Croatia’s economic stability took a small step forwards as the rating agency Fitch raised the rating from BB to BB+ on Friday. Thanks to stable economic growth, a strong tourist season and improving public finances, Croatia’s credit rating has improved for the first time since 2004 and now stands a BB + with “stable prospects.”
"This is great news. We are only one step behind the ranking of “investment rating.” The government’s goal is an economic plan that will bring fiscal consolidation,” commented Croatian Prime Minister, Andrej Plenković, on Friday.
In the new report, Fitch points out that economic growth remained at 3% in 2017, as Croatia benefited from increased EU funding, strong tourism as well as tax reforms. Growth should remain around this level over the next period due to solid labour market dynamics and an increase of EU funds. Fitch expects that inflation should remain low in 2018.
The agency pointed out that, despite improvements, the growth of the economy is still slow compared to comparable countries, reflecting structural economic weaknesses, low investment levels and unfavourable demographic trends.
Real estate prices in Dubrovnik are again on the way up. After a period of stagnation, the property prices, which are by the far the most expensive in the whole of Croatia, have again started to rise and December saw an increase.
According to the specialised Croatian property website, crozilla.com, the average advertised apartment price in Dubrovnik in December 2017 was a staggering 3,519 Euros per metre squared. This price is a 14 percent increase over December in 2016, and a 20 percent increase over 2015.
Dubrovnik and the Dalmatian city of Split saw the largest property price rises in 2017, whilst many houses in the interior of the country actually fell in value. The average price of a metre squared of property in Split was around 2,500 Euros per metre squared in 2017.
And the demand for investing in Dubrovnik seems to be growing at the same pace as the real estate prices rise. “We have a long list of foreign buyers lining up to purchase property in Dubrovnik. However, it is difficult to match the supply to the demand. If you have the right property at the right price it can be sold in a week,” commented a Dubrovnik real estate agent.
Croatia Public Holidays for 2018
1 January - New Year's Day
6 January - Epiphany
2 April - Easter Monday
1 May - Labour Day
31 June - Corpus Christi
22 June - Anti-Fascist Resistance Day
25 June - Statehood Day
5 August - Victory & Homeland Thanksgiving Day
15 August - Assumption of the Virgin Mary
8 October - Independence Day
1 November - All Saints' Day
25 December - Christmas Day
26 December - St. Stephen's Day
The weekend in Dubrovnik started with clear blue skies and splashes of sunshine with temperatures reaching a “balmy” 14 degrees.
And the locals and handful of tourists too advantage of the pleasant weather to enjoy the historic Old City of Dubrovnik. Al fresco coffees, walking with the family and soaking up the sights seemed like the best way to spend Saturday in the city.
Check out our photo gallery by Niksa Duper
Year on year the historic Old City of Dubrovnik is becoming less of a city and more of a giant ancient hotel. Every cobbled side street has its own “Apartments” sign hanging above the door as the locals move out for the summer months and rent to the waiting tourists. Renting apartments through the popular websites, such as AirBnb and Booking.com, has become an easy way for families to live and in the height of the season they can earn more than the average annual salary.
Just surf the internet and you’ll be greeted with thousands of apartment and villas in and around Dubrovnik, with prices ranging from 50 Euros a night to a whopping 15,000 Euros. From small, cupboard-sized rooms, to luxurious villas with private butlers and swimming pools, every shape and size of private accommodation is on offer.
And the demand is growing and growing. Bookings for this year are already in full swing with many apartments in the Old City already fully booked during June, July and August. And with the average price of a one-bed apartment in the heart of the Old City renting for just under 150 Euros a night it isn’t difficult to see why this business is so attractive. With only around 750 people actually calling the Old City of Dubrovnik home the number of apartments and therefore the number of guests far outweigh the inhabitants.
However, it isn’t all plain sailing. Actually purchasing and refurbishing any building inside the city walls need the nerves (and the finances) and patience of a saint. “Reconstructing a building inside the Old City is extremely challenging. Firstly, you have to satisfy the requirements of the Conservation Department and then you must use a licensed builder to carry out the works. There are only seven or eight firms that have this license and of course they are constantly busy,” explained a private investor who has apartments in the Old City. And the cost of building and adapting apartments inside the historic centre is considerably more expensive than any other suburb of the city. “If the building is devastated and requires reconstruction from the ground up then prices start at around 1,000 Euros per metre squared, if the space just needs a fresh look then prices start at around 300 Euros,” concluded the investor. Adding that if an investor takes a mortgage to buy the property and then a loan to finish the apartment it will be impossible to see a profit for at least twenty years.
The average price of an apartment in the winter in Dubrovnik is 50 Euros whilst in the summer months the same apartment will cost you 150 Euros. And renters who go that extra mile to attract guests can expect to have 200 nights a year.
There are around 452 apartments inside the city walls, and in the wider Dubrovnik area a staggering 3,326 renters. “In 2016 there were 1,956 beds inside the Old City and in 2017 that number rose to 2,169,” commented Božo Burić, the head of Private Accommodation for the Dubrovnik Tourist Board. Adding that the vast majority of apartments were ranked as three-star, with 60 percent of apartments in the Old City having three stars.
From April to November these apartments record an 80 percent booking capacity. And one of the keys to achieving this is the feedback from clients, according to Nino Dubretić, the co-owner of the Dubrovnik travel and booking specialists, Direct Booker.
Are there any indicators that this trend will come to an end, will reach a saturation point? Looking at the indicators for the future the answer is no, at least for the next few years. With more interest, more publicity and more flights coming year after year the demand for accommodation will remain at these levels for the foreseeable future.
After becoming popular in Croatia, Borovo’s ‘’Zenge’’ yellow boots are to be shipped to other parts of the world.
The ‘’Zenge’’ yellow boots became popular during the Homeland War in 1990s when Croatian soldiers wore them while defending the city of Vukovar.
In November last year, they were brought back to the big scene when the Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović wore them during a procession on Vukovar Remembrance Day.
‘’After our President wore ‘’Zenge’’ and the media highlighted them in their reports, it stirred a lot of interest of customers from all over Croatia as well as from Diaspora. We had inquiries from the United States, Canada, Australia, Germany etc. Thus, we decided to make another limited series of ‘’Zenge’’ boots but this time not only for men but also for women’’, explained Marija Rušnov, a marketing associate from Borovo.
The latest series of the ‘’yellow boots’’ is identical to that manufactured in the pre-war period. They are of yellow colour and handmade from hydrophobic leather, which makes them waterproof.
During the manufacturing process, each pair goes through the hands of 60 workers at Borovo making them even more special. The only thing that differs the new series from the former ‘’Zenge’’ is the stronger imprint of Vukovar Water Tower on the lower side of the boot.
Borovo d.d. is the most famous shoe manufacturer in Croatia with the longest tradition, heritage and love for shoes. The company was founded in 1931 with its headquarters in Vukovar.
The production of the popular yellow boots began in 1985, following the order of the American company Royce Shoes. They were intended for desert-mountainous areas with extremely high daily air temperatures, and freezing cold air temperatures at night.
Borovo used to manufacture 200,000 to 250,000 pairs of ‘’Zenge’’ boots for Royce Shoes. However, the latest manufactured series was not shipped to the American buyer due to the Homeland War, thus remained in the Borovo warehouses.
Nevertheless, Borovo is planning to continue the manufacture of the popular ‘’yellow boots 85’’ in the near future.
It isn’t only the magnificent stone city walls that encompass the historic Old City, or the medieval facades that have attracted international film productions, such as Game of Thrones, to Dubrovnik. It is also the unique atmosphere of the city.
This charming video was sent to us by the talented camera man Marc Moliné from Barcelona and was filmed last year in the city. It gives an insight into the musical soul of Dubrovnik, and we particular enjoyed the dancing tourists near the end of the video. We think you’ll agree that it looks like a scene from Game of Thrones.
Check out this new Dubrovnik music video
According to the latest data from the eVisitor system, the results of the tourist traffic in December 2017 proved an excellent tourist season in the Split-Dalmatia County.
The data shows that only in December this Croatian county recorded 24,124 arrivals (+8%) and 68,819 overnight stays (+8%) in comparison to December 2016.
Therefore, Central Dalmatia continued with a strong tourist traffic increase even in December, positioning itself as a tourist region for a year-round tourism.
The city of Split surely contributed greatly to these excellent results, which had 11,426 arrivals and 29,240 overnight stays (+16%). Good traffic turnover in December was also recorded in Seget, Podstrana, Dugopolje, Makarska, Supetar and Hvar. The most numerous guests in December were from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Korea, the US, Slovenia, Italy, Germany and China.
The Split-Dalmatia County concluded the last tourist year with 16,944,182 overnight stays (+12%) and 3,200,123 (+17%) arrivals plus 211,401 of boaters’ arrivals and 1,442,869 overnight stays in the nautical segment realized in the county.
In addition, at the annual level, guests from Poland and Germany, followed by guests from the Czech Republic, Great Britain, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Sweden, Norway, Slovenia and France, realized the highest number of overnight stays in 2017.