Tuesday, 17 August 2021

Could Zrmanja River Cruises Bring Tourism and Life to Obrovac Area?

August the 17th, 2021 - Could Zrmanja river cruises be the ideal way to draw foreign visitors to this beautiful but deeply neglected part of Dalmatia, and even provide jobs to the native population and encourage them to stay?

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Marta Duic writes, RiverZ could breathe life into this part of Dalmatia with Zrmanja river cruises. Marko Dobric is a professor of geography at a local school in Obrovac and he has been thinking for years about bringing untouched nature closer to tourists, and this year, in collaboration with a former student, that very idea was put into practice.

"A couple of years ago, a promenade was built along the Zrmanja, and as we passed it, we wondered - why just walk along this, and not take a boat? The Zrmanja river is a real beauty and although everything we've got going on here is still very much in its infancy, this destination has potential.

My former student, Joso Bogatic, is the owner of RiverZ and with him I realised the idea of ​​boats and excursions on the Zrmanja, including Zrmanja river cruises. I've been a teacher at the school here for 18 years, and Obrovac and the Zrmanja are insufficiently commercialised. It's has untapped potential and we saw an opportunity in that. The starting point of our route is Obrovac, it is six kilometres to the waterfall and 11 kilometres to the mouth,'' pointed out Dobric, noting that he believes that projects and ideas like this can revive the local area.

Local government support

This is supported by the fact that Obrovac is slowly moving forward with apartments, private camps have been opened, the offer is expanding, and the local government welcomes entrepreneurial projects, especially those that aim to keep young people in the area and help develop the general destination.

RiverZ has linked up with travel agencies and their guests are mostly European guests - from Brits and Czechs to Poles. Interest in riding along the Zrmanja river is growing every day, and Dobric revealed that they have announcements of Croatian guests and teambuilding activities for September and October.

“Gliding isn't allowed by law on the Zrmanja, so we decided on another form of sailing along it so that tourists can enjoy the beauty of the river. If you rent a boat for the whole day, you can take it to the sea and to hidden beaches that aren't easily accessible from the coast. Our boats are made of bioplastics, we also wanted them to be electrically powered, but we'll still have to wait two years for that,'' explained Marko Dobric.

In addition to Bogatic and Dobric, some other former and current students are included in the Zrmanja river cruises story, and they've all passed their ship management exams. They currently have four skippers available to hire as needed, and boats can be chartered for three hours or all day.

Obrovac and Zrmanja started with this tourist story and the development of adventure tourism back in June and invested 110,000 kuna into it, more precisely 55,000 kuna per boat. Although the original plan was four ships, due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, they decided to play it safe, but as interest grows, they're already spreading their story in time for next season, and they plan to apply for EU funds.

Sustainability as an imperative

"We want to keep young people in this area and that is one of our main goals. If the season continues and the interest is as before, we'll be at 70 percent of our investment. We have two more boats planned for next season, and our final target is eight boats.

Our goal isn't mass tourism, we prefer an individual approach and we want the story of Zrmanja to remain in focus and be in harmony with nature and sustainable development,'' claimed Dobric. By the way, for years he has been organising an action of cleaning the Zrmanja river, so in this tourist story he wants ecology to be the foundation.

"When they come, all visitors are positively surprised because it's rare to have a river and a mountain and the sea, and all the major cities on the coast are just an hour by car away. This is what we need to take advantage of this and offer young people a job. This isn't just about tourism, but also the development of entrepreneurship, agriculture and the whole of Obrovac,'' concluded Marko Dobric.

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Saturday, 18 January 2020

Hotel Zrmanja in Obrovac For Sale For Just One Kuna

Hotel Zrmanja in Obrovac is a small hotel with 27 rooms and 2 apartments, it was last renovated twelve years ago.

As Marija Crnjak/Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 18th of January, 2020, after nobody had volunteered for the purchase of Hotel Zrmanja in Obrovac in the three rounds of public auction, on January the 14th, the fourth round of the auction started, with a starting price of only one kuna, but this time the Town of Obrovac, which will participate in the bidding, is ready to offer up to 2 million kuna for the facility.

It is a small hotel that at one time had three stars, 27 rooms and 2 apartments, located on the bank of the river Zrmanja, in the very centre of Obrovac. The total area of ​​the building is 1508 square metres, it is on three floors, and it had a catering facility with a terrace, and even a conference room for about 80 people.

The facility was last renovated by a company called Zrmanja Velebit back in 2008, and since the hotel was unprofitable, the first listings for its sale and conversion began shortly afterwards, with one of the options being the opening a retirement home instead. The property was sold for 10 million kuna back in 2011 via classified ads. Back in 2017, the Zrmanja Velebit company ended up in bankruptcy, and the hotel ended up in a Fina auction.

The estimated value of Hotel Zrmanja stands at 6.3 million kuna, it was sold in the first round at an initial price of three quarters of the established value, which was 4.7 million kuna. At the second auction at the end of November 2019, the price dropped to 1.59 million kuna, in the third round it was selling for 1.6 million kuna, but nobody bidded.

The tender for this round is announced for March the 25th and will last until April the 7th, and in all likelihood one of the competitors will be the Town of Obrovac. According to the decision of the Town Council, Obrovac gave consent to Mayor Anto Župan to participate in the bidding process on behalf of the Town of Obrovac for the purchase of the former hotel. The mayor has also been authorised to offer a purchase price up to a maximum of 2 million kuna.

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Tuesday, 22 January 2019

Umag, Belišće, Vrlika and Obrovac Ensure Free Kindergarten

Four Croatian cities are trying to make it easier at least financially for parents when it comes to caring for their children. Umag, Belišće, Vrlika and Obrovac are the only Croatian towns to ensure free kindergarten for kids, removing at least one worry from the heads of their parents.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 21st of January, 2019, in addition to employment, decent salaries and a resolved housing issue for young families, a key prerequisite for changing the negative demographic picture in the Republic of Croatia is the development of a network of nurseries and kindergartens which are made readily available to parents in need of them.

The Croatian towns in which parents, when it comes to kindergartens, have at least the financial side of things taken care of for them are Umag, Belišće, Vrlika and Obrovac. These towns are, as previously mentioned, the only four towns in the whole of Croatia that provide free kindergartens for all their children, as was reported by the portal Gradonacelnik.hr.

Until just a few days ago, there were only three towns offering such measures - Umag, Vrlika and Obrovac, and now they have been joined by Belišće, whose administration, headed by Dinka Burić, recently lowered the prices of kindergartens from 410 to 300 kuna. Upon the further analysis of budget items and revenues, they have since realised that they can provide an additional 700,000 kuna, giving parents in the area completely free kindergartens for their kids.

Although a formal decision is still yet to be made on the 28th of January, the move has been effective since January the 1st, meaning that the parents who have children needing kindergartens in Belišće no longer have to think about payments of any kind.

Thanks to European Unoon tenders and intensified local self-government activities in project preparation, nearly 200 new kindergartens are being prepared or constructed in their various different stages across the Republic of Croatia, with lack of capacity and the unavailability of accommodation becoming less and less of a problem.

Give our dedicated lifestyle  page a follow for more on Croatia's demographic problem, and to stay up to date with other Croatian towns and cities which follow in the footsteps of Umag, Obrovac, Vrlika and Belišće.

Monday, 14 August 2017

Fire Breaks out Near Obrovac

The fire has caught one home and several explosions have been heard.