Croatian Motorways Satisfied With 2020 Tourist Season Despite Woes

Lauren Simmonds

As Novac/Marijan Brala writes on the 10th of September, 2020, Croatian Motorways (HAC) saw 30 million vehicles in the first eight months of 2020, or 29 percent less than in the same period last year, and 1.5 billion kuna in toll fees or 31 percent less when compared to this time in 2019 were collected. As such, there is a sense of satisfaction with the shaky 2020 tourist season which managed to mitigate minuses caused by the pandemic.

“At the very beginning of the outbreak of the coronavirus epidemic in Croatia, HAC prepared a Crisis Business Plan according to the guidelines of the Ministry of State Property, which included a 35 percent reduction in toll revenues. Now, after eight months, the situation is somewhat better than that plan,” they commented from HAC.

They also revealed that the largest decrease in traffic and revenue in the first eight months of this year compared to last year was recorded on the A7 Rupa-Rijeka motorway, down by 46 percent, and then by 33.6 percent on the A1 Bosiljevo-Split-Ploce motorway and from 33 percent on the highway A3 (Bregana-Zagreb-Lipovac).

The 2020 tourist season mitigated the minuses

Noting that due to the epidemic they adopted a number of measures that directly helped the economy, including the decision to not go with summer/seasonal increase in toll prices of 10 percent, HAC stated that this measure saved citizens and the economy about 33 million kuna.

“At the beginning of the 2020 tourist season in June, traffic on motorways was slightly behind last year’s, by 35 percent, but in the summer season it did increase and the differences decreased. Given that last year was a record in all segments of tourism, it’s difficult is to compare the numbers this year and the current situation, but in the end, we’re satisfied with the 2020 tourist season, which proved that the decisive factor in choosing a holiday destination is its availability within a few hours, which is possible with modern and safe motorways in Croatia,” they stated from HAC.

Investments are going according to plan

Despite the dire business situation caused by the ongoing epidemic, investments are going according to plan and they haven’t stopped. The investments which are planned for this year are in the amount of almost 401 million kuna.

“Of these total planned investments, 196.1 million kuna is planned for construction, and almost 205 million kuna for extraordinary maintenance activities. So far, slightly more than 219.1 million kuna has been realised,” they stated from HAC, adding that until the end of this year, there are still investments worth almost 182 million kuna going ahead as initially planned.

The projects in the plan are the corridor V.c – Beli Manastir-Osijek, the Novi Vinodolski bypass, asphalt rehabilitation on the A4 Zagreb-Gorixan highway and the Ranzirni kolodvor/station viaduct.

By the end of the year, the merger of ARZ with HAC will be completed

According to the plan, the process of merging ARZ (the company Autocesta Rijeka-Zagreb) with HAC is underway, which is expected to be completed by the end of this year or more specifically by December the 31st, according to the decision of the Croatian Government from May the 21st this year.

“All necessary activities are being carried out in this merger process, which is a continuation of reform and restructuring in order to achieve additional cost optimisation. Namely, further efficiency improvements are possible in regard to overhead costs, because HAC and ARZ have numerous activities that overlap significantly. These are also related to the operating costs in joint administrative functions, which would be reduced to 15 million kuna per year in the next two years,” they emphasised from HAC.

In addition, they concluded, the merger creates the proper preconditions for more rational financial management and greater potential for investment in maintenance and construction, and the unification of state-owned motorway management should facilitate the introduction of a new toll collection system and bring savings in public procurement procedures.

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