COVID-19 in Croatia: Croatian Hotels Prepare for New Normal

Daniela Rogulj

May 2, 2020 – How are Croatian hotels preparing for the ‘new normal’? A look at what we can expect this year. 

HRTurizamHRTurizam reports that the COVID-19 pandemic has hit the tourism sector hardest. Recovery can only be counted when a vaccine/cure is found, and it will probably take 2-3 years, if not longer, to return to the current global tourism trends. One thing is for sure – tourism will be different and will go through three phases.

The first phase is until a vaccine or cure is found, the second phase will be recovery, and after a couple of years, the stabilization or return of tourism to the ‘old ways’ will begin. However, we can only hope it’ll be tourism with new sustainable and healthy foundations – smarter, more sustainable, healthier and more human.

In the first phase, at least until the vaccine is found, there will be tourism that is contradictory to itself – full of various restrictions, avoiding crowds, and without contact and interaction with the hosts.

The new categorization of hotels, as well as all other standards, follows. While we can make some predictions, at the moment, no one knows for sure exactly how hotels will work in the future.

As we know, the Croatian Government has decided that in the third phase of loosening of measures (May 11), catering facilities in accommodation capacities will be allowed, but only for users of accommodation. Interestingly, hotels do not have a ban on work, but of course, in a situation where tourism has stopped and everyone is in self-isolation, it is logical that hotels are closed because they have no guests.

When it comes to reception, there should be no major changes other than keeping a distance, but the whole process can be digitized through a stand-alone check-in – that the guest does not need to check-in at the reception and can unlock the room themselves with a cell phone or via a hotel application.

Some of the main challenges will certainly be how restaurants function. Buffets are no longer an option, and significant changes are expected in this area. The question arises as to what measures and how the use of hotel pools will work, which is one of the critical places, i.e., where all the guests gather in one place. Deck chairs and beaches will definitely need to be disinfected. Fitness halls, elevators, congress halls, stair handrails are also some of the critical places. But what measures will be taken by epidemiologists is yet to be seen.

Bernard Zenzerović, UPUHH: Everyone in the sector is aware that this season will be marked by a fight for every tourist 

While waiting for the decisions and recommendations of the National Headquarters for the tourism sector, Goran Rihelj of HRTurizam spoke with Bernard Zenzerović of the Croatian Employers’ Association (UPUHH) on how hoteliers see functioning in this challenging time and what their suggestions are to the Headquarters.

“Guest access will certainly change this season and adapt to new circumstances. In all business segments, maximum sanitary standards and the necessary social distance will have to be ensured. We, in coordination with our members, other national hotel organizations from Europe and our colleagues from professional associations in Croatia, have developed proposals for adapting operational procedures to the new situation,” said Zenzerović.

The Croatian Tourism Association (HUT), which brings together leading hoteliers, including UPUHH, has already submitted its proposals to the Ministry of Tourism, which will be forwarded to the Croatian Health Institute and the National Civil Protection Headquarters for consideration.

“I hope that in this way, we will help the competent Croatian services, which must formally adopt a framework in which hotel operations will be organized, and thus we invite them to do this as soon as possible so that everyone can be together as soon as possible to receive guests.”

What is most important at the moment is that the Headquarters make recommendations and measures as soon as possible so that tourist entrepreneurs, both hoteliers and all other accommodation providers and catering establishments, can be better prepared for the coming period.

We are pleased with the positive signals about the possibility of opening the borders of our main markets, as well as the image of Croatia as a “corona-free” destination, recognized by the media and our partners in the EU markets, said Zenzerović, adding that everyone in the sector is aware that they will fight for every tourist, every day.

”Everyone in the sector is aware that this season will be marked by a fight for every tourist, every day. Our common goal should be to ensure maximum security for guests and employees in these specific conditions, but at the same time to provide guests with a positive experience and a comfortable vacation, since this is the basis of tourism. ”

On the other hand, we can look at what measures the world players have introduced – Marriott and Hilton.

Marriott has established a global cleanliness council to combat the. COVID-19 pandemic at the hotel-level and further enhance the company’s efforts in the area.

Marriott’s Global Cleanliness Council is focused on developing the next level of global hospitality standards for cleanliness, standards and behavior that are designed to minimize risk and increase safety for both consumers and Marriott associates, points out Arne Sorenson, President and CEO of Marriott International, and adds:

“We are grateful for the confidence our guests have shown us over the years. We want our guests to understand what we are doing today and plan for the near future in the areas of cleanliness, hygiene and social distance, so that when they walk through the door of one of our hotels, they know our commitment because health and safety is our priority. It is equally important to us that our associates know the changes we are making to maintain their health while serving our guests.”

Marriott is introducing electrostatic spray disinfectants throughout the hotel. Otherwise, electrostatic spray technology uses the highest classification of disinfectants recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO) for the treatment of known pathogens. In addition, the company is testing ultraviolet light technology to disinfect guest keys and devices shared by associates.

Marriott’s food safety program includes enhanced sanitation guidelines and training videos for all operating associates that include hygiene and disinfection procedures. In addition, the company is changing its operating practices for dining in rooms and devising new approaches to buffets.


Hilton, on the other hand, will remove pen and paper from the rooms, and supplement it with digital devices that will be available on request, will place wipes at the elevators so that guests can clean the call button each time, as well as unlocking the rooms via mobile smart locks.

Also, Marriott and Hilton have agreed to cooperate with the Mayo Clinic on all hotel facilities in America. 

Singapore was the first to introduce concrete measures for hotels, using the SG Clean certification

Thus, the hotel must implement the “SG clean” program, which states, among other things, that the process of measuring body temperature and monitoring COVID-19 symptoms in an employee must be provided, have a procedure ready for resolving COVID-19 cases should an infection occur, and managing seating arrangements to ensure a safe distance between at least one meter of tables and between the seats.

To read more about travel in Croatia, follow TCN’s dedicated page


Subscribe to our newsletter

the fields marked with * are required
Email: *
First name:
Last name:
Gender: Male Female
Please don't insert text in the box below!

Leave a Comment