Posts on Jun 2016


Croatia Entering this Tourist Season with 40 New Hotels

Croatia is experiencing an investment boom in tourism despite the less than optimistic political situation.

According to the press release sent by the Ministry of tourism on June 10, 2016, Croatia is in the middle of a serious tourism investment boom. By the beginning of peak season, Croatian tourist offer will include 40 new and fully refurbished hotels, as well as several new apartment villages and campsites. This is great news since a great tourist season is the only thing that can keep our head above water considering the current political situation and the fact that we cannot expect any work to be done by the government, be it this one, or the next, before autumn.

„This investment boom on our coast is proof that tourism is one of Croatia’s most competitive sectors and that the investors have recognized our goal for the strategic development of tourism in Croatia. Continuing increase in both arrivals and revenues shows that Croatia is an attractive country for investments, and it is up to us to make it even more attractive through advertising, promotion and branding activities” minister Anton Kliman stated.

A fully refurbished hotel Padova, owned by Imperial d.d. was opened last week in Kvarner. This 4-star hotel is one of the largest investments on island Rab in the last few years. Total investment was 8.5 million Eur. First Croatian wine hotel Vinotel will open its doors in June in Vrbnik on island Krk. It will offer 28 accommodation units for approximately 60 people. Total investment in this project is 35 million kuna.

Hotel Omorika in Crikvenica, owned by Jadran d.d. is now a 4-star hotel after the second phase of extensive refurbishment worth 7.8 million kunas. Hotel now offers 115 keys with 230 beds and an all-inclusive offer. Crikvenica is getting another 4-star hotel, former Varazdin, now Katarina. The opening is scheduled for July 1 and this investment is worth 18.2 million kunas. Hotel Crikvenica, now owned my Man planet d.o.o. is finally reopening after a 6 million euro investment while Novi Vinodolski will welcome first guests in its brand new marina Murovska with 260 sea berths and 200 dry berths.

Maistra is continuing with its hotel investments in Istria. They are building a family hotel Amarin with 280 accommodation units, while Arenaturist is investing in improving its entire portfolio. They recently opened a boutique hotel Rivalmare in Novigrad, which was a 15 million kuna investment.

Laguna Novigrad (Aminess) is building a Family Village with 50 mobile homes, an investment worth 10 million kunas. Valamar Riviera is also investing in its campsites so their Camping Lanterna is now a 4-star site with a total capacity of 9 000 guests. Their 80 million kuna investment includes a brand new water park, mobile home village, glamping units, outdoor pools and other amenities.

We’re still in Istria where Istraturist is investing in their hotel Sipar and Camping park Umag, Aminess is refurbishing their Maestral hotel while auto campsite Bijela Uvala, Hotel Delfin, Bellevue and Laguna Materada are all undergoing major renovation works.

Dubrovnik-Neretva county is also welcoming guests with new and refurbished hotels. Bellevue in Orebic is opening today, Villa Paradiso in Zaton and ACI marina Veljko Barbieri in Slano will be ready by the beginning of July. Investments have been announced in hotels More, Plat and Importanne Resort, they are all expected to open in 2017.

Split-Dalmatia county is growing rapidly in terms of arrivals so it is no surprise many hotel owners have decided to expand their existing capacities or build new ones. Hotel Cornaro in Split is expanding, hotel Pharos is opening next weekend while boutique hotel Bacvice near the main city beach in Split is still under construction. Porta Salona will be the second hotel in Solin, hotel Romana will enrich the current offer of Makarska while Grand hotel Slavija is undergoing major reconstruction in Baska Voda.

Now let’s see what is happening in the Sibenik-Knin county. In Vodice an addition to the existing hotel Olympia is being built, as well as parts of hotel Punta, aparthotel in Skradin is well underway, Skradinski buk hotel is renovated while hotel Jure in the Solaris complex has been completely refurbished. Sound Chanel and their Obonjan Riviera project is also starting this summer with 1500 accommodation units.

Zadar is entering the 2016 summer season with Hotel ZaDar**** and M hostel**** hotel/family hostel Almayer Heritage Hotel & Art Gallery boutique hotel is also expected to open this summer.

Continental parts of Croatia are also getting ready for the season. Blue Sun is investing 100 million kunas in Bizovacke toplice, project that will be completed in 2017. Dvorac Jurjavec in Brezane Lekenicke is almost completed, it will be a 4-star hotel with 48 accommodation units.

In Krapina Zagorje county, construction works commenced on a hotel with 90 keys and a congress centre for 400 persons. Hotel villa Magdalena, one of the best hotels in the area, is undergoing major reconstruction that will double its existing capacity. Two SPA destinations, Stubicke toplice, and Terme Tuhelj are also expanding their current capacities, all work should be completed by 2017.

And, last but not least, in the Zagreb county, refurbishment of hotels Sheraton and Westin is almost completed while hotel Buncic in Vrbovec is still being renovated and a new hotel Garden Hill in Velika Gorica is expected to open in 2017.

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The Tourism View from Norway: A Golden Opportunity for Croatia?

An infographic published in leading Norwegian daily Afterposten on June 13, 2016 shows how Croatia is benefitting from global events. Is it something Croatia can build on for the long term?

Tourism trends are constantly changing, as new trendy destinations emerge, and more established ones lose their appeal. An increasingly important factor in the decision of holiday destination in the modern age is sadly linked to the terrorist threat, and recent events in Turkey, Tunisia and Egypt to name but three, have seen their tourism industries decimated by recent attacks. Some 5.9 million Russians holidayed in Egypt and Turkey last year, a massive number of tourists who are now looking for somewhere else.

So too with Norwegians, one of the most coveted tourism countries, with their high spending reputation and desire for late season sun. Tourism from Scandinavia to Croatia has risen significantly in the last decade, with the introduction of direct flights from national carrier Norwegian a majoy factor, and s the infographic above shows, Croatia seems to be the major beneficiary, with a 12% increase in tourism from Norway since 2014, according to a surey from Euromonitor.

While the increase is welcome, it is perhaps now time to strike while the iron is hot, and build on this increase to turn Croatia into a Scandinavian destination of choice for the late season, as well as the peak, with the introduction of the one missing ingredient to make this possible – out of season flights?

Croatia has much to attract Scandinavians out of season – late season sun, culture, heritage, adventure tourism, excellent food and wine, a mere three hour flight from Oslo, but once the summer budget carriers shut up shop for the winter, access is a major stumbling block.

Leading the way commendably is Dubrovnik, which this year is introducing 14 international routes through the winter, while Ryanair appears close to 12-month flights to the Pearl of the Adriatic (although somewhat perversely, the Irish carrier has announced it will be closing its base at Oslo Rygge, with the loss of connections to Pula and Zadar). With the global situation as it is, it now not the time for Croatia to explore and introduce more year-round flights to destinations such as Pula, Zadar, Split and Dubrovnik – all fantastic 12-month destinations (if businesses are given an incentive to remain open all year).

A 12% increase in two years could become significantly more with such an introduction, and not be limited to Norway. Scandinavia, the UK, and Germany and all major growth areas for Croatian tourism, and all countries which would attract visitors out of season.

If Croatia is serious about 365 tourism, flights are the one thing stopping its expansion. I recently spoke to Ante Lacman, director of Intours DMC, who told me that they lose up to 80% of their enquiries due to flights. This, the same agency which recently pulled off the biggest incentive trip in the history of Hvar, with 650 guests at the beginning of May, when flights fortunately worked out.

A great opportunity for Croatia, and a serious investment, but the opportunity to turn Croatia into a 12-month destination is now.

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