Wednesday, 25 August 2021

YTD Financial Indicators Give Rise to Hope That Tourism Season Can Be Great

ZAGREB, 25 Aug, 2021 - Overnight stay numbers so far this year show that they have reached 74% of tourist nights in the corresponding period of 2019, whereas the value of the fiscalised receipts indicates even a better performance of the tourist sector, Minister Nikolina Brnjac has told Hina.

The year-to-date value of the fiscalised receipts in tourism-related economic activities has reached 79% of those receipts in 2019.

The minister admits that it is still too early to forecast the fiscal effects of this year's tourism season.

The comprehensive report on the revenues from the tourist trade can be expected upon the release of the relevant report by the Croatian National Bank on the spending of foreign holiday-makers in the third quarter of 2021, and the central bank provides the general public with those numbers at the end of the year.

The data collected by e-visitor system show that so far this year, there have been 9.8 million guests who have generated 61.3 million overnight stays, thus reaching 64% and 74% of the visitor numbers and tourist night numbers in 2019.

So far in August alone, there have been 3.4 million visitors and 24.1 million overnight stays, 87% and 92% of the results in the corresponding period in 2019.

Concerning the value of fiscalised receipts in the tourism-related activities, it stands at 14.9 billion kuna, or 79% of the value registered in the corresponding period of 2019 when Croatia's tourism sets new records.

In August, fiscalised receipts' value overtakes 2019

For instance, from 1 to 17 August  the value of fiscalised receipts reached nearly four billion kuna, or 20% more than in the same period of 2019, Brnjac said.

The value of the fiscalised receipts from 1 July to 17 August outperformed the corresponding period in 2019 by 9%, the minister said.

She said that the bookings for the remainder of the year also gave rise to optimism.

"We are striving for keeping Croatia's status of the Mediterranean country with the most favourable epidemiological situation," she said, among other things.

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Tuesday, 15 June 2021

Croatian Tourism Minister Nikolina Brnjac Visits Bavaria to Discuss Tourism Cooperation

ZAGREB, 15 June, 2021 - Croatian Tourism Minister Nikolina Brnjac met with Bavaria's Deputy Premier and Minister of Economic Affairs, Regional Development and Energy, Hubert Aiwanger, in Munich on Monday to discuss ways of increasing cooperation in the tourism sector.

Brnjac said that Croatia and Bavaria would continue exchanging experience and best practice in the digitalisation of tourism services and the development of cultural and rural tourism, her ministry announced in a press release.

"Croatia and Bavaria put emphasis on the development of sustainable tourism, and their cooperation in many areas of common interest has been going on for about 50 years within the Bavarian-Croatian Commission," Brnjac said.

She noted that half of German tourists visiting Croatia come from Bavaria, which is why it is very important for Croatia to convey the information on the activities that are being undertaken so that Croatia is recognised as a pleasant and safe destination.

Bavaria supports Croatia's Schengen membership bid

Aiwanger said there was a lot of space for cooperation between Croatia and Bavaria in the tourism sector, emphasising that Bavaria supported Croatia's accession to the Schengen area next year as an important precondition for facilitating movement of tourists.

The working meeting was also attended by the deputy president of the ADAC motoring association for tourism and finance, Karlheinz Jungbeck.

Brnjac and Jungbeck discussed preparations for the summer tourist season as well as expectations and plans for future development. Brnjac said that the cooperation with ADAC, which has 22 million members, ensured the greater visibility of Croatia on the German market, adding that today's meeting set a framework for future institutional cooperation.

According to ADAC, there is a growing interest in visiting Croatia, notably in the camping segment. This year ADAC included 134 Croatian campsites on its list of the best European campsites, the same number as in 2019, and 13 of the campsites were rated as ADAC Superplatz 2021.

About 42,000 Germans are currently vacationing in Croatia, mostly in Istria. Last year German tourists generated 1.6 million arrivals and 12.7 overnight stays, which was 60 percent of overnight stays made in 2019 when a record 21.2 million overnight stays were generated by German visitors. Last year, the 12.7 million overnight stays made by German tourists accounted for 23 percent of total overnight stays in Croatia.

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Monday, 10 May 2021

Minister for Bolstering Tourism's Resilience, Sustainability

ZAGREB, 10 May 2021 - Tourism Minister Nikolina Brnjac said on Monday the National Recovery and Resilience Plan's goal regarding tourism was to increase the sector's resilience and sustainability through green and digital transition.

Speaking in Rovinj about the development of sustainable, innovative, and resilient tourism as part of the national plan, she said another goal was to contribute to tourism's recovery from the crisis caused by the pandemic and to increase tourism's added value and indirect effects on other industries.

Investments in tourism's environmental, economic and social sustainability safeguard resources and build tourism for the long term because, she said, "in the future, we wish to be an even more successful tourist destination."

Brnjac said the national plan ensured the necessary funds "and it's up to us to carry out reforms and strategically steer the development of this important sector." She added that reforming the sector and investments were the prerequisites for utilizing the HRK 2.2 billion earmarked in the national plan for tourism until 2026.

She said the funds would be available to all tourist enterprises, both on the coast and on the continent, and that they would be awarded based on public calls, with 60% intended for direct investments in the private sector.

The rest, she added, is intended for investments in the public tourist infrastructure, but may also be used by private enterprises as part of public-private partnerships.

Tourism reform and investments are aligned with the government's strategic policies, the national reform program, and the national development strategy, Brnjac said, adding that the reform included drafting a sustainable tourism strategy until 2030, a sustainable tourism plan, and a strategic environmental impact estimate.

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Wednesday, 31 March 2021

Tourism Minister Nikolina Brnjac: We Are Working On Clear Criteria For Entry Into Croatia

ZAGREB, 31 March, 2021 - Tourism and Sports Minister Nikolina Brnjac said on Wednesday that clear entry criteria for Croatia were being prepared according to European Commission recommendations for travel across borders, which will probably be - recovered from COVID-19, vaccination or a PCR or antigen test.

Asked by reporters ahead of an inner cabinet meeting what she thinks of the measures by the national COVID response team and how the deteriorated epidemiological situation is being reflected on tourism and bookings, Minister Brnjac said that as soon as the European Commission released its draft recommendations on travel restrictions, Croatia immediately started working on clear criteria for entry into Croatia.

The Commission recently proposed a regulation on creating a Digital Green Certificate which should enable safe travel within the European Union during the pandemic. The certificate should be proof that a person has been vaccinated against COVID-19, has received a negative test result or recovered from COVID-19.

Brnjac added that this requires technical preparations which are already being worked on in the Interior Ministry and the Croatian Institute for Public Health so that, as soon as the regulation enters into force, it can be integrated in the system.

That is important because of the epidemiological situation, which is why at the end of 2020 we launched safe protocols and the "Safe stay in Croatia" label, she said.

"We have previously warned that the most important thing is for Croatia to be in the 'green' zone and we asked local tourist boards to recommend testing stations for tourists... We need to achieve flow of both tourists and tests," said Brnjac.

Asked how the current situation is being reflected on bookings, Brnjac said that she is in constant contact with partners on the markets and that there has been an increase in enquiries, mostly about whether Croatia is in the "green" and about the vaccination of tourism workers which, she added, could be conducted in May and June as "vaccines are coming."

"There are fewer bookings than in previous years, even for Easter, but more are expected... from the end of May and in June, for which there is more interest by tourists, and that is why we should have the best epidemiological situation possible," she said. 

Asked about aid for travel agencies which are required to refund deposits for cancelled travel arrangements, yet don't have the funds to do so, Brnjac said "they can get loans and return what they owe, with state guarantees for up to 100 per cent of the loans that are earmarked for SMEs and 90% for (those earmarked for) large companies."

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Thursday, 25 March 2021

Development of Health Tourism: High Priority for Croatian Tourist Offer

March 25, 2021 - Both the Croatian Ministry of Tourism and Sports and Croatian tourist boards recognised the development of health tourism as a high priority for Croatia.

To discuss the development of health tourism in Croatia, a branch that is becoming one of the more important Croatian tourist products, Croatian Tourism and Sports minister Nikolina Brnjac met with Kvarner Tourist Board director Irena Peršić Živadinov, Kvarner Health Tourism cluster president Vladimir Možetič, and Zagreb Tourist Board director Martina Bienenfeld. As life expectancy and healthy lifestyle trends increase, the value of health tourism grows. The novel coronavirus only made that growth even more rapid.

"Over 80,000 tourists in 2020 visited Kvarner (well-known for Lošinj Island and its hospital for respiratory issues) for health services. Today, many people are recovering from the consequences of the novel coronavirus there," said the Kvarner Tourist Board director Živadinov.  

"We have all the advantages for further development of health tourism: a good reputation of health services, qualified staff, natural richness of thermal sources, good climate, and long tradition of tourism," said minister Brnjac. Her goal is to pull Croatia out of the perception of a country only good for the summer season.

Croatia offers health services in wellness and medicine tourism. Health tourism is most associated with the regions of Kvarner, Istria, northern Croatia, and Zagreb, but the goal is to include other regions that have the potential for health tourism and to achieve the goals of a strategy that needs to be accomplished by 2030.

Martina Bienenfeld said that the Zagreb Tourist Board is working on the City's recognition as the centre of medical excellence. She pointed out good traffic connections, a mixture of the Mediterranean and mid-Europe climate, as well as good prices of health services as great advantages of Croatia's capital to the international clientele.

The Health Care Bill and Services in Tourism Bill now allow hospitality and health tourism services in hospitals and medical centres. These legal changes are also significant in attracting further investments in the field.

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Friday, 12 March 2021

Tourism Minister And Public Health Director Tell Tourist Board Directors Preparation Important For Season

ZAGREB, 12 March, 2021 - The tourism season requires good preparation by the sector and destinations, including setting up VOVID testing stations, inoculating workers in tourism and ensuring safety protocols at border crossings, Minister of Tourism Nikolina Brnjac said on Friday, meeting with directors of regional tourist boards.

During the video conference, which was also attended by the head of the Croatian Institute for Public Health, Krunoslav Capak, he spoke of the current situation with the pandemic and touched on so-called green passports which should represent a health document facilitating crossing borders.

He explained that the certificate would contain information on inoculation against, recovering from and being tested for COVID-19, which should ensure a balanced procedure in EU member states regarding conditions to cross borders.

Capak underscored that an agreement had been reached at the EU level on acceptable fast antigen tests, however most member states, including Croatia, still require a PCR test in order to cross the border.

He said that tourist boards would be issued with information on how to obtain a licence to conduct tests and on issuing credible certificates of testing, the ministry said in a press release.

The ministry underscored that it expects tourist boards to submit their proposals for testing stations for tourists in individual counties in coordination with regional public health institutes.

A list of testing stations will then be advertised on the www.safestayincroatia.hr web site.

Both Capak and Brnjac underlined the importance of inoculation in the tourism sector because workers in the sector generate a lot of contacts and are the first contact point with tourists.

"Inoculation in the tourism sector is an important message of additional safety and responsibility in that sector, which contributes to better positioning Croatia as a safe destination," underscored Brnjac.

"We hope that we will reach an agreement soon on how to facilitate travel for tourists," said Brnjac, referring to tourists from countries outside the EU.

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Monday, 1 February 2021

Tourism Ministry Announces Campaign for 'Safe Stay in Croatia' Label

February 1, 2021 – The Ministry of Tourism and Sport will launch a campaign for the "Safe Stay in Croatia" label in mid-February, which will show tourists that Croatia applies health and safety protocols during the coronavirus pandemic.

After announcing that the Ministry was preparing a "Safe travel" label for the upcoming tourist season, Minister of Tourism and Sports Nikolina Brnjac confirmed today that they would start the campaign in mid-February.

Tourism must show adaptability and responsibility

As Hina reports, apart from tourist entities for which this label is intended, airlines, gas stations, various tourist facilities, cultural and natural attractions will also use it. The protocols will be harmonized with the recommendations of the Croatian Institute of Public Health (HZJZ). It will also include a sticker with a QR code that can be displayed in a visible place. As part of the promotion, a special website will also be launched.

The Ministry will assign and keep the labels free of charge and monitor their application with associations.

"In addition to the application of these protocols, important preconditions for achieving tourist results are a favorable epidemiological situation, a sufficient level of vaccination, and the perception of destination security. Croatia was recognized for that last year. We will continue to work on it in 2021. Due to the pandemic, the tourism sector will again have to show creativity, adaptability, responsibility, and cooperation," said the Minister.

Adherence to global standardized health protocols

Noting that the introduction of these labels is an important wheel in branding Croatia as a safe destination, the Minister expects that by Easter, it will contribute to the promotion, recalling that it is essential to continue to adhere to epidemiological recommendations and measures.

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Source: Pixabay

The labels are a national upgrade of last year's "Safe Travel" labels of the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) to make it easier to identify destinations and companies that adhere to global standardized health and hygiene protocols. The Croatian Ministry of Tourism and Sport immediately got involved. Harmonization of safety protocols for restaurants, hotels, family farms, holiday homes, beaches, marinas, boats, travel agencies, rent-a-car, tourist guides was one of the first tasks of the Council for the Repair and Development of Tourism.

Slow vaccine distribution not in favor of tourism trends

Minister Brnjac said that the vaccine is excellent news for tourism. Vaccination of tourism workers, for which about 70 percent of them are interested in Croatia, will play an important role in tourism promotion and results.

She says the slow distribution of vaccines and vaccinations, the new strain of the virus, and the growing number of infections in Europe and the world, are not in favor of tourism trends. It is necessary to open borders and overcome the psychological barrier of fear to travel again. It is encouraging that the EU insists on an agreement on the quantity and dynamics of vaccine delivery.

"We hope that in Croatia, as in other EU member states, a good initial vaccination rate will continue. Given the current situation with the vaccine at the EU level, Croatia's position is to insist on talks with pharmaceutical companies on the agreed quantity and dynamics of vaccine delivery," adds Brnjac.

Among other things, Croatia is in contact with representatives of other EU member states. At the moment, all EU member states want to speed up vaccination.

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Source: Pixabay

Regarding the introduction of measures for tourist arrivals and border crossings, the Minister recalls that EU leaders agreed to work on a standardized form of evidence of vaccination in compliance with EU data protection regulations. This certificate would, for the time being, be used exclusively for medical purposes.

"For crossing Croatia's border, a negative PCR test result not older than 48 hours should be presented, or PCR testing should be performed immediately upon arrival (at one's own expense), with the obligation of self-isolation until a negative result. If it is impossible to test, a self-isolation measure will last for ten days. Further measures will be subject to the course of the epidemiological situation in Croatia, but also specific markets," said the Minister.

Croatia recommended destination for 2021

In the current situation, the Minister considers it's good that the people from foreign markets are eager to travel. It's even better that Croatia is mentioned as a desirable destination, thanks to the proximity to many markets and good transport links, especially road.

"This year, we expect a distinct 'last-minute' demand and demand for safe, fast, and easily accessible destinations, as well as accommodation that provides additional security such as holiday homes, on boats, in camps, and staying outdoors in nature. There are expectations from domestic tourists, who can be a driver of tourism, as well as from the cooperation with the European Association of Travel Agencies and Tour Operators (ECTAA), according to which Croatia in 2021 has the status of a selected and recommended destination," says the Minister.

She believes that a favorable epidemiological situation will be maintained in Croatia with the adherence to the measures. The tourism sector is ready to prove its responsibility and provide a safe stay this year as well. Through cooperation, knowledge, and experience, Croatia will continue to position itself as a desirable destination for foreign and domestic tourists.

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Monday, 7 December 2020

Tourism Minister, National Hospitality Industry Association Chief Hold Talks

ZAGREB, Dec 7, 2020 - Tourism Minister Nikolina Brnjac and the chairman of the national hospitality industry association, Marin Medak on Monday held talks on the challenges facing that sector, the consequences of the pandemic, legal solutions, digitisation and other topics, the ministry said in a press release.

"Until now too, through dialogue we have arrived at a series of solutions with which we are trying to save jobs in the tourism sector and related activities and today's meeting was constructive," Minister Brnjac said briefly after the meeting.

She added that last week she had met with representatives in hospitality from various parts of Croatia including the president of the hospitality association from Istria and Kvarner islands, Vedran Jakominic who is also the vice president of the national association.

Medak assessed the talks as good with the remark that they spoke about the future and less about "stopgap measures" and the current situation which "is as it is."

"Apart from the problems that we could have in the future we immediately presented the minister with solutions to some of these problems, such as urgent digitisation in hospitality and that we should be included in preparing and adopting some documents like the future sustainable tourism strategy," he said.

Medak is convinced that together they will succeed in establishing a digital platform in hospitality that will integrate all hospitality providers and their needs - supplies, sales, legal solutions, institutions and other tools that will facilitate doing business and in communication.

The delegation informed the minister of the association's initiative for a model of categorising restaurants and other hospitality premises and to call it the "kravata" (cravat).

They consider it to be essential to define the strategy in the next few months and to adopt certain amendments to the law on providing hospitality services and to update those services that they can withstands crises situation in the 21st century.

Asked whether he believed that hospitality businesses would reopen after December 21 and before Christmas, Medak said that he doesn't believe that will be possible and that the lockdown could last until the end of January.

"The thing we are still trying to negotiate with the national response team is to allow anyone who wishes to, particularly cafes, to prepare coffee to go because at the moment they aren't allowed to do even that unlike stores, petrol stations and other outlets that have that option. We'll see if we manage to succeed in that," said Medak.

Thursday, 26 November 2020

Sustainable Tourism Development Strategy Until 2030 to be Drawn Up

ZAGREB, November 26, 2020 - The Tourism Ministry is launching the drafting of a sustainable tourism strategy until 2030 and a 2021-27 national sustainable tourism development plan as long-term frameworks for tourism development, Minister Nikolina Brnjac said at a cabinet meeting on Thursday.

The drafting of a new strategy is in line with the government's programme and the Competitive and Innovative Economy strategic goal in the draft national development strategy until 2030.

A strategic environmental impact estimate will be drawn up for the first time as part of the strategy, Brnjac said.

According to the ministry, the strategy, the plan and the estimate are expected to be drawn up by the end of 2021 and the aim is for the strategy to be coherent with other sectors' public policies.

"We have embarked on the creation of strategic frameworks so as to focus our activities as well as possible on the sustainability and development of the tourism sector, and the common goal of all actors should be the positioning of Croatia as a high quality, safe and, according to economic criteria, increasingly successful destination," said Brnjac.

Thursday, 27 February 2020

Tourism Minister Gari Cappelli on Coronavirus: Don't Panic, No Cancellations Yet

February 27, 2020 - Croatian Tourism Minister Gari Cappelli comments on the coronavirus and its effects on Croatian tourism so far.

HRTurizam reports that the panic and spread of mass hysteria around the coronavirus is of no use to anyone, and many experts and scientists are calling for the voice of reason.

Today, Croatian Tourism Minister Gari Cappelli was the voice of reason at a session of the Croatian Government, stating that 24,500 tourists are currently staying in Croatia, or about 3% more guests than at the same time last year.

"There is still no major decline, except of course from the eastern markets, such as China and South Korea, as expected. In the first month, we had an increase of about 70% from the Chinese market, and now in February, a decrease of 60% was achieved, so we got closer to zero.”

As for the impact of the current situation on tourism revenue, Capelli noted that the first three months affect somewhere around 5%, while the first six months affect 27% of total tourism revenue.

“So the first three months will not have a significant impact on total tourism revenue. The biggest eventual cancellations that occur are in business and congress tourism, which is about reservations for March. Easter is earlier this year, so it won't even be a true picture of what's going to happen in the rest of the tourist season. The real picture will be shown by the situation in May, when the biggest arrivals are achieved because tourists connect holidays."

Cappelli added that in the last two years we have a new tendency in tourism through last minute bookings, i.e., our guests only book their arrival in May and June for the peak tourist season.

"So far, we do not have any cancellations for the main part of the tourist year; our markets are still stable. Positive data shows that we have a 3% increase in interest from the German market as well as from 7% to 8% in the UK this year. So for now, we do not feel any disadvantages, except for a slight halt to bookings, which was to be expected in this situation. There is no room to panic, the government headquarters manages the situation in real-time and all services are fully prepared,” Cappelli concluded.

"We need to stop any panic and big shopping trips for supplies, because we are not in this situation or at this stage at all," said Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic, adding that the Government will remain 100% transparent and prompt about all relevant information to the public.

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