Friday, 24 July 2020

InnovaMare: Croatia and Italy Team Up to Protect Adriatic from Pollution

The Croatian Chamber of Commerce (HGK) is the holder of an EU project called InnovaMare, which creates an innovation ecosystem of SMEs, public and scientific sectors.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Marta Duic writes on the 23rd of July, 2020, Mateo Ivanec, Head of the Innovation System Department in the Sector for Industrial Development and Innovation System of the Croatian Chamber of Commerce, talked to Poslovni dnevnik about the InnovaMare project, its goals and plans, and the partnership with Italy in the implementation of the project.

What prompted you in regard to the InnovaMare project? How long has it been planned?

The process of developing the project idea, preparing the tender documentation and the project application itself took a year. In the last four years, the Croatian Chamber of Commerce has invested in strengthening the capacity of a team of about 20 employees who have been educated and worked on projects in the areas of innovation systems, technology transfers, and research and development. One of the key activities is to improve cross-border cooperation between research institutions and the private sector and to enable the involvement of SMEs in international research networks as a way of adding value to SMEs in the field of internationalisation and technology transfer.

The InnovaMare project is based on a different approach, which is increasingly represented across the EU, and this approach refers to solving key societal challenges through different public policies. Namely, social challenges are increasingly becoming not only an issue of the protection of human health or the environment, but also an economic issue because they negatively affect various economic sectors. By solving social challenges by applying the most modern technologies and innovative solutions, we're strengthening SMEs that can offer solutions of such a kind, and we're also opening global markets with the same or similar social challenges. Considering this approach, we detected one of the extremely important social challenges, and that is the pollution of the Adriatic sea. If we don't approach this social challenge systematically, in an organised manner and at the cross-border level, we can expect extremely negative consequences in the near future.

What is the main goal of the InnovaMare project and how much of it is EU funded?

The main goal of the project is to develop and establish an innovation ecosystem for the development of innovative solutions in the field of robotics and sensors for the monitoring and prevention of pollution in the Adriatic sea through the cooperation of public and private sectors, as well as scientific research institutions. Encouraging the integration of scientific research and the private sector and providing access to networking tools, innovative processes and technologies, educational models and funding schemes will provide space to increase investment in research, development and innovation. The project is co-financed by the EU in as much as 85 percent, and the total value of the project is 5.6 million euros.

Who, of all of the partners, are involved in the project and whose role and task is the biggest?

The Croatian Chamber of Commerce is the project holder and bears all of the responsibility for the implementation of the InnovaMare project, as well as for achieving the defined results. There are a total of seven partners from the Republic of Croatia, in addition to the Croatian Chamber of Commerce. These are the Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Computing, the Ruđer Bošković Institute, the University of Rijeka, the University of Dubrovnik, Geomar d.o.o. Split and Šibenik-Knin County. There are also seven partners from Italy, namely the MARE FVG cluster, the University of Trieste, the Chamber of Commerce of the Veneto region, the National Institute of Oceanography and Experimental Geophysics, the Regional Agency for Technology and Innovation, and the Institute of Marine Science, Commtec d.o.o.

Tell us more about the innovation ecosystem you plan to establish

The established innovation ecosystem aims to improve the framework conditions at the cross-border level by jointly building strategic and operational capacities by using public policy instruments to strengthen the cooperation of innovation system stakeholders. The key role of the InnovaMare innovation ecosystem is to be a platform and facilitator that defines challenges, sets priorities and brings together information, stakeholders and resources to create innovative solutions to the challenges that lie ahead of us. The innovation ecosystem strengthens the cooperation of innovation "players" and provides them with mechanisms and tools to encourage the development of new innovative solutions in the field of underwater robotics and sensors.

How many people are working on that development? What are all of the plans and in what time frame do you expect to be able to see visible results?

A total of 46 people were involved in the implementation of the project through thirteen partners. The total duration of the project is 30 months, ie, the deadline for the implementation of these activities is December the 31st, 2022. We believe that the first results, in terms of developing new projects and strengthening cooperation between stakeholders in this area, will be seen during 2021. The main elements of the project are the establishment of the Digital Innovation HUB (DIH), the strategy and action plan for the innovation ecosystem model, the prototyping of a robotic sensor solution for monitoring marine pollution and the development of a digital site for cooperation, financing, information gathering and web development, as well as interactive platforms.

What are the plans for the DIH (Digital Innovation Hub) that will be part of the InnovaMare project and one of the main visible results? Where will the Hub be located?

The Digital Innovation Hub is planned to be the central place of the innovation ecosystem and will be located in Šibenik with a branch office in Italy. The City of Šibenik was chosen for two reasons. One is its history, which marks many exceptional economic achievements as well as achievements in the field of innovation, and the other is its central position on the Adriatic, which enables extremely good connections.

The DIH will be based on four development pillars, namely; technology transfer, digital tools for networking and strengthening cooperation, innovative models for financing projects and technological solutions, and educating the business and scientific research sector on key areas for cooperation and business development, such as new business model, spin off companies, innovation management, etc.

For more on EU and cross-border projects, follow our lifestyle page.

Wednesday, 3 June 2020

Croatian Tourism: Should Croatia Forget About Italian Tourists This Summer?

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 2nd of June, 2020, everyone who is expecting Italian tourists all over Europe and the world this year will be disappointed because, according to the current mood of the Italians, many of them will not leave Italy during the summer. Croatia is a favourite destination for many Italians, but should the Croatian tourism industry simply forget about Italian guests this summer?

''According to current polls, it is estimated that only three percent of those Italians who have gone abroad on holiday in previous years will leave Italy at all this tourist season. That is a miserable number compared to those polls taken before the pandemic hit,'' says Rea Karnincic from Milan, who is originally from the Dalmatian city Split and owns the travel agency "Solo Croazia" for Slobodna Dalmacija.

The real question is, is there any interest at all from Italians for a holiday in Croatia, does Rea's travel agency have such inquiries?

''Well, I can't say my phone lines are really hot. For months, no one called because no one knew what would happen with the coronavirus pandemic and how the situation would develop. In recent days, the phone has been "shyly" ringing, they're starting to become interested again, but I think that everyone in Europe, including people in Croatia, can forget about Italian tourists during June. Maybe there'll be a few of them during July, August and September. The shipping company SNAV, which connects Italy and Croatia, will start sailing only on June the 27th, and the planes will take off only at the beginning of July. In addition, Jadrolinija starts operating with Italy again on June the 10th or 12th, so just twice a week,'' said Karnincic.

The fact that this current negative mood in Italy is bad for the Croatian tourism industry is best shown by the fact that before the coronavirus crisis, about a million Italian citizens came here during the summer months.

''And those are some bygone, better times. The answer to why many Italians won't bother to travel abroad this summer should be sought primarily in financial reasons, as many people have become impoverished or out of work, so they just can't afford a holiday. Another reason is that many Italians no longer have any days off, because during the crisis, they took advantage of the "old" days off and those for this year.

The third reason is that the Italian state encourages Italians to stay and spend their holidays in Italy and thus help the country's economic recovery. Thus, each family will receive a voucher worth 500 euros, which must be spent in hotels in Italy. Single people will receive a voucher of 150 euros,'' concluded Rea Karnincic in an interview for Slobodna Dalmacija.

For more on Croatian tourism in the coronavirus era, follow our travel section.

Thursday, 7 May 2020

Would Owner of Croatian Marinas Purchase Stake in Italian Football League?

Could the owner of multiple Croatian marinas become the owner of a stake in the currently enfeebled Italian football league? Although involved parties have denied to comment, unofficial allegations have surfaced.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Tomislav Pili writes on the 6th of May, 2020, two major investment companies, CVC Capital Partners and Blackstone, are in separate negotiations to purchase a stake in the Italian Serie A football league, which is facing huge financial losses due to the coronavirus pandemic.

CVC has a long history of investing in sport, and as such, it was once the owner of a share in the famous Formula 1, then motorcycle races for the Grand Prix and in the English first rugby league. Here in Croatia, however, it is best known as the former owner of Zagrebačka pivovara (Zagreb brewery) and the current owner of Croatian marinas purchased from the large Turkish Dogus Group.

According to the Financial Times, CVC is in negotiations to purchase a 20 percent stake in the aforementioned Italian Serie A for a price of two billion euros, which would see the entire Italian first football league come at a value of 10 billion euros. According to informed sources, negotiations initially began late last year.

If it manages to reach that stake, it would give the owner of multiple Croatian marinas the opportunity to participate in negotiations to sell television rights to broadcast matches for a ten year period, more precisely from the year 2021 to the year 2031. Blackstone, on the other hand, wants to acquire a stake by now lending money to Italian clubs so they can cover their costs during the championship postponement.

However, sources have pointed out that negotiations with both funds are still at an early stage and could yet face legal obstacles. CVC, Blackstone and Serie A declined to comment on media allegations. Consulting firm KPMG has estimated that Italy's first league could lose between 550 million and 650 mllion euros in revenue related to TV rights, sponsorships and tickets if the championship - abruptly suspended in early March owing to the coronavirus pandemic - is not played to its completion.

For now, the leadership of the Italian Football Federation has not yet agreed with the clubs whether or not the championship should continue. Last season, Serie A clubs shared 1.2 billion euros in TV rights revenue, which is 2 billion euros less than the English clubs in the Premiership, the most valuable national football competition in the world.

Back in 2018, the Italian league sold the rights to television broadcasts until 2021 to the pay-TV house Sky and the internet streaming service DAZN. However, the suspension of the championship owing to the pandemic has raised tensions between Serie A and Sky and DAZN, who are demanding a lower amount for this year's rights due to the suspension of those matches.

For more on business in Croatia, Croatian marinas and more, follow this page.

Wednesday, 6 May 2020

Cash Injection for Croatian Port Authorities from Cross Border Programme

More than two million euros are set to be handed out to various Croatian port authorities from a joint Italian-Croatian programme to ensure to high quality and safe transport on the Adriatic sea.

As Morski writes on the 5th of May, 2020, under the INTERREG V-A Italy-Croatia CBC Programme for 2014-2020, the European Regional Development Fund has approved 7.1 million euros for a project called SUSPORT - Sustainable PORTs.

This is a cross-border cooperation programme between Italy and Croatia in which, in addition to the leading partner - the Port Network Authority of the Eastern Adriatic Sea - fifteen other project partners are participating, of which 8 are from Italy and 7 are from Croatia.

As part of the project, a total of 2.7 million euros was approved for Croatian partners, of which 2.2 million euros was intended for various Croatian port authorities. To be precise, these are the port authorities of Rijeka, Zadar, Split, Ploce and Dubrovnik. The total part of the budget for each of the aforementioned Croatian port authorities individually amounts to 440,000 euros, of which European Union grants amount to 374,000 euros or 85 percent of the project value.

These funds have been approved for development projects that will increase environmental sustainability and improve the energy efficiency of Croatian ports.

By implementing the project, the Rijeka port authority will see the design and procurement of equipment for the improvement of electric lighting and the introduction of LED lighting technology in public port areas used by citizens enabled. The cash injection will also go towards the procurement and installation of charging stations for electric vehicles. The goal of the project is to save electricity and reduce light pollution in public port areas.

In addition, the money will enable the introduction of alternative energy sources in the port of Gazenica, ie, the installation of a photovoltaic system that will provide energy for port lighting and a solar terminal system for hot water and heating for the Zadar port authority. The goal of that being the saving of electricity and the development of the Gazenica terminal into a "green" port.

The project will enable the further improvement of the quality of port services and environmental protection with the exchange of examples of the best practices for the Split port authority.

For Ploce port, the project will enable the further improvement of the energy efficiency of various port operations and increase its competencies for managing maritime and multimodal freight transport in an environmentally sustainable manner.

Last but my no means least, the project will enable to Dubrovnik port authority the introduction of new LED technology for the lighting of the port area, which will ensure significant savings in electricity consumption.

The project generally addresses the improvement of the quality, safety and environmental sustainability of maritime and coastal transport services by promoting multimodality and will officially start in June/July 2020, and will last for a total of three years.

For more on Croatian port authorities and maritime transport in Croatia, make sure to follow our travel page.

Monday, 20 April 2020

Could Italian Bankruptcy Pose New Threat to Croatian Economy?

Could Italy's uncertain economic future be a blow to the Croatian economy? While things currently remain decent in terms of Italian liquidity, the way things will play out with the coronavirus pandemic are difficult to predict, and the Croatian economy is already being squeezed without the idea of a major trading partner and neighbour going under.

As Gojko Drljaca/Novac writes on the 20th of April, 2020, more and more analysts and investors are questioning the chances of the now truly enfeebled Italy simply going bankrupt. At the moment, there is no major threat to Italy's liquidity, as the European Central Bank's Pandemic Emergency Purchase programme is likely to refinance the country's needs this year.

However, even before the COVID-19 pandemic, Italy was fiscally poor. At the end of last year, its debt reached 136 percent of GDP. Given that according to IMF estimates, which appear to be somewhat optimistic, Italy's GDP will fall around 10 percent, this means that Italy's debt-to-GDP ratio could go up to a concerning 180 percent this year. This is a level of debt that is completely unsustainable for a country like Italy.

Italy can avoid entering into bankruptcy with extensive assistance from the EU or other international institutions, but given the size of the Italian economy and the growing fiscal problems of other European Union member states, it is not certain that the fiscal capacity will be sufficient to save Italy from a very undesirable fate.

There is a possible scenario under which the European Central Bank would buy up unlimited amounts of Italian debt, but it is also not certain that other member states, who are growing increasingly frustrated, would agree to such a monetary policy move, nor is it clear what the effects of such monetary policy would be on the Eurozone as a whole, and on European Union members as well, regardless of whether or not they have introduced the euro as their official currency.

At the EU level, there has been a debate on how to fund recovery. Ursula von der Leyen, Head of the European Commission, is preparing to propose the adoption of a new reconstructed Multinational Financial Framework (MFF) 2021-2027 to EU member states, which would include funding for the recovery from the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Southern members, and France, would much rather see a special financial vehicle outside the financial framework as a proposal on the table. These financial ''vehicles'' should be loaded with huge amounts of funds by member states, and launched within just a few months. In either case, if the recovery is to be financed by the MFF- or another sort of special financial ''vehicle'', Italy might make it through this without the need for bankruptcy or radical debt restructuring if the northern EU countries agree to take on its refinancing. The very difficult question is whether the Germans and the Dutch can ''sell'' it to their taxpayers.

In this context, it should be noted that Italy is a major Croatian foreign trade partner and anything that goes so drastically wrong in Italy is certain to give the Croatian economy a very unwelcome hit of some level or another. A large number of Italian tourists come to Croatia. In the event of a worsening economic situation (bankruptcy or debt restructuring), the Croatian economy will also suffer a tremendous blow. The COVID-19 pandemic also brings very high-risk external sources for Croatia. There are, as yet, no estimates of the possible consequences of Italian bankruptcy on the Croatian economy, but it isn't something one likes to imagine.

It should be recalled that this weekend, the French president warned that in the event of financial solidarity with EU member states in the greatest distress, the survival of the EU and the Eurozone could be at stake.

Make sure to follow our business page for more on the Croatian economy.

Monday, 9 March 2020

Italian Economic Situation Threat to Predicted Croatian GDP Growth

As Adriano Milovan/Novac writes on the 9th of March, 2020, the Italian economy is likely to enter into a recession according to a new rating by the rating agency Moody's. This is more than likely to hit Croatia negatively and affect the previously predicted Croatian GDP growth.

In their new report on the state of the world economy, Moody's experts warn that the current coronavirus epidemic will hit the entire global economy, at least in the first half of this year. When it comes to Italy, their new forecasts suggest that Italy's GDP could fall by 0.5 percent this year when compared to last year, and that's even when taking a more optimistic scenario into consideration, assuming the situation with coronavirus gets no worse.

However, should the coronavirus situation in Italy continue to escalate further, Italy's economy could contract by 0.7 percent this year, as new Moody's forecasts show, warning that the areas hardest hit by coronavirus in the country are in the most developed regions in northern Italy, where more than forty percent of Italy's entire economic activity takes place.

"The risks of a global recession have increased," said the Moody's analysts, who warned of the rapid spread of coronavirus worldwide.

Moody's analysts haven't directly addressed Croatia in the report. However, given the strong economic ties between Italy and Croatia, it is already clear that Croatia will also feel the effects of the Italian recession. Italy is one of the most important foreign trade partners to Croatia, and a huge number of tourists come from Italy.

For example, according to the latest available national statistics data, covering the first eleven months of last year, Croatian companies exported goods worth 14.6 billion kuna to Italy, accounting for almost 14 percent of total Croatian exports.

At the same time, imports from Italy amounted to around 23.9 billion kuna, meaning that problems for Italy naturally mean problems for Croatia and the previously predicted Croatian GDP growth. Not surprisingly, many economists fear that the threat of this new recession for Italy could quite easily spill over into the eastern Adriatic coast, especially if the situation with coronavirus doesn't calm down.

''Croatia and Italy have very developed trade links, entire sectors in Croatia depend on orders from Italy, and Croatia imports a lot from Italy. The slowdown in economic activity in our environment, and especially in Italy, has also led to a slowdown in economic activity in Croatia, and perhaps even a recession. In any case, it's already clear that the economic growth rates announced in this year will not materialise in our country,'' warned Damir Novotny, a respected economic analyst.

''What is already certain is that the planned growth rate of our economy - and we expected Croatian GDP growth of 2.5 percent this year - will not materialise. It's also clear that the preseason is also out of thr question. However, in the Croatian case the key is the peak of the tourist season, so if the situation with coronavirus soon calms down, the main season may not be affected. In any case, what will happen with our economy in April and May is crucial, since as early as May, it will be possible to assess what sort of main tourist season we can expect,'' says Zrinka Zivkovic Matijevic, a macroeconomist at Raiffeisen.

She added that it was too early to predict what would happen in the Croatian, European and world economy by the end of the year. Therefore, she and her team constantly monitor developments and develop various scenarios.

In Croatia and when it comes to Croatian GDP growth or the lack of it, the developments of the situation will depend largely on what happens in nearby Italy, but also here on home terrain, since we have already "imported" coronavirus from Italy, with which, however, the Croatian authorities have so far been far more successful in fighting than their Italian counterparts.

Nonetheless, the coronavirus epidemic is already taking a toll in certain sectors of the Croatian economy and will continue to have negative effects on Croatian GDP growth, with the sectors most threatened being the wood industry, transport and trade, and of course, Croatia's strongest economic branch - tourism.

Clearly, the extent to which these sectors, and the Croatian economy as a whole, will suffer is yet to be seen given that the coronavirus epidemic is still ongoing and difficult to predict. This may depend on the final assessment of whether we will ''import'' a recession from Italy or, in a milder case, economic stagnation.

While macroeconomists warn that the situation is not yet critical, although it remains very serious, Croatian companies are already adding up the damage they have suffered so far as a result of the coronavirus epidemic.

''We're closely monitoring the developments in Italy. We hope it will leave at least some [free] corridor, at least for some products,'' says Petar Simic, owner and director of Primaco, a freight forwarding company.

He adds that Primaco has already introduced maximum driver protection measures, such as the obligation to wear masks and gloves, frequent disinfection, and stopping only in certain places along the road. They have introduced similar measures for those who transport goods to Italy and to other countries, as well as for those in Croatia.

''Still, quarantine for sixteen million people in the Italian north is a new challenge and it is yet to be seen how traffic with Italy will continue,'' Simic says.

For more on Croatian GDP growth and the negative effects the current coronavirus epidemic is set to have on it, follow our dedicated business page.

Tuesday, 3 March 2020

Coronavirus Croatia: Outbreak Significantly Reduces Easter Bookings

March 3, 2020 - Because of the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, bookings for Easter in Croatia have been significantly reduced. However, some companies have figured out how to reduce cancellations of booked travel arrangements. They have decided to give tourists the option of cancelling their trip without penalty up two or three days before their scheduled arrival.

*Follow this article for live updates and this page for updates from Total Croatia News on the coronavirus in Croatia. An archive of updates can be found hereContact numbers for epidemiologists, travel advisories and measures for preventing the spread of the coronavirus can be found here.

Familiar Words: No Reason to Panic in Croatia

On the other hand, tourism experts say that Croatia has no reason to panic according to Martina Pauček Šljivak/Index on March 3, 2020. Although everyone is keeping a close eye on what happens and how the situation develops, they say that the reduced number of Easter bookings is not necessarily cause for concern. But they added that the number of bookings is worse than last year. Nevertheless, they claim that those numbers should not be compared to last year, because these are two different scenarios.

Tomislav Fain, president of the Association of Croatian Travel Agencies, told Index that Easter bookings were slow and not going at the pace they went last year. However, he also said that some companies have made key decisions which have currently reduced the cancellations of travel arrangements for Croatia.

Some Croatia Partners Offer Last Minute Cancellations

"The bookings we have received have still not been cancelled to a large extent, most went to partners with reduced travel cancellation options. Some companies have thus decided to give clients the option of cancelling their trips even two to three days before their planned arrival to Croatia without having to pay a cancellation fee. We are all watching what is happening, both for our guests and us. We are all hoping that this situation will stabilize and that everyone will continue to travel normally. But the fact is that we do not have any new reservations for Easter," Fain told Index.

Index also spoke with Veljko Ostojić, director of the Croatian Tourism Association, who said that because of the coronavirus outbreak, some tour groups from Italy had cancelled their arrivals in Croatia for Easter. Some events in Croatia have also been cancelled, he revealed to Index.



Bookings from Italy Down Significantly

"Easter bookings are down significantly, and inquiries have been reduced. But Easter falls on April 12 this year and all sorts of things are possible. So, if things get under control, we can expect the infected to be healthy within the next few days, so it's too early to assess what kind of results there will be for Easter," Ostojić added.

Last year, he said, there were more bookings at this time of year, but he also added that it was difficult to compare a normal year to this specific situation.

"Easter can be great and it can be bad, now people are monitoring the coronavirus developments in Croatia, and in their own countries. I think we have no reason to panic regarding this topic, and even if Easter is worse than last year, nothing dramatic will happen here. The four summer months are the most important to us and possibly some lost arrivals can be made up for later. There is no reason to panic," Ostojić concluded, echoing a familiar phrase.

Coronavirus Causes Cancellations of March Group Bookings

Croatian Minister of Tourism Gari Cappelli recently said that Croatian tourism is not feeling the downside of coronavirus outbreak for the time being, but that bookings have slowed down slightly, which he said was normal and to be expected. He added that the largest cancellations are currently happening in the business and congress tourism segment for March.

"The further spread of coronavirus in Croatia and the rest of Europe is difficult to project, but it is expected that it will have an impact on the first quarter's tourism results, though not too much, since the tourist turnover is normally lower in that quarter and the share of total annual revenue from tourism is about five percent," Cappelli assessed at a previous government meeting.


2000 Chinese tourists visited Croatia in February 2020, which was 60 percent less than 2019 | Index

2000 Chinese Tourists in February 2020: Down 60 Percent

He stated that there are currently about 24.5 thousand tourists in Croatia, which is similar to last year, and that the decline is mostly coming from Asian markets, especially from China, whose tourists numbered about two thousand, or 60 percent less in February than in the same month last year. However, in January this year there were almost four thousand or 70 percent more. Cappelli says tourism numbers are now about zero from that market compared to last year's results at the same time.

He also pointed out that in relation to the total tourist physical and financial traffic in the first three months of this year, due to the situation with the virus, they do not expect any major negative impact, except for the already mentioned segment of business and congress tourism, which happens in March.

Easter Earlier in 2020: True Tourist Picture Expected in May

"Easter is earlier this year, at the beginning of April, and when the holiday falls earlier it never provides a true picture of what will happen in the tourist season. This year, the real picture will be only be seen around the May holidays, when the largest number of Italian tourists arrive. Like Slovenes and Germans, they merge those holidays with others in their countries," added Cappelli.

He also noted that the last two years has seen a trend of last-minute bookings in May for the summer peak season, and for which he does not currently show any cancellations in Croatia. However, even in some of the major markets, like Germany and Great Britain, there has been a steady demand recorded with low growth compared to the same period in 2019.

Follow our Travel page for updates on Croatia tourism forecasts and statistics for 2020. The website for the Association of Croatian Travel Agencies can be found here, the Croatian Tourism Association here and the Croatia Ministry of Tourism here.

*Follow this article for live updates and this page for updates from Total Croatia News on the coronavirus in Croatia. An archive of updates can be found hereContact numbers for epidemiologists, travel advisories and measures for preventing the spread of the coronavirus can be found here.

Saturday, 21 September 2019

"Croatia As It Is Rarely Seen'' Exhibition Organised in Rome, Italy

As Morski writes on the 21st of September, 2019, in cooperation with Rome's city administration, the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs of the Republic of Croatia and the Embassy of the Republic of Croatia in Rome organised an exhibition entitled "Croatia as it is rarely seen" (Hrvatska kakva se rijetko viđa).

The exhibition contains about forty works by two photographers: Romeo Ibrišević and Miljenko Marukić, and it was officially opened by Croatia's Ambassador to Rome, Jasen Mesić. The exhibition was realised thanks to the financial support of the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs. Ambassador Mesić was joined at the exhibition's opening by the President of the Fourth City District of Rome, Roberto Della Casa, and the Deputy Estonian Ambassador to Rome, Urmas Eigle.

What is “rarely seen” and what connects them is their infatuation with the natural beauty of their homeland, but each [photographer] portrays it in a different way. Although famous for underwater photography, Miljenko Marukić has also been hunting rare birds and other animals for twenty years with his lens, during their beautiful moments of harmony with the environment.

Romeo Ibrišević, has been a photographer and photojournalist for more than three decades, but many will remember him as the first name behind the popular action "Let's clean car wrecks from Croatia". In the course of fifteen years, with the help of volunteers and all those who don't treat nature as a landfill, more than 16,000 wrecks have been extracted from Croatia's numerous nature parks, forests, streams... and these photos remind us of the importance of preserving the natural beauty of the country.

Their collaboration began a year ago with just one such action: clearing under the sea near Lumbarda. Miljenko called on his colleague Romeo and the Green Foot Association to clean up the wreckage dumped into the sea.

Therefore, the exhibition "Croatia as it is rarely seen" is full of contrasts: on the one hand, there are the idyllic scenes of nature that are ablaze with the sheer beauty of this country's diverse landscape, and on the other, the abominations that destroy it - transmitted through the vision of artistic imagination. The exhibition in Rome is open until the 4th of October, 2019, after which, the photographic exhibition moves on to Malta.

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

Wednesday, 7 August 2019

Italy Highlighted as One of Important Markets for Croatian Tourism

As Morski writes on the 6th of August, 2019, Italy represents one of the most important markets for the Croatian tourism sector, from which Croatia achieved an impressive 579,000 arrivals and 2.3 million overnight stays so far, representing a 1.3 percent increase in arrivals and 2.4 percent increase in overnight stays when compared to the same period last year.

Positive results were also achieved back in July, during which Italian tourists accounted for 209,000 arrivals and 1.1 million overnight stays, which represents a growth of 1.5 percent in arrivals and 3 percent in overnight stays when compared to July last year.

Croatian National Tourist Board (HTZ) Director Kristjan Staničić points out that the above results are excellent indicators for Ferragosto, the period when the largest number of Italian tourists come to stay in various Croatian destinations.

''The majority of tourist traffic from the Italian market is yet to come, as was confirmed by the announcements for August and the first half of September by key partners, tour operators and agencies. This is the result of a continuous and proactive promotional strategy for Italy, which includes numerous marketing and PR campaigns, but also excellent cooperation with Italian partners,'' said Director Staničić, adding that the increasing traffic connections between Italy and Croatia is a driving factor for the further growth of tourist traffic from this particular, neighbouring market.

Italians usually travel by car, with almost 60 percent of them doing so, followed by airplane, with 20 percent of Italians doing so, followed by train, bus, and then boat travel. When it comes to booking their trips, about 56 percent of Italians book their trips directly, 37 percent don't book/make reservations at all, while about 7 percent book their trips through an agency. When it comes to accommodation in Croatia, they prefer household facilities and hotels, while as tourist offers, they tend to value gastronomy, natural beauty, nautics, and even health tourism after the main tourist season in the summer.

''We have conducted some key promotional activities on the Italian market, which is evident from the results achieved, but also from numerous positive announcements that certainly contribute to creating a positive image and recognition of Croatia on this important market. Traditionally, Italians travel the most in August, and their favourite foreign destinations are Greece, Spain and Croatia, where they most often travel to Istria, Kvarner and Dalmatia, but they're also increasingly discovering the continental part of our country, especially Zagreb,'' emphasised Viviana Vukelić, the director of HTZ's representative office over in Italy.

The popularity of Croatia among Italians is evidenced by numerous publications in the Italian media.

On the eve of the main tourist season, the most things written by the Italian about Croatia were about the islands and the coastline, summer festivals, locations where the popular series "Game of Thrones" was filmed, national parks, beautiful beaches, and detailed reports on trips that can be taken with motorcycles and motorhomes were published.

The specialised magazine "Caravan e Camper" dedicated its cover to the beautiful island of Korčula, referring to it quite righly as ''timeless'', while the cover of the popular Dove magazine features Vrbnik on the island of Krk, and the Hvar lavender fields and the Makarska riviera adorn the cover of Bell'Europa.

The June issue of the specialised sailing magazine "Il giornale della Vela" published a detailed report on sailing in Croatia, providing extensive information on where to sail in Croatia, in which bays to anchor, what destinations on the islands and the coast are worth visiting, all of which were illustrated by gorgeous, glossy photographs, with the Kornati islands on the front page.

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

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