Friday, 29 July 2022

Istria County Has Government's Support for All Strategic Projects

ZAGREB, 29 July 2022 - Istria County Prefect Boris Miletić said on Friday that Istria has the government's support for all strategic projects.

"It was a constructive meeting. I am pleased that the prime minister expressed support for all strategic projects in Istria," Miletić told reporters after meeting with Prime Minister Andrej Plenković.

The meeting also involved Sea, Transport and Infrastructure Minister Oleg Butković, Economy and Sustainable Development Minister Davor Filipović and Health Minister Vili Beroš.

The key projects include the completion of the breakwater in Pula and the construction of a breakwater in Rabac and one in Rovinj.

Also discussed was the opening of the Faculty of Medicine in Pula, and cooperation between the Croatian Health Insurance Fund and the Emergency Department of the General Hospital in Izola, Slovenia, which will be financed by Istria County.

Miletić informed the prime minister about the county's efforts to meet the conditions from the European Green Deal relating to energy, notably the use of solar energy.

Also discussed was the revitalisation of the railway to reduce truck transport and CO2 emissions.

Speaking of the current water restrictions in Istria, Miletić said that local residents behaved very responsibly in this regard, adding that water consumption had been cut by 15 to 20 per cent and that this gave them the power to believe that tougher restrictions would not be necessary.

Asked if among the topics discussed was the County Waste Management Centre at Kaštijun, after local residents complained about the smell coming from it, Miletić said that it was. He said that the Environmental Protection Fund was co-financing waste disposal and emphasised that Istria County and Primorje-Gorski Kotar County were the only two regions in Croatia that fully complied with waste management directives.

For more, check out our politics section.

Friday, 31 December 2021

10,000 Tourists in Istria During Christmas and New Year Holidays

December 31, 2021 - About 10,000 tourists in Istria County will celebrate the New Year in fifteen open hotels and two camps on the Istrian peninsula. The Istria County Tourist Board reveals that this is a 3x increase in guests compared to last year. 

"Almost ten thousand guests are currently vacationing in Istria, which is three times more than last year when 3,750 guests stayed during the Christmas and New Year holidays, but twice less than the record 2019 when 21,500 tourists stayed in our county," says Istria County Tourist Board director Denis Ivošević, as reported by HRT.

He adds that he is satisfied with the number of guests because "if the epidemiological situation allows it, it is the announcement of a good tourist year in 2022."

During December, 105,000 tourists stayed in Istria, which is 27 percent less than two years ago when there were 142,166.

Most guests stay in Poreč and Rovinj, with domestic tourists in the lead, followed by guests from Slovenia, Germany, Austria, and Italy. According to the Istria County Tourist Board, most guests stay in hotels, almost 60 percent.

Arena Hospitality Group reports that during the winter months, including New Year's Eve, they opened the Park Plaza Belvedere hotel in Medulin and the Arena Grand Kažela camp in Medulin. They expect about a thousand guests who will stay two to three days. Their guests are mainly from Austria and Slovenia, and this year, they noticed increased interest from domestic guests.

Following the epidemiological situation and prescribed measures, Valamar will organize a unique holiday program for guests of its hotels and camps, such as live music and DJ performances, in facilities that operate during the Christmas and New Year periods.

During December and the holiday season in Rovinj, Maistra's Grand Park Hotel Rovinj, Lone, Adriatic, Eden, Amarin, then Pineta, apartments Riva and camping Porto Sole in Vrsar were opened.

For more, check out our dedicated travel section.

Friday, 3 December 2021

Ironman is Coming to Croatia: Plava Laguna to Host 70.3 Triathlon in Poreč

December 3, 2021 - After cooperating with the Ironman group in 2019 and two Plava Laguna 5150 Poreč Triathlons from the Ironman competitions, Plava Laguna will organize the 70.3 triathlon in Poreč next year, one of the world's most prestigious competitions in this sport.

Plava Laguna IRONMAN® 70.3® in Poreč will be held on October 16, 2022. A few days before, from October 13, Poreč will live in the spirit of the triathlon, and the day before the Ironman 70.3 competition, on Saturday, October 15, there will be an IronKids race, reports HRTurizam.

"After two successful editions of the Plava Laguna 5150 Triathlon, next year we will experience the Ironman 70.3 in our Green Resort in Istria, Poreč, and thus bring the Ironman brand to Croatia. One million competitors finish the race under the Ironman brand every year, and the website has over 30 billion visits a year. This tells us that this event will be a great promoter of Poreč, Istria, and Croatia. We are very pleased with the fact that the cooperation has deepened and that the Ironman team has full confidence that our team will be great in organizing 70.3," said Dragan Pujas, President of the Plava Laguna Board. 

Ironman 70.3 means the distance in miles that athletes have to cover in three disciplines - 1.2 miles of swimming, 56 miles of cycling, and 13.1 miles of running (expressed in km it is 113 in total, 1.9 km swimming, 90 km cycling, and 21.1 km running). The start and finish are planned at the Green Resort.

"Croatia is the perfect destination for every triathlete who wants to experience a spectacular destination and a unique culture during their competition. Croatia has a great community of triathletes, and we are looking forward to even more competitors experiencing the IRONMAN 70.3 race in Poreč," says Thomas Veje Olson, Director of the IRONMAN Group for Europe, Middle East, and Africa.

The start itself, which starts with swimming, begins in front of the Hotel Parentium, the transit zone is planned in front of the Hotel Molindrio, and the bike route will extend to Buzet and back. Finally, the last racing route starts in the transit zone in the Green Resort, to the old town of Porec and back and Funtana and back.

This competition is completed by the best athletes within 4 hours, while the race's time limit is 8 hours. Goran Vrus, the director of the race, also announced the upcoming registration fee for the event: “We have even bigger challenges ahead of us next year because we want to set as many goals as possible. We are looking forward to the organization of Ironman 70.3, and I am happy to say that the registration fees for the event will be on sale through the page from Tuesday, December 7."

Istria County Prefect Boris Miletić emphasizes that he is thrilled that the prestigious and world-famous Ironman 70.3 race will be held in Istria and adds: "We confirm that our region is recognized as an excellent destination and partner for organizing races at the highest possible level. Congratulations to the Plava Laguna organizer."

The Istria County Tourist Board director, Denis Ivošević, adds that Istria is ideal for sports.

“That is why it is important to invest in sports tourism because it brings us not only growth in terms of the number of overnight stays outside the main season but also an international presence and visibility; also thanks to our precious territory, which due to its conformation is suitable for numerous sporting events," emphasizes Ivošević.

Croatian Tourist Board director Kristjan Staničić also spoke about the importance of branded sports events in Croatia: “Continuous promotion and positioning Croatia as a quality, safe and well-prepared destination in today's circumstances are a basic prerequisite to attract guests and tourist traffic successfully. Congratulations to Poreč and Istria; hosting such a prestigious and internationally recognized race is great for Croatia. This will give our country popularity, additional visibility, but also a quality tourist offer, which makes events like this one richer and more attractive."


The director of the Poreč Tourist Board, Nenad Velenik, agrees and is thrilled that one of the Ironman destinations in 2022 will be Poreč, not only because of the tourist traffic in the off-season also because of the enormous marketing value of such a project.

It is excellent that Croatia can be proud of another big event in 2022, emphasizes the Minister of Tourism and Sports Nikolina Brnjac and adds: "This speaks of the attractiveness of Croatia as a tourist destination, especially in the off-season, which we are constantly working on. Sports tourism is great for extending the tourist season, with the additional promotion of Croatia through the Ironman brand. We are glad that Croatia has succeeded in recognizing that big brands are a safe tourist destination."

The best at the Plava Laguna IRONMAN 70.3. Poreč will also secure spots for the IRONMAN 70.3 World Championships in Lahti, Finland, on August 26-27, 2023. For more information on the IRONMAN brand and global series of events, visit

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

Sunday, 3 October 2021

Additional Minority Elections Being Held on Sunday

ZAGREB, 3 Oct, 2021 - Additional minority elections are being held in Croatia on Sunday, with 131,000 voters electing 90 members of local councils and regional assemblies, and in Pazin, the administrative seat of Istria County, an early election is being held for the 13-seat city council.

The additional elections are held in 16 counties and the City of Zagreb, at 565 polling stations, and most of them are in Sisak-Moslavina County (84) and Vukovar-Srijem County (69), while there is only one in Split-Dalmatia County.

There are 490 candidates on 108 slates running in the elections.

The additional elections are held because the regular local elections held in May failed to secure sufficient representation of six ethnic minorities in some local councils and regional assemblies, as well as representation of the Croat communities in the eastern municipalities of Borovo, Trpinja and Jagodnjak. One Croat is to be elected to the council of each of these municipalities.

Croats on SDSS slate In Borovo

In Trpinja, two independent slates, with Krunoslav Bručić and Ruža Tanacković as lead candidates, are running for the council seat, in Jagodnjak, only the Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) has submitted its slate, while in Borovo only the Independent Democratic Serb Party (SDSS) is running in the election, with all four candidates on its slate being ethnic Croats.

In Jagodnjak, the SDSS is also running in the election for a councillor from the Roma minority, with four Roma candidates on its slate.

In these three municipalities, 871 ethnic Croats have a right to vote in the additional elections. Only voters who are registered as members of a national minority can vote in the additional minority elections, and they must reside in the area of the unit for which the elections have been called.

The State Election Commission (DIP) will publish the first provisional results on its website at 9 am on Monday, 4 October.

Pazin holding early election for city council

On Sunday, Pazin is holding an early election for its 13-seat city council, and about 7,300 voters can cast their ballots at 16 polling stations.

The early election has been called because after the regular local elections in May, none of the five parties that entered the city council, including the Istrian Democratic Party (IDS), which has been in power for years, secured the necessary majority. Of the 13 councillors, six were from the IDS, four from the We Can! political platform, one from the Social Democratic Party (SDP), one from the HDZ and one was independent. The council was not formed within the statutory deadline even after three attempts, so the government has called an early election.

Candidates of five slates are running for a seat in the city council -- the slates of the HDZ, the SDP, the We Can! political platform, the IDS/HSU/HNS coalition and an independent slate of a group of voters led by Željko Mrak.

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Saturday, 25 September 2021

Istria County Marks Its Day

ZAGREB, 25 Sept, 2021 - Istria County on Saturday marked its day and the 78th anniversary of the decision for Istria, Rijeka, Zadar and islands to leave the Kingdom of Italy and join with the parent country Croatia.

Istria County Assembly chair Sandra Ćakić Kuhar said on that occasion that the World War II People's Liberation Struggle was marked by the noble ideal of resistance to discrimination, hate speech and violence.

It was a struggle in which many lives were lost and the foundations of today's Istria were laid and that must never be forgotten, she said.

"If we lose our regional identity... we will lose a part of ourselves and devalue the struggle of our WWII fighters as well as our (Homeland War) defenders. That is why we have to continue respecting, protecting and promoting the values of antifascism, multiculturalism, multiethnicity, multilingualism and co-existence," she said.

Istria County head Boris Miletić said that Istria most strongly condemned any act attempting to devalue antifascism, stressing that "Istria is particularly ashamed that there is no courage and determination in our country to do away with the demons of the past."

"I am talking about finally outlawing the Ustasha salute. Four years ago, members of parliament from Istria put forward a bill to that effect but that document remains a dead letter," Miletić said, among other things.

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Saturday, 11 September 2021

Dalibor Paus Elected New IDS President

ZAGREB, 11 Sept, 2021 - The head of Barban Municipality, Dalibor Paus, is the new president of the Istrian Democratic Party (IDS), it was decided at the parliamentary party's 34th election assembly in Poreč on Saturday.

Paus said the "IDS is entering a new development phase today" during which it would undergo restructuring and introduce a new management model based on transparency and excellence, with the goal to make Istria County even stronger and more developed.

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Thursday, 22 July 2021

Istria County Head Welcomes Tighter COVID Restrictions

ZAGREB, 22 July 2021 - Istria County prefect Boris Miletić on Thursday welcomed tighter COVID restrictions along the coastline because of the spread of the Delta variant, saying it was in everyone's interest to keep the tourist numbers recorded to date as long as possible.

Speaking to the press in Pula, he said arrivals and overnights in the first seven months of this year were at 60% of those in the corresponding period in 2019, a record year for tourism.

"2020 can't be a reference point of comparison as it would turn out that we were 200% better. In July alone, in the first 20 days, we recorded 90% of the arrivals and overnights recorded (at the same time) in 2019."

More tourists than the domestic population in Istria

Miletić said 236,000 tourists were currently staying in Istria, which has a population of 209,000, adding that 38% were staying in private accommodation, 38% in campsites, and 24% in hotels.

"In any case, we have to be maximally responsible because tourists don't want big parties and big gatherings, but to spend their annual vacation normally," he said, adding that he hoped responsibility would be evident at all levels so that this tourist year could be much better than the last.

Miletić said big gatherings were not necessary, except for various festivals like the ongoing Pula Film Festival. He added that big outdoor gatherings were a problem because it was difficult to control that many people and impossible to ban someone from coming.

For all you need to know about coronavirus specific to Croatia, including travel, border, and quarantine rules, as well as the locations of vaccination points and testing centers across the country, make sure to bookmark our dedicated COVID-19 section and select your preferred language.

Tuesday, 13 July 2021

Petram Resort and Residences: Largest Croatian Tourism Complex in the Works

July 13, 2021 - The largest tourism project currently being built in Croatia, Petram Resort and Residences, is located at the northernmost point of the Croatian coast, on the border with Slovenia and Italy, at the Alberi location in Savudrija in northwestern Istria.

However, this is also a huge real estate project, reports Jutarnji List.

The complex will have 252 luxury properties - 55 tourist villas, an aparthotel with 179 holiday apartments, and 18 residential apartments. According to the announcements, everything is conceived on top design ahead of trends, sustainable construction, new materials, fragrant Mediterranean horticulture, and open views, combined with an innovative concept of resort maintenance and real estate management. It is the first resort for housing and vacation of its kind in Croatia and the region.

"It will be possible to leave the care of the property completely to the resort and thus ensure a carefree vacation, but also to improve and return the investment. It will be a ubiquitous, almost invisible service worthy of a five-star hotel," announced investors MK Group and Aleksandar Group.

This resort will offer a closed community holiday with all amenities and services at your fingertips and concierge service 24 hours a day. It will offer a combination of sea, greenery, thoughtful and top design, sports facilities, and wellness. In addition, it will have a striking infinity rooftop pool, garden pools, swimming pool, children's park, and restaurants.



Surrounded by the sea as far as the eye can see, Petram Resort & Residences will be an ideal location for hedonists. The big advantage is good connections, as it is close to several airports and a few hours drive from many cities.

"We are talking to LAD 1 studio architects Lotus Group Maja Bručić and Eva Cotman. We were interested in the contents of the resort because a large infinity pool on the roof is mentioned as an attraction. It will be the largest and most beautiful outdoor roof pool you can imagine, 105 meters long, the second-longest in the world, on which our top statisticians worked," says Maja Bručić.

There will also be a fine-dining restaurant on the roof of the aparthotel. The garden pool is located next to a modern Italian restaurant on one side and a steak house with Istrian specialties. There is also a swimming pool surrounded by Mediterranean scents created for lazy mornings, active days, and afternoons full of sun and relaxation, an outdoor swimming pool and children's park, swimming pools with facilities for children, and golf courses nearby.



"The resort will have 55 tourist villas, 12 of which with their own infinity roof pools and another 43 modern villas perfectly blended into the Mediterranean climate in which they are located. High construction standards will allow immersion in a beautiful environment and ensure privacy, luxury, and peace. The buyer of the villa chooses one of the three types of decoration, the one that best suits their sensibility," explains the architect Bručić.

In addition to villas, there are 18 apartments in apartment buildings and 179 tourist apartments in the main building, the apart-hotel, ranging from studios to three-bedroom.

"Flats and apartments will be modern, with open views and the right dose of luxury and privacy, which will allow undisturbed enjoyment of all occasions. Each property will choose an interior design package that suits the style and sensibility of future owners. It will also be possible to choose a maintenance package," explains Eva Cotman.

Apart from the fact that the architects were committed to using top local materials that are in harmony with the climate and originate from it, they also paid attention to horticultural landscaping that is indigenous, lush, and full of colors.

"We strived to achieve the ideal combination of respect for Mediterranean construction and horticulture while leaving a sufficiently open view of the sea and the environment that surrounds us, which reflects our commitment to sustainable construction. The whole complex is energy class A+, with quality thermal insulation and renewable energy sources. The heating and cooling and hot water preparation system are designed with cranes that use energy from renewable sources and thus significantly increase energy savings and reduce the harmful impact on the environment, especially air and water," says Maja Bručić and adds that they pay attention to sorting and separate waste collection and use waste air recovery.

Schuco brand windows and doors are made of aluminum frames with an interrupted thermal bridge, with double-glazed insulating glass, which is also low-energy and has a thermoreflex coating. This allows the residences to have large glass surfaces with open views without affecting the increased energy consumption.

The investor, Čista voda project, is an Istrian company, and the Petram Resort and Residences project is implemented in cooperation with well-known investors MK Group and Aleksandar Group. MK Group is one of the leading holding companies in agriculture, tourism, and banking in Southeast Europe. In its more than 25 years of operation on the Serbian market, Aleksandar Group has built hundreds of thousands of square meters of residential and commercial space. LAD 1 studio is in charge of designing, supervising, and managing the project, and the Lotus Group is the brand of that company.

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

Friday, 7 May 2021

Highlights of the Week: 5 Big Events in Croatia from May 3-9, 2021

May 7, 2021 - TCN's regular retrospect of Highlights of the week, through the selection of TCN's reporter Ivor Kruljac. 

President Milanović loved by locals in Plaški. Firefighters quickly reacted to the fire in Zagreb recycle yard. Pula celebrated its liberation while Šibenik received new doses of coronavirus vaccines. Dinamo and Hajduk end their match in a tie. Overall another interesting week in Croatia, and here are more details on all highlights.

 Highlights of the week: President Milanović loved in Plaški county


© Kristina Stedul Fabac/ PIXSELL

Croatian president Zoran Milanović visited Plaški county near Ogulin on Tuesday to visit the newly-build Firefighter's home and Plaški Culture Home. The locals welcomed president Milanović with ovations, and many use the opportunity to handshake and take a photo with the president. As Večernji List reports, Milanović took the visit as an opportunity to comment on the hate speech incident at Borovo Selo. He stated that the President of Serbian National Council Milorad Pupovac and Croatian Prime Minister „should use the police, but they don't, they are causing incidents.

Highlights of the Week: Pula celebrating its liberation in WW2


© Srecko Niketic/ PIXSELL

Pula celebrated its annual liberation day and the Pula City Day, marked on May 5. In Tito's park, the traditional commemoration to the fallen WW2 soldiers of Tito's partisan army saw Tiziano Sošić (president of Pula City Council), Elena Puh Belci (vice mayor of Pula), Aleksandar Matić (chief of the City of Pula Office) and Fabrizio Radin (vice-county ruler of Istria county) paid their respects. Representatives of associations of anti-fascist fighters and anti-fascist of the city of Pula were present too. 

 Highlights of the Week: Dinamo and Hajduk end with an even score 1:1


© Milan Sabic/ PIXSELL

Hajduk and Dinamo's eternal opponents played another game at Hajduk's home of Poljud Stadium in Split on Wednesday. The match was the 22nd round in Croatian First League, and fans couldn't wait for it as the game was postponed.

Hajduk opened the match well and had a chance to take the lead in the first 20 seconds. Kačaniklić received an excellent long ball and ran on the right side. He rushed into the penalty area and shot diagonally, but Livaković came out and closed his corner. Dinamo improved and took the lead in the 16th minute with a goal by Majer, and Livaja returned the favor in the 44th minute. Diamantakos hit the crossbar in the final minutes of the match but without success.

After three victories in the previous three clashes with Hajduk this season, Dinamo failed to achieve maximum performance and almost mathematically secured the title but entered the last four rounds with a seven-point advantage over Osijek. The fail happened despite Dinamo facing Hajduk with the strongest possible lineup.  

Highlights of the Week: Vaccination in Šibenik continues successfully


© Hrvoje Jelavic/ PIXSELL

Larger quantities of vaccines came to Šibenik on Friday, allowing vaccination in Baldeki Sports Hall to go without problems for the second day in the row. The vaccination attracts a number of citizens, so the area got quite crowded.

Highlights of the Week: Recycling yard in Zagreb on fire, reasons unclear


© Matija Habljak/ PIXSELL

Zagreb's recycling yard, located on Sarajevska Cesta in Novi Zagreb, was victimized by fire but quickly localized and put under control on Tuesday. The fire caught four containers, and 21 firefighters with six fire trucks rushed to the field. Police investigated the cause of the fire, but the reason is, for the moment, unknown. Firefighters managed to operate despite the lack of hydrants, and the thick white smoke was noticed by citizens who live in the buildings close to the yard, reported Večernji List. 

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Tuesday, 9 February 2021

Denis Ivošević of Istria Tourist Board: We Want to Achieve Even Better Flos Olei Results

February 9, 2021 - Denis Ivošević of the Istria County Tourist Board revealed that olive oil producers in the region have prepared earlier than ever to achieve even better results in the 2022 Flos Olei guide, and that their work with olives won't stop there. 

Glas Istre reports that at the end of January, the Istria County Tourist Board launched a campaign and sent an invitation to all producers to apply for and deliver extra virgin olive oil for the new edition of the 2022 Flos Olei guide.

According to the Istria Tourist Board director, Denis Ivošević, they began collecting Istrian extra virgin olive oils much earlier this year to reserve the first spot at the tastings. He adds that it may sound unusual, but the order of evaluation is already significant for the outcome and maintaining the reputation of Istria as an international olive oil destination.

"The fact is that every year, more and more is invested in knowledge, but also the acquisition of new skills, so we believe that we will collect a record number of samples that will allow us to approach new records - not only in the number of listed Istrian olive growers but also that for the first time, one of the Istrian olive growers reaches the prestigious 99 points. This is the result we hope for, which would mean a lot to all of us and bring additional momentum to the development of olive growing and confirm the top reputation of Istria as an olive growing destination," says Ivošević.

Recall that Istria has been part of this unique guide since 2005, when only two Istrian producers from the region were included. The Ipša family from Ipši and the Beletić family from Novigrad had the honor of being the first. The guide was then published under the name L'Extravergine, and from 2010 it changed its name and publisher to a new, today recognizable name, Flos Olei. Since the first edition of the guide under this new name in 2010, Istria has taken an important role and positioned itself as the second-best olive growing region, just behind Tuscany. However, every year the advantage of Tuscany was smaller. Finally, in 2016, Istria took the top spot that it has maintained to this day, but with a far greater advantage than Tuscany previously had on Istria. 

"It sounds unreal, and I would say pretentious, but Istria has been declared the best olive growing region in the world for the sixth year in a row. How it looked last year is sufficiently shown by the fact that Istria had 71 olive growers and Tuscany 43. However, it is even more important that more than a thousand samples from all over the world arrive for evaluation, that a professional panel of verified tasters in the organoleptic sense tastes all the received samples, that after that, a selection of the 500 best in the world is made, which is impressive," the director of the regional Tourist Board proudly points out.

The flattering accolades should be taken as motivation for further investment and growth.

"During the corona crisis, I would say the most challenging year in recent history, when there were almost no investments and those planned were stopped in time, only the field of olive growing, among the few, achieved what was intended. Thus, the largest investments were made to raise the quality of processing, storage, and the presentation and sale of Istrian extra virgin olive oils. Total investments exceed HRK 50 million, which is an extremely great achievement for such a specific, niche product. On the one hand, investments have been made in new modern and technologically advanced processing plants. On the other hand, investments have been made in architecturally interesting building solutions with designer-equipped new tasting rooms and boutiques. So last year, the Chiavalon family opened a new olive growing center in Vodnjan, a modern building that includes a special line of Mori olive processing, with a new cellar, tasting room, sales point, storage space. The Ipša family also continued with investments, which also opened an attractive olive growing center in Ipši near Oprtalj. It is a renovated and revalued traditional building where there is a new line of Mori olive processing, with a new cellar, tasting room, point of sale, Istrian tavern, and warehouse. The interim director of the Fund for the Reconstruction of Earthquake-Affected Zagreb, Damir Vanđelić, and his family have opened a new olive grove and center along the road from Bale to Rovinj. The new oil mill is also a refurbished and revalued traditional building housing the new Mori olive processing line, with a new cellar, tasting room, and sales outlet, combined with fruit and vegetable production, given that the olive grove center is located on a 67-hectare-large family farm.

We should also mention the significant investments of the Galić family, which opened a new cellar for extra virgin olive oils in Kostanjica near Grožnjan, a tasting room, and a sales point and a panoramic terrace, as well as Oleum Maris, where a new olive center opened along the road between Vodnjan and Pula. It is a modern building with a new basement and sales point and continues with a new tasting room and projections and a panoramic terrace. Finally, thanks to an investment by the Beletić family from Novigrad, a new, modern Pieralisi olive processing line was opened.

This list is only part, or the most significant investments of Istrian olive growers, with a handful of smaller ones that complete the picture of how much importance is attached to raising new olive groves, acquiring new knowledge and skills, improving production and the technological process, but also new models of presentation and sales of the final product - extra virgin olive oil of premium quality.

"In Istria, olive growing has become the ultimate question of identity and national pride!" says Ivošević.

"Olive growing in the broadest sense of the word is not just producing extra virgin olive oil. If we have proven that we are capable of producing high-quality extra virgin olive oil, that we know how to promote, brand, advertise, and sell it, we must certainly try in other disciplines that come from the basic product - olives," says Ivošević, and delves into the areas where there is potential for further growth. He says it is the production of table olives, which is rarely used commercially on the Peninsula today.

"We have almost no serious producers who have found their niche or specialization in this area, and that is the part we definitely miss, especially since the demand for such a product is extremely high, especially given the developed gastronomy in Istria and Croatia. The use of table olives can definitely be used in a wide range of Istrian gastronomy presentation. For example, it can be used in various forms and techniques of preparation as an introductory greeting from the kitchen, as a separate snack, or in combination with other products as a supplement to various tastings. It can also be used as an appetizer, hot or cold, as an addition to the main course, and why not as part of a dessert? But, most importantly, we would avoid importing the worst quality of such olives, which we import almost without any quality criteria and health control," explains Ivošević.

One of the directions is certainly a stronger focus on niche cosmetic production of olive-based boutique cosmetics. In this part of dedicated production, he recalls, we have pioneers who began using extra virgin olive oil in cosmetics, not only through sales in specialty stores but also in increasing use in wellness, beauty, and health treatments.

It is unnecessary to explain that extra virgin olive oil, in the way it is produced in Istria, is a natural product and contains many qualities. It is naturally rich in unsaturated fatty acids. It has a high content of phenols that have a beneficial health effect because olive oil polyphenols help protect blood lipids from oxidative stress. Extra virgin olive oil is also a natural source of tocopherol, a precursor of vitamin E, which helps protect cells from oxidative stress when present in sufficient quantities. Tocopherols in the presence of phenols act synergistically, i.e., enhance their antioxidant effect.

"It has long been known that extra virgin olive oil is a natural remedy, and now the globally known Jennifer Lopez has launched a cosmetic line based on olive oil "JLo Beauty Olive Complex," which will certainly encourage some to try the same in that specific niche of cosmetics and natural remedies," says Ivošević.

In the end, he says, the waste generated by processing olives can be used wisely, by using firewood seeds. In this way, the potential of olives would be fully used, and the problem of disposing of that waste would be partially solved.

"With new directions, such as this, Istria will show that in addition to the prestige in the production of premium extra virgin olive oil, we turn to other disciplines that include an extensive range of opportunities - from the segment of health, nutrition, and psychophysical fitness, beauty treatment and rejuvenation, wellness treatment, in the broadest sense of the word, all the way to sustainable and responsible development in terms of waste management for heating," concludes Denis Ivošević.

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