Wednesday, 24 April 2019

Digital Croatia: Best Large ''Digital'' Cities Zagreb and Rijeka

Just how close are we to a real digital Croatia? The answer is unclear and as varied as ever, but some Croatian cities have shown promise with some rather impressive and encouraging results.

As Novac/Gradonacelnik.hr writes on the 23rd of April, 2019, although more and more cities are gradually digitising their business and investing in smart city solutions, and some of the most advanced have almost completely switched to doing solely digital business, generally speaking, Croatian cities are only in the very early stages of the much needed digital transition, just as Croatia is, as a country, at the very bottom in Europe in terms of the digital readiness of general society and the economy.

As the methodology for ranking cities in terms of digital readiness is only at its very beginning even at the European level, stories and analysis of the "smart city" concept development here in Croatia are still very much based on individual experiences, examples and projects.

That is why, in order to gain a real elementary insight into the digitalisation of Croatia's services and the communication of the country's many city administrations with citizens, experts from Apsolon, a consulting company specialising in digital business development, has undertaken the very first major study of the ''digital readiness'' of twenty of the largest cities across Croatia. This study, according to project manager and smart management director at Apsolon, Ivana Novoselec, is the basis for the further development of research tools and methodology that will track the development and progress of Croatia's cities on an annual basis.

In its study, Apsolon divided the cities into three categories - large (Zagreb, Split, Rijeka, Osijek), middle (Zadar, Velika Gorica, Slavonski Brod, Pula and Karlovac) and smaller cities (Sisak, Varaždin, Šibenik, Dubrovnik, Bjelovar, Kaštela, Samobor, Vinkovci, Koprivnica, Đakovo, Vukovar.)

The digital readiness index at Apsolon was set based on several criteria - the availability of e-services (the number of administrative services and their digitalisation rate in Croatia), the availability of site service information and the development of unified services for making payments in the city, then came the availability of city data, the level of citizen participation in decision making and communication channels between the city administration and citizens, ie, the availability of data and time in which citizens receive answers to their various questions. At this stage, Apsolon hasn't entered into the internal processes in Croatia's city administrations, but rather focused on what services are offered to the city's citizens and how long such things typically take.

After this type of indexing and ranking, the title of the ''digitisation champion'' among the Croatian cities was awarded to the City of Rijeka, thus confirming its status as the best city in the Smart City category which it won last year. Apsolon pointed out that the City of Rijeka has achieved the greatest advances in the systematic raising of the quality of its services, but also the opening of data and communication channels to citizens.

"Rijeka as the most advanced city in Croatia in terms of digitisation and is characterised in particular by the emphasis on openness and communication with its citizens. Its administration is oriented towards clear communication (a very clear centralised e-services approach with well-organised access to all automated services and available forms), openness and participatory management," said project manager Ivana Novoselac.

In many categories, especially those relating to the functional aspects of digitisation (advanced digital services, e-citizen connectivity, etc.), Rijeka is followed closely by the City of Zagreb.

The city of Pula is the most advanced middle-size city in Croatia, which also presents its services and available information to its citizens in a systematic and very detailed way, raising standards in terms of transparency and interaction with citizens, and is certainly a champion among cities with between 50.000 and 100.000 inhabitants.

In relation to the criteria relating to specific functional and technological solutions, Karlovac, Velika Gorica and Zadar follow. For the City of Karlovac the large number of available administrative procedures on its website and responses to citizens' inquiries are generally quick made it stand out from the crowd.

Among the small cities in Croatia, there is no distinctly dominant digital champion, but according to research findings in different aspects of digitisation, Dubrovnik, Samobor, Sisak, Koprivnica and Varaždin appear to be the most successful ones, according to this research. Among the prominent representatives of this category, Dubrovnik is strategically trying to profile as Smart City and has a high quality City Card, e-Visitor platform, is very active on social networks and it continuing to develop innovative application solutions. When it comes to the number of digitally available services, Koprivnica ranks above all.

Samobor, which is particularly active on social networks and is the category winner for social networking, has a very comprehensive and interactive website which separates the site accordingly and has adjusted all of the information for citizens and for visitors, as well as separating foreign visitors from domestic ones.

It should also be noted that Bjelovar is extremely proactive in the field of the digitalisation of its administration, it is working on applicative transparency solutions as well as on internal digitalisation processes. What is particularly commendable is Bjelovar's focus on the digitalisation of its internal processes.

Make sure to follow our dedciated lifestyle page for much more.

 

Click here for the original article by Novac/Jutarnji/Gradonacelnik.hr

Friday, 22 March 2019

Days of Association of Croatian Travel Agencies Start in Vinkovci

This year's Days of Association of Croatian Travel Agencies (UHPA) are being held from 21 to 23 March, for the first time in Slavonia, more precisely in Vinkovci, which is an excellent opportunity to introduce the representatives of travel agencies to the tourist offer of eastern Croatia.

The UHPA is a voluntary national professional association of travel agencies from Croatia and is also registered as an employers' association. It brings together 228 travel agencies, as well as some 100 affiliated members, including leading hotel companies, restaurants, camps, Croatia Airlines, tourism organisations, educational institutions, rent-a-car companies, etc. The UHPA members realise more than four-fifths of organised travels in Croatia. It is a professional organisation established 27 years ago.

The UHPA Days is an event bringing together more than 200 participants, primarily representatives of travel agencies, representatives of the Ministry of Tourism, the Croatian Chamber of Commerce, tourist boards, professional associations, media and others.

The association president Tomislav Fain opened the event. Speaking about the significance of UHPA, he emphasised that 228 regular members of the association employ 3,400 people and last year reported 3.3 billion kuna in turnover. He issued a call to travel agency representatives: “Personally, I think Slavonia can offer a lot, and I hope in the future, once you get to know this part of Slavonia, you will include this region in your offer to help the development of tourism in this part of Croatia.”

Fain stressed that last year was unofficially called “the year of challenges” as it was marked by the implementation of the new Tourism Services Act, the adoption of which was in line with the EU guidelines on travel package arrangements and related travel arrangements. Also, the new law stipulates a reduction in administrative barriers to doing business, specifies which services are considered as health tourism services, further regulates services in conference tourism, regulates who can provide rent-a-car services, additionally regulates the provision of tourist services for active and adventure tourism, etc.

The director of the Croatian National Tourist Board's (HTZ) head office, Kristijan Staničić, also gave a speech. He stressed that the current state of booking for this year is satisfactory, but added that this year would be intense, challenging and unpredictable. Talking about the relationship between organised and individual tourist travel, he pointed out that organised travel represents one-third of the total tourist turnover and two-thirds of hotel turnover. Organised travel is most prevalent in the pre-season and post-season, while the main season is dominated by individual travel.

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Speaking about regions, Staničić stressed that Istria, Dubrovnik and Zagreb have above-average shares of organised tourist travel, which is partly due to the structure of accommodation capacities. Most organised trips come from the markets of Germany, Austria, the Czech Republic, Great Britain, the Netherlands, France, Sweden and the United States. He also commented on HTZ activities such as joined advertising, support to destination management companies, fair participation, the Discover Croatia portal development, etc.

He said that the next year would be the key. Given the global trends, efforts will have to be made to change the fundamental model of Croatian tourism. The new strategy and the new strategic marketing plan will also provide new guidelines for the future development of tourism in Croatia.

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The director of the Vinkovci Town Tourist Board, Martina Matković, then held an interesting presentation that focused on the historical continuity of 8,000 years of organised human living in the Vinkovci area and all that Vinkovci can offer to tourists of today.

More news on Vinkovci can be found in the Lifestyle section.

Tuesday, 12 March 2019

Vinkovci's Spačva to Invest Fifty Million Kuna in 2019

Through a project worth 45 million kuna and with welcome co-financing from the European Union, an innovative new product involving Slavonian oak doors is currently being developed in Vinkovci.

As Suzana Varosanec/Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 11th of March, 2019, Vinkovci's Spačva wood industry, with its 865 employees, is going from strength to strength

Last year, the industry achieved fifteen percent higher revenues than it did back in 2017, and the same positive trend is set to continue throughout 2019. With a net profit of seven million kuna in 2017, Spačva's profit in 2018 was higher than fifteen million kuna.

A new phase of development, based on innovation and further competitiveness, has now been launched, and our struggle for raw material is going to lead us to the abandonment of the unlawful distribution of raw materials which is breaking the market and the transition to a market model,'' Spačva's Josip Faletar said, adding that the majority of the wood and the processing of it would be done in Slavonia, and in that case, the Vinkovci-based Spačva would employ 200 new workers in a boost to Slavonia's dwindling economy.

The company has been deprived of its old, burdensome commitments, and since last year it has been primarily focused on development projects, two of which are currently under way, and they're also preparing other new projects, which are of an innovative character and have been carefully developed in close cooperation with the scientific community.

The largest project in progress is worth 45 million kuna and is being co-financed by the EU, the project in question is the development of a new product made from sturdy Slavonian oak, which, with its charm, looks and high quality would likely easily conquer the demanding European market. This project has been in the works for four years now and is going according to plan, said Faletar, and along with experts from Spačva, a dozen scientists from the Zagreb and Osijek forestry faculties are also working hard on it.

Moreover, by the end of this year, Vinkovci's Spačva will announce the completion of a project worth more than 30 millio kuna which has been financed entirely from its own sources and loans. Namely, the company plans to achieve better raw material utilisation, at higher speeds and with greater flexibility in the process of tailoring customer requirements to the EU's single market.

Revenues from this Vinkovci company's sales in 2018 amounted to close to 230 million kuna, out of which on foreign markets in thirty countries, sales amounted to 73.08 percent, in the amount of 167.6 million kuna. The most important export countries are Italy, Serbia, France, Germany, and Romania. In the period from 2013 to 2018, Vinkovci's Spačva invested more than 100 million kuna into its machinery, equipment and infrastructure, and in 2019 it plans to invest a further 50 million kuna.

Make sure to follow our dedicated business page for much more on doing business in Croatia and the overall investment climate in various sectors within the country.

 

Click here for the original article by Suzana Varosanec on Poslovni Dnevnik

Thursday, 24 January 2019

Croatian Production Company Takes Over Brickyard, Saves Fifty Employees

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 24th of January, 2019, at this stage, the Croatian production company Dilj d.o.o. is set to invest significant resources in the overhaul of the plant, and the plan is to put additional resources in the next phase to raise and expand the capacity of their brick factory.

This Vinkovci-based Croatian production company is a manufacturer of brick, tile, grout and special roof elements, which exports 70 percent of its production to both European and non-European markets. Dilj d.o.o. rescued a small brick factory from Našice, which was in the process of going into liquidation. In the very process of bankruptcy, the move saw it successfully renew its production.

In addition to saving production, they saved fifty grateful employees from certain job losses, which would have meant that nearly fifty families would have been left without income. The director of Dilja d.o.o. Dražen Ivezić recalls that the Slavko IGM Našice brick factory went into bankruptcy at the end of 2014 due to problems that were the result of the crisis, which was felt the most by the construction sector, and as material producers, they were hit hard.

As Glas Slavonije writes, at the time of bankruptcy, about fifty workers were employed at the plant, manufacturing a production line of about fifty million units of normal sized and more than ten million block bricks.

The Croatian production company asked the bankruptcy trustee to take over the factory, hire the current workers and continue on with production, and got approval from the creditor council for that step.

''On May the 18th, 2015, we signed a lease contract and continued production. After less than a month and a half, as soon as July the 1st, production continued and everything went smoothly.

Production continued over the next three years, and at the end of last year, Dilj d.o.o. proposed to the bankruptcy trustee and the creditor council to complete the bankruptcy proceedings with the creditor settlement and to take over Slavonia's IGM. After the creditors accepted the bankruptcy plan, in late 2018 Slavonia IGM formally went bankrupt, meaning the preservation of production with a long tradition, as well as the preservation of jobs in the processing industry in Slavonia, which is of particular significance,'' stated Dražen Ivezić, the director of the largest tile factory in the Republic of Croatia with a 95-year-long line tradition of production, unbroken even during various wars.

He added that after the winter renovation phase, the plan for Slavonia's IGM is to be at full capacity by the end of this year, and they are planning to sell everything they produce.

Stay up to date with everything you need to know about doing business in Croatia, the economy, the job situation and the investment climate by following our dedicated business page.

Saturday, 3 November 2018

Largest Advent Festival in Slavonia Raising the Bar

The Vinkovci town authorities have presented the upcoming Advent festival in Vinkovci, to be held under the name “Ice Orion”. The festival, which this year begins on November 30 and lasts until January 6, was announced the event's organisers: Vinkovci Mayor Ivan Bosančić, head of the Town Culture and Tourism Department Marija Liščić Drmić, and managing director of Novosti, Mirjam Jukić, reports Lokalni.hr on November 3, 2018.

“Last year's Advent was well-received among the citizens and guests who visited it our town, and this year we want to raise the bar scale even more. While preparing for this year's edition, we realised the shortcomings of the last year’s Advent and tried to change them to everybody’s satisfaction. We have expanded the ice skating rink because there are more and more people who wish to skate. We expanded it to 500 square metres so that everyone will get a chance to try this activity. I hope everyone will find something for themselves in the entertainment programme as well,” said Mayor Bosančić.

The festival in Vnkovci is the most visited Advent event in Slavonia, which is the result of a mixture of spiritual and entertainment content, the organisers organizers. The event is for the first time supported by the Tourist Council of the Croatian National Tourist Board, which has recognized the valuable social, tourist and economic aspects of the event for Vukovar-Srijem County and surrounding areas.

“We hope that this year there will be even more visitors because everything we do is aimed at fulfilling that goal,” said Liščić Drmić.

Nola, Zsa Zsa, the Husar Sisters and Emanuel are just some of the popular acts whose songs will be part of the Ice Orion and entertain visitors in anticipation of the largest Christian family holiday. The Ice Orion, which is another novelty of this year's Advent, is the name of the project which includes all the accompanying and entertaining programmes during the event.

“The Novosti company, in cooperation with the town authorities, is finishing the preparations for the Advent. In addition to what the town usually organises, like lighting of candle ignition or and the Christmas concert, we have prepared a series of concerts: on Thursdays there will be concerts of spiritual music, on Friday we will promote local bands, while Saturdays will see concerts of popular acts. We want people to visit the festival through the day,” said Jukić.

To read more about Vinkovci, click here.

Translated from Lokalni.hr.

Monday, 22 October 2018

The Oldest Town in Europe as It Once Was: Vinkovci in the 1960s (VIDEO)

October 22, 2018 - Continuing our look at Croatia as it once was through online videos of yesteryear, a visit to the oldest continuously inhabited town in Europe back in the 1960s - Vinkovci. 

Thursday, 11 October 2018

Croatian Travel Agencies to Meet in Vinkovci in 2019

The tourism industry focus will be on Slavonia next year.

Thursday, 4 October 2018

Searching for Cheaper Apartments? Njuškalo Provides an Insight

On the lookout for an apartment?

Saturday, 15 September 2018

53rd Vinkovci Autumn Festival Starts

ZAGREB, September 15, 2018 - The 53rd edition of the Vinkovci Autumn Festival started in the eastern Croatian town on Friday evening with a folklore event called "Pregršt Istine" presenting 57 cultural clubs from the eastern Vukovar-Srijem County which will be staging performances in the next five days.

Monday, 28 May 2018

6th Roman Days to be Held in Town Where Roman Emperors Were Born

Colonia Aurelia Cibalae was the name of Vinkovci during Roman times when it played an important role, while its rich history reaches back 8.300 years. Roman Days are on from May 26 to June 2

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