Monday, 20 December 2021

Could Sustainable Croatian Tourism Branding Result in More Luxury?

December the 20th, 2021 - Could sustainable Croatian tourism branding be the key to encouraging more luxury tourism? As all things renewable become more and more mainstream, it seems that new opportunities lie in way for the country so well known for damaging mass tourism and counting overnight stays.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Marija Crnjak writes, renewable energy sources, energy and water savings, green procurement, local food, food waste reduction, sorting and recycling, hazardous chemicals-free business operations… There are many criteria that are entering the fast-growing trend of sustainable tourism, and they're more or less applied worldwide.

Along with national governments and public institutions, sustainability has become the goal of every serious company that plans to increase its competitiveness in the coming period. In parallel with the introduction of sustainable solutions, more and more attention is being paid to branding sustainable products and services, which will bring them better recognition and market positioning, and many Croatian players have woken up and are very much involved in this race in addition to global enterprises.

Sustainable Croatian tourism branding could finally result in year-round work and less seasonal influences on the domestic economy.

''Eco green hotels'' is the name of a new brand launched back in November by the National Association of Family and Small Hotels, with the aim of responding to the growing needs of modern travellers for environmentally friendly accommodation. This is a hotel segment that already meets sustainability goals in part because most facilities decide to work all year round.

Depending on the level of implementation of green and sustainable solutions, hotels will receive a silver, gold or platinum label, and the first step in this ambitious task is to educate more than 200 members of the association that has already started.

''After the training session, there will be a cycle of investments that will last at least two years, so Croatia could have the first eco-green family and small hotels as early as 2023. Green business has become a necessity not only because of our conscious guests' demands for environmentally friendly accommodation, but for savings for hoteliers themselves. What is also extremely important is that in this way, we'll be able to give our contribution to the decarbonisation of the planet,'' pointed out Sime Klaric, President of the National Association of Family and Small Hotels.

Among large Croatian hotel companies, Valamar Riviera was the first to make a more serious investment in its first eco resort in beautiful Stari Grad on the Central Dalmatian island of Hvar, with the creation of a totally new brand - Nature resort. Nature resort is the new Valamar concept of a fully sustainable eco-resort positioned primarily for family holidays. The construction of the resort will be achieved by respecting the highest standards of green building, which includes using only environmentally friendly materials with minimal impact on the environment, the use of renewable energy sources and a high level of energy efficiency.

The Valamar Nature resort on the island of Hvar is the first tourist project that will use prefabricated buildings and modular construction designed according to Valamar accommodation quality standards. The concept is inspired by nature and sustainable design, meaning that the architecture of the resort will fit well into the natural environment of the island in terms of the the design of the buildings, while the interior design is being dealt with by signed by local designers and artists using local traditions, looks and materials.

Construction will be carried out in in two phases

Felled trees will be used in landscaping, and each felled tree will be replaced with newly planted ones. Great emphasis will be placed on the offer of local food and groceries produced right there on the island, while digitalisation will eliminate the use of paper throughout the hotel. The project is planned to be built in two phases throughout 2022 and 2023, and in order to realise all of these green initiatives to their absolute full potential and realise all aspects of sustainable resort development, there is a plan in place to apply for green EU funds for the project.

Helios Faros' business development plan assumes investments in the total amount of around 800 million kuna in sustainable high value-added tourism that will have a positive impact on the economic growth of the island. By the year 2025, the reconstruction and construction of three hotels and resorts of categories 4 * and 5 * with a total capacity of 700 accommodation units is planned.

Quartz Inn Hotels, a new European hotel brand for independent sustainable hotels that recently presented itself at the WTM fair in London, is also seriously counting on Croatian facilities in its future portfolio, and their plan is to expand to at least 100 hotels across Europe. Quartz Inn Hotels Ltd was founded by Spaniard Ignacio Merino and Dutchman Alexander Zawadzki, who both have extensive experience in the hotel industry as well as in online travel agencies and travel startups under their belts. Sustainable Croatian tourism branding could be very possible with such an initiative taking hold in the country.

“We're the first sustainable hotel brand for stand-alone hotels in Europe, and our goal is to connect sustainable accommodation from across all European countries, while preserving the authenticity of each facility. We focus on sustainability, we help hotels become more ''green'' and in that way we're working to create a more sustainable tourism industry. By joining our brand, hotels gain more visibility internationally, which leads to higher revenue and more direct bookings,'' said Ignacio Merino when explaining the basic principles of the business idea created in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, which came about partly as a result of the crisis itself.

"Independent hotels have been the hardest hit by the pandemic and they simply don't have the same means as larger chains have at their disposal to try to overcome the situation. We talked to many of them and decided to form a community that will support them. Through our partners, we provide them with the latest technology to manage things for them, covering all commercial areas, such as OTA distribution, connectivity, marketing, online reputation, online signups, resales, booking and revenue management, to optimise their hotel prices and maximise their benefits,'' he explained. In addition, they offer their members a free hotel academy for hoteliers and staff. In addition to hotels, guesthouses and holiday villas are also welcome.

They currently have dozens of contracts signed across Europe, and plan to conclude next year with at least 100 facilities within the chain. Their main goals are to reduce energy and water consumption and eliminate disposable plastic in rooms, while encouraging sustainable eating habits and contributing to the preservation of the local culture and economy.

Sustainable Croatian tourism branding could lead to a far better situation each and every year when it comes to arrivals from across the globe. Currently trapped by the ''sunshine and sea'' label which expires after about three months annually despite multiple attempts to extend the tourist season and expand what the country can offer. The coronavirus pandemic might just be the reset button for sustainable Croatian tourism branding and lead to a far better way of doing things than simply sitting back, counting the overnight stays on the eVisitor platform and rubbing our hands.

For more, check out our travel section.

Wednesday, 24 November 2021

Kvarner Luxury Tourism Opportunities There if Country Grabs Chance

November the 24th, 2021 - There is a fantastic opportunity for Kvarner luxury tourism if Croatia decides to grab its chance. 

Rijeka and its surroundings might have a firmly industrial past, the city even invented the Torpedo, but there is much more to this more Northern Adriatic part of the country than meets the eye, especially for those who perhaps don't look much further north than Split, or maybe Zadar at a push. 

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Marija Crnjak writes, the Republic of Croatia has a great opportunity to develop luxury tourism, especially in destinations that offer luxury hotels and villas, marinas and restaurants of high quality, said Minister of Tourism Nikolina Brnjac at a conference entitled "The potential for luxury tourism in Kvarner", which was held on Monday in Opatija.

Minister Nikolina Brnjac pointed out that there are ten Michelin-starred restaurants dotted across Croatia, adding that gastronomy is an important segment of tourism of the highest level, as Croatian cuisine is popular and extremely varied from region to region, despite the country covering quite a small surface area in the grand scheme of things.

"This season we've been one of the most successful tourist countries in the entire Mediterranean, and luxury tourism has certainly contributed to that, with an important role for the safety of guests," said Brnjac.

The president of the hotel group Stories, Nenad Nizic, said that this year the opportunity was used for guests who normally go on long trips to come to Croatia, and because of the unpredictable nature of the pandemic, things have been made much more difficult. That said, Croatia has proven to be a very good destination for guests looking for luxury and a special approach.

In the first place, they require the level of service, which must be fast and high quality. The director of the Croatian Tourist Board (HTZ), Kristjan Stanicic, assessed that simultaneous luxury and mass tourism in the same destination is possible, but with the smart management of the destination, citing the example of Dubrovnik.

For more, check out our travel section.

Thursday, 7 October 2021

American Lux Tourism Agencies Checking Out Beautiful Istria

October the 7th, 2021 - While Dalmatia and more recently the City of Zagreb have been attractive to American tourists, the gorgeous Istrian peninsula has been somewhat less visited by our friends from across the pond. That could all be about to change with the visit of several American lux tourism agencies to this stunning part of Croatia.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, five travel agents specialising in luxury tourism (American lux tourism agencies) arrived in beautiful Istria recently as part of a nine-day FAM trip (Familiarisation Trip) organised by RealCroatia. During their working visit, they will visit local accommodation and service providers, and check out what kind of experience they can offer to their clients.

These American lux tourism representatives have come to visit this part of the country because Istria, unlike Dalmatia and Zagreb, is not yet "on the radar" of the vast majority of guests visiting Croatia from America. In addition to Zagreb and Plitvice, they will be presented with offers in Opatija, Lovran, Motovun, Groznjan, Buzet, Rovinj, Pula, Savudrija, Brijuni and then further inland in Gorski kotar. Pascal Lee, a luxury tourism consultant at West Rock Travel Working, says she wants to see Croatia from a local perspective:

“Several of my clients, experienced world travellers, have recently returned from excellent trips to Croatia. I decided that I had to find out for myself what the secret of this beautiful country was.''

"We're encouraged by the excellent feedback and results of the April tour," stated RealCroatia director Petra Gracin, noting that North America is a market with better paying power than typical Western European guests visiting Istria and Dalmatia.

"The average consumption per passenger is often over 5,000 US dollars," said Gracin, and back in April this year, RealCroatia organised the first trip of travel agents from America to Europe since the global coronavirus pandemic began, when nine agents visited Zagreb, Plitvice Lakes National Park, Zadar, Trogir, Split, Hvar, Peljesac and Dubrovnik.

According to the data available from the Institute of Tourism, American tourists are the largest tourist consumers per capita in the Republic of Croatia, which likely isn't a surprise. In addition, as many as 83 percent of them claim that they will recommend visiting Croatia to their friends, which is something else putting them firmly in the lead. In comparison, this is 13 percentage points more than in the case of Germany and German tourists and as much as 23 percentage points more than in the case of neighbouring Italian guests.

It is expected that in 2022, about 400,000 North American guests will visit Croatia and that they will realise over 1.2 million overnight stays in total.

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated travel section.

Tuesday, 27 April 2021

First European Trip for US Travel Agents Takes Place in Croatia!

April 27, 2021 - After more than a year of uncertainty and restrictions for American tourists, the first European Trip for US Travel Agents is taking place in Croatia.

As the Croatian National Tourist Board reports, the first organized trip of travel agents from America to Europe since the outbreak of the global coronavirus pandemic is taking place in Croatia. Eight American travel agents are participating in the travel program, whose agencies are closely specialized in travel in the luxury tourism segment, and which will visit Croatian destinations such as Zagreb, Plitvice Lakes, Zadar, Trogir, Split, Hvar, Peljesac, and Dubrovnik until April 30. The trip was organized by the RealCroatia agency and the Representation of the Croatian Tourist Board in the USA.

"The fact that the first European trip of American travel agents was organized in Croatia shows how Americans eagerly await new trips to our country and confirms the position of our country as a sought-after, safe, and well-prepared destination. This was helped by the fact that last year we were one of the few destinations that were open to American guests, and we expect even better trends this year in which we are connected to the American market by a direct airline on the route New York - Dubrovnik. I am sure that this study trip will further contribute to the recognition of our country in the US market, our most important distant market", said CNTB Director Kristjan Stanicic, adding that luxury tourism is one of the most sought after products during the pandemic.

Studijsko_putovanje_američkih_agenata_2-first-european-trip.webp

Credit: Croatian National Tourist Board

As part of their first European trip during the pandemic, travel agents from the US will focus, in addition to luxury tourism, on tourism products such as national parks and nature parks, cultural and historical heritage and gastronomy, and products that are in high demand in the US market and which they will be able to find in the Croatian cities and parks they will visit this week. The agents will also be introduced to all health and safety protocols implemented in Croatia, with special emphasis on the Safe Stay in Croatia campaign.

"This visit will work synergistically with the CNTB's efforts to extend the tourist season to 365 days a year, and it is the American market that can help us achieve this goal because it is about rich and demanding tourists who are not as seasonal as in Europe," said the director of the CNTB Representation in the USA Ina Rodin, emphasizing that the agents are also members of the prestigious Virtuoso, a network of the best American luxury travel agencies with more than 20,000 advisors worldwide and more than 1,800 partners, including top hotels, resorts, tour operators, airlines and agencies.

"The United States is a key tourism market with enormous economic strength. I believe that together we will use this crisis as a catalyst to break into a higher tourist segment", said the director of the RealCroatia agency Petra Gracin.

Let us add that the agents, accompanied by Ina Rodin, are staying in Split today, and then they are heading to Hvar and Pelješac to end their visit to Croatia on April 30 in Dubrovnik.

Follow the latest on flights to Croatia HERE and the latest travel updates and COVID-19 news from Croatia HERE.

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

Monday, 25 January 2021

ILTM World Tour: Interest for Croatian Luxury Tourism Increases

January the 25th, 2021 - Croatian luxury tourism hasn't been discussed much recently owing to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Tourism in general has taken a back seat, damaging economies across the world, but the ILTM World Tour, which places a focus precisely on luxury tourism, has seen growing interest for Croatia.

As Morski writes, Stories - a group of unique luxury hotels, participated in the most important luxury tourism fair in the world called the ILTM World Tour back in November and December last year and presented eighteen hotels from their collection.

The fair is traditionally held in Cannes, France every year, and this year, for the first time due to the coronavirus epidemic, it was held virtually, and the online platform was available to participants until the end of 2020.

The Stories Group held a total of 137 meetings with agents from around the world, and Americans, Australians and some of those much closer to home in the rest of Europe, such as Britons, are among the most interested in Croatia and Croatian luxury tourism.

''Meetings with agents were extremely successful, and the level of interest in Croatia is significant. When compared to 2019, five percent more agents this year expressed their interest in Croatia, or 62 percent of all agents who participated in the fair. Although the increased interest gives us hope for a more successful 2021, the basic precondition for the realisation and launch of tourism is a good epidemiological picture and accessibility, ie transport and air connections,'' said the president of the Group of Unique Luxury Hotels of the Croatian Chamber of Commerce, Nenad Nizic.

The ILTM World Tour 2020 brought together exhibitors with agents specialising in luxury tourism from different markets; Asia and the Pacific, European countries and North, Central and South America, and virtually brought together more than 2,600 experts in the luxury tourism segment, including 1,200 exhibitors, 1,300 agents and more than 100 representatives of VIP media, and a total of more than 38 thousand one -on-one meetings.

The ILTM fair is strategically important for the Stories Group because it is a fair where representatives of some of most luxurious hotels in the world and the best agents come together and meet, and Stories Hotels are being presented for the fourth year in a row with the support of the Croatian Chamber of Commerce to place Croatia and Croatian luxury tourism firmly on the wider luxury tourism map.

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