Sunday, 24 October 2021

Croatia Underrated: Podcast, Games, Quizzes of Authentic Hidden Gems

October 24, 2021 - From the founder of the innovative Secret Zagreb, a fabulous new journey into the hidden gems of this amazing country - meet Croatia Underrated, a combination of podcast, games and quizzes.

One of the things I love about covering Croatian tourism is meeting so many inspiring and innovative individuals from the private tourism sector. The ideas, knowledge and delivery of these individuals promote the true jewels of authentic Croatia, and they are a refreshing breath of fresh air from the fairly predictable and one dimensional approach of the Kings of Accidental Tourism. 

One young lady whose mind is always ahead of the rest of us with her tourism ideas is Iva Silla, of the award-winning Secret Zagreb. Iva has already done much to develop tourism in the capital with truly unique tours such as the Badass Women of Zagreb, celebrating some of the amazing women who have put their stamp on Zagreb's development throughout history. 

 

Iva is back with a wonderful (and VERY educational) project called Croatia Underrated. Rather than me try and explain it, her she is in her words explaining the Croatia Underrated project:

In recent years, I stopped bothering with the must-sees during my travels. I still make obsessive plans, but I don’t feel like I missed out on something if I don’t do it all. I much rather take a detour and see something less attractive, but far more genuine. I dare you to try a different Croatia. To spice up your must-sees with the unseen. To go places that even the locals often miss. To find your perfect Croatian memory. Croatia Underrated podcast is here to help.

I started Croatia Underrated because there’s so much to do and see all around the country, so many hidden corners to be explored and curious tales to be told… I wanted to share at least some of them. On the other hand, the project started quite spontaneously, when I came upon many poor reviews of Croatian attractions over and over again. Of places that I personally found striking and very special. You can now enjoy my curated list of terrible reviews of Croatian heritage, together with the fun comments as a part of the blog. If you feel those are a bit unfair, you might like the way I see Croatia: as a place of never ending discoveries.

Oh, and when you visit Croatia, make sure to join me on one of my Secret Zagreb tours.

Iva Silla

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To learn more about the Croatia you never knew, visit the Croatia Underrated website and podcast.

To learn more about the Croatian capital, check out the TC Zagreb in a Page guide.

Sunday, 24 October 2021

Croatia's Coronavirus Update: 2,293 New Cases, 28 Deaths, 1,743 Recoveries

ZAGREB, 24 Oct, 2021 - In the last 24 hours, Croatia has conducted 8,652 coronavirus tests and of them 2,293 (26.5%)  have turned out to be positive, and 28 COVID patients have died, the country's COVID-19 crisis management team reported on Sunday.

Currently, there are 17,841 active cases, and of them 1,091 are hospitalised patients, including 131 placed on ventilators.

Since the first registered case of the infection with the virus on 25 February 2020, 445,325 people have caught it, and of them 9,038 have died and 418,446 have recovered, including 1,743 in the last 24 hours.

To date, over 3.03 million coronavirus tests have been conducted in the country

In Croatia, 55.72% of the adult citizens have fully been vaccinated against this infectious disease.

For more on COVID-19, follow TCN's dedicated page.

For more about Croatia, CLICK HERE.

Sunday, 24 October 2021

Ministry Proposes €4m Aid Scheme for Sugar Beet Farmers

ZAGREB, 24 Oct, 2021 - The Croatian Ministry of Agriculture put a HRK 30 million (€4m) aid scheme for sugar beet producers to public consultation earlier this week.

The scheme will provide financial support to sugar beet farmers facing a slowdown or complete suspension of economic activity caused by the coronavirus pandemic. It should help them recover from losses, provide liquidity, restore the pre-pandemic level of primary production, maintain the present level of employment and prevent disruptions to the food supply chain. 

The ministry said that the pandemic has hit hard nearly all sectors of the economy, including agriculture, and that in the case of cropland it has resulted in a strong decrease in areas sown with sugar beet.

Only 10,200 hectares of land was sown with sugar beet in the pandemic years 2020 and 2021, down by 20.3 percent compared with the pre-pandemic average for 2018-2019 and by nearly 48 percent compared with 2017.

The value of the scheme is HRK 30 million (€4m) and the entire amount will be provided from the state budget. The aid will be allocated in accordance with the Temporary COVID-19 Framework, the ministry said.

For more on business, follow TCN's dedicated page.

For more about Croatia, CLICK HERE.

Sunday, 24 October 2021

Croatia and Bulgaria Declared by Germany as Covid High-risk Areas

ZAGREB, 24 Oct, 2021 - Germany added Croatia and Bulgaria to areas high-risk for Covid-19 on Sunday, triggering a minimum five-day quarantine for unvaccinated or unrecovered travellers arriving from the two countries, the dpa news agency reported on Sunday.

On Friday the Robert Koch Institute announced that Germany had decided to add Croatia to its list of COVID-19 high-risk countries, which means that people who have not been vaccinated or have not recovered from COVID-19 will have to self-isolate for 10 days on arrival from Croatia. Travellers arriving from high-risk countries will be allowed to end their self-isolation after five days if they present a negative test or a vaccination certificate.

 The institute also noted that the decision came into effect on Sunday.

"Three other European Union members - Romania, Lithuania and Slovenia - were already on the list overseen by Germany's Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for disease control," the dpa news agency reported today..

"Globally, some 70 countries are classified high-risk Covid-19 areas by Germany. Anyone who has not recovered or been fully vaccinated and returns to Germany must go into quarantine for 10 days. This period can be shortened if they test negative after five days," dpa says.

In addition to Croatia and Bulgaria, Cameroon, Singapore and the Republic of the Congo were added on Sunday. Kenya, Kosovo, Iraq and Honduras were removed.

For more on COVID-19, follow TCN's dedicated page.

For more about Croatia, CLICK HERE.

Sunday, 24 October 2021

Croatian Tree of 2021 Has Been Chosen Among 13 Candidates

October 24, 2021 - The Croatian Tree of 2021, and which will also represent the country in the European Tree of the Year competition, has been chosen and is the giant sequoia of Slatina, in Slavonia.

The tree of the giant sequoia, also called ''mammoth'', located within the EPIcentre Sequoia Slatina, is about 130 years old and was chosen as the Croatian tree in 2021. This Centennial Giant was protected in 1967 as a monument of park architecture, and today it has been chosen as the Croatian Tree of 2021, reports Turističke Priče.

The story of the giant mammoth in Slatina tells us about this tree as the only protected specimen of this species in the Republic of Croatia and one of the oldest specimens of this species in Europe. Following the horticultural trends of the 19th century, it was planted by the noble Schaumburg-Lippe family, at the same time as the oldest redwoods were planted in England, outside their natural habitat.

These are trees that are naturally distributed in the western part of North America, more precisely in the central part of California (Sierra Nevada) above 1,500 meters above sea level. In Croatia, as in the rest of Europe, redwoods were planted as an ornamental species, but European trees are much smaller than American ones.

Croatian tree in 2021, a candidate for the European tree

In 2021, the Croatian Tree was chosen by as many as 67,231 voters, and the Century Giant in the heart of Slavonia won with 11,042 votes. The second-placed Last Lady of the Podgorica Park had only 99 votes less, and the Brijuni Old Olive and Bricin Hrast from the Lonjsko Polje Nature Park took more than 10,000 votes.

The winner of the national competition Croatian Tree 2021, Public Institution for Management of Protected Areas of Dubrovnik-Neretva County, on behalf of the Republic of Croatia will run for the finals of the European Tree 2022, composed of winners of national competitions of partner countries in the Tree of the Year project.

The organizers of the competition invite all citizens throughout the Republic of Croatia and beyond to get involved in the promotion of biodiversity of the Republic of Croatia, participating in the vote for the European Tree of the Year to be held in early 2022, on World Forest Day (March 21), to declare the winner of the European competition.

So far, the Republic of Croatia has been represented at the European Tree of the Year competition by Platana in Trsteno na trg (2018) with seventh place, Gupčeva lipa (2019) with the eleventh place, Zaljubljeni Ginko from Daruvar (2020) with second place and the oldest Medulinka - Chocolate tree of our memories (2021) with tenth place.

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

Sunday, 24 October 2021

10-Year Project of Croatia’s Construction Land Survey to Cost €400M

ZAGREB, 24 Oct, 2021 - Over three billion kuna will have to be spent on a ten-year project of the construction land survey across Croatia, and currently there are only a score of businesses licenced to perform that job, the Jutarnji List daily reported on Sunday.

According to the daily, the construction land is large about 600,000 hectares.

The newspaper says that this will be the job of the century for licenced land surveyors, and that the project, which should start on 1 November, will cost more than the building of Pelješac Bridge, for instance.

The Croatian State Geodetic Administration will be in charger of the implementation of this project which should be completed in 2030.

For more on business, follow TCN's dedicated page.

For more about Croatia, CLICK HERE.

Sunday, 24 October 2021

Campaigners Have to Collect 368,867 Signatures for Euro Referendum Petition

ZAGREB, 24 Oct, 2021 - The Ministry of Justice and Public Administration sated on Sunday that the campaigners who are against Croatia's plan to switch to the euro have to collect at least 368,867 valid signatures for their petition for the referendum initiative "Let's Preserve the Kuna".

One of the conditions for calling a referendum is that at least 10% of eligible voters sign the referendum petition, and on 24 October, the ministry established that there were 3,688,671 eligible voters in the country's electoral rolls, which means that the 10% quota is 368,867.

The organising committee for the referendum initiative on the preservation of the kuna as the sole legal tender has already announced the start of its campaign to collect signatures for the referendum petition. 

Currently, the euro (€) is the official currency of 19 out of 27 EU member countries which together constitute the Eurozone, officially called the euro area.

For Croatia's latest news, CLICK HERE.

Sunday, 24 October 2021

EC Vice President Admits There Is Gap between Decision-makers and Citizens

ZAGREB, 24 Oct, 2021 - European Commission Vice President for Democracy and Demography Dubravka Šuica said on Saturday that there was a gap between decision-makers and citizens, and European institutions were thinking of the inclusion of general public on a permanent basis in discussions on EU-related topics.

We have noticed that there is a gap between decisions-makers and and citizens and we want to lessen that gap. It is the reason why we are organising this Conference (on the Future of Europe), Commissioner Šuica told a press conference in the European Parliament on Saturday after a session bringing together EU representatives and ordinary citizens.

The European Parliament on Saturday started a plenary at which 80 EU citizens were presenting conclusions of discussions on different topics held by 800 randomly chosen citizens in September and October.

Technology has changed the world and we must change, too, said Šuica adding that she did not believe that the Conference on the Future of Europe would remain a one-off event.

We are thinking about a permanent mechanism, although we have not yet decided on it definitely, she explained.

The European Commission says on its web site that "the Conference on the Future of Europe is an unprecedented, open and inclusive democratic exercise, with a Multilingual Digital Platform, where all Europeans are invited to have their say on how to shape our shared future on various issues."

The citizens involved in the Strasbourg gathering are expected to prepare a final document and forward it to the European Commission in December.

According to the EC information on its website, Šuica stated that "this is a historic moment where, for the first time, citizens deliberate on a par with their elected representatives at all levels."

"Bringing citizens to the core of European policymaking will reinforce our representative democracies, as we set sail towards our common future."

Guy Verhofstadt, a member of the European Parliament and a co-chair of the Conference on the Future of Europe, was quoted as saying that "the enthusiasm in the Citizens' Panels is great, expectations are high, the formula is working."

"Now the Plenary has to find answers to the issues raised, in the form of a shared vision of Europe's future and concrete deliverables on how we reform the European Union. EU politics have to rise to the occasion."

He also advocates the organisation of conferences of such format every five years.

In August, 70% of the respondents in a survey conducted by the Ipsos pollster in the European Union said they were dissatisfied with the way the EU was working at present.

For more on politics, follow TCN's dedicated page.

For more about Croatia, CLICK HERE.

Sunday, 24 October 2021

Popular Terme Jezercica Taken Over by Zminj-based Company Rudan

October the 24th, 2021 - The Zminj-based company Rudan has taken over one of the most popular places of its kind in all of the Republic of Croatia in its latest big business move - Terme Jezercica.

As Jutarnji/Novac/Jozo Vrdoljak writes, Rudan, a company from Zminj in Istria which is well known for its energy saving projects, has been making an increasing step towards tourism over more recent years. The company recently took over the popular Terme Jezercica from its previous owners, Zrinka and Ivana Lekic who are also known as owners of various nursing/care homes for the elderly and infirm. Graciano Rudan, the founder and owner of Rudan, also took over the management position at Terme Jezercica. Rudan reveals that his company has so far invested around 200 million kuna in various tourism projects.

As for Terme Jezercica, Rudan notes that his company's spatial plan envisages the construction of another high-category hotel, and the existing hotel will be demolished in order to build a new one in its place. He added that the pools remain in good condition considering the fact that they've been recently renovated. He is especially satisfied with the quality of the area's thermal water, which he says is of such quality that it can be used for drinking, which is quite rare.

''Now comes the management team, and then the investments in the area of ​​Terme Jezercica. If everything goes according to plan, it's possible that we'll start part of the investments in Terme Jezercica in September next year. Of course, all this will depend on the speed of drafting projects and obtaining a building permit,'' explained Rudan.

''As a company, Terme Jezercica is currently in the process of merging with Rudan, and this is a process that has already begun, so we're merging the tourism sector with a parent company,'' Rudan pointed out.

In Vodice, the Rudan company has also snapped up Hotel Radin and Hotels Villa Antonina and Arausana over the last few years. They also have a 28 percent stake in Hotels Vodice. Three years ago, they took over the Ucka Hotel on Ucka mountain, and given that this is a devastated hotel and a former INA resort, the hotel, as Graciano Rudan revealed, is currently in its initial design phase. Hotel Ucka otherwise boasts 32 rooms and sports fields on a space covering about 55,000 square metres in total.

As for the last tourist season, Rudan says he is satisfied.

''The tourist season was above our expectations, and when we complete all the projects we planned, we can expect a slow start to return on investment. For now, we're continuing to operate sustainably,'' stated Graciano Rudan.

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

Sunday, 24 October 2021

EU Funds Provide Cash for Croatian Projects Worth 515 Million Kuna

October the 24th, 2021 - There can be no doubt that European Union (EU) funds have done wonders for Croatia, and now another very generous EU fund cash injection has provided the means for yet more Croatian projects.

As Jutarnji/Novac/Gordana Grgas writes, the first 36 small enterprises from the manufacturing industry recently received grants according to an EU tender entitled "Strengthening the competitiveness of companies by investing in the digital and green transition" which was announced last spring. This cash amounts to 155 million kuna in support, and the Croatian projects it will work to bring to life total as much as 515 million kuna.

In the top ten from this list are the following domestic companies: Sisarka, Agro Simpa, Turkovic, Zlatko-Commerce, Rotoplast, Spiroflex, Limrol, Molaris, Pivovara Daruvar and Akord, and they will use the subsidies to strengthen their production capacities. Sisarka from Zupanja will, in particular, invest in technologically advanced and energy efficient production, which is a project worth 9.9 million kuna, and this company received 3.5 million kuna in non-refundable funds.

Agro Simpa from Sisak will receive support totalling 1.1 million kuna for their project worth 3.2 million kuna, and Zlatko-Commerce will receive a grant totalling 3.7 million kuna for a project to increase their production capacities, a move otherwise amounting to 10.3 million kuna.

There were as many as 842 proposals...

As announced by the Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development, as many as 842 proposals for Croatian projects were received back in May, and 70 percent of those Croatian projects, or 596 of them, were positively evaluated in the award procedure. It hasn't yet been announced when the remaining decisions will be made, and it is expected that it is set to occur "in the next short period".

It's worth mentioning that when the results of this project evaluation was published back in August, it was explained that the money would primarily go to those who have satisfied their project applications to the greatest extent, ie achieved the best results and points. That said, 245 entrepreneurial proposals for Croatian projects were evaluated negatively.

This tender aroused great interest because it was the first major tender from ESI funds this year for small and medium-sized enterprises, and was launched with the intention of strengthening recovery from the crisis caused by the global coronavirus pandemic and in preparing a more green, digital and resilient economic recovery.

In total, this tender regards about 1.14 billion kuna intended exclusively for the processing industry, which the Minister of Economy Tomislav Coric assessed recently at the awarding of the first contracts as "the best placed money of the Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development over the past four years". He also noted that the manufacturing industry is and will be in focus in the coming years, too.

Enterprises who receive grants from this tender must use them up quickly, more precisely by the end of 2023.

All of the Croatian projects that will be co-financed by EU funds from this tender and in this way are expected to launch an investment cycle worth more than 3.6 billion kuna, and as HAMAG-BICRO's CEO Vjeran Vrbanec said recently, calls for the transformation of entrepreneurship into green and digital will be available in the coming period within the National Recovery and Resilience Plan.

In 2022 and 2023, support for the transition to an energy-efficient economy of 1.9 billion kuna, 960 million kuna for innovation and digitalisation and 1.1 billion kuna for encouraging investments that are a prerequisite for a circular economy are expected, as was announced back during this summer.

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated business and politics sections.

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