Sunday, 5 June 2022

Croatian Valamar Company Purchases Another Austrian Ski Hotel

June the 5th, 2022 - The well known Croatian Valamar company has purchased yet another Austrian hotel in a popular ski resort, as it eyes further expansion and the offer of permanent work contracts for its employees.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Marija Crnjak writes, the Croatian Valamar company is continuing to expand its portfolio in Obertauern, Austria, by acquiring the luxury Hotel Kesselspitze, which will thus become the third Valamar-run hotel in Obertauern and the first Valamar Collection hotel in Austria. The Hotel Kesselspitze has so far been owned by the Lürzer family, which is recognised as a leader in development and innovation in the entire Obertauern destination.

The internationalisation of the Croatian Valamar company's overall portfolio with a focus being placed on winter destinations in the Alpine region is one of the company's strategic goals from back in 2018 with the opening of the first 4 * hotel, the Valamar Obertauern Hotel. The company's expansion in Austria continued throughout the year 2021 through the acquisition of the Marietta Hotel in Obertauern and the establishment of a new ownership structure within Valamar A GmbH, an SPV company in which Valamar has a minority investor but provides hotel management services to the entire portfolio.

The Hotel Kesselspitze 5 * is otherwise one of the most famous and recognisable hotels in Obertauern, it boasts 66 rooms, a restaurant, an indoor pool and wellness facilities, and enjoys an excellent location with direct access to the nearby ski slopes. The Valamar Collection brand represents the highest level of services and comfort for guests, as well as a range of services that Valamar will offer to guests. As the first Valamar Collection hotel in all of Austria, it will open its doors during the winter season of 2022/2023.

"The internationalisation of business by expanding our portfolio in winter destinations in the Alps is a strategic goal of Valamar. The acquisition of the third hotel in Obertauern represents another important step in the realisation of business synergies, especially the employment of our seasonal employees for the whole year,'' said Zeljko Kukurin, CEO of Valamar Riviera.

The Croatian Valamar company plans to continue investing in the quality of its portfolio in nearby Austria.

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

Friday, 29 April 2022

Valamar Riviera Sees Strong Increase in Q1 Revenues, Overnights

ZAGREB, 29 April (2022) - The Valamar Riviera hotel company generated HRK 59.5 million in operating revenues in Q1 2022, up 97% year-on-year, with an increase of 147,000 in overnight stays, or 192%, the company said in a financial statement on Friday, announcing a return to the occupancy rate from 2019 this year.

Total revenues reached HRK 74.8 million, up 119% on the year.

"In Q1 2022, Valamar Riviera achieved results comparable to 2019, continuing the positive trend of tourism recovering to the pre-pandemic level," Croatia's largest tourist company said.

In that period, total expenditures reached nearly HRK 314 million, so the group ended Q1 with a loss of HRK 199.85 million.

Investments for the 2022 season in hotels, summer resorts and camps amount to about HRK 530 million and are an important driver of growth and positive expectations, the company said.

Among the largest investment projects is the investment by Imperial Riviera of HRK 67 million in the repositioning of the Dalmacija hotel in Makarska, whose opening is planned for mid-May.

The investments of Helios Faros are worth HRK 220 million and are related to the construction of the Valamar Amicor Green Resort and Aquamar pool complex on the island of Hvar.

Other investments for this season include the renovation of the hotel Corinthia in Baška on the island of Krk in the Valamar brand Sunny Plus, improving service quality at the Valamar Bellevue Hotel in Rabac, the construction of Padova beach on the island of Rab, and the continuation of investments in the camps Istra Premium Camping Resort and Lanterna Premium Camping Resort.

In Dubrovnik, a new Valamar House has opened for the accommodation of seasonal workers, the fifth in Valamar destinations.

"The results achieved in the first quarter and booking trends are encouraging and announce a high demand for Croatia in this tourist season and a return to the levels of occupancy from 2019. Due to a significant rise in energy, labour and procurement prices, there is a risk of inflation, which contributes to uncertainty and difficult business conditions, especially jeopardising the future development and investments that Croatian tourism really needs," said Željko Kukurin, President of the Management Board of Valamar Riviera.

(€1 = HRK 7.5)

For more, check out our business section.

Sunday, 27 February 2022

Valamar Riviera's Good Results Still Not Enough to Balance Pandemic Damage

February the 27th, 2022 - The global coronavirus pandemic which struck the leisure and tourism industry hard back in 2020 and 2021 is far from a distant memory for those working in the sector despite the much more favourable epidemiological situation now. Valamar Riviera, a very well known and wildly successful Croatian hotel company, still hasn't managed to make up for the damage the pandemic caused to its business operations despite an excellent result for tourism in 2021.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Marija Crnjak writes, back in 2021, Croatia's Valamar Riviera generated operating revenues of an impressive 1.6 billion kuna, or 74 percent of what it made back in the pre-pandemic, record year of 2019, while its operating profit (EBITDA) reached the level of 84 percent of pre-crisis 2019.

In addition, in the third quarter of 2021, Valamar Riviera recorded the normalisation of its business operations in almost all of the destinations in which it operates up and down the country, achieving excellent results in Northern Adriatic destinations, on its campsites and in the premium segment. However, down south in Dubrovnik and in the 2 * and 3 * facilities, no significant business recovery was achieved, the company has since reported.

On top of all that, although the business results in 2021 were very positive, the realised losses from the coronavirus crisis period during the pandemic has largely not been covered by the company's recovery so far. Uncertainty in the wider environment will continue to affect tourism business and the economy in the near future, and the normalisation of tourism and its related business is expected during 2022 and 2023.

As it is known, back in 2021, Valamar Riviera started a new phase of growth by expanding its cooperation with investment partners across Croatia and the further internationalisation of its impressive portfolio in Austria, by buying its second hotel in Obertauern.

During the coronavirus pandemic, Valamar continued to develop its products, services and tourism portfolio with a two-year investment cycle spanning 2019/2021 in the amount of almost 870 million kuna. At the end of 2021, a new investment cycle in the amount of 525 million kuna was launched in facilities managed by Valamar with the aim of further developing the quality of its portfolio, resorts and camps, developing green tourism and digitalising its business processes.

Work is also currently underway on the investments of the Dalmatia Hotel [PLACES] by Valamar in Makarska, which is planned to open in May this year, as well as on the first fully sustainable eco-resort for family holidays, Valamar Amicor Green Resort on the central Dalmatian island of Hvar.

For more, check out our business section.

Thursday, 25 November 2021

Largest Croatian Tourist Company Purchasing Hotel in Austrian Ski Resort

November the 25th, 2021 - The largest Croatian tourist company, Valamar, has its eye on the purchase of another hotel in a very popular Austrian ski resort.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Marija Crnjak writes, the Supervisory Board of Valamar Riviera, the largest Croatian tourist company, has approved the recapitalisation of the Austrian subsidiary Valamar A GmbH with the aim of acquiring the Marietta 4 * hotel in Obertauern, which will thus become the second hotel in Austria managed by Valamar.

Over the next two years, further investments are planned in Austria, which include investments in raising the quality of the Marietta Hotel and the Valamar Obertauern Hotel, the company reports.

“Hotel Marietta 4 * with 120 keys is today one of the largest and best hotels in the famous Obertauern ski resort. It provides its guests with a fantastic location on the ski slope near all of the facilities in the destination. With the completion of this transaction, Valamar will operate two hotels in Austria, which will employ more than 130 Valamar employees from the Republic of Croatia during the winter.

For Valamar, this acquisition represents an important step forward in the further internationalisation of our business portfolio with the aim of expanding it and managing hotel and tourist facilities in the best winter holiday destinations across Austria and Italy. The recapitalisation of the Austrian subsidiary of Valamar A GmbH by Gustav Wurmboeck, one of Austria's largest shareholders in Valamar Riviera, aims to accelerate the further expansion of the Valamar Group's portfolio, with the acquisition of the Marietta Hotel being another significant step in that same direction,'' they stated from the very well known company.

Zeljko Kukurin, President of the Management Board of Valamar Riviera, pointed out that the further expansion of the largest Croatian tourist company's portfolio in the direction of winter holiday tourism is an important step forward in the internationalisation of business and the use of Valamar's management synergies.

"Experience so far has shown us that guests who come to us in the summer want to spend their holidays in Valamar's facilities during the winter. In addition, by expanding to winter tourism, we're providing our employees with year-round permanent employment, increased income and the opportunity to gain international experience and develop their careers in the long term here with Valamar,'' concluded Kukurin.

For more, check out our dedicated business section.

Monday, 2 August 2021

Valamar Riviera's Summer Season Traffic Reaching Pre-Pandemic Levels

August the 2nd, 2021 - The coronavirus pandemic has taken an unimaginable toll on global travel and tourism, and countries which rely very heavily on this economic segment such as Croatia, have taken a heavy blow indeed. That said, things have dramatically improved when compared to 2020, and Valamar Riviera's traffic at the height of the season is more than encouraging.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Marija Crnjak writes, in the first six months of this year, Valamar Riviera generated an impressive 291 million kuna in total revenues, which more than doubled the revenues they had during the same period in 2020. At the same time, a positive operating profit of 19.6 million kuna was achieved, which is an increase compared to 2020, but it is also 67 million kuna less than in pre-crisis 2019, the company announced recently.

The achieved revenue growth is the result of the easing of travel restrictions, high demand from key markets, good season preparation, the opening of most facilities in June and significant investments in Valamar Riviera's wider portfolio in previous years.

Despite the continued impact of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, a significant improvement in operating profit compared to 2020 was achieved through the general rationalisation of operations and internal austerity measures, as well as the continued implementation of the "Pause, Restart" programme which was adopted in April 2020. On top of that, the further use of measures the government introduced last year for support for job preservation also plays a role, Valamar explained.

In July 2021, Valamar generated about 90 percent of the board's revenues realised in the same month in 2019, which, together with the semi-annual results, indicates the beginning of recovery for tourism, which hasn't come a moment too late.

"In July, Istria and the northern Adriatic destinations achieved a result similar to that of 2019, while Dubrovnik and the southern destinations are still lagging behind. The trend of bookings for August is improving in southern destinations, and in the north it's almost reached the levels we saw back in 2019. The level of uncertainty for business results in 2021 remains high due to uncertainty about the further development of the pandemic across Europe and the generally low vaccination coverage here in Croatia. We expect that the tourism sector will continue to be affected by the crisis throughout 2021, while a return to regular operations is expected in 2022 and 2023,'' they concluded in their recent announcement.

For more, make sure to follow our dedicated business section.

Thursday, 22 July 2021

Hvar Becomes New Territory for Valamar Riviera Hotel Company's Plans

July the 22nd, 2021 - The beautiful Central Dalmatian island of Hvar, known as Croatia's premier island, appears to be some new territory to conquer for the well known Valamar Riviera Hotel company. But that isn't all that's on the horizon.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Sergej Novosel Vuckovic writes, the Valamar Riviera Hotel company seems to have selected gorgeous Hvar to be its latest lucrative field - after the existing one hotel and two apartment complexes, a new hotel of the lifestyle genre was opened on the island back at the end of May this year, and it was the first to be adorned with the new Hvar brand (Places Hotel).

In addition, the offer for both tourists and residents alike has been supplemented by two new restaurants - Craft Beer & Grill and Grano Duro Pizza & Pasta have been operating on the waterfront for two months now.

These are independent facilities, and a massive 8.4 million kuna was poured into their renovation. Dario Kinkela, the director of the food and beverage sector at Valamar, will say that they belong to an already very well-established concept:

“We conceived the concepts a few years ago and implemented them in Rabac (as part of another restaurant) and Porec (Camp Lanterna, and Camp Istra in Funtana). Every year we improve them and adapt them to a new destination.

Grano Duro is based on top-quality pizzas, pasta and summer salads at affordable prices, and Craft Beer & Grill is focused on a rich offer of grilled meat and beer, with an emphasis on the best Croatian and world craft breweries,'' says Dario.

The move highlights the excellent relationship with local food suppliers, which is something that is in the interest of just about everyone of late, especially since the pandemic struck and issues with imports and exports became apparent.

“Cooperation with them is integrated into the Valamar Riviera Hotel company's very business policy. Wherever possible, we work with the local community, and this is reflected in the satisfaction of our guests who appreciate these high-quality groceries. They like to explore the tastes of the destinations they choose more and more, to taste something indigenous, and this isn't only a trend but is also a conscious focus on sustainability, which is an essential item when it comes to our business.

Hvar has a great wealth of flavours to boast of, from aromatic herbs, fruits and vegetables to wine. In these restaurants, we've adjusted our offer accordingly. Examples are Hvar oregano and capers on our pizzas, and Hvar lavender and bitter orange in cocktails, and we also offer pasticada with Hvar-sourced ingredients,'' says Kinkela.

Up in Istria, more precisely in Porec and Rabac, Grano Duro and Craft Beer & Grill had, he adds, excellent results, so they hope for something similar in Stari Grad on Hvar.

His hopes are especially high in this regard because these niches, as they claim from the Valamar Riviera Hotel company, otherwise aren't so present on the island. Regardless of the fact that Hvar has a reputation as a destination for wealthier guests, it targets different categories of consumers: Grano Duro is for families and young people, and Craft Beer & Grill attracts boaters and guests from private accommodation,'' says Kinkela.

These restaurants are far from unimportant, they've been designed to remain in operation even in the colder months so they have the potential to work all year round, not just in the summer. They stated from the Valamar Riviera Hotel company that this will not happen for now, noting that the move depends on several factors.

Judging by the fact that Valamar guarantees a minimum salary of 5,000 kuna to all of its workers, as well as secured accommodation and food, they didn't have any difficulties in finding staff in Stari Grad.

"Specialists from our F&B team trained our employees on Hvar, and went through all segments. Managers and key employees were trained in our similar facilities in the north. The training sessions have been carefully developed within our sector and I'm very proud of our educators,'' says Kinkela.

One year ago, the Valamar Riviera Hotel company launched the Valfresco Direkt service, as an online store that gives small producers a space to list and market their products. It is available to citizens and tourists alike in Istria.

"The good trend in this regard has continued, Valfresco Direkt delivers its products to camps in Istria and Krk every day. We've additionally adjusted our offer to the camps, guests can order groceries before leaving for their trip, in order to be that they will have arrived in their accommodation when they get there.

Guests of the camps in the area of ​​Labin and Porec use the delivery of ready-made local dishes from Valfresco cuisine. For some dishes, the delivery is done on the same day,'' concluded Dario Kinkela.

For more, follow our business section.

Friday, 9 April 2021

Zagreb Stock Exchange Main Indices End Week in Opposite Directions Amid Low Turnover

ZAGREB, 9 April, 2021 - The Zagreb Stock Exchange's Crobex index went up 0.06% to 1,889.05 points on Friday, while the Crobex10 dipped 0.07% to 1,185.06 points, and regular turnover was only HRK 3.5 million.

No stock crossed the million kuna mark and the most traded one was the Valamar Riviera tourism company, turning over HRK 888,000. It closed at HRK 29.50 per share, the same as on Thursday.

Forty-one stocks traded today, with 13 increasing in price, 14 decreasing and as many staying the same.

(€1 = HRK 7.569904)

For more about business in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

 

Monday, 29 March 2021

Valamar Hotels Opening in Porec, Krk, Rabac, Rab, Makarska, and Dubrovnik Before Easter

March 29, 2021 - It'll be a busy week with Valamar hotels opening in Porec, Krk, Rabac, Rab, Makarska, and Dubrovnik before Easter!

Index.hr reports that just before Easter, the Valamar Riviera Hotel Group plans to open three hotels in Porec, two on Krk and one each in Rabac, Rab, Makarska, and Dubrovnik, and will also operate two camps, on Krk and Rab. For the spring holiday, Valamar expects domestic guests, just as they had during winter. 

Valamar Riviera is the largest hotel group in Croatia, which manages 36 hotels and 15 camps in Istria (Porec, Rabac), Krk, Rab, and Hvar, and in Makarska and Dubrovnik, most of which open in May. Valamar also manages a hotel in Obertauern, Austria.

"In our northern destinations in the upcoming tourist season, we expect the most guests from Germany, Austria, Slovenia, and Poland, and in the southern locations, guests from Great Britain, France, Germany, and Croatia. During this winter, there were mostly domestic guests in the open facilities of Valamar, and we expect them during the Easter holidays, mostly in the arrangement of weekend stays," said Valamar. 

Regarding tourist demand, they note that this year, similar to last year, higher demand is recorded by car destinations and camping resorts, with the expectation of intensified last-minute booking. Simultaneously, prices are said to be "dynamically determined through a 'revenue management' system according to Valamar's usual business practice."

"In all facilities and in 2021, the V Health & Safety program is applied following safety standards in Croatia and the recommendations of international health organizations, which in addition to high health, safety, and environmental standards, guarantees the improvement of cleaning protocols. Guests are provided with 24-hour support in case they need health care," said Valamar.

Valamar has also developed a package of measures through which it organizes all necessary health services for guests during their holidays, which includes the organization of antigen and PCR testing within the accommodation facility, as well as covering the costs of extended stay for people with COVID-19 and everyone included in their reservation.

Without giving exact figures, they point out that for this season, they are opening a "significant number of seasonal jobs," for which they offer a minimum net income of HRK 5,000 for the monthly fund of hours, accommodation, hot meals, and other benefits.

By the way, Valamar reached 7,000 employees in the record 2019 in the peak summer season, while according to the data from the business report for 2020, there were about 4,000 in the summer of 2020.

At the beginning of April 2020, Valamar launched the "Pause, Restart" program to preserve all jobs, which was extended until 31 March 2022 with the support of social partners. Under this program, all Valamar employees sent on standby without the obligation to work were provided with a salary compensation in the amount of 60 percent, but not less than 4,250 net kuna, with the support of the government's to preserve jobs in the affected industries.

Among the news for this tourist season is the launch of the lifestyle brand [Places] following the trend in the international hotel industry for lifestyle hotels that are aimed at creating a unique experience with authentic service, which emphasizes the most valuable in the destination and contributes to nature conservation and environmental sustainability.

Such hotels attract modern travelers, primarily "millennials" and young professionals. The first hotel under this brand is Hvar PlacesHotel in Stari Grad on the island (former hotel Lavanda from Helios Faros, which is in partnership with a pension fund PBZ Croatia osiguranje taken over in 2019).

They are investing around 53 million kuna in the hotel's renovation, and according to current plans, it will open in mid-May.

This is where guests from the markets of Great Britain, the USA, Germany, and Austria, but also Croatia, are most expected.

Hvar as a destination is "positioned in the market segments of younger, relaxed, and at the same time, experientially and environmentally aware people," said Valamar Riviera Vice President for Sales and Marketing Davor Brenko.

"We have high expectations from the new brand in the future, and in the next period, we plan to open several more such hotels," Brenko announced.

For the latest travel updates and COVID-19 news from Croatia, CLICK HERE.

Thursday, 25 March 2021

Valamar Lifestyle Brand [PLACES] to Launch with Hotel on Hvar

March 25, 2021 - The brand new Valamar lifestyle brand [PLACES], aiming to target younger travelers, will launch with a hotel opening on Hvar later this spring. 

HRTurizam reports that lifestyle hotels have been a trend in the international hotel industry in recent years because they aim to create an authentic experience and push the boundaries of the traditional hotel concept. They are especially sought after among the younger target group of tourists, i.e., millennials.

Following new trends and signals from the market, Valamar has launched a new lifestyle brand called [PLACES] by Valamar.

The new hotel concept is based on getting to know the destination's true local Mediterranean lifestyle, focusing on authenticity. The brand is intended for guests seeking freedom of choice, modern design, and an authentic destination experience with full respect for nature and the environment.

One of the most significant features of this hotel is the [PLACESFLEXI] offer, which gives guests complete freedom to enjoy the restaurant offer in the rhythm that suits them best, according to Valamar. If for any reason they missed lunch or dinner - 25 euros of their daily credit can be used in a restaurant or hotel bar. What they don't spend that day, they can transfer to the next. Attention should also be drawn to the pool complex, which becomes the center of daily entertainment with live music by local bands and DJs, and the party continues after sunset.

With the introduction of the [PLACES] brand, Valamar continues to follow the latest trends in the hotel industry, said Davor Brenko, Valamar Riviera's vice president of sales and marketing, adding that this is a hotel concept intended primarily for millennials, young professionals, and those who recognize themselves in the specific lifestyle values that [PLACES] promotes.

The first Valamar hotel under the new brand will be HVAR [PLACESHOTEL] by Valamar in Stari Grad on Hvar (ex hotel Lavanda), for a renovation of which a total of around HRK 53 million will be invested. According to current plans, it will open in mid-May. The hotel has 179 rooms which, in addition to high-quality workmanship and equipment, will also have the possibility of cashless payment with a bracelet and contactless check-in.

"For HVAR [PLACESHOTEL], the most important will be the markets of Great Britain, the United States, Germany, Austria, and of course, the Croatian market. Hvar is a destination that has successfully positioned itself in the market segments of younger, relaxed, and at the same time experientially and environmentally aware people. That is why we chose Hvar as a destination and an ideal place to launch our new brand, from which we have high expectations in the future. In the next period, we plan to open several more hotels under the [PLACES] brand," Brenko points out.

The visual identity of the [PLACES] brand by Valamar is signed by Studio Sonda from Vižinada near Poreč, and it is one of five Valamar product brands that operate under the umbrella identity All you can holiday (Valamar Collection, Valamar Hotels & Resorts, Sunny by Valamar, and Camping Adriatic by Valamar).

For the latest travel updates and COVID-19 news from Croatia, CLICK HERE.

Friday, 5 March 2021

Valamar 'Pause, Restart' Program Returns to Preserve Jobs until 2022

March 5, 2021 - Valamar Riviera's social partners, led by the Croatian Trade Union of Tourism and Services and the Trade Union of Istria, Kvarner, and Dalmatia, supported the continuation of the Valamar 'Pause, Restart' program to preserve jobs in the coming year.

T.portal reports that the 'Pause, Restart' program has been in force since March last year with the support of social partners, Valamar employees, and government measures. The new agreement was signed for one year and will be in effect from April 1, 2021, to March 31, 2022.

The 'Pause, Restart' program provides compensation in the amount of 60% of the regular income, i.e., a minimum of HRK 4,250 net for all Valamar employees who are on hold due to business restrictions during the pandemic and are relying on the current Government measures. Valamar pays regular full salaries to other employees.

The 'Pause, Restart' program applies equally to employees and management. Each month, depending on the employment opportunities, employees who will go to work and those who will receive compensation when waiting for work are determined.

"Government support measures have been key to preserving jobs in tourism until the 2021 season. Unfortunately, the pandemic continues to affect the impossibility of normal business in tourism. It is already very likely that the continuation of support measures will be important for April and May this year, given that higher turnover in tourism can be expected only from June. Also, the continuation of the program aims to preserve jobs until the 2022 season, when business normalization is expected," the statement said.

"We are glad that our social partners have continued to support Valamar's "Pause, Restart" program because we all have a common goal, which is certainly to preserve jobs. Valamar is working intensively on preparations for the opening of the season and in 2021 guarantees a minimum net income of HRK 5,000 as well as the continuation of the year-round income program for permanent seasonal workers. Given the planned opening of most Valamar hotels, resorts, and camping resorts by mid-May, seasonal employees at Valamar can expect between 3 and 6 months of work in the 2021 season. We all hope for the normalization of business as soon as possible and a more successful season than last year," said Ines Damjanić Šturman, director of the human resources sector at Valamar Riviera.

"We are facing the 2021 tourist season, which, unfortunately, brings far more challenges than the previous 2020. STUH is aware that the tourist season in 2021 will not get results that provide liquidity to our companies while retaining the existing number of employees until next season, so I propose to the Government of the Republic of Croatia that in addition to aid in March and April, they should support tourism and hospitality in the 2022 autumn and winter tourist season," said Eduard Andrić, President of the Trade Union of Tourism and Services of Croatia.

Last year, Valamar opened 24 hotels and resorts and all 15 camping resorts with more than 4,400 employees. In 2020, almost 300,000 guests stayed at Valamar, and no COVID-19 cases were recorded, which confirms that tourist facilities achieve a high level of safety for guests, the statement concluded.

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