Bale: From Underdeveloped Little Town to Istrian Touristic Gem

Lauren Simmonds

A mere fifteen or so years ago, Bale in Istria was a pretty but still undeveloped small town that seemed to lack any real perspective. This is no longer the case today.

As Novac writes on the 14th of December, 2019, it all began fifteen years ago with the decision of Plinio Cuccurin, hitherto publicly known as a top manager and one of the two key figures at what was then the Rovinj tobacco factory, to devote himself to the development of his native Bale.

Since then, Bale has transformed itself beyond recognition. Not only through budgeting, changes are evident at both the content and visual levels. Bale was given a brand new framework, primarily owing to Cuccurin’s idea that he and his associates saw the Mon Perin Citizens’ Association in perspective and could see what function it could have in the development of this picturesque little Istrian town. In a decade and a half, in addition to becoming a mainstay of the municipality whose budget has begun to fill up, Mon Perin has become a leader in sustainable, participatory and social entrepreneurship in Croatia, according to Glas Istre.

Sustainable entrepreneurship in the case of Mon Perin and Bale means that it is evolving to fit the wants and needs of its residents first and foremost. The concept of participatory democracy means that employees and co-owners of Mon Perin, as well as the residents of Bale participate in the creation, adoption and the eventual implementation of various projects through the municipality. Mon Perin’s entrepreneurship is social as well, since it takes care of those who need help through donations and by creating tourism, cultural and business activities, as well as raising standards collectively.

In Bale and through Mon Perin, and owing to the unbreakable link between them, all these theories have been successfully put into practice in beautiful little Bale.

Through Mon Perin and the camps that belong to it, such as San Polo and Colone, Bale is developing a hitherto unknown and therefore innovative enterprise – one with a human face. Success is important, as is profit, as is environmental protection. The point of the whole story for Bale lies in the balance of all those things, the balance of citizens and of nature. At the same time, everything seems somehow to limit the development of Bale and Mon Perin, but in a proper manner, opting for gradual and moderation rather than exaggeration.

Mon Perin’s market value today syands at a massive 300 million kuna. When it was first established, there were two one-star camps, and now there is one four-star camp. At the time of its founding, it had a mere five employees, and now there are 35 of them. Overall, in the season, 140 people work for Mon Perin, and the average net salary is 7,200 kuna, which is 20 percent more than in industry.

The huge difference in time since its inception to the present day is already visible at first glance in three other categories. First, in the number of overnight stays: there used to be 73 thousand per year, now there are 276 thousand.

Second, revenue: from 5.2 million kuna, they increased to an incredible 59 million kuna.

Third, EBITDA, therefore, profit before depreciation and tax: from 317 thousand kuna it climbed to an impressive 28.5 million kuna! Mon Perin’s total investments since 2006 up to 2019, amounts to 187 million kuna.

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