The sixth in a row, also the largest investment conference in Southeast Europe – Adria Hotel Forum, gathered on Wednesday about 350 most important names of the hotel and development industry, investment funds and regional experts in tourism.The main theme of this year’s AHF is: Our own responsibility, which answers questions about how each industry stakeholder can increase productivity, competitiveness and quality in their own projects over the next five to ten years, following the trends of the tourism industry. In the introductory part, the meeting was welcomed by Zlatan Muftić from the Zagreb Tourist Board, Frano Matušić, State Secretary of the Ministry of Tourism of the Republic of Croatia and the British Ambassador to Croatia Andrew Dalgleish.Matusic presented the basic performance of Croatian tourism, which last year recorded records in tourist arrivals (11,5 million) and revenues (8,7 billion euros). “The continuous growth of arrivals and revenues shows that Croatian tourism is competitive on the global market and that we are an attractive destination for investors. We have managed to achieve that the sun and the sea are no longer the primary motives for coming, and we are attracting tourists with higher purchasing power. This year we expect over 900 million euros of investments, which is 13 percent more than in 2017, but through better cooperation between the private and public sectors, we can have even more. Still untapped potential is congress tourism, which enables year-round hotel operations Said Matusic.Damian Harrington (Colliers International) presented to the participants the main key macroeconomic trends at the global level and stressed that last year was marked by great geo-political instability, that we are currently witnessing market and financial volatility, but that economic indicators continue to grow. Marc Finney (Colliers International), Christian Giraud (Accor Hotels) and Kenneth Hatton (Belmond) participated in the panel A Look at the Mediterranean and European Environment for the next five years, and the discussion was moderated by British journalist Andrew Sangster (Hotel Analyst). Finney pointed out that currently European hotels are doing well, that growth can be expected next year, but that the question is whether the same dynamics will continue in three to five years.Finney believes that the 2008 economic crisis will not be repeated globally, but that it is realistic to expect a slowdown in growth. He also announced the return of destinations that have been in difficulty in recent years: Tunisia, Turkey and Egypt to the global competitiveness map. In his opinion, the best investment destination at the moment is Cyprus. Christian Giraud pointed out that there is currently so much money on the world market that everyone wants to participate in investment and growth, that Europe has a year advantage over the US, but agreed that at some point there will be a slowdown. He also pointed out the great interest of investors in investing in the region of SE Europe, especially in the luxury and lifesyle segment. Giraud also sees potential in building resorts with internationally recognized brands, especially in the Mediterranean. Its focal point for investment is currently Eastern Europe.Kenneth Hatton also mentioned the strong growth of the SE Europe market, but stressed that many destinations still do not have clearly defined products and offers, which should be ‘packaged’ into certain niche segments. New Zealand is currently the best investment opportunity for him. Christian Giraud at the end of the panel pointed out that currently the problem of high construction costs is much bigger than the threat of a new financial crisis.Zdenko Lucić from the Agency for Investments and Competitiveness presented the current Croatian investment potential, environment and benefits offered to investors and projects that are in the Government’s investment catalog. Damir Davidović, State Secretary of the Ministry of Sustainable Development and Tourism of Montenegro, used the same opportunity, emphasizing that Montenegro has completed one large investment cycle and is now moving on to the next. The country also broke all tourism records last year and has a dozen large projects in the pipeline that already have investors (for example, Porto Montenegro, worth 450m euros, backed by Dubai capital).In a conversation between Keith Evans (Starwood Capital) and Ulf Pleschiutsching (Morgan Stanly), on investment strategies, moderated by Dirk Bakker (Collers International), it was discussed whether the return of strong rivals (Turkey and North Africa) is a threat to the destinations that are most profited from their geo-political problems. Evans mentioned that Croatia has been in demand among investors in the last few years, that more and more brands are interested in hotel management, and that he sees many opportunities. According to him, resorts with a certain mix of products are the preferred model in which to invest on the Croatian coast. Pleschiutsching pointed out that the construction of hotels in the four- and five-star segments is expensive for destinations that have limited tourism only in the summer months.Thomas Emanuel (STR), introduced hotel performance of the hotel sector in Europe in 2017. and forecasts for the sector this year. Occupancy of European hotels has increased by 10 percent in the last ten years and all destinations are recording an increase in revenue per room (RevPAR). This year, that growth should be five percent. “People are traveling despite terrorism and markets that have fallen into trouble are returning this year. In the Mediterranean market, the sun shines everywhere, and Portugal, Greece and Croatia had the best performance last year. Last year, revenue per room in Croatian hotels rose by 14 percent ”Said Emanuel. The highest occupancy is recorded in hotels in Prague, while Athens is the leader in the average room price.Na panel Key drivers Marybelle Arnett (Hilton), Otmar Michaeler (Falkensteiner & Michaeler Gorup), Ivana Budin Arhanić (Valamar Riviera), Živorad Vasić (InterContinental Hotels Group), Gordana Martinović (Zagrebačka banka) participated in the change, and the panel was moderated by Takuya Ayoama (Hyatt International). Arnett said that Hilton, which has two branded hotels in Croatia, is opening three more in the region this year – Tirana, Skopje and Belgrade. The current focus of Hilton, which has 375 branded hotels in Europe and another 100 on hold, is precisely Central and Eastern Europe.Otmar Michaeler, who has been on the Croatian market for many years, says that in the past 20 years many brands of various business models have appeared in Croatia and that currently everyone who sells beds is a competition. He pointed out that Falkensteiner used to be interested in the leisure model, while now they are focused on city hotels and the development of the luxury segment. He mentioned some of the advantages of investing in Croatia, but it still slows down the bureaucratic system and the fact that privatization is not over yet. Živorad Vasić emphasized that InterContinental is preparing some projects in Zagreb, Ljubljana and Belgrade and emphasized that he has a feeling that banks still do not fully understand the nature of the hotel business and the way in which it generates revenues.Gordana Martinović, on behalf of Zagrebačka banka, pointed out that her company, when studying the investment potential, looks not only at what the project is like, but also at its significance for the wider community and the larger market. Ivana Budin Arhanić spoke on behalf of the largest hotel group in Croatia about how large investors regularly face problems in destinations such as unresolved ownership issues and the uncertainty of fiscal policy, but that Valamar Riviera has learned to deal with it. “The fact is that local players in Croatia are more successful in consolidation and grow faster and better through acquisitions than international investors. ”said Budin.The last panel of the first part of the Adria Hotel Forum, moderated by journalist Dora Koretić (Hanza Media), was attended by representatives of the Ministries of Tourism who spoke about where they see the future of hotels in their destinations. Frano Matušić reiterated that Croatia is an excellent country for investment and that currently the main strategy of Croatia is the development of brownfield, not greenfield investment, which surprised many present.Damir Davidović said that Montenegro has already reached a good level, but it is still far from being completely satisfied. He said Russian investors had been replaced by investors from the Middle East and that the country was open to investors from the West. “Of all investments in Montenegro, 34 percent are in tourism. However, the big problem of Montenegro is that 76 percent of the capacity is in private accommodation ” says Davidović.Konrad Mizzi, the Minister of Tourism of Malta, said that Malta has undergone a transformation from a resort to a city break destination in the last few years (15 new hotel beds are currently under construction), with the largest increase in tourists in January and March. Mizzi attaches great importance to the creation of additional facilities and large attractions that attract various types of tourists.George Tziallas, Greece’s tourism minister, said his country was finally emerging from the crisis and that Greece had a new tourism strategy based on extending the season, new facilities and opening new destinations on the coast and islands in the Ionian Sea. “Greece has only six percent of branded hotels in high categories, which means that there is still great potential. Smaller boutique brands are coming to us and we currently have 300 apps to build new and renovate existing hotelsTziallas concluded.