TUI shows interest in Kupari resort and in increase of travels to Croatia

LONDON, 5.11.2013.

A leading global tour operator, TUI Travel PLC from the United Kingdom, is interested in an increase of travels from Great Britain to Croatia as well as in the entire tourist trade in Croatia and in accommodation capacities such as the Kupari resort complex near Dubrovnik, Croatian Tourism Minister Darko Lorencin said adding that Croatia is likely to invite, by the end of this month, non-binding bids for that once attractive military resort of five hotels and residential buildings in south Croatia which has been abandoned in the last 20 years and dilapidated.

Speculating about the tender for that complex the media have been mentioning the American Hyatt hotel chain, the Valamar Group, which owns the Dubrovnik-Babin Kuk hotel company, the Turkish Rixos, which already owns the Rixos Libertas hotel in Dubrovnik, and Karisma Hotels Adriatic, a company consisting of the Karisma Resort International from Mexico, Croatia's Agrokor, and TUI Travel. The media have unofficially mentioned interest by investors from Qatar and the USA. In early August, the Azerbaijan Export & Investment Promotion Foundation (AZPROMO) advertised a call on its web site to investors for Kupari.

Lorencin informed the press about TUI interest in Croatia after he, the director of the Croatian National Tourist Board (HTZ) Meri Matesic, and the private Agrokor concern held a meeting with TUI executives in London where Croatia's delegation came for the ongoing World Travel Market.

It was clear after our meeting that Croatia needs more hotel capacities for an increase in arrivals of guests, the minister said.

According to him, TUI is interested in the entire Croatian Adriatic coast, including plans for the Kupari resort that used to employ 400 people.

This year, TUI has joined Karisma Hotels Adriatic, set up by Croatia's food and retail concern Agrokor and the Karisma, a chain of Mexican hotels, and they are planning joint ventures in Croatia. TUI Mainstream Purchasing managing director, Gary Wilson, who attended today's meeting, said he was optimistic thanks to the backing from the minister.

Wilson expressed satisfaction with the fact that the Kolocep hotel near Dubrovnik, the first hotel TUI acquired in Croatia, was registering good results in booking by British guests for 2014.

He said that the number of seats on flights from Great Britain to Croatia would increase from 35,000 this year to 39,000 next year.