Wednesday, 15 January 2020

2019 Best Year Yet for Croatian Tourism

ZAGREB, January 15, 2020 - 2019 was the best year yet for the Croatian tourism industry, with nearly 21 million arrivals and 108.6 million overnight stays, up by 5% and 2.4% respectively, while 2020 is expected to see a continuation of positive trends, with tourist turnover increasing by 3-5%, Tourism Minister Gari Cappelli told a press conference on Tuesday.

Cappelli said he expected total revenues to have increased by up to 8%, but added that exact figures would be released by the central bank at the end of March.

"Based on the data for the first nine months of 2019, when revenues were 9% higher, we can say that revenues for the whole of 2019 will be about 5%, and possibly up to 8%, higher than in 2018. This is supported by excellent spending during the Christmas period and the total increase in daily tourist spending in the last year and a half by about 20%, from 79 to 97 euro," the minister said.

"Already now we know that last year spending by visitors staying at hotels increased by 18% to about 140 euro a day, spending by those staying at campsites rose by about 8% to 70-odd euro a day, and spending by tourists staying in private accommodation increased to about 96 euro a day," he added.

Cappelli also noted the increased quality of service, saying that 1.05 billion kuna had been invested in the tourism industry last year, and based on a survey conducted by the ministry, investments are expected to increase this year by about 20% to 1.07 billion kuna. A further 3-5 billion kuna was expected to be invested this year as a result of a new bill on tourism land, which should be passed in the first half of the year.

Cappelli said that a national plan for sustainable tourism was expected to be presented later this year. "This is an important goal for us during the Croatian presidency of the Council of the EU. We will call on the EU member states to follow in the same direction because only quality, responsible and sustainable tourism, which incorporates digitisation and smart solutions, has a future."

Announcing major promotional activities for 2020, Croatian Tourism Board (HTZ) Director Kristjan Staničić said that the aim was to strengthen the brand, tourist spending and Croatia's position in remote markets, while maintaining its good position in the European markets.

"Because of the Croatian EU presidency, the HTZ has already begun a branding campaign in several European markets, which will be conducted basically all year round," Staničić said, adding that a special focus would be on promoting nautical and business tourism and on further cooperation with large global companies such as Google, LonelyPlanet and Expedie. He said that Croatia would participate in over 40 international travel shows and about 100 presentations.

More news about Croatian tourism can be found in the Travel section.

Sunday, 12 January 2020

Croatia Calls for Sustainable, Responsible Tourism

ZAGREB, January 12, 2020 - Croatia considers sustainable and responsible tourism important and during the Croatian presidency of the Council of the European Union, the Tourism Ministry plans to draw up a document in which the member-states and the European Commission will be called upon to cooperate in promoting the development of such tourism, the ministry has told Hina.

Promoting sustainable tourism and the sustainability of coastal and island communities is one of the elements included in the programme of the Croatian six-month rotating EU presidency, and Croatia will put an emphasis on promoting the diversity of the tourist trade, synergy of local communities and tourists, and reduction of seasonality of tourist demand as well as on the implementation of ICT within tourism systems.

Croatia believes that tourism should assume a more conspicuous part in European policies and institutions and will propose the development of a European tourist brand for the joint promotion of member-states in far-away markets.

"All that fits in the first strategic goal of the Croatian presidency, a Europe that grows in a balanced, sustainable and inclusive way," Tourism Minister Gari Cappelli says.

He points out the importance of development of specific types of tourism such as health tourism, cyclotourism, river tourism and so on, that can considerably contribute to the prosperity of the local population and direct travellers to some new destinations outside well-known ones, the minister says.

He recalls that the development of sustainable and responsible tourism can contribute to efforts to protect endangered species, preserve the tangible and intangible heritage as well as to address the issue of excessive tourism.

Apart from documents on sustainable forms of tourism, meetings on this topic will also be organised by Croatia during its EU presidency.

The tourism ministry plans to hold a meeting of the Competitiveness Council (COMPET) in the format of tourism as well as two more events in Croatia.

The two events in question are a meeting of European experts in tourism in March 2020, which includes a trip to the Croatian regions of Slavonia, Baranja and Srijem, and a ministerial conference on 27-28 April in Dubrovnik, in which the Ministry wants to include member countries of the OECD which participate in the OECD's Tourism Committee.

Prior to all those events, Minister Capelli will participate in a ministerial conference in Madrid which will be held on 21 January, a day before FITUR, the largest tourism fair in Spain. He announced that he will personally invite his counterparts to the Dubrovnik conference during the Madrid conference.

"We think that tourism, due to its importance for the economy in general, deserves a better and a more conspicuous spot, as well as an independent organisational unit within the European Commission, in order for us to have a more professional support for activities and initiatives necessary for contemporary tourism. As for financing in tourism, possibilities will be opened through various funds and programmes, as well as within the current EU multiannual financial framework," Capelli says.

He also reveals that in case a consensus is reached between all member states, a €300 million fund will be established for sustainable tourism within the Single Market Programme.

As for positioning tourism within EU bodies, he says that meetings of the Competitiveness Council in the tourism format have started.

"Finland dedicated its six-month presidency to discussions on the digitisation of the tourism sector, while Croatia will continue to accentuate all segments of sustainable and responsible tourism development and establish a financial framework for tourism," concludes Cappelli.

Croatia assumed the EU presidency from Finland.

More news about Croatian tourism can be found in the Travel section.

Thursday, 2 January 2020

Minister Satisfied with Double-Digit Growth in Tourist Spending

ZAGREB, January 2, 2020 - Tourism Minister Gari Cappelli has expressed satisfaction with the indicators showing a growth in the Croatian tourist trade, and in this context, he underscores the importance of 20% growth in tourist spending.

Tourist spending has risen by about 20%, and those are financial indicators that boost tourism, he told the national broadcaster (HRT) on Wednesday evening.

Cappelli commented on the statistical figures provided by the Croatian National Bank (HNB) showing that Croatia earned 9.44 billion euro in revenues from foreign tourists in the first nine months of 2019, which is an increase of 769 million euro or 9% over the same period in 2018.

Also, last year tourist arrivals increased by 5%, and overnight stays by 2%-3%.

Cappelli underscores that fact that in 2019, the average spending per tourist stood at 97 euro as against 79 euro of the average tourist expenditure in 2017.

The average tourist expenditure rose to 144 euro in hotels, while it stands at 94 euro for guests in private accommodation, and 62 euro in holiday-makers accommodated in camping sites.

More news about Croatian tourism can be found in the Travel section.

Thursday, 19 December 2019

Cro Card Introduced to Encourage Domestic Travel in Croatia

December 19, 2019 - The Ministry of Tourism has officially introduced the Cro Card as a way to encourage domestic travel. 

HRTurizam writes that in the last 15 years, the number of domestic overnights in Croatia has remained almost unchanged, but due to the steady growth of foreign overnights, the share made by Croatians has dropped to only 7 percent.

By this indicator, Croatia is far below the average of comparable Mediterranean and Central European countries. The total tourist activity of the local population is decreasing, while Croatian destinations show a negative trend of domestic traffic growth.

For these reasons, the Ministry of Tourism wants to encourage domestic travel. One solution is the long-announced Cro Card.

Namely, at Wednesday’s 198th session of the Croatian Government, a measure was introduced to stimulate consumption in the hospitality and tourism sector in Croatia, that is, the Cro Card.

Thus, this measure aims to stabilize the mentioned relative decline in the share of domestic tourist traffic and reverse the trend in the full implementation period.

With this decision, a measure is introduced to stimulate consumption in catering and tourism for Croatian employees in a way that will allow them a more affordable vacation by increasing their remuneration based on work. This regulation introduced the novelty that income tax was not paid on fees for catering, tourist and other services intended for employee vacations up to the amount of HRK 2,500 per year.

So far, the employer has been able to pay HRK 7,500 annually to its workers (for Christmas, recourse, awards, etc.). Now, there is the option of an additional HRK 2,000 through Cro Cards.

This will be paid by a “Croatian Tourist Card", which will be issued by commercial banks, while the commercial bank and the end-user will bear the cost of the card itself. It is also important to emphasize that cash from a Cro Card cannot be withdrawn. 

Cro Cards will be earned through compensation to cover the cost of holiday and catering services that the employer may pay to its employees following income tax regulations. It can be used solely for paying for catering and tourist services provided by legal and natural persons who are eligible for the provision of these services under the special regulations governing the hospitality industry and the provision of tourist services.

The implementation of this measure is expected to have a positive impact on the tourism activity of small and medium-sized enterprises, stimulate growth in supply, and strengthen the potential for tourism and rural development of continental Croatia.

“In the mandate of our Government, we have placed particular emphasis on the development of responsible and sustainable tourism, with particular emphasis on balanced development and the development of the continent. Today, we have adopted the Government Decision on introducing a measure to stimulate spending, which, with the reduction of VAT and regulating the entire legislative framework, makes us extremely pleased because we have made the most important decisions that no one dared to make earlier,” Minister Cappelli said.

The Ministry of Tourism, in cooperation with the Croatian Employers 'Association, surveyed employers to determine their interest in applying in some form of a tourist voucher.

The survey aimed to explore the interest in participating in a potential tourism program under the working name "tourist voucher" without specifying specific tax benefits, investigated the intention to participate in the program for each of the five potential tax benefits individually, and examined the maximum financial value of the voucher employers are willing to pay. The survey results are based on a representative sample of 400 employers.

According to the survey, every other employer expressed a principled interest in the concept presented, while 63% of employers preferred values from HRK 1,000.00 to HRK 3,000.00 per employee per year, and as the most important advantage, most employers spoke positively about a tourist voucher as an employee reward model.

The introduction of this measure is based on examples of good practice in EU countries. For example, Hungary, Italy and France, which by implementing a similar measure, have produced respectable results in increasing domestic tourist traffic.

The Cro Card is based on the Hungarian model, the "Szep Card". By implementing the Szep Card from 2010-2015, the number of overnight stays of domestic tourists increased in Hungary by 29 percent, while the total revenue of domestic tourism increased by 64 percent, with the Szep Card having a decisive role. So far, 26,500 companies have used the Szep Card for nearly 1.3 million employed citizens.

Furthermore, for two years (2010-2012), Italy had measures in place to subsidize domestic traffic. The measures were based on the family income bracket and issuing vouchers that could have been used for local vacations. France, on the other hand, subsidizes French tourism by employers through the Comite d'entreprise (CE). Up to 3 domestic trips are subsidized annually (and only one foreign trip).

The critical effects of introducing the measure are reflected, among other things, by the estimated potential of generating direct net income of approximately HRK 1 billion annually in the stabilized year of project implementation, estimated impact on new investments in the sector amounting to HRK 4 billion in the entire implementation period, and total tourism consumption of about 14.3 billion euro in 2020, of which about 1.8 billion euro domestic, the Ministry of Tourism expects.

This Decision shall come into force on the first day following its publication in the Narodne novine. For now, there are still some open questions regarding its implementation, which we will find out in the coming days.

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

Wednesday, 4 December 2019

Tourism Ministry, Croatian Tourist Board, UNICEF to Promote Children's Rights in Tourism

December 4, 2019 - The Ministry of Tourism, the Croatian Tourist Board, and UNICEF are cooperating on promoting children's rights in the Croatian tourism sector.

HRTurizam writes that the main objective of this cooperation is to promote good tourism practices in the context of young guests, the children of families employed in tourism, and young students and workers.

As part of the cooperation, the Ministry of Tourism, the Croatian Tourist Board and UNICEF will promote the importance of caring for children's rights in the tourism sector, through conferences, congresses, and other events, and organize training on children's rights for tourism professionals. The Ministry of Tourism and the Croatian Tourist Board will also support UNICEF's programs to help the most vulnerable children in Croatia and their families.

"Tourism is an industry of experience and emotions, and we desire that all children who visit Croatia have the opportunity to see all the best that Croatia has to offer so they can remember it forever. Likewise, tourism can be an opportunity for everyone to create together. That is why the Ministry of Tourism always encourages children and students to be creative and innovative through part of its youth programs. We want young people to be involved in creating competitive and responsible tourism, which is why working with UNICEF is another step towards building the foundations for the future of Croatian tourism, because ultimately, people are always the key to success,” said Tourism Minister Gari Cappelli.

"We are extremely proud of our cooperation with UNICEF in promoting children's rights in the tourism sector in Croatia, especially considering that children up to the age of 14 make up 18% of the total Croatian tourist traffic and form a significant segment in tourism. Accordingly, a large number of our promotional campaigns around the world, but also our total tourist offer, is directed precisely at families with children,” said Croatian Tourist Board Director Kristjan Stanicic.

Globally, UNICEF works with the travel and tourism sectors, governments and civil society organizations to promote the perspective of children's rights and to support companies in the sector in identifying and managing their impacts on children.

Cooperation with the Ministry of Tourism and the Croatian Tourist Board is an important step in the realization of children's rights in Croatian tourism and contributes to the sustainable development of tourism and society as a whole, points out Regina M. Castillo, Head of the UNICEF Office in Croatia, and adds:

“Tourism, as an important industry, has a great impact on children. The safety of children traveling with their parents, decent wages and working conditions for parents or guardians, working conditions for young employees, care for the environment in which children grow and develop are just some of the areas of interaction of the tourism sector with children. The Ministry of Tourism and the Croatian Tourist Board are strong partners who, together with UNICEF, will work to raise awareness of these impacts and promote good practices that will positively impact the lives of children and their families. We are happy that one of the leading tourist groups in Croatia - Arena Hospitality Group - will join us in this important work,” said Regina M. Castillo, Head of UNICEF Office in Croatia.

Arena Hospitality Group is the first tourism group in Croatia to support families with children from the welfare system in Istria County in cooperation with UNICEF.

On this occasion, a partnership between Arena Hospitality Group and UNICEF was announced to support UNICEF's Stronger Family Program initiative, which improves the quality of social support for families with disabilities.

Arena Hospitality Group will launch a series of activities focused on guests and employees in its selected hotels, resorts, and camps in collaboration with UNICEF to promote children's rights and solidarity with the most vulnerable members of our society. The funds raised through the cooperation will be used to support families with children from the social care system in the County of Istria.

“Arena Hospitality Group, as the first Croatian hotel company to expand its portfolio beyond the borders of Croatia, is continuously investing in the development of social responsibility towards its guests, employees, partners, shareholders and the community in which it operates. In our work, we are especially focused on families with children who strive to provide a variety of quality facilities and the highest level of service. But we also take into account the needs of families with children in our community who are facing various life difficulties. By joining forces with UNICEF, we will support the implementation of the "For a Stronger Family" program initiative, which will help strengthen systemic support for the most vulnerable families with children in Istria County. We are particularly proud to include our employees in the project, who, through activities with families and children, will draw attention to the importance of solidarity with our guests,” said Reuel Slonim, CEO of Arena Hospitality Group d.d.

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

Friday, 8 November 2019

Croatia Reports Record 20 Million Tourist Arrivals

ZAGREB, November 8, 2019 - Croatia has recorded over 20 million tourist arrivals and 107 million nights in one year for the first time, the Tourism Ministry said on Friday.

According to the eVisitor system, which records the tourism turnover in commercial and non-commercial facilities and the nautical charter, 20.1 million arrivals and 107.03 million nights have been registered as of today, up 5% and 2% on the year respectively.

"This historic result, this challenging year for tourism... is proof and confirmation of the quality of the synergy of the public and private sectors, without which such results would not have been possible," said Minister Gari Cappelli.

"I'm confident this record will motivate us all to continue to build and make Croatian tourism even better," he added.

National Tourist Board director Kristjan Staničić said that after last year's entire tourism turnover was surpassed last month, "these historic 20 million tourist arrivals additionally confirm the strength and stability of Croatia's tourism sector."

He said 2020 would be challenging and that many tour operators and airlines had announced that they would expand their programmes for Croatia.

This year so far, the biggest number of nights was generated by tourists from Germany, Croatia, Slovenia, Austria, Poland, Italy, the Czech Republic, the UK, the US, Australia, Canada, South Korea and China.

The coastal resorts of Dubrovnik, Rovinj, Poreč, Split and Medulin recorded the biggest number of nights.

More news about Croatian tourism can be found in the Travel section.

Tuesday, 5 November 2019

Croatia Expects Same Number of Tourists from UK Market in 2020

ZAGREB, November 5, 2019 - Regardless of the outcome of Brexit, the current announcements from British market partners show that the number of British tourists visiting Croatia in 2020 could be the same as this year and anything more would be a step forward, Tourism Minister Gari Cappelli said on Monday, the first day of the World Travel Market in London.

The 40th WTM is taking place on November 4-6 and the first day focused on Brexit, its uncertain outcome and its possible consequences for tourism in the UK and the many countries Britons visit.

"Croatia is an already recognisable destination which Britons like to visit, more and more of them every year, and although we can't yet be sure what 2020 will be like on that market, we are confident the results will be the same as this year when, by early November, close to 900,000 of their tourists arrived, generating 4.5 million nights. Those are growths of 4% and 3% in relation to 2018," Cappelli said.

He said the tourism ministers of Greece, Albania, Cyprus and Portugal, with whom he talked at the WTM, as well as UK Parliamentary Under-Secretary of Tourism Helen Whately, shared those thoughts.

After visiting the Croatian stand and talking with Cappelli and National Tourist Board director Kristjan Staničić, she said cooperation in everything remained very important.

Brexit makes tourist deals and travel a little uncertain, but we are not that concerned because we see that partners from the world want to continue to work with us. Also, regardless of the outcome, we want to continue the close long-term cooperation also with partners in the EU, in which Croatia is certainly important, Whately said.

Cappelli and Staničić said new five-year contracts were signed at the WTM with British airline EasyJet to increase the number of flights to Croatia as of next year, including a contract with Pula Airport.

Pula Airport director Svemir Radmilo and EasyJet's UK manager Nail Slaven said the contract was excellent for both sides and that they expected the number of passengers to increase from the current 150,000 to 250,000.

That will benefit not only the City of Pula and Istria County but other destinations in Croatia as well, said Radmilo.

He said market research showed that Britons were satisfied with the price-quality ratio in Croatian tourism, but added that it was necessary to continue to innovate and raise product quality, notably in segments important to Britons such as boating, gastronomy and culture.

More news about Croatian tourism can be found in the Travel section.

Thursday, 3 October 2019

Croatian Tourism Days Opened in Vukovar

ZAGREB, October 3, 2019 - Croatia's five Slavonian counties want to develop tourism, they invest in tourism and other infrastructure and in specific types of services, and they have been recording increases in visits, it was said at an event marking the start of Croatian Tourism Days in the eastern town of Vukovar on Wednesday.

The heads and deputy heads of the five Slavonian counties attending the event expressed confidence that tourism could be a lever of development of the entire region, notably its economy.

Croatian Tourism Days will be taking place in the five counties on October 2-4, with Vukovar, Vinkovci and Osijek as the host towns. Attending the opening ceremony at Vukovar's Eltz Manor were several hundred guests, mostly tourism workers from around Croatia, local officials and politicians.

The heads of the five Slavonian counties underlined the need for tourism to help revitalise the region, notably its villages and agricultural production.

Speakers at the event agreed that with the restoration of cultural and historical heritage, notably castles and monuments, and with the promotion of cycling infrastructure, wine and food production, and conditions for hunting and other forms of tourism, the five counties could only prosper.

Tourism Minister Gari Cappelli said that the government would soon present a strategic marketing plan for tourism in Slavonia, which was made in cooperation with the five counties and which would define guidelines for tourism development in that region. The people of Slavonia want to and know how to develop tourism, and some have already done a great deal of work and I thank them for that, he said.

Croatian Chamber of Commerce (HGK) head Luka Burilović said that Slavonia faced several major challenges in the development of tourism, including primarily the development of agricultural and food production, for which it had always been known.

"It is necessary to increase the number of hotels as there are not enough hotels, as well as deal with the issue of labour force and wages and work as many months a year as possible to reduce seasonality. But tourism in not a magic wand that can solve all the problems of Slavonia, a lot of work is needed and it can encourage changes in other sectors as well," he said.

Before the opening event, Minister Cappelli visited Ilok where he signed contracts with 60 recipients of the Tourism Ministry's funds for development of tourism infrastructure.

During Croatian Tourism Days, tourist workers and local officials will visit Kutjevo, Slavonski Brod, Požega, Osijek, Vukovar and Vinkovci.

This is the first time the annual conference of tourism professionals is being held in the country's interior.

More news about Croatian tourism can be found in the Travel section.

Tuesday, 24 September 2019

Tourism Minister Says Croatia Is to Become Year-Round Destination

ZAGREB, September 24, 2019 - Croatia is developing all-year-round tourism, as evidenced by this year's results when financial and physical output data for the shoulder season, that is for the pre-season, showed the biggest rise, and increases like that are expected for the post-season too, Tourism Minister Gari Cappelli said at a conference on this topic on Tuesday.

The third edition of the annual conference "Can the Croatian Tourism 365?" was organised by the Julius Rose company and brought together a number of domestic and foreign experts who are "ready to share their knowledge and positive experiences and participate in well-conducted panel discussions", the organiser says on the website of the conference.

Commenting on efforts to develop year-round tourism, Minister Cappelli said that headway had been made in many segments of this sector by high-quality approaches and models to extend the tourist season.

He said that the ongoing extension of the season was not happening by chance and that it was the result of endeavours by all stakeholders in the tourist trade.

The minister says that these efforts have been supported, among other things, by the government's decision to allocate over 70 million kuna in the last two years for an increase in air traffic, "as a result of which the flight season has been extended by more than 30 days in both years, bringing more and more tourists to hotels, travel agencies, airports and elsewhere."

Cappelli reassured the conference that the authorities would continue implementing these measures in 2020, too.

He mentioned the organisation of the Croatian Tourism Days in Slavonia soon.

The Tourism Ministry has recently made public the programme of this year's Croatian Tourism Days, to be held in a number of towns in the region of Slavonia on October 2-4, which is the first time the traditional meeting of tourism workers will be organised in inland Croatia.

Dragan Kovačević of the Croatian Chamber of Commerce (HGK) told the conference that digital technologies also played an important role in plans to develop year-round tourism. He informed the conference of forecasts that this year's tourism revenues might markedly exceed last year's result of 12 billion euro.

More news about Croatian tourism can be found in the Travel section.

Monday, 23 September 2019

Number of Tourist Accommodation Facilities in Croatia up 7%

ZAGREB, September 23, 2019 - There were 236,700 tourist accommodation facilities in Croatia at the end of August, which is an increase of 15,700 or 7.1% on the same period last year, and most of them were categorised as non-commercial or household facilities, while the number of hotels rose by 28 to 1,199.

Data from the eVisitor tourist registration application indicates that there were 1.7 million beds in Croatia as of 31 August, which is 5% or 93,000 more on the year. Most of these, or 634,000, were in household facilities, representing a share of 37.3% of all beds, compared to 37% at the same time in 2018.

The largest increase in the number of beds was recorded in non-commercial or household facilities. There were 113,000 facilities in this category with 502,000 beds, which is an increase of 8.6% or about 10,000 facilities and an increase of 8.1% or 38,000 beds year on year.

At the end of August there were 1,199 hotels in Croatia with 177,400 beds in all, which is an increase of 3.2% or 38 more hotels than in August last year, while the number of beds rose by 6,900 or 4% year on year. However, the share of hotel beds fell to 10.4% from 10.5% at the end of August last year.

This year there were three more campsites, bringing their number to 502 with a total of almost 247,400 beds or 2,200 beds more than last year, up 1% year on year. The share of camp beds was 14.5% compared to 15.1% last year.

More news about Croatian tourism can be found in the Travel section.

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