Bjelovar Wellness Tourism Awaiting Possibility of Recovery Cash

Lauren Simmonds

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As Poslovni Dnevnik/Marija Crnjak writes, financing projects in the Croatian tourism sector through the National Program for Recovery and Resilience in the Public Sector, for which Croatia will have a massive 930 million kuna at its disposal, will definitely support larger projects in a high stage of readiness, and most of the money will go to continental tourism, ie spa, wellness and other such health-oriented tourism projects.

The above could be learned from the proposal of the public invitation sent by the Ministry of Tourism and Sport on Thursday for public discussion via the e-consultation portal.

The public consultation will be open until June the 2nd, 2022, and according to the first comments made by interested parties, there shouldn’t be many objections to what’s on offer. A call for the private sector to receive most of the 1.2 billion kuna ”cake” is yet to come.

Amounts and limits

After passing the phase of public debate, the tender will be re-agreed with the European Commission (EC), followed by a real match for a total of 2.2 billion kuna in grants. “We’re being given an excellent opportunity for the long-term sustainable and efficient development of tourism and we expect that these projects will have an impact on strengthening destinations and the quality and competitiveness of their entire offer,” said Minister of Tourism, Nikolina Brnjac.

In the public call, the projects were divided into three groups. The first and most generous infrastructure lies in the function of the development of health and wellness tourism, and this includes the construction, reconstruction, renovation and/or equipping of infrastructure, whether it be in regard to accommodation facilities or other facilities. An allocation of 465 million kuna is planned for this group.

For all projects, the amount of co-financing is 100 percent of the eligible costs for projects that don’t contain state aid, while for investments in projects that do already contain state aid, the amount is regulated in accordance with the rules for granting state aid.

A minimum of 9 million kuna and a maximum of 120 million kuna can be allocated for an individual project in this group. Bjelovar wellness tourism, which is brimming with potential, is expecting the highest amount from this for its thermal riviera complex with Olympic, outdoor and indoor pools and a water park, relying on sustainable energy and geothermal sources.

The large sport and tourism project of the City of Bjelovar is worth a massive 250 million kuna, and Bjelovar Mayor Dario Hrebak announced back in March that the Bjelovar had obtained a building permit for the construction of the spa.

The Bjelovar wellness tourism project will be given a huge spring in its step. Hrebrak says: ”We’ve been looking forward to this”

The issuance of a building permit is also the final step before announcing a public tender for the execution of the works, which the city administration expects to come June this year.

“We’ve been looking forward to this call and I must commend the competent ministry on its work. The criteria for the grant are really complex in order to be able to fully support all goals, to support ready-made, large projects with building permits, projects that have serious partners, and projects that will bring added value, and that’s exactly what we’re planning in Bjelovar. There’s no reason that we won’t manage to receive the maximum amount of support,” believes Hrebak when discussing Bjelovar wellness tourism hopes.

The second group for funding includes projects for visitor infrastructure that promotes cultural and natural heritage, gastronomic, oenological and other such destinations. These include visitor centres and interpretation centres, and an allocation of 185 million kuna has been planned for this group, with the view that an individual project can receive a minimum of 8 million kuna and a maximum of 40 million kuna.

For the third group, active tourism infrastructure, 280 million kuna has been earmarked for assistance from the NPOO, with a minimum of 7 million kuna and a maximum of 40 million kuna per project. These include sport and recreational infrastructure in the function of tourism, mountaineering facilities, swimming pools, as well as hotels, camps, hostels, camping resorts, hiking trails and lookouts that are part of a comprehensive project.

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