A Great Jubilee of One of the Largest Tourism and Trading Companies in Croatia

This year, the Jadranka Group, as the fifth largest tourism and trading company in Croatia, is celebrating seventy years of operations and challenges. One hundred percent owner members of the Jadranka Group are: Jadranka hoteli d.o.o., Jadranka kampovi d.o.o., Jadranka trgovina d.o.o. and Marine Medical Center d.o.o. 

Kamp Slatina d.o.o., Yacht Club Velopin d.o.o. are the majority owners, and companies where Jadranka d.d. participates with less than 50 percent of shares are Jadranka Yachting d.o.o. and Zračno pristanište Mali Lošinj d.o.o.

The Beginnings of the Jadranka Group

A county hospitality company entitled Jadranka headquartered in Mali Lošinj was founded in 1947 after a settlement reached at a peace conference in Paris that same year that dictated that the islands of Cres and Lošinj were a part of Croatia, that is, Yugoslavia. During the first period of its operations, Jadranka provided mainly hospitality services and overnight accommodation to foreign travellers and the local residents. It became Hotelsko ugostiteljsko poduzeće Jadranka (Hotel Hospitality Company Jadranka) in 1951. In 1957 Mali Lošinj hosted the first, now traditional, world championship in underwater fishing. The competitors and their entourage rang in the New Year, 1961, in Hotel Alhambra in Čikat. From the very beginning, Jadranka has been stimulating tourists to visit Mali Lošinj outside of the tourist season as well. A year later, the oldest camp on Lošinj, the one in Čikat in the Bay of Zipalj, began its operations. The company Jadranka has been managing its operations since the mid-1960s. Camp Čikat has been stimulating the development of medical tourism during the winter months as well since 2015 and today, during the winter periods, it realises over 6,000 overnight stays.

The tourism association in Osor capacitated a new camp in 1963 in a pine forest in the Bay of Bijar. In 1965 they opened a new camp in the immediate vicinity of the bridge on the Island of Lošinj that was named Preko most (Across the Bridge). The company Jadranka from Mali Lošinj took over both camps in 1975.

The naturist Camp Baldarin that belongs to the company Jadranka kampovi is one of the oldest on the Adriatic. It is located on the most southern part of the Island of Cres, by Punta Križa. In 2016 it celebrated fifty years of operations. During its first year, 1966, it realised 2,150 overnight stays. Now, with 450 accommodation units (1,350 people), it realises more than 120,000 overnight stays.

In 1964 Jadranka made an investment into a new hotel named Punta in Veli Lošinj where a pavilion with 110 beds was built. That same year, Jadranka expanded its operation through a reorganisation to the entire area of Lošinj and Cres and took the name Ugostiteljsko poduzeće Jadranka iz Malog Lošinja (Hospitality Company Jadranka from Mali Lošinj). The predecessor of today's World Tourism Organisation, the International Union of Official Tourism Organisations, declared the year 1967 the International Year of Tourism and it was commemorated in Mali Lošinj. Taking into consideration the great interest for this event and the insufficient hotel capacities, the construction of a large hotel in Mali Lošinj was accelerated. The Hotel Bellevue was built that same year and it immediately became the centre of social and entertainment life of Mali Lošinj. 

From 1971 to 1975 Jadranka was investing in the expansion of camps and by 1976, they could accommodate up to 1,920 tents. The development did not stop there. Only a year later, a hotel complex in Sunčana vala was completed, and it consisted of the hotels Aurora and Vespera. The Hotel Aurora met all the conditions to operate throughout the entire year. A part of its offer was an indoor swimming pool with heated sea water. The accommodation capacities also impacted the life on the islands. Retirees and sports teams were coming to the island during the winter months resulting in the opening of the first doctor's office focused on hotel tourism, a surfing school and the first diving school on Lošinj. 

A Decade of Expansion and Business Successes - Camp Slatina

At the beginning of the 1980s the Hotel Bellevue marked 235 days of being at full capacity followed by a renovation of a part of the hotel. With a larger number of tourists, the offer of tourist services also grew.  During this decade, Jadranka was investing and expanding its capacities. The construction of the Camp Slatina in 1982 in Martinšćica helped renew the tourist offer of this island settlement. Today, the Camp Slatina is a bearer of the four star category with commendable grades given by the German ADAC and a slew of acknowledgments. Some of the ones to be noted are the ADAC Yellow Board and the award for the most creative camping-product in Europe – Camping Cum Cane.

In June of the following year, the renovated Hotel Punta had its ceremonial opening and during the middle of the decade, a shopping centre in Punta Križa was built along with accommodation units for 40 seasonal workers. At the end of the 1980s, Jadranka had a symbolic celebration with a valuable golden plaque given by Thomson Holidays, an English tour operator, to the Hotel Aurora in 1988.

Operations during the War Years

The islands of Lošinj and Cres did not suffer direct harm during the Croatian War of Independence, but the war did impact the operations of tourism-accommodation facilities on the Adriatic. There were no revenues to sustain the existing structures and no investments to ensure further tourism development. The result was the loss of its advantage over the competition and obsolescence of the facilities and the offer. Refugees and displaced persons, mostly from the Dubrovnik and Vukovar areas, stayed in the hotels Aurora, Punta and Helios during the Croatian War of Independence as well as after it ended. Prior to returning to their homes, they stayed in the resorts in Mali and Veli Lošinj, and Jadranka continued to look after them. During this period, in 1992, UTP Jadranka became a joint-stock company, and its employees, former employees and the local residents became the majority shareholders. Regardless of the less than desirable operating conditions, Radio Mali Lošinj – Radio Jadranka, started its broadcast in March of 1996. The Hotel Bellevue was renovated in May of 1997. 

A Positive Example of a Conversion and Privatisation 

In 2004 the Parliament of the Republic of Croatia positively accepted the report by the State Audit Office regarding the conversion and privatisation of Jadranka. Several years later, in 2007, a period of significant hotel investments commenced stimulated by the entry of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development in the ownership structure of Jadranka hoteli d.o.o. Hotel Aurora 4* was the first hotel to be renovated and, following its opening, the reconstruction of the Family Hotel Vespera 4* began. It was opened in 2009, and in 2012 a fully renovated Vitality Hotel Punta 4* was opened in Veli Lošinj. It was later expanded with a large outdoor swimming pool and a vitality and wellness zone. The hotels started to break records in terms of the numbers of overnight stays that stagnated during the war years.  Among the four camps of the company Jadranka kampovi d.o.o. there were 647,000 overnight stays that beat the record from 1987 when there were 637,863 overnight stays. During February of 2014, Jadranka d.d. underwent the ownership change process. A Croatian company, Beta ulaganja d.d., became its owner with 97.62 percent of Jadranka shares. That same year, the renovated Hotel Bellevue was opened, the first five star hotel on the Croatian islands. A year later, the renovated and luxurious Boutique Hotel Alhambra was opened, a member of the prestige group Small Luxury Hotels of the World as well as Vila Hortensia with 5 stars, Aquapark Čikat 4*, the first aqua park on the Croatian islands. The trails, beaches and the landscaping of the Bay of Čikat were constructed.  

Plans for the Future

During the period from 2007 to 2015 Jadranka d.d. invested a total of EUR 177 million into reconstruction and development. Improvement of the services and the offer, creation of additional, out-of-hotel content and extension of the tourist season on the island are some of the strategic goals of the Group in the future. There are plans for realisation of some key projects during the upcoming long term period, such as the construction of the Helios Resort, reconstruction of the Villa Biancha and the Hotel Čikat, construction of the Eco Golf Resort Matalda as well as the construction of a new marina. These projects will additionally position Lošinj on the global map of top-destinations and facilitate tourism throughout the entire calendar year. 

Celebration of 70 Years of Jadranka Group 

During the month of May 2017, from May 4th to 6th to be more precise, there was the main celebration to commemorate the 70 years of existence of the Jadranka Group as well as 130 years of tourism on the Island of Lošinj.

On May 4th there was a promotion of the book entitled “130 Years of Tourism on Lošini – 70 Years of Jadranka d.d.” written by Julijan Sokolić at the Museum of Apoxyomenos. On the day of the main celebration, May 5th, there was a presentation of the company's history and Lošinj tourism at the Hotel Bellevue followed by a ceremonial session of the Group and a visit to the Bay of Čikat with its 5 star hotels – Bellevue, Alhambra, Augusta and Hortensia. At night time there were ceremonial fireworks and a music concert by Gibonni, a singer-songwriter. A jubilee award ceremony for the Jadranka employees took place on May 6th. 

Of course, all of that was recorded with a photo lens so that you can view the photos here »