The Turkish Dogus Group has invested 250 million euros in Croatia's tourist sector in the six years of its operation in the country and plans to increase its investments over the next few years to over 350 million euros, the group's regional director for Croatia and Montenegro, Burak Baykan, told Hina in an interview.

Dogus plans to invest EUR 80 million in converting the Maraska factory building in Zadar into a five-star 120-room hotel and building an adjacent luxury residential complex with 80 apartments and a commercial zone including shops, restaurants and bars. The new hotel should be completed by 2018.

"This year will be very dynamic for us," Baykan said, adding that currently they are preparing the ground for work on a new hotel in Zadar, which will start in the autumn, and in the summer they plan to open a beach club in D-Marin Dalmatia in Bibinje-Sukosan, which was declared the best marina in Croatia last year. The opening of the beach club will bring the investment in the D-Marin Dalmatia marina to EUR 25 million.

Later this year the Dogus Group plans to upgrade the D-Marin Borik boutique marina in Zadar to bring it up to the standards of its other marinas. Apart the marina in Bibinje-Sukosan, the group also operates the D-Marin Mandalina marina in Sibenik where last year it opened the luxury hotel D-Resort Sibenik, its first greenfield investment in Croatia.

"Although it opened during the peak season last year, D-Resort Sibenik has exceeded all our expectations and has become a recognisable destination for Croatian and foreign tourists, receiving positive ratings from them," Baykan said, noting that booking is very good for both the pre-season and the summer months and that they are expecting visitors from neighbouring countries as well as from Great Britain and Russia.

Speaking of the group's business in Croatia, Baykan said that one of their plans was to bring international restaurant chains to Croatia and that they were interested in increasing their stake in the ACI marina chain, in which they are currently the second largest shareholder. 

The group's Dogus Croatia company holds 10.87 percent of shares in ACI and the government holds 74.47 percent.

Asked about the group's operations in Turkey and Greece and whether they were affected by the current migrant crisis, Baykan said that they were closely following developments and adjusting their business strategy accordingly.

"We can obviously expect lower demand in the two countries this year, but we continue to work on improving the quality of our service and developing new content. On the other hand, we have great expectations from our hotels and marinas elsewhere in Europe," Baykan concluded.

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