Arena Hospitality Group Continues With Investments Despite Crisis

Lauren Simmonds

Copyright Romulic and Stojcic
Pula, Istria, Croatia
Pula, Istria, Croatia

The Arena Hospitality Group isn’t letting the coronavirus pandemic stand in their way when it comes to investments, even though they readily admit that times are indeed currently very difficult.

As Novac/Barbara Ban writes on the 24th of June, 2020, all the hopes of Istrian hoteliers are focused on the peak of the season, where they expect that at least a few guests will arrive and that they’ll still manage to earn at least something. As we rapidy approach the end of June, this month’s results are sadly expected to be very bad.

The facilities are open, but many are empty. Here and there, there’s a guest. If they had at least 30 or 40 percent of last year’s guests this season then they would be happy. However, a larger number of infected people in Croatia and Europe is frightening everyone again.

The same story can be seen with the facilities owned by the Pula tourist company Arena Hospitality Group itself. The hotels and tourist resorts are just waiting for their guests to come, but luckily their camps are a bit better filled. Additionally, their facilities in Medulin are being filled up more than the ones in Pula are.

But, regardless of all that, they have not given up their huge investments, which in 2020 amount to about 370 million kuna.

This year, the Arena Hospitality Group renovated two restaurants in Verudela, added a dose of quality to the Kazela camp in Medulin, bought the Riviera Hotel in Pula from the state, started renovating the Brioni Hotel in Verudela, and leased out the palace in Amruseva Street in Zagreb on a 45-year lease.

”This year, we decided to renovate the famous hospitality facilities that we have in Pula on the coast, namely the Yacht Club and the Svjetionik (Lighthouse). I think that they’ll be a great additional service to all visitors to Verudela and Pula itself, where everyone will be able to come and enjoy the beautiful views, good food and good drink. It was time to take those facilities to the next level. But these aren’t our only investments this year that we started before the crisis caused by the epidemic hit. We’ve renovated all of our apartments in Verudela beach and thus completed all of our investments on the Verudela peninsula,” the CEO of the Arena Hospitality Group, Reli Slonim, explained at the presentation of the newly renovated Yacht Club.

He also pointed out that the extensive investment in the Kazela camp has been completed, and that they are now in the middle of their investment in the Brioni Hotel in Pula, which they intend to open next April.

”We also plan to start investing in the historic building in Amruseva Street in Zagreb at the end of this year. It will be a fantastic hotel with 120 rooms, a great restaurant, a spa and a rooftop pool. We’ll also start rebranding our hotel in Belgrade. We bought the Riviera Hotel in Pula from the state, which I don’t consider to be an acquisition because we have actually been in possession of that facility for years. I’m glad that we’ve reached an agreement with the state. Our goal is to transform the Riviera into a fantastic art hotel that would keep hold of the spirit of this amazing historic building. I believe we’ll be able to do that over the next two years. So, all in all, we can say that we’re getting into the big investments that started before the crisis itself. But regardless of that, we decided to finish them all. I hope that we will be ready for better times to come,” Slonim admits.

He says that like everyone else, the Arena Hospitality Group is rightly worried about this year, not only regarding their facilities in Croatia, but also those in Germany.

”Our statistics have started to rise, but in very small numbers. We’re somewhere at 20 percent of last year’s traffic, and in some facilities, we’re reaching up to 40 percent. But overall, that’s 15 to 20 percent of last year’s traffic in June. As for July, we hope to reach 40 or 50 percent of last year’s turnover. We expect most of that to be realised in camps and mobile homes. As for our hotels in Germany, we’ve noticed that more and more guests are starting to come, mostly from the domestic German market, especially in Cologne and Nuremberg. Berlin is still at a standstill. I believe this is because our hotels in Berlin have received mostly foreign guests who are now missing,” Slonim pointed out.

Times are tough not only because of all of the travel restrictions, but also because it’s very difficult to sign new contracts, but the company isn’t going to give up on its new investment opportunities.

We hope to be able to accomplish everything we set out to do in the next few months. In the long run, we’re still looking for investment opportunities, both on the Croatian coast and in the cities. We’re also looking for new opportunities over in Germany. We’re now living day by day and we’ll just have to see where we’ll be in a few months. We’re evaluate everything and are being very careful with our plans,” concluded Slonim.

For more on investments and the Arena Hospitality Group, follow our business page.


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