Saturday, 31 October 2020

Valamar Riviera Achieved 33% of Last Year's Figures, Preserved All Jobs

October 31, 2020 - Croatia's largest tourism company Valamar Riviera achieved 33% of last year's figures and still managed to preserve all jobs. 

HRTurizam reports that despite the COVID-19 crisis, Valamar Riviera generated 2.2 million overnight stays in the first three quarters of 2020 and total revenues of HRK 673 million, or 33% of last year's revenues. While Valamar Riviera expects to realize a net loss, they also will have positive cash flow with an operating profit in the range of HRK 100 to 115 million.

"With the support of stakeholders, we have been actively managing the crisis and the tourist season since the beginning of the pandemic," Valamar points out, adding that the decision to pay dividends for 2019 was revoked in March. 

Also, a program for preserving jobs titled "Pause, Restart" has been agreed with the social partners, which pays non-working employees compensation of 60% of the salary, i.e., a minimum of HRK 4,250 per month. The Government supported the job preservation program through subsidy measures.

"The crisis has shown that systems that have previously strived for excellence and cared for all stakeholders will do so even more during the crisis to maintain the confidence of their stakeholders and be ready for a period of recovery. Valamar actively managed the crisis in 2020 and secured a strong position to continue development during 2021 and 2022, when business normalization is expected. We thank all stakeholders for their support, especially employees, shareholders, suppliers, builders, banks, and the Government who, together with Valamar, worked together on this demanding business year," said Željko Kukurin, President of the Management Board of Valamar Riviera.

Thus, operating costs were reduced by 59% compared to the same period last year, and the completion of the started investments was postponed for 2021. Additional medium-term liquidity has been provided through loan rescheduling sufficient to amortize the crisis in the coming period.

In parallel with austerity measures and increasing liquidity, Valamar has been actively preparing for the season and modifying its products and services to welcome guests safely and securely. This season, 24 hotels and resorts were opened, and all 15 camping resorts in eight Adriatic destinations with more than 4,400 employees.

Although the tourist season started well at the end of June and during July, travel restrictions to Croatia caused a sharp decline in the second part of August and the post-season. However, since the beginning of the pandemic, Valamar has had almost 300,000 guests. No coronavirus cases have been recorded in Valamar's hotels and resorts, all jobs have been preserved, and Valamar has been recognized as the best employer in tourism this year.

The planned investment projects for 2020 in the total amount of HRK 800 million have been partially reallocated for implementation for two years, according to Valamar. During the autumn and winter, only the started projects will be completed, primarily the investment in the reconstruction of the Valamar Parentino Hotel in Poreč and the Valamar Meteor Hotel in Makarska.

In the next 12 to 24 months, all other major investments will be paused, including works on the construction of the Valamar Pinea Hotel in Poreč, the largest tourism project in Croatia, worth a total of HRK 790 million.

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Sunday, 2 August 2020

Valamar's Revenue Drops 81%, Company Manages to Keep Workforce

Croatia's tourism giant Valamar reported a drop in revenue of 81 percent amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, but in spite of that, several positive results have come about.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 31st of July, 2020, in the first six months of this year, Valamar generated total revenues of 134 million kuna, or 81% less than it did back during the same period last year, as a result of the closure of tourist facilities from March to the end of May and significant disruptions to tourist flows caused by the global pandemic. The aforementioned factors continued to negatively affect the volume of business for Valamar in June.

In the first half of this year, Valamar actively managed the coronavirus crisis and launched action plans to stabilise its operations in time. The business was successfully "paused" on March the 15th, all jobs were preserved and Valamar was ready to welcome the opening of the season in June with modified products and services that increased the safety of guests and the quality of services.

The necessary liquidity for the company has been ensured until 2021 through plans for operational savings, investment savings, payment delays and agreements with investors. Operating costs were reduced by 61% compared to the same period last year, and the package of economic measures introduced the Croatian Government helped to preserve all jobs during the closure of Valamar's many facilities. Despite the crisis, Valamar Riviera confirmed its status as the best employer in Croatian tourism this year yet again, and took an impressive 6th place on the list of the best employers in all of Croatia.

All jobs were preserved within Valamar despite the economic crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic

As of April the 1st, Valamar, with the support of its social partners, has been implementing the Pause, Restart programme, under which all employees who aren't working are provided with salary compensation in the amount of at least 60% of their regular salary, but not less than 4,250 kuna net per month. In the period from March to June, over 90% of Valamar's employees were on this ''pause'', for which the costs were jointly borne by the shareholders and the state, which subsidises this type of compensation. After the successful opening of most of Valamar's facilities and the start of the season, today, Valamar has more than 4,000 employees working again, while 1% of the large company's employees are still not working. Valamar will continue the Pause, Restart programme during the autumn and winter in order to preserve jobs until the spring of 2021, when business normalisation is expected.

Financial stability was maintained for further development

In addition to preserving jobs, Valamar's priority was to ensure sufficient liquidity to amortise the coronavirus crisis and continue development in the year 2021. In March, the decision to pay a dividend for 2019 was revoked, members of the Supervisory Board waived their fees, and the company management's salary was reduced by up to 30%. Additionally, policies and mechanisms of agreed payment deferral for 6 to 12 months to other stakeholders, including sales partners, suppliers, contractors, banks and others, have been introduced, with the aim of a balanced approach to crisis management and achieving business sustainability in times of crisis.

In agreement with the banks, Valamar has postponed the repayment of loans in 2020, and the finalisation of a new medium-term liquidity plan is expected in the coming days. Successfully acheived financial stability and an ownership-operational management model will enable full business start-up and continued development in 2021.

Investment management

The initially planned investment cycle for 2020 amounted to over 800 million kuna, but was reduced by 125 million kuna by the end of June. Valamar also temporarily slowed down the construction of the Valamar Pinea Collection Resort in Porec, Istria, the largest single investment in Croatian tourism worth a total of 790 million kuna, and postponed the completion of this investment. The investment in raising the quality and capacity of the Valamar Parentino hotel in Porec was successfully realised and the new family hotel received its first guests in the second half of July. The Supervisory Board of Imperial Riviera had given its prior consent for the continuation of investments in 2021 in the amount of 36 million kuna, which will complete the previous investments in Valamar Meteor hotels in Makarska and Valamar Parentino hotel in Porec, readying them for the 2021 tourist season.

The course of 2020's tourist season...

During June and July, Valamar gradually opened 21 hotels and resorts and all 15 campsites in eight Croatian Adriatic destinations, which are currently accommodating more than 30,000 guests, a remarkable success given the challenges facing tourism globally at the moment.

Croatia has a unique opportunity, given the high level of security, as well as its geographical in Europe, to impose itself as the most desirable destination in the Mediterranean and achieve strong growth in 2021. It is therefore necessary to preserve jobs in tourism and support business systems that have the ability and responsibility to start business back up again very quickly. With the support of all stakeholders, Valamar actively managed the crisis, launched the 2020 tourist season and ensured its quality position for a successful return to normal.

For more, follow our business section.

Saturday, 1 August 2020

Valamar Hotels and Camps Currently Accommodating More Than 30,000 Guests

August 1, 2020 - During June and July, Valamar gradually opened 21 hotels and resorts and all 15 campsites in eight Adriatic destinations, which currently house more than 30,000 guests.

HRTurizam reports that in the first six months of this year, Valamar generated total revenues of HRK 134 million, or 81% less than in the same period last year, as a result of the closure of tourist facilities from March to the end of May and significant disruptions to tourist flows caused by the global pandemic that continued to negatively affect business volumes in June as well.

However, in the first half of this year, Valamar actively managed the crisis and launched action plans to stabilize the business in time, Valamar Riviera points out, adding that the business was successfully "paused" on March 15, all jobs were preserved, and they were ready to welcome the season-opening in June.

"The necessary liquidity is provided until 2021 through plans for operational savings, investment savings, deferred payments and agreements with investors. Operating costs were reduced by 61% compared to the same period last year, and the measures of the Government of the Republic of Croatia helped to preserve all jobs during the closure of facilities. Despite the crisis, Valamar Riviera confirmed the status of the best employer in tourism this year as well and took a high 6th place on the list of the best employers in Croatia," the company emphasized.

As of April 1, with the support of the social partners, they implemented the Pause, Restart program, under which all employees who do not work are provided with a salary compensation for waiting for a job in the amount of at least 60% of their regular salary, but not less than HRK 4,250 net.

From March to June, over 90% of Valamar's employees were on Pause, for which the costs were jointly borne by the shareholders and the state, which subsidizes the compensation for waiting for a job. After the successful opening of most facilities and the start of the season, today, Valamar has more than 4,000 employees, while 1% of employees are still on Pause. They will continue the Pause, Restart program during the autumn and winter in order to preserve jobs until the spring of 2021 when business normalization is expected.

In addition to preserving jobs, the company's priority was to ensure sufficient liquidity to amortize the crisis and continue development in 2021. "In March, the decision on the payment of dividends for 2019 was revoked, the members of the Supervisory Board waived their fees, and the management's salary was reduced by up to 30%. Also, policies and mechanisms of agreed payment deferral for 6 to 12 months to other stakeholders, including sales partners, suppliers, contractors, banks and others, have been introduced, with the aim of a balanced approach to crisis management and achieving business sustainability in times of crisis. In agreement with the banks, Valamar has postponed the repayment of loans in 2020, and the finalization of a new medium-term liquidity plan is expected these days. Achieved financial stability and ownership-operational management model will enable full business start-up and continued development in 2021."

The initially planned investment cycle for 2020 amounted to over HRK 800 million, but was reduced by HRK 125 million by the end of June.

Valamar also temporarily slowed down the construction of the Pinea Collection Resort in Porec, the largest single investment in Croatian tourism worth a total of HRK 790 million, and postponed the completion of this investment. "The investment in raising the quality and capacity of the Valamar Parentino Hotel in Porec has been successfully realized, and the new family hotel received its first guests in the second half of July. The Supervisory Board of Imperial Riviera has given its prior consent for the continuation of investments in 2021 in the amount of HRK 36 million, which will complete the previous investments in Valamar Meteor hotels in Makarska and Valamar Parentino hotel in Porec in the fall," they added.

During June and July, Valamar gradually opened 21 hotels and resorts and all 15 campsites in eight Adriatic destinations, which currently house more than 30,000 guests.

"Croatia has a unique opportunity, given the high level of security, geographical and political position in Europe, to impose itself as the most desirable destination in the Mediterranean and achieve strong growth already in 2021. It is, therefore, necessary to preserve jobs in tourism and support business systems that have the ability and responsibility to start a business quickly. With the support of all stakeholders, Valamar actively managed the crisis, launched the 2020 tourist season, and ensured a quality position for a successful return to the development phase of business during 2021," concludes Valamar.

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Tuesday, 26 May 2020

Valamar Launches "CleanSpace - 100% Privacy" Service and More

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 25th of May, 2020, this season, in order to increase the safety of guests, Valamar is introducing something called the "CleanSpace - 100% privacy" service, which guarantees that key points of contact in rooms and mobile homes are thoroughly cleaned and disinfected, and that no one enters the accommodation unit before the scheduled guest arrives. In addition, the service offers complete privacy in the room throughout the guests' stay with the guarantee that the staff will enter the accommodation unit only at the invitation of the guest themselves.

Valamar Riviera, known as the largest tourist company in Croatia, started opening its tourist facilities once again on May the 22nd, 2020, with the opening of the Lanterna Premium Camping Resort in Poreč and La Pentola restaurant in Rabac. By the end of May, the other twelve Valamar camps will open across Istria and Kvarner. 

The opening of accommodation facilities owned by the tourist giant Valamar is a continuation of the plan to open the tourist season in Croatia, as announced by the Ministry of Tourism and the facilitated border crossing regime in May and June for Slovenia, Austria, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Germany and Poland. After that, it will be possible to open tourism up further to other markets depending on the epidemiological situation as time goes on.

For the past 90 days, Valamar's focus has been on managing the crisis caused by the global COVID-19 epidemic. As such, Valamar's business was successfully "paused", all jobs were preserved and the company was preparing for a restart while the priorities were to provide liquidity until the normalisation of business in 2021. Emphasis was placed on the modification of products and services to increase overall guest safety and accelerate existing digitalisation projects.

In the last 60 days, Valamar has modified its products and accelerated the development of its various digitisation projects to improve the services it can offer for the 2020 tourist season. In 2020, the accommodation capacity of hotels, resorts and camps will be reduced by 20 percent to provide even more space for guests in various areas. The key pieces of innovation that will be implemented at the re-opening of Valamar's numerous facilities are the "V Health & Safety" programme for the safety of guests, the aforementioned "CleanSpace 100% privacy" enhanced system for the cleaning of hotel rooms and mobile homes, the "Valfresco Direkt" online shopping and food delivery services, the "Online reception'' service and the "Bed & Brunch" concept.

V Health & Safety is a comprehensive programme encompassing health, safety and environmental standards, as well as advanced cleaning protocols aimed at further strengthening the hygiene standards that Valamar applies in its facilities. V Health & Safety protocols are harmonised with the safety recommendations of the World Health Organisation, the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, and the Croatian Institute of Public Health. From 2020 onwards, every accommodation facility owned by Valamar will have a V Health & Safety manager who is available to guests 24/7 throughout their stay, and should it be necessary, in close cooperation with the Croatian health system, manages the provision of health care for Valamar's guests.

This season, in order to increase the safety of guests, Valamar is introducing the "CleanSpace - 100% privacy" service, which has been detailed above.

As a result of the acceleration of digital development in 2020, the ''Online Reception'' service will be available to all hotel and camp guests. This service enables the check-in and check-out of guests via the Internet, thus simplifying arrival and departure procedures.

Bed & Brunch is a new restaurant concept in the Old Town Holiday and Sunny B&B hotels, which, instead of the classic half board scenario, offers an extended breakfast and brunch that guests can enjoy from 07:00 to 13:00, which gives them even more space and simplifies meals and hotel stays.

As part of the preparations for the restart of Croatian tourism amid the coronavirus pandemic, Valamar has developed a new service called Valfresco Direkt in just 60 days, which will be launched in early June in Istria and will be available to all citizens, tourists and Valamar guests.

Valfresco Direkt will enable the online ordering, purchase and delivery of domestic products directly to Valamar's customers, with special emphasis having been placed on partnerships with Croatian producers and family farms. In addition to a wide range of fresh local products, which are strongly supported by local producers, Valfresco will also offer a selection of ready-made dishes. The project will be premiered in Istria, and then the service will be extended to other Valamar destinations across the Republic of Croatia.

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Thursday, 26 March 2020

Pause, Restart: Valamar Introduces New Plan to Keep All Employees

March 26, 2020 - To preserve jobs and business continuity in conditions where tourist traffic is completely suspended, Valamar has decided to launch the ‘Pause, Restart’ program, which will apply from April 1 for a minimum of 30 to 90 days, the length of the Government's measure for preserving jobs.

HRTurizam reports that the Pause, Restart program will cover all Valamar employees for 30 to 90 days, which means that there will be no layoffs in Valamar. Also, about 2,800 workers employed by Valamar and Imperial Rab will benefit from Government measures.

All employees who cannot work due to the coronavirus crisis will be referred to the Pause, Restart program from April 1

During the Pause, employees will be provided a salary compensation of at least 60% of the regular salary, but not less than HRK 4,250 net. This measure will apply equally to employees and management, including seasonal and permanent seasonal workers.

During the Pause, the staff and management in charge of crisis management and administration, the maintenance, conservation and facility security staff, as well as the employees who perform communications with guests and partners, will work primarily, emphasized Valamar, adding that the part of management that has to work will be paid up to 30% until all employees return to work. Other full-time employees will be paid regular full pay.

"COVID-19 has triggered a global crisis and at the moment, tourism and hospitality are growing. Temporarily, until the situation calms down, we cannot operate regularly. We are proud of our employees and our goal is that no employee will lose their jobs because of this crisis. Valamar will do its best to get all of our people on a break back to their jobs as soon as possible. The situation is temporary; the business will start again and then we all need to be ready to Restart business. Valamar is a strong and stable company and I believe that with the support of the public sector, our shareholders, investors, partners and employees, we will survive this period and prepare for a quality business continuation,” said Valamar CEO Željko Kukurin.

Following the tightening of general prevention measures by the competent authorities, all hotels and restaurants in Valamar were closed in March.

The Management Board also canceled the General Assembly and, with the approval of the Supervisory Board, revoked the proposal for a dividend payment decision and, upon convening the General Assembly, will propose to retain the 2019 profit in order to increase liquidity and support the measure of preserving all jobs.

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

Friday, 13 March 2020

COVID-19 in Croatia: Valamar Temporarily Closing Hotels in Porec, Rabac, Dubrovnik

Mach 13, 2020 - Valamar, the largest hotel company in Croatia, has decided to temporarily close its hotels in Porec, Rabac, and Dubrovnik due to the coronavirus outbreak. 

Valamar decided to close its hotels in Porec, Rabac, and Dubrovnik temporarily, following the recommendation of the competent authorities and the decision of the County of Istria, which restricted public gatherings, closed schools and kindergartens and restricted use of public spaces, reports Index.hr and T.portal.

The Valamar Riveria Administration's statement is transmitted below in its entirety:

"Following the recommendations of the competent authorities and the decision of the County of Istria, which restricted public gatherings, closed schools and kindergartens and restricted the use of public spaces, Valamar decided to temporarily close the Diamond Hotel in Porec and Sanfior in Rabac. After the crisis headquarters stepped up border controls yesterday for nationals of Germany, Austria and other countries, we also decided to close the Lacroma and Argosy hotels in Dubrovnik.

There is no suspicion or occurrence of COVID-19 in Valamar hotels, but we are not able to provide the guests with the desired level of security, quality of service and experience of the destination in this situation. Given the closure of the schools and kindergartens, we have decided to stand behind our parents first and foremost, so Valamar employees will be on a collective vacation until the end of March. We believe that the National Headquarters is managing this unusual situation very well and it is only responsible to follow their recommendations and decisions with the common goal of preventing this as much as possible.

Tourism is a very important industry, so Valamar will continue to work closely with the competent authorities so that we can continue with preparations for the tourist season as soon as possible.”

The number of cases of coronavirus in Croatia rose from 27 to 31 overnight, Health Minister Vili Beros announced at a 9 am press conference in Zagreb.

There were two new cases in Istria, bringing the total there to 6, and two more in Zagreb, bringing the total to 12. the two Zagreb patients were from the close circle of existing patients, while one of the Istrian cases had returned from Italy, and the other had been in contact with someone from Zagreb who had returned to Switzerland. 

In addition to the daily TCN briefing, you can follow all aspects of TCN's coronavirus coverage in the dedicated COVID-19 section by clicking here

Tuesday, 18 February 2020

Valamar Riviera Inviting Porec Citizens and Sports Clubs to Use Future Pool Facilities

February 18, 2020 - Valamar Riviera, the Poreč Sports Community and the City of Poreč, have signed an agreement allowing the city's citizens and sports clubs to use the future pool facilities in the new Pical Zone. 

HRTurizam writes that the agreement continues the successful cooperation so far at the Valamar Diamant 4* Hotel, and makes a large indoor pool and an outdoor tidal pool available to the city and the Sports Community as part of the future Pinea Hotel in the Pical Zone. Thus, with the completion of the investment in 2021, the City of Poreč will receive significantly better conditions for the operation of sports clubs and recreation of citizens. The large indoor pool will be 25 meters long with five swimming lanes, while the outdoor tidal pool will be 50 meters long.

"With the construction of the Pinea Hotel in the new Pical Zone, Poreč, for the first time, is receiving a large indoor five-lane swimming pool, which will be open year-round and, as such, will be of particular importance to athletes and recreational people as well as citizens. We are pleased to provide top athletes with even better conditions for training water sports,” said Andrea Štifanić, Director of the Property Management and General Affairs Division at Valamar Riviera.

"Through this cooperation between the City, the Sports Community and Valamar, citizens will have the opportunity to use the pool. We are aware of the importance of this kind of sports infrastructure for many recreational athletes and athletes and will include it in our investment plan, of course, when addressing priority infrastructure projects such as kindergarten construction, waterfront construction, roads or housing subsidies,” said Poreč Mayor Loris Peršurić.

“By agreeing on the use of the swimming pool at the Pinea hotel, our swimmers and water polo players will have the opportunity to train better throughout the year in our City, and therefore, we expect an increase in the interest of children and young people to participate in these sports actively. Improving training conditions will certainly result in better sports results. Certainly, new opportunities for recreational water sports are being created. We are extremely pleased about the successful cooperation with Valamar Riviera, which has been following the sporting activities and successes of our member clubs and athletes for a long time,” said Alfredo Mendiković, President of the Sports Community of the City of Poreč.

Valamar plans to invest around 1.5 billion kuna in the Pical zone, which will make it one of the most attractive tourist zones in Croatia. In addition to 20,000 m2 of beaches, the citizens of Poreč will have a four-kilometer circular path for outdoor activities such as jogging and cycling and a 10-kilometer promenade.

Pinea Hotel will be positioned as a luxurious five-star hotel, will have the largest hotel event center in Istria, and a full offer for active holidays throughout the year, where in addition to swimming, there will be numerous other sports and recreational facilities for tourists and citizens.

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

Wednesday, 23 October 2019

Valamar Riviera Vows to Plant 1,000 Trees A Year

October 22, 2019 - Valamar Riviera is launching the ‘1,000 Trees of Valamar’ initiative, the largest green action of its kind in Croatian tourism.

HRTurizam writes that as part of the initiative, Valamar Riviera will plant a minimum of one thousand new trees a year in its destinations along the Adriatic coast. With this initiative, Valamar wants to emphasize the importance of sustainable tourism development and environmental care as an indispensable criterion for creating new value and long-term quality of tourism in Croatia.

Already in 2019, more than a thousand trees and more than 50,000 different seedlings such as tall shrubs and perennials will be planted at Valamar hotels, resorts and campsites. The initiative will continue in the coming period when Valamar intends to plant at least 1,000 trees a year and continue intensive care for the protection and restoration of native plant species in its destinations. In addition to planting trees and plants, Valamar also continuously cares for the health of its existing plant stock, which includes over 30,000 trees covering a total area of 589 hectares from Istria to Dubrovnik.

“As a leader in tourism in Croatia, with the initiative of ‘1,000 Trees of Valamar’, we make our direct contribution to the protection of the environment in which we operate and live. We have a responsibility to create new value in a way that will preserve and develop our highly valuable natural resources for future generations. Last year, we invested around HRK 22 million in Green Valamar, of which almost HRK 7 million was invested in horticulture alone. I am also pleased that our staff is happy to be involved in our tree planting actions,” said Ivana Budin Arhanic, Vice President of Business Development and Corporate Affairs at Valamar Riviera.

The ‘1,000 Tress of Valamar’ initiative is a continuation of the development of the Green Valamar Corporate Social Responsibility program, within which Valamar has been systematically implementing environmental activities for years. Valamar uses 100% green electricity from renewable sources, reducing greenhouse gas emissions by as much as 65% between 2015 and 2019. Over the past six years, Valamar has installed 5,200 square meters of solar panels. Also, last year Valamar completely discarded plastic straws from use in its hotels and camps.

Valamar works to raise environmental awareness of guests, staff, and the wider community, which includes actions to clean up the Adriatic Sea and the coast, in which numerous sports associations participate every year. An ISO14001 environmental management system has been introduced in all Valamar facilities, with 75% of accommodation units in hotels and resorts also possessing the Travelife certification, which confirms the sustainability of operations to the highest international standards. As many as six Valamar campsites have been awarded the prestigious EU Ecolabel certificate this year, making them one of the most sustainable tourist resorts in Europe.

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Tuesday, 24 September 2019

Valamar Moves Forward with Largest Project in Croatian Tourism

September 24, 2019 - Valamar Riviera is launching an investment of 790 million kuna in the Pinia Hotel in Porec this October.

Novi List writes that the largest hotel company in Croatia, Valamar Riviera, is launching an investment of 790 million kuna in the Pinia Hotel in Porec in October, as well as the completion of beaches and promenades with numerous facilities, and plans to complete it for the 2021 season, the company said on Tuesday. 

Valamar Riviera presented this investment at the Istrian Chamber in Porec on Tuesday, while also showing a model to citizens. As they point out, it is the largest project in Croatian tourism, which will engage several local businesses and craftspeople in the next year and a half.

The future Pinea Hotel will be a year-round, luxury five-star hotel, with 514 accommodation units, and will have the largest hotel 'event' center in Istria, with a congress capacity of 1,200 guests. The plan is also to create 500 full-time jobs, bring guests with higher spending power, increase consumption, extend the season, and improve the quality of beaches and promenades in the area for citizens and tourists.

"With this investment, Valamar continues with the strategy of raising the quality of its portfolio and services towards high value-added tourism. The new Pical zone is transforming Porec tourism into a higher quality one, which will ensure year-round tourism and significantly increase the tourist value of the destination. By investing in the Pical zone, beaches, promenades, and a recreational zone will be arranged and an indoor swimming pool will be built for citizens and guests of the city in accordance with Valamar's mission to develop tourism in a socially responsible and sustainable way,” said Valamar CEO Zeljko Kukurin.

The mayor of Porec, Loris Persuric, believes that this investment will stimulate a stronger development of the local economy.

Valamar also pointed out that, with the investments already made in the previous period, they plan to invest a total of 1.5 billion kuna in the Pical zone, which, in their estimation, will create one of the most attractive tourist zones in Croatia. In addition to the Pinia Hotel, this includes the Valamar Collection Marea Suites facilities opened this year, the Valamar Parentino Hotel (ex Zagreb), which will expand and further enrich the facilities for the 2020 season, as well as the existing accommodation of the Valamar Pinia Hotel.

They also announced the expansion of gourmet offerings with a variety of restaurants and bars, adding that the beaches, promenades, sports and recreational facilities in the Pical zone will see new trees, vegetation, and ornamental plants.

As part of the comprehensive landscaping of the new Pical Zone, along with the 20,000 square meters of beaches and promenades by the sea, will be a four-kilometer recreational trail, an indoor sports pool with five swimming lanes and an outdoor 50-meter tide pool, which is expected to stimulate the further development of water sports and the general development of sports in Porec. 

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

Friday, 23 August 2019

Croatian Hotel Company and French Consortium to Invest in Croatia?

As Novac/Goran Penic/Barbara Ban writes on the 23rd of August, 2019, the Croatian Ministry of State Property extended the deadline for the submission of offers for the construction of a tourist complex at the location of the Hidrobaza in Pula, owned by botj the state and the City of Pula, back at the beginning of the week. Investors now have time to report their offers by October the 1st, as opposed to August the 30th, 2019.

According to the aforementioned ministry, two investors sought an extension due to the summer break, but the ministry did not disclose any names. As Novac reports unofficially, this involves the largest Croatian hotel company, Valamar Riviera, based in Poreč, Istria, which owns Camp Brioni next to Puntižela, and the French group Bouygues, whose branch in Croatia has a concession over Istria's Ypsilon.

Upon being asked about this situation, Valamar Riviera did not want to confirm or deny any information.

Valamar Riviera has remained unable to answer the question of whether or not Valamar has expressed interest in the Hidrobaza location in Pula, given that the deadline for the submission of bids is only the 30th of August.

''After the deadline for submission of offers, we will be able to answer your inquiry,'' said the largest Croatian tourist company, which is already known to the public as a large investor. This year alone, the giant Croatian hotel group has invested as much as 793 million kuna in its portfolio, and is preparing a new investment cycle of 599 million kuna for the next one. In recent years, they have invested as much as 5 billion kuna in Croatian tourism.

The French Bouygues Group has already invested in Croatia, but not in the hotel industry. They are known as dealers and contractors at the Istrian Ypsilon and at the Zagreb's new Franjo Tuđman Airport. They are currently expanding the Ypsilon on a 28-kilometre stretch from Pazin to Učka. It is an investment worth 1.237 billion kuna, which will be realised within the next three years. Projects in tourism are very close to them, though, and they have built twelve hotels across France, the Caribbean, Myanmar, Morocco, Dubai, London and Cuba.

However, despite the fact that there are two very serious names behind this project that have great references in Croatia, in the Croatian tourism sector there is still a great deal of skepticism about the realisation of it all, probably because of past experiences that have not been the most positive.

These tenders have always been extended, and until now, a concession has been given within the Brijuni Riviera only for the Katarina-Monumenti location, namely to Danko Končar, who still has not realised his meganautical project in the port of Pula to this day. A source who is very familiar with the circumstances surrounding the Brijuni Riviera project believes that the tender conditions are quite restrictive.

''One of the limiting factors is that there is a public beach in front of the future tourist facilities. If one wants to build a hotel, of course they then want to have a part of the beach as well. On top of that, some of the facilities there are under conservation protection, so the investor must adapt to that as well,'' explained Novac's interlocutor. He also stated that it should finally be understood that investors need to be offered something in order to make them actually invest, and that the beauty of the Croatian coast and Istria is not the only thing that is crucial in investment stories.

Otherwise, the Hidrobaza location covers an area of ​​281,000 square metres, and construction rights are possible for fifty years. The initial value of the annual building rights fee is 2.3 million kuna, which will be revalued every three years. The deadline for the construction of a 1200-star four-star tourist destination is five years.

Pula Mayor Boris Miletić stated that he has been formally notified of the extension of the public call, however, while the proceedings are ongoing, he claims he has no knowledge of potential interested investors or potential bids.

''Every serious investor needs some time to elaborate on their offer. For Pula and all the people of Pula, that entire area, as well as other formerly unused and decaying state-owned military areas, are of great importance and development potential. It is our interest that the state, as the owner, put them in the function of development, as this would enable the creation of new jobs and accelerate the economic growth of Pula,'' said Miletić.

He added that the new facilities and the higher standard of living of all the people of Pula is what they strive for, which can be ensured by putting neglected and unused spaces properly back into operation.

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