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Opatija's landmark statue Maiden with the Seagull

Opatija unveils Croatia’s first centre for innovation in tourism

Opatija unveils Croatia’s first centre for innovation in tourism

Individuals with creative ideas in the field of tourism are encouraged to apply by 5 August

On Friday 16 July, the Croatian City of Opatija announced the opening of the country’s first centre for innovation in tourism. The establishment of the HUBBAZIA business incubator is expected to position Opatija as a city of creativity and innovation.

Promoting the growth of the tourism industry

The HUBBAZIA centre for innovation has a total value of HRK 2,543,985.25 (EUR 338,850.47). What is more, it is co-financed by the European Union through the European Regional Development Fund. According to HUBBAZIA’s website, the business incubator has several strategic goals and objectives.

First, it seeks to encourage entrepreneurship and help establish start-up companies. For this reason, the centre mainly targets start-ups and people who have intentions of launching a business. Beyond this, it aims to stimulate regional economic and social development.

To do so, it will work to promote innovation and allow young adults to network with successful entrepreneurs. In this way, HUBBAZIA will inspire the youth to launch their own businesses and ensure the growth of the tourism industry.

Applications for enrolment are now open

Head of HUBBAZIA Tomislav Lesinger officially inaugurated the business incubator last week: “Today, we are opening the first Centre for Innovation in Tourism in Croatia and only one of several in the world. This project puts Opatija back in the class of the best, a place that Opatija deserves. In the next year, with the funds from the EU, five generations of participants will be co-financed and will have the opportunity to realise their entrepreneurial ideas from the beginning to the finalisation.”

In a press release, the municipality announced that applications for enrolment are now open. Therefore, the City of Opatija invites everyone with creative entrepreneurial ideas in the field of tourism to apply by 5 August.

The successful candidates will be given the opportunity to discuss, shape, and realise their dreams alongside experts from 6 areas: product development and business, finance, marketing, sales, web design, and investment. The last month of the programme will consist of final consultations with professionals. This will then be followed by what is known as “Demo Day”: the day when participants will have to officially present their ideas to the public and investors.

Mayor Fernando Kirigin highlighted that Opatija is known as Croatia’s “cradle of tourism”. With the development of the new centre for innovation, the City of Opatija seeks to ensure that it maintains this reputation.   

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