Monday, 23 May 2022

Bjelovar Wellness Tourism Awaiting Possibility of Recovery Cash

May the 23rd, 2022 - Huge sums of money from Croatia's Recovery and Resilience Plan (Croatian: NPOO) are set to flow into the country's medical and wellness tourism offer, which is a sector that has enormous potential for growth. The Bjelovar wellness tourism sector in particular is rubbing its hands impatiently.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Marija Crnjak writes, financing projects in the Croatian tourism sector through the National Program for Recovery and Resilience in the Public Sector, for which Croatia will have a massive 930 million kuna at its disposal, will definitely support larger projects in a high stage of readiness, and most of the money will go to continental tourism, ie spa, wellness and other such health-oriented tourism projects.

The above could be learned from the proposal of the public invitation sent by the Ministry of Tourism and Sport on Thursday for public discussion via the e-consultation portal.

The public consultation will be open until June the 2nd, 2022, and according to the first comments made by interested parties, there shouldn't be many objections to what's on offer. A call for the private sector to receive most of the 1.2 billion kuna ''cake'' is yet to come.

Amounts and limits

After passing the phase of public debate, the tender will be re-agreed with the European Commission (EC), followed by a real match for a total of 2.2 billion kuna in grants. "We're being given an excellent opportunity for the long-term sustainable and efficient development of tourism and we expect that these projects will have an impact on strengthening destinations and the quality and competitiveness of their entire offer," said Minister of Tourism, Nikolina Brnjac.

In the public call, the projects were divided into three groups. The first and most generous infrastructure lies in the function of the development of health and wellness tourism, and this includes the construction, reconstruction, renovation and/or equipping of infrastructure, whether it be in regard to accommodation facilities or other facilities. An allocation of 465 million kuna is planned for this group.

For all projects, the amount of co-financing is 100 percent of the eligible costs for projects that don't contain state aid, while for investments in projects that do already contain state aid, the amount is regulated in accordance with the rules for granting state aid.

A minimum of 9 million kuna and a maximum of 120 million kuna can be allocated for an individual project in this group. Bjelovar wellness tourism, which is brimming with potential, is expecting the highest amount from this for its thermal riviera complex with Olympic, outdoor and indoor pools and a water park, relying on sustainable energy and geothermal sources.

The large sport and tourism project of the City of Bjelovar is worth a massive 250 million kuna, and Bjelovar Mayor Dario Hrebak announced back in March that the Bjelovar had obtained a building permit for the construction of the spa.

The Bjelovar wellness tourism project will be given a huge spring in its step. Hrebrak says: ''We've been looking forward to this''

The issuance of a building permit is also the final step before announcing a public tender for the execution of the works, which the city administration expects to come June this year.

"We've been looking forward to this call and I must commend the competent ministry on its work. The criteria for the grant are really complex in order to be able to fully support all goals, to support ready-made, large projects with building permits, projects that have serious partners, and projects that will bring added value, and that's exactly what we're planning in Bjelovar. There's no reason that we won't manage to receive the maximum amount of support,'' believes Hrebak when discussing Bjelovar wellness tourism hopes.

The second group for funding includes projects for visitor infrastructure that promotes cultural and natural heritage, gastronomic, oenological and other such destinations. These include visitor centres and interpretation centres, and an allocation of 185 million kuna has been planned for this group, with the view that an individual project can receive a minimum of 8 million kuna and a maximum of 40 million kuna.

For the third group, active tourism infrastructure, 280 million kuna has been earmarked for assistance from the NPOO, with a minimum of 7 million kuna and a maximum of 40 million kuna per project. These include sport and recreational infrastructure in the function of tourism, mountaineering facilities, swimming pools, as well as hotels, camps, hostels, camping resorts, hiking trails and lookouts that are part of a comprehensive project.

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Wednesday, 14 July 2021

Croatia's Sailing Yoga Retreats: Eat. Sleep. Yoga. Sail. And Repeat

July 14, 2021 - With the Adriatic sea's shimmering shades of blue, a coastline filled with islands to explore, and a bountiful amount of sunshine and blue sky, is there any better place to find inner peace and balance than a sailing yoga retreat in Croatia? A look at Croatia's sailing yoga retreats. 

209462430_519993856083042_206677714156387902_n_1.jpgPhoto credit: Instagram - aerialsea

Yoga is now so popular that all kinds of methods have been invented including even the most unconventional ones such as beer yoga, yoga raves, tantrums yoga, nude yoga, and goat yoga - yes, yoga with goats is a thing and also apparently having full-blown tantrums, too. Though there is no beer yoga or yoga raves available in Croatia (at least for now), Croatia's response to yoga's growing trend is by introducing a combination of a yoga retreat and sailing holiday in Croatia - that means sunrise meditation, morning yogas, delectable Mediterranean food selection, and island hopping, in short, a yoga holiday in paradise!

Sailing yoga retreats in Croatia

209584799_1009306893141985_1318592550050222674_n_1.jpgPhoto credit: Instagram - aerialsea

 

There are currently 4 sailing yoga retreats registered in BookYogaRetreats and available in Croatia:

1) Yoga Sailing Holiday - 8 Day Sailing and Yoga Holiday in Croatia 

The most popular retreat, according to BookYogaRetreats, Yoga Sailing Holiday offers 7-day yoga-sailing from Split to Dubrovnik, and visiting Croatia's famous islands such as Vis, Hvar, Korčula and the Mljet National Park is a part of their itinerary. Their yoga program includes daily sunrise meditation and morning, yoga classes. At the port, the participants will have the time to enjoy exploring the islands by foot or scooter and onboard, they will get to enjoy delectable selections of wine and mouth-watering local fresh fish and grilled vegetables. Yoga Sailing Holiday also prepares vegan meals daily. The yoga styles offered are Hatha, vinyasa, and yin, and the classes are conducted in English and are open to beginner, intermediate, and advanced practitioners. The retreat program is open to 7 participants. If interested, CLICK HERE for more information.

2) Daniel and Igor - 8 Day Elevate Yoga Retreat on the Islands of Cres and Lošinj

Daniel and Igor offer to elevate your spirit by cruising the archipelago, discovering breathtaking natural locations, feeling the health benefits of the island’s micro-climate, enjoying the local delicacies, getting insider access to the local lifestyle, and of course, practicing hatha yoga with them twice a day. The yoga holiday retreat also includes sport and safety gear for all activities, entrance to museums and education centers, private chef, skipper and guide, airport transfers, panorama flight, and underwater photos. The highlight of the retreat is the holiday home Stancija Srem where guests will be staying. The secluded villa has an infinity pool and is nestled in the green hills of Cres Island but also located near the island's most pristine beaches. The class is offered in Croatian, German, and Portuguese and is open for beginner and intermediate practitioners. This retreat is open to 6 to 12 group participants. If interested, CLICK HERE for more information.

3) AerialSea - 8 Days Sailing, Meditation, and Yoga Holiday in Split Area, Croatia

AerialSea offers a deeply secured and supported time and space for recharging oneself through yoga and mindfulness retreat offered onboard their sailing yacht. Their 8-day program includes daily yoga classes, morning meditation, and lectures, sailing through the hidden bays of Croatia, strolling around local villages, and dolphin-spotting if you're lucky enough to come across them. You may also sunbathe on the yacht's deck and participate in onboard team-cooking. The yoga styles they teach are vinyasa, restorative and aerial. The class can be conducted in English or German and is open to 6 to 8 participants, beginner and intermediate. If interested, CLICK HERE for more information.

4) Mare & Soul - 6 days of pure relaxation on a yoga holiday with a sailing trip along the coast of Istria, northern Adriatic

Mare & Soul invites you to give your body and soul a break and restore balance in your life by joining them on their yacht retreat along the beautiful Istrian coast. Their program includes daily yoga sessions, pranayamas, and meditation, acupuncture massages, Bemer physical vascular therapy for microcirculation improvement all conducted on their fully equipped sailing yacht. They also offer a healthy and delicious Ayurvedic diet to further aid the body in regaining health and balance. Hatha yoga is offered at beginner, intermediate and advanced levels. The class is conducted in German or English and is open to 6 participants maximum. If interested, CLICK HERE for more information. 

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Thursday, 5 November 2020

Health and Wellness Tourism Opportunities Discussed at Adriatic Region Investment Forum

November 5, 2020 – At the Adriatic Region Investment Forum held yesterday in Zagreb Hotel Westin, participants discussed health and wellness tourism opportunities in Croatia and the Adriatic region.

As part of the fourth Adriatic Region Investment Forum for Health, Sports, and Tourism, held yesterday at the Westin Hotel in Zagreb, numerous potentials of Croatia and the entire Adriatic region were presented as year-round health tourism destinations.

Under the new circumstances, panelists and lecturers were filmed in a set-up studio in the hall of the Westin Hotel, and the forum could be followed online.

Projects of new tourist capacities

Of course, the topic of the coronavirus pandemic and the new circumstances that it brought in health tourism could not have been avoided. Dr. Prem Jagyasi (India-UAE), one of the world's most important experts and promoters in health tourism, gave a lecture on integrating wellness programs into the global health and medical tourism industry and was also joined by Dr. Lutz Lungwitz, President of the German Association of Medical Wellness, Emin Cakmak, founder of the Global Healthcare Travel Council from Turkey, and Dr. Jeana Havidich from the USA (Association of Croatian American Professionals).

The presentation of the prepared projects is a special feature of this Investment Forum, and several projects of new hospitals and other health and tourism capacities in Croatia and the region have been offered, as well as large health tourist resorts.

A synergy of rural and health tourism

The panel "Food as a resource in tourism" provoked an interesting discussion in which the multidisciplinary nature of the participants enabled possible new directions for the development of rural areas in Croatia. The synergy of rural and health tourism can strengthen the production, but also the settlement of rural areas, especially in the next financial period (2021-2027) in which such development will be encouraged, especially if it is set as one of the strategic developments of the Republic of Croatia.

Tugomir Majdak, State Secretary of the Ministry of Agriculture, Marcel Medak (President of the Health Tourism Association of the Croatian Chamber of Commerce), Assistant Professor Sanja Music Milanovic (HZJZ), Zeljko Ivancevic (Consultant - ECS Brussels), and John Raffetto (American Adriatic Health Ltd, Washington DC) participated in this panel.

AI in health and rural tourism

Another interesting panel entitled "Challenges of the application of artificial intelligence in health and rural tourism" is the work of experts from the company Infodom, which was the main sponsor of the Forum this year. About this interesting and instructive topic through the application of new technologies, Hrvoje Sagrak, President of the Management Board of Infodom, Ph.D. Silvana Tomić Rotim, director of the Croatian Institute for Informatics, Mislav Malenica, president of the CRO.AI association, and prof.dr.sc.Slavko Vidović, a founder of Infodom, gave their opinions.

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Source: Adriatic Region Investment Forum

Sports and health infrastructure

In previous years, the topic of sports was opened at the Forum as part of what is important for the branding of Croatia, and this year again one of the panels is dedicated to this topic. The intention was to emphasize the need for sports infrastructure as a basis to be able to brand sports potential in various sports in which Croatia achieves above-average results.

Sports infrastructure, including human resources, is a strong basis for fitting the sports offer into the overall year-round tourism offer. The last, but very interesting and energetic panel entitled "Sports and health infrastructure in the branding of sustainable tourism" was attended by Ranko Ćetković, Assistant Secretary General of the COC, prof.dr.sc. Igor Jukić, Ph.D. Miljenko Bura and a pioneer of the health industry, prim.dr. Vlasta Brozičević from Terme Selce.

Terms and circumstances of investing in Croatia

The investment forum was opened by the envoy of the Prime Minister Andrej Plenković, State Secretary of the Ministry of Tourism and Sports Tonči Glavina, and introductory speeches were given by the envoy of the Mayor of Zagreb Milan Bandić, Ana Pandža Kunčević, Violetta Yanshevskaja (who spoke from Kiev), President of Global Healthcare Travel Council, and the main organizer dr.sc. Miljenko Bura.

Some of the main names on the list of speakers are dr.sc. Jakša Puljiz (Institute for Development and International Relations), Tonči Glavina, State Secretary at the Ministry of Tourism and Sports, Šime Erlić, State Secretary at the Ministry of Regional Development and EU Funds, Jurica Mateša from the Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development, and John Gašparac (PWC Croatia), who also moderated an interesting and informative panel which discussed the stimulating conditions and circumstances of investing in Croatia.

Special emphasis was placed on the topicality of "European" money, which must contribute to faster achievement of strategic goals of the National Development Strategy of the Republic of Croatia until 2030. Invitation and messages were sent to interested investors to create preconditions for intensive investment in the next ten years.

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Friday, 15 November 2019

Sveti Martin na Muri Wins Prestigious EDEN Title for Wellness Tourism

November 15, 2019 - Sveti Martin na Muri is the new national European Destination of Excellence (EDEN) in the field of wellness and well-being tourism. 

HRTurizam reports that this prestigious title, which has been awarded by the European Commission since 2006, was awarded to Sveti Martin na Muri in Ilok, the city which, with Vukovar and Vučedol, was the national EDEN winner for 2016/2017 on the topic of cultural tourism. In addition to the winning destination, four finalists, famous destinations for health and wellness tourism - Stubičke Toplice, Daruvar, Tuheljske Toplice and Krapinske Toplice - were presented at the ceremony held at Odescalchi Castle.

"Health tourism has seen the fastest growth in the tourism industry with an annual rate of 15 to 20 percent and strongly influences the creation of year-round tourism. Seven percent of tourists come to Croatia motivated by health reasons, while eight percent come for wellness offers, and it is also known that such guests are good consumers, who on average spend 20 to 30 percent more than the “classic” tourists. Therefore, I am extremely pleased that the theme of this year's EDEN Award is wellness and well-being and that Croatian wellness destinations have recognized the opportunity for additional promotion in the European broadcasting market through this project,” said Croatian Tourist Board Director Kristjan Stanicic, adding that he sincerely congratulates the representatives of Sveti Martin na Muri, as well as all other finalists. 

The winning destination, or winner of the EDEN title, will be promoted on the official website of the European Commission and the Croatian National Tourist Board, and according to Slavia Jacan Obratov, Director of the Sector for the Tourist Board and Product Development in the Croatian National Tourist Board, the winner and finalists will be presented at the European level and join a European network of destinations promoting sustainable tourism.

Since the beginning of the project, the Croatian National Tourist Board, with the system of tourist boards and in cooperation with the Ministry of Tourism, has conducted EDEN selection following the set topics given so far by nine national EDEN winners and 36 finalists.

The latest winner, Sveti Martin na Muri, is a recognizable wellness destination for continental tourism. Rudi Grula, head of the Međimurje County Tourist Office, says it is a local community highly aware of sustainable tourism.

"The synergy of all stakeholders achieves the competitive advantage that makes Sveti Martin na Muri stand out over similar destinations. Terme Sveti Martin is the bearer of new trends in wellness and well-being through innovative offers linked to the anthroposophical principles of Rudolf Steiner, biodynamic agriculture and a wide range of active holidays,” said Grula.

And the wellness industry is looking for authentic and innovative products, which was pointed out in the panel “Wellness and well-being of tourism - are we following trends?” held at the ceremony. Eminent Croatian experts and tourism professionals - Slavija Jačan Obratov on behalf of the CNTB, Ivana Kolar, owner of Julius Rose, Izabela Vrtar, editor-in-chief of Sensa magazine, Marcel Medak, director of Bizovac Spa, Manuel Magdić, manager of Pannonian Health cluster, concluded that Croatia has the potential and resources to develop health and wellness tourism, as demonstrated by this year's finalists of the European Destination of Excellence. It is this segment of tourism offer that can be the basis for the development of non-traditional tourist destinations such as those promoted through the EDEN project.

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