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WE FIGHT FOR EVERY TOURIST
I N T E RV I E W
GA R I C A P P E L L I Croatian Tourism Minister
Quality, feeling at home and safety are the three characteristics of Croatian tourism that sets our offer apart from other Mediterranean countries, which are direct competitors to Croatian sun and sea. While being aware of the fast-paced global changes, we strive to be prepared for all challenges n the time when tourists are interested and desire changes, both global and fastpaced, are the planning of tourist offers becomes a more complex and challenging task. Gari Cappelli, the Croatian Tourism Minister, believes that Croatia has done a good job this year and has set a good institutional foundation for further development of tourist offer in the entire country.
Given the pre-season results, do you expect 2019 to be another record-breaking year in tourism? â€” The indicators of the tourism revenue which have been accomplished so far suggest that the demand for Croatia is still very strong and we are quite happy with that. The tourist race in the Mediterranean, as the summer is getting closer, is reaching its boiling point. Year-on-year, we have been witnessing the fact that our
In the future, sustainability will definitely be one of the pillars of Croatian tourism
market is becoming more dynamic, and that the demand and habits of tourists in terms of booking, motivation and the way they are arriving here are changing very fast. We have to adapt quickly to market demands, and that is exactly what we are doing through our numerous activities. When it comes to figures, in the first four months of this year, we recorded an 11% increase, which is in line with our expectations for the pre-season and our planned activities. In terms of the whole year, we expect a slight growth of tourist traffic, with a special emphasis on the increase of tourist traffic outside the summer months and year-round traffic when it comes to the Croatian inland.
Bearing in mind Turkey and Tunisia's comeback to the tourist scene, do you expect this to affect visits to Croatia? What makes the Croatian offer different from its Mediterranean competitors? â€” Although Croatia shares a common denominator with most Mediterranean destinations primarily in regards to the basic tourist products - sun and sea - I think that we distinguish ourselves from our competition in our approach when it comes to the quality, making tourists feel at home and the security that we provide which is something that the visitors very often quote as
Photo source: www.croatia.hr
our comparative advantage. Despite the comeback of Turkey and other North African destinations, we are always focusing on developing our offer and creating new opportunities for further positioning in our existing and emerging markets.
What is your strategy not only with the view of increasing the number of guests but in terms of tourism profit? — Our tourism development strategy is based on boosting the quality and developing special forms of tourism such as health, cultural, oenological /gourmet, cycling tourism, etc., which are available throughout the year and which also directly affects the increase in income since we are talking about the products that generate above-average daily consumption. In order to attract guest to our attractions all year around, it is also important to mention the traffic connectivity. Each year, we invest heavily in establishing new direct flights. This year we have 81 new flights connecting us to 24 global markets, and we invested a total of 40 million kuna in this project. Every year, we also spend about 50 million kuna in projects aimed at increasing the quality of accommodation capacities, creating new offers and improving the tourist infrastructure. We often equate tourism to sea. How much have you invested in the promotion of inland tourism and what results did you get? — The Croatian Parliament has recently adopted a set of tourism-related laws that have opened a new chapter for Croatian tourism, especially in terms of developing inland tourism. We have also created a possibility for even better connectivity
and increase of the efficiency of the entire tourist system, while at the same time, local communities, areas and regions can better manage the development of their products and thus exploit their potentials while highlighting their specificity. We have especially been focusing on promoting inland tourism through association and better management of destinations with financial self-sustainability, which will surely be a strong driving force behind the development of inland tourism. We want to have tourism that will cover every part of our country. For example, the Government of the Republic of Croatia has invested
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DEVELOPMENT The Croatian Parliament has recently adopted a set of tourism-related laws that have opened a new chapter for the Croatian tourism because they enable local communities, areas and regions to better manage the development of their products.
more than 8 billion kuna in the Slavonia development project, with about 2.6 billion kuna allocated to tourism alone.
In view of the global tourism trends, which direction should the Croatian tourist offer take in the future? — In the future, sustainability will definitely be one of the pillars of Croatian tourism, while the quality and innovation of tourist product will continue to be the key factor in the competition game. It is extremely important to carefully plan tourism development as it is crucial to the overall development of the tourism econ-
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omy through stimulating investments and economic development, creating new jobs and social development. That is why we have started to make legislative changes which have been adopted, as I have mentioned earlier. As of the next year, when these laws come into force, the tourist community system will be established based on the model of destination management which will emulate contemporary global systems. Regional and local organizations will be transformed into management organizations in charge of planning and development, managing the tourism system, providing information, doing research and marketing while the Croatian National Tourist Board is being transformed into a national promotion agency, focusing on a more efficient promotion, elevating the recognizability and ultimately strengthening Croatia's national tourism brand.
How much money, both private and public, has been invested in tourism this year and what new capacities are going to be made available to tourists? â€” This year, the total investments in the Croatian tourism will amount to 1.05 billion euro which will surely give additional momentum to the development of tourist destinations, and thus to the overall economic growth of Croatia. In this way, the public sector, i.e, the counties and cities will invest 425 million euro in their respective areas, while companies will invest about 626 million euro in their tourism projects. I should mention that most investments involve the construction of high-category hotels, apartments and resorts (4 and 5 stars). So far this year, a total of 18 new hotels have been opened or are about to be opened.
This year, the total investments in the Croatian tourism will amount to 1.05 billion euro which will surely give additional momentum to the development of tourist destinations
How important is quality staff for the quality of tourist offer and how many workers is Croatia going to import this year at the height of the season? â€” There is a good reason behind saying that people are the key to success in tourism. It is especially important to us that we provide the best possible working conditions and conditions for promotion for tourism workers in every segment and throughout the year since they are the most deserving for achieving good tourism results. The Ministry of Tourism and
the Government of the Republic of Croatia are implementing a series of measures aimed at improving the conditions for our workers, and this year, we have allocated 2 billion kuna for employment in the Republic of Croatia, 1.5 billion kuna for the said measures, and 500,000 kuna for the programmes from the European Social Fund. I also have to mention quotas for employing foreigners which this year, was set at 15,000 for tourism workers. However, it is important to conclude that the development of human resources should be perceived in the same way as tourism itself, that is, the development of year-around tourism creates the prerequisites for year-round work in tourism, whereas elevating the quality of tourism should be accompanied by improving the quality of the workforce. The six tourism competence centres, which will bring together the public and private sectors, will contribute greatly to establishing a quality dual education system and ensuring quality tourism workers.
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I N T E RV I E W
WE ARE BRINGING CROATIA CLOSER TO THE WORLD Croatia is a country that offers an array of quality tourist products, excellent accommodation and a richness of diversity throughout the country t is our mission to bring Croatia closer to the world as a quality year-round destination and activities conducted by the Croatian Tourist Board are moving precisely in this direction, stated the Director of Croatian Tourist Board (CTB), Kristjan Staničić, for our magazine.
A strong tourist promotion is a necessity today if the destination wants to 24
remain competitive on a strong international market. What are the key activities that CTB conducted to make this tourist year a success? — Appearances in numerous international expos held in Germany, Austria, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Czech and other important European markets are behind us. We also presented Croatian tourist offer on distant markets such as USA, China, Singapore and the United Arabian
K R I ST JA N STA N I Č I Ć Director of Croatian National Tourist Board
In the previous part of the year, about 3.6 million arrivals were realized, which represents an increase of 3 percent in tourist traffic
Emirates. Precisely the distant markets are strategically important for further development of Croatian tourism, because they post a share of around 10% in total realized foreign tourist traffic, while the rest of realized traffic refers to European markets. We are also very active on social media, where we have over 2 million fans following us, and there are also the numerous marketing and PR campaigns that we are conducting in key emissive markets. Cooperation with other international tourist subjects is also very important to us, since it helps us affect the market position of our country. As an example, I would like to mention the excellent cooperation with World Tourism Organization – UNWTO, as well as cooperation with Lonely Planet – leading global specialized travel media, BBC – one of the largest and most reputable media houses, TripAdvisor – one of the most popular global portals that is completely dedicated to the travel industry, etc. We are actively cooperating with the largest global tourist agencies, tour-operators and airline companies, and all of the above is giving results, according to the tourist traffic that goes over 100 million overnight stays, as well as the realized income that amounted to record-breaking EUR 12 billion in the previous year.
CTB’s main goal is to promote Croatian tourism and strengthen the strength of national tourist brand. How recognized is Croatia worldwide actually as a tourist destination, and how recognizable is the Croatian tourist brand? — Croatian Tourist Board is continuously monitoring the strength of the national tourist brand in eight key European emissive markets through research. These markets are Germany, Austria, Italy, Poland, UK, the Netherlands, France and Sweden. Aside from the strength of
“Croatia” tourist brand, this research lets us monitor the level of brand adoption, its position in a competitive environment and the level of connecting Croatia with the features of the roof communication concept “Full of Life”. The results were positive, and brand strength indicators – familiarity, appreciation, relevance and uniqueness, posted statistically relevant positive developments in 2018. When we observe familiarity of the destination, in 2018, 72% of potential tourists in key European emissive markets recognized
Croatia as a tourist destination compared to 66% in 2015. The slogan “Croatia, Full of Life” recorded an upward trend since 2015. Namely, in 2018, 77% of tourists considered that the slogan “Croatia, Full of Life” suits Croatia as a tourist destination, compared to 2015 when this level was 66%. If we observe the motives and reasons for visiting Croatia, the sun and the sea are still the main motives, but we should point out that this motive’s share has dropped significantly from 68% to 57%, while the share of other motives for a visit rises at the same time. We can conclude that a significant progress has been achieved in the positioning of Croatia as a country with a diverse tourist offer, i.e. a destination that offers different possibilities for a vacation.
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STRENGTH Croatian Tourist Board is continuously monitoring the strength of the national tourist brand in eight key European emissive markets through research.
Considering the results achieved in pre-season and expectations by the end of the year, can you give an estimate of what kind if results we can expect by the end of 2019? — In the previous part of the year, about 3.6 million arrivals were realized in Croatia, which represents an increase of 3 percent in relation to the same period last year. We are slowly entering the main part of the tourist year. Our goal is to continue to strengthen the traffic in pre- and post-season, to strengthen the visibility of Croatia as a tourist destination and to increase tourist consumption. We want to reach new customers and bring new guests to Croatia. The goal for this year is to achieve excellent tourism results from the previous year - with a slight increase. 25
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HEALTH AND RELAXATION ARE OUR TRUMP CARDS Our main trump cards are rural households and wine roads, health and religious tourism, as well as adventurous and bike tourism. We constantly pay attention to creating new products that would be of interest to active tourists I N T E RV I E W
roatia and Zagreb County are highly regarded due to a number of interesting cultural and natural attractions and very popular tourist destination in Europe. „Our vision is to become one of the well-known European destinations“, Ivana Alilović, Director of the Zagreb County Tourist Board states.
What is it that the Zagreb County can offer to tourists, which they cannot find anywhere else? What makes you different and special? — Zagreb County is a continental county
on the territory of the Republic of Croatia, it is a recognized tourist destination just outside a European metropolis, the City of Zagreb, but we are also a destination with a large number of events which are a motive for tourists' arrival throughout the year. It has always been the so-called "green oasis of relaxation" for all the citizens of Zagreb and it has a tradition of being a tourist destination for two centuries already. Our main trump cards, aside from natural and cultural heritage, are definitely the rural households and wine roads, health and religious tourism, as well as adven-
I VA NA A L I L OV I Ć Director of the Zagreb County Tourist Board
Our Special Naftalan Hospital known for its medical oil called Naftalan, which is a rarity, and the site outside IvanićGrad is one of only two in the world and the only one in Europe
turous and bike tourism, and a number of bike trails and other tourist products interesting to any active tourist. A very important element is the development of health tourism as one of the fastest growing tourist products, and one of the flagship locations in health tourism on the territory of the Zagreb County is the Special Naftalan Hospital known for its medical oil called Naftalan, which is a rarity, and the site outside Ivanić-Grad is one of only two in the world and the only one in Europe. This special and unique value of Ivanić-Grad and its surrounding takes us back to the ancient times, in the period of existence of former Pannonian Sea, traces of which we find in such rare natural resources.
Considering that tourism is an extremely dynamic sector these days, and tourists are getting increasingly more demanding, how often do you have to think about what tourist products to offer to keep the tourists? — Global trends among tourists change, and yes, they are becoming more demanding. When we talk about the tourist offer, we should emphasize that we will be able to base growth on discovery of new forms of offer and tourist products that are developing in Croatian tourism, like City Break, cultural tourism, eno-gastronomy, health tourism and outdoor tourism, as well as adventurous tourism. The reason for this is that
an increasing number of tourists want precisely this kind of offer as a result of development of tourist demand for such travel motives.
To what extent do local communities show interest and skill to adapt to new global trends? What is the entrepreneurial potential of these communities and how do you incite it? — What is emphasized as an important element is the greater promotion of tourist products in rural area and the idea of staying in the country, in nature, i.e. it is necessary to select tourist products on the level of the Zagreb County according to their profiles in the tourism industry, such as family run farms that deal in production of healthy organic food. It is also necessary to increase the interest of tourist agencies for a more active cooperation by offering a good quality offer. We are familiar with the information about the deficit in accommodation capacities in continental Croatia, therefore we need to open a larger number of small family-run hotels, which Zagreb County
recognized as deficiency, and is inciting the entrepreneurs in that field.
Since you are receiving tourists from Asia more and more often, did you adapt your offer to their tastes and interests? What is it that they most often want to see and experience? — Out of a total of 43,115 tourist overnight stays, 26,958 were foreign guests, and we recorded a noticeable rise in the number of guests from China and South Korea, from other Asian countries, who are followed by guests from Italy, Bulgaria and Germany. Tourists’ motivation to come to Croatia is in accordance with trends in international tourism demand for active holidays in clean environments, healthy lifestyles and healthy food in the context of various selective forms of tourism. Eco-tourism takes a larger portion of tourist traffic with a 30% rise on an annual level, nature and developed environmental awareness attract the tourists (here we can apply the saying “green is gold”). How much investments are necessary
COMPETITIVENESS In order to remain competitive, we have to keep up with innovative trends, like the digital revolution, increasingly higher environmental standards and sustainable development of local communities
on an annual level to maintain the county’s high rating as a tourist destination? What new products can we expect this year and the next? — The Zagreb County will financially support different tourist projects this year as well. A one million HRK worth contest for the award of grants to events relevant for the tourist offer is currently in progress, as well as the public call worth 1.5 million HRK for co-financing of development of public tourist infrastructure, like the congress centres, playgrounds, ice rinks, amusement parks, promenades, forest and biking trails, etc. Tender for entrepreneurs in tourism is expected to be awarded soon, which will grant 1 million HRK of grants to increase the quality standards and offer of the already existing hotels, campsites and other catering facilities offering accommodation services. Information on all the above mentioned tenders is available on the Zagreb County website. How do you see the development of tourism in the upcoming period and where do you see Zagreb County in this context? — We definitely want to create and empower the most competitive possible model for tourism management, but through development and improvement of cultural and tourist infrastructure of the Zagreb County with the goal to incite the growth of SMEs, by attracting investments, and improvement of tourist potential in the Zagreb County. Let’s not ignore the importance of systematic increase of the capacity of knowledge and skills of human resources in tourism, and educating and raising awareness of stakeholders in tourism on the efficient use of new technologies, through the platform of smart tourism. I would put an emphasis on multisectoral interconnecting, and what’s primary for me is the connecting of tourism industry with the industry of food processing.
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HISTORY OF CROATIAN TOURISM
From Romans to Germans
hen everything fails, call tourism for help! Of course, this is a motto of many countries across the world that do not have perfectly stable sources of income, such as Greece or Turkey, but neither Dubai nor Qatar will rebel if a dollar from the most propulsive world industry "drops" in the country's coffers. In Croatia, a new dawn has broken for tourism. And it will be even brighter! It is not unusual for a country that has one of the longest and most beau-
tiful shores in the warm Mediterranean, tourism (the marine kind) brings a huge amount of money to the state budget. Likewise, with many historical cities, natural attractions and national parks, Croatia has much to offer. Zagreb has already been profiled in tourist terms as a rival to the overpriced Prague, and the INmusic festival has also become "the Real Madrid of the festivals". Every year, thousands of people decide to head towards the Croatian capital and get to know it better.
After developing tourism for 150+ years, Croatia has become a superstar of world tourism and now guests don’t choose Croatia, but more and more, Croatia chooses them
FROM HUMBLE BEGINNINGS TO FLYING HIGH But let's go back and shed the light to the very beginnings of tourism in Croatia because the figures will speak for themselves in the present. The beginnings date back to the time of the ancient Romans when they decided to slowly move to the long coast of the Latinized Adriatic from what is today’s Italy. Some of them, who were born and originate from here, like Diocletian with his palace, became protectors of the coastline. Even Shakespeare chose Ilyria as the location of his play ‘Twelfth Night’, thus igniting the imagination of English readers about this distant land. Later, the British took to liking Dalmatians, the dog breed from far away, while the Austrians started to visit first Opatija and Istria, which were both part of their "Austrian coast", and then the rest of the country. While Opatija was a part the Austrian Riviera, creme de la creme of the Austrian Empire and Vienna holidayed here, and Opatija became "the summer capital" of the K. und K. Monarchy. The first tourist facility in Croatia, also considered
the first Croatian hotel, is Villa Angiolina which was built in Opatija in 1844 by the rich river merchant Iginio Scarpa. At the villa, Scarpa received distinguished guests like Count Josip Jelačić. In 1868, a "hygienic society" was founded in Hvar, and this year is considered the year of the beginning of organized tourism on the island.
The Kvarner Hotel was opened in Opatija in 1884, the Therapia Hotel in 1894 in Crikvenica, and the Imperial Hotel in 1896 in Dubrovnik. As early as 1914, Opatija recorded more than half a million overnight stays, and tourists spent an average of 20 days in the town. In 1873, the Austrian Southern RailR OYA L
RELAXATION IN OPATIJA Apart from the Austrian and German royal family, other crowned heads who sought relaxation in Opatija were Empress Elizabeth of Austria, German Empress Augusta Victoria, King Carol I of Romania and his wife Elizabeth, King George of Greece, King Albert of Saxony, Grand Duke William IV of Luxembourg and Prince Nikola I Petrović - Njegoš.
way Company from Vienna opened a border railway line from Pivka to Rijeka via nearby Matulji, thus paving the way for the development of tourism in Opatija and neighbouring Lovran. In 1882, the railway company bought Villa Angiolino, where the Crown Prince Rudolf and his wife Stephanie often stayed. At that time, Friedrich Julius Schuler, director of Southern Railways, started building the Quarnero Hotel (today’s Kvarner Hotel) and the Kronprinzessin Stephanie Hotel (today's Imperial Hotel) and was responsible for creating the unique lungomare and parks (emulating the ones in Vienna). Villa Angiolina was later managed by the Compagnie Internationale des Wagons-Lits (the same company that managed Orient Express). Heinrich von Littrow founded the Union Yacht Club Quarnero in Opatija in 1887 and this was the first such club in the Adriatic. In 1889, the Austrian Government officially declared Abbazia (Opatija) the first climate resort (Seebad) on the Austrian Riviera, which included Brijuni, Duino, Grado and Portorož. Villas were started to be built right after hotels to cater to the 29
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needs of the demanding nobility. The first villa, Amalia was built near the Quarnero Hotel in 1890 as a hotel annexe. The first guide to Opatija was published in Vienna in 1883 under the title “Abbazia, Idille von der Adria”. In 1884, the publication “Abbazia und seine Umgebung Heinrich Noe” was published by Tagebuch aus Abbazia (Journal from Opatija). Joseph Rable printed “Curort und Seebad Abbazia” (“Bathing and Swimming in Opatija”), while Peter von Radics wrote a guide called “Abbazia”. In 1908, a tram line was opened, embarking from the Matulji station, driving along the coast via Opatija to Lovran in the south. Austrian Emperor Francis Joseph spent several months there in winter. On March 29, 1894, he met there with the German Kaiser Wilhelm II. Other crowned heads who sought relaxation here were Empress Elizabeth of Austria, German Empress Augusta Victoria, King Carol I of Romania and his wife Elizabeth, King George of Greece, King Albert of Saxony, Grand Duke William IV of Luxembourg and Prince Nikola I Petrović - Njegoš. Many luxury hotels and villas from the end of the 19th century have been preserved to this day. So, what is Opatija’s secret? Why, despite so many beautiful coastal cities in the south, such as Zadar, Trogir, Šibenik, Split, and especially Dubrovnik, Opatija was the "queen of tourism" at that time? The an-
FA C T S
THE BEST DESTINATION Lonely Planet declared Croatia the best tourist destination in 2005, while National Geographic Adventure magazine called Croatia “The Best Destination in 2006”.
swer is simple. Back then it was a usual practice to go to parties donning tuxedos and long dresses in the evening, while, because it was too hot further down south, guests were too hot. The cool evenings on the Austrian Riviera were perfectly fitted for the elegance of 100+ years ago. Today, there are no such problems: T-shirts and shorts keep us protected from unwanted heat. We should not forget travelling from Vienna to Opatija was least exhausting should you take this new miracle called
the train. In the end, after the mass Yugoslav socialist tourism came the Czechs, the Germans, the Hungarians, the Taliban, the Poles and the people from faraway lands, while the Serbs are also slowly but surely making a comeback. Today, Croatia is one of the most visited countries in the Mediterranean, following a sharp drop in visits to Islamic countries. The slogan that Croatia uses to present itself in the international tourist market is “Croatia, Full of Life” which is the truth.
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GLORY DAYS – TOURISM OF BIG NUMBERS IN TODAY’S DAY AND AGE Lonely Planet declared Croatia the best tourist destination in 2005, while National Geographic Adventure magazine called Croatia “The Best Destination in 2006”. Reuters reported that Travel Leaders, the leading travel agency in the United States, proclaimed Croatia the top international destination in 2012 in the European region. According to the analysis of Google's data and research conducted by the teflSearch website, whereby, in 2015,
people chose their preferred vacation destination from 80 countries, Croatia came up in the highest percentage of searches (2.71%), making it the most desirable vacation country world in 2015 and 2016. We can assume that The Game of Thrones also played a major role in this. But tourism in Croatia is not as massive in numbers as in other countries, which is quite unintentional but great for Croatia. Since modern tourism trends do not encourage tourists to take accommodation in large hotels, such as, for example, those that were built in the socialist era,
The recent media reports suggested that one should avoid going to Dubrovnik in order to avoid millions of fans of The Game of Thrones there
but are encouraging individualism, most of the available beds now are in private accommodation. Another slogan promoting Croatian tourism is “The Mediterranean as it once was”. This is the Mediterranean without massive accommodation, the Mediterranean as it used to be. Although the Germans are still the number one tourists here, and Istria and Kvarner remain the popular tourist destinations, the Slovenians, the Austrians and the British, share the fourth place on the list in terms of numbers, quite unexpectedly so. The Poles are the fifth. The number of tourists from the so-called non-traditional countries, such as Brazil, Iceland, South Korea, China, Turkey or Finland, is growing, which shows that the world is becoming increasingly globalized and that financial power is transferred elsewhere. All in all, year-on-year, Croatia has been breaking records. The recent media reports suggested that one should avoid going to Dubrovnik in order to avoid millions of fans of The Game of Thrones there. Hvar has decided to “raise the bar” in terms of guests by introducing several bans which all speak in favour of the fact that Croatia has become a superstar of world tourism and that now guests don’t choose Croatia, but more and more, Croatia chooses them.
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OUR GOAL IS TO OFFER A QUALITY AND MEANINGFUL PRODUCT When it comes to expectations for 2019, according to current estimates and feedback from the market, booking for Kvarner is stable
ver the past several years we recorded a constant growth in the number of overnight stays, and we are especially glad that this is happening in the pre-season and post-season period. The reason for this are certainly the attractive products we came up with for our guests, stated the Director of Kvarner Region Tourist Board Dr.sc Irena Peršić Živadinov for our magazine.
Will this season be even more successful for Kvarner than the previous, record-breaking one? — The Kvarner Region Tourist Board did a number of expo appearances, presentations, workshops and other promotional activities this year as well, pointing out the comparative advantages of the Kvarner region – from natural and cultural wealth through clear seas and beaches to various accommodation options, outdoor activ-
ities, nautical offer, then wealthy offer of health tourism through the Kvarner Health & Wellbeing brand and eno-gastronomy integrated through the Kvarner Gourmet & Food brand. A special place in Kvarner’s promotion this year was given to announcement of the City of Rijeka as the European Capital of Culture 2020. Thanks to its vicinity and excellent road connections, as well as the direct lines to Rijeka Airport from surrounding countries, we believe that we will continue to achieve good results in this tourist year as well. Even though competing countries are strengthening their presence on the market, Kvarner is constantly working on new motives for arrival to the destination, and we always try to keep up with demands on the market and we try to constantly improve the quality of our offer.
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Dr. s c I R E NA P E R Š I Ć Ž I VA D I N OV Director of Kvarner Region Tourist Board
You invested a great deal in the strengthening of Kvarner brand and diversifica-
The Kvarner Region Tourist Board got actively involved in the use of EU funds over the past years, and we are currently working on 4 projects
tion of the target markets. Which visitors do you want to win over, and which ones still haven’t met this destination? — Kvarner never strived to be a destination for mass tourism. Over the past several years, the Kvarner Region Tourist Board is working on the branding of our most recognizable tourist products, and this is precisely why we defined standards of quality for these key products in cooperation with the bearers of the offer, and everyone who wants to bear the belonging quality mark must uphold these standards… It was our goal primarily to develop a detailed plan for a certain segment of the offer, and then combine it with all the others to turn it into a quality and meaningful product. Guests recognize this quality and this unique native experience of Kvarner, and we must not lose that. That is precisely why we continue work on our brands: Kvarner Family for family accommodation, Kvarner Gourmet & Food which is dedicated to je eno-gastronomic offer, Kvarner Health & Wellbeing for promotion of health tourism and offer and Kvarner Outdoor with which we promote active tourism and give support to large sports and recreational events. With all of the above the process of enrichment and development of the tourist offer should be accompanied by accommodation capacities, in a way that their quality is corresponding. Investors have recognized these new developments on the market, and this is best shown through the information about investments in family accommodation. While we had around 11,000 beds in 4-star facilities and around
1,000 beds in 5-star facilities on the territory of Kvarner in 2016, at the end of 2018, i.e. two years later, we had 16,500 beds in 4-star facilities and 2,150 beds in 5-star facilities. This means that apartments with 4 stars achieved growth of over 50%, while the 5-star facilities posted a growth of fascinating 115%! Considering the conducted investments over the previous few years and the increase of quality in the form of increase of the number of stars and with it better quality contents, Kvarner is attracting wealthier guests who can indeed recognize the quality of the offer in Kvarner. We can expect the effects of investments in quality and offer to continue to intensify in the future.
Kvarner is known as a destination for health tourism. What do you offer your guests in this segment today? — Health tourism in Kvarner stands out with its tradition and unique offer, as well as with organized, joint action of medical institutions, clinics, hotel houses, agencies and tourist communities. Back in 2013, the Kvarner Region Tourist Board initiated a project for branding the health tourism in Kvarner under its marketing name “Kvarner Health&Wellbeing”; we gathered special hospitals, health resorts, polyclinics and clinics, as well as faculties and hotel houses and tourist agencies in Kvarner, with which we united and updated the health tourism offer; through intensive joint promotion of health tourism in Kvarner, we created preconditions for establishment of the first Health Tourism Cluster in Croatia, precisely in Kvarner. The Kvarner Health&Wellbeing project and the Kvarner Health Tourism Cluster offer and present a number of different services to guests and potential patients or users of various health improvement services. How much did EU projects help the branding of Kvarner tourism? — The Kvarner Region Tourist Board got actively involved in the use of EU funds over the past years, and we are currently working on 4 projects. EU projects are an excellent and welcome model for pointing
out of what Kvarner has in its rich base of resources, but with increased financial assets that come from EU funds, it enables the restoration and tourism valorisation of neglected and somewhat forgotten castles, sacral buildings, ancient Roman defence walls, traditional wooden boats and naval skills, as well as the enriching of tourist offer that is already in function, and placement of completely new, innovative products on the market in the function of tourism. All this refers primarily to valorisation of cultural heritage and enrichment of the offer of cultural tourism in Kvarner, which strengthens the total tourist offer of the region. Brands that Kvarner Tourist Board introduced through its years of work to strengthen gastronomy (Kvarner Gourmet & Kvarner Food) are strengthened and exposed through activities of EU projects, as well as brands for promotion and improvement of the quality of family accommodation (Kvarner Family), for presenting fantastic opportunities for an active vacation (Kvarner Bike, Kvarner Hike), and for promoting the region as a health destination (Kvarner Health & Wellbeing), and others, all the way to introduction of the Kvarner Culture brand, with which we protect and present the cultural tourism in Kvarner. We can definitely say that we are us-
ing EU projects to boost the image of a region with rich cultural heritage that is being kept with love and hard work, and is being proudly presented to our guests from all corners of the world.
CULTURAL HERITAGE We are using EU projects to boost the image of a region with rich cultural heritage that is being kept with love and hard work, and is being proudly presented to our guests from all corners of the world.
What are your long-term priorities when it comes to diversification of the tourist offer and extension of tourist season? — When I came to the head of Kvarner TB almost eight years ago, one of the main goals for me was to devise and put into function the products that would bring guests to Kvarner in pre- and post-season. And the excellent results that are systematically continuing year after year, precisely in the periods before and after the season, show that we were successful. Namely, today we have 87% more overnight stays in pre-season and 80% in post-season than in 2010. A strong rise in the number of guests in the “peak season” might not be a surprise even though this number increased by 32% in eight years. However, we should emphasize here that if the load capacity in one part of the year or in one destination reached its maximum, then we have to focus on other time periods, which we did. We devoted great attention to development of products that are the motive for off-season arrivals: from gastronomy and restaurant branding through the Kvarner Gourmet & Food project, outdoor activities through Kvarner Outdoor, which offers more than 2,500 km of marked bike and hike trails, a number of recreational and professional races, as well as accommodation adjusted to this type of guests who want additional contents, then through the health tourism branding project Kvarner Health & Wellbeing, through organization of events and through all the additional activities that will attract a guest to our destination. By looking at the analyses of everything that was done over the past several years, we can see that the growth is not accidental, and that the direction we took is correct. 35
F O C U S O N T R AV E L
WITH US, LIFE IS AS GOOD AS IT SHOULD BE Timeless riviera living in Luštica Bay, Montenegro
C O R P O R AT E
ontenegro might be a small country, but has an abundance of everything - yearround sunshine, the vivacious history, the vibrant culture, and the unspoiled scenery from the mountainous inlands to the diverse coastline. Luštica Bay is an ideal location for discovering all the country has to offer, and a little something new as well. A life that combines the gentle traditions of the Montenegrin coastal living with the state-of-the-art contemporary facilities and
a sustainable future. Fine-dining, superb shopping, world-class golfing and yachting, and five-star service, all converge to create the ultimate luxury riviera experience for guests and residents alike. A haven as diverse and exciting as it is tranquil and soothing to the soul. Luštica Bay’s first hotel, The Chedi Luštica Bay, opened its doors in July. Sitting on the waterfront of the Marina Village, the hotel sets the scene for a new holiday experience. Nowhere else will you find the unique combination of The Chedi’s discreet
V I EW
PRIVATE TERRACE Sea views take centre stage throughout and there’s nowhere better to enjoy them than from your own private terrace.
luxury and service alongside Montenegro’s natural warmth and authenticity. It embraces the Montenegrin saying: Samo Polako – or, in translation, slowing down and living in the here and now. There are plenty of ways to do exactly that, from soaking up the sun at the outdoor infinity pool to enjoying delicious food in the restaurants, or rejuvenating yourself with Asian-inspired treatments at the spa. The interior only add to the sense of calm, filled with light and reflecting the colours and movements of the ocean. Sea views take centre stage throughout and there’s nowhere better to enjoy them than from your own private terrace (all rooms come with one). Alongside 111 rooms, including 60 condominium suites, the hotel boasts three
restaurants, a lobby bar, a business centre with a ballroom, a private beach, an outdoor heated pool, a wellness and fitness centre with an indoor heated pool and a range of resort shops. Guests are also perfectly positioned to explore the wider temptations of the Marina Village and its brand new marina. Protecting waters that are among the cleanest in Europe, the marina is the pinnacle of sustainable design. It offers a range of services and facilities, as well as 24-hour yacht assistance to help sailors on their way. When you return from your adventure, Luštica Bay will be there - a place to re-centre and reconnect. You are not only passing time here, but living every single moment the Montenegrin way.
Luštica Bay’s first hotel, The Chedi Luštica Bay offers the discreet luxury and service that complement Montenegro’s natural warmth, authenticity, slow living and enjoying life