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Arena Hospitality Group’s Croatian Camps to Operate in Winter

Pula, Istria, Croatia

Pula, Istria, Croatia Copyright Romulic and Stojcic

As Novac/Barbara Ban writes on the 2nd of October, 2020, with the lingering summer weather, Pula’s gates remain somewhat empty. Cafes, shops and restaurants have been opened, but the question is for whom. Unfortunately, there are no guests. Various “red zones” did their thing and drove foreign tourists home in late August. Therefore, the off-season in Pula is quite bad, when you ask the biggest Pula-based hotel company – Arena Hospitality Group.

”I don’t remember when the weather in Pula was as beautiful as it has been this year. Summer is still going on, but for us the season ended practically when the Austrians put us on their so-called red list. We lost a large number of tourists in one day and I can freely say that that in itself was the end of this season. September was very bad. But we can’t influence that. These are mostly political decisions.

Some decisions we couldn’t understand. Especially since we were blocked in mid-August. The Dutch made the decision to put us in the orange zone in a single day. People had to leave overnight. But looking at the whole year, we can say that we tried to do the best we could. It’s worth knowing that we opened only in June,” admits the executive director of Arena Hospitality Group Reli Slonim. Different guests also came. Along with the most loyal German guests, there were Czechs and Poles in the facilities of the former Arenaturist.

Their glamping camp in Pomer was the best filled.

”Some talked about lowering prices, but I don’t think it mattered. People wanted to feel safe, they wanted to be in quality accommodation, in nature, outdoors. They didn’t ask about the prices,” said Slonim.

Closed hotels

He pointed out that they will have from 30 to a maximum of 40 percent of last year’s turnover annually, and without the measures of the state they wouldn’t be able to celebrate Easter.

”The state’s measures to preserve jobs have helped us tremendously and we’re very grateful to them for that. Without them, I don’t know how we’d be welcoming in next year. This year we’ve employed about 900 seasonal workers, and these are primarily permanent seasonal workers and labour force from the vicinity of Pula. Due to reduced capacity and occupancy, we didn’t need more employment, and we even didn’t bother to open two of our hotels at all, the Medulin in Medulin and the Holiday in Pula. But that’s why the camps were well filled,” the Arena Hospitality Group boss pointed out.

That’s why they decided not to close some at all. For the first time this winter, they will leave the camps Stoja in Pula and Kazela in Medulin open. On top of that, it will be the first time that the Pula and Medulin camps are open in winter.

”We’ll come out with this offer soon, which is completely new to us. We’re going to start with that because we saw that guests really like being outside, they feel safer. And at the camps they can also get everything they need in the winter. They can come to Istria because of the favourable climate and I believe that pensioners, seniors and people without children will take advantage of it. So, we hope that this action of ours will yield results.

In addition, Camp Stoja is located not far from the large shopping centre in Pula, there are also the city pools, close to the city centre. In addition to these two camps, we’ll also have the Histria Hotel open all winter,” Slonim revealed. As for the next season and how to prepare for it, Slonim has no doubts in his mind.

Pula is better than Berlin

”The least problem for us is the preparation for the next season if the situation is favourable and if they allow us to work. This year we saw how we can function with measures and we’re already used to it. The only thing that matters to us is that we can work,” emphasised the head of the Arena Hospitality Group, which had much better results in Pula than in European cities where it has hotels, such as Berlin or Cologne in Germany.

”City tourism was dead this year and we felt that too. We had some guests in Cologne. We’ll see how this segment of tourism will develop further. It’s difficult to deal with tourism today when hoteliers can control and manage absolutely nothing,” concluded Slonim.

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