Wednesday, 12 February 2020

Major Tourism Analysis for Lika in 2019: A Boom without Much Promotion

February 12, 2020 - The development of continental tourism is a mantra that keeps getting repeated, but not many people realise how thoughtfully and thoroughly tourism is being developed in one region of Croatia - Lika.

The Lika Club website published their yearly tourism analysis for the region, which includes tourist workers from Karlovac County (Aquatika aquarium from Karlovac, Baraćeve Špilje and Ivana's House of Secrets from Ogulin) and Lika-Senj County (two national parks: Plitvice Lakes and Northern Velebit, the Museum of Gacka in Otočac, the Museum of Lika in Gospić, the Nikola Tesla Museum in Smiljan, Grabovača cave park in Perušić and the largest surprise of this survey, the Church of Croatian Martyrs in Udbina (Crkva hrvatskih mučenika u Udbini).


lika turizam 2019.jpg

(Screenshot from; columns mean the institution, the number of visitors in 2018, number of visitors in 2019, and the relative change in the number of visitors)

The biggest tourist spot in Lika is, of course, Plitvice Lakes National Park, which has had a one and a half percent reduction in the number of visitors in 2019, compared to 2018. Ognjen Borčić, Plitvice's PR representative says that it's their intention to turn towards quality instead of the number of tourists. That way, the natural beauty will be preserved, the tourists would enjoy their stay more and that would lead to them staying longer. They are very satisfied with the introduction of the online system for ticket purchases which was introduced in May of last year, which helped reduce the crowds. Margarita Markušić Kulaš, the director of Karlovac's Aquatika aquarium says that they are extremely satisfied with the growth in the number of visitors, and in 2020, their focus is on numerous events which are to be held in the aquarium.

The Museum of Lika in Gospić and the Nikola Tesla Museum in Smiljan are a couple of kilometres away from one another and have the same management. Their manager, Tatjana Kolak, explained that, while the Museum of Lika had a large reduction of the number of visitors in 2019, their overall numbers have improved. For the first time ever, they have crossed the number of 50 thousand visitors, and they're very proud of that record.

The neighbouring museum with similar characteristics, the Museum of Gacka in Otočac, saw growth in their numbers of around 10 percent. They're getting ready for the new year, they printed a promotional brochure with neighbouring sites to visit and they have an audio guide which they plan to translate into English, to make it more accessible to foreign visitors. Baraćeve špilje (caves) has maintained the same number of visitors, but soon they'll start building their visitor's centre dedicated to the underground heritage SPELEON, financed by the EU. The only cave park in Croatia, Grabovača in Perušić saw the biggest relative growth of over 30 percent. Jelena Milković, the manager, talks about their plans to expand their promotional activities, and open a garden with edible herbs. They also plan to invest more in educational activities and determine exactly how many visitors can come into the Samograd cave without devastation to life within the cave.

Northern Velebit National Park is very satisfied with their growth of around 10 percent, and especially proud of how many people want to visit their House of the Velebit. They are investing a lot in promotion, and they have plans to expand that promotion to foreign markets.

The biggest tourist growth happened in the Udbina Municipality, in a large white stone building, the Church of Croatian Martyrs. Josip Šimatović, a priest from the church says that they're not supported by the Tourist Board or the municipality, but they're attracting more and more visitors, pilgrims, associations, hikers, school groups, etc.
The church is very active on social networks and most people go there as they've heard it be recommended. Although they weren't able to produce the exact numbers, Josip says that they saw around 40 thousand visitors in 2019. One of the problems he highlights is the lack of capacity for visitors to stay overnight in or around Udbina, and it's even difficult to find a restaurant for a couple of hundred people to have lunch! There's a lot of history to be discovered in Udbina, and many people visit because of the history and nature. Maybe just translating their website to English might help with their promotional activities.
Wednesday, 28 August 2019

Lika Entrepreneur Partners Up With Croatian Ministry of the Interior

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 27th of August, 2019, when asked what the secret of his success is, the well known Lika hospitality entrepreneur replied: "I have no objections, these are good people and they're good guests."

The most well known and successful tourism and hospitality entrepreneur from the Lika region - Željko Orešković Macola, has turned his talented hand to a new business.

To be more specific, last year, a campsite with a swimming pool and fourteen bungalows was opened, as were about twenty campsites intended for guests from all over the world.

Macola soon turned to no less than MUP (Ministry of the Interior), in whose tender he received accommodation for their border guards. Another two houses in Korenica house sixty of MUP's border guards, and next week, Macola is all set to launch a new tourist settlement located in Vranovača, near Korenica, which will also be filled up with police officers.

Macola doesn't want to talk about the numbers, as he doesn't want to bring any discomfort to his partners, who in this case are MUP.

"Oh, forget about the numbers, they pay per police officer, I don't know how much they pay exactly, but they do pay fairly," Macola told Jutarnji list briefly.

However, if his capacities are summed up, the number of MUP officers he receives can easily be reached, and soon that figure could increase to as many as 200 of them.

Police vans bring them all year long, which is why Macola, after all, went to the MUP to enter the public tender in the first place.

They got a good home in Grabovac, because they've been there almost the whole year. They spend their daily breaks in the pool and the restaurant next to it.

It was at this camp that Minister of the Interior Davor Božinović, together with the chief of police Nikola Milin, recently boasted of an operational location for coordinating the work of police forces, presenting equipment and techniques used in the daily surveillance of the state border, ie, dealing with and the detainment of illegal migrants.

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

Tuesday, 9 July 2019

Grabovača Cave from Lika Offers Visitors Unusual Souvenir

At first it seemed like an April Fools' joke, but then it turned out there's nothing funny about it: Grabovača cave, located near Perušić in Lika region of Croatia, has started selling little bottles filled with the air collected at the bottom of the cave, and they sold the entire first series of the souvenir!

Tanja Šimundić Bendić wrote about that for Slobodna Dalmacija, how she has received the news about the new souvenir from the Grabovača Cave Park and decided that she needed to investigate if it was a joke or not. But to do that, she decided to take a bottle of ripe Split air, and made her way to Lika, to see the cave and the tourist story that is being created in one of the poorest counties in Croatia.

The bottles are filled with air from the bottom of the Samograd cave in the Grabovača cave system, and it's perfectly clean air: no allergens, no smog, just pure cave air. Tomislav Špehar, one of the park attendants explains that they don't want to bottle too much air, as it needs to stay deep in the cave. So the journalists and the people in the park exchanged gifts, the bottle of air from Split (with added pine needles from Marjan!) and the bottle of perfectly clean Lika air. After some consideration of the dangers of potential infestation with bark beetle (which has wreaked havoc on Marjan in recent years), they've decided that there is no real danger in letting some of the Split craziness into their cave. And out of the blue, came an idea: let's have a museum of air in Grabovača! So, if you decide to visit Grabovača, bring a little bottle of air from back home, to be exhibited at the Park!

The original idea for the bottled air as a souvenir of Grabovača came last year when they had over 6,5 thousand visitors. So last autumn they put the bottles inside the cave, where they sat all winter, getting filled with cave air, and in March they were closed and the original souvenir was offered to the tourists. And that souvenir took off, much better than expected. People are asking for the cave air (just like the journalist did), and it's a remarkable marketing tool. Once the visitors come, in addition to some bottled air, they also get to see the caves, the nature around them, they get to learn from the crew working at Grabovača Cave Park about the nature, caves, behaviour in caves, nature conservation etc.

And if there's one thing you can be sure of, it's that the nature in Lika is spectacular. Lush green all around, with wonderful footpaths with lots of information ready for tourists, eco playgrounds, vistas, picnic zones... There are nine caves in the park, which has around 600 hectares of surface area, and ambitious plans to expand to over 6000 hectares and to almost 40 speleological objects. The temperature in the Samograd cave does not change much, it is constantly between 7 and 10 Celsius.

Wednesday, 6 March 2019

New Level of Luxury in Croatia: T-Nest Resort in Lika

Yet another step in the direction of branding Croatia as a go-to location for luxury tourism, T-Nest Resort in Lika will soon be built and open its door to their guests. And the guests will be those people who are looking for fancy, luxurious accommodation in the forest, in intact nature, away from the seaside and the crowds there during the high tourist season.

The glamping resort will be built by a company owned by Goran Štrok, a famous Croatian hotelier and entrepreneur, who helped build and run numerous hotels in Dubrovnik. He sold his Dubrovnik company in 2011 and left Croatia to live in London, where he was working as a consultant in the energy business. Apparently, he misses Croatian tourism, so he's back with this project: a plot of land where the T-Nest Resort is being built is over 14 hectares large, it includes a lake, and the resort is planned to include a conference hall, 39 wooden and 31 canvas houses (some of them will be actual tree-houses, built in the tree's canopies), two restaurants etc.

The resort is located near Lovinac, a small village in Lika, and there isn't much around the resort's location - that's why it's said that the silence there can be deafening. The philosophy of the resort will be to keep everything as clean, sustainable and quiet as possible, so the guests will have the option to ride around on electric bikes, the cars will be Tesla electric cars (the Tesla connection is strong: T-Nest is actually short for Tesla's Nest, as Tesla was also born in Lika, not far from where the resort will be located).

Once the resort is completed, it's expected to be among the top "organic luxury" resorts of the world, offering a completely different kind of relaxation to what most other tourist locations are giving their guests.

Each of the houses will have a jacuzzi, sauna, luxury electronics, so that the guests can be fully immersed in nature, without giving up luxury. The planned investment is somewhere around 15 million Euro, and the planned price tag for the rental of the houses will be around 400-500 Euro per night. The construction began last May and is almost done, so the opening of the T-Nest Resort and the first guests are expected later this year, in the fall.

The resort will be open 10 months a year, not only for the high tourist season, and it will employ 70 people full-time and will be run by a foreigner, South-African Steven Pieters, a Croatian son-in-law who left Kempinski Hotel in Dubai to take the position of T-Nest Resort manager.
Monday, 21 January 2019

Lika-Senj County Launches Impressive New Tourism Promo Video for 2019

If you haven't visited Lika-Senj County yet, you'll be booking your next trip after watching this impressive new tourism video.

Thursday, 13 September 2018

Lika's Brand New Tourist Investment: Big Bear Plitvice Resort

The tourism industry likes to bang the drum a lot when it comes to Croatia's continental tourism, and concrete moves are being made in Lika.

Tuesday, 31 July 2018

Will Lika Find A Place On The Tourism Map? Maybe!

Is it time for the stunning but overlooked region of Lika to get a slice of Croatia's tourism cake?

Monday, 9 April 2018

Investment in Tourism: Luxury on Way to Plitvice With Help from EU

A new, very expensive addition for the stunning Plitvice Lakes is in the works.

Tuesday, 14 March 2017

Largest and Fastest Zipline in Europe Opens in Lika!

How to boost tourism in continental Croatia? This Croatian association has found the answer.

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