Wednesday, 17 August 2022

How Will Mystery Shoppers Protect Croatian Consumers?

August the 17th, 2022 - Just how will mystery shoppers work to protect Croatian consumers and their rights out in the field as we edge ever closer to Eurozone accession?

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, although it was said that the application would be finished by now, that has unfortunately failed to happen, meaning that the mystery shoppers haven't yet gone out into action in the country's stores.

It was also explained how these mystery shoppers will monitor the entire process of price alterations as we approach Eurozone entry and work to protect Croatian consumers.

"Each mystery shopper will keep their eye on twenty different products, they'll be the exact same products every month being sold by the same retailers or service providers. It must be checked whether the price is stated in accordance with the law. For now, we're only listing prices in kuna, because the obligation to declare prices in both kuna and euros will only been mandatory as of September the 5th, 2022. Then, we'll start checking whether the price is expressed in kuna and euros, whether there's a fixed exchange rate being used, and whether or not it's being calculated correctly. Given that the prices must be expressed to two decimal places, we have to make sure that there's no rounding up of the figures going on,'' said the president of the Association for Consumer Protection.

She also said that it is to be assumed that the rounding up of prices will also occur in Croatia if it happened in Italy, Slovenia and Austria as well.

''Croatia isn't going to be an exception, given that the country even worse than those countries in terms of legal regulation. We'll probably have to cope with that too. Since there is a lot of talk about it, I expect that it won't occur on such a large scale, that we'll manage to control it, so traders will probably also be aware that they should show the correct prices. If they start rounding up, we'll report it," she warned.

Where should Croatian consumers exercise the most care? In all situations, the president of the aforementioned association believes.

"We expect that it will be very difficult for customers in the beginning. It will be especially difficult in the period from New Year to January the 14th, 2023, when it will be possible to pay in both currencies, and merchants must only return euros. It's there where problems will occur because people will pay for items in kuna and receive euros in return. We're warning people that they should react to any issues with that right there, before they move away from the cash register," she said.

She noted that Croatian consumers must pay attention to the fact that merchants and service providers have a price list with prices in kuna and euros available to them.

She assessed the reduction of VAT on food as a bad decision by the Croatian Government.

"The opposite has now happened, items haven't become cheaper, they've become significantly more expensive. If the government had limited the prices and used that money to subsidise retailers and producers, then consumers would have benefited," the president of the Association for Consumer Protection believes.

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated lifestyle section.

Thursday, 16 June 2022

Ongoing Inflation Continuing to Significantly Alter Croatian Price Lists

June the 16th, 2022 - Ongoing inflation is continuing to force Croatian price lists to alter more and more frequently, with some very simple services now significantly more expensive than they were this time last year.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, the increase in prices across all fields owing to inflation has particularly affected Croatian islanders, and even on the gorgeous Central Dalmatian island of Korcula, company owners had to adjust their business to the recent price increases, writes HRT. As costs increase, it's now questionable how altering Croatian price lists will affect the upcoming height of the summer tourist season.

New Croatian price lists - new measures. The recent price increases have greatly affected all of the island of Korcula's small business owners, and they've had to adjust their business to this new and rapidly changing situation.

“Some artisans and small business owners had to increase their prices, some had to lay off workers, some were thinking about it. Everything is difficult, materials have become more expensive, fuel has become more expensive, now electricity also has, and what's worse, we don't know how it's going to go on like this and to what extent it will continue,'' pointed out Mihovil Depolo, President of the Korcula-Lastovo Association of Craftsmen.

Most craftsmen from this particular island have changed their price lists in line with rising costs, meaning that their prices, in order for their businesses to survive, are higher almost all over.

"We were forced to raise our ice cream prices, and a scoop of ice cream went from 12 kuna to 15 kuna, maybe it's symbolic as it's a mere three kuna, but it means a lot to us because looking at the example of a litre of milk I need to make the ice cream, well... I can't find that for under nine kuna,'' said Korcula pastry chef Jagoda Milina.

"We've increased our prices a little, we haven't done it by much, ten kuna, so enough cover this increase in fuel prices because fuel has risen by 50 percent when compared to last year," said the president of the Korcula Barcarioli, Stipe Separovic. However, it seems that tourists are also aware of the situation, and aren't too bothered about the altering of Croatian price lists on the island.

"It's not extremely expensive, it's kind of in our country, in big centres it's always a little more expensive, but it isn't too expensive for us. It's okay,'' said Marius from Lithuania.

“I love the grocery stores here, I think the prices are fair, just like when we eat out,” added Jessica from Florida.

"It's similar to some larger cities, except that in restaurants I'd say that the prices may be a little higher, but let's say in stores it's similar, more or less," believes Aleksandar from Serbia.

The global coronavirus pandemic is now finally behind us and a thing of the past, but with new price increases, it seems that another uncertain summer tourist season awaits small business owners and artisans on the islands.

For more, check out our business section.

Tuesday, 17 May 2022

Split Confectioner Raises Prices, Admits Croats Won't Afford Them

May the 17th, 2022 - Inflation is continuing to place proverbial vices in the pockets of Croatia's residents, with just about every possible item from fuel to lettuce at the market having seen considerable price hikes. One Split confectioner claims that they're more than aware that locals won't be able to afford their products, but that they ''need to survive somehow''.

The criticism of one Split confectioner has been loud, as their prices are deemed extortionate to the local Croatian pocket. They have been accused of catering only to the typically deeper pockets of foreign visitors, but they have defended themselves and challenged all those who have an issue with the prices to go ahead and try to open a shop of their own, so that they might feel on their own skin how difficult it is.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, recently, something as apparently mundane as the prices of ice cream in the very centre of Split was written about rather extensively. Those prices ranged from 10 to a maximum of 15 kuna, which is twice as much as it was seven years ago. Many wrote in their comments that such figures were conditioned by the increasingly challenging and difficult market, higher purchasing costs for ingredients, water and electricity, as well as high rental costs, emphasising that "those in the hospitality industry also need to try and survive".

Slobodna Dalmacija writes that in the meantime, three more confectioneries have opened in the centre of Split, and that one Split confectioner, they recorded the most expensive scoop of ice cream offered so far in the city under Marjan. From 13 kuna for a small portion and 18 kuna for a large portion in a cup with various toppings included.

As for ordinary scoops of ice cream, there's apparently a new record holder in Split as well. This is the Slovenian franchise Aroma, where you will pay 16 kuna for their refreshing pleasure made without any gluten, artificial flavourso or flavour enhancers.

"We're aware that our prices aren't going to be being paid by Croats. But, what can you do, tourists are ready to pay for it,'' one smiling saleswoman explained to the journalists from Slobodna Dalmacija.

It's now certain that the (over) inflated rental prices (from which a mere handful profit, and most citizens of Split simply can't afford, for example, a scoop of ice cream) dictate that you'll now spend almost 50 kuna for three scoops of ice cream, and that if this is a path they really want to go down, those in the catering and hospitality sector, and the likes of this Split confectioner, should settle for a winter period in which business turnover in ice cream parlors is almost non-existent.

For more, make sure to check out our business section.

Saturday, 14 May 2022

Despite General Uncertainty, Spending in Croatia is 37% Higher Than Last Year

May 14, 2022 - In the last week of April, the spending in Croatia was 37% higher than last year, attributing this trend to the consequences of rising prices and the creation of stocks.

How is it possible that in a situation of general uncertainty caused by global geopolitical tensions, as well as the consequences of the pandemic, Croatia is facing the phenomenon of an explosion of fiscal accounts? Jutarnji List reports that data from the Tax Administration of the Ministry of Finance show that from April 25 to May 1 this year, compared to the same period in 2021, the number of fiscal accounts increased by a very high 24 percent, while the total fiscal accounts increased by 37 percent.

It is interesting that in the activity of providing accommodation and food preparation in the same compared week, the number of bills increased by an enormous 88 percent, while the number of bills was as high as 167 percent. Does this mean that Croatian citizens and tourists suddenly spend a lot more than they spent last year, or is it something else that should not be fueled by unjustified and potentially dangerous optimism?

Last year, when the inflationary trend began, Jutarnji List's analysis warned that the faster growth of the total amount of issued invoices in relation to the number of issued invoices probably indicates an acceleration of price growth.

Given that this year's theory seems to have proved correct, the fact that the number of accounts grew by 24 percent and the total amount spent on these accounts by 37 percent means that inflation has made a very significant contribution to the growth of fiscal accounts. However, the overall increase in the number of fiscal accounts of 24 percent is so large that we are certainly witnessing a very significant increase in spending.

As the real tourist season has not yet started, the growth in the number of fiscal accounts is most likely due to the robust growth of domestic demand. Why Croatian citizens choose to spend extravagantly at an uncertain moment in world history is difficult to assess without more detailed statistical insights into what exactly they paid, but it may be an attempt to spend before possible deeper problems begin. But it may also be simply a matter of swollen consumer confidence, regardless of all potential security and economic threats, writes Jutarnji List journalist Gojko Drljaca.

For more, check out our business section.

Tuesday, 10 May 2022

Prices for Croatian Apartments and Hotels Shoot Up in Post-Pandemic Surge

May the 10th, 2022 - Prices for hotels and Croatian apartments have shot up all along the Adriatic coast in a post-pandemic boom of sorts following two very troubled years. 

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, every year along the Croatian coast there are more and more expensive hotels, private apartments, restaurants and less and less places available for the average Croatian pocket. The global coronavirus pandemic hasn't worked to change that either, meaning that this year's prices for Croatian apartments, hotels and other items will surprise many, reports Vecernji list.

The past two summer tourist seasons have grown minimally due to reduced demand, and this summer staying in some hotels during the very height of the summer season will be more expensive than usual, in some cases - by up to 50 percent.

''Yes, this year we're witnessing a significant increase in the prices of accommodation and catering and hospitality facilities. Analyses have shown that accommodation in Adriatic hotels and campsites has risen by an average of 20 to 25 percent compared to last year, and due to significantly increased demand and a good pace of reservations for the main summer season, prices will rise to 50 percent in exceptional cases,'' said consultant Sanja Cizmar, the director of 505 conferences.

Rising inflation and the growth of almost all input costs, from food to energy and labour costs, haven't really left hosts with much room for maneuver. Risks are generally higher in facilities with more complex services, especially when food is included, so corrections have generally been more abrupt in hotels than they have been Croatian apartments and other such private facilities.

"The hotel and tourism sector in Croatia isn't alone when it comes to the raising of prices. Similar trends are present across most Mediterranean countries, so I don't believe that price positioning here in Croatia will stand out significantly from other destinations in the Mediterranean. Ultimately, due to the general wave of rising prices for all types of goods and services, consumers expect higher prices now. However, it will be an art to follow market trends and actively adjust our prices accordingly in order to maintain competitiveness,'' pointed out Cizmar.

It remains to be seen whether this increase in prices will end up putting Croatian residents off from visiting their own coastline. Nedo Pinezic, a consultant specialising in family accommodation, weighed in on the topic:

"Increases in prices have been the highest in those facilities that haven't touched their prices at all in the past two years. We're lucky that we do have a range for every pocket, from premium and standard to low budget offers,'' stated Pinezic, who added that prices are growing further as the main part of the summer tourist season approaches.

Prices are currently thirty percent lower than they will be from July onwards, and in the peak two or three summer weeks, we'll probably witness additional price increases. For example, nights spent in three-star Croatian apartments will now cost 110 to 130 euros, and in the very height of the season, probably well above that. Along parts of the coast with a higher concentration of lower quality facilities, one can, of course, get by a bit more favourably.

Although there is practically no Riviera without at least one de luxe hotel, the rule is that it is easier to find a zone of cheaper prices that goes down the coast to the south. For example, on the Crikvenica Riviera, some islands, as well as in smaller places in the Makarska area, where guests from Bosnia and Herzegovina with generally lower purchasing power tend to gravitate en masse. There are many affordable Croatian apartments dotted throughout Istria.

"Reservations are coming in again after the stalemate due to the Ukraine-Russia war, but the south of the country is still the weakest. For Brac, Korcula, the Makarska Riviera etc there's currently a discount of approximately 30 percent for certain periods throughout the tourist season. For stays in May there are special prices along the coast. Most guests coming from other parts of Croatia are the ones who typically want to see if there are any discounts. But it's all relative,'' stated Dalibor Canaglic, the product manager of Palma Travel.

All in all, wherever you go in Croatia, you will almost always need at least a few hundred kuna more for accommodation than you would have needed last year.

For more, check out our travel section.

Wednesday, 16 March 2022

February Inflation Of 6.3% Highest Since August 2008

ZAGREB, 16 March 2022 - In February 2022, compared to February 2021, the prices of goods and services for personal consumption increased by 6.3%, the most since August 2008, when annual inflation was 7.1%, the Croatian Bureau of Statistics said on Wednesday.

In February 2022 inflation continued to increase. In January 2022 it went up by 5.7% on the annual level, in December 2021 by 5.5%, in November by 4.8%, in October by 3.8%, and in September by 3.3%. The first major inflation increase last year was recorded in April (+2.1%).

In February 2022, compared to January 2022, the prices of goods and services for personal consumption, measured by the consumer price index, increased by 0.9% on average, while on the annual average they increased by 3.6%.

At the annual level, the highest increase on average in consumer prices was recorded in Transport, of 10.7%, Food and non-alcoholic beverages, of 10%, Furnishings, household equipment and routine household maintenance, of 6.5%, Alcoholic beverages and tobacco, of 6.4%, Restaurants and hotels, of 6.2%, Recreation and culture, of 4%, Clothing and footwear, of 3.5%, Miscellaneous goods and services, of 3.4%, and Housing, water, electricity, gas and other fuels, of 3.3%.

The largest contribution to the growth rate of the annual index came from Food and non-alcoholic beverages (+2.59 percentage points), Transport (+1.57 percentage points), Housing, water, electricity, gas and other fuels (+0.56 percentage points).

At the monthly level, the highest increase on average in consumer prices was recorded in Clothing and footwear, of 3%, Furnishings, household equipment and routine household maintenance, of 1.9%, Transport, of 1.6%, Recreation and culture, of 1.5%, Restaurants and hotels, of 1.3%, Housing, water, electricity, gas and other fuels, of 0.5%, and Food and non-alcoholic beverages, of 0.4%.


Business: For more, check out our business section.

Friday, 1 October 2021

Arable Land Prices Increase by HRK 746 per Hectare on the Year

ZAGREB, 1 Oct 2021 - The average price of arable land in Croatia in 2020 amounted to HRK 25,930 per hectare, which is HRK 746 more than in 2019, the Croatian Bureau of Statistics (DZS) reported on Friday.

The statistics indicate that in 2020 the average price of meadows increased by HRK 3,326 to HRK 17,289 per hectare and of pastures by HRK 2,193 to HRK 15,651 per hectare.

In the Pannonian Croatia, the average price of arable land purchased in 2020 was HRK 26,416 per hectare, of meadows HRK 18,868 per hectare and of pastures HRK 10,720 per hectare.

The average price of arable land along the Adriatic coast was HRK 33,640 per hectare, of meadows HRK 13,957 per hectare and of pastures HRK 20,423 per hectare.

In northern Croatia, the average price of arable land was HRK 22,518 per hectare, the average price for meadows was HRK 18,981 per hectare and for pastures HRK 16,986 per hectare.

The DZS notes that its data is based on Tax Administration data on farmland purchases.

(€1 = HRK 7.491)

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Thursday, 4 June 2020

Prices This Tourism Season May Fall In Dalmatia, Steady In Northern Adriatic

June 4, 2020 — Will the cost of hospitality services in Croatia drop because of the coronavirus crisis?

Many hotels are still closed in early June, and restaurant terraces are mostly empty, according to Zadarski List. Yet there are no discounts, and prices remain fixed. This year there is no overbooking, but there is almost no collapse in accommodation prices. What gives? The director of Lošinj's Tourism Board Dalibor Cvitković offered an explanation.

"The recommendations at our destination are that there is no need to lower prices compared to the same period last year, but to provide additional services, such as parking or something similar," he said. "There will be offers, like six days plus one gratis, or three people, then the fourth gratis, and the tourist board will offer a free ferry in September, but there is no collective reduction of prices."

Cvitković said Lošinj keeps prices steady because service is at a high level. Bookings are at 30 to 40 percent of last year's figures.

"We are waiting for June 15, it is our D-day because the German government has recommended to its citizens not to go anywhere until then, and the Germans are our main market," he said.

The price of an apartment for four people on Lošinj in the peak season ranges from 80 to 100 euros, and for a hotel room, depending on the view and the hotel, between 150 and 200 euros. In other words, about the same as last year.

In Split, prices range from HRK 600 to HRK 4,000 per night. In case you book an apartment for tonight, for two adults and two children in Crikvenica, in a hotel it will cost you around HRK 1,400 and in family accommodation from HRK 500 to HRK 2,000.

Lošinj and other destinations think September can offer a bounce-back, with the pandemic already waning a few months and restrictions completely eased.

The president of the Family Tourism Association at the Croatian Chamber of Commerce, Martina Nimac Kalcina, said that there are price reductions, but it depends in which parts of Croatia. Maybe not in Istria and on Lošinj, but Croatia has a sea all the way to Dubrovnik.

Prices across the board are lower about 15 percent, she said, but the distribution isn't even. Istria's prices have barely fallen, while other parts of Croatia's coast have seen dips of around 20 percent.

"Owners of luxury villas are mostly reluctant to lower prices, except as discounts as part of certain promotions," Nimac Kalcina said. "Domestic guests, if they come directly to the owner of the facility, can certainly lower the price, considering that there will be unfilled facilities this year."

She predicted domestic guests could easily find available accommodation at prices 50 percent lower than last year.

Nedo Pinezić, a well-known tourist expert and employee, especially of family accommodation, said supply and demand dictate prices, not a mutual agreement among all accommodation owners. This oscillation started in 2016, as demand rose faster than supply, leading to a jump in prices.

Stagnation settled in last year, in the first half of July, Pinezić said, leading to a chain reaction of price cuts across the market. Most cuts start with the highest-end accommodations and trickle down. Pinezić called it the "greatest opportunity for discounts."

"In the corona season of 2020, we still don’t know what will happen to demand or prices," he said. "For now, we speculate that July, August and September will be "peaceful months" without the spread of the infection and that summer trips to the sea will be available. However, this summer there will be no guests from overseas destinations, nor those who will not be able to get a vacation, nor those who are in some way affected by the corona and post-corona crisis.

"The volume of demand will decrease, especially from more potent markets, which will increase the pressure to lower prices," he concluded.

Tuesday, 6 August 2019

Markets on Coast Twice as Expensive as Those in Continental Croatia?

As Novac writes on the 6th of August, 2019, yet another tourist season is in full swing, and while some of Croatia's private renters are struggling with filling their empty beds, certain tourists continue to resent the high prices of some rather basic services.

Consequently, Glas Slavonije researched and compared the prices of fruits and vegetables available on five markets along the Adriatic coast with the prices pointed out by producers and sellers at the main market in Osijek, far from the sea in Eastern Croatia. The differences are enormous, with prices for the same product in certain places up to 100 percent more expensive.

On Istrian markets, the prices of a dozen ingredients on the markets of Pula and Poreč were compared with those in Osijek. In Pula, you'll need to allocate 12 kuna for a kilogram of nectarines, and you will pay the half the price, 6 kuna, for the exact same amount in Osijek. For tomatoes, the difference is even greater, in Pula, one kilogram costs 22 kuna, while in Osijek, the same amount costs 10 kuna and similar to the cost of pears, which in this coastal town cost 20 kuna, compared to 8 kuna in Slavonia.

You won't manage to save anything on the markets of Poreč, either, where a pound of carrots costs 15 kuna, and in Osijek you will pay between 8 and 10 kuna for the same amount, it's the same situation with peppers, for which it is necessary to allocate 20 kuna in Poreč and 12 kuna in Osijek.

You can find your favorite summer fruit, watermelon, on Poreč market for six to eight kuna per kilo, while in Osijek, you'll spend half as much or find it for even less, since you will only need to spend about 3 kuna for the same amount.

Interestingly, the price of zucchini is the same in both of these cities in Croatia and amounts to 10 kuna, but the price of young potatoes is twice as expensive in Poreč and costs between 8 and 10 kuna per kilo, while in Osijek it costs 4 or 5 kuna, depending of course on the producer. There is a drastic difference in the price of plums, which are offered on Poreč market for 16 kuna per kilogram, while in Osijek, you can easily find the exact same amount for 3 or at most 5 kuna.

In Dubrovnik, one producer complained that they were the most expensive "market" in the whole of Croatia. It is difficult not to become irritated by the general cost of basic things in the city under the famous Mt. Srđ, where you will need to fork out as much a 25 kuna per kilo for pears, 40 kuna for grapes (both white and black), onions, peppers, tomatoes, lettuce, and even plums cost 20 kuna, and for garlic and legumes, you'll likely spend about 40 kuna per kilo. A truly incomprehensible price difference.

You can find a slightly more acceptable set of prices on Split's market, where a kilogram of tomatoes or peppers costs up to 15 kuna per kilogram, the price of carrots is equal to that of those sold on Osijek's market, ie, from 8 kuna to 10 kuna, and when it comes to nectarines, the price ranges from 8 to as much as 16 kuna per kilogram.

You'll pay almost double for pears and nectarines in Zadar than you will on Osijek's market, where both fruits cost 15 kuna per kilo, it's the same situation with plums at a price of 10 kuna, while the ''twice the price'' trend is rounded off with watermelons with a price of 6 kuna, versus Osijek's 3 kuna per kilogram.

However, you will be better off in Zadar if you're buying zucchini and tomatoes, which you can find for 5 or 6 kuna per kilo. The coastal price is also similar for pears, which in most coastal cities cost 15 kuna a kilo, and another summer favourite, apricots, are also twice as expensive in Zadar than they are in Osijek - costing 20 kuna per kilo. There is a big difference in Zadar's offer of corn, which costs 4 kuna a piece, and the one on the Osijek market, costing only 2 kuna.

Since January the 1st, 2019, VAT on fruit, vegetables, meat and fish in Croatia has been reduced, but data from the Central Bureau of Statistics in the months that followed showed that this did not generally affect the prices of these products for the end buyer, and some prices even went up. 

Make sure to follow our dedicated lifestyle page for much more.

Friday, 26 July 2019

Prices on Croatian Coast Leaving Bitter Taste in Mouths of Tourists

The Croatian coast can be an expensive place to go on holiday, and the islands tend to be even more pricey. That isn't always the case and there are very many exceptions, even in the likes of Dubrovnik, despite the fact that the media constantly wants to ignore that fact.

That being said, if you want to visit islands like Hvar, known as Croatia's premier island, you're likely going to have to cough up a few more kuna for what you get. It's all the rage now to take photos of your receipts from cafes, bars and restaurants and upload them to Facebook and other social networking sites, to name and shame expensive cafes and warn your friends off them, but sometimes also to celebrate a surprisingly low price.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 26th of July, 2019, a simple espresso for 32 kuna, ćevapi for 105 kuna, and a kebab for 80 kuna. These are just some of the rather ridiculous prices on the Croatian coast that have been leaving a somewhat bitter taste in the mouths of tourists recently. The issue doesn't affect foreign tourists with a foreign income as much, as these prices are similar to what they'd pay at home, especially if they come from Western European countries such as the UK, France and Germany, but for Croatian tourists, 50 kuna for a very basic slice of pizza is a bit of an unjustifiable stretch.

RTL has thus asked the viewers to send them photos of the receipts they've been given from cafes, bars and restaurants highlighting the prices that they consider to be a bit ''exaggerated''.

The viewers of RTL Direkt on the Croatian coast did some digging, and they reported: grilled squid for 100 kuna, half a litre of Croatian draught beer for 31 kuna, half a litre of coca-cola from a store for 26 kuna, and a piece of cake for 54 kuna. A small pizza in the very centre of Split costs 90 kuna.

Antonija is from Zagreb and she's currently spending the summer in Split, her observations were as follows: "Coffee is here too expensive, about 20 kuna, that's too much. The bakery products are 5 kuna more expensive than they are in Zagreb, which is a bit weird, but maybe it's normal here.''

How do you find the prices on the Croatian coast and the Croatian islands? If you have had any shocks, both pleasant and otherwise, let us know!

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