Croatian Hoteliers Seek NYE Concessions Amid Pandemic Rules

Lauren Simmonds

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As Poslovni Dnevnik/Marija Crnjak writes, unlike back on New Year’s Eve 2021, in which celebrating was practically banned for Croatian hoteliers and others in the catering and hospitality sector due to then then very strict epidemiological measures, a welcome to 2022 is on the cards for many Croatian hoteliers, with great interest shown so far from guests.

However, this year isn’t really going very smoothly either, because according to the current measures of the National Civil Protection Directorate, gatherings are still allowed only until midnight, so unless something alters, it won’t be possible to test that glass of champagne we all enjoy without the risk of a penalty. That’s why the Croatian Hotel Employers’ Association appealed to the Directorate back in November to set out some different, more relaxed business conditions which are in force at the moment for weddings only one night, and that the party should be allowed to go on until 02:00, confirmed Bernard Zenzerovic, the director of the aforementioned association.

“We conducted a survey among the members of our association and it turned out that a little more than 200 hotels will be opened for the New Year festivities, and we hope that there will be more guests here than last year. But when it comes to organised New Year’s Eve parties, we have an operational problem because we don’t know how we can work, and guests want to know what awaits them when they arrive at the hotel. Our proposal to the Civil Protection Directorate is to organise that one night according to the ”wedding regime”, to make it possible for people to enter with valid covid certificates, to report the gatherings to the Civil Protection Directorate and to be allowed to work until 02:00. We believe this is a reasonable and rational proposal given the context. We’re in contact with the representatives of the Ministry of Tourism and the Civil Protection Directorate, and we have information that the decision on this matter will be made next week,” explained Zenzerovic, adding that since the beginning of the pandemic, Croatian hoteliers have proved themselves as very responsible.

Currently, Croatian hoteliers are advertising what their offers are differently, most of them aren’t clearly defining how long they intend to keep things running, but the programmes typically show that they are counting on ”wedding regime” working hours. Many have live music, a late breakfast offer, and some even communicate quite openly that the fun will continue after midnight.

”Liburnia invites you to an unforgettable party in Opatija, announcing that the big celebration and New Year’s Eve will be held in a spectacular place with the most beautiful view of the Mediterranean, with a five-course menu and live music,” reads one such tempting offer.

Welcoming in 2022 with Maja Suput…

That offer might work as an instant way to turn some people off, but still… the luxurious Maistra Grand Park Hotel is also announcing a 5-course dinner, New Year’s Eve with live music, and after midnight a party and late snacks in the Viva Eufemia lobby bar. The New Year’s Eve 2022 party at the Olympia & Olympia Sky hotels is announced with a performance from Maja Suput, and a replay of the welcome is even planned one day later. Valamar’s website clearly states that their programme of events in Porec is subject to changes in accordance with the epidemiological measures that will be in force at the time of the event, and currently each event seems it will definitely end at midnight.

It will also offer a New Year’s Eve programme at noon, intended for families with small children, and the Spinnaker restaurant will host a New Year’s Eve dinner with 7 courses, with a glass of champagne for a toast at midnight.

So far, the agencies are selling New Year’s arrangements well and aren’t currently recording cancellations, but everything is still on a slippy surface and depends on the epidemiological situation.

“We’ve noticed a great level of interest from both the organisers and guests for the New Year’s packages and so far there have been no cancellations, but we are aware that there could be if the situation with coronavirus becomes more complicated. This weekend there was unofficial information circulating around that Istria is canceling things, but we called the hotels there and no one is planning to do so yet. We received a number of packages from the hotel that we can sell as a welcome, the rest can only be sold as accommodation if there are free rooms left. In this way, Croatian hoteliers have limited the number of people gathered at the New Year’s celebration itself,” they said from Azur tours.

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