Tuesday, 26 July 2022

Croatia Reports 1,266 New COVID Cases, 14 Deaths

ZAGREB, 26 July 2022 - In the last 24 hours, 1,266 coronavirus cases, out of 4,150 tests, and 14 related deaths have been registered in Croatia, the national COVID-19 crisis management team said on Tuesday.

There are 8,929 active cases, including 626 hospitalised patients, of whom 22 on ventilators, while 4,645 persons are self-isolating.

Croatia has registered 1,178,958 coronavirus cases to date, the death toll is 16,249, and 70.84% of adults have been vaccinated, including 68.81% fully.

For everything you need to know about coronavirus specific to Croatia, bookmark our dedicated section and select your preferred language if it isn't English.

Tuesday, 26 July 2022

European Commission Welcomes Opening of Pelješac Bridge

ZAGREB, 26 July 2022 - The European Commission on Tuesday welcomed the official opening of  Pelješac Bridge, one of the biggest projects in the EU and the biggest one in Croatia funded by the EU.

This is a Cohesion Policy-funded project with an EU contribution of €357 million. In June 2017, the Commission approved the EU financing of the bridge following a feasibility study.

Commissioner for Cohesion and Reforms Elisa Ferreira said the bridge "will improve the economic development and the territorial cohesion of South Dalmatia and Croatia as a whole. This is a project of great importance for both Croatia and for the EU. This bridge is a symbol of European solidarity and support to Croatia in financial and political terms. It will improve the lives of citizens on the ground and will be part of the development history of Croatia."

Vice-President for Democracy and Demography, Dubravka Šuica congratulated Croatia on "the tremendous work" done. "The EU is about building bridges, connecting territories and people. We do this metaphorically every day. Today, we are adding real bridges, real connections with the same goal: bringing people together and making our Union and member states stronger."

The new bridge will connect the southernmost part of Croatia and Dubrovnik to the rest of mainland Croatia, the Commission said.

"This bridge will significantly improve the everyday life of Croatians - by reducing the travel time between Dubrovnik and Split - and travellers in the nearby areas. A smooth flow of goods and people will facilitate access to public services, such as healthcare, and economic services in the different sub-regional centres," the Commission said.

"This seamless connection will also greatly benefit tourism, trade and will reinforce the territorial cohesion of the region," it added.

Tuesday, 26 July 2022

Veterans Ministry Says Pelješac Bridge Connects Croatia Territorially, Symbolically

ZAGREB, 26 July 2022 - Pelješac Bridge connects Croatia territorially and symbolically, it unites and calls for the unity which led to victory in the Homeland War, the Veterans Ministry said on Tuesday, adding that veterans from every part of the country will participate in tonight's bridge inauguration ceremony.

"Therefore let's celebrate this feat, too, thinking of those who did not live to see this day, to whom we are eternally grateful for our freedom and independence," the ministry said, adding that connecting Croatia's north and south is a generational project and the inauguration of the bridge a historic event.

There would have been no Pelješac Bridge without the contribution and sacrifice of the people who defended and liberated our country, the ministry said.

"Remembering all our victories in the Homeland War ahead of Victory and Homeland Thanksgiving Day and Veterans Day, we are proud that we can also celebrate together the successful completion of this project whereby Croatia is finally joined together," it added.

For more news about Croatia, click here.

Tuesday, 26 July 2022

HTZ: Pelješac Bridge Becoming New Tourist Attraction

ZAGREB, 26 July 2022 - Pelješac Bridge is already becoming a tourist attraction and is expected to further boost the demand for holiday destinations in Croatia's south, Croatian Tourist Board (HTZ) Director Kristjan Staničić told Hina ahead of the bridge's opening on Tuesday.

"The bridge will certainly be a new tourist attraction, both for boaters, for whom sailing under the bridge will be a special experience, and for travellers and tourists who will be able to enjoy the magnificent view of the bridge from surrounding vantage points and roads," Staničić said, adding that the HTZ would use the bridge in its promotional campaigns.

He said it was still early to speak about the direct impact of the bridge on tourist trends and destinations in Croatia's far south, but added that the bridge would certainly reduce the dependence of the local tourist industry on air traffic.

"Although the United Kingdom and the United States are among the most important markets for Dubrovnik-Neretva County, also important are the markets of Germany, Poland, France and Slovenia, as well as the domestic market, so it is expected that Pelješac Bridge will increase the demand from these markets and contribute to the image of Croatia of a well-positioned car  destination," Staničić said.

He said that a Euronews crew had visited the bridge last week for a travel story. He noted that this leading European news channel was available to about 70 per cent of households or about 145 million people in Europe.

For more news about Croatia, click here.

Tuesday, 26 July 2022

Bridge Designer Says Pelješac Bridge His Biggest Challenge Yet

ZAGREB, 26 July 2022 - Slovenian engineer Marjan Pipenbaher, who designed Pelješac Bridge in southern Croatia, said ahead of the bridge's opening on Tuesday that this was the biggest challenge in his career, which includes more than 200 similar projects.

"Pelješac Bridge is among Europe's five largest bridges spanning sea bays that have been built in this century and ranks among the world's finest," Pipenbaher told Slovenian Radio, adding that it was a challenge to design it because it is situated in a wind-swept and earthquake-prone area.

He said that the bridge is important not only for Croatia, because it connects its southernmost part with the rest of the country, but also for Europe at large. "After all, it is one of the conditions for Croatia to join the Schengen area."

Pelješac Bridge was built by China Road and Bridge Corporation, and Pipenbaher said that no one was killed during the construction. "There were only two fairly serious accidents, which should also be noted."

For more news about Croatia, click here.

Tuesday, 26 July 2022

Sinj Village Fair 2022 Held During Alka Festivities in August!

July 26, 2022 - For the 12th time, the Sinj Tourist Board will hold the Sinj Village Fair 2022, which includes an exhibition, tasting, and sale of traditional Croatian products: food, drinks, and souvenirs.

The Sinj Village Fair 2022 is held during the Alka festivities on August 5 and 6, 2022, when Sinj becomes the center of cultural, religious, and tourist events in Split-Dalmatia County and beyond.

By organizing the event, the Sinj Tourist Board gives interested citizens and visitors a chance to taste and buy local traditional products that are difficult for consumers to access because they are not available for sale. At the same time, it helps small and medium-sized farms from the rural area of Sinj and its surroundings, as well as other parts of Croatia, in promoting and selling their products.

An even larger number of exhibitors is expected this year. Therefore, the organizers needed to provide a larger space and even more tables for exhibitors, as they are expected from all over Croatia, of which at least 40% will be local producers.

"We emphasize the importance of this Fair to promote the rich tourist and cultural heritage, as well as the generous offer of agricultural producers and souvenir producers, all to develop the tourism, culture, and economic development of our city.

Also, in this way, all visitors will have the opportunity to stock their holiday tables with quality products from the Croatian countryside during these festive days in our city (Alkar celebrations and the Feast of the Assumption) and make their personal contribution to the Sinj economy and improving tourism," concluded the Sinj Tourist Board. 

Applications to exhibit at the Fair can be submitted via e-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., contact phone number 021/826-352, or by coming in person to the Sinj Tourist Board office at Put Petrovca 12, 21230 Sinj.

The application must contain the name and surname of the exhibitor, the name of the association, trade, OPG, etc., the registration number of the delivery vehicle, the contact number, and the number of days for which the exhibitor is applying. Participation in the Fair is free, and the Sinj Tourist Board provides stands for each registered exhibitor.

Due to the limited number of exhibitors, applications will be received until August 4 at 12 pm or until capacity is filled.

For more, check out our lifestyle section.

Tuesday, 26 July 2022

As Peljesac Bridge Opens, Does HDZ or SDP Deserve the Most Praise?

July the 26th, 2022 - As Peljesac bridge opens after what seems like an endless wait, which government actually deserves the most praise? While SDP is responsible in the most part for pushing forward with the EU, HDZ was the one to sign the final agreement.

As Faktograf/Sanja Despot writes, with both HDZ and SDP having played their respective roles, Peljesac bridge opens not only itself, but many questions about precisely who the most praise should be directed at. Competitive discussions about whose government is most responsible for its construction have started up again.

President Zoran Milanovic (SDP) stated that he started working on the bridge's implementation back in 2012, claiming that it is indeed true that he questioned whether or not it was a profitable investment, but that he asked those questions during the period from 2005 to 2011, and not back in 2012.

"My team and I participated in the realisation of this bridge, practically in a 95 percent way. Everything was over when I handed over the post of prime minister," he said and added that it all started with Ivan Sprlje, the former prefect of Dubrovnik-Neretva County, who spoke about the idea way back during his 1997 campaign.

When asked to comment on the president's statement that SDP is responsible for this enormous project, Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic said: "They're one hundred percent responsible. They messed around to try to ensure that nothing came of it,''

It's fairly easy to find Milanovic's quote from back in July 2015 on the Croatian Government's website, on the eve of the parliamentary elections that took place that year. Milanovic then said that "Peljesac bridge will be built regardless of who wins the elections", and that, as he said, "no one can blow it anymore, and they blew it for five years straight".

It's worth noting that the European Union (EU) didn't simply decide out of nowhere to provide the funds for the construction of the bridge back in 2016 when HDZ returned to power.

Back in July 2015, then Prime Minister Milanovic, together with ministers Branko Grcic and Sinisa Hajdas Doncic, presented the project to connect the extreme south of Croatia with the Peljesac bridge, saying that the idea of a bridge was chosen as the best option by those who decided on it all in the European Union.

The then Minister of Maritime Affairs, Transport and Infrastructure, Hajdas Doncic, said that the Peljesac bridge construction project inherited from the previous government was oversized and too expensive, which is why Milanovic's government terminated the contracts with the contractors in 2012. He added that after that, through OP traffic in 2007-2013, they were provided money for the pre-feasibility study and said that in parallel, through OP Cohesion and Competitiveness, in the part concerning transport for the financial period 2014-2020, funds were provided for connecting the isolated part of the Republic of Croatia (southern Dalmatia) to the rest of the country. Through European Union funding, Croatian Roads (Hrvatske ceste), as the project holder, contracted the feasibility studies.

On that occasion, Hajdas Doncic recalled that several connection solutions were considered, stressing that as the best solution, the Peljesac bridge project with all of its connecting roads received the best marks and was identified as a project that would meet all the set goals.

"The bridge can apply for cash from European Union funds on the condition that we prepare the studies that show that this is the best solution", said the Minister of Foreign Affairs Vesna Pusic back in 2012, before Croatia formally entered the European Union on July the 1st, 2013, which was also during the mandate of former Prime Minister Zoran Milanovic. Pusic had then hoped that it could be financed from the IPA pre-accession fund.

In 2013, a preliminary feasibility study was carried out, financed by the European Commission (EC), which concluded that the best solution of all options for connecting the extreme south of the country was indeed a bridge.

During 2014 and 2015, once again during the mandate of Milanovic's government, a feasibility study was carried out, which was financed by EU funds, and which also confirmed that the best solution was the construction of Peljesac bridge. Then, at the end of 2016, confirmation was received from the EU that the project was ready for application for co-financing in the maximum amount of 85 percent. Finally, on June the 7th, 2017, a formal decision was made by the European Commission to co-finance the construction of the huge structure with 357 million euros.

In the spring of 2018, the then HDZ Minister of Regional Funds, Gabrijela Zalac, signed the contract on the construction of the bridge, which was worth over 2 billion kuna, between Croatian Roads and the Chinese consortium led by the China Road and Bridge Corporation.

Regarding the part of Milanovic's statement that Ivan Sprlje, the late SDP prefect of Dubrovnik-Neretva County, was the initiator of the idea of ​​building the bridge, it should be noted that SDP and HDZ are persistently competing for the right of precedence, each with their own arguments. SDP claimed that Sprlje was the first to present the idea in his campaign, that is, they refer to the exact information that he was the first to draw up the bridge in the spatial plan, and from HDZ, they highlight the role of Luka Bebic, who was the first to speak about it in Parliament for HDZ in 1998.

It's a fact that in the years leading up to the moment when Peljesac bridge finally opens, SDP wasn't entirely sure whether or not it should dive in with that project, until the party took over the government, that is. It's also true that former HDZ Prime Minister Ivo Sanader "rather emptily" started his work on the bridge as part of his PR campaigns.

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

Tuesday, 26 July 2022

Kutjevo Tourism Project: Partner Sought to Turn Town into Hit

July the 26th, 2022 - A Kutjevo tourism project to turn this continental Croatian town which is well known for its local wine into a tourist hit could well come to fruition. Kutjevo is seeking a partner to whom it will provide a large sum to if they can complete what's necessary for the vision.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Marija Brnic writes, Grasevina House, the centre just like those in some of the largest wine regions in France, Spain and Switzerland, has long been aimed for by Kutjevo's winemakers, and such a project has been being strategically designed and prepared for some time.

Finally, thevery first steps are beginning to be taken, because Kutjevo, as the project holder that will be the basis for the development of gastro-enological tourism in that part of Croatia, has announced a tender for a partner in the preparation of project documentation for this large Kutjevo tourism project.

Grasevina House, an interpretation centre, is expected to be built and arranged on land located in the very centre of Kutjevo, and it would be the perfect addition to this continental town with a rich history which is rightfully proud of its viticulture and winemaking traditions.

Grasevina is originally a Croatian and not an Italian wine variety, as it has been wrongly portrayed, and at the same time it is the most widespread white wine variety in all of Croatia. This variety is a symbol of wine production in Kutjevo, and when it comes to just how important it is for Croatian viticulture, Kutjevo locals state that as much as 27 to 33 percent of the area is covered by the growth of precisely this variety.

They want to bring the rich history and traditions of the production and culture of wine drinking in Kutjevo closer to those interested through a large Kutjevo tourism project, and in designing it, they studied how such museums and centres were organised by the French in Bordeaux, where La Cite du Vin was under construction for three years and opened its doors in 2016. Then came the Vivanco family museum which was opened in Rioja (Spain) back in 2004, and the Valais wine museum, which was established in Switzerland by the local community of winemakers there.

In all these museums, in addition to nurturing the culture of local wine, visitors are offered a much broader content, which Kutjevo wants to apply in its case as well. The Kutjevo tourism project also envisages a gallery space for both permanent and temporary exhibitions, an ethno-bar inside the museum and in the garden, a viewpoint with a view of the vineyards spanning the area, spaces for congresses, seminars and corporate events, as well as celebrations, and much more.

The project documentation will also include Greta Park, a city park named after Greta Turkovic, an area and name important for Croatian wine and art culture, and which is located between the Kutjevo Castle and the future Grasevina House. The Kutjevo tourism project also envisages the organisation of a thematic trail called Vinogradarski put, through which visitors will be able to meet local winemakers and visit their cellars.

Kutjevo is willing to pay 1.5 million kuna plus VAT for the creation of the design and technical documentation, which includes the conceptual solution for the project, the removal of the building, the main and executive design, the preparation of cost estimates and the elaboration for obtaining a building permit, and the tender will remain open until August the 16th, 2022.

They expect the documentation within ten months after the conclusion of the contract, after which they will begin the implementation of the project which, they hope, will include the area on the map of top tourist and cultural destinations.

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

Tuesday, 26 July 2022

Neum Tourism to Change Forever after Pelješac Bridge Opening

July 26, 2022 - Today's Pelješac Bridge opening will be a new start for Croatia - but what will it mean for Neum tourism? 

While the opening of the Pelješac Bridge to Dubrovnik is of significant importance to Croatia, both from the tourist and economic side, Neum tourism workers, especially restauranteurs, are feeling quite the opposite. 

Namely, from Tuesday, July 26, the Pelješac Bridge will officially connect Croatia for the first time in 300 years! 

Last weekend, Neum restaurateurs and hoteliers were not shy about speaking to the media, revealing their worries that nothing will be the same from Tuesday. 

Restaurateurs and tourism workers worry that the traffic on the main road through Neum will decrease significantly, threatening their businesses. Hoteliers and private apartment renters are also concerned because there will likely be fewer guests, reports Čapljinski Portal

"You have to call things by their right names and tell the truth - restaurateurs and merchants made a lot of money from tourists who traveled on the highway to Dubrovnik and vice versa," said one restaurateur who has operated a restaurant along the highway for many years.

"From Tuesday, things will change. All those tourists, mostly Poles, Czechs, and Germans, after waiting at the border, which used to be long and over an hour, would stop in Neum to freshen up, have lunch or dinner, a drink. And mind you, it was not a small number of people, from the beginning to the end of the season," they added. 

Travelers also enjoyed Neum because the prices were much more affordable.

"With their standard, these prices were low for them, and of course, they will stop to have lunch or dinner here before coming to Dubrovnik, where everything is ten times more expensive," they added. 

It seems there is an overall concern for a considerable drop in traffic immediately after the opening of the Pelješac Bridge.

"Come at the beginning of August and follow the number of cars going over the bridge and the number of cars on the highway. Nobody will want to wait at the border for hours now that they have a road to Dubrovnik without waiting. This will affect us," added the interlocutors for Čapljinski Portal. 

Hoteliers and private apartment renters are also worried, as they believe the number of overnight stays will decrease compared to the previous figures.

"Things simply won't be the same; the focus will shift to Pelješac. A good number of guests used Neum as an overnight destination, from where they visited Mostar, Dubrovnik, and the Dubrovnik coast in general, but that will surely change now. Nobody wants to wait at the borders for hours," the interlocutors pointed out. 

But could the newly opened Stolac-Neum road somehow compensate for a drop in travelers?

"Difficult. That road will not bring us anything in terms of tourism. However, it will make it easier for us locals to travel to Mostar and the interior of BiH, as well as for tourists who come to Neum from the interior of BiH so that they do not have to cross the border wait in lines. Those guests, frankly, were not our main consumers, at least when it comes to catering along the highway," said the same Neum restaurateur. 

According to them, Stolac will benefit the most from this road.

"Stores, fruit and vegetable sellers along the road, cafes, and restaurants located in Stolac could now benefit from passing tourists because it takes an hour to drive from the center of Stolac to the center of Neum, so Stolac is an ideal place to stop for a break," they added. 

In the end, they concluded that no one would fail in Neum tourism, but it will never be the same as it was.

"We will work, we have to work and live, but I think we can forget the golden times and the good income from foreign guests in Neum," the restaurateur pointed out.

Neum will thus have to consider offering new content in the seasons ahead to attract guests in summer, as tourism is paramount for restaurateurs and hoteliers, concludes the Čapljinski Portal.

With the ceremonial opening of the Pelješac Bridge on Tuesday, southern Croatia will be reunited with the rest of the country after 300 years.

The opening program starts already at 8 am at the Brijesta rest area, with a vigil by several orchestras from Dubrovnik-Neretva County. During the day, there will be races under the bridge and performances by klapa groups and cultural and artistic societies until the evening hours.

Visitors will be able to walk to the first pylon of the Pelješac Bridge as early as 10 am, the Dubrovnik-Neretva Police Department reported on Monday. From the Komarna side, the bridge will be accessible by organized mini-bus transportation from 10 am to 4 pm (departing from the parking lot in the Klek tourist resort), after which preparations for the official program will begin.

The central ceremony will be opened by the Dubrovnik-Neretva County prefect, Nikola Dobroslavić, and the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Sea, Transport, and Infrastructure, Oleg Butković. Afterward, the representative of the President of the European Commission, Dubravka Šuica, will address the audience, followed by a video message from Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang. Prime Minister Andrej Plenković, President of the Croatian Parliament, Gordan Jandroković, and President of the Republic Zoran Milanović will then speak.

The musical program will include the Dubrovnik Symphony Orchestra, Dubrovnik Trombunjeri, Lado, Linđo, and others, and the ceremony will end with the performance of the "Hymn to Freedom" and fireworks, during which the bells of all the churches of the Dubrovnik Diocese will ring, as well as the blessing of the bridge.

After the bridge's opening at 10 pm, motorcyclists of the defense forces will be the first to cross it.

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

Tuesday, 26 July 2022

Sava Boats: New Project to Explore Zagreb River's Tourism Potential

July the 26th, 2022 - Sava boats will connect Zagreb's popular Jarun lake with Borovje with the use of five piers. After many ideas like this one for Zagreb having floated around for years now, it will be interesting to see one come to fruition.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Marija Brnic writes, throughout history, there have been many ideas on how to connect Zagreb and the Sava and how to make the Sava something more than just a river that divides the city. Until now, nothing has really succeeded, and only the embankment, which was created out of the need to protect the city from floods, has come to be.

However, after raising the standard along the coast with some new piers, the Ministry of Maritime Affairs, Transport and Infrastructure is now preparing something for the capital as well. It has launched the project for the Promotion of Green Navigation on the Sava river in the City of Zagreb, for which the study and project documentation will be created in the first step by the IGH Institute, which was selected in a public tender announced back at the beginning of the year.

The very name of the project is associated with "Zagreb on the Sava/Zagreb na Savi" and the European 13 competition, a project that was relevant a few years ago, when the late Milan Bandic was in charge of Zagreb. However, the Ministry of Maritime Affairs, Transport and Infrastructure has duly pointed out that this project isn't related to that megaproject.

This idea, which involves Sava boats, is a completely different project, and it is their independent project, that is, the City of Zagreb is not included in it at this stage. From the ministry with Oleg Butkovic at the helm, they noted that the involvement of the City of Zagreb is planned during the construction phase, that is, the arrangement of all of the access infrastructure.

In short, the project for which IGH will prepare the project documentation for the ministry envisages the creation of technical conditions for arranging the waterway and enabling the depth that would make the Sava safe for boat navigation. In the tender documentation, the ministry starts from the fact that in the area of ​​the City of Zagreb, the Sava river has very limited possibilities for navigation, and that due to the uneven water regime, it can actually be used mainly only for tourist purposes.

There is no serious navigation on the Sava in Zagreb, and the ministry recognises the possibility of improving the attractiveness of the tourist offer by improving the navigability by introducing, as they say, the water dimension of sightseeing in the city with Sava boats. The ministry also explained that their goal is to create a plan for future works aimed at regulating the Sava river bed in that area in a better way, as well as their intention to create a concept for all of the accompanying infrastructure facilities for Sava boats and a pier project.

In contrast to all previous ideas relating to Zagreb's dividing river, which included connecting and arranging the Sava from the border with Slovenia to Sisak, the current project covers only the area from the Bridge of Youth (Most mladosti) to the area near the Arena at Laniste. In this area, it would be quite possible to install five piers, in locations that would coincide with the most important points of urban transport, and which, according to the ministry, lack traffic connections as well as entertainment and recreational facilities.

Those five locations are Jarun-east, where the eastern part of the Jarun lake towards Laniste would be connected by a ferry crossing, and, until the Jarun bridge is built, the ferry crossing would also be located at another location on the right, connecting Laniste to Jarun. The third location is the Hendrix Bridge, where the navigation unit would be placed on the left side of the bank and would be a connection to both tram and bus transport at the Savski Most interchange, while the fourth location would be Liberty bridge (Most slobode) on the right side of the bank and would connect Bundek, and the last, of all, involving the Bridge of Youth again, would connect the settlements of Savica and Borovje.

Traffic on the Sava using Sava boats would take place in two directions, and two ships could dock at the pier at the same time. In accordance with the EU's green agenda, the wharves would have energy connections and power generation from RES, and, as can be seen from the documentation, they would be built so that they would self-adjust to the water levels on the unstable Sava bed.

As far as the dimensions are concerned, the starting point is a bed depth of 5 metres and a bed width of 80 metres, a pier draft of 1 metre, with the length of the access bridge being 25 meters. The deadline by which IGH needs to create a technical solution for the activation of the ambitious project is 36 months from the conclusion of the contract, which is worth 1.1 million kuna in total.

Then it will be clearer how much the realisation of that project would cost and how it would be financed.

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

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