As we are still evaluating the direct and indirect effects of the coronavirus outbreak on the global economy, there has been increasing speculation over the future of the tourism sector in general since it has suffered a huge setback from this crisis and all the challenges it inevitably brings.

Considering that the Croatian economy is extremely dependent on tourism, which directly generates a significant share of the country’s GDP, it is not surprising that investors and rental property owners found themselves in an unenviable situation overnight, facing numerous inquiries from concerned guests who wanted to cancel their reservations or inquired about the current epidemiological situation in the country, as well as the procedures that would be implemented at border crossings. A fierce battle for each and every reservation ensued since the confirmed reservations could have been canceled at any moment due to the introduction of quarantine in certain emitting markets, or the recommendation to postpone travel until further notice, but also due to a number of new rules introduced on a weekly basis.

Exposed to a large amount of often contradictory information, and the recommendation of global booking platforms counseling implementation of high-risk cancellation policy without any penalties for last-minute cancellations, vacation rental owners and travel agents had very modest expectations for the so-called ‘new normal’ tourist season in unprecedented circumstances.

luxury rental market
Villa Endless View

Given that the epidemiological situation in the country has been stable, and that the spread of the virus has been kept under control, Croatia has been recognized as a safe destination, and despite skeptical announcements and cautious forecasts of expected numbers and results, there has been an increased interest in luxury holiday villas.

Tourists’ expectations and demands

What conclusions can be drawn about the profile of travelers who were not discouraged by the Covid-19 and who decided to take their seaside vacation nonetheless?

First of all, it is clear that new time brings new expectations and standards that property owners must successfully meet in order to gain the trust of customers and provide them with absolute security that they can spend their vacation carefree regardless of the challenging circumstances we are currently facing. According to the latest inquiries and trends, most clients seek to book luxury villas in prestigious locations and oftentimes tend to book longer stays and additional services such as daily cleaning, grocery procurement, and a private chef who will take care of all meals during their stay. Such requests were more easily accommodated by the owners of prestigious villas who had previously been in contact with clients who want a little something extra for their vacation and by that, we don’t mean just modern amenities or a picturesque sea view.

A new era of travel – trends, and opportunities

Current trends again lead us to the conclusion that these extraordinary times have not by any means seen a downfall in demand for the most luxurious properties in exclusive locations. Moreover, the demand for facilities of this type seems to greatly exceed the supply, so customers are often compelled to change their plans and choose another destination that can meet their expectations. The largest number of confirmed reservations has been made by guests from neighboring countries who, thanks to the favorable geopolitical position of Croatia and excellent infrastructure, traditionally arrive on vacation by cars, and due to shorter trips prefer to choose holidays in the northern parts of the Adriatic and Istria.

Villa Appeal

It is very difficult to predict future developments in the global market and the dynamic world of the travel industry, but we are certainly at the dawn of a new era of travel that will be defined by adaptation to a new lifestyle promoting strong awareness of values ​​such as health safety, environmental protection, and socially responsible behavior.

With growing awareness of the effects of mass tourism, clients are nowadays looking for more ecologically sustainable destinations and accommodating facilities, therefore we are presented with a unique opportunity to position Croatia as a destination that can meet new challenges and readily accept new conditions that might potentially result in a more responsible and innovative offer tailored to the current market needs.

The sun, the sea, beautiful weather, and Mediterranean lifestyle, combined with great properties in great locations, are the recipe for a successful business year when it comes to Croatia’s luxury real estate market. The numbers have gone up and are expected to continue growing throughout the following year.

 

Retrospective of the luxury real estate market in 2018

2018 has generally been kind to Croatia’s luxury real estate market since demands for this sort of property were up by 25 percent compared to 2017. At the same time, the prices of luxury real estate in Croatia rose by 10-15 percent. The average price for a villa ranges between 5000 to 6000 euros for a square meter.

Clients opting for these properties are mostly foreigners, coming primarily from Germany, Austria, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, England, and Scandinavian countries. Also, some inquiries came from Russia and China. The average age of property buyers varies between 45 and 60. Russians and Chinese want the property they buy to match the highest standards, while Europeans are more open to redecorating and reconstructing the property themselves.

Clients have their preferences regarding location, choosing mostly properties at the coastline between Primosten and Trogir (especially in Split) and around the town of Dubrovnik. Besides their beauty, these areas owe their popularity to the proximity of airports, motorways, and marinas. When it comes to the islands, the most popular ones in 2018 were Brac and Hvar.

Despite great results, the market has its issues. The most prominent ones are the somewhat closed banks towards supporting investors and the lack of offer suited for clients aiming at luxury properties.

 

Predictions for the luxury real estate market in 2019

Still, positive market trends are expected to continue in 2019, with expected price growth of up to 10 percent, followed by even greater demand for luxury real estate in Croatia. The start of construction of several tourist resorts with 5-star hotels is expected in 2019, along with some world-class hotel brands to the Croatian market, such as 4seasons and Marriott.

An invitation with the text “Everything Happened on the Square – Galerija Mala” in 1989 marked the beginning of a small yet important gallery in the heart of Zagreb.

At the very beginning, the gallery’s management stated that they would only present the most current production and contemporary art. Galerija Mala was one of the first private galleries in Croatia.

Located between Mala kavana and Ban cafe, Galerija Mala represents the cultural point of the northern side of the main Zagreb square. It acts as a sales gallery of works of Croatian authors and thus promotes Croatian art.

 

galerija mala, gallery, art, exhibition, ban jelacic square, sotheby's

Photo credit: Galerija Mala

 

History of Galerija Mala

Opened just before the holidays, the gallery started working with the exhibition of Miroslav Šutej, a prominent and popular academic artist whose career was then at its peak. After the holidays, the gallery hosted presentations of the book “Zagreb before the beginning,” the Golden Bule facsimile, the new Zagreb postcards … Thanks to the attractive location, right next to Harmonica, the rich and always up-to-date program, Galerija Mala became an unavoidable place of cultural encounters. Social events are scheduled throughout the year, under the continuous and independent guidance of Mirna Hromatko Reiser.

The gallery space was formerly used by the publishing organization Mladost. For the needs of the gallery, space was rebuilt by the Architectural Design Institute of Zagreb. In just over 40 square meters, this gallery is home to many artwork and activities.  For example, sales and promotion of paintings and graphics, fine plastic, art jewelry, bibliographic and art-related publications, graphic maps, and graphic sheets.

 

Simple and effective interior

The interior of the gallery is fascinating. The ground floor is dominated by a rock placed opposite the passage, so it’s intended to display paintings and graphics. The second rock is located opposite the entrance and decorated for shelves and showcases. It is suitable for exhibiting other works. The gallery’s central space has remained free so that visitors can see exposed works of art. Since 1989, space has kept all its essential features. It is always painted in neutral white, suitable for displaying all the artwork.

 

galerija mala, gallery, art, exhibition, artwork, ban jelacic square, sotheby''s

Photo credit: Galerija Mala

 

Gallery’s activities

Among many artists whose works were exhibited in Galerija Mala, it is hard to point up anyone in particular. Still, we will mention Nikola Reiser, Marijan Muljevic, Milan Steiner, Luj Logic, Stip Nobil, Vasko Lipovac, and Dimitar Popovic. Particularly noteworthy was the „Kravate“ exhibition, an authoring project by Andrew Seifried, also presented in Zadar and Dubrovnik.

 

The gallery also receives numerous inquiries from artists living and working in Europe, especially from Vienna, Ljubljana, Budapest, and Venice. One of the Gallery’s goals is to enhance and expand the cooperation with artists and raise the cultural and artistic level, not only of the Gallery but of Zagreb as one of the most interesting tourist European cities.

 

The Gallery can also boast of participating in numerous hotel and business interiors furnishing with artwork and graphics. Artworks can breathe a whole new life into our everyday living space and refresh it. The leadership of Galerija Mala recognized this a long time ago.