The Dark Side of Croatia’s Tourism Boom

Motel Marsonia

Construction began on the Motel Marsonia nearly a quarter century ago. It was never completed. Built along the Zagreb-Lipovac highway, at the northern entrance to the town of Slavonski Brod, the motel’s owner was INA, the largest gas company in Croatia. After a while, the company lost interest in finishing the project.

During the war, the facade of the motel was badly damaged by angry groups, who, according to at least one source, wanted to “destroy everything built by the former common state”.  Today, the number of cars that drive past the site of the unfinished motel is the same as it was before the war, which is close to seventeen million annually.

In 2007, Jutarnji List reported that INA was considering publishing a tender in an attempt to sell the motel. According to the same article, INA had already tried to find investors for the motel in 2003, by issuing a tender that listed its starting price at two million euros. It failed to attract interest.

Then, earlier this year, the decrepit Motel Marsonia was thrust back into the spotlight,  receiving a curious amount of media coverage for an unfinished and deteriorating motel site off the highway. Apparently, the buzz was that the mayor of Slavonski Brod supported INA’s decision to sell it, and together they decided to make yet another appeal to potential buyers. The starting price was 1.2 million euros. Yet there were no inquiries. The new announcement, even with all the excess publicity, failed to draw an interested parties.

In late July, Vecernji List confirmed that no one had showed any interest in investing in Motel Marsonia. The article also pointed out that in 1989, Slavonski Brod had 120,000 hotel stays per year, but has just 20,000 today.



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Lily Lynch

Lily is co-founder and editor-in-chief of Balkanist Magazine. She lives in Belgrade, Serbia.