Thursday, 30 September 2021

Wave 4 Tourism, the 1st Tourism Conference for Students, Starts in Opatija

September 30, 2021 - Today, the first student conference linked to the tourism sector will begin in Opatija. W4T, or Wave 4 Tourism, includes a three-day program full of interesting discussions, experienced speakers, and many insights on the future of the industry.

W4T, or Wave 4 tourism, is the name of the student conference, which is held at the initiative of students of the Faculty of Management in Tourism and Hospitality in Opatija, the cradle of Croatian tourism, which is also an ideal meeting place for all students of tourism and related fields throughout Europe, reports The official program begins tomorrow with the arrival of participants, a guided tour of Opatija, and informal acquaintance and socializing.

''The aim of the conference is to offer new knowledge and experience of renowned experts in the field of tourism, hospitality, marketing, sales, management, and sustainable development. Through knowledge transfer, exchange of experiences, networking, and socializing, participants will have the opportunity to create valuable memories, but also certainly new opportunities for the future. At the first Wave 4 Tourism conference, the focus will be on four broad and current topics: digital tourism, sustainable tourism, marketing, and luxury tourism, within which we will have the opportunity to hear 16 different stories from our speakers'', said Nika Kurti, a fourth-year undergraduate student of Management of Sustainable Development and a member of the organizing team of the W4T conference.

According to her, there are more perspectives and ways in which students experience tourism today, but the word that would unite several opinions is ''opportunity''; an opportunity to innovate and overcome the challenges that today's tourism faces, an opportunity to travel or meet new people and cultures, an opportunity to improve skills such as social skills or for example an opportunity to learn foreign languages, but also an opportunity to work.

Given that tourist services today are provided by a wide range of people, from computer scientists to traditional hoteliers, a large number of students can find the field they are interested in and get educated, specialize and constantly improve.

Participants will have the opportunity to listen to lectures by as many as sixteen speakers who are divided into four sections. Tomorrow, on Friday, October 1, the topics are digital and sustainable tourism, while marketing and luxury tourism will be discussed on Saturday, October 2.

''The speakers were selected because of their expertise and experience in practice within the topics of each section, but also tourism in general. We are extremely proud and appreciate the fact that these people have decided to selflessly share their knowledge and experience and be speakers at this year's W4T conference. In addition to the speakers, we have collaborated with the head of public relations of Aminess hotels and camps, Maja Lena Lopatny, who will be the moderator of this year's Wave 4 Tourism conference'', emphasizes Kurti.

Interest in the first W4T, Wave 4 Tourism conference is above all expectations. One hundred onsite tickets have been sold out, while online ticket sales are still ongoing. Unfortunately, due to the COVID-19 situation, the organizers had to limit the number of seats, but they hope that next year the conditions will be more favorable and that the event will be able to physically attend all those who are interested.

''Since this is the first year of the event, it is very important for us to make a professional and positive impression on all visitors, speakers, and the local community and provide them with the best service. Thanks to our general sponsor, Liburnia Riviera Hotels, onsite participants will experience the comfort of staying in Hotel Istra, while lecturers who do not live in the area will be accommodated in Hotel Admiral", explains Kurti.

The motto of the first W4T conference is Catch the change, and the organizers hope for a brighter future. Although it is hard to believe that everything will be the same, they expect that current trends in Croatia will be followed and adjusted to.

As for the conference itself, the wish of the first organizing team is that the Wave 4 Tourism conference in the coming years will try to position itself as the best student conference in the field of tourism, but also related areas both regionally and internationally.

"As far as personal development is concerned, we young people have access to many sources with which we can acquire various skills, and a large number of people do not hesitate to share their own knowledge, starting from our professors. It is spreading rapidly through social networks, especially Linkedin, where practitioners often know how to provide useful advice. As students, we have the opportunity to meet other young people, educate ourselves, work together on projects, compete, achieve mobility, and finally get to know ourselves and our own desires. The future will certainly be full of innovations and it seems to us that the new generations are willing and ready to create them", concluded Nika Kurti in the end.

Check the full program here.

To learn more about one of Kvarner's most impressive jewels, be sure to read our complete Total Croatia guide, Opatija in a page. Now in your language!

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Tuesday, 6 October 2020

Croatian Tourism 365? 'Offseason Has a Future Only If We Have Quality Products and Services'

October 6, 2020 – The first tourist conference during the coronavirus pandemic entitled "Croatian Tourism 365? – Post-COVID tourism and new opportunities" was held today in Tuheljske Toplice. Top domestic and EU tourism experts analyzed this year’s tourism results and discussed post-COVID challenges and opportunities.

Great emphasis was placed on the year-round Croatian tourist offer.

At the introductory presentation "Tourism 2020 - What after Covid-19?", the global director of tourism consulting from the company Horwath HTL, Siniša Topolović, explained that everyone in tourism has suffered significant blows due to coronavirus. However, Croatia still achieved over 40 percent of last year's tourism compared to Europe, where that percentage is around 30 percent.

Also, Croatia reached 60 percent of last year's traffic in July and August, and by the end of the year, we can expect about 50 percent of last year's traffic.

Topolović also pointed out that Zadar County achieved the highest index of tourist traffic compared to 2019 – 60 percent, while Istria County traditionally has the highest number of overnight stays. Zagreb is the most successful continental destination, and Dubrovnik County has experienced the biggest decline this year.

"This year it is worth 'the further south, the sadder', but this year should be used to emphasize the quality of tourism," said Topolović, adding that this year's winners are quality providers of private and hotel accommodation and quality caterers.


Year-round tourism and linking the offer

The organizer of the conference, Ivana Kolar, pointed out that year-round tourism can be one of the answers to the existing COVID-19 challenges, with which the vice president of the Croatian Chamber of Commerce for Agriculture and Tourism, Dragan Kovačević, agreed.

In his opinion, we should think about Croatian tourism from the perspective of a modern tourist.

"Modern tourists use modern technologies, book accommodation at the last minute, quickly change locations, look for an alternative to mass tourism, are looking for an authentic experience to get to know the local population, customs, traditions, and culture of the people. Because of its cultural and natural features, Croatia has a lot to offer," explains Kovačević.



Zadar County achieved the highest index of tourist traffic compared to 2019 – 60 percent / Copyright Romulić and Stojčić


Željko Kolar, a prefect of Krapina-Zagorje County, believes that "it is important that we are evaluated by regions, and not by the whole country so that we have a better chance of being on the market." He also points out that all types of tourism (wellness tourism, health tourism, religious tourism) must be brought together in the offer.


'More comprehensive destinations'

Minister of Tourism and Sports of the Republic of Croatia Nikolina Brnjac emphasized during the Ministerial Forum that the goal of Croatian tourism is to move away from seasonality.

"We cannot rely on seasonality, but we must have good products for that," said the Minister, confirming the opinions of Topolović and Kolar that quality products (4 and 5-star hotels, family farms, holiday homes, marinas) did good business this year. The fact that over 300 megayachts visited the Croatian coast this year is not negligible.



Istria County traditionally has the highest number of overnight stays / Copyright Romulić and Stojčić


The Ministerial Forum was also attended by Zdravko Počivalšek, Minister of Economy and Technology Development of the Republic of Slovenia, Fernando Valdés Verelst, State Secretary for Tourism, Ministry of Industry, Trade and Tourism of the Kingdom of Spain (online), and Elisabeth Köstinger, Minister of Agriculture, Region and tourism of the Republic of Austria (online). They discussed the future of tourism in their countries.

Fernando Valdés Verelst stated that Spain sees coronavirus as a possibility and that they "really need to start offering more comprehensive destinations."


40,000 tourists still in Croatia

Kristjan Staničić, director of the Croatian Tourist Board, said that the year was extremely demanding for the main season, although the tourist year is still going on, and today we have another 40,000 tourists in Croatia, mostly foreign.

"A lot of energy and funds are focused on key emitting markets, but also on the domestic market where we are implementing two important projects – a 'Week worth of vacation' and a 'Croatian tourist card'. These are projects that will be upgraded in the future and will provide an answer to the question of this conference – Croatian tourism 365? The answer is that it can, but with the synergy of all of us," concluded Staničić.



Zagreb is the most successful continental destination / Copyright Romulić and Stojčić


He also stated that this year's experience is a good basis for preparing what awaits us in 2021, but we need an even bigger and more intensive campaign, more informing the general public that we are a safe and close destination with good value for money.


Look into the future

At the beginning of the conference, Topolović pointed out that "people still want to travel, everyone has to go on vacation," and that the sun and the sea have their future even in the biggest crisis.

However, Minister Brnjac says that "it is dangerous to rely on one product only – the sun and the coast." Therefore, the guidelines for the development of a new tourism strategy relate to the quality of tourism infrastructure, accommodation facilities, and the emphasis is placed on additional product offerings.

The problem in Croatian tourism is currently underdeveloped off-season products such as the ski season, wellness tourism, and spas.

"'Pre- and post-season have a future only if we have quality products and services," is the main argument of Topalović.



Dubrovnik County has experienced the biggest decline this year / Copyright Romulić and Stojčić


A chance for further development

As the world recovers from the corona crisis, different segments of tourist travel will recover. Regional car travel will recover faster, train and domestic air travel slower, and international air traffic will need the most recovery time.

"Tourism is a reactive activity – as it blows, so the situation will develop," describes Topolović. Therefore, tourism must be well planned to be sustainable in the long run.

All the interlocutors of this conference agree on one thing: this crisis has shown us the weakest points of tourism, but it also opened our eyes to its improvement in the future. Therefore, this crisis is a chance for further development.

The most important thing, everyone says, is to stay positive in this situation.


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