Thursday, 14 January 2021

Can Istria Become a Leading Sports Tourism Destination?

January 13, 2021 – Given the developed sports and accommodation infrastructure, as well as the organization and sports tradition, does Istria have the potential to become the leading sports tourism destination in the southern part of Europe?

With cities that regularly count the highest numbers of tourist overnight stays each year, Istria has been a top tourist destination for a long time. After a recent endeavor to brand Istria as an attractive region for top IT professionals, Istria is also promoted as a favorable sports tourism destination.

Favorable climate, vicinity to Europe

According to Glas Istre, due to its favorable position, mild climate, and developed sports infrastructure and tradition, Istrian cities on the west coast are often hosting many international clubs and national teams that come to the preparations and camps.

For example, the Croatia national handball team recently made preparations for the 2021 World Handball Championship in the Istrian city of Poreč. Their coach Lino Červar said two years ago that the national team in Poreč feels at home.


Football fields in Medulin / Gat travel agency

Comparative advantages of Istria, such as the proximity of major European cities and favorable climate in the winter months, give it a unique opportunity to compete with other warmer destinations, such as the famous Antalya in Turkey, one of the most attractive sports tourism destinations. However, it is necessary to use those advantages, adequately adjust the infrastructure, and increase and improve the offer.

The corona crisis has certainly benefited Istria, which has logically imposed itself as the best option for sports clubs' semi-seasonal winter preparations. However, once the corona crisis becomes a thing of the past and the borders open, the question is whether Istria can compete with the best.

Well-known Istrian sports destinations - Medulin, Pula, Porec, Rovinj, and Umag

Football fields near the Belvedere Hotel in Medulin traditionally attract football clubs. All six football fields are 100 to a maximum of 500 meters apart. About 200 clubs from all over Europe pass through Medulin annually, and this year it was chosen by the football clubs Lokomotiva, Šibenik, Međimurje, Slaven Belupo, Gorica, and domestic Istria 1961.

Apart from Medulin, sports tourism also thrives in the four largest Istrian cities – Pula, Poreč, Rovinj, and Umag, which also generate the largest tourist traffic. The famous Poreč sports hall Žatika, one of six halls in the city, was built for the 2009 World Handball Championship in Croatia, and as a result of many years of investment in sports, a football camp will soon be built in Poreč.

Currently, football clubs Rijeka, Slovačko from the Czech Republic, Budafoki MTE from Hungary, and Sturm Graz from Austria are preparing in Umag. The City of Umag says that they have been continuously working on raising the quality of football fields for years, especially in the Stella Maris sports center.


Tennis center Stella Maris in Umag / Copyright Romulić and Stojčić

Umag is already recognized as a base for the winter preparations of many European first leaguers. The current situation with the coronavirus has only further increased the number of inquiries from foreign football clubs. By the end of February, numerous first-league and second-league clubs are expected to spend their winter preparations in Umag, culminating in a series of traditional Umag Trophy youth football tournaments, for which Juventus and Bayern Münich have already confirmed the arrival.

"We have recognized all the comparative advantages of Istria. Ten years ago, we decided to develop this type of tourism, together with the Umag Tourist Board and the hotel company Plava Laguna. We notice that the potential is much greater than what we can currently satisfy with the existing infrastructure, so the sports center and additional fields are also planned," they say from the City of Umag.

Marko Kuže: Rovinj is Dinamo's winter base

Dinamo and Osijek football clubs are currently preparing in Rovinj. It seems that the corona crisis, in this case, was not crucial given that the clubs of the first Croatian football league, as well as the Croatian national football team, chose Rovinj in previous years.


Rovinj / Copyright Romulić and Stojčić

When asked whether Rovinj can compete specifically with Turkey, the City reminds that Dinamo players declared themselves on this issue last year. They said that, given the quality of the terrain and accommodation, Rovinj is no weaker than Turkey, where they had the opportunity to make preparations before. Last year, the conditions offered by Rovinj were praised by the then Dinamo coach Nenad Bjelica, who returned here this year to prepare with the Football club Osijek.

Marko Kuže, technical director of Dinamo, says that in Rovinj, the conditions for preparations are excellent, from accommodation to the training ground.

"On behalf of the club, staff, and players, I must express my satisfaction with the hospitality. We are always pleasantly welcomed here, and this is very important in choosing a location for such a serious work process as preparations. Considering that Rovinj is already Dinamo's winter base, we have a good experience this year. There was no need to look for a location for preparations outside of Croatia because we have everything here. We see that other teams have preparations in Istria, which is also very good for domestic tourism," says Kuže.

Sunday, 15 March 2020

"Sports Infrastructure is Biggest Hurdle in Development of Sports Tourism in Croatia"

March 15, 2020 - A significant investment in the offer and quality sports infrastructure are prerequisites for the development of sports tourism in Croatia. 

HRTurizam reports that this could be heard from the participants of the 15th Tourism Discussion on the topic "Sports tourism in Croatia - can we do more and how?". It was attended by Tonči Glavina, State Secretary at the Ministry of Tourism, Zlatko Matesa, President of the Croatian Olympic Committee (HOO), Goran Šprem from Uniline, Tomislav Popović, President of the Maistra Management Board, and Sanda Čorak, Research Associate at the Institute for Tourism.

Panelists stressed that the sports industry brings in 300 billion euros, or 2% of GDP in the European Union, while according to estimates in Croatia, it accounts for 1.4%. It is concluded that sports tourism can provide more revenue and extend the season, but it is a prerequisite to attract investment in sports infrastructure.

In this context, the participants highlighted Istria as one of the positive examples of a region where existing infrastructure enables and supports the development of this specific form of tourism. The four key areas where a shift can be made are heard: recreation, athlete preparation and various camps, the organization of major sporting events, as well as publicity involving successful Croatian athletes.

As a concrete project for the development of sports tourism in Croatia, Šprem emphasized the project "Croatia - Country of Sport", which aims to attract athletes from all over the world to prepare in Croatia and to improve Croatia's position on the map of sports destinations. During the discussion, one could hear that great potential lies in the use of European funds for the construction of sports infrastructure, which Croatia has not yet started to use, and highlighted the example of neighboring Slovenia, which has so far withdrawn 100 million euros from the funds for the development of this segment.

Recall, earlier this week, the city of Zagreb announced plans to demolish the existing Dinamo stadium in Maksimir and build a new one with 30,000 seats, with an auxiliary stadium of 3,000 - 4,000 seats, and athletic fields and various outdoor courts alongside the pool complex. Construction on the new stadium should begin in 2022.

To read more about sport in Croatia, follow TCN’s dedicated page

Friday, 13 September 2019

Meet Tennis Holidays Croatia, Bespoke Sports Tourism At Its Finest

September 13, 2019 - Meet Tennis Holidays Croatia, a tailor-made travel experience to ensure your best trip yet. 

We often find ourselves on holidays where we’re told ‘this is what you want’ or ‘this is what you need’, but how often do we really choose how we want to travel?

Thankfully, bespoke tourism has kicked off in recent years, especially after the copy-and-paste tourism of today began wearing thin. Travelers are now catching on more and more to crafting holidays tailored to their desires, wants, and needs.

What is it that drives you to travel in the first place, you might be asked? Is it the gastronomy? The culture? The architecture? Or, in this case, the sport? 

This is where Tennis Holidays Croatia comes into play. 

Meet Tennis Holidays Croatia, the brainchild of CEO Bojan Dvoršek who wanted to show his country to the world while offering travelers a taste of one of its trademark sports - tennis. 

After a successful career as a tennis player, Bojan jumped into the world of coaching, where he also found himself at the helm of organizing several tennis events. Because organizing events of your own pushes you to visit ones organized by others, Bojan quickly caught onto the fact that tennis holidays in Croatia were an offer he couldn’t escape. 


However, two significant points were missing - the client’s needs weren’t placed at the forefront of the experience, and Croatia’s authenticity was far from being exhibited. Thus, Bojan put these two factors into focus to deliver Tennis Holidays Croatia. 

Namely, Tennis Holidays Croatia focuses on each guest's individual talents and issues, working on their pain points while improving their skills in a short time. But tennis makes up only half of the deal, as guests get to experience Croatia through the eyes of a local, too.

It’s not hard to see why the idea quickly took off, and Bojan eagerly gathered a team of skilled professionals to work aside him, a team of like-minded people with the same passion for tennis and tourism as he. Thus, 18 years of Bojan’s diligence in the tennis world created the foundation for Tennis Holidays Croatia. And a new tennis and tourism adventure was born. 

Now, let’s dig more into the details of Tennis Holidays Croatia. 

First things first, at Tennis Holidays Croatia, the client is always placed at the forefront of any tennis trip. This means precisely that each experience is shaped around the needs of the guest and fashioned to how the guest can improve. Better yet, no individual will lose any time relearning the universal rules of tennis, but only work on targeting the obstacles they face in their game. 

All of this, of course, is done while you’re whizzed around Croatia like a local - from relaxing on the pebbled beaches to exploring its vibrant history, indulging in its native cuisine or partaking in its popular nightlife. However, you get to choose how you want to mix things up. Remember, this is a holiday tailored to you; a tennis trip with all the tips; a holiday with your prescribed dose of sport and tourism. 

So, how does this bespoke sports travel experience really work? 

Now that we have your attention, you must be wondering how you can be a part of what Tennis Holidays Croatia has to offer. And we don’t blame you, so listen up. 

When visiting the company’s website, you can browse and select many events already on offer. Each holiday has three components - destination, tennis program and extra activities (Tennis+). The tennis lessons and activities are optional, which prove great for groups that include both tennis players and those who’d prefer a holiday without it. 

Three primary tennis events occur in each destination - short break tennis holidays (read more here), tennis holiday weeks (read more here) and special events (read more here), which serve to present the customers with the options already available. If one of these events draws your attention, but you’re unable to attend on the scheduled date, feel free to suggest a date you can make to begin the process. Essentially, you are free to choose your dates and your experiences and can adapt anything else to your wishes. 

The tennis holidays travel to the Croatian towns of Poreč, Mali Lošinj, Zadar, Biograd, Vodice, Split, Cavtat, and Zagreb, which give you a taste of the Croatian coast and the capital. Since ‘tailor-made’ is their middle name, you won’t have to move a muscle in searching for the best hotel or transfer company - Tennis Holidays will have every everything prepared for you upon your arrival. Whether it's welcoming you at the airport to ensuring you make it to your hotel in style, all perks are already included in the price of your trip, confirming a swift and painless experience in times proven to be most stressful - like getting to and from the airport. 


Tennis Holidays Croatia offers three types of tennis coaching programs - full, half and custom

The Full Tennis Programme (20 hours) is an ideal tennis getaway for passionate players. This trip includes 20 hours of professional tennis coaching, with group classes and private lessons. 

The 20-hour tennis program includes:

5 X group training sessions (180 min)

2 X private coaching sessions (60 min)

3 hours of tournament evening

4 hrs use of tennis courts out of tennis coaching hours

The Half Tennis Programme (10 hours) is the right choice if you’re looking to stay for the week or enjoy a long weekend stay. This program is geared towards players who prefer a balance between tennis and holiday activities. 

The 10-hour tennis program includes:

2 X group training sessions (180 min)

1 X private coaching session (60 min)

3 hours of tournament evening

2 hrs use of tennis courts out of tennis coaching hours

However, the Custom Tennis Program is the perfect choice for individuals or groups who have a specific tennis coaching plan in mind. Whether you’re looking to book a private group, group with a coach, school trip, corporate event, kids camp, nothing is out of reach for Tennis Holidays Croatia. 

Furthermore, Tennis+ activities are available on a per-destination basis. In an effort to create a balanced set of fun and excitement, you have the chance to explore Croatia's vibrant history and unique natural and cultural heritage, take on the adrenaline of an active holiday, or relax from tennis practice with a lap of leisure. From the award-winning olive oil region of Istria to the charm of the capital, the natural beauty of the national and nature parks (we know you’ve heard of Plitvice’s 16 cascading lakes) and coastline adorned with water sports, beach clubs, and spells of luxury, Croatia will benefit even the pickiest of travelers. 

To get an idea, some of the actives you can enjoy include:

daily sail

Zrmanja river rafting or canoe safari

Jeep safari in Velebit Nature Park

stand up paddling

hiking tours

sunset cruise

cycling tours

city tours

visiting the National parks

abseiling the Dubrovnik city walls

enjoying the famous oysters of Ston

diving school

dolphin watching

tour of the socialist Zagreb 


Tennis courts in Biograd

But that’s just part of it. 

The philosophy of Tennis Holidays Croatia is simple - it revolves around you. From the beginning to the end, your interests are placed on a pedestal above everything else. Whether you’re a beginner who requires patience or an advanced player hoping to improve their windscreen technique, no job is too large for the Tennis Holidays Croatia team. 

Whether you’re looking for tennis holidays for singles, families or couples, social tennis, tennis for kids, tennis lessons for beginners, amateurs or professionals, of all ages, levels or group sizes, Tennis Holidays Croatia will accommodate your needs - and don’t forget, they also know Croatia inside and out to ensure you get the best local experience on top of it all. 


Unlike the competition, Tennis Holidays Croatia is composed of a local team with a trusted network of colleagues and friends. All here to deliver the ideal tennis holiday. Nothing short of what you deserve. And if you're still not convinced? Check out some first-hand experiences here

You can take a look at Tennis Holidays Croatia’s current events below. 

Tennis Doubles - Strategy & Tactics Drills Short Break

October Half Term in Cavtat, Dubrovnik Region + 10 hrs of tennis coaching for free

Tennis holidays for singles over 50

Tennis holidays for singles

You can contact Tennis Holidays Croatia by visiting their website or by emailing them at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Tennis Holidays Croatia Ltd.
352 Fulham Road
London SW10 9UH
Call 24/7: +44 7988 816378


Tennis Holidays Croatia Ltd

Tkalčićeva 5

10000 Zagreb

Call 24/7: +385 99 332 5235

Facebook: @tennisholidayscroatia

Twitter: @tennisholidays1

Instagram: @tennisholidayscroatia

GMB: @tennisholidayscroatia

TripAdvisor: TennisHolidaysCroatia

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To read more about travel in Croatia, follow TCN’s dedicated page