First Private Airport in Dalmatia? New Tourism Projects Could Now See Green Light

By 18 September 2017

New and old tourism projects in Croatia could soon see a green light. 

Over the next few months, the Ministry of State Property plans to announce bids for the project of the Stankovci Airport near Zadar, as well as the long-awaited Golf Resort Larun in the municipality of Tar-Vabriga in Istria, writes Jutarnji List on September 18, 2017.

This was confirmed by the Ministry led by HDZ Goran Marić, announcing that the state, after a lot of stagnation, will embark on the realization of the announced tourism projects that have been waiting for the green light of the country. If everything goes according to plan, these projects should significantly enrich the tourist offer of the Adriatic and Istria.

The Stankovci Airport project is the nine-year-old idea of entrepreneur Josip Crnčević from Sesvete who wishes to build a 400 million EUR private airport and small town for which he has obtained a location permit so far.

“This is the first in Croatia to obtain a location permit for the construction of the airport. It is with our pleasure that the state will announce a tender for the sale or concession of the state land because, without this entrepreneur, we cannot get a construction permit,” said Željko Baradić, Mayor of Stankovci.

The tender for the use of state land is also a prerequisite for the realization of the golf course project in Istria by the Poreč consultancy and tourist agency M Chanaan, which was prepared to be included on the list of strategic projects.

The company drafted a master plan for the needs of the project, and the municipality adopted an urban plan in 2015 - and for now, as well as for many other projects, they must wait for a state tender for sale or concession to be announced as a prerequisite.

These next steps, judging by the announcements made by the Ministry of State Property, should take place as soon as possible, and the new investments in domestic tourism should go hand in hand with amendments to the Law on Strategic Investment Projects, which by the end of September will be in public consultation.

As confirmed by the public relations of the Ministry, headed by Martina Dalić, the planned changes, they argue, should be in favor of making investments easier in capital projects. In the tourism sector, that currently accounts for most of the investment envisaged.

Specifically, there are currently 44 tourism projects out of a total of 75. All of the projects have the same hope that by the end of October they could be realized with the somewhat simpler provisions of the Law on Strategic Investment Projects.

According to the Ministry of the Economy, the new law should redefine the amount of the project application value that has so far amounted to 150 million HRK. This could now be reduced to 75 million HRK which would significantly extend the circle of potential applicants.

Subsequently, the amendments to the law prescribe the obligation to sign an agreement between a private or public investor and the Government before deciding on the designation of a strategic project. The Ministry also foresees sanctions for cases of time limits that are not under the present law (there are currently only sanctions foreseen for administrative bodies of local and regional self-government units if they are late in issuing a solution).

"A contractual penalty amounting to 0.1 percent of the total value of the project has been defined. This is only in cases when the deadline for the implementation of the strategic project is exceeded by the investor's fault or in the event of the investor's withdrawal from its realization,” the Ministry says.

The changes are the result of rather poor statistical picture stemming from the existing, unchanged Act on Strategic Investment Projects. Until now, only 11 projects worth 14.5 billion HRK have been promised - only three of these come from the private sector, while the other eight are a waste of public investment.

The law was severely criticized even before it had been cast in the mandate of the Kukuriku coalition, and the new one, if the changes are accepted and the parliamentary procedure passes, should be endorsed by the end of October this year.

Translated from Jutarnji List