October 1, 2019 – It has been a very good year for Hvar Town, which is successfully moving away from its party destination image in favour or heritage, culture and luxury. Hvar Tourist Board director Petar Razovic on the year so far and what is coming next.
- You have been in the job for about 18 months now and this was your first full season. How do you feel and how was the season from your perspective?
From the business perspective, my first impression is that the 18 months have gone by so fast and that they were very dynamic. The baptism of fire was the ITB Berlin 2018 tourism fair, after that we celebrated the 150th anniversary of organized tourism in Hvar Town, we hosted the Days of Croatian Tourism (best organized yet!), and in 2019 we achieved the best tourist results in history since Croatian independence, as we will see 2% increase in arrivals and 1% increase in overnights. And finally, the first 5-star hotel, Palace Elisabeth, was opened, which finally put Hvar on the world map of top destinations, where it has always belonged.
From a personal perspective, I’m happy that my quality work and the projects I started managed to win the sympathies of the tourist workers of Hvar.
- There has been a noticeable change in the presentation of Hvar, less on the party and more on heritage and culture. The reopening of the theatre, Arsenal and first 5-star hotel obviously helped with that perception. Tell us a little bit more.
The reopening of the renovated Arsenal and the oldest theatre on the Mediterranean improved the cultural and historical tourist offering. The renovation of the town Loggia, the clock-tower and the programme of events the Tourist board has planned for the next season on Fortica will bring to life the idea of “Hvar – fortress town”.
The renovated monuments, as well as the Palace Elisabeth hotel, will be used for congress tourism as well, so Hvar Town will get the opportunity to prolong the tourist season, starting in the preseason on April 1st, and finishing on November 1st.
- There has been a new arrangement with the town’s nightclubs, which seemed to work well with no major incidents in the media for the first time in several years, Tell us about that relationship and how it is working.
Thanks to the town councillors who were the first to make an arrangement with the nightclub owners, this was the first year in many when we went through the main high season without any incidents. And that is the way we should develop the luxury night-time entertainment.
Hvar Town Tourist Board managed to make a deal on the marketing and promotion with the best-known night club in Hvar, to promote wines and gastronomy of Hvar and Croatia, which resulted with a reduced number of daytime parties in the town. I believe that the project aimed at improving the quality, in which the night clubs also participate, will increase the quality of hospitality services ass well. The safety and the reduced number of incidents can also be attributed to great cooperation between Hvar police, Hvar Town and the tourist board.
- The renovation of the theatre etc above is just part of the town’s upgrade. What other changes are coming?
The finalisation of the renovation of the town Loggia and the clock-tower, as well as the beginning of the replacement of the stone slabs on the main square (Pjaca), ie, complete renovation of the square, will create the perfect image of the historical identity of Hvar town.
Hvar Pjaca will finally shine bright, and will be the most beautiful postcard for the new brand identity of Hvar Town.
The reconstruction of the road entry points to the town, the reconstruction of Vira port, as well as the reduction of the passenger boats from Krilo Jesenice anchored by the Hvar port – those are all in the tourism development strategy for Hvar town.
- Hvar is also leading the way in terms of measuring the quality of its tourism with the IQM project. Can you tell us a little about that and the early results?
Hvar Town has started to conduct the IQM Destination HVAR project, which highlights the innovation, creativity and quality, binds the private and the public partnership with all the partners that influence the tourist development in a destination. We analysed the opinions of the inhabitants about the tourism in the destination, public presentations to the locals and our partners were held, the IQM Destination HVAR standards were adopted and a public call was put out, inviting any subjects to participate in the project. Currently, the online reputation of each IQM Destination HVAR project partner is being measured, also the online reputation of the destination, and we’re just starting with the audits and individual education. During the winter, coordinating groups and group educations with the subjects will be conducted, the recommendations for improved business will be implemented and destination networking will be innovated.
The entire project is based on the individual approach to each participating subject, care and adjustment of the project to the needs of the inhabitants and the needs of the guest, the trends in tourism and responsible and sustainable destination management.
For the period of January 1st until September 30th, 2019, the results are as follows:
- GRS (Guest Rating Score) 89.5/100; 1.7% improvement compared to the same period last year. Hvar Town’s goal was to achieve 90/100,
- There were a total of 10,655 reviews, which is 560 more than in the last year,
- The service quality in IQM objects was given 96/100 score,
- The price-to-service ratio was 94/100,
- Location 92/100,
- Cleanliness 93/100.
The quality of the hospitality objects was:
- GRS is 89.4/100; increased by 1.6% compared to the same period last year,
- The measurement was made based on the 3,413 customer reviews,
- The food quality was graded at 88.7/100,
- The service 91/100,
- The price-to-service ratio was 85/100.
- Minister Cappelli was recently on the island where he signed an agreement with the four Hvar mayors whereby all 5 island tourist boards will now work together to promote the island as one destination, which is great news. What changes do you think this will bring in the promotion of Hvar Town?
After a year of all of us talking together we finally signed the agreement of the project co-operation by the local tourist board from the Hvar island, which is in accord with the new law on the tourist boards and the promotion of Croatian tourism.
From now on, all of the tourist boards will work together to promote the island of Hvar as one unique destination. Our plan is to create a marketing strategy for the tourist development of the island, as well as a new branding of Hvar island.
The town of Hvar will continue our successful promotion on the UK and US markets, where we will present ourselves as a destination of rich and luxury cultural, food, wine, sports and entertainment tourism offer, as well as the leading Croatian destination for sustainable tourism development.
- And lastly, looking ahead already to season 2020, anything new to look forward to?
As I follow the changes in travel trends, I foresee that the tourist year 2020 will be even more demanding than 2019.
I believe that only the continuation of the implementation of the projects already initiated can lead to the improved numbers in arrivals and overnight stays in Hvar Town, especially where we improve the quality of private accommodation.
We managed to agree upon the increased number of catamaran lines from Split each day, starting on April 1st (not an April fool’s joke!), as well as the introduction of the direct catamaran line Hvar – Dubrovnik, which will support the Philadelphia – Dubrovnik flights each day, bringing even more American guests to Hvar.
Along with the town, we plan to additionally brand the famous inventor of dactyloscopy Ivan Vučetić, born on Hvar, to create a kind of CSI Hvar story, while on the level of the entire island we will additionally promote the UNESCO heritage (6 non-material heritages), especially the revitalisation of the Ager and “Za Križen” procession.
And, finally, of course, I announce that we will continue working successfully with Total Croatia News.
To learn more about the island of Hvar, check out the Total Croatia Hvar in a Page guide.