Thursday, 7 March 2019

Weaker Booking in Early March Not Necessarily Hint at Weak Tourist Season

ZAGREB, March 7, 2019 - A slow-down in bookings in early March registered abroad for Croatian destinations does not necessarily mean a weaker tourist season overall but it is a great challenge for the tourism sector that expects some partners to offer discounts for certain periods in the year in order to fill capacities particularly in May and September, according to first assessments coming from the ITB travel trade show in Berlin.

The 53rd ITB opened on Wednesday attracting more than 10,000 exhibitors from over 180 countries including Croatia, which is being promoted by the Croatian National Tourist Board (HTZ) and 20 more exhibitors - tourism companies and tourism boards at one stand.

There are also an additional ten Croatian exhibitors with their own stands including the Atlas and Group, the City of Zadar and Zadar County, City of Split and Split-Dalmatia County and others. This year the City of Rijeka has its own stand promoting the European Capital of Culture 2020 project.

Southern Europe, where Croatia is located, has been experiencing changing trends in demand due to Turkey's return (on the market), which has recorded a current increase in bookings from Germany by more than 50% compared to the same period last year. However, Croatia, Montenegro and Slovenia are on a good route and due to group tours by Chinese and other tourists from distant markets. It is unclear still what Italy intends to do this year with bookings also decelerating. Due to a dropin bookings for Spain, that country has already announced actions and I believe that because of its uniqueness in the Mediterranean, Croatia will be able to fare well even without any discounts, the head of the European Travel Agents' and Tour Operators' Associations-ECTAA Michel de Blust said, after talks with Croatian exhibitors.

Croatian Tourism Minister Gari Cappelli and HTZ director Kristjan Staničić met with Sven Gorrissen, TUI Germany's manager for Croatia and Austria who told reporters that TUI was not concerned for this season in Croatia adding that he had noticed that this year guests were paying more attention to price.

In the situation when Turkey, Egypt, Tunisia and Greece are strongly approaching the German and other markets with strong marketing and popular prices, it is difficult not to expect Croatia to lower its prices or to offer discounts for certain periods in the year when interest is a little weaker.

We see that for May and September Croatian hotels and other providers need to consider discounts of 10% to 15% if they want to be competitive and be fully occupied, Gorrissen said.

HTZ's director for Germany, Romeo Dragicchio said that bookings for Croatia were better than for other countries and that partners in Germany had not complained about prices and in fact the most expensive accommodations were recording the highest bookings.

He added that tourists from northern Germany were showing an increased interest in Croatia with the introduction of new air routes and that at least ten new routes from Germany would be introduced this year.

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

Monday, 4 March 2019

Croatia Hoping German Tourists Will Not Abandon It

ZAGREB, March 4, 2019 - Tourism Minister Gari Cappelli and the director of the Croatian Tourism Board (HTZ) Kristjan Staničić have said before departing to Berlin for the ITB travel trade show that they expect a similar number of German tourists this year, that is about three million, as in 2018.

The ITB Berlin, which takes place in the German capital from 6 to 10 March, brings together over 10,000 exhibitors from 190 countries, including Croatia.

The HTZ stand comprises 23 exhibitors – companies and local HTZ offices – and Staničić has said that the tourist statistical data in the first two months give rise to optimism.

Thus, in January and February, the e-visitor system registered 485,000 tourist arrivals in Croatia, which was 9% more compared to the corresponding period in 2018. The overnight stays rose 4% to 1.3 million.

Although at the global level a rise in the tourist industry is expected, some of the regions have more cautious forecasts ahead of the ITB Berlin show than in the past few years.

Such caution has been prompted by deceleration in bookings for the summer season, notably in Mediterranean destinations.

For instance, Spain and Portugal have experienced a decline in bookings, whereas in Croatia a slowed down rate of bookings has been noticed.

In this context, Minister Cappelli has called for patience. "I know that there is some nervousness due to deceleration in bookings on foreign markets. However, we should be patient and be recognisable on markets by quality without lowering prices," he said.

Deceleration in bookings is also due to the fact that there are now more capacities on the market than two or three years ago when migrants and political crises were in Turkey, Greece, Egypt and other north African countries, which are now more stable and tourists have now more options to choose, the minister says. He also believes that last-minute booking will be more pronounced this year.

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

Tuesday, 19 February 2019

Gastronomy Increasingly Important to Croatian Tourism

ZAGREB, February 19, 2019 - Tourism Minister Gari Cappelli on Tuesday underlined the importance of gastronomy and excellence in gastronomy professions in enhancing the quality of Croatian tourism.

Speaking at Open Day of Aspira college in Zagreb, Cappelli said that today it was perhaps even more honourable to be a chef because gastronomy increasingly motivated people to travel. He said Aspira and its gastronomy study programme in Zagreb and Split as well as the 100 students who enrol in it every year confirmed the validity of such studies.

Cappelli recalled that the Tourism Ministry had awarded 370 scholarships this year in cooperation with more than 20 tourism companies and chambers, saying jobs in tourism were increasingly in demand in Croatia and abroad.

The minister said he hoped more schools, both private and public, would offer gastronomy programmes in the future, especially in about two years when competency centres, teaching tourism and gastronomy, among other things, with more practical work, became operational.

The Aspira college operates in Split and in Zagreb, where a gastronomy study programme was introduced two years ago. The college also teaches tourism and other programmes. About 450 students enrol at the two schools every year, including 100 to study gastronomy.

The annual tuition fee at Aspira is 30,000 kuna for the tourism study programme and 40,000 kuna for the three-year gastronomy programme.

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

Wednesday, 13 February 2019

Increased Wages the Key for Retaining Tourist Workers

ZAGREB, February 13, 2019 - Without sufficient and qualified workers, there can be no successful tourism, which has seen a deficit in the labour force over the past few years and in order to attract and keep tourist workers, it is necessary to foremost increase their earnings so that they are more like those in neighbouring EU countries, which means that employers should be further unburdened, a conference on workers in tourism heard on Tuesday.

The conference, organised by the Ministry of Tourism, the Večernji List daily and Poslovni Dnevnik business daily, brought together representatives of the tourism industry, consultants, students, representatives of the Croatian Chamber of Commerce (HGK) and Croatian Employers' Association (HUP) as well as Tourism Minister Gari Cappelli, Labour Minister Marko Pavić and Agriculture Minister Tomislav Tolušić. They agreed that importing workers should be a back-up option to resolve the lack of workers in tourism and in other areas too, and that it was primarily necessary to activate the local labour force, particularly from the pool of 160,000 unemployed persons.

"Import quotas for workers should be an alternative but a possible option which is important for tourism. This year, 15,000 permits are 'on the cards' and we don't have to issue them all. It is good though that we have that as an option, because the problem of the lack of workers obviously exists and other countries in Europe are experiencing this too," Tourism Minister Gari Cappelli said.

The director of the Croatian Tourism Association (HUT), Veljko Ostojić, considers that not a lot would be achieved in the next two or three years unless wages in tourism go up by 30% to 40% or at least 10% each year.

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

Sunday, 16 December 2018

Croatia’s Proposal to Create EU Budget Line for Tourism Supported

 ZAGREB, December 16, 2018 - The European Parliament has proposed a separate, 300 million euro EU budget line for tourism, and the inclusion of tourism in the Council of the EU programme is a confirmation that Croatian lobbying and emphasising the importance of tourism for the economy, both of Croatia and the EU as a whole, was justified, the Tourism Ministry said in a press release on Sunday.

The initiative to better position the tourism industry in the EU institutions was initiated early this year by Croatian Tourism Minister Gari Cappelli. "I am pleased that our initiative has been recognised in the EU, and we also have strong support for it from Prime Minister Andrej Plenković and the Croatian government," Cappelli said in the press release.

"In the EU economy, tourism provides 24 million jobs, in other words, one in eleven workers is employed in jobs directly related to tourism. Considering the fact that tourism is one of the fastest growing economic activities in the EU, with a major impact on growth, society, development and employment, and that tourism and travel account for about 10 percent of the EU's GDP, it is acknowledged that tourism deserves a better position in the EU institutions. This will eventually be of vital importance for tourism in all EU member states, including Croatia," he noted.

The future Council of the European Union presidency trio, comprising Romania, Finland and Croatia, have prepared, in cooperation with the Council's Secretariat General and the European External Action Service, the 18-month programme of the Council for the period from 1 January 2019 and 30 June 2020, which was endorsed in Brussels this month.

The programme for the first time explicitly mentions tourism, in a section entitled "A Union for Jobs, Growth and Competitiveness", noting the need for better positioning of tourism on the EU agenda in order to encourage growth and employment.

In addition, the European Parliament has called on the European Commission to prepare a legislative framework to establish a programme for sustainable tourism, which would be part of the Single Market Programme.

To date, 14 of the 28 member states have supported the Croatian initiative, the Tourism Ministry said.

More news on the activities of Croatia’s Ministry of Tourism can be found in our Travel section.

Friday, 23 November 2018

Gari Cappelli Praises Residents and City of Zadar

The City of Zadar has always been a popular destination in Dalmatia, boasting the stunning sea organ, and, as Alfred Hitchcock himself once said, the most beautiful sunsets in the entire world. Now Gari Cappelli, the Minister of Tourism, has congratulated this ancient city on its success, stating that the very people of Zadar are the ones who give it its life.

As tourists flock to Zadar from all corners of the world, with numerous airline companies having taken it upon themselves to either increase their flights to this Dalmatian gem or to introduce new lines connecting major European cities to its thriving airport, the city goes from strength to strength across the spectrum, from its entrepreneur success stories to its tourism figures. It seems that Zadar's success hasn't gone unnoticed, at least not by Gari Cappelli, who expressed his warm feelings for both the city and for the ''happy people'' who live there and make it what it is.

As eZadar/Radio Zadar writes on the 23rd of November, 2018, upon welcoming the participants of the session of the Zadar City Council on the occasion of Zadar's city day, Gari Cappelli, the long standing Croatian Minister of Tourism, stated at the beginning of his address, among other things, that Zadar is a city full of of happy people who give it life.

Gari Cappelli recalled the very welcome fact that the highly respected Lonely Planet, one of the most popular and trusted travel guides in the entire world, included Zadar in its announcement of the prestigious ''Best in Travel 2019'' guide, in its recommendations on destinations which should be visited by tourists next year.

Make sure to stay up to date with news from Zadar and far beyond by keeping up with our dedicated lifestyle and travel pages.


Click here for the original article by eZadar/Radio Zadar

Tuesday, 13 November 2018

New Tourism Laws Aimed at Creating New Identity of Croatian Tourism

ZAGREB, November 13, 2018 - Tourism Minister Gari Cappelli said on Tuesday that the three Croatian tourism-related bills which the government forwarded to the parliament in late October were prerequisites for creating a new competitive identity of Croatian tourism, and that it was the government's duty to develop a strategy for managing Croatia's positive perception.

"Croatia must create a new image and move towards this topic with full responsibility, professionalism and maturity. It is the duty of our government on behalf of all citizens, institutions and companies, to develop a strategy of managing a positive perception of Croatian tourism," Cappelli said at a conference organised by the Jutarnji List daily in Zagreb on Tuesday on the system of tourist boards in the 21st century.

He is sure that the set of three bills will facilitate efforts to create easily recognisable national, regional and local identities and emphasise their importance and uniqueness considering that "they represent an additional value of the people and the nation on the global market."

Cappelli said that the proposed legislation is meant to establish a system of tourism boards following the model of the Destination Management Organisation (DMO).

Cappelli recalled that the Croatian National Tourism Board (HTZ) had recently opened an office in China and would soon set up another office in Seoul in South Korea for the purpose of better promoting the national tourist trade.

When it comes to the country's sojourn tax, the government will no longer determine the amount of that tourist tax and the decision-making on that will be at the local and county level, with the aim of decentralising the system.

For more articles on the activities of the Tourism Ministry, click here.

Friday, 9 November 2018

Tourism Ministry Only Government Department to Cut Spending in 2019

ZAGREB, November 9, 2018 - The 2019 budget proposal which Finance Minister Zdravko Marić delivered at a government meeting on Friday envisages higher budget allocations for all ministries except for the Tourism Ministry, the funds of which will go down by 16.8%.

Expressed in absolute numbers, the biggest winner is the Finance Ministry as its allocation will increase by nearly 7.5 billion kuna from its allocation in the original 2018 budget, and in 2019 it will rise by 21.8% to 41.9 billion kuna.

Expressed in the percentage, the State Assets Ministry's allocation will increase the most, by 47.5% to 108.7 million kuna.

The office of the government can count on 424.5 million kuna in 2019, which is 19.7% more than its budget allocation in the 2018 budget.

The 2019 draft budget envisages funds for the Office of the Croatian President in the amount of 37.7 million, down by 1.1%, and the budget allocation for the Parliament will be reduced by 9.9% to 168 million kuna.

The budget revenues planned for 2019 are expected to amount to 136.1 billion kuna, up 5.5% in comparison to the 2018 budget.

The budget expenditures are projected at kuna 140.3 billion, 6.9 billion more than in the original budget for 2018.

 VAT on OTC drugs to be lowered to 5%, tax-free bonus amount to rise to 7,500 kuna

The government on Friday sent to the parliament a set of nine final bills on taxation envisaging amendments to the Value Added Tax legislation, including a lower, 5% rate on prescription drugs as well as on over-the-counter drugs, and a rise in the tax-free amount of annual bonuses for employees from 2,500 kuna to 7,500 kuna.

The final set of draft laws envisages that all medicines, including prescription and OTC drugs, should be taxed by a 5% rate, Finance Minister Zdravko Marić said, recalling that currently the tax rate for prescription medicines is 5% and for other drugs 25%.

The VAT rate on the services of writers, composers and artists and the related copyrights is to be lowered from the standard 25% rate to 13%.

The same reduction can be expected regarding the VAT on fresh meat and fish, fruit, vegetables, eggs, live cattle delivery and nappies.

Marić said that those were the most important items of the consumer's basket.

Also, the legislative changes envisage a threefold increase in tax-free annual bonuses to employees such as Christmas and Easter bonuses, holiday allowances and extra monthly wage. Thus the non-taxable amount of the bonuses will be set at 7,500 kuna.

Prime Minister Andrej Plenković described that as good news. "I think that this is what many employers had hinted at when it comes to tax changes," he said about the changes that are to take effect on 1 December.

For more on taxes in Croatia, click here.

Tuesday, 6 November 2018

Croatia Attending WTM Travel Show in London

ZAGREB, November 6, 2018 - The promotion of Croatia as a holiday destination for next year formally began on Monday at the World Travel Market (WTM) in London, one of the world's largest travel exhibitions, which will present about 5,000 exhibitors from 185 travel destinations until November 7.

Croatia is represented by the National Tourist Board (HTZ) and 23 co-exhibitors, and their activities are followed by Tourism Minister Gari Cappelli, who will take the opportunity to meet with the most important partners on the UK market.

On the first day of the fair, Cappelli met with executives of British low-cost airline Jet2 and German low-cost airline Eurowings. He is also scheduled to meet with representatives of companies such as Ryanair, TUI, Thomas Cook and Saga, with whom he will analyse the cooperation so far and discuss ways of improving it.

"The British market, along with the United States and China, is one of the fastest-growing and most important markets for us and we are working intensively on developing cooperation and introducing more flights," Cappelli said.

He said that a further 15 million kuna (2 million euro) would be invested in the existing flight programme to increase turnover outside the summer months, adding that the present programme had produced excellent results, increasing the number of flights and extending the flight schedule.

Nearly 850,000 British tourists visited Croatia in the first ten months of this year, generating 4.4 million overnight stays, an increase of 8 percent in both arrivals and overnight stays. British tourists mostly travelled to Dubrovnik (36 percent), Split (23 percent) and Istria (20 percent), and mostly stayed in hotels.

The British Institute of Travel and Tourism will hold an annual conference in Podstrana near Split in mid-June 2019. The event is expected to be attended by over 400 British delegates who will have an opportunity to visit Split, Trogir and Hvar.

To read more about Croatia’s tourism, click here.

Friday, 28 September 2018

100 Million Overnight Stays Reached a Month Earlier Than in 2017

ZAGREB, September 28, 2018 - Since the start of 2018 to 28 September, slightly over 100 million tourist overnight stays were registered in Croatia, which is a month earlier than in 2017, the Croatian Tourist Board (HTZ) reported on Friday.

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