Saturday, 24 July 2021

Faithful Czech, German, and Polish Tourists Saving the 2021 Tourist Season in Split

July 24, 2021 - The 2021 tourist season in Split is in full swing, with 14,000 tourists currently in the Dalmatian capital. 

"Currently, more than 14,000 tourists stay in Split, and according to the eVisitor system, 67,600 tourist arrivals and 254,000 tourist overnight stays have been realized in the Split area since the beginning of July, which is an increase of 94 percent in arrivals and 80 percent in overnight stays compared to 2020. The largest number of tourist overnights was realized from these main markets: Poland, Germany, France, and the USA, and from Croatia itself," said Tina Ćurković from the Split Tourist Board and explained that the number of tourists in Split is actually higher because of the midnight registration deadline for currently registered tourists in the eVisitor system, reports Slobodna Dalmacija.

"Our statistics do not include guests from cruise ships or visitors who do not spend the night," says Tina Ćurković.

When looking at Split-Dalmatia County, things are also going better than expected in the most optimistic forecasts from the beginning of the year. However, it has become increasingly difficult to find free accommodation in Split and its surroundings in recent days, especially with private renters.

"The acceleration of the season is noticeable. Statistics also show this. The most numerous guests are Poles. From the beginning of the year to July 22, as many as 935,000 Polish tourists arrived in Croatia," reports Joško Stella, director of the Split-Dalmatia County Tourist Board.

He confirms that the Czechs are behind them, and there are also Germans and Slovenes. There are also a lot of local guests - about half a million.

"Tourists who come by car predominate, and this has been the case for the last ten years, and the only thing that has changed is their order, so sometimes we get the most Germans or Czechs, and this time its Poles. So we can say that Poles, Czechs, Germans, Slovenes are among our most loyal guests and that our season, at least for now, is going very well," Stella says satisfied.

Between 65 and 70 percent of traffic from the record and most prosperous 2019 has already been recorded. 

"Which, hand on heart, should not be a reference because it was exceptional by all criteria. Honestly, we all shot at the seams that year because of the overcrowding and could hardly wait for that season to end. So I would rather say that our measure is tourism that happened to us in 2016 or 2018, and if we compare ourselves with those seasons, then today's numbers of guests and overnight stays are close to the results achieved then," says Stella.

Americans and Brits have not arrived in large numbers yet. However, in recent years, they dominated when Ultra came to town. 

"The numbers have always been on the side of Poles, Czechs, Germans, Slovenes ... The Americans and the British prefer Split because they come by plane, and there is also Hvar, Dubrovnik, Zagreb, and Plitvice. There are indeed fewer guests from Asia. From South Korea, for example. Americans often came to us as cruise guests, and today there is much less of that," Stella adds.

Luckily, we are very well connected by motorways with the richest countries in Europe, which are practically our neighborhood, and our airports are great.

"Especially Split, which can be seen by the number of flights and guests, and that is our great advantage. In fact, if they managed to finish the season at this pace, they would calmly welcome autumn because the state, based on such tourist results, would still have the strength to encourage those whose business was threatened by the coronavirus pandemic," says Stella.

He also commented on the announced arrival of British tourists, whose government has lifted all epidemiological measures.

"The biggest problem for us is testing guests on their way home and prescribing mandatory quarantine. So, naturally, that discourages people from going on vacation. However, in the case of Britain, which has almost completely abolished epidemiological measures, logically things should not be asked of their tourists, which means that they could easily come to Croatia on holiday," Stella is optimistic.

He thinks that it would be more correct to measure the number of hospitalized and thus determine completely safe or less safe zones than to look at the total number of infected.

Follow the latest on flights to Croatia HERE and the latest travel updates and COVID-19 news from Croatia HERE.

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

Saturday, 24 July 2021

Croatia Olympics July 24 Recap: Sinković Brothers Have Stellar Start, Tin Srbić Excellent in Qualifiers

July 24, 2021 - On the second day of the Olympic Games, Croatian athletes recorded great results. Here's our Croatia Olympics July 24 recap. 

Brothers Martin and Valent Sinković performed superbly to kick off their Olympic Games campaign in Tokyo. In the first race of the qualifying group, they won with a time of 6:32.41, which was 4.52 seconds faster than second-placed Denmark and 8.58 faster than third-placed Canada.

"We are generally satisfied with the race, but we definitely need to be better for the semifinals," said Valent Sinković.

Croatian gymnast Tin Srbić was excellent in the qualifying round, and with a score of 14,633, he holds first place. Two more subdivisions remain, and the final outcome will be known at around 3 pm Croatia time.

"This is one of the most difficult competitions in my career in terms of stress and tension," admitted Srbić.

Croatian table tennis player Andrej Gaćina (35) also successfully started his fourth Olympic Games campaign. In the 1st round match in the individual competition, he defeated Togoan Kokou Dodji Fanny 4-0 (11-5, 11-6, 11-3, 13-11).

In the 2nd round, Gaćina will play against a much more demanding opponent, the Frenchman Emmanuel Lebeson.

Croatian boxer Nikolina Ćaćić defeated American Yarisel Ramirez in the 1st round duel of the 57 kg category by a unanimous decision of the judges.

The 20-year-old Ćaćić is the first Croatian boxer to ever perform at the Olympic Games, and she recorded her first victory. However, she was not the favorite against an equally young American.

"This is just the beginning for me; I consider boxing a game, I am good at it, and I hope you will watch me for a long, long time. I am not thinking about the next opponent," said Ćaćić.

Croatian shooter Snježana Pejčić took 31st place in the 10-meter air rifle discipline. Pejčić recorded 622.6, which was enough for 31st place, but it was not enough for the finals.

"Not good, but not bad either. I think the result with which we entered the finals surprised everyone because it is a really high threshold. With 628 points, I was left without a final. Nobody knew what to expect, but the results are terribly high," said Snježana.

Kristina Tomić (26), a member of the Croatian Taekwondo team, was also unlucky. She lost in the 1st round in the category up to 49 kilograms to Colombian Andrea Ramirez Vargas.

Source: HRT

To follow the latest sports news in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

To learn more about sport in Croatia, CLICK HERE

Saturday, 24 July 2021

Split Students Want to Map Marjan Paths, Organise Kids' Zoo Workshop

July the 24th, 2021 - A group of Split students have a praiseworthy project in mind which would see the paths of the Marjan Forest Park properly mapped out and a kids' workshop designed and created at the zoo.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Lucija Spiljak writes, ''For a better Marjan/Za bolji Marjan'' is the name of the project that Split students Nikolina Musa, Mia Rosic and Ariana Kecic applied for a UPSHIFT three-day workshop within a unique UNICEF programme (ZABUM/Za buducnost mladih/For the future of young people), from which they returned as one of the winning teams/projects.

As the name suggests, this group of Split students focused on arranging unmaintained existing areas and creating new recreational facilities in the Marjan Forest Park in the heart of Split.

Nikolina, Mia and Ariana explained how they heard from their school psychologist Hana Paver about the three-day workshop for UPSHIFT, which is jointly conducted by the UNICEF Office for Croatia and the Croatian Office for Creativity and Innovation (HUKI).

It was, as these Split students say, a great opportunity for them to try something new, something different and get out of their comfort zones. Before the beginning of the workshop, they conducted a survey with 200 respondents for the reported topic of PS Marjan in order to determine what is bothering Split's citizens about the area the most.

"Based on that, we devised a plan that we first presented to the school psychologist because she was our biggest support in the beginning. We prepared the project for realisation at the workshop with the guidance of our mentor Nikola Jamicic,'' explained Nikolina.

For the first project, the Split students chose a photo competition with the main theme of natural beauty and cultural heritage of Marjan in order to take small steps to bring young people closer to the beloved forest park.

"We've noticed that people neglect it and don't appreciate it as much as they should. As individuals, we couldn't organise the photo contest on our own, so we turned to HPD Mosor for help, and at the meeting we presented our finished idea to the President, Ivana and the head of the photo section, Zana. They were delighted with our plan and we immediately started cooperating. The competition was open from June the 1st to July the 4th, and the awards ceremony was held on July the 12th at the First Viewpoint on Marjan, followed by the opening of the exhibition in the HPD Mosor, where the photos will be exhibited until the end of September,'' explained Mia.

As part of the initiative, they say, they want to raise awareness, as well as educate and motivate young people and initiate volunteer actions.

"Our next plan is to complete the project from Upshift and we're preparing leaflets with QR codes that lead to the All trails programme where Marjan's thematic trails will be mapped out with bilingual descriptions and photos. In addition, we've established cooperation with the zoo on Marjan and together we will organise fun and educational workshops for children,'' announced Nikolina.

Despite this truly commendable idea, the Split students say it wasn't at all easy for them at first because the environment was uninspiring and their peers underestimated their project and the effort and work they'd put in. However, Nikolina, Mia and Adriana say that this was just an additional incentive for them to prove that with perseverance, everything can be achieved.

"As we worked, so many doors began to open for us and we just caught the opportunities that came our way. Of course, our biggest support lay with our parents, the school psychologist and our class teacher. We've cooperated with: HPD Mosor, the Marjan Association, the Public Institution for the Management of PS Marjan, and Zoo Split,'' stated Nikolina.

Given that they tried something new in a somewhat uninspiring environment, just how do these promising high school students view the Croatian education system, and what are their plans are in the future? Do they want to stay here in Croatia or would they prefer to build a career abroad.

"The Croatian education system, despite the reforms, is a bit behind. Not all parts of Croatia are equally equipped for normal operation, and defective parts can often be found. But the biggest problem is the professors' attitudes, which hasn't changed to keep up with the reforms.

In my opinion, more educational programmes should be introduced in which, in addition to students, professors will also be educated. In addition, the material should be reduced by eliminating excess unnecessary information. Special attention should be paid to making presentations, and especially to the way these works are presented,'' said Ariana.

Although it was not easy for the Split students back at the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic due to online classes and having to keep a distance from their classmates and friends, they believe that the schools did well.

For more, follow our dedicated lifestyle section.

Saturday, 24 July 2021

Vili Beros on Croatia and Competition: Croatia is Safest Destination

July the 24th, 2021 - Croatian Health Minister Vili Beros, otherwise a neurosurgeon by profession, has taken to Twitter to praise Croatia for being the safes destination for tourists when compared to the country's typical competition across the Mediterranean.

Despite the Delta variant seeing infection rates shoot up once again across Europe, with the United Kingdom being hit particularly hard despite their decision to drop all restrictions and attempt to live with the novel virus as normally as possible, Croatian numbers are still favourable.

Britain recently moved Croatia to its much desired green list in its own traffic light system, but the ECDC map recently changed the colour of the Croatian coast from green to orange, which isn't the best news as the height of the summer season approaches, but Health Minister Vili Beros isn't letting that get in the way of the generally positive Croatian epidemiological trends.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, Health Minister Vili Beros took to social media and published a graph showing a comparison of the Republic of Croatia and the countries that represent its competition in terms of the summer season and tourism.

Vili Beros concluded that we're still the safest destination compared to tourist competitors and uged people to continue getting vaccinated and sticking to all of the current epidemiological measures in order to make sure this summer season is closer to that of pre-pandemic 2019 than to the dire situation we all experienced this time last year.

''Compared to the competitive flagships of European Union tourism, the Republic of Croatia is the safest tourist destination. Let's keep it that way! Do we need a better motive for vaccination and adherence to epidemiological measures than this? Let's stay responsible, let's get vaccinated and let's preserve the tourist season,'' read Vili Beros' tweet which accompanied the graph.

For all you need to know about coronavirus specific to Croatia, including border, travel, testing and quarantine rules, make sure to bookmark our dedicated COVID-19 section and select your preferred language.

Saturday, 24 July 2021

Museum of Illusions Prepares Step Forward Thanks to Cash Injection

July the 24th, 2021 - The wildly popular Museum of Illusions which placed the Croatian capital of Zagreb on the museum map for very many people, is set to make yet another international breakthrough owing to a very welcome cash injection.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Lucija Spiljak writes, the Invera Equity Partners (IEP) private equity fund management company has finalised an investment for the company Metamorfoza, which is behind the well-known educational and entertainment Museum of Illusions concept.

This business model is based on the franchise and is present across twenty countries, in 34 cities on four continents, including the likes of New York, Paris, Toronto, Vienna, Dubai, Shanghai.

The concept was developed by the company's founders and current shareholders Tomislav Pamukovic and Roko Zivkovic, launching it back in June 2015 in the heart of Zagreb, where it immediately experienced great success and from where it quickly began to spread around the world.

The investment in Metamorfoza is the first transaction financed by the Invera Private Equity Fund, and was supported by the European Investment Fund, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the Raiffeisen Mandatory Pension Fund, the Erste Blue Mandatory and Voluntary Pension Fund, the Decommissioning Financing Fund (NEK) and the PBZ Croatia Insurance mandatory pension fund. The IEP thus acquired a majority (65 percent) stake in the company and undertook to increase its capital by a massive three million euros.

"We're delighted with this new partnership and believe that this is a great way for the Museum of Illusions concept to grow and continue to be a global leader in this segment," said Pamukovic and Zivkovic. IEP will continue to develop Metamorfoza and strengthen its partnerships with the company's founders.

The company is focused on further expansion across the world, primarily through franchises, but also by turning the business model in which Metamorfoza would open and manage museums in all major cities around the world.

“Creating a new idea and turning it into a marketable product is in itself a great success. Creating a new idea and turning it into a globally recognisable brand on four continents and more than 20 countries within 6 years is truly remarkable. It obviously took a unique combination of the founder’s creativity, vision, and perseverance to bring Metamorfoza to this level. We're proud that Roko and Tomislav gave us their trust and joined us at this stage,'' said Kemal Sikiric, an IEP Executive Partner.

For more, follow our business section. For all you need to know about Zagreb adapted to 2021, check out Zagreb in a Page.

Saturday, 24 July 2021

Is Former President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic in Line for Top NATO Job?

July the 24th, 2021 - Former President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic might well be being checked out for a top NATO position amid speculation that has become more serious of late.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, the Politico portal, which is read worldwide, announced that for the very first time in the 72-year history of this international military organisatio, NATO, Jens Stoltenberg is looking for a successor, preferably from Eastern Europe.

It has been noted that Croatia's former President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic has an ''impressive biography'', leading this particular story to firmly outgrow the realms of mere speculation and begin to be seriously discussed among those close to the profession and the rest of the public.

Back during the 2015 Croatian presidential campaign, the then HDZ candidate didn't want to reveal what her salary was as an assistant working at NATO.

"I still follow the instructions given to me by NATO, which oblige me as a former NATO employee to make sure this data isn't to be disclosed to the public, and the salary is much less than twenty thousand euros," said former President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic at the confrontation at which the matter was discused with Ivo Josipovic (SDP), who claimed that salaries in NATO aren't actually kept as some sort of big secret.

Then, in late 2016, there was speculation that former British Prime Minister David Cameron potentially becoming NATO's new secretary general, and the British publication The Independent reported that the salary for the post was £220,000 a year (which is around 21,000 euros or 160,000 kuna a month). According to the document from the beginning of 2020, the highest monthly salary paid out to a NATO employee stood at 23,646 euros or 178,000 kuna, according to a report from tportal.

Fast forward to November 2020, NATO asked its members for more money in order to further increase the salaries of its employees, in accordance with the agreed methodology, which some allies refused, considering it inappropriate at the time of the very height of the coronavirus pandemic.

For more, follow our dedicated politics section.

Friday, 23 July 2021

Agglomeration Project on Hvar Island to Be Completed by End 2023

ZAGREB, 23 July 2021 - The construction of water supply and drainage infrastructure in the Jelsa-Vrboska-Basina-Stari Grad agglomeration on Hvar island, a project worth HRK 437 million (€58.2m), will be completed by the end of 2023, Prime Minister Andrej Plenković said during a visit to this southern Adriatic island on Friday.

The project, co-financed by the European Union, includes the construction of a drainage system and two waste-water treatment facilities as well as the reconstruction of the water supply network.

Plenković visited a construction site where the work began in February.

The Mayor of Jelsa, Nikša Peronja, said that the agglomeration project was very important for the central part of the island because its implementation was a condition for the development of tourism.

In Jelsa, Plenković met with the heads of all local government units on the island. "We discussed all essential development projects for Hvar island, notably those relating to the modernisation of the road infrastructure."

The prime minister noted that during the COVID-19 crisis HRK 55 million (€7.3m) had been disbursed for the wages of workers in Hvar, Stari Grad, Jelsa and Sućuraj.

For more on politics, CLICK HERE.

Friday, 23 July 2021

Ryanair Opens Zagreb Base

ZAGREB, 23 July 2021 - Low-cost airline Ryanair opened its base at Zagreb Airport on Friday, announcing that it expected to increase the number of its aircraft from the present one to three by the end of the year and bring about 700,000 passengers by April 2022.

Speaking at a press conference, Ryanair CEO Eddie Wilson said that Zagreb had great potential for their business development and that, with investment of $300 million, they hoped to turn it into an even stronger tourist destination.

He said that during the winter flight schedule Ryanair would operate 60 flights out of Zagreb a week to 24 foreign destinations, including nine new ones. In summer, the airline connects Zagreb with 15 European destinations.

We want to fly all year round and improve our business in Croatia. We have our bases in Zadar and Zagreb, and we also fly to Pula where we are seeing very good results, Wilson said.

Asked if he thought that the inclusion of Croatia's Adriatic coast in the orange zone on the COVID-19 map of the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) would hurt the tourism industry, he said that this is less important and that more important is how many people in the country have been vaccinated.

This summer we expect a longer season than last year, in Croatia too, which is now in a good situation, and we hope it will stay that way, Wilson said.

For more news, CLICK HERE.

Friday, 23 July 2021

HUBBAZIA - A Business Incubator in Opatija for Tourism Startups Open for Applicants Until August 5, 2021

July 23, 2021 - Opatija is known to be Croatia's "cradle of tourism", hence, it's no wonder that it became home to HUBBAZIA - a centre for creativity and innovation in tourism. This business incubator, co-financed by the European Union, is now accepting applications from start-up companies that have original, sustainable, and creative ideas to further boost tourism entrepreneurship in Opatija. Applications are open until August 5, 2021! 

One of the most important (if not the most important) economic branches in Croatia is tourism and through HUBBAZIA, the City of Opatija encourages and attracts young startup companies to open and create new sustainable business ideas to further enhance the development of tourism in the city by providing full management training and mentoring, fully-equipped co-working space for brainstorming and lastly, venture capital financing. Joining HUBBAZIA is a great opportunity for young entrepreneurs to help increase their company's efficiency while significantly reducing looming business risks.

In return, through this project, the City of Opatija hopes to attract more foreign and domestic investors, regional economic and social development growth, and a more fulfilling relationship between the city's small to medium enterprises and the local community's needs. With HUBBAZIA amounting to a total value of HRK 2,543,985.25 (EUR 338,850.47), thanks to the European Regional Development Fund, the project will serve as big assistance to youth who are striving in launching their own businesses and will ensure the growth of Opatija's tourism industry.

Conditions for application 

The City of Opatija, together with PAR Business School, welcomes young entrepreneurs who have innovative ideas and business models related to tourism AS LONG AS the business entities are not older than 3 years. The program will have 5 project cycles, meaning, it will have 5 generations of participants. The deadline for the application for its 1st cycle will be on 05.08.2021 at 12:00. The workshops and mentorships will begin on 16.08.2021 and will be held in the newly renovated and modernly equipped Villa Antonia. If interested, CLICK HERE for the application link.

What to expect?

After the submission of all applications closes, HUBBAZIA will conduct the selection phase which usually lasts for 1 month. If your business manages to get through, you will enter the mentoring and education phase which lasts for 4 months along with 25 hours of workshops each month. Here, your company will be mentored by experts in business, finance, marketing, sales, web design, investment, and product development to help you shape and enhance your business ideas. Next is the final consultation/construction phase, where you will be given a month to finalise your business construction model. The whole cycle culminates on Demo Day when participants get to present their ideas to the public and attract investors. 

Attendees will be entitled to have free co-working space, internet, meeting room, consumables for training, counseling, and mentoring, presentation on HUBBAZIA websites and social networks, and minimized initial fixed costs. Most importantly, HUBBAZIA will be a space for like-minded individuals to brainstorm and network their business with other entrepreneurs and to gain a wider range of business information and contacts - a definite and exciting once-in-a-lifetime chance!

For more details on HUBBAZIA, CLICK HERE.

To learn more about Business, follow TCN's dedicated page.

CLICK HERE for more about Croatia.

 

Friday, 23 July 2021

Croatia to Toughen COVID Restrictions Along Adriatic Coast as of Monday

ZAGREB, 23 July 2021 - Croatia is introducing tougher COVID-19 restrictions in five coastal counties as of Monday, the head of the national coronavirus response team, Interior Minister Davor Božinović, announced at a press conference on Friday. 

Any gatherings in one place of more than 50 people without a COVID vaccination certificate will be banned, while the maximum number of people with COVID certificates in one place will be 1,000, Božinović said.

"The entire Croatian Adriatic is currently dancing between the orange and red zones on the EDCD map. These measures are aimed at preventing the introduction of restrictions for travellers returning from Croatia, and this is also their wish," he said, adding that the new measures would be in place until 15 August.

Special restrictions have been introduced for wedding celebrations. If they involve up to 15 persons, they do not need to have a COVID certificate, while for those with more than 15 persons all participants will be required to have such certificates.

Fairs and other outdoor business events can be held only with the approval of local and regional coronavirus response teams. Organisers are required to seek permission for such events no later than seven days before the gathering or event takes place.

The national coronavirus response team has also changed the criteria for entering Croatia, extending the validity of COVID vaccination and recovery certificates. Under the new rules, people can enter the country if their certificates showing that they have been fully vaccinated or have recovered from the disease are not older than 270 days. Previously, such certificates should not have been older than 210 days.

Travellers from Category 1 countries must have a negative PCR test not older than 48 hours and must self-isolate on entering the country, while visitors from Category 2 countries must show a negative PCR test not older than 72 hours or a negative antigen test not older than 48 hours, regardless of the vaccination or recovery status. The Category 2 countries include the United Kingdom, the Russian Federation and Cyprus.

Learn more about travelling to Croatia during the COVID-19 pandemic on our TC page.

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