Wednesday, 2 September 2020

Minister: All Options For Aid To Hospitality And Tourism Sector On Table

ZAGREB, Sept 2, 2020- Tourism and Sports Minister Nikolina Brnjac said on Wednesday that all options for helping the hospitality and tourism sector were "on the table", recalling that restaurant and bar owners were the first to receive help from the state when the corona crisis started.

We talked with the entire hospitality and tourism sector about how to continue with the measures, all options are now still on the table, said Brnjac in front of the government building while answering reporters' questions about the continuation of aid and whether the state has the funds to help restaurant and bar owners requesting it because they are facing bankruptcy and liquidation.

Asked about the continuation of measures for the hospitality and tourism sector in terms of the recent statement by Finance Minister Zdravko Maric that aid must come to an end one day, Brnjac reiterated that all of them were being taken care of and that possibilities for the continuation of the aid were discussed at meetings every day.

She recalled that through the recovery and resilience facility guidelines would define which funds would be in the forms of grants and which in the form of loans. "That will be the source of most funding," she underscored.

Asked whether that meant it was possible that the state would continue financing the hospitality sector, she underlined that "we have to have all options before us," that the hospitality sector had been the first to get help from the state, and that viability had to be taken into account. She underscored the importance of preserving jobs.

Asked about aid for transport operators working on an occasional basis, who on Wednesday demonstrated outside the government calling for urgent aid because the corona crisis has left them with almost no income and numerous jobs are in danger, Minister Brnjac confirmed that transport operators, as well as travel agencies, had seen a slump in turnover, which is why representatives of agencies had been to the Ministry last week.

"We have also discussed with employees from other ministries about how to help them and provide measures for business viability," she added.

"It is important for us that the season continues in September because the situation is not the same in entire Croatia, and the promotional campaign will be adjusted to that," the minister noted.

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Monday, 24 August 2020

Brnjac: Croatia Recognised As Safe Destination

ZAGREB, Aug 24, 2020 - Minister Nikolina Brnjac on Monday stated that the tourism sector was well prepared for the situation caused by the coronavirus and that the good tourism results, and government and crisis response team's measures had resulted in Croatia being recognized as a safe destination.

Commenting on claims by stakeholders in the tourism sector that it is going to take two to three years for tourism to get back to 2019's levels, Minister Brnjac said after meeting with representatives of the hotel industry, that it was of exceptional importance to "strategically think of further steps so that we can establish a sustainable and resilient system."

It is essential that everyone behaves responsibly and adheres to the recommended measures so that the positive trend in arrivals can continue this season and in that way, set the preconditions to maintain safety in the years to come, she said.

"The 2019 tourism season was above average in everything but the number of arrivals does not mean revenue too. That is why a tourism development strategy is important because it is important to know where we are going, what our objective is, and how to develop Croatia's tourism in the future. This situation with COVID is extraordinary. The tourism sector was exceptionally well prepared and the good results we have in fact, along with the government's measures which saved jobs and the measures by the Civil Protection Authority, have resulted in Croatia being recognized as a safe destination," the tourism minister underlined.

She explained that several ministries were in contact with those countries that have put Croatia on the quarantine list to ask that Croatia be treated according to the current developments in counties as the situation is not the same throughout the country.

"Hence, based on the epidemiological circumstances that will occur we expect other countries to review their lists. We have the biggest number of guests from Germany, Poland, the Czech Republic, and Hungary, and considering that we are a car destination, thanks to the Tourist Board's good promotion, we used our advantage and good road network," she concluded.

Director of the Croatian Tourism Association (HUT) Veljko Ostojic said that if the support measures had not been issued in March, the tourism season would definitely not be as it is because "employers would have been forced to lay off a significant number of workers and without workers there cannot be any tourism." 

We need information about job retention measures...because employers have to make certain decisions. It is also important to secure liquidity for the next tourism season and today we talked about the possibility of using EU funds, he said.

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Monday, 24 August 2020

Tourist Season At 50% Of Last Year's Result, Says Minister

ZAGREB, Aug 24, 2020- Tourism and Sports Minister Nikolina Brnjac said on Sunday that she was satisfied with this year's tourist season, with tourist turnover standing at 50% of last year's turnover, or 20% more than expected. 

"According to our projections as well as those of the World Tourism Organisation, we should have been at 30% of last year's result. But we are currently at 50% and realistically speaking, we can be satisfied with those figures," Brnjac told reporters in the Istrian town of Barban, where she attended a local equestrian tournament.

She noted that neighboring countries and other Mediterranean countries had seen a drop in tourist turnover of 70-80%.

Brnjac went on to say that all countries, including those that have put Croatia on the list of epidemiologically unsafe countries, followed the epidemiological situation, and revised their measures every two weeks.

"Epidemiological measures need to be maintained so that the good figures we have had until now could continue. But we must be aware of the fact that in March, April, May and the first half of June we did not have the kind of tourist season we had expected," Brnjac said, adding that she expected good tourism results to continue in September.

"We expect the season to continue, it is not over, but only if we have good epidemiological measures in place and good weather," she said, adding that the epidemiological situation in Istria and Primorje-Gorski Kotar counties was very good, which was why they were having good results.

Asked how one should prepare for 2021, which would not be an easy year, Brnjac said that it was of the utmost importance to preserve jobs and stability in the tourist sector.

"Tourism has always been a branch of economy where the situation changes quickly and which adapts to those changes quickly. Making sure Croatia is recognizable as a safe destination that takes care of its guests, along with the continuation of good results, is what gives us the impetus for next year," Brnjac said.

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Thursday, 20 August 2020

Brnjac: Croatia Does Its Best To Make Sure That Good Tourist Season Continues

ZAGREB, Aug 20, 2020 - Despite everything, Croatia is having a good tourism season this year, and we are doing our best to ensure its continuation, including constant communication with partners on foreign markets on a safe stay and the epidemiological situation, Tourism Minister Nikolina Brnjac said on Thursday.

"Because of the Covid-19 pandemic, forecasts for this tourism year indicated a fall in tourism turnover of up to 70%, nevertheless, better results have been recorded and by mid-August 52% of last year's bed nights were generated, noting that for three months, March, April, and May and even the start of June, there was no turnover at all," said the minister.

She added that in July, 62% of bed nights were generated compared to July 2019 and 69% to date in August.

Since the start of the year, 6.2 million visitors were recorded in Croatia and 41.6 million bed nights. Currently, there are about 700,000 holidaymakers in Croatia and in addition to local guests the majority of tourists are from Germany (177K), Slovenia (80K), Poland (73K), Czech Republic (54K) and Italy (32K), she said.

675,000 tourists in Croatia per day on average since reopening of borders

Since Croatia opened its border there have been 675,000 tourists in Croatia per day on average with the maximum number in one day of 850,000 being recorded in the first week of August.

The best results have been achieved by family-run farms and holiday houses, achieving 80% of last year's turnover, followed by nautical tourism with a turnover of 70% y-o-y and boat charter generating a turnover of 60% on the year as they provide accommodation with the possibility of keeping a distance.

"A record number of mega yachts have sailed into Croatia this year, about 200, and thanks to being well prepared and adapting, hotels and camps have achieved excellent results particularly now in August generating 55% of last year's turnover, and current capacity utilisation is about 70 to 80 percent," Brnjac explained.

She reiterated that she was in constant contact with the relevant bodies abroad and was monitoring trends in countries where tourists are coming from.

"I believe that our international partners will recognise our measures and activities and take them into account before making any decisions, while Croatia will continue to do everything so that those international institutions have precise information based on which they will decide which countries to include on lists of safe destinations," she said.

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Thursday, 20 August 2020

Tourism Minister Nikolina Brnjac: Croatia is a Safe Destination for Tourists from Slovenia

August 20, 2020 - The coronavirus spokesman of the Slovenian government, Jelko Kacin, confirmed on Wednesday what was speculated - Slovenia will put Croatia on the red list Thursday night. However, he said that in reality, Croatia is already on the Slovenian red list. Croatian Tourism Minister Nikolina Brnjac responded. reports that Slovenian tourists will most likely have until the end of the week to return to Slovenia to avoid a two-week self-isolation.

"In reality, Croatia is already on the red list today, and formally it will be tomorrow," Kacin said, adding that the situation in Croatia is dramatic.

He went a step further and said that Croatia no longer controls the situation with the coronavirus.

"We have to be realistic and understand that they are no longer in control of their situation; their epidemiologists can no longer do that. There will be big problems in the health system. The situation requires sober heads and decisive moves," Kacin said.

"The situation in Croatia is so bad that we have no choice but to call on our citizens to return to Slovenia as soon as possible. Things are getting worse quickly and it will be much worse," Kacin added.

The Minister of Tourism and Sports, Nikolina Brnjac, answered him.

The press release received from the Ministry of Tourism and Sports is transmitted in its entirety:

"Following the latest statements by the coronavirus spokesman of the Government of the Republic of Slovenia, Jelko Kacin, we reject his allegations that the situation in Croatia is dramatic.

We remind you that Slovenia is continuously at the very top of the market crucial for the overall result of Croatian tourism, which is illustrated by eVisitor indicators according to which in June 2020, we recorded approximately 207 thousand arrivals and 1.1 million overnight stays from the Slovenian market. July reached a level of approximately 382 thousand arrivals and 3.4 million overnight stays.

According to preliminary indicators for August (as of August 18), we are currently at the level of approximately 238 thousand arrivals and 2.2 million overnight stays of Slovenes, of which 71.4 percent are realized in Istria, Kvarner and Lika. We want to point out that in these three counties, a total of 10 cases of newly infected with COVID-19 were recorded in the past 24 hours.

The perception of Croatia is extremely good for most Slovenian tourists; in Croatia, they feel safe since they know it well and are the owners of numerous properties (more than 100,000).

Minister of Tourism and Sports Nikolina Brnjac is in constant contact with representatives of associations in the tourism system, to ensure full compliance with epidemiological measures in tourist facilities, as well as the possibility of introducing testing for foreign tourists in tourist facilities.

Croatia will continue to do everything in its power to ensure that the relevant foreign institutions have all the accurate and precise information on the basis of which they make decisions on the inclusion of countries on risk lists, i.e., on the lists of safe countries," the Ministry said.

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Wednesday, 19 August 2020

Tourism Minister Nikolina Brnjac: Austria Could Change Mind Because of New Measures in Croatia

August 19, 2020 - After Austria rejected Croatia's request to introduce testing measures only for certain parts of Croatia, instead of placing the entire country on the epidemiological red list, Minister of Tourism and Sports Nikolina Brnjac said that she expected Austria to change its mind. reports that on Tuesday night as a guest on Croatian Television (HTV), the Minister commented on Austria's decision that returnees from holidays in Croatia must show a current negative coronavirus test or undergo testing within 48 hours, as well as Slovenia's thoughts on introducing quarantine for all returnees from Croatia this weekend.

She pointed out that nothing is left to chance and that they regularly exchange information and contact Slovenian colleagues, give them transparent data on numbers by counties, so that they can see that not all Croatian counties are in the same situation, i.e., that only two have an increase in the number of patients.

"We expect them to take into account the situation in the counties because these are relevant data and they are familiar with it," said Brnjac. "I think that such a decision could be expected from them," she added.

As for Austria, she says, the list is revised and changed about every two weeks.

"Given the new measures of the Headquarters, we expect that Austria could also change its opinion regarding Croatia," Brnjac said.

Asked whether Croatia would retaliate with the same measures, the Minister of Tourism said that she would not talk about reciprocity. She also said that she had information that there was not a single patient registered in Croatian hotels because everyone adhered to strict epidemiological measures.

She added that the number of sick tourists in Croatia is negligible.

The minister said it helped that Croatia is a car-destination. She also pointed out that Dubrovnik-Neretva County was recording better tourist results in August, adding that the airlines' good announcements for September and October were especially pleasing.

As for sports competitions, Brnjac said they would certainly be held, but the Headquarters has adopted certain measures - a third of spectators may be in the stands, while respecting all epidemiological measures, and the HNL has decided not to have spectators.

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Thursday, 30 July 2020

Tourism and Sport Minister Nikolina Brnjac Comments on Current Season, What Awaits

July 30, 2020 - Minister of Tourism and Sport, Nikolina Brnjac, stated last night for HRT that a few months ago, no one could have imagined that the number of tourists would be as it is now.

Namely, HRT reports that 2.3 million tourist arrivals were recorded in July and nearly more than 16 million overnight stays were achieved. That is already a little more than 50% of the turnover compared to the same period last year. These are quite good results, and we have reason to be optimistic, said Brnjac.

It is unfair to say how much is expected from tourism, said Brnjac, referring to yesterday's statement when she said that Croatia could reach around 5 billion arrivals this year, which is half of last year's amount.

"We need to see the end of the tourist season. It is a good indicator that we have more than 760,000 guests today. The first Ministry of Tourism estimated that this year's result would be 30% compared to last year, but we already have about 40% to 45%, when looking at the overall level," adds Brnjac.

She confirmed that the tourist situation in the northern part of Croatia is better than in the south.

”Rovinj, Porec, Medulin, Crikvenica and Split are the destinations where guests are going to most. When we look at the southern destinations, we know that they are mostly related to air tourism. The Croatian National Tourist Board is working on promoting those countries from which guests come to Dubrovnik-Neretva County. It will also intensify its marketing activities. Precisely because of these marketing activities, we also see results. Croatia has recorded 92% of German tourists compared to last year, 91% of Slovenian tourists, followed by tourists from Austria, Hungary, Poland and the Czech Republic," said Brnjac.

Brnjac also pointed out that at yesterday's meeting with representatives of the tourism sector, she discussed future measures to maintain liquidity and recover the tourism system.

"In September, we will receive guidelines from the European Commission on how the development of an instrument for recovery and resilience will look. We want to be ready and that is why this meeting was organized. The next topic of the meeting was preparing financing from the new envelope of the multiannual financial framework and better positioning Croatian tourism."

Answering the question about who can count on this help, Minister Brnjac said that it refers to the entire tourism sector.

After four years, tourism in Croatia is seen as sustainable and green, as tourism that will work to extend the season, not only in the coastal area but also in the continental area. She also wants to develop nautical and health tourism. Brnjac's tourism development strategy will start in September, she said, stating that this should provide further guidance.

Brnjac also responded to criticisms related to her election to the position of Tourism Minister, considering she does not come from the tourism sector.

"I think that today, the tourism sector made clear how important it is for it to have an emphasis on the instrument of recovery and resilience and to position it as well as possible in the multi-year financial envelope, but also to position the entire tourism sector as well as possible."

Since Brnjac is also the Minister of Sport, she said that she "wants to give more importance to sports". She said that there was no need to explain to anyone the role sport and tourism play in the global promotion of Croatia.

"It is very important to emphasize that by investing in projects in sports and tourism, we get added value for a number of other departments - from transport to agriculture," concluded Brnjac.

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