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 Opportunities in Istria for Golf Courses
Combined with Hotels 
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by Barry Napier, January 2007

The prestigious Jack Nicklaus golf course at Porto Mariccio (west coast, above Pula) is currently being built. The Croatian government was interested not just because of the prestige, but because the course was a major part of a whole new development, including classy hotel, executive holiday apartments, and other facilities. In other words, it is a village in its own right. 

Croatia is particularly interested in hearing from investors with a multiple-approach, such as golf courses combined with hotels or other facilities. The most advanced tourist region, Istria, still has many opportunities for partnerships with part-started or planned golf courses.

At the moment, all of Croatia only has plans for 23 golf courses. But, of these a massive 14 are planned for Istria, signifying its relative importance to tourism generally. They are found not just in popular areas on or near the coast, but also inland, (‘Hinterland’) in flat areas such as the valley below the stunning Motovun hilltop village, a very popular tourist attraction and close to the major road from Trieste (Italy) to the main Istrian towns.

Denis Ivoševic, Head of Tourism in Istria, says that some of the 14 courses are between planning and development stage, but that anyone interested in discussing a well-planned proposition to complete them is welcome to discuss the matter. This is because the Ministry of Tourism in Croatia sees these developments as crucial to the country’s future.

Presently, golf ideas are being developed by a consortium, so that there is a unitary approach. The consortium consists mainly of the city or municipality where the development has been planned, the Ministry of Tourism, and the investor. In Istria an additional 8 golf courses are hoped for, making 22 in total. Most are 18 holes, with a maximum of 27. The locations of all these developments are given below.

Any interested investor will need to sign a contract regarding the use of land released by the Croatian government, who will oversee the clearance of forestry and grasslands. The annual price for use of the land is about 1000 kunas/ha (coastal locations or within 1km of a marine area) and 400 kunas/ha for all others.  (100 kunas = $ 17.48, or £8.92, or E13.55). Similar prices will apply to concessions for buildings, with ownership transferred to the investor. (Prices shown may have changed lately, so please check).

The price will be determined by market price, which is defined not by the market itself, but by the Tax authority. However, the total price can be lowered if the investor helps towards investment in infrastructure. Currently, land conceded can be used for up to 40 years. After that, it is likely that the government will continue the arrangement.

Investors should examine Croatian and Istrian urban plans, and the impact a golf course will have on the area. As can be seen from the Istrian Ten Year Plan (and recent review), Istria has very sophisticated tourist goals, and all foreign investors are required to integrate with these, and adapt any plans to Croatian ideals. When the investor convinces the town or municipality, he can then expect to receive permits for site and building. Note that this is done by tender, so you will have to compete. The closer the plan is to the local plan, the better your chances!

Once the investor has received the go-ahead, he will be responsible for any changes and costs in infrastructure, documentation, studies, etc.

Investors should note that the number of holes can change from site to site and that they must put forward a good plan to elaborate on smaller developments.

As can be seen from the end-map, most developments tend to be around the edge of Istria, on or near the coast. Even so, the government is happy to consider suitable proposals, as the position overall is still fluid.

Details Available on Each Site:

Though showing interested parties, these may, or may not, be current. Investors should check status with the tourist board. Also, some current investors may be interested in joint ventures. Any queries can be forwarded to the relevant tourist official in Istria.
 

1. "Crveni Vrh" Savudrija
Within area of Buje. A proposal has been made by LSE Ltd. Porec, and a  Study about the influence of golf on the environment has been/is being made
Known investor: Kemco Ltd. (builders of Alberi – Skiper, a tourist village
Surface: aprox. 75 ha
Ownership: mixed, prevalent State ownership

2." Markocija" Umag 
Within area of Buje, presently smaller than needed
Known investor: Golf Invest Ltd. Zagreb
Surface: 117 ha - confirmed by the PPUG of Umag, has to be confirmed by the PPUG of Buje
Ownership: 82 owned by Golf Invest Ltd. Zagreb; 11 ha is land for construction

3. "Matelici" Umag 
Within area of Buje
Known investor: unknown
Surface: approx. 120 ha  - has to be confirmed by the PPUG of Umag and the PPUG of Buje (border land)
Ownership: mixed, prevalent State ownership

4. "Fratarska šuma" Karigador 
Within area of Buje
Known investor: unknown
Surface: approx. 80 ha  - has to be confirmed by the PPUO of Brtonigla
Ownership: totally Church owned

5. "Prašcarija" Novigrad 
Within area of Buje 
Proposal made by LSE Ltd. Porec
Study about the influence of golf on the environment made by LSE Ltd.
Known investor: Mr. Dušan Badža from Germany, who owns 5.3 ha
Surface: approx. 80 ha, confirmed by the PPUG i GUPG of Novigrad
Ownership: Republic of Croatia 72.1 ha, private 5.3 ha, Church 1.2 ha.
Possessors: PIK Umag 37.2; Hrvatske šume (public company)19.5; Municipality Buje 13.4; Private 5.3; Church 1.2 ha; Total 78,6 ha. 
The documentation for each parcel of land is available.

6. "Tar-Mirna Stancija Špin" Tar 
Proposal made by LSE Ltd. Porec. Study on the influence of golf on the environment being done
Known investor: unknown
Surface: approx. 110 ha  - confirmed by the PPUG of Porec
Ownership: Republic of Croatia 107.8 ha; City of Porec 0.4 ha; Private 0.8 ha.
Possessors: Public 104.6; Hrvatske šume (public company) 3.2; City of Porec 0.4; Private 0.8; Total 109 ha.

7. "Larun" Cervar 
Within the area of the PPUG and GPUG of Porec
Known investor: Riviera Holding Co., and Agrolaguna Co. as potential investors
Surface: approx. 80 - 100 ha 
Ownership: mixed, prevalent owner the Republic of Croatia

8. "Zelena laguna" Porec
Within the area of Porec
Proposal made by LSE Ltd. Porec
Study on influence of golf on environment being done
Known investor: Plava Laguna Co., Porec
Surface: approx. 90 ha 
Ownership: Republic of Croatia 83.4 ha; Private 5.7 ha; Public good 1.0.
Possessors: Agrolaguna Co. 31.1; Plava Laguna Co. 10.7; Šumarija (public company) 41.6; Private 5.7; Public good 1.0; Total 90.1 ha.

9. "Stancija Grande" Vrsar 
Not completely defined, but within area of PPUO of Vrsar 
Known investor: unknown
Surface: approx. 80 - 100 ha 
Ownership: mixed, prevalent owner the Republic of Croatia

10. "Kloštar" Sv.Lovrec
Within area of the PPUO of Sv.Lovrec (under construction)
Known investor: Unknown
Surface: approx. 100 ha 
Ownership: mixed, prevalent owner the Republic of Croatia

11. "San Marko" Rovinj 
Not completely defined, but within area of PPUG and GUPG of Rovinj under construction
Known investor: Interested investors from Italy, re. Mr. Berislav Iskra, AA Iskra Ltd. Rovinj
Surface: approx. 80 - 100 ha 
Ownership: mixed, prevalent owner the Republic of Croatia

12. “Kolone” Bale 
Within area of PPUO of Bale; under construction 
Known investor: unknown
Surface: approx. 120 - 150 ha 
Ownership: the Republic of Croatia

13. "Barbariga-Porto Mariccio" Peroj 
Not completely defined, but within area of the PPO of Pula, the PPO of Pula
Has to be modified
Known investor: AB Maris Ltd.
Surface: approx. 110 ha 
Ownership: AB Maris Ltd.; the Republic of Croatia
AB Maris Ltd. has made a request to the Ministry for Tourism for the concession on forest land owned by the Republic of Croatia. The Ministry for Tourism has proposed the constitution of a Consortium between the Ministry for Tourism, the County of Istria, the city of Vodnjan, and AB Maris Ltd. as joint member.

14. "Brijuni" Veliki Brijun (reconstruction of the old course)
Within area of Parka Brijuni
Known investor: unknown
Surface: approx. 85  ha 
Ownership: the Republic of Croatia

15. "Loborika" Loborika 
Extension: not completely defined, PPUO of Marcana under construction 
Known investor: unknown
Surface: aprox. 80 - 100 ha 
Ownership: mixed, prevalent owner the Republic of Croatia

16. "Marlera" Ližnjan 
Defined by the existing PPO of Pula, the location (site) permission obtained in 2002
Known investor: potential investor Mr. Dražen Ladic
Surface: approx. 140 ha 
Ownership: mixed, prevalent owner the Republic of Croatia

 17. "Koromani" Barban 
Within area of the PPUO of Barban; under construction 
Known investor: unknown
Surface: approx. 80 - 100 ha 
Ownership: mixed, prevalently private owners

18. "Jakomici" Pican 
Not completely defined, but within area of the PPUO of Pican; under construction 
There is a proposal by LSE Ltd., Porec
Known investor: a company from England (letter of intent)
Surface: approx. 80 - 100 ha 
Ownership: prevalently private

19. "Kožljak" Kršan 
Not completely defined, but in area of the PPUO of Kršan; under construction (final phase)
Known investor: unknown
Surface: approx. 80 - 100 ha 
Ownership: mixed, prevalent owner the Republic of Croatia

20. "Dubrova" Labin 
Not completely defined, but in area of the PPUG of Labin and PPUO of Sv.Nedelja; under construction (final phase)
A proposal made by LSE Ltd., Porec
Known investor: unknown
Surface: approx. 80 ha 
Ownership: Republic of Croatia 51.8 ha; City of Labin 22.7 ha; Labinkomerc 2.9 ha; private 1.7 ha.
Possessors: Agrolabin 51.3 ha; JD Putevi 0.5; City of Labin 22.7; Labinkomerc 2.9; private 1.7; Total 79,1 ha.

21. "Brkac" Motovun 
Not completely defined, but in area of the PPUO of Motovun; under construction, 
A proposal made and its architect is known by the Motovun municipality
Known investor: Norbert Krusche, from Germany
Surface: approx. 120 - 150 ha
Ownership: mixed, prevalent owner the Republic of Croatia

22. "Butoniga" Buzet/Motovun
Not completely defined, but in area of the PPUG of Buzet and Pazin; under construction, 
there is a proposal of the project, the architect is known by the city of Buzet
Known investor: known by the city of Buzet
Surface: approx. 80 - 100 ha 
Ownership: mixed, prevalent owner the Republic of Croatia

© 2007  Barry Napier

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Contact:

Barry Napier
barry.napier@ntlworld.com

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Also See: Jack Nicklaus Begins Work on a Signature Golf Course in Istria, Croatia / May 2006
First Three Year Review of Istria's Tourism Plan... Plenty of Opportunities for Hoteliers / January 2007
Istria's Ten Year Tourism Plan Targets Discerning Visitors; Includes Many Investment Opportunities for Hoteliers / July 2006
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