EBRD boosts tourism in Croatia

By Axel  Reiserer

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The EBRD is arranging a €30 million loan to Marina Dalmacija and Marina Borik for the refurbishment of their facilities which have a key role in boosting nautical tourism along the coast of Croatia. The loan will be syndicated with €10 million provided by the EBRD and €20 million by the syndicate lenders Privredna banka Zagreb d.d. and Erste & Steiermärkische Bank d.d., each participating with €10 million.

With a contribution of 14 per cent to the country’s GDP, tourism is one of the key sectors of Croatia’s economy. The potential for nautical tourism is seen as particularly high, but to realise the potential of this asset significant private sector investment and know-how are needed to upgrade and expand the existing infrastructure and bring it up to international standards.

Marina Dalmacija and Marina Borik are owned by Doğuş Holding A.Ş, a leading private Turkish company with significant experience in marinas. Doğuş fully acquired the two Croatian marinas in 2012 and they form part of the group’s ambitious development plans. While Marina Dalmacija, located in the town of Sukosan, offers 1141 sea berths, Marina Borik is a small boutique marina located in the west end of the historic city of Zadar.

With youth unemployment in Croatia at one of the highest levels across the EBRD region, the project will also seek to provide training and employment opportunities for young people. The aim is to address the persistent skills mismatch and gap in progression from training to employment for young people in the country. To address this issue Doğuş will provide training programmes for graduates and young people based on best international practice.

Claudia Pendred, EBRD Director for Property and Tourism, said: “We support the development of the tourism infrastructure in Croatia because it is a key sector for the country and it has large potential. The know-how and expertise of our partner Doğuş will be critical to bring standards to a new level which will attract local and international guests.”

Vedrana Jelušić Kašić, EBRD Director for Croatia, said: “This is a very important project for us because it combines several issues like supporting the tourism sector, inspiring the local financial market and tackling youth unemployment. These are all elements which can contribute to Croatia’s return to sustainable growth and the EBRD is proud to be part of such efforts.”

Hüsnü Akhan, CEO of Doğuş Group, said: “Doğuş Group is one of the first Turkish investors that believe in the potential of Croatia. Within our 8 sectors, we are attaching great importance to tourism and especially marina business with our D-Marin Marinas Group brand. Doğuş Group has a primary focus to develop marina facilities that promotes recreational yachting and provides critical waterfront infrastructure that allows community access to the natural waterway. The Group also develops sustainable businesses that encourage local young employment and growth within the economy. We will be using this financing to refurbish our facilities in the marina in order to increase the existing high standard service quality for our guests and customers. We are very happy to realize this investment project with the support of EBRD and with other lenders Privredna banka Zagreb d.d. and Erste & Steiermärkische Bank d.d.”

Ivan Gerovac, PBZ, member of the Management Board, said: “It is our great pleasure to participate in this syndicated loan for Marina Dalmacija and Marina Borik. PBZ has been active for many years in establishing and supporting programs aimed at the further development of Croatian tourism and this investment will certainly contribute to its upgrading, especially for nautical tourism, thus enabling an even higher quality of service in accordance with international standards.”

Martina Serdarušić, a.d. Head of real estate finance department of Erste & Steiermärkische Bank, said: "Erste Bank Croatia traditionally pays special attention on tourism as one of the key and most progressive business segments in Croatia. Therefore, the Bank wants to provide financial support to all well-grounded and long-standing, sustainable projects in this particular area. Marina Dalmacija and Marina Borik have large potentials to further boost nautical tourism in Croatia and we are glad to take part in this loan syndicate."

The EBRD has been active in Croatia as an investor since the country’s independence and has invested some €2.9 billion in almost 160 projects to date. The Bank’s activities include all sectors of the economy and are especially strong in infrastructure, corporate, financial institutions and energy.

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