Saturday, 20 February 2021

Could Extreme Croatian South's Tourism Still Grow Despite Lack of Flights?

February the 20th, 2021 - Could tourism in the extreme Croatian south grow despite the ongoing issues with leisure travel and the lack of flights? The extreme Croatian south remains, until Peljesac bridge is completed, cut off from the rest of the country by Neum, Bosnia and Herzegovina's only coastline, and as such has always been, primarily, a flight destination.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Suzana Varosanec writes, when it comes to tourist accommodation in super-luxury villas, after almost experiencing none of the coronavirus crisis last year, the forecasts are now even better, and the Zadar agency Croatia Luxury Rent (CLR), one of the strongest players in the market with about 420 villas across the Adriatic, is predicting further growth the number of arrivals of guests with higher purchasing power.

This started happening last summer: such guests could not travel to their usual more distant destinations, so they decided to spend their summer holidays in various destinations across Istria, Kvarner and Dalmatia.

A kind of acceleration in the number of reservations is expected during the spring, and guests are still being cautious, according to the owner and director of CLR Josip Stulic, in waiting for travel conditions and border regimes to be more clearly defined, ie an improvement in the overall epidemiological situation. He believes that the best filled accommodation and holiday homes will be in the Primorje-Gorski Kotar and Istria counties, then Zadar, Sibenik-Knin County and finally Split-Dalmatia County.

"The extreme Croatian south, at least within the context of the total number of arrivals in the coming season, should gradually grow and certainly will not fail at the level of private accommodation, although it is evident that destinations like Dubrovnik have attracted guests who arrive by air for years now, and their numbers will be significantly less in the coming years.

Private accommodation, along with nautical tourism and camps, is the foundation that should be the backbone of success in the coming seasons in terms of income and the number of arrivals. Unfortunately, for some time yet, we won't be enriched all that much by the arrival of airline tourists, which will be present in the form of stagnation not only in our country but also globally, but because of that, the number of places hosting guests who drive here along our coast will grow,'' explained Stulic.

With last year's occupancy rate of 86 percent of CLR and following 2020's realisation of any domestic tourism at all, it is predicted that the tourist season for 2021 should be more successful than expected.

Croatia's great advantage as a destination is its geographical position, which, as he pointed out, should lead to good results in the future, assuming that the situation with the coronavirus will stabilise in the coming months, primarily due to the ongoing vaccination process across the globe.

"Looking at the aforementioned fact that Croatia is brilliantly positioned and extremely well connected with emitting markets within the region, it is to be expected that this information will become crucial. All of the above should happen if there are no unforeseen geopolitical events that could change it,'' stated Josip Stulic.

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Tuesday, 26 January 2021

Expert Predicts First Tourist Wave in May, Central and Southern Dalmatia with Hardest Recovery

January 26, 2021 – Siniša Topalović, a tourism consultant, spoke for HTV's Studio 4 show about why it is illusory to expect a pre-season, why Central and Southern Dalmatia will have the most challenging recovery, and where the future of Croatian tourism lies.

In the previous years, the media would already have been full of articles about preparing for the tourist season. Croatia has the largest share of tourism revenues in GDP in Europe, which reaches almost 20 percent of GDP and employs 11 percent of people. During the coronavirus crisis, the state still has high expectations, as it is an important source of tax revenue for it. However, tourism workers mostly complain and have black forecasts.

'The further north we go, the better tourism results'

When asked about official estimates that say Croatia could expect 60 percent of the income from tourism realized in 2019 this year, Topalović said that he believes that such an expectation is still too optimistic according to financial criteria.

"Between 60 and 70 percent of the physical traffic, we had in 2019 is achievable this year. If we talked about 70 percent of overnight stays and arrivals, everyone would sign that result at the moment. Still, when we talk realistically about the financial performance, it is probably about 50 to 60 percent of income," says Topalović, tourism consultant at Horwath HTL.

He added that Croatia does not expect an "even" recovery of tourism, but the results will vary geographically.

"As last year showed, the further north we go along the coast, the better our result is. The reason for this is the geographical position of Croatia. We were lucky that Istria, Kvarner, and the northern Dalmatian counties have relatively good access by road, and people took advantage of that. From Split to the south, the Makarska Riviera, and towards Dubrovnik will continue to have a more difficult situation this year, because the air connection will still not recover," explains Topalović.

He assessed the actions of the state during the pandemic as good and timely.

"Essentially, in 2020, the state reacted well in terms of maintaining employment in the tourism sector. Job-saving measures came relatively quickly, halting a potential wave of layoffs in the hotel industry. Both the management and the staff were protected, and there were no excessive losses. If the measures are extended until April, they should be sufficient to preserve the stability of the tourism sector," says Topalović.

'Now is the time to restructure Croatian tourism'

He says the expectation of a wave of tourists during the Easter holidays as in previous years in these conditions is illusory. Easter comes earlier this year, he says, so traditionally, the pre-season would be weak. But with COVID this year, there shouldn't be pre-season at all. The first wave of tourists is expected during May, and more intense from mid-June.

When choosing between quality and quantity, Croatian tourism has always gone in the direction of quantity. In 2020, it turned out to be the wrong direction.

"Last year denied populism, where the state, through tax systems and everything it did or did not do, allowed an uncontrolled increase in private accommodation of medium and lower quality. Those who were thinking a step further with quality accommodation this year scored and ensured their stability," says Topalović.

He added that quality has won this year, regardless of the type of accommodation, and thinks that this is a sign to those who decide and work on legislative frameworks that the state should encourage quality tourism with all its arsenal. Now is the time, he added, to restructure Croatian tourism.

"It's never a good time for us. When we grow, then we don't change anything because everything is good. When there is a crisis, we don't change anything because we need help. The crisis here has shown in which direction the market is going. Croatian tourism has no future if it stays on the concept of a low-budget mass market, which we currently have," explains Siniša Topalović.

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Thursday, 16 May 2019

American Falls from Dubrovnik City Walls, Transported to Hospital

As Dalmatinski Portal writes on the 16th of May, 2019, an American citizen has fallen from Dubrovnik's famed city walls and has been transported to hospital. The level of his sustained injuries are as yet unknown.

The incident occurred at around 16:00 today in Croatia's southernmost city of Dubrovnik, according to a report from liberoportal. Paramedics, the police and the fire brigade attended the scene. 

The individual in question survived the fall and as mentioned has since been taken to hospital to receive prompt medical attention.


Thursday, 16 May 2019

Construction of Luxury Aman Resort in Cavtat Beginning This Year

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 15th of May, 2019, the saga with the former Cavtat ''Macedonia'' hotel could well have a happy end, Večernji list reports.

The story dates back to the year 2013 when a group of investors announced that the currently abandoned and devastated site will the luxury Aman resort built there. Things were of course rather complicated, which isn't remotely unusual, and in the meantime the ownership structure of the investor's company has changed, but the key player, Greek entrepreneur Petros Stathis, didn't think for even one moment to walk away from the planned and desired Cavtat investment.

Passionate about business and temperamental like any real Greek, he is the owner of several Aman hotels and resorts groups, including Aman Sveti Stefan in neighbouring Montenegro and over in Venice. Business wise, he's mostly focused on the Balkan region. He is active in both banking and real estate world and was even the director of the famous Athenian Football Club AEK.

Unlike many before him, the industrious Petros Stathis refused to give up on Croatia, and at the end of last year, in Croatia's southernmost town in the extreme south of Dalmatia, he intensified his efforts to finally get the project of Cavtat's Aman resort off the ground. Otherwise, Aman is a chain of luxury hotels in 34 locations in as many as 21 countries, and the first resort under that name was opened back in 1988 in Phuket.

Such resorts usually have only fifty rooms, and each guest is matched by four employees on average. In an interview with Vecernji list, Petros Stathis revealed that things really are finally getting going, being ''raised from the dead'' as it were, and that such a resort in Croatia, more precisely in Cavtat, is no longer just fiction.

Soon, you're coming to Croatia, does this mean that the Aman project in Cavtat is definitely going ahead?

I can say with pleasure, that the short answer to your question is yes!

I'm thrilled to be able to say that we've made progress and we expect the machines to return to their location at the end of this year. Otherwise, it was never the case whether or not the Aman Cavtat project would be realised or not, but as I mentioned before, we had a complicated beginning and we had to overcome many obstacles.

It's great, of course, to return to Croatia, but this project, believe me, is more than me. This is also about Croatia and our partners and people from this community. Our focus has always been on the future and the realisation of the resort in Cavtat so that the country could further profit through the Aman project, just how other countries have benefited from it. Whenever we start these types of projects, we want to complete it according to the plan, but it's rare that all factors are in our full control.

A project of such magnitude requires coordination and cooperation. We made a huge effort and we were lucky that we had positive support from many sides. Soon it will be six years ago since the construction of the luxury Aman resort at the location of the former Macedonia hotel in Cavtat was first announced, the first machines even arrived at the construction site, but soon after that it all stopped.

What made everything slow down over the last few years?

It's no secret that this project has a complex history. Since taking ownership of the site, we have been working hard and working with all involved parties to resume construction.

Why is Croatia interesting for you to invest in and is it easier to invest in Montenegro, for example?

As an international company, we always look globally.

Each country has a different approach to investment and development. I personally love your beautiful country and its people. I have strong family ties in Croatia and I've spent many happy moments here. Croatia is a wonderful country, rich in history, with beautiful nature and positive people with a positive business attitude that reaches international business boundaries. But the potential offered by Cavtat is the most attractive part of this story.

This is a great opportunity for us and will have a major role in current investments in Croatia. Our goal for Croatia is the same as for any other country in which we've built and invested, which is to create the best we can and leave a lasting, positive legacy of which the country can be proud. The goal of this project is to build the most beautiful resort in Croatia, in keeping with the environment and local infrastructure.

This opportunity is huge and we hope to act as a catalyst for further internal development in Croatia, now and also in the future. It's incredible when you think that more foreign tourists visit Croatia than, for example, Australia. And this is almost double the annual level. Tourism makes up more than 12 percent of Croatian GDP, and this money goes to local wages, through the construction of hotels and other related projects.

This country has a talented, entrepreneurial workforce. Half of the population speak English, but Italian and German are also spoken. And just look at the innovations you're responsible for! Everything, from chemical pencils to parachutes, bulbs, MP3 code, all created by Croats. It's time for Croatia to become more significant on the world stage, and we want to play a key role in that story.

What is the value of the investment in Cavtat and when will the new hotel be completed?

This is a huge 50 million euro project that will build the best of the best in Cavtat. This is our approach to building every resort. To provide the best. We wouldn't even launch the project if we couldn't achieve the best possible. This isn't just a hotel. This is an investment in the development and the future of Cavtat, through which we'll support local development, jobs and employment. We'll start with the works at the end of this year, and later on we'll inform you about our opening plan.

How will the Aman resort in Cavtat look and what will it offer to its guests?

Personally, I can hardly wait to see how it will look once when it's done. This is a new level of design and unification with the landscape, and local, natural materials will be used. If you look at any other Aman resort we've built, including the ones in Montenegro in Sveti Stefan, you'll get a very good idea of ​​what Aman Cavtat will be like.

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Thursday, 2 May 2019

Balkan Pond Turtle Discovered Along Dubrovnik's River Ombla

As Morski writes on the 2nd of May, 2019, after a Balkan pond turtle (Mauremys rivulata) was found along Dubrovnik's Ombla river last year, the news was picked up by the expert public.

Zvonimir Pandža from Rijeka Dubrovačka (Dubrovnik River) found the turtle, and owing to his discovery, he confirmed concretely that the species is in actual fact not extinct in the Ombla river, which was the overall consensus until now. According to locals who live along the Ombla, Balkan pond turtles were a relatively common sight up until the Homeland War broke out. After the war ended, different interventions had been taking place in its natural habitat, which is why the turtles had unfortunately been brought to the brink of extinction over just a few years.

The next important step was to conduct a survey to determine whether or not there were still any individual Balkan pond turtles living in and along Dubrovnik's Ombla river. This research and evaluation was financed by Dubrovnik-Neretva County and was carried out by the Hyla Association in coordination with the Public Institution for Management of Protected Areas of Nature of Dubrovnik-Neretva County. The first survey results, carried out in April 2019, are above all expectations, as they proved that two more river turtle species have been found living along Dubrovnik's Ombla river. There is now a realistic possibility that there is still a small population of Balkan pond turtles living permanently at that location.

The study also includes other animal groups that inhabit this more quiet and rural area of Dubrovnik, with the aim of collecting data on the remaining natural values ​​of this protected area. We are witnessing the increasing urbanisation of the surrounding area of ​​Dubrovnik, and with the proper care and adequate spacial planning, there is still a good possibility of preserving its natural world and its native species, including the river and pond turtles.

The deaths of established populations of creatures such as Balkan pond turtle along the Ombla river is a perfect example of how nature and its species can disappear almost entirely in just a few years if proper spacial planning is not taken into account. The decision now lies solely with us - Do we want to preserve the natural world and its animals of the areas in which we live?

Dubrovnik-Neretva County is the only area in the whole of the Republic of Croatia where both types of freshwater turtles (Balkan pond turtles and European river turtles) can be found. Both species are strictly protected, and the river turtle holds the unfortunate status of an endangered species.

The largest population of such river turtles lives in Konavle, the southernmost municipality of Croatia which borders Montenegro, and a population of them appears stable in the village of Majkovi. In Stonsko Polje, Dubrovnik's Ombla River and the delta of the Neretva River, such turtles unfortunately find themselves on the verge of extinction, and it is still not clear whether or not there is a population near Lumbarda at all.

The main threats to the survival of river and pond turtles are the expansion of construction zones into their habitat and the deliberate release of foreign, invasive types of turtles that are frequently kept as pets.

Make sure to follow our dedicated lifestyle page for much more. If it's just Dubrovnik and the extreme south of Dalmatia you're interested in, give Total Dubrovnik a follow or check out Dubrovnik in a Page.

Saturday, 20 April 2019

Second Biospeleological Expedition Begins on Pelješac Peninsula

Pelješac is home to much more than just stunning views, golden sunsets and incredible wine, as if that wasn't enough. Home to a wide array of wildlife and many caves, this rugged peninsula in southern Dalmatia is as interesting academically as it is beautiful on the surface, and 2019 brings with it yet another biospeleological expedition of the area.

As Morski writes on the 19th of April, 2019, field research across the entire Pelješac peninsula was conducted at the end of 2018, in close cooperation with the public institution for the management of protected areas of nature of Dubrovnik-Neretva County, the Croatian Biospeleology Society and the Breganja Association. The announcement of the beginning of the second such biospeleological expedition - Pelješac 2019, has arrived, which has been being held since the 19th of April 2019 and will continue until May the 1st, 2019.

In the scope of the Pelješac expedition this year, the plans are to explore this rocky area's numerous caves and pits located along different parts of the peninsula and to obtain more detailed information on the distribution of certain groups and species living underground and within said caves. The expedition is likely to gather more than sixty researchers from around the entire region, meaning it will take on a much more international character, and will include the exploration of speleological ocations across the whole of the Pelješac peninsula.

The goals of the expedition include the detailed sampling and photographing the cave fauna as well as topography and the further exploration of newly found pits and caves.

On the two terrains that preceded the main expedition, the emphasis was placed on finding caves and pits known only in literature and by Pelješac's local population. Over twenty caves and pits of various sizes and in numerous locations were explored during the last such expedition, caves suitable for exploration to seek out any animal species living there were recorded, cave fauna was collected, and entry and exit coordinates were noted.

During this expedition, over 100 hundred known caves across the Pelješac peninsula will be explored.

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Tuesday, 16 April 2019

Mosque with Minaret to be Constructed for Dubrovnik's Muslim Community

A brand new building is set to be built down in Dubrovnik as a mosque for the religious needs of almost 1,500 people who identify as Muslims (according to the 2011 census) will be constructed.

As Al Jazeera Balkans writes on the 16th of April, 2019, the Islamic centre which will be located in the Gruž area of the City of Dubrovnik should become a reality in just two years, according to a report from Dubrovacki dnevnik.

As soon as all of the required documentation is dealt with and settled, the construction of the mosque, complete with a minaret, is likely to begin, which is not expected to last for a particularly long time. For now, building permits are being waited on.

The future mosque's location will be at a space on the site of former GP Dubrovnik in Gruž, the project foresees the construction of a mosque complete with a minaret, which will be built in Mediterranean or Moroccan style.

"The project will go its way, it will not take long until we get the construction permit, so we're currently preparing the paperwork, and everything will be ready for construction in two years. We have to emphasise the fact that we in the Islamic community have great cooperation with the city authorities which have been coming to meet with us,'' said the Islamic Community's president, Fehim Vukotić.

The construction of an Islamic center is a long-term desire of Dubrovnik's resident Muslim population, of whom in Dubrovnik, at least according to the census of 2011, there are 1,499. That number has likely risen since then.

By building an Islamic center and a mosque with a minaret, there will finally be a place dedicated to numerous social content and events for the southern Dalmatian city's local Muslim community, as well as prayer rooms.

Make sure to follow our dedicated lifestyle page for much more. If it's just Dubrovnik and the extreme south of Dalmatia you're interested in, give Total Dubrovnik a follow. Need ideas for what to do when visiting the Pearl of the Adriatic, check out Dubrovnik in a Page.

Friday, 12 April 2019

Dubrovnik-Neretva County Promo Film Wins Award in New York

Dubrovnik is no stranger to winning awards and you're probably used to reading about it, but this area in the extreme south of Dalmatia continues to fascinate the world for an abundance of reasons. From its stunning natural beauty and crystal clear sea, to its rich history and equally impressive culture, the Pearl of the Adriatic and its immediate surrounding area just keep on making the world's jaws drop.

This time however, it isn't just the famous Dalmatian UNESCO protected old city and its mighty walls which are taking home yet another award for a promotional film made about its unique beauty, but the wider area of Dubrovnik-Neretva County. This truly picturesque part of southern Croatia boasts an almost equal amount of natural beauty and history, and from Ston to Konavle next to the Montenegrin border, you'll likely have your breath taken away multiple times.

As Morski writes on the 11th of April, 2019, the brand new promotional film from the Dubrovnik-Neretva County Tourist Board, ''Dubrovnik Riviera'' continues to win awards and receive recognition from all sides. To be more precise, at the 2019 New York Festivals® International Film and TV awards festival, which was held in Las Vegas, Nevada, the promo film showcasing Dubrovnik-Neretva County's sheer beauty came third place and won the bronze plaquette.

To briefly recall, at the recent ''The Golden City Gate'' ceremony in Berlin, Germany, at the biggest international ITB World Tourism Fair, the promotional film came second place in the category of regional films, the film has been made by Balduci Film from Zagreb, was directed by Herve Tirmarche and produced by Spomenka Saraga. The film depicts the beauty of Dubrovnik-Neretva County from the Neretva valley, to the islands of Korčula and Mljet, and then Croatia's southernmost municipality of Konavle, which borders Montenegro.

Make sure to follow our dedicated lifestyle and travel pages for much more. If it's just Dubrovnik and southern Dalmatia you're interested in, have a look at Dubrovnik in a Page for everything you need to know about the Rearl of the Adriatic.

Thursday, 28 March 2019

Dubrovnik's Tourists Spend More Per Day Than in Other Coastal Areas

As Novac writes on the 27th of March, 2019, tourists staying in both hotels and private accommodation in Dubrovnik are on average 42 years of age, of a higher level of education and possess decent paying power. They typically spend 170 euros per day on average, which is 90 euros more than the average stands in seven other coastal Croatian counties, according to a survey taken by TOMAS Dubrovnik 2018.

This research was conducted by Zrinka Marušić from the Institute for Tourism, for the needs of the City of Dubrovnik, only for Dubrovnik, conducted on a sample of 1,600 respondents.

"Dubrovnik attracts a specific sort of guest, due to broadcasting markets that aren't specific to the rest of Croatia. According to the motives of the visits, we can no longer speak of a [typical] holiday destination," Marušić said.

Namely, while visiting Croatia's southernmost city, guests are mostly attracted to new experiences, gastronomy and cultural sights, as well as swimming, local portal Dubrovački vjesnik writes.

According to the survey's data, the average daily spending of stationary guests staying in Dubrovnik is 170 euros, of which about half or 87 euros refers to accommodation, food and drink outside the accommodation facility accounts for 43 euros, culture and entertainment accounts for 14 euros, purchases account for 11 euros, etc.

The biggest spenders are from non European, more distant countries, topped quite unsurprisingly by the Americans, followed by tourists from Australia and from various Asian countries. Two thirds of Dubrovnik's stationary guests arrive in Dubrovnik with their partner, and 86 percent of them who visit the city are doing so for the very first time.

Research has shown that Croatia's long-standing tourism Mecca is a distinct airport destination as more than 85 percent of the respondents arrived by air. As many as 70 percent of the southern Dalmatian city's guests stay from four to seven days.

The city's visitors are most pleased with the beauty of the city, the levels of safety and security, the hospitality, and the typically high quality of the provided accommodation. They are least satisfied, however, with local transportation, shopping opportunities and the intolerable crowding and traffic in public places and on the city's numerous beaches.

The survey also included visitors who arrived in Dubrovnik on a cruise ship and shows that they are on average 49 years old and spend on average 51 euros per day. The most extravagant among them are once again Americans, and the most frugal are our neighbours from across the Adriatic, the Italians.

As many as 92 percent of the tourists asked were visiting Dubrovnik for the very first time, discouragingly, they are mostly ''one-day visitors'' and remain in Dubrovnik for a mere five and a half hours. Most often, they visit sights and eat at restaurants, and these guests are by far the least satisfied with the shopping opportunities and the total lack of organisation of the traffic and the huge crowds.

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