Posts on Apr 2015


Sun Continues to Shine on Croatian Tourism

Figures published by the Croatian national bank, HNB, show Croatia earned a healthy 7.4 billion euro from tourism in 2014, which was 2.8 per cent better than the figures for 2013.

Tourism now makes up 17.2 per cent of Croatia’s annual GDP, which was 0.6 per cent more than in 2013. The latest figures are close to the record pre-recession year of 2008, when the country earned 7.46 billion euro.

Of the total income, 7.2 billion euro was generated from trips made for personal purposes, which was 231 million euro or 3.3 per cent more than in 2013 and 135 million euro or 2 per cent more than in 2008.

Another 194 million euro came from business trips. This figure has been in constant decline since 2005, when it was around 500 million euro.

Tourism minister Darko Lorencin expressed his satisfaction with the income earned in 2014 and said the results of the government’s work were now being seen, especially in the good results for the low season, outside high summer.

“The results make me extremely happy because it is proven that tourism policy is moving in the right direction and that Croatia is becoming a more competitive, more interesting and more demanded international destination,” he concluded.

Tourism has long been a major part of the Croatian economy, bringing a vital amount of cash into the state budget.
Dubrovnik, “Pearl of the Adriatic”. Photo: Wikimedia Commons
The industry is mostly is concentrated on the Adriatic coastal resorts, around the Roman and medieval cities of Zadar, Trogir, Split, Dubrovnik as well as the islands.

Lately, however, the continental towns, including the capital, Zagreg, have drawn more visitors.

With the onset of the recession in 2008, income from tourism fell in 2009 and 2010, but it started to bounce back from then on.


Sven Milekic

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Next big thing? A Croatian island called Losinj

The island of Losinj in Croatia is being tipped as a new destination for luxury travellers, following the investment of €180 million into projects on the island, including two new hotels set to open this summer.

The hotels are being developed in the bay of Cikat by Losinj Hotels & Villas, part of Jadranka Group, one of the country’s oldest travel companies.

The island, which sits in the unspoiled Kvarner gulf, is predicted to be popular with the UK market, according to Andrew Shapland the brand ambassador for Jadranka who is representing Losinj globally.

Shapland is bidding to get the destination on the map as a luxury option and has visited the UK to meet with tour operators and agents to encourage more in the trade to feature Losinj.

He said: “The whole project is really impressive – it has a Capri vibe to it, with thousands of other sleepy islands that remind you of Greece 20 years back.”

One of the two new hotels on the island is boutique-style Hotel Alhambra, which opens July 25 and has already become a member of Small Luxury Hotels of the World.

Alhambra is a conversion of a 100-year-old Austro Hungarian-style mansion house, with 51 rooms and access to a private beach.

Guests will be able to use the additional facilities of the nearby Hotel Bellevue, a 206-room hotel which opened last year. Following a €50 million renovation of an older three-star hotel, the Bellevue was the first five-star hotel on the island and has a substantial spa.

Another newcomer on the island will be Villa Hortensia, also set to open July 13 as a conversion of an early 20th-century villa. It has eight suites and will be available as an exclusive-use villa, with its own pool and butler.

“There are also already some great four-star family-friendly hotels on the island,” Shapland added.

The nearest international airport is Rijeka, but Losinj also has its own small airport, currently only for private flights, with Losinj Hotels & Villas arranging air-taxi hops from Rijeka, as well as Pula, Venice and Zagreb. It’s hoped the runway can be extended and a new terminal added in 2017.

In addition to the island’s main port, Cikat Bay has a small marina of its own and Jadranka Yachting operates 10 yachts.

“We want guests to get out and explore the northern Adriatic – there are 1,200 islands between Losinj and Dubrovnik. I just don’t think people have realized what Losinj has to offer yet,” Shapland said.…695724.article

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Croatia’s LNG terminal is ‘for the region’

Croatia has been seeking to open its Adriatic coast to the global LNG market for a number of years, with Brussels marking a scheme on the island of Krk as one of the key infrastructure developments needed to diversify supply in Central Europe.

The scheme would form the southern point of the North-South Gas Corridor initiative, supplying new options to a region mostly reliant on Russia for its gas – with Hungary and the wider Balkans able to offtake Croatian imports. Croatia already uses domestic sources to cover more than 60% of its demand.

Interfax spoke to Vladimir Durovic, director of strategic development for transmission system operator Plinacro, about the project – which he says will be heavily focused on regional as well as local market demand – on the sidelines of the Flame conference in Amsterdam last week.

Interfax: When is the LNG terminal expected to come onstream?

Vladimir Durovic: At the moment, it will be onstream at the end of 2019. A non-binding open season [for bids] finishes on 1 May and after that the project company will continue with several activities. The next step is the binding open season and now the project company is also preparing a business model.

The next step is FEED and an FID, which are expected in the middle of next year. That is the target because we want to finish the project on time. The location is still on the island of Krk; it’s a very good location as it practically penetrates into the middle of Europe. It’s close to market, which is very important too.

The capacity is 6 billion cubic metres per year [in accordance with] previous investigations. A comprehensive feasibility study was finished almost a year ago; a basic design is also complete and the next step is a detailed design. [The special purpose vehicle company] LNG Croatia announced a new tender for the FEED work a week or so ago. A lot of activities are now moving ahead. It will be a fixed terminal, not a floating one.

Interfax: The project has always been a priority within the context of the North-South Gas Corridor, but why has it taken so long?

VD: It’s a really big investment. The previous Adria LNG project [sponsored by E.On and OMV among others] was stopped because of the low price of gas and the market situation. They also had some problems with the environmental impact assessment procedure, but market reasons came first.

Poland [where a similar project is close to coming onstream] was in a specific situation. In Croatia and its neighbouring countries we are in a better position. We are connected to Baumgarten and we have our own production, and that is why the terminal is not necessary for Croatia alone.

The terminal is for the region. Especially with the [cancellation of] South Stream, the picture has completely changed.

Finally, we are waiting for results but there has been a lot of interest during the non-binding open season.

Croatia became a member of the EU just eighteen months ago and I think we are now in a better position with the project. The EU’s Connecting Europe Facility fund financed some preparatory work for the terminal and my colleagues working on the project are expecting more EU funding.

Interfax: What is the profile of the Croatian market and what challenges lie ahead for the EU’s newest member?

VD: Our market is open. We have some limits because we have households that are price-protected.

But three or four years ago, we only had one supplier in our market [state-owned INA]; now we have 17 active suppliers. The market has gone in a good direction.

Another key issue is that our market has decreased since 2008. There are several reasons for this – the financial crisis is one. In the past few years, hydro power [production] was very good and so the production of electricity was up. We expect that in the future our gas consumption will stabilise and go up a little – but not a lot.

Now we consume 3 bcm/y, but we will get to 3.5 bcm/y in the next 10 years. In Croatia, we have a very long history of gas production. We now produce 60% of our consumption. We know that there are some reserves in the Adriatic too and we have to use any possibility for security of supply.

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