that prevailed before the coronavirus crisis broke out in Europe at the beginning of 2020.

Another trend is noticeable among German tourists in 2022, it seems the people looking for a holiday this year are no longer looking at the price as much as they did before, and are also buying arrangements from the more expensive sector.

"People are looking for longer holidays in better hotels," said the largest German provider of travel arrangements, TUI.

"After a long period of giving up travel and tourism, Croatia is at the top of the German wish list. Even strong inflation and rising prices aren't negatively affecting this trend,'' said Norbert Fiebig, president of the German Tour Operators Association (DRV). It seems, according to Fiebig, that Germans are no longer looking at every euro they might spend this year when planning a holiday. Despite the general increase in prices, trips this year aren't significantly more expensive than they were last year.

Stable prices - for now

Many tourist companies leased hotel and transport contingents at the prices stated last year, which explains the stable prices. But the closer the summer season gets, the more expensive the arrangements get.

“This year, those looking for bargains could end up surprised,'' believes TUI director Fritz Joussen.

According to a survey commissioned by the Bavarian Tourist Board (BZT), 69 percent of those surveyed this year intend to go somewhere on holiday regardless of the situations which might play out, so they won't be spending their time off at home as was mostly the case during the coronavirus pandemic. One third of the respondents who haven't yet decided where to go on holiday, still state the price as the basic criteria when choosing an arrangement or destination.

Croatia remains one of the favourite destinations of German travellers

Those who decide on a spontaneous flight to their destination must in any case count on higher fuel prices this summer, which have risen significantly since the start of the war in Ukraine. Price increases have already been announced by companies such as Lufthansa and KLM.

The FTI Group says that after the start of the war in Ukraine, there was a delay in the purchase of tickets, but in the meantime the market has very much recovered.

"Reservations for the entire period from Easter to autumn for people's usual favourite tourist destinations exceed the figures from pre-pandemic times," said FTI Director Ralph Schiller. This, in particular, applies, he said, to destinations such as Croatia, Greece, Turkey and Egypt.

“Over the summer, we expect a big rush to these destinations so not everyone will get to their desired place on the plane,” Schiller says. Alltours reports similarly. They are talking about an "enormous increase in demand" that could exceed the demand from pre-pandemic 2019 by 40 to 80 percent.

Packages containing luxury hotels and offers are especially sought after. All companies emphasise that the increase in kerosene prices will not affect the prices of purchased arrangements. But despite huge demand, the turnover of travel companies overall still lies below the level of the last year before the pandemic (2019).

"Despite a very good summer, we still aren't expecting to achieve the total annual turnover from the period before the pandemic," said the umbrella organisation DRV. As for 2023, the industry is cautiously optimistic, despite the unpredictable development of the situation around the war in Ukraine, as well as ongoing inflation.

For more, check out our travel section.

Wednesday, 11 May 2022

Expulsion of Germans From Krndija at End-WWII Commemorated

ZAGREB, 11 May 2022 - Vertreibungstag was observed in Krndija near Đakovo on Wednesday in memory of the day at the end of WWII when the Partisans expelled the majority German population and turned the village into a labour camp for villagers who had not left their homes and other members of the German community.

A prayer was said at the memorial at the local cemetery, wreaths were laid and candles lit. The commemoration was organised by the Đakovo branch of the Danube Swabians Association and was also attended by representatives of the City of Đakovo.

Parish priest Đurica Pardon recalled that 77 years ago today the expelled Germans left their homes in Krndija, whose population then was almost 2,500.

The villagers who stayed ended up in a grave at the local cemetery alongside many others from the Đakovo area and other parts of Croatia who had been brought to the Krndija labour camp, he said.

Pardon spoke of the horrors the inmates went through and said that none of the Danube Swabians who lived in Krndija until the end of WWII ever came back.

Today the village has 40 inhabitants and the church has been reconstructed, which the Partisans shelled and later used as an artificial fertiliser warehouse.

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

Sunday, 8 May 2022

Croatian IT Company Q Develops App for German Driving Test

May the 8th, 2022 - The Croatian IT company Q has come together with the German startup Streamways and developed a mobile and web app for German driving school students to pass part of their driving tests.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, the Croatian IT company Q, in cooperation with the German startup Streamways, has developed a mobile and web application that will help the younger generations and students of German driving schools to more easily master their driving theory exams. The solution was launched back in early February and is currently being used by over 30 driving schools in Germany.

The founders of Streamways - Christian Karstoft and Magnus Werner - came up with the idea while taking their own driving tests, when they noticed that the driving test system in Germany was very much outdated. Students of driving schools had to solve exactly 1,300 questions prescribed by the German state, as well as successfully pass the simulation of the exam five times in order to even get the right to take the theory exam.

This pair of young founders saw the space and opportunity to build a more modern application which would be more youth-friendly, and as such, they turned to the Croatian IT company Q. Q, in collaboration with Streamways, has created a platform that makes driving exams much easier and more fun. With it, the whole process doesn't look like learning, but instead a game, and each student can choose the pace at which they want to learn. An additional advantage is that through it, driving instructors can monitor the progress of their students.

“When creating this application, the main challenge was to increase the motivation and interest of students in learning, but also to find a way to engage them to master driving in a more interesting way. Therefore, the focus of our project was to empower young people to feel freer while gaining knowledge through the best digital educational experience,'' said Q CEO Filip Ljubic.

Streamways is available to German driving schools, and this new web and mobile edition is also available to students. Each lesson has its own three-minute video in which it explains to the participants the theory part of traffic regulations and rules, often referred to as the highway code. Streamways has optimised the application to motivate users to continuous learning, which is why they solve a quiz related to the material after each lesson. The Croatian IT company Q worked on the design and branding of the platform, patenting the desktop and mobile version of the app for students, as well as the desktop version for driving schools and administrators.

“The applications that were previously available to users weren't developed for young people who have grown up with digital technologies. In Germany, over a million people take their driving tests every year, and mastering the material through the application is mandatory. That's why we decided to develop a solution that would help end users find it easier to master the theory part of the test,'' added Christian Karstoft Madsen, co-founder and CEO of Streamways.

The Croatian IT company Q is otherwise continuing to grow its business across a variety of key markets, after the company was selected as one of the five finalists in this year’s EY Entrepreneur of the Year award. In addition to startups such as the German Streamways, the company also collaborates with already established brands such as Novartis, The Times, Manpower Group and many others.

For more, check out Made in Croatia.

Sunday, 1 May 2022

German-Croatian Chamber of Industry: Ukraine War to Affect 70% of Companies

ZAGREB, 1 May 2022 - A majority of companies which are members of the German-Croatian Chamber of Industry and Commerce estimate that the war in Ukraine will adversely affect their business in the future.

The German-Croatian Chamber of Industry and Commerce carried out a survey between 22 March and 22 April this year among 32 of its members to examine the possible impact of the Ukraine conflict on their business.

The survey revealed that at this point the situation in Ukraine was not having a negative effect on the operation of 55 per cent of the companies. However, 70 per cent of them believe that its impact will be negative in the future.

The vast majority of the companies (84%) do not have suppliers in Ukraine, 87% do not have buyers and 78% do not have subsidiaries there. Similar figures were revealed for their suppliers, buyers and subsidiaries in the Russian Federation.

Also, 90 per cent of the companies estimate that the war in Ukraine will have a certain effect, possibly a strong one, on the Croatian tourism industry this year, while 10 per cent believe the impact on this year's tourist season will be insignificant.

"The entire economy at global level will be affected by increased energy prices. We need to redefine our relationship with the Russian Federation and separate our energy needs from unilateral energy dependence," said Thomas Sichla, President of the German-Croatian Chamber of Industry and Commerce.

For more, check out our dedicated business section.

Friday, 11 March 2022

German Croatian Holiday Booking Boomed Before Russian Ukraine Invasion

March the 11th, 2022 - German Croatian holiday booking was exceeding 2019's pre-pandemic levels and experiencing a real ''boom'' just before Vladimir Putin's shock invasion of neighbouring Ukraine a couple of weeks ago.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Marija Crnjak writes, up until the beginning of the unjustified Russian invasion of Ukraine last month, German Croatian holiday booking levels were truly excellent, even better than in pre-pandemic 2019, but what the rest of the tourist season will look like this year is uncertain because the entire European market is currently in a state of shock.

This is how Romeo Draghicchio, director of the Croatian National Tourist Board (CNTB) in Germany, describes the current situation, on the occasion of the ITB Berlin fair, which is being held in a virtual form this week for the third year in a row due to the coronavirus pandemic.

"In Germany, there are concerns about the war in Ukraine, but so far we aren't really seeing a significant impact on consumer habits. However, since the beginning of the war, programmes for Russia and Ukraine have been cancelled, while cruises aimed at St. Petersburg are being diverted to other ports. It will take more time to assess the real consequences for the summer season because there is currently a shock in the market. When we talk about Croatia, until the outbreak of the conflict, booking was at a higher level for the country, even when compared to the 2019 tourist season, which was a great sign,'' he said.

''What the further course of the season will unfold like remains to be seen, but the good position of this country on the German market has been confirmed by the recently published research "Reiseanalyse" of the FUR Institute for 2021, according to which Croatia climbed to the ranks of the top four German destinations. In addition to that, as pointed out by the FUR, in 2021, Croatia was the only destination that increased its market share when compared to 2019,'' added Draghicchio when describing the German Croatian holiday booking trends so far.

It's worth noting that this year's ITB is being held in two parts, one part was held from March the 8th to the 10th, the ITB Convention, which focuses on digital and sustainable solutions with the transfer of all sessions on the official ITB platform. The programme also includes lectures by a number of international top speakers and tourism experts. The second part of the ITB refers to the Digital Business Day, which will be held on March the 17th.

It is a concept conceived as a platform for the networking of exhibitors and buyers, and each participant creates their own personal business profile and communicates with potential partners or clients through audio/video tools. Within this part of the ITB, CNTB representatives will also create their profiles and hold a series of meetings with partners and the interested business community.

CNTB Director Kristjan Stanicic pointed out that if the situation in Ukraine lasts any longer, we can expect greater disruptions in the wider tourism market, especially in countries in the immediate vicinity of Ukraine, such as Poland, Slovakia and Hungary.

For more, check out our travel section.

Thursday, 30 December 2021

German Financial Expert Claims Croatia Isn't Ready for Eurozone Entry

December the 30th, 2021 - One German financial expert has claimed that Eurozone entry for Croatia, which is due to take place quite soon, is still premature. Is the country ready for the changes? Apparently not, according to Otmar Issing.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, in addition to joining the Schengen area, Croatia's Eurozone entry has been cited as one of the main goals of Croatian foreign policy for years now. This goal should be achieved at the beginning of 2023, for which Croatia has the support of Brussels.

That said, there are some economists such as former European Central Bank (ECB) Executive Board member Otmar Issing of Germany who believe that Eurozone entry for Croatia would be premature, Deutsche Welle reports.

As he said in an interview with the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitungu (FAZ), currently no country is ready to join the Eurozone. "At the moment, I can't see any country that is ready enough to join the Eurozone," Issing told FAZ on the occasion of the recent twentieth anniversary of the introduction of the euro into circulation back on January the 1st, 2002, which those of us who grew up in Europe remember so well.

"It can't be said that every new member of the Eurozone necessarily contributes to the weakening of the euro, but these countries must guarantee some lasting stability. It isn't enough to get ready for the wedding and then return back to your old habits once you're married,'' said Issing, who also played the role of ECB chief economist from 1998 to 2006 and was credited with strategically planning the introduction of the euro as the bloc's single currency.

The last EU member state to enter the Eurozone in 2015 was Lithuania, and currently Bulgaria is also aiming to join. In fact, according to the membership agreement, all members of the European Union are obliged to accept a common currency when they meet the criteria, the only exceptions to this was the United Kingdom, which kept pound sterling, and Denmark.

Issing believes that the heterogeneity of Eurozone member states and thus different focuses when it comes to interests is already a big problem for the ECB. He believes that the governors of the national central banks should follow a common course and not simply blindly follow national financial policy. Issing also defended the euro against accusations that its introduction has made everything more expensive.

"It can look like that when it comes to purchasing daily necessities, so that's the impression people have. But when we look at spending which occurs in regard to most of the household budget, such as rent or heating costs, those costs have remained stable even after the introduction of the euro,'' Issing told FAZ.

Issing, who previously held the same position at the German central bank before taking office at the ECB, said the decision to print non-national symbols on euro banknotes at the time was a decision that proved correct in the end.

“Imagine if the French wanted to put Napoleon on their banknotes. How would the countries who were occupied by Napoleon react to this? That's why we decided on the symbolic motif of the bridges,'' Issing concluded.

For more, check out our politics section.

Wednesday, 15 December 2021

German Tourists Love Croatian Campsites, Only One Thing Missing...

December the 15th, 2021 - Faithful German tourists who were among the first to pack their famous motorhomes and hit the road to Croatia following the lifting of lockdown measures have praised Croatian campsites. There is, however, still one thing missing in their view...

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Marija Crnjak writes, although Croatian campsites have an offer that, in terms of all categories of quality and content, significantly differs from the European average, the unimpressive vaccination rate across the country and high mortality throughout the COVID-19 pandemic here in Croatia could cost this sector and the entire tourism industry next season, especially when it comes to the German market, as shown by an analysis from the popular German car club ADAC.

This is important now because reservations for next summer are already coming in for Croatian campsites, and an additional problem for Croatian campsites is that currently only 46 percent of them can be booked. ''Others need to wake up and make an effort to become more visible online,'' warned Uwe Frers, the CEO of Pincamp, ADAC’s booking portal for campsites.

His portal is otherwise the most important campsite search engine in the entire German market with six million unique users in Germany, whose importance is all the greater given that camping is generally not advertised or sold on major online platforms such as Booking.com.

“Pincamp's analysis showed that an automatic and flexible cancellation policy (42 percent) and applications with an alarm about the current conditions under which travel can be key to raising confidence in travel over the next twelve months. If you don't announce your cancellation policy now, you could lose guests who would like to come to Croatian campsites. Don't wait for others to announce theirs before you do, because an interested guest would rather seize the first opportunity,'' said Frers from the Congress of Croatian Camping, which took place in Tuhelj at the end of last week.

Pincamp has nothing but pure praise for Croatian campsites, even in the last turbulent year the availability of online booking has increased from 24 percent to 46 percent, and it is important for guests to book a pitch in advance. For comparison, in Austria, a place can be reserved for the next season in 88 percent of camps, and in 63 percent of camps in Slovenia. In this respect, Croatia is on a par with Italy, Germany and the Netherlands, although these are significantly larger markets.

''For even better sales next season, it is important for Croatian campsites to simplify their prices as much as possible, to calculate all of the additional costs. In terms of quality and content, Croatian campsites can hardly be much better than they are now,'' praised Frers.

This ADAC analysis show edthat Croatian campsites have on average 11 percent better quality in terms of their pitches than average European campsites, meaning that Croatia is 37 percent better than the average in terms of bathing facilities (sea, swimming pools, aquaparks), and 20 percent better in terms of entertainment and similar content.

As many as 43 percent of average Croatian campsites have better ADAC ratings for shopping and restaurant facilities, but safety security could prove to be a problem, although the campsites themselves are not to blame.

"Safety is very important for the Germans in choosing a destination for next year, and they're closely following the news and statistics, coronavirus incidence is very important to them, as is the vaccination rate. This is where Croatia comes off quite badly when compared to competitors across the Mediterranean, such as Italy, France, Spain... and you must be aware that this is the signal you're sending out to your potential guests. Please send out a good message to German tourists,'' warned Uwe Frers in conclusion.

For more, check out our dedicated travel section.

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