Friday, 1 July 2022

100th Anniversary of Most Precious Blood Parish in Queens

July 1, 2022 - On June 19, Croatian Catholics celebrated the 100th Anniversary of the Most Precious Blood Parish - “The Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Precious Blood of Christ” followed by a wonderful procession in the streets of Astoria.

Most Rev. Robert J. Brennan, Bishop of Brooklyn presided, Music Coordinator Fr. Saša Ilijić, PhD, composed a wonderful new song “Alleluia”, especially for this anniversary, which was performed by klapa Astoria

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Most Precious Blood Church is a Roman Catholic Parish in the center of Astoria, NY, and home to a multicultural community made up of parishioners from diverse backgrounds united in their common walk of faith. Most Precious Blood Parish serves multiple cultural groups, with Masses celebrated each Sunday in English, Croatian, Spanish, and Tagalog.  

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Croatian-speaking Catholics have been attending services at Most Precious Blood Parish in Astoria, Queens, since 1971 when the parish formed what today is called the Croatian Apostolate of Blessed Ivan Merz to serve a massive wave of immigrants from the former Yugoslavia. The community is very vibrant. For example, the apostolate has a bilingual faith formation program that helps succeeding generations become rooted in their ancestors’ devout legacies. They learn folk dancing, but also hymns and prayers in Croatian. People want to preserve their language and their culture, which is tied in with their faith. Three out of the seven members of the Parish pastoral team are Croats: Fr. Vedran Kirinčić (Administrator), Fr. Saša Ilijić, PhD (Parochial Vicar) and Nada Bernich (Faith Formation Director). Fr. Kirinčić and Fr. Sasa Ilijic are both “on loan” from the Diocese of Krk, which has shared priests with Most Precious Blood Parish since the Croatian apostolate began in 1971. 

For more, check out our lifestyle section.

Friday, 1 July 2022

Golden Horn Beach (Zlatni rat) Named 12th Best Beach in World

July 1, 2022 - Global travel site Big Travel 7 has released its annual list of 'The 50 Best Beaches In The World', and Croatian Golden Horn Beach (Zlatni rat) has come in the 12th position.

The list is now in its 4th year and ranks the world’s best beaches using aggregated scores from previous media results, official Blue Flag locations, social media popularity, and contributions from the Big 7 Travel editorial team. Golden Horn Beach (Zlatni rat) in Brac, Croatia was named one of the Best Beaches in the World, coming in at 12th position on the list.

"The Golden Horn is the most spectacular of all Croatia’s beaches. It’s not just its shape that makes it so beautiful and unique. The pebble beach is surrounded by crystal clear sea, that goes from turquoise blue to dark blue in just 10-20 meters. Decades-old pine trees provide shade, but you won’t want to get out of the warm waters here," writes Big 7 Travel about the only Croatian beach to make the list this year.

The best beach in the world 2022, according to Big 7 Travel, is Playa Conchal in Costa Rica. Turquoise Bay in Australia was ranked second, followed by Grace Bay in Turks and Caicos and Siesta Beach in Florida. You can see the ‘Top 50 Beaches in the World 2022’ list HERE

For more on travel in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Friday, 1 July 2022

Air France Croatia Flights Boosted in July, Over 30 Flights per Week!

July 1, 2022 - The latest flight news to Croatia as Air France Croatia flights are significantly boosted this month to Zagreb, Split, and Dubrovnik airports. 

French national airline Air France will significantly increase the number of weekly operations to Croatian airports in July from its main hub in Paris, Charles de Gaulle Airport, reports Croatian Aviation

In the first 10 days of July, Air France significantly increases the number of weekly flights to three Croatian airports. A second daily flight to Zagreb is being introduced, traffic to Split is being restored, and the number of weekly operations to Dubrovnik is increasing.

Second daily flight to Zagreb
Throughout the year, Air France operates daily between Paris and Zagreb in the afternoon hours. Until now, HOP operated on the route with E90 aircraft, and from July 9, Air France aircraft will also operate on this route, namely A318, A 319, and A320.

Additionally, from the same date, a second daily flight to Zagreb will be introduced, which will operate every day, except Saturdays, in the morning hours. Only Air France aircraft, A319, and A320, were announced on this line in July.

From the mentioned date, Zagreb will have three daily flights from and to Paris, and one daily flight on this route is operated by Croatia Airlines, on which Air France has code-share cooperation with the Croatian national airline.

Return to Split Airport
Air France is returning to Split Airport at the beginning of July. Six flights a week have been announced, every day except Saturdays. HOP with E90 aircraft will operate on the route for Air France. 

Croatia Airlines also operates on this route with A319 aircraft, as well as low-cost airlines such as easyJet.

More operations to Dubrovnik
The French airline has operated to Dubrovnik Airport for some time. The first flight of this season took place on May 1, but from July 10 the number of flights will increase from two to a total of seven flights per week. In addition to A319 and A320 aircraft, A321 aircraft, which in the Air France fleet have a capacity of 212 seats, will also frequently fly to Dubrovnik.

Additionally, Air France will introduce a second daily flight between Dubrovnik and Paris, on Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays, so it will operate between the two cities 11 times a week. In addition to Air France, Croatia Airlines and British easyJet operate on this route.

In total, from the beginning of July, Air France will operate between Paris and the three mentioned Croatian airports more than 30 times a week, which exceeds the figures from the record summer season of 2019, especially in terms of the capacity offered.

For more on flights to Croatia and other travel announcements, make sure to check out our dedicated travel section.

Friday, 1 July 2022

In Vino Veritas: Mini Wine Festival in Punat on Krk in July!

July 1, 2022 - The 'In Vino Veritas' wine festival in Punat on Krk Island will be held from July 15 to 17. 

A weekend to enjoy! This is how you could describe the mini wine festival that will bring winemakers from Baranja, Erdut, and Ilok to the golden island of Krk from July 15 to 17 - and will undoubtedly attract visitors to the island.

The idea of the festival "IN VINO VERITAS" was created to strengthen friendly and business relations of winemakers from the areas of Baranja, Erdut, and Ilok, with an emphasis on the municipalities of Punat and Tovarnik - and business entities, i.e., restaurants and hotels from Krk Island. In its first edition, "IN VINO VERITAS" is a unique combination of "green" and "blue" Croatia, and no less important, it is an opportunity for both hosts and guests to get to know the richness of Croatia's wine offer and to have fun.

The festival's concept was born in 2019, but for already known reasons, it did not take place in 2020 or 2021. Therefore, this year's edition is eagerly awaited. The aspiration is for the festival to be a prototype for future similar events in Punat.

From Friday, July 15 - until Sunday, July 17, 2022, in the center of this beautiful place on Krk, the finest wines will be tasted. This time, smaller, family wineries from Baranja, Erdut, and Ilok were invited, a total of 6 of them, and were provided with free accommodation and exhibition spaces, i.e., promotional pours as well as wine sales in the main local square (Trg zahvalnosti), more precisely - houses where they will exhibit and sell wines. These are Vinarija Agris, Vinarija Kovats, Vina Papak, Vina Pinkert, Vina Siber and Vina/Podrum Szabo.

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Endre Kubik from the Pinkert winery will also hold an educational workshop, "Wine terroir of Baranja," with a tasting of the best wines that this region has to offer.

The Punat Tourist Board is organizing vouchers for local and foreign visitors, along with wine tasting glasses. Visitors can buy the displayed and tasted wines directly from the winemaker.

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The winemakers will also present their wines at a business dinner in the nearby BOCOON restaurant for a three-course gala dinner on Saturday evening (July 16), where local restaurateurs, media, and guests will be introduced to their wines.

PROGRAM
Friday, July 15
From 18:00 - 20:00 Trg zahvalnosti - "In vino veritas" wine festival
20:30 - Trg zahvalnosti - "In vino veritas" festival opening with the welcome of the host:
Branko Karabaić, director of TZO Punat
Sanja Muzaferija, co-organizer of the "In vino veritas" Festival
Daniela Strčić, Mayor of Punat Municipality,
from 21:00 - Trg zahvalnosti - entertainment program

Saturday, July 16
From 10 to 12 pm - Trg zahvalnosti - wine festival "In vino veritas"
12 pm - Toš Gallery, workshop: "Baranja Wine Terroir" and wine tasting, leader: Endre Kubik, PINKERT winery, Suza Baranje
From 18:00 to 22:00, Trg zahvalnosti - wine festival "In vino veritas"
20:30 - Restaurant BOCOON - dinner for guests (winemakers, restaurateurs, WOW members, media representatives, winemakers), music
21:00 - Park for entertainment program with A. Doko & V. Babin

Sunday, July 17
10 - 12 pm - Trg zahvalnosti - "In vino veritas" wine festival

For more, check out our lifestyle section.

Friday, 1 July 2022

Bluesun Hotel Chain Renovates Around 800 Rooms in 45 Million Euro Investment

July the 1st, 2022 - The well known Croatian Bluesun hotel chain which is based in Dalmatia has invested an enormous 45 million euros back into its impressive capacities, renovating approximately 800 rooms.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, summer is here and the height of the tourist season is rapidly approaching. As such, Bluesun Hotels & Resorts, one of the leading hotel chains in all of the Republic of Croatia, has invested more than 45 million euros in the renovation of six properties in its portfolio. The investment resulted in the renovation of almost 800 rooms in the Bluesun Hotel Elaphusa, Bluesun Hotel Borak, Bluesun Holiday Village Bonaca in Bol on the island of Brac, Bluesun Hotel Maestral, Bluesun Hotel Soline in Brela and Residence Kastelet in Tucepi.

The Bluesun hotel chain, with more than sixty hotels under its belt, points out that they managed to make the investment in less than half a year, in very challenging times and a during years marked not only by the coronavirus crisis, but also by rising prices owing to inflation and the ongoing horrendous war in Ukraine which broke out earlier this year following Russian invasion.

They also stated that when revamping the Maestral Hotel in Brela, they paid a lot of attention to the preservation of architecture, to the extent that they worked closely with conservators in order to avoid mismatching with the historical and emblematic typical Dalmatian architecture of the area.

All of the investment work, worth more than 45 million euros, was carried out by local construction companies, the Bluesun hotel chain made sure to note, saying they believed it was important to focus on local talent who best understood the environment in which the works are being carried out. Radnik from Krizevci, Kamgrad and Krekic-Avangard worked on the renovation of six of this company's hotels, while the main designer was the company Stabilnost, who also provided their expert supervision of the projects as they were carried out.

"With this investment, we're paying tribute to the people, the local economy, the community, history and the flawless Adriatic coast. We'd like to say a sincere thank you to the partners and our exceptional team who brought us to where we are today. It's amazing what we've achieved,'' said Mubarak Al-Khalifa, CEO.

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated business section.

Friday, 1 July 2022

Lukewarm Expectations for Croatian Economy as Inflation Continues to Bite

July the 1st, 2022 - There are fairly lukewarm expectations for the Croatian economy, with inflation continuing and as such expectations are stagnating.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, this month, expectations for the Croatian economy have been rather rapidly stagnating. On the one hand, there is pessimism in the retail sector due to the overall reduced purchasing power of consumers, and on the other hand, there are also improved expectations in both the industry and the service sector(s).

The European Commission's survey and the Economic Climate Index (ESI) in the Republic of Croatia rose by 0.2 points in June compared to the previous month of May, to 109.4 points.

The analysis shows that the mood in the retail sector has deteriorated sharply, the index for that sector sank by as much as 4.9 points, reflecting fears that high living costs and inflation could force citizens to save more and more. Consumer expectations, the index of which fell by 2.3 points, don't really give a great deal of hope either.

On the other hand, the leaders of the industry and the service sector(s) showed increased optimism when it comes to the Croatian economy and expectations surrounding it at the beginning of the summer, and in their case the index grew by 1.5 and 1.3 points, respectively. The mood in the construction sector also improved slightly, with the index growing by 0.9 points.

Company leaders expect to hire more during the height of this summer season, and the EEI index rose to 7.2 points. They also estimate that business uncertainty is significantly more pronounced than it was back in May, which was reflected in the growth of the EUI index by 1.3 points.

Managers across the EU and the Eurozone expect weaker business than back during in May, which was reflected in a decline in the economic climate index by 1.7 and one point, respectively. Among the leading European Union economies, the economic climate index in the Netherlands fell the most, by 3.6 points.

They are followed by Germany and Spain with a drop in ESI by 1.9 points and Poland where it decreased by 1.5 compared to May, the report shows. Managers in both areas estimate that they will employ less in the coming months, and warn of increased business uncertainty.

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated business section.

Friday, 1 July 2022

Porec Tourism: Million Overnight Stays Achieved, Results Outdo 2019

July the 1st, 2022 - Porec tourism so far has been going beyond excellently, with one million overnight stays now having been realised, bringing in better results than the record, pre-pandemic year of 2019.

As Morski writes, according to Croatia's praised eVisitor system for the registration of tourists, the gorgeous Istrian city of Porec achieved its millionth tourist overnight stay on the 28th of June, 2022. Since the beginning of this year, there have been 225,000 arrivals for Porec's tourism ''picture'', which is an increase of 5 percent compared to 2019, which is the pre-crisis year we all keep comparing everything in 2022 to.

An excellent pre-season filled with numerous sporting events spilled over into the now height of the summer tourist season, and 50 percent of all guests making up Porec's tourism statistics are guests from Germany and Austria, followed by the neighbouring Slovenes, guests from other parts of Croatia, and also Italians.

''These are exceptional results,'' said the director of the Tourist Board of the City of Porec, Nenad Velenik, noting that this number was realised on the same day as it was back during the record year of 2019, even with Porec having less accommodation capacities than in 2019 because two hotels are currently out of order.

Judging by the number of overnight stays realised in this popular Istrian city so far, Porec is looking forward to an excellent remainer of this year's tourist season.

''We've been achieving excellent occupancy rates throughout the pre-season period, as well as throughout the month of June, in which we've achieved more than 510,000 overnight stays. Sporting events, which involved the arrival of large sport groups, influenced our above-average pre-season, which in some terms was up to 30 percent better than the same time back during the record year of 2019.

The German and Austrian markets are dominating Porec as a destination, which gives us a spring in out step in terms of our successful marketing activities in cooperation with the regional tourist boards. There have also been some very encouraging results coming from the nearby Italian market, which is once again back to what it was, and it seems that the trend of Croatian guests from other parts of the country speaks in favour of the fact that throughout two coronavirus-dominated years, we still succeeded in luring the local population, the numbers from which are cumulatively better by up to 32 percent when compared to 2019,'' said Velenik, who, given the pace of capacity filling for July and August, expects a better year for Porec tourism than 2019.

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated travel section.

Friday, 1 July 2022

Germans Purchasing Adriatic Property en Masse, Then Renting it Out

July the 1st, 2022 - Germans have been purchasing Adriatic property en masse, and then renting it out. While this trend is less than satisfying for many Croats living on the coast themselves, the Germans engaging in this are getting quick returns on their investments this way.

As Morski writes, more and more Germans are snapping up Adriatic property along the Croatian coastline and then renting it out. Two such Germans sat down to talk about their experiences with builders, taxes and processes.

Jens and his family from the German state of Baden-Wurttemberg have fulfilled their dream by purchasing Adriatic property. They now own a luxury villa with pool and gorgeous sea views. It all started with a joint holiday of his family and his sister's family in beautiful Istria. They really liked this region, but the rent for a large enough and well-equipped villa with a pool was quite high. When they started calculating the figures, they decided it would be more worthwhile for them to own their own house. They searched for a long time, but couldn't find something they loved, writes Deutsche Welle.

Eventually they discovered a beautiful construction site on the edge of a fishing village in the south of Istria with a magnificent view of the sea, and they decided to build their own house. "It was simpler than we thought it would be," said Jens, 53. He says the price of construction materials is about the same as it is over in Germany, but that labour is still significantly cheaper. As such, last year they finished building their villa with a pool, and this year they already have their first paying guests coming.

In order to facilitate it all, they took out a construction loan in Germany and they plan to repay it by renting the house out during periods when they aren't using it themselves.

An interesting tax model

Oliver, 55, from Bavaria, decided to "build, not rent" using the same model.

''It was actually somewhat accidental. From Italy we went further towards Istria and there we saw some truly beautiful cities, the crystal clear sea and stunning clean beaches. That immediately won me over,'' recalled this German. After that, he went on, they spent a couple of years in the south of Istria and decided to buy a house there. But they, like Jens' family, couldn't find anything suitable, so they decided that it was better for them to build their Adriatic property from scratch as well, and do it all according to their own personal wishes and needs.

A few years ago, they found a large construction site, and the original intention was to build their Adriatic property for their own needs. But on a plot with a fantastic sea view, the construction of a larger facility ended up being planned.

I asked the salesman, "What am I supposed to do with a family of three on 500 square feet?" and he said, "Well, build some apartments and rent them out!" And so a larger building was created in which his two-level private apartment with an imaginatively decorated pool and three other apartments for rent are all located.

''I founded a company in Croatia and thus got back 25 percent of the VAT when building the facility,'' he explained. He already has a company in Germany for the sale of machines for industrial plants, so he then started selling through his Croatian company.

''Everything we did through Croatia, all the way to the motor boat that belongs to the company, these are definitely some interesting tax models,'' said this German entrepreneur.

He admits that renting out purchased Adriatic property is worthwhile, but added: "In the meantime, it has become difficult to rent something out in Croatia if you don't have a swimming pool, because the offer is very large. And really, all over Istria, a bit like like mushrooms after the rain, it's mostly luxury villas with swimming pools that keep on popping up, despite the drastic increase in construction costs. A pool has become important if you want to make a good living," Oliver explained.

Most of the foreign buyers in Croatia are German nationals

Jens and Oliver are just two of thousands of Germans who own real estate across the Republic of Croatia, and there are more and more of them coming and doing the same every day. According to recently released data from the Tax Administration, foreigners bought 9,514 Croatian properties last year, up 50 percent from a year earlier, and this still isn't the complete data for that period. Germans, Austrians and the neighbouring Slovenes buy the most. Real estate sales to German citizens rose by as much as 70 percent last year.

Many foreigners buy for their own needs, but there are more and more of them who come and invest their money in this way. Renting out Adriatic property has obviously become a lucrative business in Croatia, and after the coronavirus crisis, tourism is finally booming again, rental costs for both apartments and houses are rising, and taxes are relatively favourable for foreigners as well.

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated lifestyle section.

Thursday, 30 June 2022

FIBA World Cup Qualifiers: Croatia Loses in Slovenia 97:69 (54:35)

June 30, 2022 - Slovenia secures the next-round spot behind Finland, and Croatia needs help to stay alive in the FIBA World Cup qualifiers.

Tonight’s match-up being found at the bottom of Group C was a big surprise to most basketball fans. Finland and Sweden were able to celebrate big wins against highly-favored Slovenia and the expected runner-up Croatia earlier in the competition. With an 85:69 home win over Sweden, NBA youngster Lauri Markkanen’s team even secured position one in the group and a ticket to the next round of the qualifiers just before tip-off in Ljubljana.

To make up for missed opportunities, the Slovenian national basketball team around NBA star Luka Dončić put on a big show against Croatia for their 12,480 sold-out home crowd at Arena Stožice. An impressive 7-minute 20:0 scoring run in the first quarter already decided the game early and gave the crowd plenty of reason to celebrate. Coach Aleksander Sekulić was able to hold back his horses for most of the remaining 30 minutes.

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 FIBA

While NBA sharpshooter Bojan Bogdanović still seemed to suffer from jet lag, only Mario Hezonja seemed to have problems facing a loss, or maybe he was the only player tonight on the team with the checkers who had the skill to put up a fight. Croatia came back in the second quarter by outscoring the hosts 21:27. 15 of Croatia’s first half 35 points were delivered by Hezonja to make it 54:35 at half-time.

Croatian coach Damir Mulaomerović was not able to pull a rabbit out of his hat, but a miracle was just what his team would have needed to come back after Slovenia pulled away to 76:51 by the end of the third quarter. Luka Dončić (18) did not even need to do all the work with Mike Tobey (16) and Goran Dragić (17) chipping in plenty of points for the home team within the first 30 minutes.

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FIBA

So it was no surprise all three of them were given a well-deserved rest at the start of the final 10 minutes. With few minutes left to play, Dončić must have decided that he does not want to give the top-scoring honors to Hezonja and polished up his stats to finish the night with a double-double of  21 points, 10 assists, and 8 rebounds. Goran Dragić finished with 19 points, 8 rebounds and Mike Tobey also finished with a double-double consisting of 16 points and 13 rebounds.

Mario Hezonja led the Croatian team with 22 points and 9 rebounds, just short of a double-double. Bojan Bogdanovicć’s not very convincing game with 13 points was topped by Ivica Zubac’s 14 points and 7 rebounds. Slovenia outscored Croatia in the final quarter by 21:18 to finish the game 97:69. 

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 FIBA

Now Croatia not only needs to win against Finland at home on Sunday in Rijeka at 20:00 to keep a minimal chance to still qualify for the World Cup tournament in 2023, but also needs the help from Slovenia to win their away game in Sweden, which will be played also on Sunday but already at 17:00.

Referees: ROSSO, Yohan (France), CASTILLO, Luis (Spain), PROC, Michal (Poland)

Result by quarters: 33:8, 21:27, 22:16, 21:18.

Boxscore: https://www.fiba.basketball/basketballworldcup/2023/european-qualifiers/game/3006/Slovenia-Croatia#tab=boxscore 

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated sports section

Thursday, 30 June 2022

Finmin: Fuel Vouchers Being Considered

ZAGREB, 30 June 2022- Finance Minister Zdravko Marić said after a government session on Thursday that one of the measures being considered was the introduction of fuel vouchers, but added that he didn't want to prejudge anything.

Since the decision to cap fuel prices at petrol stations not located on highways expires next week and since it is certain that oil prices will continue to rise on the markets, reporters asked Marić what further measures were being considered by the government, to which he responded that the government was waiting for all calculations regarding oil prices and that Economy and Sustainable Development Minister Davor Filipović was in additional talks with distributors and producers.

Asked about the possibility of fuel vouchers being introduced, Marić said that this was one of the measures being considered, but that its preparation required some time.

It has to be considered whether the measure would apply equally to everyone or not.

"We have been working on that, among other things, for the last few days and weeks," Marić said.

Asked by reporters whether food vouchers were also being considered, Marić recalled that VAT had already been reduced to the lowest possible level for fresh food, such as meat, fish, fruit and vegetables.

He reiterated that the government expected other "links in the chain" to contribute and that now was the time for joint action.

Government to support consumer protection associations

Asked about the remarks from consumer protection associations that they had been allocated too little money for monitoring the rounding of prices in the process of changing over to the euro, Marić said that "as a rule, no matter how much you give, more is always asked for".

He said that HRK 700,000 was earmarked in the budget for that purpose, and there were also European sources, but that the government would find the money for such an important purpose as consumer protection.

"They should not worry. If they have good suggestions as to how to better monitor prices and prevent unjustified price increases, we will be very happy to support that," Marić said.

As of 12 July and the final formal decision on Croatia's entry into the euro area on 1 January 2023, it will possible to show dual prices, and some businesses will start doing so then, but this will become mandatory on 5 September, said Marić.

For more, check out our politics section.

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