Sunday, 22 December 2019

30,000 Tourists Expected in Kvarner for Holidays: A Look at What's On Offer

December 22, 2019 - Kvarner is ready for the 30,000 guests that should visit during the Christmas and New Year holidays, which is about the same number of guests as last year.

Novi List writes that about 100,000 overnights will be realized during the holidays, most of them on the Opatija Riviera (45,000). The island of Lošinj has announced 17,000, the Rijeka area 15,000, the Crikvenica-Vinodol Riviera 9,000, the island of Krk 7,000, Gorski Kotar and the island of Rab 5,000 each, and the island of Cres 1,000. 

There will be 64 hotels open in Kvarner, as well as three camps, two in Losinj and one in Krk.

Most guests are expected on the Opatija Riviera. In Opatija itself, according to the data of the Opatija Tourist Board, the Christmas and New Year holidays should see13,250 guests, which will generate 37,800 nights. Most overnights will be spent on hotel accommodation. In this period, 27 hotels will be open in Opatija, with the majority expected to be guests from Germany, Austria, Slovenia, Italy and Croatians.

“A rich program of ‘The Most Beautiful Advent by the Sea’ awaits all visitors, which will bring a lot of good music like concerts by Marko Tolja, Martina Majerle, Renata Sabljak and Đani Stipanič, as well as many other renowned musicians who will grace the beautiful winter and summer stage, animation for the youngest and other surprises. As many as four events have been prepared for the New Year - for the youngest at noon on the Summer Stage, to three outdoor parties. All guests who have chosen Opatija for the New Year will be congratulated by the Mayor of Opatija on January 1 at the traditional Mayor's Toast,” said Željka Stašić, project manager at the Opatija Tourist Board.

The second most visited destination for the upcoming holidays will be Rijeka and its surroundings. According to the long-term trend of growth in the number of overnight stays in the city, the Rijeka Tourist Board emphasizes that the tourist turnover for the holidays will exceed last year's results.

“The rich Rijeka Advent program will certainly contribute to the positive results, which this year ends with a spectacular New Year's Eve concert with Nina Badrić, Dubioza Kolektiv and Nikolina Tomljanović. However, there are also New Year's Eve celebrations at numerous restaurants in the city center and the surrounding area.

Five hotels are open in the city of Rijeka - Bonavia, Jadran, Neboder, Continental and Molo Longo, most of the hostels and a large number of privately owned accommodation, where the highest number of overnight stays has been realized,” said Dominik Damiš, Head of Marketing at the Rijeka Tourist Board. Furthermore, domestic tourists usually achieve the most overnights, followed by foreign guests from Italy, Germany, Serbia, Slovenia and Austria.

In the area of the Crikvenica Riviera, from December 20 to January 6, approximately 1,700 guests will spend 7,500 overnight stays. The Crikvenica Tourist Board states that in addition to the Marina Hotel in Selce, which is always open, the Omorika Hotel, the Mediteran Hotel and the Crikvenica Hotel will be open during the New Year holidays. In addition to hotels, several dozen apartments will be opened. Most guests are expected from Austria, Germany, Italy, Slovenia and Croatia, and the largest number of guests will stay in Crikvenica during the New Year holidays. Guests stay an average of three days. As the Crikvenica Tourist Board revealed, most of the hotel accommodation is already full, while some of the private apartments are still available to guests who want to spend their holidays in Crikvenica, which boasts a unique Advent atmosphere this year.

The largest tourist company on the Riviera, Jadran Crikvenica, is organizing New Year's Eve at the Omorika Hotel.

“Only this hotel is open to us because we have already started the second phase of the investment cycle in other facilities to be even more prepared to welcome the new 2020 season. The main broadcasting market for us is Italy, and we also have a lot of local guests,” said Lucija Jukić, director of marketing for the Jadran Crikvenica, adding that they offer guests a New Year's Eve dinner with live music, champagne at midnight, as well as live music.

In Novi Vinodolski, for example, 250 guests from Austria are expected for the New Year holidays in the only open hotel Lišanj and about 100 guests in private accommodation. Guests stay an average of three days, and the Novi Vinodolski Tourist Board revealed, the hotel is fully booked. Otherwise, the organized New Year’s Eve reception is in Marina Nova. And at the traditional Zdravica Nova 2020, about 1,000 foreign guests are expected, or about 8,000 in total.

This year, more destinations became involved in the organization of Advent, so the whole of December was marked by increased arrivals and overnight stays. But as expected, the culmination is yet to be expected. Most destinations have prepared outdoor receptions, with hoteliers and NYE parties for their guests.

The New Year holidays are traditionally the best for Gorski Kotar. This year, for the twentieth time, the people of Fužine and their guests will celebrate the ‘old year’ at noon. 

Marinko Jakovljevic, director of the Fužine Tourist Board, said that most of the accommodation for the New Year holidays are reserved in the Gorski Kotar area. As a rule, holiday homes and apartments are full, while there is some room in household accommodation, as well as in hotel accommodation. But in the coming days, all should be full.

“Since we have prepared a four-day program starting on December 29th with a traditional concert of our Wind Orchestra, as a rule, these are stays based on three overnights. We have also prepared surprises to bid the Old Year farewell at noon, and besides, the New Year's train from Rijeka will come again. The director of the Fužine Tourist Board concluded that guests are coming from all over Croatia, and there is an increase in arrivals from Slovenia.

The Kvarner islands are ready for the busy holidays. This year, for the fifth time, a rich Advent program called ‘The Most Beautiful Island Advent’ was prepared for the coming holidays. This year, the program started on November 30 and will last until January 7 next year, with the extension to the Boškopini Park in addition to the historic city center. Rab’s rich program, as well as hotel programs, will attract more guests this year than last year. Namely, the Valamar Collection Imperial Hotel will open for NYE, while the Valamar Hotel Padova and the Veritas Restaurant and Wine Bar will open before Christmas. 

“So, that is one more hotel than last year. Full occupancy is expected, with guests coming mainly from Austria, Germany and France. In addition to all hotel facilities with entertainment and animation programs, guests will also have access to excursion programs and various programs within Rab Advent, which this year deservedly bears the name 'Best Island Advent'. By the way, the Best Island Advent has been increasingly profiled for several years as an additional motive for the arrival of guests to Rab, and the question is only to what extent the weather will allow its realization,” said the President of the Imperial Riviera of Rab.

On the island of Krk, advent programs for the New Year have been prepared by the tourist boards of Omišlj - Njivice, Malinska - Dubašnica, Krk, Punta, Dobrinj and Vrbnik. A rich program throughout Advent as well as for the holidays themselves was prepared in Mali Lošinj, which this year received new Advent attire and an ice skating rink, as well as a covered space for the New Year's festivities, so that even the bad weather cannot spoil the fun. 

Hotel Aurora in Mali Lošinj and Hotel Televrin in Nerezine are open for New Year's Eve, as well as two campsites. In addition to Čikat, the Poljana campsite in Mali Lošinj is open, and part of the private accommodation will be provided, with the assistance of local tourist agencies. Vitality Hotel Punta and Family Hotel Vespera are open for closed groups. Talking about the upcoming holidays as well as announcements for 2020, Ricardo Hesky, a member of the Jadranka Hotel Management Board, said that the number of guests coming from Lošinj Hotels & Villas have increased year by year, along with the number of overnight stays.

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

Wednesday, 20 November 2019

Rijeka Airport to Hit 200,000 Passengers For First Time, Still Far Behind Others in Croatia

November 20, 2019 - For the first time in its history, Rijeka Airport will reach 200,000 passengers. But how does this compare to the other airports in Croatia? A closer look. 

Novi List writes that for the past seven to eight years, the airport on Krk has made its way from an airport threatened with closure, with traffic barely at fifty thousand passengers, a building that hadn’t seen any renovations since the early 1970s, and business dependent on grants from the budget, to an airport that manages to cover operating costs, while generating profits. Furthermore, more than thirty million kuna was invested in the renovation of the building, new facilities, as well as the necessary infrastructure and equipment.

As good as it may sound at first glance, Rijeka still lags far behind all airports in Croatia, apart from Osijek. Zagreb, Split, and Dubrovnik have millions of passengers, so they should not be compared, but Pula and Zadar, which, similar to Rijeka, are highly seasonal airports, exceed half a million passengers a year, which is the goal of Rijeka Airport. With just 200,000 passengers, it is nowhere near that figure, but the growth of passenger traffic in recent years shows that there is room for progress, and Rijeka Airport is at a turning point at the co-owners, with the largest share in Croatia (55 percent), followed by the Primorje-Gorski Kotar County (20 percent), will have to make the right moves with the tourism economy of the country and region. Rijeka would at least reach Zadar and Pula, of which the tourism sector would benefit the most, as well as the economy as a whole.

Deputy Mayor of Primorje-Gorski Kotar County, Marko Boras Mandic, said that by setting up a new administration and investing, the county had turned the negative trends that prevailed at the airport just seven years ago.

“With 200,000 passengers, I believe that we have reached our maximum of what we, together with the Kvarner Tourist Board and local governments, could do. We managed to stop the shutdown of the Airport, when it was considered, at the national level, that Croatia did not need it. At that time, the development of the Zadar Airport, which with fifteen thousand passengers, came to over half a million today, as well as Pula, was primarily encouraged. Unfortunately, at that time, many tourist workers in Kvarner supported the thesis that this was an auto destination and that we did not need the airport. We managed to deny it,” says Boras Mandic.

Through the combined advertising system, the counties and the tourist boards are investing around HRK 6 million a year in the development of air traffic in Rijeka, but Boras Mandic believes that with changes to the provisions on the collection of tourist taxes, the tourist boards will have more money to be directed towards air traffic.

“Majority stakeholders and politics are now on the move. It should be made clear that we currently have political trump cards that we must use - Croatian National Tourist Board Director Kristjan Stanicic, Transport Minister Oleg Butkovic and Tourism Minister Gari Capelli, three key persons for the development of the Rijeka Airport, are from this region and I believe they recognize the importance of the second tourist region in Croatia and many second cities. It is not necessary to look for the impossible, but only what is economically justified. 

When Bozidar Kalmeta was Minister of Transport, Zadar Airport was growing at a rapid rate, just as Pula was growing during the term of Tourism Minister Lorencin, as they recognized the potential of these airports. I believe that the mentioned three will equally know the potential of Rijeka Airport. First and foremost, Rijeka will receive at least one hundred thousand seats a year through the Flight Incentive Program (PSO), and that the funds for joint advertising will be increased and that conditions will be created for Eurowings or another company to establish its base on Krk. With these three conditions, we can reach half a million passengers. We have the same majority owner, but also totally different policies and investments in airports, with Rijeka getting the least, even though it is the airport that needs the most development. And in the way that, as we finance the development of less developed counties, the development of Rijeka Airport can be funded from the earnings at larger airports and tourist boards,” says Boras Mandic.

Airport director Tomislav Palalic says the changes to the PSO program would encourage flights within Croatia as well as the EU (in which Rijeka now has only four thousand subsidized seats on planes a year, with Pula and Zadar at seventy thousand each, and Split over 200 thousand ), and traffic could increase by another 20 to 100 percent in the next year.

“With the increase in the number of passengers and operations, we directly influence the development of accompanying external service providers, in particular, the Croatian Air Navigation Control and the INA d.d. and we encourage them to develop their resources at the Rijeka Airport site, which by their work greatly influences the provision of services to all entities at the Rijeka Airport,” says Palalić.

Rijeka Airport has resolved property legal relations on the land on which it is located in the past, adding that it has acquired the basic preconditions for applying to all types of sources of funds, especially EU funds, to which the Airport will apply for new development projects.

“Another prerequisite for upgrading the infrastructure in order to optimize and modernize the capacities in some parts is to prepare the project documentation and obtain the associated permits, which is intensively done on major projects such as the construction of a subway connection of the passenger terminal building with the bus station on the D102 Most - Krk road, the expansion of the aircraft platform and the construction of a vertical runway in relation to the existing one, to cancel the negative impact of storms on the existing runway and thus the availability of the same 365 days a year,” says Palalic.

Rijeka Airport expanded its operations beyond the airport last year and now provides training for airport staff, as well as a screening service for passengers at the Losinj airport, and intends to apply the same at large airports with traffic greater than two million passengers and at small sports airports.

“We went to the furthest airport away, Vis Airport, where we expect a location permit and the approval of the Croatian Civil Aviation Agency soon, and we even hope to put it into operation for the 2020 summer season,” says Palalic.

Regarding the investments made so far in the system of infrastructure, as well as the equipment that serves the safety of performing aviation operations, they proudly point out that Rijeka is today among the more modern airports in Croatia, and by some systems also the first thanks to the Ministry of Transport and the County of Primorje-Gorski Kotar as the two largest co-owners.

Despite this, Rijeka Airport, in relation to all other Airports in which Croatia is the majority owner, receives the least amount of funds directly and indirectly, which, even with the present indicators, is considered insufficient, but it is slowly but surely changing thanks to the Ministry of the Sea, Traffic and Infrastructure, says the director.

About the future development of Rijeka Airport and the allocation of larger incentives, primarily through the PSO program, the Ministry said that over the past three years, their budget has invested more than HRK 14 million, and over the last seven years, over thirty million.

“Rijeka Airport marked last year with historical records, generating a total of 183,606 passengers, and this trend continues this year, as the results in the first nine months indicate an increase of 11.1 percent compared to last year. Such a significant increase in passenger traffic, among other things, is the result of numerous activities, efforts and financial resources that the Rijeka Airport Administration, in cooperation with the Ministry of the Sea, Transport and Infrastructure and other stakeholders, have invested in the introduction of new routes, as well as extending the operation period of existing ones.

Considering the potential of traffic development at the Rijeka Airport, it is necessary to take into account the plans of the Management Board as well as the potential of generating additional economic activities and traffic demand in the environment served by the Rijeka Airport. Comparisons with other airports in the Republic of Croatia are not good because each operates in the circumstances unique to its environment where the market does not have the same potential or does not realize it with the same dynamics. Thus, the process of analyzing the possibility of establishing lines between Rijeka Airport and destinations in the other EU Member States, also within the PSO system, is currently underway. It is also important to emphasize that investments in the infrastructure of the airport, but of local communities, primarily tourist entities, will depend, to a large extent, on the increase in the number of passengers at Rijeka Airport,” the Ministry said.

Director of the Croatian National Tourist Board Kristjan Stanicic points out that Rijeka Airport has the largest space for increasing the number of passengers in the tourism sector, since Kvarner is still lagging behind other tourist regions by the number of airlines and more markets. According to Stanicic, they could open new markets and extend the tourist season.

“Airports play an important role in the development of all tourist destinations as they enable faster and easier travel to the destination, which is an important criterion when choosing a destination for certain segments of tourists as well as tourists from more distant markets. In line with these trends, it is desirable that airports, such as destination hotels, cooperate more closely with each other to establish and maintain business relationships with tour operators, as this is one of the most effective ways to positively increase the number of flights. The added synergy of all stakeholders in joint appearance and promotion in established and emerging markets is key to strong marketing support in introducing new airlines,” says Stanicic.

The trend in tourism, he added, is that the number of guests traveling by plane is continuously growing, so he sees the opportunity for Rijeka Airport as well.

“There is certainly room for further growth and progress, especially in the tourist sense, as it is in a good geographical position near the most popular destinations in Kvarner, but also near key road routes. The Croatian National Tourist Board will also contribute to harnessing these potentials and stimulating further traffic growth, primarily through joint advertising with strategic partners. Kvarner has all the potential for quality positioning as an airline destination in foreign markets. In the Croatian National Tourist Board, together with the system of tourist boards, as part of strategic projects, we very intensively cooperate and support partners, that is, tour operators and air carriers that have programs for Croatia and Rijeka Airport as well. For these activities, we have secured around HRK 40 million this year for the implementation of strategic promotional campaigns in broadcast markets, or for strategic cooperation with airlines and tour operators, which have organized programs for Croatia in their offer,” says Stanicic.

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

Saturday, 14 September 2019

Crikvenica Port Authority Continues Works on Port

As we've already gotten used to, the end of the high tourist season usually means the start of construction works - and the Crikvenica Port Authority plans to improve Crikvenica's port in order to improve the connection between Crikvenica and the island of Krk just across the channel, writes. 

Crikvenica is one of the biggest tourist hubs in Kvarner, a region located in the northern part of the Croatian coast, very popular with people from Zagreb, because of its proximity to the Croatian capital.

The planned construction includes the building of the breakwater on the west side of the port, 130 metres long, as well as the 60-metre-long "small pier", and will be continued in the next week, as it had to be suspended during the tourist season.

It's the biggest investment into the infrastructure since the Crikvenica Port Authority has been established, and up until recently, it was the biggest investment into the maritime domain within Primorje-Gorski Kotar County. 

Mario Kružić, Head of the Crikvenica Port Authority explains that, with the tourist season now behind them, the works will pick up so that the deadlines can be met.

A lot of the work has already been completed, mostly the parts that needed to be done underwater, and some of the concrete has already been poured. Once the entire project is completed, it will take the tourist and nautical offer of Crikvenica to a new level.

Additionally, all of the security requirements for the introduction and non-stop operation of the boat line Crikvenica - Šilo on Krk island will be met. That boat line holds great importance to those living on Krk island, as it will improve transport throughout the year, and help integrate Croatian islands into a wider traffic network. That will improve the employment level, the level of education, and access to medical care for all of the inhabitants of Krk.

Sunday, 28 July 2019

VIDEOS: Istria on Red Alert, Roads Flooded in Dalmatia as Storm Hits Croatia

A summer storm followed by a torrential downpour and strong southern winds caused problems along the coast of Croatia on Sunday.

In Istria and Kvarner, the red Meteo alarm was switched on, while the rest of the coast is on the somewhat weaker, orange Meteo alarm, reports on July 28, 2019. 

"The weather is mostly cloudy and unstable with intermittent rain and thunderstorms. There can still be thunderstorms along the coast followed by intense winds, but also waterspouts, especially in Dalmatia. The wind is blowing weak to moderate to the southeast, on the most of the Adriatic to a moderate southwest, and in Dalmatia, there is a very strong southern wind. In the evening, the wind will weaken everywhere. The highest daily temperature is between 25 and 30°C,” read the DHMZ forecast for Sunday.

The summer storm particularly hit Šibenik-Knin County. The wind knocked down trees and thrust them onto the roads.

One sailboat was swept to the shore in Primošten, as was a small dinghy near Šibenik, and the wind carried it to the bridge, said the Center 112.

"The Harbor Commander has been informed about everything, and the main thing is that there are no victims, everyone is safe," said the watch operator.

In addition, Center 112 received numerous reports and requests to remove branches from the roads in Skradin, Pirovac, Kistanja, Srima and Šibenik.

In Kašić, a strong wind collapsed a tree through the wire of a pipeline and the villagers are having problems with electricity. 

A short water spout flooded Poljička cesta in Split. A hundred meters of the road near the intersection with Ulica Bruna Bušića was completely flooded. 

In the video, you can see how the road looked between the two Split hospitals. 

The Blatine neighborhood in Split also saw fallen trees.

Hvar couldn't escape the floods, either.

Heavy rain fell all morning in the area of Imotski, and some thirty liters of rain per square meter is said to have fallen in two hours, which caused flooding on the roads. 

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

Saturday, 29 June 2019

More Wild Animals Present on Roads in Wider Rijeka and Kvarner Area

Ever wondered just where in the mountains of Croatia you need to travel to manage to catch a glimpse of the wildlife? If it's deer you want to see, the roads in the Kvarner area might just be your best bet.

Your thoughts probably take you to some God forsaken, dangerous place in the Velebit mountain range or far off the beaten path in the rolling, green hills of Lika, but the roads around Rijeka and in the wider Kvarner area might just be your best bet. In fact, it seems that the entire Gorski-Kotar County area is teeming with wildlife, with deer causing the most issues of all.

As Morski writes on the 28th of June, 2019, as of the beginning of this week on the roads in the wider area of Crikvenica, Jelenje, Bakar, Matulji and Brod Moravica, all of which are in the Kvarner area, there were five cases of deer having run out onto the road and into oncoming traffic.

In these events, there were no injured persons, but unfortunately the deer, likely having run into the road in panic, were hit by cars. The total damage created by the deer so far is estimated at about 34,000 kuna. In addition, on June the 26th, in the wider area of Mali Lošinj, domestic animals, more precisely livestock, were recorded causing issues with traffic. In this instance, sheep were seen wandering around on the road, endangering not only their lives but the lives of drivers.

Police from the Kvarner area have since stated that these deer-related events were recorded between 23:30 and 23:30, therefore due to these unexpected occurrences of animals on the roads, both wild and domestic, the police advocated for drivers to exercise increased vigilance, particularly in the morning and evening hours and on less busy roads in areas less settled by humans.

It's worth remembering in accordance with the road traffic safety act, a driver of a vehicle which hits an animal on the road, can be held responsible for misdemeanor if it is determined that the animal has been hit due to a breach of traffic regulations or because the driver was speeding.

Follow our dedicated lifestyle page for more.

Thursday, 23 May 2019

A Return to Old Glory for the Port of Rijeka? Potentially...

As Suzana Varosanec/Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 23rd of May, 2019, investors have recognised the potential, which for the Port of Rijeka, means a step forward to the leading container-logistics centre in the Northern Adriatic.

With new investments, Rijeka is being returned to the former position that it once enjoyed at the tail end of the 1970's, when it was a large and significant port centre. Those have been the type of messages sent to the director of the Rijeka Port Authority, Denis Vukorepa, on the occasion of the completion of the Zagreb Deep Sea Container Terminal (Zagreb DSCT) project in the Port of Rijeka.

There has been a great level of interest from potential concessionaires, including as many as seven of the world's largest operators from Europe, the Middle East and the Far East. Officially, the Chinese, and also the CRBC which is currently building Pelješac Bridge, have made themselves known.

The Minister of Maritime Affairs, Transport and Infrastructure, Oleg Butković, will also visit the terminal at which the works are taking place today. To briefly recall, the most important capital project in the Rijeka Gateway Project II, worth 112.5 million euros, of which 84 million euro is from a World Bank loan, while 28.5 million euros is financed by the state. However, in addition to those amounts, the Rijeka Port Administration has continued to invest 40-50 million euros in its own investments.

When this part is completed, individual talks are expected in June and July when potential concessionaires will present their respective terminal management concepts.

It's certainly not excluded that the interest for the second phase of the construction of the terminal will gain traction, and for which permits have been prepared. The expected term for the signing of a contract currently stands at the end of September.

Traffic in the Rijeka basin in the container area has increased by about ten percent over more recent years, but a more dynamic growth in freight volumes and cargo flow is expected, which is the subject of interest for rail freight operators, and is expected to attract a larger volume of truck traffic.

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


Click here for the original article by Suzana Varosanec for Poslovni Dnevnik

Friday, 3 May 2019

Hilton to Bring Kvarner More Traffic and Quality Destination Growth

As Marija Crnjak/Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 2nd of May, 2019, with the launch of Hilton in the Costabella resort between Opatija and Rijeka, Kvarner has gained its first global hotel brand and Hilton is entering the market for summer resorts in the Republic of Croatia for the first time.

As we reported recently, last week, Hilton confirmed that they signed a contract with JTH Costabella on the management of Hilton Costabella Beach Resort & Spa, which should open before the 2020 summer season, and the investment poured into the project by a Czech investor is worth about eighty million euros. The investment was announced as a luxury product since its very inception, and when in search of an operator last year, the investor negotiated with the well known Hard Rock Hotels group. Eventually, the results of the negotiations ended with Hilton entering the resort. The company has more than ten resorts in Europe.

Siniša Topalović, a partner at the Horwath HTL consulting house, believes that opening of Hilton's new resort in Kvarner is a very positive move for a number of reasons.

"The internationalisation of the Kvarner tourist offer, the strengthening of traffic in the pre and post [tourist] season, the raising of the quality of the tourist destination's offer, as well as transferring the knowledge of the workforce and internal education are just some of the expected positive effects of this cooperation," Topalović stated.

He also recalled the fact that Hilton recently updated its concept, and this would be the first regional resort to adhere to the globally respected company's brand new philosophy and standards. Sanja Čižmar also emphasised that the entry of Hilton into Kvarner will contribute to deepening the global recognition of the Croatian tourist offer as a whole.

Josipa Jutt Ferlan, the director of the cluster of Hilton Hotels in Zagreb and the director of Zagreb City Hotels revealed to Poslovni Dnevnik what Hilton had brought to the Croatian capital.

"Hilton brought with it a higher quality perception of Zagreb as an international destination, because with the entry of Hilton, Zagreb gained the presence of yet another, globally strong hotel company. The diversity of hotel deals through the presence of various brands, strengthens the destination compared to its international competition,'' explained Jutt Ferlan.

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


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

Tuesday, 30 April 2019

Is Chinese Rescue of Croatia's Burdened Shipyards Inevitable?

If the China Shipbuilding Industry Corporation (CSIC) gives up, it will be difficult to find another candidate for the ailing Croatian shipyards Uljanik (Pula) and 3 Maj (Rijeka) which is in the shipbuilding industry and is also a strong and respected player. Could a Chinese investment be on the cards?

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Suzana Varosanec writes on the 29th of April, 2019, after yesterday's meeting with Prime Minister Andrey Plenkovic and his government ministers, Hu Wenming, Chairman of the Board of China's largest shipbuilding company China Shipbuilding Industry Corporation (CSIC) confirmed that they are indeed moving towards serious consideration regarding the enfeebled Uljanik and 3 Maj shipyards, which have undergone months of turmoil.

''The prime minister gave us a very serious and detailed presentation of the whole situation,'' Wenming said, adding that they saw that these two shipyards were a very important topic for the Croatian public. "Not only did we bring people from our company - they're in charge of planning, we've already called on lawyers and investment banks, so we will outline what their views on the matter are after visiting the shipyards," Wenming stated.

With that, a key ''tour'' begins, because if CSIC ends up actually not being interested in putting its money into the situation, it will be a hugely difficult task to find another candidate in shipbuilding, which is a big player and has an interest in joining the European shipbuilding industry. Otherwise, this would be the first case of a Chinese takeover of a foreign shipbuilding company, so it is speculated that extensive calculations are being made, and of course whether they even want to have their first European shipyard is being considered. The CSIC is looking at the situation deeply and from all possible angles.

This event all began with the recent announcement of the arrival of the CSIC in Croatia with the aim of visiting the troubled shipyards in Pula and Rijeka. As was then announced, the CSIC chairman contacted Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang during his stay in the Republic of Croatia where he attended the summit "16 + 1" and after talking with the Croatian PM about the dire state of Croatian shipbuilding.

As things currently stand, the general belief is that the Chinese decision won't take long to come - it will be a simple and express "no" or "yes", while the third option, more specifically an unconditional "yes", will likely need to be waited for a little longer.

What the outcome of the potential Chinese presence in the Croatian shipbuilding industry is anyone's guess, and while some remain very suspicious of Chinese motives in Croatia in general, despite them already working on the long-awaited Pelješac bridge down in southern Dalmatia, whatever comes of their potential entry has got to be better than the current situation, especially for Uljanik.

Make sure to follow our dedicated business page for more information on Chinese-Croatian business relations, Chinese investments and projects in Croatia, doing business and investing in Croatia and much more.


Click here for the original article by Suzana Varosanec for Poslovni Dnevnik

Thursday, 25 April 2019

Kvarner Records 100 Percent Increase in Tourists Over Easter Holidays

As Morski writes on the 25th of April, 2019, over the Easter holidays, 28,500 guests stayed in Kvarner, accounting for 99,000 overnight stays, which is a massive 100 percent increase when compared to the same period back in 2018, according to the Kvarner Tourist Board.

According to the official data from the eVisitor system, 28,500 guests spent 99,000 nights in Kvarner over four Easter holiday days (from Friday to Easter Monday).

The numbers from not only last year, but also from 2016 and 2017 prove the fact that during the Easter season this year, Kvarner was visited by a record number of guests. Thus, this year, 37 percent more overnight stays were realised when compared to 2017, when the Easter holidays fell during the same period of April, and even more incredible 147 percent more than 2016 were recorded, when the Easter holidays fell earlier, at the end of March.

In more than 100 of Kvarner's hotels and in as many as 25 camps, as well as a large number of holiday homes and private apartments, guests from Germany, other parts of Croatia, Austria, Italy and neighbouring Slovenia made up large numbers. German guests realised 25 percent of the total number of overnight stays, while domestic guests and guests from Austria realised 14 percent of the total number of overnight stays, with guests from Italy making up 11 percent.

Most of the overnight stays were realised on the island of Krk (32,300), followed by the Opatija riviera (23,400), the island of Lošinj (15,500), the Crikvenica-Vinodolski riviera (10,000), Rijeka and its surroundings (6,300), on the island of Rab (5,500), the island of Cres (5,300) and Gorski Kotar (850).

Nearly half of the overnight stays (49,000) were realised in hotels across Kvarner, most of which open on the Opatija riviera. 23,000 overnight stays were spent in private accommodation and in camps, most of them on Kvarner's numerous islands, account for 22,000 overnights.

In the spirit of the Easter holidays, Kvarner's hosts across the region prepared a large number of events for guests, from traditional cultural and entertainment events to gastronomic, religious and nature-related activities.

''In the last eight years, if we only look at the [main tourist] season, we're talking about a jump of as much as 90 percent, while in terms of the total number of overnight stays for the same period we've seen an increase of 50 percent. This marked increase in the number of guests, both foreign and domestic, shows us that we have a well-established development strategy based on our activities and programs, with the emphasis on filling out the period outside of the main summer tourist season.

The performances at this year's fairs and presentations on our strongest markets - Germany, Austria, Italy and Slovenia - gave us a good insight into the beginning of this tourist year and what those employed in tourism in Kvarner can expect,'' stated Irene Peršić Živadinov.

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

Wednesday, 24 April 2019

Digital Croatia: Best Large ''Digital'' Cities Zagreb and Rijeka

Just how close are we to a real digital Croatia? The answer is unclear and as varied as ever, but some Croatian cities have shown promise with some rather impressive and encouraging results.

As Novac/ writes on the 23rd of April, 2019, although more and more cities are gradually digitising their business and investing in smart city solutions, and some of the most advanced have almost completely switched to doing solely digital business, generally speaking, Croatian cities are only in the very early stages of the much needed digital transition, just as Croatia is, as a country, at the very bottom in Europe in terms of the digital readiness of general society and the economy.

As the methodology for ranking cities in terms of digital readiness is only at its very beginning even at the European level, stories and analysis of the "smart city" concept development here in Croatia are still very much based on individual experiences, examples and projects.

That is why, in order to gain a real elementary insight into the digitalisation of Croatia's services and the communication of the country's many city administrations with citizens, experts from Apsolon, a consulting company specialising in digital business development, has undertaken the very first major study of the ''digital readiness'' of twenty of the largest cities across Croatia. This study, according to project manager and smart management director at Apsolon, Ivana Novoselec, is the basis for the further development of research tools and methodology that will track the development and progress of Croatia's cities on an annual basis.

In its study, Apsolon divided the cities into three categories - large (Zagreb, Split, Rijeka, Osijek), middle (Zadar, Velika Gorica, Slavonski Brod, Pula and Karlovac) and smaller cities (Sisak, Varaždin, Šibenik, Dubrovnik, Bjelovar, Kaštela, Samobor, Vinkovci, Koprivnica, Đakovo, Vukovar.)

The digital readiness index at Apsolon was set based on several criteria - the availability of e-services (the number of administrative services and their digitalisation rate in Croatia), the availability of site service information and the development of unified services for making payments in the city, then came the availability of city data, the level of citizen participation in decision making and communication channels between the city administration and citizens, ie, the availability of data and time in which citizens receive answers to their various questions. At this stage, Apsolon hasn't entered into the internal processes in Croatia's city administrations, but rather focused on what services are offered to the city's citizens and how long such things typically take.

After this type of indexing and ranking, the title of the ''digitisation champion'' among the Croatian cities was awarded to the City of Rijeka, thus confirming its status as the best city in the Smart City category which it won last year. Apsolon pointed out that the City of Rijeka has achieved the greatest advances in the systematic raising of the quality of its services, but also the opening of data and communication channels to citizens.

"Rijeka as the most advanced city in Croatia in terms of digitisation and is characterised in particular by the emphasis on openness and communication with its citizens. Its administration is oriented towards clear communication (a very clear centralised e-services approach with well-organised access to all automated services and available forms), openness and participatory management," said project manager Ivana Novoselac.

In many categories, especially those relating to the functional aspects of digitisation (advanced digital services, e-citizen connectivity, etc.), Rijeka is followed closely by the City of Zagreb.

The city of Pula is the most advanced middle-size city in Croatia, which also presents its services and available information to its citizens in a systematic and very detailed way, raising standards in terms of transparency and interaction with citizens, and is certainly a champion among cities with between 50.000 and 100.000 inhabitants.

In relation to the criteria relating to specific functional and technological solutions, Karlovac, Velika Gorica and Zadar follow. For the City of Karlovac the large number of available administrative procedures on its website and responses to citizens' inquiries are generally quick made it stand out from the crowd.

Among the small cities in Croatia, there is no distinctly dominant digital champion, but according to research findings in different aspects of digitisation, Dubrovnik, Samobor, Sisak, Koprivnica and Varaždin appear to be the most successful ones, according to this research. Among the prominent representatives of this category, Dubrovnik is strategically trying to profile as Smart City and has a high quality City Card, e-Visitor platform, is very active on social networks and it continuing to develop innovative application solutions. When it comes to the number of digitally available services, Koprivnica ranks above all.

Samobor, which is particularly active on social networks and is the category winner for social networking, has a very comprehensive and interactive website which separates the site accordingly and has adjusted all of the information for citizens and for visitors, as well as separating foreign visitors from domestic ones.

It should also be noted that Bjelovar is extremely proactive in the field of the digitalisation of its administration, it is working on applicative transparency solutions as well as on internal digitalisation processes. What is particularly commendable is Bjelovar's focus on the digitalisation of its internal processes.

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


Click here for the original article by Novac/Jutarnji/

Page 5 of 13