Marina Franolić: Changes in Croatian tourism are too slow, while the world is moving much faster

first_imgAdria Hotel Forum is one of the leading European hotel investment conferences, which every year brings together representatives of the largest hotel groups, government agencies, investors, hoteliers, consultants, financial institutions and others.One of the main goals since the establishment of the Forum was to bring as many global funds interested in investing in the region, and they just did it last year, as well as this year with an even larger base of interested investors in Croatian tourism.In just five years, the Adria Hotel Forum has gathered more than 1200 participants, 180 panelists, 80 sponsors and partners, and we talked about the organization and values ​​of this important tourist forum with the founder and organizer of the Hotel Adria Forum, Marina Franolić.Last year, in an interview, you stated that capital does not go where it is nice, but where the return on investment is most likely. Today, looking back a year, are we still just beautiful or have we moved forward?Perhaps it would be best for me to answer with one example. At the beginning of December 2016, I participated in the hotel investment conference Mediterranean Resort & Hotel Real Estate Forum (by the way, the partner conference of the Adria Hotel Forum) where the central panel discussion was with investors. The presentation prepared by STR Global before the panel of investors showed the greatest growth of Croatia as a destination in the Mediterranean. Right at the beginning of the panel with investors, Dirk Bakker, the moderator of the panel, asked the present investors if they would be interested in investing in Croatia, following the great results shown. The responses were mostly negative, and the reasons they cited for such an opinion were poor connectivity and high seasonality of tourism. I couldn’t stop wondering if that answer was really the result of continuous market monitoring or just a repetition of a once long-established opinion but if we really look at the figures showing the real situation, we see that the situation is exactly as pointed out. Croatia, with the exception of Montenegro, has the most pronounced seasonality in the Mediterranean, and in terms of air connectivity, it is active in a period of 6 months, while in other periods, we need almost all day to cross half of Europe. Perhaps the visit to this conference was the best example – the flight Zagreb – Barcelona lasted a total of 7 hours and practically took away one working day. Therefore, I would say that we are still beautiful, that the existing hoteliers have grown up with the situation here and are doing their best in it, but there are no serious changes. Investors, in communication with us, still show interest in investing in the organization of Adria Hotel Forum and I am convinced that in the next 2-3 years some really big projects will be launched, but what worries me is that we are changing too slowly and the world is somehow still it moves faster. Constant changes in the Law, VAT, local policy – we are constantly spinning in a circle, and there is no way to make the right changes that will directly affect the improvement of the investment climate? Investing in tourism is a long-term investment, I guess the birds on the branch know that, and certainly how investors can not be satisfied with the constant changes because they do not know how much and how the law will change in 10 years?I fully agree that continuous changes in the law do not really contribute to improving the investment climate, but as I stated earlier, I think that creating a variety of offers and finding ways to ensure flights outside the main season is a great precondition for development. Just the other day, it was announced that flights, with the opening of the new Pleso airport terminal, would become more expensive. And already flights within Europe are 50-100% more expensive than flights between Western European cities. What makes me really happy is that Margaret McNeil, director of the Edinburgh Tourism Action Group (ETAG), is coming to the AHF this year. It is an institution that brings together all actors related to Edinburgh tourism (representatives of hoteliers, cultural institutions, small employers’ associations, investors, chamber of commerce, congress sector, city promotion office, national tourist boards, airports, etc.) and it is amazing which successes have been achieved. Also coming is the director of the Eurowings airline’s business network, Ivan Oreč, who will certainly be able to clearly point out possible ways of cooperating with airlines in order to develop the airline network. “Creating a variety of offers and finding ways to secure flights outside the main season is great prerequisite for development “- Marina Franolić Paul Pisani, vice president of the Corinthia hotel group from Malta, will also take part again. In 2014, he was a guest of the Forum on the topic of seasonality and pointed out that Malta, in a period of several years, with a clear strategic plan and its implementation, has become a destination that has extended the season and opened many new markets. Portugal also made great strides a few years ago in terms of strategy, but mostly in terms of implementing that strategy. They created several aviation hubs, set up an umbrella association of all tourism associations (hoteliers, agencies, caterers, etc.) and also returned to the market “in style” two years ago. Not to ignore one fact, all the mentioned destinations are partially helped by the situation in the East, which encourages tourists to focus on destinations that seem safer for their vacation trips. Which means that we should take advantage of the situation because the moment Turkey and the countries of North Africa return to the game, if we are not far behind in development, there is a possibility that we will fall sharply given that prices of accommodation and services can not compete with these countries.Regardless of everything, the Ministry of Tourism is announcing about 50 new hotels this year and next, Marroit is coming to Zadar, Šibenik and Hvar are also in the focus of large hotel investors, etc.… Somehow the impression is that investors have launched an offensive on the Croatian market?Hyatt is coming to Zadar, and the others are examining what is possible. New hotels are planned in Zagreb, which indicates growth, and Split also has great potential. I think it would be great if we could develop a few more cities as destinations that will function throughout the year (Osijek, Rijeka and Šibenik) and then we would already have a great base for developing more complex models of tourism. Zagreb is ideal to become a congress center, and another location in Croatia would be really optimal. We are talking about congress centers with a capacity of at least 1500 people, but of course, then guests should have accommodation facilities nearby as well as activities that can fill their time.Considering that we have been operating as an office of the international travel company Liberty International for several months now, we have already had several inquiries for such large congresses, but unfortunately each time we were overtaken by another destination since, say, we could not organize dinner in different locations. always in one place that could accommodate so many people. Not to mention again air connections and flight prices…Tourism is a branch that is among the first, like it or not, to be “hit” by new technological and social trends. What are the new trends in the hotel industry?We can talk about this topic for days, but I will focus primarily on investments. At the moment, a lot of attention is being paid to the new generation of tourists in the world, which we also discussed at previous Forums. The so-called Generation Millenials and Generation Y are changing the current forms of travel and it is indicative that global hotel operators and investors are closely monitoring what hotels offer and how to structure them to suit tourists in the coming years. Thus, in the last year, a large number of new brands have appeared that go more in the direction of hostels, with the aim of satisfying the guests of the continuously growing AirBnB market.  So Hilton Worldwide has the Tru brand, Marriott International has Moxy, AccorHotels now has Joe & Joe, and they all have the feature of low prices, smaller rooms and large lobbies as places to hang out. Although the guests who visit Croatia are on average older and their wishes and interests are thus different, I am sure that in the next few years this trend will appear more and more in Croatia and that such hotels will develop. It is a mistake to assume that such hotels are of poorer quality, they are really different in their service they offer guests and offer technologically advanced facilities that allow guests to have a closer relationship with the city, local customs and the environment in which they stay. As for other trends, this year we are working on a new project through which we will, as at the Adria Hotel Forum try to discuss and present trends and models of good practice in investment, so through this new we will present global trends in hotel operations. I hope the success will be equal to this with AHF.The bubble with the labor problem has exploded, and no solution is yet in sight. On the one hand, we expect new investments, and we do not care about the local workforce. This is a big problem for investors. How is this problem solved in other destinations and what is your suggestion?Another very complex question. We have a few segments here, but perhaps it is easiest to divide into the question of full-time and seasonal workers. I am currently working on a project to find a solution to the issue of seasonal labor. There are a large number of unemployed, and practice shows that hoteliers have a growing problem every year to find people who are interested in working at all. I think the main component here is how to motivate seasonal workers to stay (most often) away from their homes for a few months. There are (in the opinion of me and the team I work with on the project) solutions to motivate employees in several ways and we will try to implement this this year.  The second level is full-time employees who should be enabled to be continuously educated and to follow market trends. It often happens that we are all overwhelmed by the daily pace and that we do not have time to research, read and follow what is happening in the world. I think this is extremely important and that companies really need to invest in the satisfaction of their employees. In the hotel industry, those employees who may receive the least attention are in the most frequent contact with guests and it is these employees who should be satisfied with their position and should have the opportunity to learn. And finally, what do you expect from the 5th Adria Hotel Forum? What are your plans for the future?Expectations are always very high and that is why I am looking forward to the fact that the realization usually follows, at least for the most part, the plans. This year we have two guests who may be the “stars” of the Forum, although when I look at the entire list of panelists and participants, I am very pleased. To point out that the senior vice president for development of Europe, Africa and the Middle East of the Hilton Worldwide Group, Patrick Fitzgibbon, is coming to us. He is a person who attends two to three conferences a year and the very fact that he decided to come to the Adria Hotel Forum indicates interest in the region, as well as the quality of the conference. We are also approached by the Vice President for Development of Europe Choice Hotel Group, Max Cergneux, as well as Keith Evans, Vice President for Acquisitions of the investment fund Starwood Capital, which was supposed to come last year, but a few days before the Forum unfortunately had to change plans. But honestly, it’s even more great for me to have a great response from international participants who come as “listeners”. Maybe the better question is what I expect from the 6th Forum, considering that we are already preparing the program for 2018…The fifth Adria Hotel Forum will be held in Zagreb, February 08-09, 2017 at the Sheraton Hotel on the topic: INVESTments in hotel industry: DEVELOPMENT AND BEYOND. The reason for this topic is the record high last year’s transactions in Europe, which amounted to over 38,4 billion Euros compared to 16,5 billion Euros in 2014. At the same time, transactions in Central and Eastern Europe accounted for only 6% of total European transactions, while in the SEE region this percentage was negligible; only 0,9%. This year, renowned tourism experts will explain the reasons for the low investment interest in the hotel industry in Southeast Europe, what investment and management models are applicable in this part of the world, what distinguishes us from developed destinations and what we should do about it and who and when should develop the infrastructure and how the destination should be positioned.In professional circles, the Forum is defined as the only regional conference attended by global hotel professionals. For this reason, the goal of the fifth Adria Hotel Forum is to highlight the topic of infrastructure development as well as continental tourism.If you are serious about tourism, Adria Hotel Forum is definitely a “place to be”. See more about the program of the 5th Adria Hotel Forum here List of panelists This is confirmed by the arrival of experts who have not visited the region so far, and who lead the development of the world’s largest hotel management companies in their positions:- Patrick Fitzgibbon – Senior Vice President of Development for Europe, Middle East and Africa, Hilton Worldwide (the second largest company in the world in terms of pipeline hotels)- Max Cergneux – Senior Director of Investment and Portfolio Management for Europe, Choice Hotels (the fourth largest company in the world by the number of hotels in the pipelineThese are just some of the international names coming to AHF 2017Patrick Fitziggob, Hilton WorldwideMax Cergneux, Choice HotelsAdam Konieczny, Christie & COKeith Evans, Starwood Capital GroupMargaret McNeil, Edinburgh Tourism Action GroupAlan Mantin, Hilton WorldwideHylko Versteeg, InterContinental Hotels GroupTakuya Aoyama, Hyatt InternationalEmeline Sykora, Accor InternationalDirk Bakker, Colliers InternationalJason Wischoff, Dream Hotels GroupMarc Finney, Colliers InternationalNina Kleiner, ExpediaPhilip Camble, Whitebridge HospitalityDarren Blanchard, Carlson ResidorIvan Orec, EurowingsPaul Pisani, Corinthia HotelsSamantha E Sugarman, Four SeasonsSebastian Lodder, T3 ManagementThomas Emanuel, STR GlobalSee a list of all panelists herelast_img read more

admin

Study: H1N1 not highly contagious in households

first_imgDec 30, 2009 (CIDRAP News) – People living in the same household were less likely to catch H1N1 influenza from a sick family member than they would have been in past pandemics or during a normal flu season, a team from University College London and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report today in the New England Journal of Medicine.Drawing on a database of information gathered about patients with lab-confirmed H1N1 during the pandemic’s early stages, the researchers found the new flu was not very contagious. There were secondary infections in 27% of 216 households and 13% of 600 household residents, compared to secondary attack rates that rose to 20% in the 1957 and 1968 pandemics and up to 40% in some flu seasons. Children and teenagers were twice as susceptible as adults.The database was assembled from reports filed by state health departments in April and May 2009, while the CDC was still requesting case counts. The reports were written up for any patients whose flu infections were lab-confirmed either as H1N1 flu, or as neither of the H1 and H3 strains that circulated in the 2008-09 flu season.The reports, filled out during telephone interviews, included information about household size and any other cases in the household. Influenza in the secondary cases was not confirmed by lab tests, however; it was merely described on the basis of symptoms as either “acute respiratory illness” (fever, cough, sore throat and/or runny nose) or “influenza-like illness” (fever and cough or sore throat).In 72% of the 216 households, no one caught flu from a family member. In 21%, one person did, and in 6%, two or more did. The median age of all 600 household members was 26, but the median age of those who contracted flu from someone was 14.5 to 16.5, depending on how their symptoms were recorded.The age of the person who brought flu into the household, however, had no effect on their contagiousness; toddlers, teenagers and adults all transmitted flu to others.The time that it took for flu to pass to a family member—technically, the mean serial interval, between the start of symptoms in the index case and in the first secondary case—was 2.6 days. No one symptom could be linked to H1N1’s being more or less infectious, except that almost all of the patients reported coughing.For reasons the authors could not explain, the probability of household transmission decreased as the number of household members increased. Among two-person households, 28% of contacts developed flu within 7 days of the first patient’s symptoms starting, but in households with six or more members, only 9% did. “These differences … highlight the fact that the sociologic, environmental, and biologic mechanisms available to explain the relationship between secondary attack rates and household size are still limited,” they said.The study is significant, the authors said, because so little work has been done on risk factors for flu transmission at home, despite public health recommendations that people who contract flu stay home until 24 hours after their fever subsides. In addition, they said, the findings confirm the observation that children and teenagers are more vulnerable to H1N1 flu than adults.Cauchemez S, Donnelly CA., Reed C, et al. Household transmission of 2009 pandemic influenza A (H1N1) virus in the United State. N Engl J Med 2009;361(27):2619-27 [Full text]last_img read more

admin

$3 Million Coming To Peconic Land Trust

first_imgThanks to a New York State Regional Economic Development Grant to the tune of $3,656,370, the Peconic Land Trust will implement the next phase of its Regional Aquifer Protection Land Acquisition Program to acquire land or development rights to protect Long Island’s sole source aquifer.This year the program will focus on acquiring land in the towns of Brookhaven, Riverhead, Southold, Shelter Island, and East Hampton to protect land in the Central Suffolk, Southold, and South Fork Special Groundwater Protection Areas within the Peconic Estuary and Long Island Sound Study Watershed.Also in Riverhead, the Long Island Science Center, a learning museum, will expand its facility and increase its STEM programs and exhibits with a grant of $775,000.The New York Marine Rescue Center, with funding of $75,000, plans to enhance its tourism program. Riverhead Foundation for Marine Research & Preservation will engage the public in the critical work of the New York Marine Rescue Center to save endangered sea life.By providing enhanced tourism access to their unique hospital and rehabilitation center, offering specially tailored guided tours and educational programs, the grantee intends to inform the public about man-made risks to sea life and other various tourism initiatives to increase visitation to the area and overall region.The recipient of a $300,000 grant, Community Action Southold Town, Inc. is planning a North Fork Community Resource Center buy, purchasing and upgrading a building in Greenport that will support CAST’s self-sufficiency programs.Harbor Lights Oyster Co. will build a collaborative aquaculture center to house an oyster hatchery and a shellfish processing center that will offer accessible shore-based services to the local seafood industry, with the $180,000 grant.The Village of Greenport is receiving $390,000 to design and construct an expansion of its municipal sewer system, reducing current nitrogen pollution input to the nearby Peconic Estuary.Other grants can be found on the www.ny.gov website.bridget@indyeastend.com Sharelast_img read more

admin

Paragon Offshore stalls interest payment

first_imgParagon Offshore, a provider of jack-up offshore drilling rigs, has decided to defer an interest payment of approximately $15.4 million due today on its 6.75% senior unsecured notes maturing July 2022.The driller, which recently got delisted from the New York Stock Exchange due to its shares under-performance said that, under the terms of the indenture governing the 2022 Notes, the company has a 30-day grace period after the interest payment date before an event of default occurs.In a statement of Friday, Paragon said it believed it is in the best interests of all stakeholders, including equity holders, to use the grace period to continue to engage in discussions with its secured and unsecured debtholders related to alternatives to improve Paragon’s long-term capital structure.There is no assurance that the discussions with Paragon’s debtholders will result in an agreement before the end of the grace period, the company said.The driller which operates 34 jack-ups and six floaters can elect to make the interest payment at any time during the grace period. However, if Paragon decides not to make the interest payment by the end of the grace period, such failure would result in the rights of the requisite holders of certain of its indebtedness, including the 2022 Notes and revolving credit facility, to accelerate the repayment of the principal amounts due, which acceleration would result in a cross-default under Paragon’s term loan facility, the company explained.Randall D. Stilley, President and Chief Executive Officer of Paragon, said, “Paragon has made the strategic choice to defer this interest payment as constructive dialogue with debtholders continues. We believe we are making progress in achieving our objective to improve the long-term capital structure of the company. Paragon’s substantial cash position at December 31, 2015, more than $750 million, provides us with flexibility as we negotiate. “Furthermore, it allows us to continue to meet all of our obligations to suppliers, employees, and others as we deliver safe, reliable, and effective operations to our customers in the normal course of business.”last_img read more

admin

Hansom

first_imgTo continue enjoying Building.co.uk, sign up for free guest accessExisting subscriber? LOGIN Subscribe now for unlimited access Get your free guest access  SIGN UP TODAY Stay at the forefront of thought leadership with news and analysis from award-winning journalists. Enjoy company features, CEO interviews, architectural reviews, technical project know-how and the latest innovations.Limited access to building.co.ukBreaking industry news as it happensBreaking, daily and weekly e-newsletters Subscribe to Building today and you will benefit from:Unlimited access to all stories including expert analysis and comment from industry leadersOur league tables, cost models and economics dataOur online archive of over 10,000 articlesBuilding magazine digital editionsBuilding magazine print editionsPrinted/digital supplementsSubscribe now for unlimited access.View our subscription options and join our communitylast_img read more

admin

Hansom: In the rough

first_imgGet your free guest access  SIGN UP TODAY Stay at the forefront of thought leadership with news and analysis from award-winning journalists. Enjoy company features, CEO interviews, architectural reviews, technical project know-how and the latest innovations.Limited access to building.co.ukBreaking industry news as it happensBreaking, daily and weekly e-newsletters Subscribe to Building today and you will benefit from:Unlimited access to all stories including expert analysis and comment from industry leadersOur league tables, cost models and economics dataOur online archive of over 10,000 articlesBuilding magazine digital editionsBuilding magazine print editionsPrinted/digital supplementsSubscribe now for unlimited access.View our subscription options and join our community To continue enjoying Building.co.uk, sign up for free guest accessExisting subscriber? LOGIN Subscribe now for unlimited accesslast_img read more

admin

Hull offshore wind development on track

first_imgThe project is 28 weeks into the 119-week construction schedule to create what has been dubbed the UK’s largest offshore wind manufacturing, assembly and installation facility. Siemens and Port of Hull operator Associated British Ports (ABP) are jointly investing GBP310 million (USD472.5 million) into the project.Following the official ground-breaking in January this year, all demolition work is now complete, with many steel-framed buildings having been disassembled for use elsewhere and concrete recycled for use during the construction process. The first marine piles are now in place and a temporary structure will be used for the mooring of dredging vessels, which will pipe in nearly 1 million cu m of sand for the infill of approximately 16 acres (6.4 ha) of the western end of Alexandra Dock. The infill activity is scheduled to begin in early summer.A new public right of way has also been built, which will take pedestrians and cyclists around the back of the Alexandra Dock site. This facility will be landscaped and include seating and viewing areas, so that users can see construction taking place and view the Siemens facility when it is complete.ABP says that the construction project, which was awarded to main contractor GRAHAM Lagan Construction Group JV, is currently right on track, and wind turbines are expected to be leaving the site by early 2017. Siemens’ ‘Green Port Hull’ development. www.abports.co.ukwww.siemens.comwww.laganconstructiongroup.comlast_img read more

admin

Railway supply industry news round-up

first_imgOn August 3 Russian construction company VIS Group and China Railway Construction Corp signed an agreement to work together to implement transport infrastructure projects including metro lines in Russia and the Middle East. ‘The integration of our companies’ accumulated competencies in construction and infrastructure project financing will have a significant synergetic effect‘, said VIS Chairman Igor Snegurov. Display and touch-screen technology company Review Display Systems has opened a US office in Milwaukee. ‘We already had clients in the US and it made sense to set up offices to continue the expansion of the company and to service our clients quickly and efficiently’, said RDS Managing Director Russell Gilbert. ‘We see the USA as a significant growth area in expanding the capabilities of our company and our engineering expertise.’YFM Equity Partners has invested £4·5m from its managed funds in Collaborative Project Management Services, which provides project management services in the UK track, signalling, telecoms, civils and electrification sectors. Founded in 2012, CPMS now has 60 staff and annual revenue of almost £10m. Founders Matthew Baine, Damien Gent, Chris Mackie and Tim Galvini will continue to be the largest shareholders, being joined by Andrew Smith as Non-Executive Chairman. ‘This is the seventh investment from YFM’s 2016 buyout fund, which closed in April 2017, and represents another strong example of investing in well-established regional businesses in the £2-10m investment market’, said YFM partner Jamie Roberts on August 6.Sinara Transport Machines has commissioned a brake testing stand at its Novosibirsk Electric Locomotive Repair Plant, removing the need to send equipment to be tested at a facility in Omsk. ‘Installation of the test stand at the plant will lead to a reduction in the costly and time-consuming logistics link, help optimise costs and improve the quality of the work‘, said director Maxim Tsyganets.On-track plant hire and labour services company Total Rail Solutions has opened a permanent office and yard space at Cwmbran near Newport in Wales. ‘TRS is on a journey of growth and investment’, said Chief Operating Officer Paul Bateman on August 7. ‘It makes sense to locate our next depot in a region where there is a commitment to long-term investment in rail infrastructure’, he said, pointing to Transport for Wales’ plans for the next Wales & Borders franchise.last_img read more

admin

RegioJet buys double-deck coaches to cope with ridership growth

first_imgSLOVAKIA: RegioJet has acquired 10 second-hand double-deck coaches from DB Regio, which it plans to use to provide a rapid increase in capacity on Bratislava – Dunajská Streda – Komárno services operated under contract to the Ministry of Transport. The Dbz750 coaches were built at the Bautzen plant in the early 1990s. RegioJet will operate them in two five-car rakes, hauled by Siemens ER20 diesel locomotives to be leased from Beacon Rail. They are scheduled to enter service on peak-hour trains on September 2, following the testing and approval process. Slovakia’s busiest single-track non-electrified line has seen significant growth in ridership since RegioJet took over from state operator ZSSK in March 2012. The extra rolling stock will enable RegioJet to provide over 100 more seats per train compared to the Bombardier Talent and Siemens Desiro DMUs currently employed on the line, although the operator and ministry say even more capacity will be needed to cope with daily demand.last_img read more

admin

Kaya Stewart teams up with Childish Major for new single ‘California’

first_imgThe follow-up to breakthrough single ‘In Love With a Boy’, ‘California’ is a timeless coming-of-age story in which love goes array. Kaya wrote the song in Nashville with neo-soul talent and former Warp Records artist Jamie Lidell. The video shows Kaya performing the song in everyday locations in Los Angeles. Kaya Stewart has teamed up with Childish Major for her new single ‘California’.center_img She commented, “I felt like California was going to be the answer to all my problems at that time in my life, it was going to be the move that changed everything for me. But the song turned into a metaphor for that moment in your life where you think, ‘If I could just fix this, I’d get my life in order.’ It’s about having to face what’s going on and being able to accept what your real problems are.” Born in London but raised in Los Angeles, Kaya Stewart grew up surrounded by music. In her earlier years, her father former Eurythmics frontman and producer extraordinaire Dave Stewart, was a major influence.last_img read more

admin