Tuesday, 28 December 2021

2022 Bringing Dismissals, New Job Offers for 300 Tourist Board Directors

December 28, 2021 - Croatia has more than 300 tourist board directors all over the country, most on permanent contracts. An interesting initiative from the Ministry of Tourism and Sports could change all that. 

I am not holding my breath - this is Croatia after all - but could a much-needed shakeup of the outdated and inefficient tourist board system be on the cards?

A new law requiring all of Croatia's 300+ tourist board directors, including the Croatian National Tourist Board Director, to take part in a tender to reapply for their jobs. And rather than - in most cases - a job for life, a fixed term of four years only. 

And not only that, but some insane requirements such as successful applicants needing to know at least one foreign language. I can immediately think of 15 tourist board directors I have met on my travels who do not fit that requirement. 

More detail in Lauren's translation of the Poslovni Dnevnik by Marija Crnjak below, but if passed, this could be a massive step forward for Croatian tourism. 

I am often criticised for my criticism of Croatian tourism, and many assume that I am against all tourist boards. I am not at all. 

Some of the best people in Croatian tourism work within the official system, and some of the local and regional tourist boards who do the best work are TCN partners, and others are not. Once we accept that the Croatian National Tourist Board in its current state and leadership is an irrelevant institution, a closer look at the excellence of official tourism promotion shows plenty of great examples. 

The award-winning public-private partnership between Saltwater Nomads, TCN and both the Zagreb and Dubrovnik Tourist Boards for Zagreb Digital Nomad Week and Dubrovnik Digital Nomads-in-Residence program are two cases in point. But there are other heroes in much smaller destinations, such as Stari Grad on Hvar which is one of the great tourism transformation success stories. And even my beloved Jelsa, where my fierce criticism of the tourist board back in 2015 first shot TCN to national attention. Even though I have no relationship with the Jelsa Tourist Board today, I am the first to acknowledge the excellent job the new director is doing. 

Such tourist board directors have nothing to fear from the new law. 

But in addition to the number of tourist board directors who cannot speak another language, I have met others who have been in the job 25 years and yet do not have their tourist board website in English. Others who have been in the job for over 20 years, having started straight from college, with no tourism or world experience whatsoever. 

There is so much life, and so much dead wood, in the official tourist board system, that a shake-up like this can only be a good thing. Of course, this being Croatia, the four-year term has the potential to be politicised, the position given as a thank you by the local mayor. Safeguards against that would be more than advisable. But anything is surely better than the current system. 

And I like the fact that non-tourism experts can also apply, provided that they have double the experience. A sharp mind, experience in other fields, and the right mindset are infinitely more important and relevant than those offered by some of the current 'qualified' directors. 

Hell, I might just apply myself. If elected, my first move might be to ban the practice of SLAPP lawsuits to silence annoying fat bloggers - as fine a use of public promotion money as I have seen in my time in Croatia. 

A great initiative, congratulations to the Ministry of Tourism and Sports, and something TCN will follow with interest.  And now... 

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Marija Crnjak writes on the 28th of December, 2021 - In the implementation of the new Law on Tourist Boards, the Ministry of Tourism decided on an unexpected move - in the first days of 2022, new tenders must be announced for the selection of all 300 directors of tourist boards in the country, including the director of the Croatian Tourist Board (HTZ).

After those in their current positions resign, all of the directors can enter into a new tender/contest should they want to. In addition to that, the new directors' employment status will be changing significantly. Instead of the indefinite contracts that everyone now has, fixed-term contracts will now be concluded for a four-year term.

These are some of the details that stand in the interpretation of the part of the Law that has been in force since the beginning of last year, ie the part of it that regulates the work of the director of the Tourist Board. All tourist boards received a document with an interpretation from the Ministry of Tourism last Friday, Poslovni Dnevnik has learned.

They did not expect such a procedure, and this interpretation has therefore created a great level of confusion within the system of tourist boards, and some of them have already hired lawyers to look into possible violations of Croatian labour laws. Poslovni's interlocutors consider this move of the Ministry harmful.

The new criteria for hiring new directors of the Tourist Board, which are proposed in the new Ordinance, which was in public discussion until yesterday, are also controversial, and the key news is that the directors will be able to be people who have no experience whatsoever in the field of tourism. The Ministry of Tourism doesn't see anything controversial or new in this, because with these changes, all tourist boards will harmonise their activities with the Law, as they should have harmonised their acts and structure so far.

Poslovni's interlocutors from the tourism industry also don't see a big issue here. If the law prescribes that mandates be introduced, which is a good tool for quality control and work results, it should be applied somehow. However, they aren't sure whether the part that encroaches on labour rights is skilfully executed, and how people without experience in tourism will manage to do the job.

"There are a number of illogicalities in the interpretation of the Law related to the election of the director of the Tourist Board, which we received at the last minute after many months of waiting. We believe that we have grounds in the first place to delay the implementation of this Law, and we're working on changes to the implementation that violate a number of labour rights. What is being done is certainly not the reorganisation of the Tourist Board system, but the collapse of quality and additional politicisation. Employment conditions now make it easier. We're at risk of being left without the best people in the system, who will either be replaced or will not have a motive to apply for a fixed-term employment tender,'' say Poslovno's interlocutors from within the Tourist Board system.

The new Law on Tourist Boards was passed back in May 2019, with effect from the 1st of January 2020, while the provision on the introduction of four-year terms of office for directors should be introduced from the 1st January 2022.

All of this said, this new Law doesn't elaborate the procedure, and it doesn't say anywhere when re-election contests should be held. Article 22 of the Law only says that the director of a tourist board is appointed by the tourist council for a period of four years, it states the powers of the director, including the fact that the director is the one to announce public competitions and tenders for jobs within the tourist board.

“Given that the provision of Article 22, which states that the director of a tourist board is appointed by the tourist council for a term of four years, enters into force on the 1st of January 2022, the legal conditions for announcing a competition/tender for the director(s) of tourist boards have all been met. All tourist boards are expected to act in accordance with the provisions of the Law,'' the Ministry explained in response to a request for futher information. They also noted that the previous directors of tourist offices didn't have a mandate, so it cannot even expire.

They also clarified that with the entry into force of this Law, the position of director of a tourist office for which no mandate has been prescribed ceases to exist, which means that it is necessary to announce a competition/tender for all directors.

What about after the election? The one who is re-elected gets a fixed-term contract, and the one who is not elected will be offered another job in the office. If there is no space or nothing ends up being offered, cancellation is also an option. The Ministry explained that the employment of the director is regulated by the Labour Law, and the employer, in this case the tourist board, is responsible for its implementation.

As has since been found out, in this process, termination with the offer of an amended contract from Article 115 of the ZOR (Labour Law/Zakon o Radu) will be applied for the current directors. As stated there, the provisions of the Law relating to dismissal also apply to the case in which the employer themselves terminates a contract and at the same time proposes to the employee to conclude an employment contract under other, amended conditions.

However, according to Article 107, an employer may terminate an employment contract if they have a justifiable reason to do so, including dismissal in the event that the need to perform a certain job ceases due to economic, technical or organisational reasons (a business-related dismissal).

Such a scenario is realistic for small tourist boards, where there will be no space or budget for another employee. Who will be the new directors of the Tourist Board? According to people from the system, the ordinance on special conditions that must be met by employees in tourist boards is moving towards the degradation of the profession.

In addition to the fact that no one needs to have experience in tourism to take on this role, in addition to formal education, the criteria are knowledge of one foreign language (for regional directors, and for the CNTB, knowledge of yet another) and computer skills. Today, these are the basics of literacy and aren't special skills, according to Poslovni's interlocutors, who find it inconceivable that people who have nothing to do with tourism can come to such important positions.

The Ministry claims that the special conditions for the employment of directors in tourist boards have not been relaxed.

You can read more on the irrelevance of the Croatian National Tourist Board in Ever Been to a Party Where the Host is Suing You?

Saturday, 18 December 2021

HTZ Aims To Make 2022 Turnover Amount to 90% of 2019 Tourism Turnover

ZAGREB, 18 Dec, 2021- The Croatian Tourism Board's (HTZ) revenue in 2022 is expected to amount to HRK 311 million, 9% more than in 2021, and it will focus all its activities to further enhance Croatia's status as the most desirable and safest Mediterranean destination and ensure 90% of the tourism turnover of 2019. 

This was said by HTZ director Kristjan Staničić, who also noted that these goals are to be achieved by intensive marketing activities and PR campaigns, designed to suit individual markets.

Promotional campaigns will focus on boating and cycling tourism, gastronomy and wine tourism, natural attractions and active and medical tourism, he stressed in an interview with Hina.

In 2022 the HTZ's activities will focus, apart from the national market, on the traditionally close, neighbouring markets like Germany, Slovenia, Austria, Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Italy and others. As for remote markets, emphasis will be put on the US market.

Next year the HTZ plans to open new offices, including in Ukraine and Spain. Also planned for next year is a new strategic marketing and operational plan as a long-term framework defining communication strategies and guidelines for affirming Croatia as a high-quality destination, Staničić said.

Epidemiological situation, clear protocols, quality products

Asked about the coronavirus pandemic and the related restrictions, which also affect the travel sector, and about plans for 2022 in that regard, Staničić said that all goals set can be achieved, on the condition the epidemiological situation is favourable and there are clear protocols for cross-border travel and a high level of health protection in destinations, with a sufficient number of testing centres, as well as quality and attractive tourism products.

For more on lifestyle, follow TCN's dedicated page.

For more about Croatia, CLICK HERE.

Wednesday, 1 December 2021

Croatian Winter Tourism to be Advertised on Fourteen Foreign Markets

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, 29 November 2021

HTZ Launches New Promotional Campaign "Croatia: Winter Wonderland"

ZAGREB, 29 Nov 2021 - The Croatian Tourist Board (HTZ) has launched a new campaign, called Croatia - Winter Wonderland," to promote the winter beauties of Croatian destinations and tourism-oriented products such as local cuisines and wines, culture and wellness, the HTZ announced on Monday.

The campaign will run until 10 January 2022 and will cover 14 foreign markets, namely Germany, Slovenia, Austria, Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Italy, the Netherlands, France, Great Britain, Belgium, Sweden, and Norway. It will be conducted via social networks, including Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok, and Pinterest, using the tags #CroatiaWinterWonderland and #MagicalCroatia.

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Croatia Full of Life on Facebook (Photo: Zoran Filipović)

"The promotional campaigns we conducted this year have positioned our country as a high-quality, safe, and well-prepared destination. That we were very successful in this was confirmed by the European Travel Commission, which highlighted that the Croatian National Tourist Board was the most active European tourist organization on the portal and social networks Visit Europe during its autumn campaign, and as such, a great example to tourist organizations in other countries," HTZ director Kristjan Staničić said.

The winter campaign will also focus on the Christmas markets in Croatia and will include traditional recipes and customs, and the best locations for taking winter photos.

If epidemiological conditions in the country and in the key markets allow, the HTZ will organize a trip for international influencers to Rab island, Plitvice Lakes National Park, Zagreb, and Dubrovnik to experience the winter magic in these places for themselves.

For more travel news, click here.

Sunday, 24 October 2021

Dubrovnik Among Best Meeting Destinations in Region

ZAGREB, 24 Oct, 2021 - Dubrovnik is the best meeting destination in Central and Southeast Europe for 2021 in the category of destinations that can host up to 1,200 congress attendees, according to a regional magazine specialised in business tourism, Kongres Magazine.

The Croatian National Tourism Board (HTZ) reported on this success and Dubrovnik's congress offer last Monday, and HTZ director Kristjan Staničić underscored the importance of such recognition, especially during a pandemic, when business tourism was one of the segments that suffered the most.

He believes that the fact that Dubrovnik and some other Croatian destinations are on Kongres Magazine's list of best regional meeting destinations would greatly help efforts to further position Croatia as a destination for business travel.

The Dubrovnik Tourist Board considers this prestigious recognition important and a prize to everyone in business tourism.

Kongres Magazine published a list of the best meeting destinations in Central and Southeast Europe for this year "Meeting Experience Index 2021", which in addition to Dubrovnik, includes the Croatian cities of Split, Opatija, Rovinj and Šibenik.

In the other categories, Vienna was named the best meeting destination that can host more than 2,000 attendees, Tallinn was the best in the category of up to 2,000 attendees and was followed by Ljubljana and Zagreb, the Slovenian seaside resort of Bohinj in the category of up to 700 attendees, and Prague was the best destination of the New Europe region.

According to the HTZ, the list of the best meeting destinations is based on a complex rating system and in-depth analysis of key segments of the business travel industry, which includes 75 evaluation criteria.

This year Dubrovnik started with business meeting after last year's break due to the pandemic, so the first large international meeting was in June, the ASTA conference with 150 US travel agents, the HTZ recalled.

By the end of the year, many more conferences, corporate events and meeting will take place in Dubrovnik, and in October 2022 the M&I Forum for professionals in the congress industry will take place, the HTZ said.

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

For more about Croatia, CLICK HERE.

Saturday, 23 October 2021

About 420 Service Providers Included in Croatian Tourism Month

ZAGREB, 23 Oct, 2021 - About 420 enterprises in the tourist industry have taken part in the campaign "Croatian Tourism Month" in October, and so far a surge has been registered in visitors' arrivals and bed-nights compared to October 2020, the tourism ministry reported on Saturday.

The campaign was launched on 1 October by the ministry and the Croatian National Tourism Board (HTZ) with the aim of extending the tourist season by offering a range of services available at special benefits and discounts of at least 35 percent throughout October.

Considering the interest shown by both service providers and guests, the campaign will be extend to include the first seven days of November, too. In this way, the extended campaign will coincide with the school holidays around the All Saints' Day, a public holiday in Croatia.

A source from the ministry has told Hina that they are satisfied with the turnout of service providers and visitors.

Domestic guests are mainly users of these benefits, and there also foreign visitors during this month.

In the first 20 days of October, 484,000 guests were registered in Croatia, a surge of 208% compared to the corresponding period in 2020, and the number of their overnight stays skyrocketed by 121% to nearly two million.

Compared to the pre-pandemic 2019, this October's number of visits accounted for 56% of the statistics in the corresponding period two years ago, and overnight stay amounted to 66%.

The e-visitor system shows that in the first 20 days of October, 118,000 Croatians visited local destinations, or 57% more than in 2020 and 14% fewer than in 2019.

The top destinations have been Dubrovnik, Zagreb, Split, Zadar and Rovinj.

For more on lifestyle, follow TCN's dedicated page. 

For more about Croatia, CLICK HERE.

Friday, 8 October 2021

Marketing Plan Manager for Croatian National Tourist Board Revealed

October the 8th, 2021 - The marketing plan manager for the Croatian National Tourist Board (HTZ/CNTB) has finally been revealed, as have the amounts of money involved.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Marija Crnjak writes, as confirmed by the Croatian National Tourist Board itself, for the development of the "Strategic Marketing and Operational Plan of Croatian Tourism for the period 2022 to 2026", the Croatian National Tourist Board Assembly selected a community of bidders consisting of: the Spanish company T.H.R. Tourism, hotel and recreation accessories, S.A. and Horwath and Horwath Consulting Zagreb d.o.o. and Millennium Promotion d.o.o.

The offered price amounts to a massive 3,480,000.00 kuna without VAT, and the Croatian National Tourist Board should start concluding a contract on the implementation of the project with the selected bidder, in accordance with the offered price from the tender.

The Croatian Ministry of Tourism reported on Monday that the aforementioned CNTB Assembly had adopted a decision on the selection of bidders for the development of a strategic marketing and operational plan for Croatian tourism for the period 2022-2026, and that the decision had been made as long as nine months after the tender was initially announced.

As explained from the Croatian National Tourist Board, the deadline for the implementation of the project is now 200 calendar days, and that ticking clock is set to begin counting down on the day of signing the contract.

''The Development of the Strategic Marketing and Operational Plan of Croatian Tourism, among other things, will require in-depth analysis of key foreign tourism markets and consumer segments, meaning an extensive analytical basis, the development of strategic framework, operational marketing activities and implementation plans, and the redefining the brand of Croatian tourism through the development of guidelines for a new umbrella communication concept.

In addition to the above, the "Strategy for the Development of Sustainable Tourism until 2030", which is currently being drafted, will be one of the key bases for the development of the "Strategic Marketing and Operational Plan of Croatian Tourism for the period 2022 to 2026", within the currently defined settings, as well as the settings that will be articulated in the final stages of drafting this national development document until its final adoption, as was explained from the Croatian National Tourist Board.

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

Tuesday, 5 October 2021

October Croatian Tourism Campaign Thanks 2021 Visitors for their Trust

October 5, 2021 - The October Croatian tourism campaign thanks visitors for their trust in choosing Croatia in 2021.

The Croatian National Tourist Board has launched a new promotional campaign, "Thank you for your trust," on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter reports HTZ.

The campaigns will be conducted in the ten most important markets from which the most significant tourist turnover was achieved in Croatia this year, i.e., in the markets of Germany, Slovenia, Poland, Austria, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovakia, Italy, the Netherlands, and France.

This campaign aims to draw additional attention to Croatia after the summer months through the positive experiences of foreign tourists, influencers, bloggers, photographers, and journalists who stayed in Croatia this year and shared their stay on social networks with their numerous followers. This campaign thanks them for choosing Croatia as their safe destination vacation, says the Croatian National Tourist Board.

"We will run the campaign in October, and it is a kind of continuation of the main campaign "Trust me, I've been there," which we successfully conducted during the summer and which achieved excellent promotional results. This is confirmed by the large number of foreign guests who decided to spend their vacation in our country this year and contribute to Croatia achieving the best tourist results in the Mediterranean. Now, through this campaign, we want to thank them for their trust, we want to keep the visibility of Croatia in selected markets and tell everyone that they are always welcome in our country," said the director of the Croatian National Tourist Board, Kristjan Stanicic, adding that so far this year About 11 million foreign tourists visited Croatia.

Famous Croatian athletes are also participating in the new campaign.

The real impressions and sincere recommendations of tourists and travel enthusiasts and the photos they created during their stay in Croatia will be used to make the campaign as authentic as possible.

Italian influencers Ema Kovač and Gennaro Lillio, Polish blogger Wojtek Tyluś, Austrian photographer Christian Freiwald, Hungarian blogger Élő Bence, French musician, and DJ Jean-Marie K, and others shared their impressions of Croatia.

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Famous Croatian athletes who chose Croatia for their ideal summer vacation also joined the campaign - Marin Čilić, Domagoj Duvnjak, Darijo Šarić, Sandra Perković, Sinković brothers, Fantela brothers, Ivica Kostelić, Ivan Buljubašić, Dina Levačić, Barbara Matić, Ana Đerek, and more. 

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

Friday, 1 October 2021

Croatian Tourism Month Campaign Begins Today!

October 1, 2021 - The Croatian Tourism Month campaign begins today. It is a project by the Ministry of Tourism and Sports and the Croatian Tourist Board, where numerous tourist services and experiences will be available at a minimum of 35 percent off! 

Thus, all Croatian citizens and foreign guests who will be staying in Croatia during October will be able to experience tourist services in all parts of Croatia at promotional prices, which will be available on the "Croatian Tourism Month" portal, reports HRTurizam.

"Together with the project, a marketing campaign is launched, which aims to inform further encourage tourism entities to participate in the project, but also the citizens themselves, who we invite to take this opportunity to travel at much more affordable prices. About 200 thousand tourists are still in our country, and the post-season and autumn periods are ideal for a short vacation and discovering new destinations. Therefore, we believe in the excellent results of this project, i.e., in its contribution to the overall tourist results this year," said the director of the Croatian Tourist Board, Kristjan Staničić, emphasizing the importance of further compliance with all prescribed epidemiological measures and responsible behavior.

Through this action, travelers can visit different parts of Croatia and enjoy numerous tourist products and services, from accommodation, transport, cultural, historical, natural sights, and tourist attractions to catering services and various experiences.

"With the Croatian Tourism Month action, we want to encourage domestic and foreign tourists to explore Croatia, and at the same time extend the season. Due to the great interest in last year's Vacation-Worthy Week campaign, we have decided that this year throughout the month, across the country, tourists will have a range of services at special benefits and discounts of at least 35 percent. We believe this will motivate them to travel and discover destinations they have not yet visited. In the current part of the postseason, we are recording excellent results that confirm that Croatia has all the requirements to become a year-round tourist destination, which is our strategic goal. Therefore, I invite all stakeholders in tourism to join Croatian Tourism Months, and tourists, both domestic and foreign, to take advantage of the benefits offered to them and discover all the beauties of Croatia, which is beautiful at all times," said Minister of Tourism and Sports Nikolina Brnjac.

Croatian Tourism Month is a continuation of last year's Vacation-Worthy Week campaign, implemented from 16 to 25 October. This year, due to the great interest of tourism entities and citizens, it covers all of October. The project's main goal is to extend the tourist season by encouraging domestic and foreign tourist traffic in the post-season period.

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

Wednesday, 29 September 2021

2021 Croatia Postseason Exceeding Expectations: Hotels Full, Mostly German Tourists

September 29, 2021 - The 2021 Croatia postseason is going better than expected, with around 200,000 tourists in Croatia at the moment.

While the pre-season in Croatia hardly yielded results, the peak season exceeded all expectations, and the post-season finally came to life to surprise us all. 

Last year, tourists fled Croatia in mid-August after Croatia was marked in red due to the increase in the number of new cases, and although the same scenario was repeated this year, it did not have the same effect on tourism as 2020.

As Index.hr has learned, more rooms are in demand in hotels, and although we are about to enter October, there are currently around 200,000 tourists in Croatia.

According to eVisitor, 1.7 million arrivals and 11.3 million overnight stays were made in Croatia so far in September, which is an increase of 239 percent in arrivals and 146 percent in overnight stays compared to the same period last September. Compared to the same period in September 2019, this represents 85 percent of the results in arrivals and 95 percent of the results in overnight stays.

Veljko Ostojić, director of the Croatian Tourism Association (HUT), told Index that hoteliers and camps are very satisfied with the post-season.

"The post-season in hotels and camps was great. What happened with Croatia in the red did not affect our tourism, so there were no booking cancellations. Practically all hotels that worked in August continued to operate in September, and we are lucky with time. So we can all be delighted. And another conclusion of all is that in the postseason, it was confirmed that the higher the quality of the hotel and the more stars, the more sought after and filled it is, which is a message to everyone for the future," Ostojić said to Index.

He states that during the post-season in September, it could be noticed that groups began to return to Croatia, which had been absent for the last year and a half due to the pandemic.

"Organized tourism, be it smaller events, congresses, wine tours, retirement groups, all have adapted to the current situation. If guests or groups have covid-certificates, there are no restrictions on organizing specialized groups," Ostojić added.

Index also spoke with Tomislav Fain, president of the Association of Croatian Travel Agencies (UHPA). At the beginning of the conversation, he pointed out that the post-season is above all expectations.

"As for the post-season, it is above all expectations, as well as the whole season. Groups, pensioners, school groups, foreigners are returning to us. This has brought great optimism because there are more and more inquiries for next year. When the groups return, retirees, it is easier to breathe because we see that we will do well next pre-season as well. So that is an indicator for us to continue," says Fain.

He emphasized that these groups significantly influence the entire tourism sector, so everyone makes a profit, including bus carriers, travel agencies, guides, restaurants, and hotels.

"When an individual comes with a car, they can only stay in the apartment, but when you have a group, it connects all stakeholders in tourism. And that guest gives traffic to everyone. Everything is moving, especially in the part where they hire guides, buses, and go on excursions. So the whole sector gets an extra boost," Fain told Index.

The director of the Croatian Tourist Board, Kristijan Staničić, also commented on the results. 

"That the season in Croatia is still ongoing is shown by the data on the current number of tourists, so about 200 thousand tourists stay in our country, while last year at this time about 90 thousand of them stayed in the country. Moreover, excellent trends in September show the data by type of accommodation facilities," said Staničić.

He states that about 2.8 million overnight stays have been realized in camps so far in September, an increase of 25 percent compared to the same period in September 2019. In addition, 3.6 million overnight stays were realized in household facilities, which is an increase of 3 percent compared to 2019, while hotels with 2.5 million overnight stays are at a high 80 percent of the results from September 2019.

"We expect good trends to continue in the coming weeks, for the last quarter of this year we already have a fully prepared communication and advertising strategy, so we will soon start implementing a campaign with the working title 'Thank you' on all Croatia Full of Life social networks, which will aim to further promote and highlight Croatia through the positive experiences of tourists who have stayed in our country," commented the director of the Croatian Tourist Board Kristjan Staničić.

He added that they have an autumn campaign on the topic of culture, history, intangible heritage, and eno-gastronomy, i.e., it is an additional promotion of the platform "Croatia Hearts and Crafts", launched by the CNTB in cooperation with Google, while for the domestic market and foreign guests who will stay in Croatia during October, they are preparing the "Croatian Tourism Month" campaign with tourist products and services at reduced and attractive prices.

After an extremely successful peak season, which passed beyond all forecasts for the entire Adriatic and demand was comparable to pre-pandemic 2019, Bluesun Hotels and Resorts recorded excellent results in the postseason, and the largest hotels in the chain remain open almost entirely due to high demand in October.

"Due to the beginning of the school year, the structure of guests changes in September, both in Croatia and in all emitting markets. Also, there is a change in the motive for the arrival of guests. The sea and the sun are no longer their exclusive precondition. These are guests who require much more content, are more active, mobile, and more inclined to explore the destination, the hinterland, and the interior of Croatia. They are much more involved in sports, interested in sights, and more dedicated to themselves, so they also explore local gastronomy and use wellness facilities," said Stjepko Šošić, director of revenue management at Bluesun Hotels & Resorts.

He states that, accordingly, they adjusted the autumn offer with sports, gastronomy, and wellness facilities and packages offered by their hotels and destinations, and through several different marketing and sales activities primarily addressed couples and individuals. He adds that they are the most represented in this period of the season because they want to avoid the biggest crowds and heat and complete the experience in our destinations with numerous additional activities.

He states that, even though the whole of Croatia has been on the red list since the beginning of September, new reservations are still arriving every day, so in some terms, they had to stop selling for the end of September due to lack of capacity.

"Considering that the weather was very nice through September, a large part of the guests extended their stays by a few days compared to the period they initially booked," said Stjepko Šošić.

Currently, Bluesun's nine open hotels (six of them on the Makarska Riviera) and one camp, in addition to the growing number of individual guests, which is a trend that has continued from the peak season to this autumn, are seeing a trend in traditional sports and fitness groups.

"At the end of September and through October, we have numerous MICE (meetings, incentives, congresses, and events) events in our hotels with congress facilities. As a result, MICE is much stronger this fall than expected, and there is a strong demand from the corporate milieu. We are especially pleased with the recovery of this sales segment, which is extremely important to extend the season. These are working meetings and mostly respectable domestic companies from the field of medicine, IT sector, and pharmaceutical industry," said Marija Benjak, head of Bluesun Hotels & Resorts group and MICE sales.

As for the structure of guests by markets, Germany is traditionally the most represented in September, where a third of the total number of guests comes from. Also, already in mid-August, according to Bluesun, reducing the number of guests from the hitherto dominant car destinations is noticeable, and with establishing regular air traffic, the number of guests from the British and Scandinavian markets is growing.

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

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