Wednesday, 19 October 2022

Norwegian Fund Offering Six Million Euros to Croatian Companies

October 19, 2022 - After the publication of the call for proposals by the Norwegian fund management, all interested parties will have two months to submit their applications, and the percentage of support will be determined depending on the size and location of the company, the type of investment, etc.

As reported by Poslovni, six million euros from the Norwegian financial mechanism will be available to Croatian entrepreneurs for investments in green technologies.

The company Innovation Norway, manager of the fund for the Business Development and Innovation Croatia programme, announced that in November, it will publish the third call for project proposals within the framework of the program financed by the Norwegian Financial Mechanism. The goal of the programme, which focuses on green industry innovations and "blue growth," is to increase competitiveness and encourage sustainable business operations in Croatian, primarily small and medium-sized enterprises.

A total of around six million euros will be available to Croatian entrepreneurs. Through the innovations of the green industry, they will be able to receive grants for the co-financing of innovative projects that contribute to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, reducing energy consumption, or saving other resources. Through the "blue growth" projects related to innovations in the coastal and maritime areas, the following will be co-financed - coastal and maritime tourism, maritime transport, fishing and aquaculture, marine waste and pollution, desalination, and other similar projects.

After the publication of the call, all interested parties will have two months to submit their applications, and the percentage of support will be determined depending on the size and location of the company, the type of investment, etc. Thus, for example, small companies that invest in equipment, depending on the area where they are located on the map of regional grants, will be able to receive up to 70 percent of grants from the total value of the project.

Large companies with a maximum of 25 percent public ownership can also apply but will receive a lower co-financing rate.

So far, 17 projects have been approved from this programme in the first call, and it is expected that another 21 projects will be approved in the second call.

Innovation Norway states that this programme for entrepreneurs represents a unique opportunity for cooperation, through access to new knowledge and modern technology with Norwegian partners, through partnership on projects, and other forms of collaboration.

More information on the possibilities of co-financing from the Norwegian Financial Mechanism can be found at www.innovasjonnorge.no/Croatiainnovation and by inquiry at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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

Wednesday, 19 October 2022

Croatian Returnee Stories: Ida Hamer, from Northampton UK to Zagreb

October 19, 2022 - Whisper it quietly, but more and more people are relocating to Croatia from the diaspora. In a new TCN series, we meet them to find out how they are faring and what advice they have for others thinking of making the switch. Next up is Ida Hamer, who moved from Northampton UK to Zagreb.

Unlike most of the returnees in this new TCN series who lived abroad for decades, my journey as a foreigner was much shorter but extremely valuable to me. Today I’m a television reporter and a journalist – but almost 10 years ago, I was a girl with a dream to study abroad. I was born in the capital of Croatia, Zagreb. I had only just turned 19 when I finished high school and moved to the UK to study Multimedia Journalism at the University of Northampton. All by myself, without knowing a single person there, that “adventure” was exciting and frightening at the same time. The life experience I gained there is something I would never obtain or experienced if I had stayed in Croatia, and it is something I will always appreciate. However, after graduation, my heart said – it was time to get back home.

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1. You made the switch to Croatia. Tell us a little about the decision process and how long it took for you to get on the plane.

When I decided to return home, it was also a time when many of my peers in Croatia decided to move to another country. So, my decision wasn’t quite popular and was surprising to many. It took me a bit of thinking whether “should I stay or should I go.” But when I graduated, the decision came naturally to me. I was ready to pack my UK experiences and memories in my luggage and start a new chapter at home.

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2. What did your family and community back home think of your decision at the time?

My family was supportive. They knew this decision was mine to make. However, there were those who were surprised. Some thought it was a great decision; some thought that I must be, well, crazy. Many expected I would continue my life overseas since I finished University abroad. And even though that seemed a bit discouraging, given the atmosphere in the country at the time, I did understand where this questioning was coming from.

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3. Where did you get your information about the realities of Croatia prior to coming?

I knew mostly everything because I lived in Croatia prior to moving to the UK, however, now I saw things from a different perspective. I understood that some things at home might be a struggle, but I also felt that anything is possible for a person who is willing to work hard. When I was leaving Croatia, even as a teenager, I was frustrated with corruption, nepotism, bureaucracy, and, in general, the bad atmosphere in the country. But living in the UK also made me realize all the positives that Croatia has. I missed the sun and the seaside, Zagreb’s city center, coffee culture and our humor, and all those little things that make life here nice. So, when I moved back here, at first, I saw everything through rose-colored glasses, which also wasn’t good.

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4. What were you most nervous about making the switch? What was your biggest fear, and what was the reality of what you found?

My biggest fear was – what if I ever regret moving back to Croatia? Up until now, I still haven’t.

5. Think back to the time before you arrived. What were your perceptions about Croatia, and how were they different from the reality you encountered?

At first, my perception was colored pink. Now, I look at everything much more realistically.

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6. You are still here, so obviously, the pros outweigh the cons. Tell us about some of the things that you love about being in Croatia, as well as some of the things you don't like. 

I love that people here socialize, spend time with each other, talk, and laugh. I appreciate that I feel safe on the streets of my city. I love the life I built for myself here since I returned. I like that I can be at the seaside in two hours if I wish and can also visit all the neighboring countries in a couple of hours too if I decide to make a quick weekend getaway. On the other hand, and like most young people here, I dislike nepotism and corruption. I dislike how slowly things are changing for the better around here. For example, population decline has been one of the hot topics here for many years now, yet we do not see a systematic effort to tackle this challenge. There is definitely not enough effort put into getting young people to stay here. And while the population is facing a decline, the number of people living in poverty is increasing. This is a sad reality for a state with so much potential.

7. What advice do you have for others thinking about making a move from the diaspora?

Connect with people online and talk! There are so many different pages where people who went through similar experiences will happily share it with others and answer all the questions.

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8. How do you think Croatia can better assist those who are looking to return to the Homeland?

Firstly, I have to say I applaud all the people behind websites that are offering advice and resources to foreigners and the diaspora on how to live and work in Croatia. They are untangling many Croatian bureaucratic entanglements that are foreign not only to foreigners or the diaspora but also to Croatians who live here. These people are taking a lot of burden off the government, as people are finding the right answers on those pages rather than contacting and asking these questions the relevant government offices. However, I do hope that one day the Croatian government will have a similar page where all the resources will be in one place and where it will be clearly outlined what services the country provides and where. I really hope the government will make the bureaucratic procedures simpler and that most things will be able to be done digitally. Until that beautiful, sunny day happens, if moving to Croatia, arm yourself with patience and humor.

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Thanks, Ida, and good luck with https://idahamer.com/ 

https://www.linkedin.com/in/ida-hamer-026461111/

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You can follow the TCN Croatian Returnees series here.

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What is it like to live in Croatia? An expat for 20 years, you can follow my series, 20 Ways Croatia Changed Me in 20 Years, starting at the beginning - Business and Dalmatia.

Follow Paul Bradbury on LinkedIn.

Croatia, a Survival Kit for Foreigners is now available on Amazon in paperback and on Kindle.

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Wednesday, 19 October 2022

100 Million Kuna Makarska Apfel Arena to Open Doors Tomorrow

October the 19th, 2022 - The much anticipated Makarska Apfel Arena is set to open its doors tomorrow, marking a new start for that part of Central Dalmatia with this 100 million kuna investment.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Marija Crnjak writes, the Makarska Apfel Arena sports and cultural centre, known as a socially responsible business project, will officially open its doors this Thursday.

The Pasalic family, which has been supplying Makarska catering and hospitality firms for a number of years now, invested about 100 million kuna in this project with the aim of making the new Makarska Apfel Arena not only a place for the hosting of various sporting, cultural and artistic events, and a space for business and health facilities, but also to provide the entire Makarska Riviera with added value and stimulate new development.

The project is unique in the Republic of Croatia not only in terms of what sort of content it has on offer, but also because the investor doesn't even expect a return from this very large investment. This is also not the first socially responsible project this particular company has engaged in, given the fact that just last year, they built two buildings with sixteen apartments, which it then sold far below the market price to its own employees in order to solve their housing issues.

Matko Pasalic, the executive director of the company Apfel, which was founded by his father Mijo Pasalic, stated that Apfel also built the first house for a single family after the earthquake in Petrinja back in December 2020, which fully coincides with the company's policy.

"On the land in Makarska, we could have built apartments for commercial sale and sold them at a price higher than 3,000 euros per square metre, which is the current average price of property in Makarska, but it was important for us to take care of our employees. We invest a lot in the satisfaction of our 120 workers, who have always earned higher wages than the average, and it's important for us to invest in the community, which was the main motive for this investment in the Makarska Apfel Arena. We saw that Makarska was lacking when it came to such facilities and created a centre that will have several functions, and although we'll generate income there, we don't expect a return on this investment. Financial profit wasn't our goal," explained Pasalic.

The core business of the Pasalic family company is the wholesale of food and beverages in the HoReCa segment in Makarska, where they generate about 80 percent of their income, while the rest is made up of inventory equipment for the catering and hospitality industry. Although they generate most of their income during the summer tourist season, all 120 of their employees are employed full-time. Although the coronavirus pandemic threatened them like it did with everyone else, there were no layoffs or salary cuts, Pasalic pointed out.

Last year, the company Apfel generated an impressive 214 million kuna in revenue, with a profit of 16.7 million kuna, while before the pandemic, their annual revenue stood at 235 million kuna.

In the new Makarska Apfel Arena, another 25 people will be employed permanently and about 10 will be provided with part-time work, and 80 percent of the workers have already been found without any major difficulties, the executive director revealed. The new cenre spans a total of 14,000 square metres, of which 4,300 square metres are interior space, and the project that will unite culture, sports and healthcare was created by the company "Lukic Projekt".

When Mijo Pasalic initially presented the project back in February this year, the planned amount of investment was 80 million kuna, but due to known circumstances on the market and inflationary pressures, that figure grew to around 100 million kuna. Matko Pasalic revealed that part of it was realised with the company's own funds, and part was realised through loans provided by commercial banks.

Makarska will finally get a proper cinema

A Mediterranean garden spanning 3,500 square metres with three gazebos and a barbecue was created on the outside of the new Makarska Apfel Arena, where people are free to organise various celebrations and get-togethers with prior notice. There is also a children's park, a field with artificial grass for indoor football, as well as a tennis court with a hard surface. In the 4300 square metres of the inner part, there is a playground, another field with artificial grass, and behind it a padel tennis court, a children's playroom, while in the middle of the centre there is a cafe and a pizzeria with an indoor and outdoor terrace.

On the first floor of the Makarska Apfel Arena, there are three fitness halls and gyms, in which the Pasalic family invested 2 million kuna, and they are equipped according to standards that will satisfy both recreational and professional athletes, according to Matko Pasalic. In the eastern part, there is a multimedia hall with 360 cascading seats for concerts, congresses, plays and events, and there will also be a cinema, which Makarska has never had before.

They're also bringing doctors to the new centre

The healthcare department and its accompanying offices are located on the second floor. The company opted to provide healthcare services and while there will be a nurse and a physiotherapist present, they'll also cooperate with 10 specialist doctors who will perform various examinations there, so that the people of Makarska don't have to go to Split for their more advanced healthcare needs. Blood sampling will also be organised there, which is especially important during the height of the tourist season when the need for medical services is increased.

During the presentation of the project, Mijo Pasalic pointed out that part of the programme was conceived as year-round, and part as only seasonal. The year-round activity plan includes the organisation of seminars and congresses, the hosting of plays and concerts, cinema screenings, offers of basic and specialist healthcare services, daily fitness programmes, children's birthday parties, a sports school foy young kids, team sports held on indoor and outdoor sports fields, and the organisation of team building sessions for companies.

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

Tuesday, 18 October 2022

Council of the Croatian National Bank Warns About Economy Slowing Down

October 18, 2022 - The Council of the Croatian National Bank (HNB) stated on Tuesday that indicators point to a slowdown in economic growth in the third quarter of this year and next year.

The economic statistical indicators indicate the possibility of a decrease in economic activity in the third quarter of 2022 compared to the previous quarter, i.e. a strong slowdown in real growth compared to the same quarter last year, according to the press release from the HNB Council session. They note that business and consumer expectations worsened, industrial production decreased in July and August compared to the second quarter, and turnover from retail trade stagnated. The employment growth slowed down, yet the administrative unemployment rate in July and August was slightly lower than in the three previous months. In the mentioned two months, the growth of nominal gross wages also slowed down, while real wages continued to decrease, the HNB states, adding that on the other hand, indicators in tourism point to record achievements in the third quarter.

In an environment of significant worsening of economic prospects accompanied by strong inflationary pressures and uncertainty regarding the prices and availability of energy sources, economic growth could slow down from the expected 5.5 percent this year to one percent next year, the HNB estimates. The annual inflation measured by the consumer price index accelerated to 12.8 percent in September, from 12.3 percent in August, the statement further states, but also adds that towards the end of the year, inflationary pressures are expected to weaken, partly due to energy price control measures. Thus, the HNB estimates, inflation in 2022 could amount to 10.3 percent on average, while in 2023 it is expected to slow down to 6.7 percent due to the effect of the base period, the gradual decrease in the prices of raw materials on the world market, the easing of stagnation in supply chains and weakening demand. 

Croatia will enter the eurozone at the beginning of next year during the European Central Bank's tightening monetary policy cycle, which will negatively affect the financing conditions of the domestic economy. However, the reduction of the required reserve ratio and the abolition of the minimum foreign currency liquidity, which the Croatian National Bank has already decided on, will strongly increase the banks' free cash resources and act in the direction of mitigating and slowing down the deterioration of financing conditions on the domestic market, the central bank says.

The coordinated global tightening of monetary policies increased the borrowing costs of most countries, while the increase in yields on Croatian government bonds was nevertheless significantly milder than in the countries of Central and Eastern Europe outside the euro area, thanks to the favorable effects of the imminent introduction of the euro. For now, bank interest rates have not increased either on new or existing loans to companies and households. However, the cost of repaying loans with a variable interest rate could gradually increase, especially for those tied to Euribor, which has already risen strongly, which will be mitigated in the short term by the legal limit on the highest interest rates on consumer loans. The apparent increase in interest rates on new housing loans, along with the pronounced uncertainty and decrease in real incomes, also increases the risk of a reversal in the residential real estate market, where prices and activity continued to grow strongly in the first part of the year.

Tuesday, 18 October 2022

Will Ukrainian Soldiers Get Training in Croatia? President Says "No"

October 18, 2022 - As has often been the case recently, there is discord between the Croatian Ministry of Defence and President Milanović regarding Croatia participating in an EU project to train Ukrainian soldiers.

As numerous international media reported earlier, European Union foreign ministers signed off on Monday on a military assistance mission to train 15,000 Ukrainian personnel in various member states. Croatian media reports that the key roles in the mission are those of Germany and Poland, as well as the Baltic states and Slovakia. Telegram.hr asked the Croatian Ministry of Defence whether Croatia is ready to participate in the program, and they've received a quite broad, but positive reply. "The Croatian army continuously conducts its own training. Within the framework of the existing training, we are ready to receive foreign participants, all in accordance with the plans and legal procedures", their reply reads, suggesting that the Politico's report which lists Croatia as one of the participating countries might be correct. 

Well, not so fast, if you ask the President of Croatia, Zoran Milanović, and the journalists did ask him exactly that today. Index.hr reports that he told the press that he is not familiar with the idea of Ukrainian soldiers being trained in Europe, but in principle, he does not support the training of "military manpower" on Croatian soil because it would mean involving Croatia in that war more than necessary. "I don't support that idea because I don't support involving Croatia in this war more than it should. It's bringing the war to Croatia. We are fair, we stand in solidarity and that's it," he said. If the Ministry of Defense of the Republic of Croatia agrees with such an idea, Milanović tells them in advance: "Let's not go for it". "As the commander in chief (of the Croatian Armed Forces), I will not approve it," he said. He praised the courage of the Ukrainian army, which is not a member of NATO, but which has been getting a lot of support from NATO and some NATO members. "They train, finance, supply" (...) "so NATO is a factor 100 percent involved in the war in Ukraine. That is a fact". He will not say anything against it, but if it includes further Croatian involvement, he will be against it, he said.

Tuesday, 18 October 2022

Speaking Ragusan - The Dubrovnik Subdialect Explored

October the 18th, 2022 - The Dubrovnik subdialect is spoken (as the name should suggest) in the wider Dubrovnik area, and was formerly known as the Ragusan dialect back during the days of the aristocratic maritime Dubrovnik Republic, or the Republic of Ragusa.

Standard Croatian is complicated enough for the vast majority of people, but what about all of the different dialects? Put someone from Zagorje and someone from the island of Brac (or should I say Broc, as the natives call it) in a room together and watch one try to understand what the other is saying. They'll have quite the job on their hands if they're both speaking in their natural ways. There are many places across Croatia where similar phenomena occur, and some words will sadly die with the last generation using them, including many old Dalmatian words which are rarely, if ever, spoken anymore.

Let's explore the Dubrovnik subdialect, which draws its origins and influences from both Venetian and Florentine dialects of the Italian language and from the Ragusan dialect of Dalmatian. This dialect is the least widely spoken of all of the many subdialects of the Croatian language and was once deemed to be independent. It is spoken down in the extreme south of Dalmatia and is a subdialect of the Shtokavian dialect.

Known simply as 'Dubrovacki jezik (Dubrovnik language) or Dubrovacki govor (the Dubrovnik way of speaking)', it is spoken around the border area of Croatia and Montenegro, across the Dubrovnik area, up to parts of the Peljesac Peninsula. In short, it is spoken or used in some way (most commonly in literary texts of a certain age) in the areas which once belonged to the former Dubrovnik Republic (Ragusa), which was independent from 1368 all the way until 1808, when it ceased to exist at the end of the January of that same year.

Let's have a look at some words used in the Dubrovnik subdialect, with three Dubrovnik words and their English and standard Croatian translations per letter of the alphabet (with the exception of the letters which don't exist in Croatian at all, that is). Many of them will be more familiar than you'd expect, especially if you speak Italian or other Dalmatian dialects.

 

Akomodat - to adapt/prilagoditi se

Avizat - to let someone know something or to give them some news/obavijestiti

Arivat - to arrive/doci or stici

Balat - to dance/plesati 

Bagaji - luggage or bags/prtljaga

Balun - ball/lopta

Crevje - shoes/cipele

Cukarina - diabetes/secerna bolest (Cukar is also sugar/secer)

Catara - a floating platform such as a ferry/plutajuca platforma/trajekt

Dentijera - false teeth/umjetni zubi

Dinja - water melon/lubenica

Dotur - doctor/lijecnik (doktor)

Ebeta - idiot/budala

Entrata - entrance/ulaz

Eletrika - electricity/struja

Falso - fake or false/neistinito or umjetno

Febra - fever or temperature/temperatura

Favor - a service/usluga

Golokud - corn/kukuruz

Grub - ugly or no good/ruzan

Grop - a knot/cvor

Halav - dirty or unclean/prljav

Hitati - to catch something/hvatati or loviti

Homo - let's go/idemo

Impicavat - to make someone angry/ljutiti nekoga

Iskat - to look or search for something/traziti

Isat - to lift something up/podici

Jaketa - jacket/jakna

Jedit - to get angry/ljutiti se

Janka - a net intended for small fish/mreza za male ribe

Kapelin - a woman's hat/zenski sesir

Kapac - someone who is responsible or accountable/sposoban

Ke' nova - what's new? how's it going? how're you doing?/sta ima novoga? sta ima? kako ste/si?

Lapis - pencil/olovka

Legat - to read/citati

Lentrat - to take a photo of someone/fotografirati kamerom

Manina - bracelet/narukvica

Mirakul - miracle/cudo

Mrkatunja - quince/dunja

Nepuca - niece/necakinja

Neput - nephew/necak

Nevera - bad weather/nevrijeme

Olignji - squid/lignje

Ombrela - umbrella/kisobran

Orcat - to work hard or a lot/puno raditi

Para se - it seems/cini se

Pengat - to draw or colour in/crtati or bojati

Porat - port/luka

Riceta - recipe/recept

Roncat - to make a noise/praviti buku

Redjipet - bra/grudnjak

Saket - bag/vrecica

Sikur - to be sure/siguran

Skaline - steps or stairs/stepenice

Tinel - living room/dnevni boravak

Takujin - wallet/novcanik

Tapit - carpet/tepih

Ufat se - to hope/nadati se

Ukopeciti se - to freeze/smrznuti se

Uzanca - a custom or habit/obicaj or navika

Ventat - to let some fresh air in or ventilate a room/prozraciti

Vizita - to pay a visit/posjet

Vonj - a smell or scent/miris

Zambon - cooked ham/kuhana sunka

Zivina - animal/zivotinja

Zmuo - glass/casa

 

For more on the Croatian language, including information on different dialects, make sure to keep up with our dedicated lifestyle section.

Tuesday, 18 October 2022

(Second Half of) October Events in Croatia: Gastro, Sport, Culture

October 18, 2022 - The second half of October has been surprisingly warm and sunny in Croatia. With temperatures still reaching the mid-twenties, you might as well head south and catch some sun at the beach. If you are like us, though, and your body and soul are ready for the weather to become colder and foggier, you enjoy the sun but secretly want to wear your favourite sweater, you'll be looking for something a little bit more cosy and autumnal to do. We'll cover both, just in case. An overview of the remaining October events to get you through this pre-autumn time.

Food & Wine

National Restaurant Week - October 14 - October 23

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Tjedan Restorana

Motovun Teran and Truffle Festival - Saturday, October 22

As stated on the invitation, the 11th Teran Wine and Truffle Festival brings numerous exhibitors, tastings of teranTeranffles and various products based on teran and truffles. The Motovun's Teran Wine and Truffle Festival is a synonym for quality winemakers and especially good examples of teranTeran, and a meeting place for the best producers of truffle products and companies dealing with truffles. Check out the event here.

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Motovun Tourist Board

Korčulanske Pjatance - Thursday, October 20 - Sunday, October 23

The unique island gastro story was started in 2017, and this year's festival will be the fifth edition. The festival is held all over the town (and some locations on the island, outside of the confines of Korčula town), and. This they are offering a variety of visits by famous chefs, lectures, workshops, just and hanging out with the people in the industry, exhibitions, fairs and thematic evenings, and you will also get to discover the secrets of the autumn on the tastiest island in the Mediterranean. Find out more about the festival in our article.

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Sport& Recreation

Cres & Lošinj Trail Weekend - Saturday, October 29 and ,Sunday, October 30

Cres & Lošinj Trail Weekend Trail is a race consisting of two separate stages with three difficulty categories: Purple, Blue and ,Green. Competitors choose in wh category they want to compete and consequently choose one or both days of this unique event. It is not necessary to perform in the same category on both days.
The event underlines the idea to connect and show the beauty of both islands and their hidden corners and protruding peaks in the style of a trail race. The first stage is on the island of Lošinj on Saturday, October 29, 2022, and the second on the island of Cres on Sunday, October 30, 2022. More on the event here.

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Remarkable Events

Plitvice Field Trail 2022 - Saturday, October 22

Plitvice Field Trail is a new treat in the offer of Run Croatia and the municipality of Plitvička Jezera. The race starts at the Korenica town square (Trg Sv. Jurja) at 15.45. There will be three routes: 2km, 6.5km, 10km;and  as ,ell as a race for children of 250 m. More info about the event here.is 

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Run Croatia

Svetvinčenat Young Wine Fest Bicycle Race - Saturday, October 22

Cycling club Axa and the Svetvinčenat Municipality Tourist Board are inviting all lovers of nature and cycling to join them and spend a few hours in nature with occasional breaks for refreshments with water, juices, desserts... and after the bike ride drin,ks with a drop of good wine. The race kicks off at 1 pm. More info here.

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Svetvinčenat Municipality Tourist Board

Zabok Industrial Race - Sunday, October 23

After more than 30 years, a road race is taking place in Zabok. As part of the "Zabok Industrial Race 2022" event, you will be able to choose between two races called the "ZA10"  of 10 km and the "ZA5" race of 5 km. More information about applications, the track and ,other details here.are 

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Atletski klub Klubk

Culture, film, music

Biograd Boat Show - October 26 - October 30

This year the Biograd Boat show will celebrate its 24th year following 21 years of continuous recorrecord-breakings and two highly successful pandemic shows, which proved the resilience and importance of the event. This is Central Europe’s in-water show, attracting many visitors and exhibitors from neighbouring countries, and the biggemost significanting point for Croatia’s nautical industry, marking the end of the boating season and the start of a new business year. More info here.

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Biograd Boat Show

The Cure - Thursday, October 27

The giants of alter-rock - The Cure will, hold their first solo concert in Croatia on Thursday, October 27, 2022 in A,rena Zagreb. Need we say more. Mor? info here.

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Zagreb Tourist Board

Zoom Festival Rijeka - October 14 - October 19

The performances presented at the thirteenth edition of Zoom Festival – October 14-19, 2022 – revolve around the problems of climate change, markea t economy, interpersonal relationships and ,more, trying to resist the prevailing pessimism, offer different perspectives on the vision of the future, and answer the questions “where did we come from?” and “where are we going?”, both in art and in life. More info here.

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Drugo more

20th Zagreb Film Festival -  October 23 - October 30

The jubilee, twentthe ieth edition of ZFF will, be held from October 23 to October 30 in the Tuškanac, SC, Kinoteka, MSU, Dokukinu KIC cinemas and online at www.kinoeuropa.hr and www.croatian.film. Since its beginnings, the ZFF has been focused on discovering and promoting contemporary independent films and debut works by directors from all over the world, so . This's main program will also feature the first and second films of talented and award-winning authors from all over the world. More info here.

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Zagreb Film Festival

Micro Festival Tenzije Rijeka - October 22 and 23

The micromicro-festivaldventurous and experimental A/V performances TENZ,IJE (Tensions) is occupying Rijeka again this year with avant-garde sonic narratives in unexpected places. The educational, artistic and ,club program of the third edition will host European and national performers, a masterclass in rhythm machine programming, a video tutorial on sound synthesis, DJ performances and ,live performances by Svetlana Maraš and, in co-production with Sonica Festival from Ljubljana, Isabella Forciniti. More info here.

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DeltaLab

Restoring Our Heritage - Traditional Wear Fashion Show, Trnjani (Slavonski Brod) - Saturday, October 22

The Centre for Traditional Cultural Heritage in cooperation with the KUD "Lovor" from Trnjani is organising the event "Restoring Our Heritage - Fashion Show of Reconstructed Traditional Wear". The event will be held on Saturday, October 22, 2022 at 7:30 p.m. in Trnjani near Slavonski Brod (Sports hall, Ulica sv. Marka 45). More info here.

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The Centre for Traditional Cultural Heritage

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

Tuesday, 18 October 2022

Roads, Laws, Alcohol and Car Rentals - How to Drive in Croatia

October the 18th, 2022 - When it comes to the question of how to drive in Croatia, you'll need to pay attention to several road rules and laws that might differ slightly to those of your own country, such as keeping up with traffic updates on road closures due to strong winds like bura on the coast.

People always laugh at me when I go on about how good Croatian roads are, but they really, really are. Compared to British roads anyway. The further north you get in the UK, the more track-like they become. The amount of potholes in the roads where I come from would soon dislodge any kidney stone, they might take a filling or two away, as well.

To say that Croatia is for the most part a very rugged, mountainous land, with the exception of the Eastern part of the country, the roads are absolutely outstanding. The new motorways built not so long ago make everything easier and the country is extremely well connected, but what about actually driving on them?

You drive in Croatia on the right and all overtaking is done on the left. Seat-belts are of course compulsory, and the use of mobile phones or any other device while driving is banned. The police are very much on the ball with this type of thing, more so than in other countries. This is especially the case during the busy summer months, when there is more traffic in general and unfortunately - more accidents also.

The motorway speed limit is 130 km/h, 90 km/h on national roads, and 50 km/h in urban areas.

Winter tyres and headlights during the day are requirements during the winter months, from around November the 15th to April the 15th.

Croatia's motorways are relatively new, fantastically built and very, very expensive. They will likely remain looking brand new for a while to come yet, as for the most part, the newer sections are rather empty, apart from during the peak tourist season when they’re packed with cars and motorhomes with foreign licence plates all heading down to the coast. Because of the sudden increase in traffic, traffic jams, long queues at the country’s various land border crossings and bottlenecks are frequent occurrences.

During these times of heightened tension, sweltering heat and the endless ‘are we there yet’ on repeat from the back seat, it makes sense to consider taking the old road from Zagreb down to Split, which is usually fairly empty (unless everyone has had the exact same idea, of course), but also stunningly beautiful. You’ll see parts of Croatia’s absolutely jaw dropping coastline that you otherwise would completely bypass, and with the amount of cars on the road during summer, there’s no guarantee you’d have reached your final destination much faster anyway.

Toll prices are expensive and can be paid for by cash (kuna) or by credit/debit card. Non-residents have always been able to pay for this service in euros, which of course will also be the norm as of the 1st of January, 2023, when Croatia becomes the newest Eurozone member and adopts the single currency. Prices are reduced by 10% in winter, and to work out the costs of your road trip, there is an interactive motorway map and toll calculator available if you visit www.hac.hr/en/interactive-map.

If you live in Croatia and you plan to become a regular motorway user, you can apply for the ETC (Electronic Toll Collection) scheme, which has the dual benefit of offering a discount on toll prices, as well as a separate toll booth (the special booth will be marked with the letters ENC). This is usually less busy. The downside is that the service is a prepaid one, but if you’re a regular, you’ll be glad of it.

Car rentals

As one would expect for a major tourist destination, Croatia has a wide selection of car rental options available, from large, well known companies to smaller agencies which might be more flexible in what they offer should you need that. These vehicles can be rented from airports and delivered to hotels, and the concept of one-way rental is commonplace all over the country. Some of the more enterprising island-based car rental companies, for instance, offer one day rental cars with collection taking place at the ferry terminal itself. This allows tourists to come and sample a given island in one single day without the added expense and stress of two ferry tickets. I’ll talk more about this in the ‘Getting Around’ chapter.

Up to date traffic information in English 

You can easily find the latest road information in English language on the HAK website (as well as current information on ferries, trains, and borders). The website you’ll need is the following: www.hak.hr. Additionally, the Croatian Motorways website has a section with the very latest updates. Additionally, you can download the HAK traffic app, which gives you all the latest information in English, as well as help with roadside assistance should you need it, which hopefully you won’t. There is also a comprehensive database of 15,000 places of interest, spanning everything from national parks to healthcare facilities. We hope you’ll be making more trips to the former than the latter.

Don’t consume any alcohol if you’re getting behind the wheel in Croatia

Croatian law has a zero tolerance policy for drivers under 25 which means that their blood alcohol level (BAC) limit is a very strict, very clear 0%. The BAC limit for drivers over 25 years old isn’t much different, at just 0.05% (or 0.5 g/l). It is never worth it to drink and drive, wherever you are, but the rules here are very strict and the police are very active during the summer months. If you're going to drive in Croatia, just put the Karlovacko down unless you want to end up with a headache far stronger than beer could ever give you.

Webcams

HAK has a good network of webcams located all over the country for motorists looking to keep an eye on the latest situations on various roads. These include several locations on each or Croatia's motorways, ferry terminals, important bridges, national roads, and border crossings.

Driving and ferry crossings

A drive in Croatia is never quite complete without a trip to some of the country's stunning islands, which is a very popular activity, especially in the summer. While the car ferry service generally works well, it won’t hurt to keep a few things firmly in mind before you embark: Firstly, buying a car ticket doesn’t guarantee you entry on the ferry. It seems a bit illogical I know, but boarding a ferry with a car is carried out on a strictly first come, first served basis, and if you want to ensure you make the ferry with your car, you should get there with plenty (and I mean plenty) of time to spare during the peak tourist season when many ferries are packed solid. If the ferries cannot handle the sheer amount of human (and car) traffic, there are often additional ferries put into function on various busy lines in order to reduce the waiting times. Don’t count on this, however, just get there with some time to kill. If you’re interested in ferries, catamarans and how they work, I’ll get into that in the ‘Getting Around’ chapter as well.

Parking

I’m sure that Diocletian could never have imagined that in a few centuries time, people would be lining the narrow, ancient streets of the city in which he chose to build his remarkable retirement palace (Split), with Ford Fiestas that have been reversed into and scratched by scooters a few dozen times. Parking in Croatia is, to put it bluntly, a complete and utter pain in the backside, especially in the bigger cities. You might get lucky now and again, and outside of the summer season, you do get lucky more frequently, but technology has had to step in and come to the rescue of many a frustrated driver. One of the best examples of this is the SMS parking service which is now available in most bigger Croatian cities.

Once you’ve parked, you just need to dial the number on the parking info sign which will be easily located and seen where you’ve parked, enter your licence plate, and your payment will be added to your phone bill. Innovative!

Do be aware, however, that street parking in the City of Zagreb is limited to 2 or 3 hours in the very centre. So, if you do manage to find a spot and think you are there for the day, think again. There are various garages and other parking options where you can freely leave your car, however. They can come at a bit more of a cost, but the peace of mind is worth it.

Electric vehicles

Croatia is the birthplace of the genius Nikola Tesla, who was born in Smiljan (which was then part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire) in Western Lika on the 10th of July, 1856. The name ‘Tesla’ is now synonymous with the electric cars which we’re seeing more and more frequently on the roads, in spite of their expense. 

A modern-day genius from Livno, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Mate Rimac, has been keeping Nikola’s desires alive in this country. This doggedly determined Croatian entrepreneur and passionate lover of cars has been continuing the Croatian mantle of electric innovation, and doing so beyond successfully. His company Rimac Automobili produces the fastest electric supercars in the entire world, and it is doing so in a country with no other automotive industry to even speak of. Sometimes described as Europe's very own Elon Musk, Rimac is the protagonist of what is by far modern day Croatia’s most successful entrepreneurial story.

Thanks to both Nikola and Mate, the electric vehicle revolution is being drip fed into Croatia much like it is everywhere else, and Tesla charging stations are on the increase. There are now hundreds of electric vehicle charging stations across the entire country, and their numbers will just keep on increasing as electric cars grow in popularity.

I’m a resident of Croatia with a foreign driving licence, do I need to exchange it?

Short answer, yes, but not everyone does. 

If your driving licence has been issued by another EEA member state

An application for the issuance of a Croatian driving licence needs to be submitted at (you guessed it) an administrative police station which deals with the issuance of driving licences. Once you’re there the clerk will fill in the application form for the issuance of a Croatian driving licence and you as the applicant will need to confirm the accuracy of the data the clerk has entered by signing the application form.

You’ll need to provide the following:

Proof of your identity (a passport, government issued ID or your Croatian residence permit)

Your driving licence issued by another EEA member state

A 35x45 mm photograph of you

Proof of you having paid an administrative fee for the procedure. This payment can be made using a paper payment slip or via internet banking.  The payment should be made to the Croatian state budget’s bank account, the details of which are as follows:

IBAN: HR1210010051863000160, model: HR64, reference number: 5002-713-OIB, purpose of payment: ‘državne upravne pristojbe’

Proof of you having paid for either a standard procedure, an accelerated procedure, or  an urgent procedure for the issuance of a Croatian driving licence. Choose a standard procedure if you’re in no rush to get the document, and the latter two if you are, obviously.  You can pay with a paper payment slip which can be collected at the administrative police station, with a general payment slip or via internet banking. 

You’ll need to pay into the Croatian state budget’s bank account, the details of which are as follows:

IBAN: HR1210010051863000160, model: HR65, reference number: 7005-477-OIB

If the date of first issuance for each category of vehicle the licence allows you to drive isn’t specified on the driving licence issued in another EEA member state, you’ll also need to enclose a certificate from the competent EEA member state authority confirming the date of first issuance for each category.

If your driving licence has been issued by a third country (a non-EEA member state)

The process and where you need to go (to an administrative police station which deals with the issuing of driving licences) is the same as is detailed above, but the documents you’ll need varies slightly. You’ll need the following:

Proof of your identity

Your foreign driving licence issued in a non-EEA member state

A translation of that foreign driving licence if the categories for which the licence can be exchanged are not evident, or if it isn’t evident whether the foreignlicence is still valid, or if it expired more than six months ago

A medical certificate confirming you can indeed drive a vehicle. This certificate can’t be older than six months

A 35x35 mm photo of you

Proof of you having paid an administrative fee for the procedure in the amount either with a payment slip or using internet banking. The payment should be made to the Croatian state budget’s bank account, the details of which are the following:

IBAN: HR1210010051863000160, model: HR64, reference number: 5002-713-OIB, purpose of payment: ‘državne upravne pristojbe’

Proof of you having paid for a standard procedure, an accelerated procedure or an urgent procedure. The payment details are as follows:

IBAN: HR1210010051863000160, model: HR65, reference number: 7005-477-OIB.

If the date of first issuance for each vehicle category is not specified on your licence, you also need to enclose a certificate issued by the competent foreign authority confirming the date of first issuance for each category.

Things to note

There is no need to enclose a photo of you if, over the last five years, you’ve been issued with a biometric passport, an e-ID card, or an e-driving licence issued after September the 4th, 2017, for the issuance of which a photo was enclosed, provided that your appearance hasn’t changed significantly.

Just like anywhere else, Croatia has some excellent drivers and some absolutely terrible ones. Sometimes, the driving leaves a lot to be desired in more rural areas, so do take care and always abide by the national rules if you want to drive in Croatia, whether you be in a selo (village) or a grad (town or city). As I mentioned before, the police tend to be much more on the ball when it comes to traffic offences here, especially during summer.

For more on How to Croatia, which we'll write each week, make sure to keep up with our dedicated lifestyle section.

Tuesday, 18 October 2022

Croatian Returnee Stories: Australia's Oldest Married Couple from Vrgorac

October 17, 2022 - Did you know that Australia's oldest married couple (82 years) hailed from Vrgorac? The fascinating TCN returnee inbox contributions continue. And the returnees keep on returning. 

The TCN inbox has never been dull, but since I posted an offer of a free interview to any returnee who wanted to share their experience of moving back to the Homeland, things have been very interesting indeed. 

The TCN series, Croatian Returnee Reflections has been a big hit - check out the stories so far here.  If you want to share your returnee story, contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Subject Returnee

That led to the first TCN/AVG Returnee Drinks Night in Zagreb, which was attended by more than 50 people. This will become a regular monthly event.

That in turn led to the formation of the TCN/AVG Croatian Returnee Networking Facebook Group. All welcome.

And the inbox keeps on giving with more stories of those returning or planning to return, including Michael, whose relative was part of the longest marriage in Australian history!

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Hello Paul

I'm enjoying the articles very much on those Croats who have relocated to Croatia through their descendants and parentage

I am of Croat heritage (born in Western Australia) through all my descendants on both sides of my family (Tolj-Turkic i Ajduk) who relocated from Vrgorac in the early 1920s and started the wine industry in Western Australia. Of particular interest is my great uncle Joze Zekulic who died at 108 having been married for over 80 years to my great Aunt Ruze Zekulic (nee Beus), Australia's oldest living married couple at the time, and 12th oldest in the world. Now sadly both passed on.

I have applied for my citizenship with a view to retirement, and I'm sure others of my age group would like to follow the story and share theirs.

I asked Michael to send me some details. 

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Hi Paul

Thanks for your response

Insofar as your thread for the website is about relocation and acquiring Croat citizenship my experience is noted below (tried to keep it as brief as possible, but its beaurocracy right?) so here goes:

Croats in Western Australia:

I am the grandson of two great WA Croat families: On my mother's side Ajduk & Beus, and on my father's side, Tolj-Turkich, later upon arrival in Australia, just Turkich, both families originally located im Zavojane (Ajduk) and Stilja (Turkic) with my great grandmother's family (Ante i Antica Beus) just "down the hill" in Podgora.

Having now lodged my application for Hrvat citizenship here in Sydney through my paternal grandmother: Ruza Turkich (nee Turic) as the other records no longer existed, I suspect due to war, fires, dislocations, and other loss-inducing events.

Both Andrija Ajduk (maternal grandfather) and Joze Tolj-Turkic left Croatia in the early 1920s, their wives and families following 4-5 years later. Andrija Ajduk was also a personal bodyguard to the late King Peter Georgevic.

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Andrija's wife (Mara Zekulic) passed away after complications from childbirth, leaving their infant son Tonko, in the care of his maternal grandmother while his father sought a better life in Australia than that which could be provided in Croatia after WW1.

Andrija was one of 5 siblings: Ivan, Ruza, Jure, Mate, all using the name AJDUK except for MATE who migrated to the USA in 1919, changing his name to MATTHEW HYDEK. Jure and Ivan stayed in Zavojane, and I am close to them to this day, having just returned from summer there in Makarska, which is the closest port town to Zavojane and Stilja

Andrija upon arrival to Perth in Western Australia quickly made his way to Kalgoorlie, the most productive and richest plot of gold in the world at that time. As he was a toolmaker, his skill set was in demand in the mines.

He met and married his second wife DIANA BEUS soon after, then brought his son Tonko to Australia. Now 12 years old, this boy arrived with no English, a father he hadn't seen in 10 years, and a new mother he never met before. Can you imagine? He is still with us in Perth aged 98.

Joe Turkich arrived around the same time to Perth on the SS Orsova with his wife Ruza and daughter Matija and son Mate arriving 5 years letter once they had all been granted citizenship. And we complain about beaurocracy today!!

He was a teamster and had horses haul timber to mills in South West WA prior to making the move to the famous SWAN VALLEY outside of Perth and beginning planting grape vines.

At the same time, Joze Zekulich migrated to Australia, married Diana Beus' older sister Ruze and they lived to become Australia's oldest living married couple and 12th oldest in the world. Wow! Ruza (Rose) passed at 98 years of age, Joe at 108. He was also inducted into the WA Agrivcultural Hall of Fame for his skills in blending and breeding grape stock that was resistant to Phylloxera and other funguses and pests associated with viticulture.

Other Croats in the valley also growing grapes, winemaking, running orchards and market gardens were in no particular order: Talijancich, Pasalic, Saric (Ralph the inventor of the Orbital Engine), Pervan, Boksich, Botica, and others.

You can follow the TCN Croatian Returnees series here.

****

What is it like to live in Croatia? An expat for 20 years, you can follow my series, 20 Ways Croatia Changed Me in 20 Years, starting at the beginning - Business and Dalmatia.

Follow Paul Bradbury on LinkedIn.

Croatia, a Survival Kit for Foreigners is now available on Amazon in paperback and on Kindle.

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Monday, 17 October 2022

More Recognition for Zagreb County Wine Roads at Zagreb Tourfilm Festival

October 17 2022 - The steady and effective promotion continues to attract attention, as the Zagreb County Wine Roads promo video, Tastes above Everything, wins best wine video at this year's Zagreb Tourfilm Festival.  

A nice thing is happening around the Croatian capital - more and more people are discovering the Zagreb County Wine Roads, which offer a very diverse tasting experience just a short drive from the city centre. The three wine roads of Samobor, Zelina and Plesivica offer an array of grapes, styles and presentations, including Croatia's premier sparkling wine production.

But rather than wait for visitors to show up, there has been excellent promotion of the region's wine potential in recent years, with some truly innovative initiatives such as the recent Via Vino month of open cellars, combined with art, music, cinema and culture. Where else in the world, for example, could you watch the premiere of the new James Bond movie last year, while sitting in a picturesque vineyard on straw bales, covered in blankets, which sampling roasted chestnuts and sipping young Portugiesac wine? 

That effective promotion has continued on YouTube, with a truly excellent promotion of the Zagreb Country Wine Roads in the shape of the official promo video, Okusi prije svega (Tastes above Everything). Released earlier this year, the video beautifully captures the region's nature and rich gastronomy. It was nominated for last week's Zagreb Tourfilm Festival, and with an excellent conclusion, winning Best Wine Film. The dynamic regional tourist board director, Ivana Alilovic, was on hand to collect the award.

The official press release below. 

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The Tourist Board of Zagreb County won the award for the best wine movie

The Zagreb County Tourist Board's destination film, Tastes above Everything, which introduces the audience to the rich, eno-gastronomic offer of the wine roads on the festive occasion at the Zagreb Tour Film Festival awards, and on Friday, October 14, it was declared the best wine film. In the competition, 106 films and works of audiovisual production that promote tourism aspects of the tourist destination, an expert jury made up of relevant domestic and international experts, first of all, he awarded the film Okusi the award for the best promotional tourist film in the category of eno-gastro tourism.

"First of all, we prepared the destination film Tastes with the aim of giving our guests and visitors the chance to bring Zagreb County closer to the inextricable link of wine roads and gastronomy that is cherished here for centuries. Zagreb County is a well-known destination for enjoying local gastronomy and fresh, indigenous foods that naturally complement the wine offer. We are extremely proud that our work is followed in the tourist community of Zagreb County, and the great results of our winemakers, winners of numerous international awards for their recognition excellence of the wine," said the director of the Zagreb County Tourist Board, Ivana Alilović.

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With this award from the Zagreb wine route countries, the winemakers themselves, but also the restaurants and producers of domestic products that accompany them, have achieved recognition in the international competition of the best tourist films in the world. Preparation of vinjak, care of the vines of the first ecologically certified winery in Zagreb County or the flavors of tradition - all this awaits you at its best wine film. The production of the film was entrusted to Martina Miličević, a multiple award-winning producer of tourist films. "The main actors in the Zagreb County destination film are themselves winemakers. Without preparation, they proudly stood in front of the cameras and showed what they truly have to offer visitors. I believe that it is the most sincere form of promotion, an experience that is truly expected of each visitor. Conceptually, we wanted to show how destination wine roads also include the unforgettable nature that surrounds them, the wealth of fresh food available in the narrow circle of the county, and that to explore the world of wine, you just need to start."

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The film takes us through the preparation of vinjak by the Šoškić family, the production of sincere wines by the Tomac family, by the way, the first ecologically certified winery in the area of ​​Zagreb County, which recently completed the construction of an impressive new winery. In the film, you will also see the fairy-tale mansion Nespesh, on the Zelina wine road where the Litterarii winery is located today. Bearers of the traditional wine roads of Zagreb County are families that have been producing wine for generations, such as the Kos winery. In the Braje winegrower's house, we follow the preparation of the local Plešivica copanjek and free-range domestic animals on the slopes of Žumberac are a reminder of the genuine wines of Zagreb the county also monitors the authenticity of the ingredients found on the menus of recognized restaurants.

Learn more about the Zagreb County Wine Roads on the official regional tourism board website.

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