Wednesday, 6 July 2022

Conference: Croatia Can Be a Leader in Green Energy Production

ZAGREB, 6 July 2022 - Owing to its geographic position and abundance of water, sun and wind, Croatia can become a leader in green energy production and an energy hub in this part of Europe, the conference "REPowerEU - Regional Partnership for Fast Energy Transition" heard in Zagreb on Wednesday.

Speaking at the conference, organised by the European Investment Bank (EIB), Economy and Sustainable Development Minister Davor Filipović said that with the help of money from the REPowerEU plan, Croatia would double the capacity of its LNG terminal on Krk island, expand Plinacro's gas network and additionally boost the JANAF oil pipeline's capacity.

Boosting the capacity of the LNG terminal and the gas pipeline leading to Slovenia and Hungary will make it possible to supply those countries with energy products, the minister said, adding that JANAF's capacity could be doubled.

He said that the EC's REPowerEU plan was aimed at ending Europe's dependence on Russian fossil fuels by 2030.

The EC's plans also include joint gas procurement, the filling of gas storage facilities at European level, implementation of renewables projects and improvement of infrastructure connectivity across Europe, he said.

The REPowerEU plan means much for Croatia as well as its neighbourhood, Filipović said, noting that one should increase investments in gas pipelines and that a medium-term goal was for Croatia to supply gas and some other energy products also to Bosnia and Herzegovina.

More than €2.2 bn for greener Croatia

Regional Development and EU Funds Minister Nataša Tramišak said that more than 30% of funding from the European Regional Development Fund had been made available for an energy-wise greener Croatia in the period until 2027.

The amount in question is more than €2.2 billion, and if other sources of financing are added to it, the amount rises to more than €2.5 billion, she said.

The head of the EIB Office in Zagreb, Anton Kovačev, said that growing energy prices were strongly affecting the European economy and that the EIB Group had a major role in ensuring a strong and healthy economic recovery of European countries, with emphasis on green projects.

It is good that Croatia has enough water, wind and sun energy, and they should be used, he said.

The head of the European Commission Representation in Croatia, Ognian Zlatev, said that energy was the most talked-about topic today.

The world we live in is dangerous, with Russia having weaponised energy, Zlatev said.

All European countries, including Croatia, should save energy, he said, noting that one should invest in energy efficient buildings, electric cars, etc.

EIB vice-president Tereza Czerwinska said that the Ukraine-Russia war had swept over the European landscape, causing all possible kinds of crisis - from personal to energy.

Europe is making effort to reduce dependence on Russian energy and seeking ways to find an alternative, she said.

More should be invested in energy efficiency, and it will also be crucial to invest in high-risk projects and innovations regarding new technologies, Czerwinska stressed.

It was also noted at the conference that Croatia and Slovenia are an excellent example of regional cooperation, largely owing to the fact that they developed as part of the same system, that the biggest national companies have been treating both countries for a long time as a single market, and that that integration will additionally increase after Croatia's imminent euro area accession.

For more news about Croatia, click here.

Friday, 22 April 2022

Earth Day 2022 - Environmental Protection Fund's Public Calls Worth 96 Million

April 22, 2022 - Marks the 50th Earth Day. Our beautiful planet is facing many problems, the biggest, of course, being climate change whose effects we can all see and feel happening. The race is on, the world's leaders are discussing change, some things are moving along, but is it enough? Earthday.org calls to action saying that "we need to act (boldly), innovate (broadly), and implement (equitably)". Google celebrates bees.

In Croatia, as Index writes, The Environmental Protection and Energy Efficiency Fund announces three public calls totaling 96 million kuna to co-finance environmental projects related to climate change, biodiversity protection and waste management.

The first call is worth HRK 20 million and is intended for facilities owned by the Republic of Croatia, units of regional and local self-government or public institutions that finance projects aimed at reducing the consumption of ozone-depleting substances and fluorinated greenhouse gases.

These are projects aimed at replacing existing cooling systems with those that use new technologies and do not damage the ozone layer, and at the same time are more energy efficient. For an individual project, it is possible to receive up to 1.2 million kuna, or up to 100 percent of eligible costs. The goal is to facilitate the transition to technologies with a lower impact on climate change, both in terms of global warming potential and energy efficiency.

The second call is intended exclusively for public institutions for the management of national parks and nature parks and other protected parts of nature. 10 million kuna will be co-financed for projects that contribute to the control of the population of several invasive alien species.

Namely, the EU and the Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development have identified priority invasive alien species and areas where they need to be urgently removed or controlled in order to prevent their further spread and negative impact on indigenous species and habitats.

These include the small Indian mongoose (Herpestes javanicus auropunctatus), pond slider turtles (Trachemys scripta), spinycheek crayfish (Orconectes limosus), signal crayfish (Pacifastacus leniusculus), the Ludwigia alpseima and Ailanthus altissima, also known as tree of heaven.

The third call is to encourage measures for the separate collection of municipal waste by local self-government units and companies and legal or natural persons - trade owners. 66 million kuna has been provided for the improvement of local waste management systems, and the purchase of communal equipment and devices will be co-financed, as well as various citizen education projects. After all, motivated and informed citizens are a key element of any successful system.

"Activities co-financed through the calls are a step towards green transition and only one part of the Fund's planned programs for 2022. By the end of the year, 14 more calls in the field of environmental protection and energy efficiency are expected to be published," the Fund announced.

For more, check out our lifestyle section.

Sunday, 27 March 2022

Sustainable Development Goals Increasingly Included in Company Reports

ZAGREB, 27 March 2022 - A national study on non-financial reporting for 2019 and 2020, which covered nearly 100 companies, has revealed the progress of companies in including sustainable development goals in their goals.

According to the study, 46% of companies said their business was connected with sustainable development goals, compared to 18% with similar claims in 2017 and 2018.

It also showed that the number of companies required to submit non-financial reports had increased from 67 in 2017, to 76 in 2020, with the number of voluntarily published non-financial reports increasing by 23%.

In 2019/2020, there was also a considerable increase in descriptions of companies' business models, with 67% of the analysed reports including elements of ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) in their business model, up from 33% in 2017/2018.

Additionally, 34% of enterprises recognised and analysed their exposure to basic environmental, social and governance risks that might adversely affect their business, while 47% included ESG in dialogue conducted with key stakeholders.

It is expected that companies will be increasingly focusing on environmental, social and governance goals and defining material topics for the purposes of non-financial reporting.

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

Monday, 7 February 2022

Proposal for New Hydrogen Strategy Until 2050 Presented

7 February 2022 - The main aim of the new 2021-2050 hydrogen strategy is to stimulate the production and use of hydrogen to replace fossil fuels, Vjekosalv Jukić from the Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development said on Monday, presenting a proposal of the strategy.

The Croatian Chamber of Commerce (HGK) reported that the proposed strategy has been put to public consultation which will last until 27 February.

"Production is based on low-carbon hydrogen, emphasis is on developing new technologies, that is water electrolysis, and there is also pyrolysis or waste gasification. We will endeavour to make production sites also consumption sites in order to relieve the energy system. That will help in the short term also with regard to storage and in the long term with repurposing existing infrastructure for storage and transport, primarily existing gas pipelines but also the construction of new ones," explained Jukić.

On the other hand, to intensify hydrogen use in transport, it is important to obtain hydrogen-powered vehicles as well as build fueling stations, hence the strategy focuses on investing in electrolyzers and fueling stations.

Essential for that is the education of experts, the development and commercialisation of new technologies, and a potential regional hydrogen centre conceived as the central point for connecting science and the economy, Jukić said.

The domestic economy is faced with a long, expensive and complicated process of energy transition and hydrogen should be an important component of it because, as a fuel of the future and a renewable, it is also a solution for decarbonising industrial processes and the economic sector.

The Director of the Industry and Sustainable Development Sector at HGK, Marija Šćulac Domac, said that hydrogen will be very important for many sectors in maintaining competitiveness. She added that there are some 200-odd projects in the world developing and applying hydrogen technology, with 55% of that being in the EU.

"With its hydrogen strategy, Croatia should enter that prestige club of countries developing their own technologies and contributing more concretely to achieving the EU's green objectives," said Šćulac Domac.

Croatia will have significant funds at its disposal for energy transition from various programmes, both national and European, she added.

The head of the Energy Administration in the Economy Ministry, Kristina Čelić, said that the strategy is particularly important for the transport sector, sea, rail and road, and that it provides a great opportunity to protect the Adriatic from fossil fuels.

She underscored that the objective is for 40% of energy consumption by 2030 to be from renewable sources.

Friday, 17 December 2021

Prelog among Best Towns in Europe in Terms of Sustainable Waste Management

ZAGREB, 17 Dec 2021  - The Zero Waste Europe network has published new best sustainable waste management practices in Europe, which include those in the northern Croatian town of Prelog and 11 neighbouring municipalities, the Green Action NGO said on Friday.

"Croatian towns and municipalities that are part of the European network have continued advancing their waste management systems, achieving new successes. In terms of their results, they are a decade ahead of the goals set in July by the new law put forward by the unambitious Economy and Sustainable Development Ministry," said Marko Košak of the Green Action.

Prelog, the first Croatian town to adopt a zero waste strategy, and 11 neighbouring municipalities (Belica, Donja Dubrava, Donji Vidovec, Sveta Marija, Goričan, Donji Kraljevec, Kotoriba, Dekanovec, Domašinec, Martijanec, Podturen), have improved their result, with a cumulative result of 57.25% of all waste being sorted in 2019 to 65.23% in 2020.

The public sanitation company PRE-KOM in in charge of waste management in Prelog and the neighbouring communities.

The Green Action says the significance of this success is best evidenced by the fact that the EU had set the target rate of waste sorting for Croatia at 50% in the period until 2035.

"All 12 local government units, which are part of PRE-KOM's waste management system, have met the target of 50% waste sorting which was set for Croatia in the period until 2020, and some of them were much more successful. For example, Prelog, with 70%, and Belica municipality, with an impressive waste sorting rate of 80%, show that one can achieve a goal if there is a will," said Košak.

Most towns in Croatia not even close to 20% 

At the same time, most towns in Croatia are not even close to a waste sorting rate of 20% while some are at 0%, with the ministry's blessing, Košak said.

The Green Action says that excellent news is coming from Krk island, where seven local government units have an average waste sorting rate of 53%. Croatia was to have met the waste sorting average of 50% by 2020, he said, noting that communities on Krk island want to achieve a better result, notably in terms of waste generation and increasing recycling and reuse.

The NGO said it looked forward to cooperation with Zagreb and its Čistoća public sanitation company on waste collection and waste disposal charges, on which a decision would soon be put to public consultation.

The decision is expected to help fix the chaotic system of waste management and unjust waste disposal charges in the capital, which has been burdening its residents due to the former city administration's having ignored the problem for a long time, he said.

At meetings of the city's task force, the Green Action has given recommendations on individualising waste disposal charges to make them depend on the quantity of exclusively unsorted waste generated, which will motivate citizens to sort and reduce waste.

For more news, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Friday, 24 September 2021

Milanović Supports Healthier, More Sustainable, More Just Food Systems

ZAGREB, 24 Sept 2021 - Croatian President Zoran Milanović supported in the UN on Friday the establishment of healthier, more sustainable and more just food systems and progress in all sustainable development targets, with special emphasis on food security as the most important global target.

He was speaking at a virtual summit on food systems held as part of the 76th session of the UN General Assembly, with UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres presiding.

The summit sets a foundation for the transformation of global food systems in order to step up recovery from COVID-19 and achieve sustainable development targets by 2030.

We are increasingly witness to the need for healthier, more sustainable and more just food systems, Milanović said, adding that Croatia supported such campaigns and intentions to achieve progress in all sustainable development targets.

Agriculture has an important role in activities related to climate and the environment, but food security remains our most important goal, he said, adding that the importance of food security was especially evident in the ongoing COVID crisis.

In Croatia we are witness to the positive effects of agricultural interaction on climate and the environment as a result of measures we undertook to protect natural resources. But in order to achieve even more ambitious climate goals, new investment is necessary, which agriculture alone cannot ensure, Milanović said.

This begs the question of how to meet the needs for producing sufficient food on the one hand, and meet the public's expectations regarding environmental protection, combating climate change, or the well-being of animals on the other, he added.

Changes which lead to sustainable and resilient food systems must be based on an integral approach, and research and innovation must support those changes, Milanović said.

Sustainable food systems begin by developing the best agricultural practices, improving food distribution systems and reducing food waste, he added.

Milanović said the challenges were many and that Croatia was especially involved in dealing with those concerning green production, food quality, and reducing food waste.

He supported the promotion of the One Health concept, saying the health of people, animals, plants and their common environment was inseparable and intertwined.

Milanović said it was necessary to intensify cooperation in all of those issues.

Croatia is ready to share with others its knowledge and experience in dealing with the challenges agriculture faces in the global world, he added.

He said he was confident the Food and Agriculture Organization and the Committee on World Food Security could make a significant contribution to achieving sustainable development targets via the transfer of knowledge and by connecting the international community.

For more on politics, CLICK HERE.

Thursday, 20 May 2021

Checking in with Dubrovnik Digital Nomads-in-Residence – Marlee McCormick Interview

May 20, 2021 – Travellers from Texas visiting Dubrovnik is nothing unusual. However, a Texas digital nomad living, working, and making friends in Dubrovnik is not a very common occurrence. Meet Marlee McCormick!

Participants in the Dubrovnik Digital Nomads-in-Residence program are a diverse group. They come from various fields and demographic segments. So, running into someone hosting a morning radio show in Texas shouldn’t be all that surprising. Still, it is hard to imagine anyone guessing one of the digital nomads in Dubrovnik is an on-air personality working for a Fort Worth-based country and western radio station. That someone is Marlee McCormick. Together with her husband, she made a trip from the USA to Dubrovnik to pursue a recent dream of remote work. The charming couple was forced to take their jobs out of the office due to the COVID-19 pandemic. But, once they realised they can change their place of work and still perform their tasks well, there was no going back. Aside from work, Marlee spends her days exploring southern Croatia. She enjoys living in the heart of the medieval city and making friends, a skill she has perfected.

Through Total Croatia News Marlee found out about the Dubrovnik DNiR program and applied. She didn’t think she would be selected, but the selection process was done well and the group is now richer for a very interesting perspective she brings to the table.

DNiR Program

tanja-polegubic-saltwater-nomads_1.png

The Digital Nomads-in-Residence program was created by Saltwater Nomads in partnership with Total Croatia News. With the Dubrovnik Tourist Board and the City of Dubrovnik in support of the program, the results will likely be very valuable. The program aims to create a strategic direction for the city. Through design thinking workshops the potential future of digital nomads in Dubrovnik will be described. It is one of the ways of moving forward on Dubrovnik’s path to a more sustainable tourism future.

The Interview

A sunny morning in the historical centre of the city was perfect for a chat with Marlee. She shared her thoughts on the program and Dubrovnik, but also about how it all started:

"About a year ago when things happened with my partner and I… the station decided to split us up, where one stayed in the studio and one broadcasted outside of the studio. So I made myself a home studio and spent most of my time broadcasting from my home over the last year. But, you know, that can get a little dull, when you are just at home, 24/7. So, I found out, being safe about it, being smart about COVID rules and restrictions, that I could go other places and as I said, with good Wi-Fi, do my job anywhere in the world. I just have to adjust to the hours a little bit."

Her working experience in Dubrovnik has been wonderful, but it wasn’t all smooth sailing. Getting to the city wasn’t all that straightforward. Some Wi-Fi issues in Dubrovnik and working hours of the co-working spaces were also a slight challenge.

The overall experience for Marlee and her husband Jeff has been a very rewarding one. She emphasized:

“I’m finding myself doing things that I haven’t done in so long, because I’m revitalised by this lifestyle.”

Do not miss the full interview with Marlee below.

Check out the full video below.

 

Saltwater Nomads' Tanja Polegubic on Dubrovnik Digital Nomad-in-Residence Program

Dubrovnik Mayor Mato Frankovic on Digital Nomads, US Flights, 2021 Season

Winners announcement video:

 

Learn more about the Dubrovnik Digital Nomads-in-Residence program.

 

 

Tuesday, 18 May 2021

Checking in with Dubrovnik Digital Nomads-in-Residence – Zoltan Nagy Interview

May 17, 2021 – Among Dubrovnik digital nomads is also Zoltan Nagy, a Hungarian photographer, videographer, and a really cool person. He told us about his impressions of the city and the life of a digital nomad.

Zoltan Nagy is a landscape photographer, videographer, and web designer. He is not too far away from home in Dubrovnik as his homeland of Hungary is one of the neighbouring countries to Croatia. In fact, he considers Croatia one of his favourite foreign countries. He is a young digital nomad looking to explore the world and immortalize it in his photographs. One of the things that excited him the most about the Dubrovnik Digital Nomads-in-Residence program is meeting like-minded individuals and working with them on the common goal.

DNiR Program

tanja-polegubic-saltwater-nomads_1.png

The Dubrovnik Digital Nomads-in-Residence program is the work of Saltwater Nomads in partnership with Total Croatia News. The Dubrovnik Tourist Board and the City of Dubrovnik support the project and make it possible. The program is a co-creation effort looking to utilise the experiences of ten digital nomads combined with local community members. The goal is to create a strategic direction for the city through the use of design-thinking workshops. It represents a step towards re-thinking Dubrovnik's tourism sector.

The Interview

Zoltan is always upbeat and ready to help. We’ve taken advantage of this and asked him a few questions about his experiences in Dubrovnik. He is very happy with the life in the city and the people he met along the way.

“I love it so far! We’ve met quite a lot of local people here and they were just so nice. They showed us around, gave us some tips and tricks on where to eat, where to find nice photo spots. And of course, the Old Town is just amazing.”

So, what does a person with such a positive outlook on Croatia and Dubrovnik find to be the most challenging thing for digital nomads here?

“The only challenge I found here is the accommodation. So, as a digital nomad, I of course have a monthly budget I can spend on food and just living in a place, and I couldn’t find really good deals in terms of accommodation here…”

Check out the full video below.

 

Saltwater Nomads' Tanja Polegubic on Dubrovnik Digital Nomad-in-Residence Program

Dubrovnik Mayor Mato Frankovic on Digital Nomads, US Flights, 2021 Season

Winners announcement video:

 

Learn more about the Dubrovnik Digital Nomads-in-Residence program.

Tuesday, 18 May 2021

Checking in with Dubrovnik Digital Nomads-in-Residence – Charlie Brown Interview

May 17, 2021 – Our interviews with digital nomads in Dubrovnik continue with Charlie Brown, a freelance writer and wine expert from the UK. 

Charlie Brown comes from the UK and she is a freelance writer covering themes of wine, food, finance, and entrepreneurship. Her skills are many and interests diverse. Together with her husband Sam she used to own a wine shop and bar outside of London until the couple decided to sell the business and their house to dive into the life of digital nomads. They are no strangers to Croatia nor Dubrovnik, but it was the Digital Nomads-in Residence program that enabled them to come and live in the “Pearl of the Adriatic”. Charlie is always keen on exploring new places and local culture. She is especially interested in the traditional food and wine scene. This is why Croatia was always high on her travel list.

It was through Facebook groups that Charlie and Sam found out about the possibility of joining the program in Dubrovnik. She applied and it didn’t take long for the people in charge to decide a person with an intimate knowledge of wine and food is always a welcomed group member.

DNiR Program

tanja-polegubic-saltwater-nomads_1.png

Saltwater Nomads created the Digital Nomads-in-Residence program in partnership with Total Croatia News. They found amazing partners in the Dubrovnik Tourist Board and the City of Dubrovnik which support the project wholeheartedly. The program gathers ten digital nomads of different profiles whose experiences of living and working in Dubrovnik will be used to craft a strategic direction for the city. Dubrovnik is moving towards a more sustainable future and digital nomads might be a contributing factor in those efforts.

The Interview

Charlie is always hard at work and it is not easy to get her time. So we’ve made sure to keep the interview short and sweet. Through our chat she revealed her insights into the city and being a digital nomad in Dubrovnik:

“It’s been great weather which really helps. There’s plenty to do here as well and it’s really nice to meet the digital nomads here as well. So, so far it’s been a really great experience.“

"It’s a new thing here, digital nomads in Dubrovnik. So, aside from us ten and our partners, it would be great to be able to meet more people – if there are people – doing this here as well. So, anything like meetups and that sort of thing would be good as well."

She also had plenty of chosen words about her colleagues in the program and the beautiful co-working space in Dubrovnik’s Lazareti complex. Make sure to watch the full interview below.

 Learn more about the Dubrovnik Digital Nomads-in-Residence program.

Saltwater Nomads' Tanja Polegubic on Dubrovnik Digital Nomad-in-Residence Program

Dubrovnik Mayor Mato Frankovic on Digital Nomads, US Flights, 2021 Season

For the latest digital nomad news from Croatia, follow the dedicated TCN section.

The winner announcement video:

 

 

Thursday, 18 April 2019

''Business Model of Croatian Tourism is Unsustainable''

As Lea Balenovic/Iva Grubisa/Novac writes on the 17th of April, 2019, Croatian tourism's current business model is unsustainable and has some serious challenges, according to Emanuel Tutek, a partner at the Horwath HTL consulting house, who stated this at the very beginning of a conference on the challenges of the Croatian tourism sector at Edward Bernays High School, the co-organiser of which was Jutarnji list.

Since 19 percent of Croatian GDP comes either directly or indirectly from tourism, the unsustainability of the system is a more serious issue, he added.

''First of all, our tourism is an extremely seasonal sector and as much as 86 percent of all tourism activities in Croatia take place during the summer months. It's also problematic that 96 per cent of these activities are realised on the coast and in Zagreb. In translation, this means that we have plenty of room for progress and the development of our tourist offer across the rest of Croatia, as well as the extension of the season. We are well below the European average. For example, if we compare just the peak of the tourist season, ie July and August, there is 10 to 20 times more of a burden on the area and the residents in Croatia than there is in other European countries. Just remember how some of the destinations and beaches look in July or August,'' warned Tutek.

He also added that Croatia has plenty of room for progress and development in the quality of the accommodation it provides. The Croatian hotels that, as Tutek says, are the pearl of Croatia's hospitality, are very much losing the battle with the hotel industry in the rest of Europe, and the alarm that should be enough to wake the country up is also the fact that the revenue made from tourists' overnight stays in Croatia is less every year.

In addition to this, Croatian tourism is feeling the country's ongoing demographic crisis bite hard, and has a human resource problem as a consequence. This is, as was explained by Tutek, actually a global problem. However, since the international labour market is far more competitive than the Croatian one is, foreign countries are filling their gaps with Croatian workers. Croatia is, unfortunately, at an unimpressive 100 of 138 countries in the world according to the labour market competitiveness index. An even more concerning piece of information shared by the Horwath HTL consultant was that Croatia is the last and second to last in the world on the ladder of attracting and retaining workers.

''We have no solution. The answers to this can't just be some lump sums and other initiatives, we need something more fundamental,'' he warned. One of the negative factors in each case is the uncompetitive average salary. In nearby Austria, for example, in the hotel sector, wages are about 122 percent higher. Still, the hotel industry here in Croatia has experienced a great discrepancy in numbers, and they have therefore begun to increase employee salaries for the last two summer seasons, which has been a fruitful decision. With the rise in salaries and expenses, revenue also grew.

In addition to the inadequate management of human resources, huge problems are also created by the Croatian tax policy. Property tax, Tutek said, practically doesn't exist in Croatia. ''We're the champions of how good private landlords have it. Croatia is a tax oasis,'' he claims.

''We want to be competitive, but there are a number of things that we're not even close to, not even in the wider environment. VAT reduction is certainly important, and there is also the question of consistent policies. It is important for us to have a perception of what will happen in the future at some point, but if the policies constantly change then we can't have a stable business,'' said Sanjin Šolić of the Lošinj hotel group Jadranka.

Davor Lukšić, President of the Lukšić Croatia Group, agreed with him, pointing out that Croatia's 25 percent VAT rate is very high, and even with a rate of 13 percent there would still be room for progress. "We have to remain competitive, especially now when other destinations in the Mediterranean are making a come back," Lukšić added.

But if one was to as Croatian Tourism Minister Gari Cappelli, the problem of the high VAT rate is one of the easiest problems to solve in the Croatian tourism industry. The minister claims that the Croatian Government could lower the VAT rate with one decree, bringing it down to 10 or 13 percent, and such a decision is in the government's plans for the beginning of next year.

''We have a problem with having five-star hotels in two star destinations. First of all, we have to start improving the quality of the destination and spend the whole year measuring what's happening and only after a few years will we see whether both residents and tourists are happy, as well as service providers and the environment. If everyone is more or less happy, then it makes sense to invest in a four or five-star hotel,'' stated Minister Cappelli, adding that in Croatia, it often happens that investments are made in luxurious hotels first, but not in the development of the destination in which it is located.

"Well, we have cases where five-star hotels don't have sewage systems but septic tanks," he said. The minister also referred to the initial lecture by Emanuel Tutek about the key challenges facing Croatian tourism. He agreed that there was always room for progress, but he also pointed out that he was tracking the figures daily and that he couldn't bring himself to agree with all the alarming warnings about the unsustainability of Croatian tourism.

''We're a strange people, two years ago there were no tourists and they wanted to get rid of me, now there are a lot of tourists, and they want to get rid of me again, the projections of what's to come in two years keep coming in, and they're already that I'm shaking in my chair,'' said Cappelli, adding that Croatia is spending what it earns and has therefore finally got an investment rating.

''Now the pressure on public finances is being relieved and the taxes on the economy can be reduced slowly,'' he said.

If the Croatian tourism association is asked for their opinion on the matter, this is last chance saloon for this tax relief to actually become a reality. Namely, it is anticipated that hotels could reduce the volume of their investments by as much as thirty percent over the next three to four years. ''We want to warn the government that it must not let that happen. We have to invest, but we expect that the government to create measures to encourage that and not just put us off,'' said Jadranka's Sanjin Šolić.

Dubrovnik has experienced not only growth in terms of tourism but also the improvement of infrastructure in recent years, Lukšić believes. However, despite the wild popularity of this particular southern Croatian city, it has multiple problems during the winter season.

''In the last two years, we have extended the [tourist] season and the so called ''congress season'' has helped a lot. But we all have to sit around the table and design a strategy for the winter season, which is actually the only problem,'' Lukšić said, arousing a grin from Šolić, who, having being on an island, has much bigger problems.

''It's easy for Dubrovnik. Imagine how it is for us to extend the season! You need to get to the island, the bridge is a problem, the bura is a problem, everything is a problem. We're less competitive than our colleagues on the mainland whichever way you turn. The Chinese, the Koreans, whoever comes to Croatia, lands in Zagreb, goes to Plitvice, Split and Dubrovnik, nobody comes to us,'' complained Sanjin Šolić.

That is why his team sat down together at the table and decided to turn to health tourism for which Lošinj has natural resources, a strategy and a future, said Šolić. Another solution for the development of island tourism is golf. Therefore, a location permit is currently being sought for the construction of a golf course with eighteen holes, with which will be a hotel and villa that will have a total of 800 beds.

''These are the two routes we have on Lošinj. People don't play golf in July and August because its too hot. During November, December, January, February and March, the weather is wonderful and we'll fill our capacities that way,'' he noted.

Emanuel Tutek welcomed this discrepancy in Croatia's tourism development strategies at various locations.

''Not all destinations are suffering the same issues. In Dubrovnik, there is a problem with excessive demand, and the quality of the offer needs to be worked on to reduce the number of tourists. In Istria, the offer should be increased. This has, for example, been done in Maistra. Nobody thought it would pay off to build a five-star hotel in Rovinj, but after the construction of the hotel, the rest of the sector was accompanied by the arrival of tourists and the development of the destination.

However, in addition to the respective issues destinations face in Croatia, the eternal problem facing the entire Croatian tourism sector is labour and wages.

''Salaries are a problem, they're still a base for attracting workers,'' said Tutek, agreeing with the CEO of Jadranka, but as he said, it's difficult to increase salaries because there isn't enough revenue.

"When the minister sorts us out with less taxes, I'll give the rest of it in salaries," he stated.

Make sure to follow our dedicated lifestyle and business pages for much more.

 

Click here for the original article by Lea Balenovic and Iva Grubisa for Novac/Jutarnji

Page 1 of 3

Search