Fifth Adria Hotel Forum held in Zagreb
Zagreb Sheraton Hotel hosted the fifth Adria Hotel Forum on February 8, 2017. This is one of Europe’s prime hotel investment conferences which brings together representatives from all segments of hotel and tourism industry. A total of 57 speakers participated in panels and debates on global trends and their influence on hotel and tourism industry.
Croatian Minister of Tourism, Gari Cappelli emphasized the importance of tourism in Croatian economy. Tourism industry accounts for 18% of Croatia’s GDP and is responsible for just under 10% of employment. The Minister pointed at income earned in foreign currency which was € 7.9 billion in 2015 and €8.5 billion in 2016. The forecast for the future puts foreign currency earnings at €14.5 billion by 2020.
Minister Cappelli stresses the importance of reducing non-tax constraints, investing in health tourism and higher ranked hotels. This year, in 2017 around € 800 million will be invested in tourism. Investments like these will further strengthen the already established Croatian brand and bring the country in the top competitive tourist destinations. Croatia is currently ranked as the 12th most competitive tourist destination of Southern and Western Europe.
The forum touched upon the growing importance of security and discussed obstacles for short term investments in Southeast Europe, which in recent years became a wanted region for investments in tourism and real estate. Other participants such as Starwood, Accor, Orbis, Hilton, Colliers, Odien hotel, real estate groups as well as consulting companies agree on the attractiveness of Croatia for investments and real estate.
Foreign investors point out the favourable investment climate in Croatia, but are also showing concerns. Croatian administration and bureaucracy are proving to be quite a handful for many foreign investors who are lacking the local facilitators and advisors. Croatia has already made some progress on these issues and after the tax reform a plan to lower administration costs was launched. The launched plan is set to reduce administrative costs by 1.5 billion kn and will make investing and doing business cheaper and easier.
As a final note, Mr Cappelli added the problem of seasonality in Croatian tourism. Croatia’s plan is to extend the season by investments in continental tourism through the development of health and congress tourism. Međimurje in continental Croatia plans to launch a total of 160 different size projects to enrich its offer and extend the season.Slovenia’s Minister Pocivals points out that due to well-developed continental tourism Slovenian season lasts throughout the whole year.
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