Thursday, 26 November 2020

Sustainable Tourism Development Strategy Until 2030 to be Drawn Up

ZAGREB, November 26, 2020 - The Tourism Ministry is launching the drafting of a sustainable tourism strategy until 2030 and a 2021-27 national sustainable tourism development plan as long-term frameworks for tourism development, Minister Nikolina Brnjac said at a cabinet meeting on Thursday.

The drafting of a new strategy is in line with the government's programme and the Competitive and Innovative Economy strategic goal in the draft national development strategy until 2030.

A strategic environmental impact estimate will be drawn up for the first time as part of the strategy, Brnjac said.

According to the ministry, the strategy, the plan and the estimate are expected to be drawn up by the end of 2021 and the aim is for the strategy to be coherent with other sectors' public policies.

"We have embarked on the creation of strategic frameworks so as to focus our activities as well as possible on the sustainability and development of the tourism sector, and the common goal of all actors should be the positioning of Croatia as a high quality, safe and, according to economic criteria, increasingly successful destination," said Brnjac.

Friday, 20 November 2020

Tourism Minister Proposes Joint Tourism Working Group to Italian Counterpart

ZAGREB, November 20, 2020- Tourism and Sport Minister Nikolina Brnjac proposed on Friday in an online meeting the establishment of a joint working group for tourism to Italian Culture and Tourism Minister Dario Franceschini, the Ministry of Tourism and Sport (MINTS) has said.

Minister Brnjac and Culture and Media Minister Nina Obuljen Korzinek held an online bilateral meeting with Franceschini, ahead of the fourth plenary session of the Coordinating Committee of Croatian and Italian Ministers, the ministry said in a press release.

Brnjac said that during Croatia's presidency of the Council of the EU a quality discussion had been initiated between member states in the tourism sector, and the need to find a joint plan for overcoming the crisis had been identified.

In the difficult circumstances that hit tourism this year, it is especially important to exchange experiences on the use of EU funds, encourage private-public partnerships and interregional and cross-sectoral cooperation to ensure recovery and resilience, as well as further development and growth of the tourism sector, the Croatian tourism minister said.

She also said that the initiative to better position tourism within the EU, which Croatia had presented in 2018, had attracted great interest and support of Italy and other EU member states.

According to her, Croatia is open to presenting and promoting itself together with Italy in third markets, as well as to sharing knowledge and experience on the technological, legislative and organisational aspects of Croatia's award-winning eVisitor system.

The ministers also agreed that education in tourism was key to strengthening and further developing the sector, and that the exchange of knowledge and good practices in the training of tourism and hospitality staff was very useful for both sides, MINTS said.

Wednesday, 14 October 2020

Ministry of Tourism and Sport Held Meeting with Regional Tourist Boards

October 14, 2020 - On Tuesday, the Ministry of Tourism and Sport, led by Nikolina Brnjac held a working meeting with representatives of county tourist boards. Along with the Minister, the meeting was also attended by State Secretary Sandra Herman and the Director of the Croatian Tourist Board Kristjan Staničić.

HRTurizam reports that Minister Brnjac thanked those present for their work so far and pointed out that such coordination will be held more often in order to better implement strategic and operational plans.

"You are the backbone of our system. I believe that through open dialogue and timely exchange of information, we can contribute to a better and more systematic solution to the challenges in the coming period," said Minister Brnjac.

Representatives of regional tourist boards presented concrete problems to the ministers and associates and suggested proposals in order to better adapt to the COVID situation, expressing satisfaction with this form of cooperation.

Minister Nikolina Brnjac pointed out that now is the opportunity for a strategic turn, both in the organization of the tourism sector and in finding the best solutions for the coming period.

"We have started the initial administrative steps for the development of a long-term sectoral strategy called the Strategy for the Development of Sustainable Tourism until 2030. For the first time, we are in the process of preparing an Environmental Impact Study. These are documents on which it is important to reach an agreement between the private and public sectors because they will determine the further direction of tourism development," added Minister Brnjac and called on the representatives of tourist boards to cooperate and proactively communicate.

All participants in the meeting agree that the opportunity for development certainly lies in the use of EU funds, but also in the harmonization of the Ordinance and timely guidelines for the implementation of work and programs as well as the exchange of experience and knowledge.

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Saturday, 10 October 2020

Croatian Tourism Minister Nikolina Brnjac Says Nautical Tourism Resilient

October the 10th, 2020 - Croatian Tourism Minister Nikolina Brnjac has stated that nautical tourism, which is an important and continually growing branch of the overall Croatian tourism offer, has remained resilient in the face of the crisis we're still currently in.

The ongoing coronavirus pandemic has thrown a proverbial spanner in the works of just about everything imaginable, and tourism across the globe has taken a very heavy blow indeed. Countries like Croatia, which relies very heavily on tourism, have been scrambling to balance controlling the virus and allowing the economy to remain in some state of function. The Croatian Tourism Minister spoke on the state of affairs during a recent conference at which nautical tourism in Croatia was discussed.

As Morski writes on the 9th of October, 2020, Croatian Tourism Minister Nikolina Brnjac participated in a recent conference held in the coastal town of Skradin called "Nautical tourism - the most resilient to the coronavirus crisis". The conference was held at Skradin's culture centre.

Nautical tourism is largely responsible for the achieved tourist results this year in the Republic of Croatia, which, in this unprecedented pandemic-dominated year are above expectations when compared to competing Mediterranean countries.

''Nautical tourism has shown exceptional resistance to COVID-19, and from January to August 2020, 1.29 million overnight stays were realised, ie 49 percent of the level of traffic in the comparable period of the record year of 2019,'' said Croatian Tourism Minister Brnjac in her introductory speech, adding that the Croatian Ministry of Tourism and Sport will continue work to extend the tourist season and ensure the resilience of the tourism sector in these exceptionally trying times of crisis.

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Friday, 11 September 2020

YTD Tourism Results Better than Expected

ZAGREB, Sept 11, 2020 - In the first eight months of this year, 6.8 million tourists visited Croatia and generated 47.5 million overnight stays, which was at 41% and 53% respectively of last year's levels.

YTD tourism results are better than expected following the outbreak of the coronavirus infection, according to a statement made by Tourism and Sports Minister Nikolina Brnjac and the Croatian Tourist Board (HTZ) director Kristijan Stanicic at a news conference in Zagreb on Friday.

Of those 47.5 million overnight stays, the lion's share, 84%, were made in July and August, and in those two months, Croatia registered 5.2 million holidaymakers.

Addressing the news conference, Minister Brnjac thanked the stakeholders and businesses in the tourism sector for those results.

"Clearly, nobody finds this situation easy, however, the sector has shown that it has been well prepared and we thank everyone for these results," she said.

The minister says that the government adopted the right measures in a timely fashion to help keep jobs and liquidity in this industry.

The gradual reopening of the borders paved the way for the arrival of tourists, and the results are better than expected in all types of tourist accommodation, she added.

"Nautical tourism is one of the segments that has fared well, and currently there are about 300 mega-yachts in Croatia. We hope that this good season will continue."

Government assistance schemes for the tourism and hospitality industry will be in effect until the end of this year to help the sector make good preparations for 2021, and the minister recalls that part of the money will be ensured from the European Union's funds.

She announced the preparation of a strategy for sustainable tourism with the engagement of experts in drawing up the document.

About 200,000 tourists currently vacationing

HTZ director Stanicic said that about 200,000 tourists were currently vacationing in Croatia.

He said that HTZ campaigns on social networks had registered hundreds of millions of visits.

Stanicic also commented on some negative campaigns on foreign markets that were unfavorable for Croatia.

We tried to respond to that "with certain positive and fact-based messages," he said.

When asked about the financial effects of the tourist turnover, Stanicic said that one should wait for the end of the year.

The director of the Croatian Association of Tourism (HUT), Veljko Ostojic, said that given the circumstances, the results in the sector were the best possible.

In hotels, overnight stays in the first eight months were at 30.4% of the levels in the corresponding period last year, Ostojic said, warning that the financial effects would be even lower.

Ostojic and the head of the Association of the Croatian Travel Agencies (UHPA), Tomislav Fain, agreed that the assistance provided by the government had been essential to keep the sector in motion.

The head of the association of marinas within the Croatian Chamber of Commerce (HGK), Sean Lisjak, told the news conference that marinas were satisfied with this year's results.

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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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