The Odien Group is here to stay, not only because of crisis in other markets
After taking over the Le Méridien Lav hotel and marina near Split last year, Czech company Odien Group is investing around two million Euro in a resort in Podstrana by the end of this year, with another eight million in the next three years, to strengthen the market position of the luxury complex, reports Poslovni.hr on June 6, 2016.
This is only the beginning of their investment in the Croatian hotel sector and tourism, as well as the real estate business with plenty of potential, due to which the company will open an office in Zagreb by the end of 2016. All this was announced to Poslovni Dnevnik by Michael Saran, managing partner of Odien Group at the marking of ten years since the renovation of hotel Lav and the end of the takeover. “In this year we are opening two new restaurants, Conlemani and 7 Palms, as well as a new terrace. Our investment plans include expanding the marina by at least 25%, renovating apartments and some rooms, as well as opening a new beach club. We also plan to include new catering and commercial services in the Marina to be at the disposal of our guests and local residents,” commented Saran.
He added that this is a luxury resort that needs to keep up with new hotel trends changing ever so rapidly, with more demanding guests. The goal is to make Podstrana, but Split as well a year-round destination. Otherwise, Odien Group knows the Croatian market through their travel companies – Čedok agency was the first in the former Czechoslovakia to start bus tours to the Adriatic. The Podstrana investment is a result of an analysis of the Croatian market of interest to the group due to the large tourism potential, Saran said.
“Hotel Lav is the best choice as it is one of the largest and most recognised hotel resorts in Croatia, with a marina and one of the largest conference halls and wellness centres, crucial for expanding the season. Despite all this, the destination is underrated on the market – Split has the potential to become a superior global destination,” notes Saran, responsible for managing the fund and the Lav takeover project. With a tourism portfolio including CK Alex, a tour operator in Greece, Ahoy Turizm for Turkey and ESO Travel for exotic destinations and tailor made travel, as well as Outvia travel portal, Odien Group is one of the leading investors in the real estate sector. The Czechs see their opportunities there too.
“Although tourism has been our strategic investment, our investment interest in Croatia is not limited to tourism, which is why we decided to open an office in Zagreb. From Zagreb we will run not only operations in Croatia, but in Slovenia and Montenegro,” concludes Saran. He admits the company has halted their long term plans for investments in Turkey due to the global geopolitical situation, where tourism income is expected to drop by 40%. This, however, is not the reason why investors are coming to Croatia, he believes. “Although crisis in other Mediterranean countries can speed up some processes, I do not believe that foreign investors are interested in Croatia just because of problems in Turkey or any other country, but see a large potential for investment in Croatia, especially in tourism. Which is why we’re here,” added Saran.