Lovely article about Katarina Line was published at one of the leading portals dedicated for arabian travel market:
Experience the Croatian charm with Katarina Line
Jochebed Menon 6/4/2015
The charm of Croatia is yet to find its place in the hearts of Middle Eastern travellers. However, the tourism authority as well as the travel agents has been intensely working towards promoting the stunning destinations in this region. Travelweb caught up with Katica Hauptfeld, Director, Katarina Line - a travel agency in Croatia to find out what they have on offer.
The agency provides its clients with land and sea tours in Croatia as well as in the neighbouring countries Italy, Slovenia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Macedonia and Albania. “Our USP is actually the wonderful special small ship cruises that we run from three different ports in Croatia and connecting them with our capital Zagreb,” said Hauptfeld.
Katarina provides exceptional services on board as well. “A maximum of 40 persons are allowed onboard on our cruises giving travellers maximum attention from the crew. The freedom of discovering the small ports (sometimes only villages) on their own gives our clients the possibility of exploring the rich history of our region. Tourists can also try out the local seafood fare as well as the fresh Mediterranean cuisines. Instead of having large hotels, in Croatia, we showcase our friendliness and let Croatia stay the way it is. We do not want to build huge resorts or hotels where one tends to get lost and not see the real world outside. We want tourists to get the real feel of the people and the country they have come to experience,” informed Hauptfeld.
Ranked as the 18th most popular tourist destination in the world, Croatia, a land with a 1000 islands, gets more than ten million visitors every year. This small Eastern European country is a traveller’s paradise with unpolluted marine areas, numerous waterfalls, enchanting hills, alluring lakes and fascinating forest highlands. Croatia is consequently one of the richest in Europe in terms of biodiversity.
Katarina Line handles over 100,000 tourists every year. However, not many are from the Middle East. The agency is hoping to promote the country in UAE. For the same purpose Katarina Line has exhibited at the Arabian Travel Market (ATM) for the first time last month. “This is a totally new market for us and we would like to see it grow. Hence, we took a stand at ATM for the first time this year and made numerous contacts. Now we are planning to organise an educational trip on one of our deluxe ships this autumn and invite the new contacts to our country so that we can get more tourists from the Middle East. As flydubai has begun their direct flights service to Zagreb and the Emirates and Turkish Airlines have excellent connections, they would help us not only to bring people to our country but also to send Croatians to the Middle East as well,” said Hauptfeld.
With every region having their own tourism requirements, the travel agency has cruises specially dedicated to the likes of this region. “Our deluxe cruises would be the best product to offer in the Middle East. We practically have everything from transfers to and from the airport to bottled water. Meals with drinks, captain's dinner with entertainment, guided sightseeing tours of all the cities, wine tastings, Dubrovnik cable car entrance, Mljet island national park entrance with boat ride on the lakes, buffet sunset dinner in front of the Dubrovnik walls, a Croatian village evening dinner experience (meet a typical villager and try all his produce) daily cabin service, free WiFi, we are offering everything,” said Hauptfeld.
With the country having such a vast biodiversity, fascinating locales and enchanting seas the Croatian travel firm has no dearth of destinations to showcase. “The destinations we have on offer in Croatia are Zagreb, our capital city, the Plitvice Lakes, Opatija (Croatia's Monaco or as most people know is the cradle of Croatian tourism with over 170 years of traditional tourism), Zadar, Split and Dubrovnik not to mention the wonderful islands such as HVAR and Korcula,” she expressed.
Hauptfeld feels that the Middle East is a huge market and wants to attract travellers from here to her nation. “Our plans for the Middle East markets are to definitely be present at the ATM in Dubai every year and to begin working with tour operators interested in our country and the surrounding countries and to organise visits for these agent and get their feedback on our new offers,” she said.
Katarina Line has new deluxe ships that are being built to suit the Middle Eastern market. The travel firm is also taking measures to educate its staff/crew about the Arabic culture, particularly in the case of food. “Halal certified hotels are still rather rare in our country, but we want to have this set up, especially on our ships, which we feel is the best possible product to offer clients in combination with our land tours beginning and ending in Zagreb. The land tour includes ten nights land and cruise package where they will see and experience the best of Croatia on land and sea,” Hauptfeld wrapped up.