Sunday, 24 July 2022

Police Apprehends an Arsonist, Indicts Him for Starting 3 Fires

July 24, 2022 - The Knin police station reported that they've charged an arsonist with starting three fires in the last months.

They've determined that he has, on July 23rd, around 4:30 AM, started a fire in Modrino selo. He used some newspapers and a cigarette lighter to intentionally start a fire very close to several houses. He ignited some dry grass, however, the firefighters reacted on time and wouldn't allow the fire to spread. It's estimated that the fire was able to burn around 6 acres (60,000 square meters).

It was also determined that the same suspect started two smaller fires in the same area on June 28th. He was using the same tools to start those fires, newspapers and a lighter, but the first two fires were put out immediately, burning only around 70 square meters.

He is kept in custody in Šibenik while awaiting trial.

Kudos to the Knin police department for being able to stop an arsonist a day after he started a fire. The last thing we need now, with such a severe weather situation (heat, drought) is people starting intentional fires, which might end up being disastrous.

Sunday, 24 July 2022

Tourist Boat Sinks in Split in a Freak Accident

July 24, 2022 - A very unusual maritime accident happened early Sunday morning in Split, when a tourist boat called Morska Vila hit the waterfront and sank.

Luckily, all of the passengers aboard the boat were able to leave the boat without injuries after it hit the waterfront at the gas station in Split. The 21-meter vessel came to Split from the direction of Čiovo

The Croatian media report today that the 44-year-old captain of the Morska Vila was apprehended right after the accident, as he was clearly under the influence of alcohol. The police have reported that he had over 0.1 per cent blood alcohol level, while the rest of the crew have tested negative for any alcohol. The Ministry of the Sea, Transport and Infrastructure reported that they're undertaking the necessary actions to secure the crash site and ensure that the sea's pollution around the vessel is minimal. The Split firefighters set up a barrier around the boat, and the divers were sent to investigate the bottom of the tourist boat to see the extent of the damage. The Ministry is also investigating the total number of people on the boat at the time of the accident. The media reports vary, as some say there were 41 people, while others mention over 50. There are reasons to believe that there were more people (passengers + the crew) on the vessel than is allowed, which is just another potential transgression by the captain. 

Sunday, 24 July 2022

Lesic Dimitri's Michael Unsworth Named Korcula Town Person of the Year. Bravo!

July 24, 2022 - If a foreigner has done more for a Croatian island, I have yet to meet them. Congratulations to Michael Unsworth, the pioneering owner of 5-star, Michelin Star Lesic Dimitri Palace, the new Town of Korcula Person of the Year. 

It is a love affair that started more than 50 years ago, when a young English student followed a pretty young lady from Yugoslavia, who was also studying in London. What was meant to be a short holiday in Orebic to woo her turned into a lifetime passion for both the Peljesac town, but also the magical island across the channel and birthplace of Marco Polo himself - Korcula. 

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Little did that young student know back then that he would go on to marry the girl and still be humoured by her half a century later, but that he would leave an indelible mark on the island that was to become his second love. 

There is so much that one could say, but the simple facts say it best - and Michael Unsworth is a very modest man, who will probably be upset at all this attention. For that reason, I decided to leave his photo in the body of the text, so that the lead photo could showcase the very latest addition to the incredible Lesic Dimitri Palace, the first 5-star boutique hotel on a Croatian island, where every room is themed to the Silk Road of Marco Polo, the latest being the Sumatra Residence pictured here (more details in the press release below).

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The hotel and restaurant scene when Michael started was average at best, with pizza and other faster foods the common fare. Walking around the old town these days is a gastronomic delight, as the standards have been raised considerably. It all started with Lesic Dimitri Palace, which has never compromised on quality. And there is a good reason why Lesic was the first island hotel to be awarded the prestigious Michelin Star, thanks to magician chef Marko Gajski, who has blossomed under Michael's guidance. 

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If there is one place on the coast that I had to spend the rest of my life, it would probably be on the LD Terrace, the gentle afternoon breeze from the water cooling the air, listening to Michael's stories from around the world, while sampling Marko's latest creations washed down with the best Korcula wine pairing. 

Several people have told me over the years that they have never met a foreigner who loves an island as much as I love Hvar. That is perhaps because they have never met Michael, who has Korcula in his veins. 

Congratulations to you, Sir, richly deserved and fully fitting. I look forward to toasting you with a glass of Posip or six the next time we meet. 

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You can learn more about LD Palace on the official website.  

Press release:

Korčula's Lešić Dimitri Palace has been synonymous with high-quality tourism experiences – both on the island in Croatia – on the global luxury tourism map for over a decade. The oldest part of the palace (dating back to the 15th century), which received the World Architecture Community Award back in 2010, got an additional accommodation unit this season – the Sumatra Residence. Sumatra's interior draws inspiration from Marco Polo's Silk Road, which is also the focal point of what the Palace has to offer, and excellence as the core business principle. An open space attic with one of the best views of the ancient walls, islands around Korčula and the blue waters of the Adriatic, is a new luxury heaven for romantic couples and anyone who identifies as such. Sumatra completed the story about the famous place in Korčula that stood out from the beginning as a rarely successful example of conversion and restoration of cultural monuments into a cultural good that the entire town can be proud of. With his forward-thinking planning and tireless efforts, Lešić Dimitri Palace owner and director Mr. Michael Anthony Unsworth has managed to prove that Korčula can be and is a world-class exclusive tourist destination. Thanks to his outstanding business results and years of wholehearted enthusiasm for the benefit of society, he received the Town of Korčula's Person of the Year Award.

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Learn more about Korcula in the Total Croatia Korcula in a Page guide

Enjoying a Croatian Summer with No Tourism or Coast: Bliss!

A Croatian summer has always been inextricably linked to tourism, as the hordes head to the Adriatic coast and islands. But what if the coast and tourism were not part of the equation? A very satisfying experiment so far.

My inbox is full of invitations to hotel openings, restaurant openings, festivals. 

I have declined them all. 

My social media is full of heavenly images of beaches, coffees on the water, swimming in the Adriatic, with accompanying captions such as Ko ovo more platit, which roughly translates as 'priceless.' 

I smile at them all, and I wish them well. I have posted thousands of similar posts over the years, many with the hashtag Why aren't you here?

And I am not here - or rather there - this year, completely of my own free will. Lots of great nights and parties that will go unattended. Indeed, were it not for the opening of the Peljesac Bridge this week, I might not see the coast at all this summer.

For I am rather enjoying a different Croatia at the moment - a Croatia that has nothing to do with the coast or tourism in general. The world of the Croatian entrepreneur and startup. 

It is a world that is fascinating, and having made the decision to ignore most of this tourist season, apart from client needs and special interest topics, I am seeing Croatia in an entirely new light. Yes, once again, as I approach my 20-year anniversary in Croatia next month. 

Having written about Croatian tourism for over a decade, I realised that my passion for the subject is waning, and there are plenty of other fabulous things to explore in this beautiful country that have little or nothing to do with tourism. 

Let's face it, when you have a 'strategy' that relies on the sun and the sea each year, with very little innovation, there comes a time when there is very little to report on. One can almost predict the stories, as the cycle is the same year after year (assuming no pandemic) - record numbers, celebrity arrivals, employment crisis due to no staff, restaurant rip-off stories, motorway queues, heatwaves, storms, accommodation horror stories, more record numbers, hotel openings, cruise ships, overtourism, party tourism, inspections harassing peak season business, more record numbers. And suddenly, all is over, the end of another season in this jolly land. Not a word (or very little) about the environmental damage this approach to tourism is causing to the coast, and how unsustainable it all is in the long run. 

What if - just for once - I ignored it all and focused my time and energy on a Croatia which had nothing to do with tourism whatsoever. After 13 years full-time on Hvar, as well as 7 years of reporting on tourism for TCN, it might feel strange not being on the coast with everyone else on the planet, but I have had more than my fair share of priceless coastal moments over the years. How would it feel to miss one entire summer?

In truth, it feels FANTASTIC. 

Zagreb is truly a joy in the summer, particularly if you are busy with projects, as I am. The city is emptying (indeed many bars and restaurants will shut for the first half of August, as everyone heads to the coast. The ratio between tourist and local seems to go 1 to 1, and there is so much space.

Those locals who remain are usually there for a reason, as they may be working on projects too. It almost feels like we are keeping a guilty secret. Everyone is on the coast, but the real fun is happening here.  

I am in the process of moving TCN's strategic direction away from tourism into a much more interesting space - business and entrepreneurship. And there really is not enough time to keep up with the amazing stuff taking place all over this city. 

In the last few days, for example, a sample of the meetings I have had (all of which will be featured on TCN in due course)

  • the reopening of Croatia's oldest coworking space in a fantastic new location, as Impact Hub Reopens in Famous Central Zagreb Film Location. A wonderful networking opportunity.
  • great brainstorming over beer with a consultant who is offering kayak consultancies in an obscure river, starting from central Zagreb. How cool is that?
  • a couple who responded to their teenage daughter's desire to have a $700 pair of sneakers by working with the daughter to develop a fabulous financial literacy app for teenagers. The daughter got so good at financial planning that she is now the proud owner of those sneakers.
  • and speaking of sneakers, a meeting and update with a very exciting Croatian startup, who officially have the most sustainable sneakers in the world, and who are on the verge of a major announcement.
  • lunch with a leading light in the NFT space (already featured by Forbes), taking me on a journey to a place I was a little scared to enter - the Metaverse.
  • lunch with the Indian ambassador, followed by a visit to the Chinese ambassador's residence for an interview about the opening of the Peljesac Bridge. 

And when work is done, an evening stroll through Zagreb's parks before a little liquid refreshment to reflect on another perfect summer's day. 

I see lots of complaints about the hot weather, which has not been a problem for me so far (but suspect it will be with the Peljesac Bridge opening). There is a nice gentle breeze through the window, with the melodic sounds of the piano from the nearby music school providing the perfect backdrop. 

Working with these entrepreneurs has been very stimulating, with not an uhljeb in sight. Croatia's tourism revenues are in the region of 9 billion euro from memory. I wonder how long it will be before this new breed of entrepreneur (if they are allowed to breathe) will be generating that, and more. 

Croatia is a fantastic tourism country, of that there is no doubt, and I heartily encourage you to explore the magic of the coast (and continental Croatia).

But Croatia is also a fantastic country if you take the tourism factor out of if. Arguably even more so. 

You heard it here first...

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.

Sunday, 24 July 2022

20 Ways Croatia Changed Me in 20 Years: 14. Vukovar

July 24, 2022 - Twenty years a foreigner in Croatia. Part 14 of 20 Ways Croatia Changed Me in 20 Years - one of the most emotive topics in Croatia, Vukovar. 

I am a firm believer that even if you live for 20 years in a country, you will never understand it fully, and there are some topics that you will never have enough authority to write about. Things are so often not the way they seem on the surface, and a critical local audience (and Boy, how quickly I am reminded when I get something wrong...) will always have some insights or historical knowledge that you do not. It is one of the reasons that I never wrote about Agrokor and do so rarely about Croatian politics. And there are some topics which are not only too complicated, but also almost taboo, including one of the most painful in Croatia's recent history.

Vukovar.

I decided a long time ago that I would not write about Vukovar. What could I possibly say with my lack of knowledge on an emotive subject that lives with this young nation even after 30 years? One of the most impressive sights in Croatia each year can be seen all over the country on the November 18 anniversary of the Fall of Vukovar after a brutal 87-day siege by the Serbs in 1991. It was the most shelled city in Europe since the Second World War, at least until Mr. Putin decided to try and change the narrative in Ukraine on February 24. 

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Every year, every Vukovar Street in the country (and any reasonably-sized town has one) is lined with candles of remembrance on either side. Some Vukovar streets are quite small; others, such as in Zagreb, are major arteries. They are all lit up the length of the street, without exception. A powerful memory and tribute. 

My only involvement in Vukovar initially was as a father, making sure the kids lit their candle on the main square each year. And it was because of my kids that I finally wrote something about Vukovar after many years of silence. 

Because I was angry. So angry. 

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When my daughter was in first grade, she came into our bedroom about 6 in the morning. She was shaking and had tears in her eyes. Shocked, I took her in my arms, covered her and hugged her tightly, helping her to calm down. What could possibly have happened?

"I think I had my first nightmare, Daddy."

How could that be? She lived on a beautiful island, everything was safe, her loving grandparents below doting on her daily. What could possibly have caused a nghtmare? I didn't pry, but tried to think; the date was November 19, the day after the Vukovar anniversary. 

"Were they talking about Vukovar at school? What did they tell you?"

"Yes, Daddy, it is horrible. The Serbs came with tanks and they destroyed everything, and then they took an old man and put him on this thing, and then stretched his body, and then they put cigarettes out in his eyes." And she cried again.

Seven years old.

She then told me about the homework, and later went to show me hers.

"Some of my friends drew dead bodies, Daddy, but the teacher told them that they should not draw dead bodies."

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Here is her homework, the work of a 7-year-old previously innocent child. Note the 'Bravo!'

What kind of society was this that believed in perpetuating the hatred, even if it meant giving your own grandkids their first nightmares? I was so angry that I wrote about Vukovar for the first time: Is It Really Necessary to Poison the Minds of the Next Generation?

Having touched a sensitive topic, I was expecting quite a backlash, but none came. Only messages of shock, and of thanks for raising the topic. It is a topic where a lot is usually left unsaid.

Curious about how Croatian education approaches such a topic, I interviewed a primary school teacher on the crisis in education, and I asked her some questions about how Vukovar is taught in schools. 

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(Vukovar today)

4. Croatia's recent painful history is still very raw, and you yourself had a very turbulent childhood, growing up during the Homeland War. It is a very delicate subject that is hard to handle. How is the subject of Vukovar handled, for example, and what help do teachers get to deal with such a difficult and emotional topic?

I have been working in primary school for three years and I have found it very difficult to represent the Vukovar tragedy in an appropriate way. What should I say to children? I decided to tell them my story as it was the best way for me to deal with it: I was seven when the Homeland War started. Thank God, we lived in a safe place, however we watched television, we grew up watching dead people covered in blood on the news, we heard the fierce voice of Siniša Glavašević only a few days before the fall of Vukovar, we met lots of refugees who were our school colleagues in the early 1990s, frightened, silent, with pure horror in their eyes. We were taught not to ask them about anything. Who knows how they managed to escape from that hell in Vukovar, Sarajevo, Bugojno…Yet, in all that hell and fear my parents never taught me to hate anyone and that you always have to be kind to everyone, no matter what. I used to listen to children who are maybe now 12,13 years old, which means they were born way many years after the war, and they talk with such a hatred about Serbs and the Homeland War. And you know that they heard that from their parents. That is a shame and a pity. Talking about the Homeland War, we have to teach about dialogue, forgiveness, piety and kindness. That is one way to build peace in our society.

5. By law, school children have to visit Vukovar at least once at the age of 14. What are your thoughts on this, and do you think it is an important lesson perhaps better saved for later in a child's education?

I used to compare Vukovar with Auschwitz. Once the largest concentration camp in Europe, Auschwitz is the most depressing place I have been to. Time stopped there: small grey houses, grey trees, an empty and deserted railway, it seems that the whole place is still covered in the ash of dead people. The same feeling I had had in Vukovar. I was only there once, in 2002, and our bus stopped two miles before Vukovar. The reason was there was demining going on. Upon arrival we saw the new market place in the very centre. We were told that there is a mass grave under the concrete floor. However, one could see that the town had begun to change, to rebuild its life and to try to move on. From that time on I have constantly thought that this country will not let Vukovar heal its wounds, to keep its head up and to meet its happy days. We teach our children that Vukovar is a place of tragedy and horror and not a place of hope. It all depends on which message one can bring from Vukovar - if you remember Vukovar only once a year, in November, for you Vukovar is a sad place. If you, for example, buy Borovo and Starstar shoes, you believe in normal life in Vukovar. I advise children to love Vukovar, to consider that town as a place where life went on in a tough but a beautiful way, step by step.

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(Vukovar today)

Education and Vukovar is an emotive topic, with Serb and Croat children still in separate classes 30 years on. In what was one of the best articles on TCN this year, our Vukovar correspondent Katarina Andjelkovic wrote a brilliant piece on how Serbs and Croats approach teaching history on this very delicate subject. If you are interested in the topic, I highly recommend History of Vukovar or History in Vukovar? No, Our Future Please

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Three years ago, I got a phone call from the Prime Minister's former Communications Director, Kreso Macan, a good friend:

"Hey Fat Blogger, if you want to get to know all of Croatia, you should really see the Vukovar Remembrance Day Parade. It is quite something. I will be walking with the Dubrovacki Trombunjeri, and you are welcome to spend the day with us."

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And what a day it turned out to be. 

I was initially a little hesitant. Again, who was I as a foreigner to write about such a sensitive subject? But when I searched online, I found that nobody had written a detailed account of the day in English, and so I decided to go and document the day in depth. You can read that report in full at Vukovar Remembrance Day Through the Eyes of a Foreign Resident

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It was harrowing, particularly the tour of the hospital which performed miracles during the siege, before everyone was taken away and murdered after the surrender. So many people, so many faces of anguish. The looks on the faces of the people at the most emotional moment, the playing of the national anthem and one minute's silence before the 6 km walk to the cemetery. 

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Haunting. 

But what I noticed more was the hypocrisy of the politicians, who were jockeying for position and political capital for the most poignant message and photo opportunity. Were they here to remember the victims of Vukovar or for their own purposes? Talking to local peeoplee was very informative - yes, they were happy people came to remember, but they also had come to learn and accept that Vukovar simply did not exist in the minds of politicians for 364 days of the year. 

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"Who will come tomorrow? In March or September? To sit with us and understand how we live, what our needs are? Nobody, we are a one-day destination, and nobody cares about us in the east," explained one. 

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These two photos, taken with permission, were the most striking of the day, and they are embedded in my head, even today, three years later. The family was watching the parade past the front of their house in the old town. When the boy entered with such joy - SOMETHING was happening in Vukovar - his smile was in such contrast to the resignation of his parents who were used to the disappointment and reality. What would those day-trip politicians do to ensure that happiness and innocence could continue in that young boy?

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The emotional day ended in what was arguably one of the most unusual evenings of my 20 years in Croatia. I had come across a rather unusual Yorkshireman called Steve, who lived in Vinkovci and had been here since turning up as a volunteer to fight the Serbs in 1991. Among his many great achievements in life was opening an authentic English pub called The White Boar in a field literally in the middle of nowhere in eastern Croatia. It has fast become one of my favourite spots in Croatia, but the party on November 18 is rather unusual indeed, for Steve hosts all the foreign volunteers who fought for a rather good barbecue. 

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It was an extraordinary evening, which you can read about in After Vukovar, Foreign Veterans Gather in English Pub Near Vinkovci.

"You are the first foreigner who lives here that I have met who didn't fight in the war," said Steve over a welcome beer.

"And you are the first I have met who did fight in the war," I replied. 

Interesting - almost 50 years of combined living experience between us, and our lives barely touched the same spheres. I decided there and then to change my focus from the coast and do more about eastern Croatia. I found Steve's world fascinating (please don't tell him, as he will only become cocky), and I recently profiled him as the most contented man in Croatia. Meet Croatia's Most Contented Man: a Dour Yorkshireman in Vinkovci.

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(Some of the foreign volunteers)

Far from being a depressing region, I found the people I met in Vukovar and Slavonia to be warm, welcoming and looking forward, not back. The picture on the ground was far different to the one portrayed in the media. And Vukovar, and the whole of the east, is truly beautiful. How to capture that magic and start informing people?

I invited an American digital nomad videographer, Steve Tsentserensky, to visit the east for 6 days, from Ilok to Baranja, including November 18, to show him (and through his lens, a wider audience) just what they were missing. The 2021 parade - the 30th anniversary - was much more celebratory, as well as being much bigger (around 50,000 walked). COVID had meant that this was the first reunion for all, and I had a much more positive experience, especially as I spent the time mostly with local people from Vukovar.

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(Vukovar today - delicious vegetarian wok noodles at Lola)

It is when I first met my now colleague Katarina, a very impressive young lady, both as a tour guide, and in her mindset. She was very open to doing an interview on the realities of life as a tour guide in Vukovar, which was excellent. But what impressed me most was her positive attitude, of wanting to talk about Vukovar today, of its tourism offer and vibrant small businesses. Of life. 

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(Miss TCN Vukovar, telling the story of Vukovar 365, not just one day of the year)

She wanted to make Vukovar more than a one-day destination each year, and to remember and respect the past, but to celebrate the present and plan for the future. I decided to hire her part-time to start telling those stories, to show that Vukovar is a living city, 365 days of the year. And so, the excellent series, Vukovar 365 was born (and will continue again next month after a short break).

Steve did an excellent job, and you can watch some of the trip highlights in his video above. How many of these places in eastern Croatia do you recognise? For a detailed account of what was unquestionably the best trip of my 20 years in Croatia, read Time to Tell the Truth about Slavonia Full of Life. Steve himself continues to pay it forward with this recent publication on World Nomads: Why Eastern Croatia Should Be on Your Radar.

So much positive energy, so many incredible experiences in Vukovar and the east. And yet nobody knew about them, including most Croatians. How to change that?

I came up with an idea called the Vukovar Card, which I presented recently to Minister of Tourism & Sports, Nikolina Brnjac. She was very enthusiastic about it, confirming a ministerial letter of support for the project. It is one of those rare cases in Croatia where everyone wins. 

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Now that I am writing about Vukovar, I feel comfortable enough to say that the thing I dislike most about living here is the attitude towards November 18 and Vukovar (if a foreigner may be permitted an opinion). So many proud Croats, most of whom have never been to Vukovar (or have any intention of visiting), changing their Facebook profile for 24 hours to express their support, that they will never forget. The next day, it is back to the photos on the beach. And when those from the diaspora come for their 3 weeks each year to the 'selo' (ancestral village) and then straight to the beach, Vukovar is the furthest thing from their mind. 

It is something that is noticed by those in Vukovar today. Yes, it is nice that they change their profiles - but is it more for Vukovar, or for themselves? How does it help those trying to rebuild lives exactly?

The Vukovar Card concept is a win for all. Working with the regional tourist boards of Osijek-Baranja and Vukovar-Srijem counties, we put together a 7-day itinerary (this can be shortened) for the Vukovar Card. The itinerary allows visitors to learn more about Vukovar, to meet its people, spend money in their bars and restaurants, and experience their tourism. It also includes a fantastic itinerary, similar to the one Steve and I took, from Ilok to Baranja.  So in addition to connecting with Vukovar more than just an annual temporary Facebook status, it is a chance to learn more about a part of the country few Croats know anything about. 

The idea is to do the Vukovar Card tour once in your life, after which you will receive a badge or certificate. All those Croats on the coast with bars, restaurants and hotels who change their Facebook status can contribute by offering a 10% discount to Vukovar Card holders, thereby doing their bit. 

And for the Minister, this is a big win, doing something 'konkretno' for the east, especially as the infrastructure from the doomed Cro Card project is already in place. You can see the proposed 7-day itinerary here

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(Vukovar today, home to vibrant street art)

So what are we waiting for? The regional tourist boards have provided the itinerary, local tour agencies are ready to deliver the tours, the Minister likes it. 

Ah yes, funding. Again this should not be a problem as this is a win for everyone. It is just that I am perhaps not the right person to take this forward and look for funding from the most obvious source, the Croatian National Tourist Board, given that they are currently suing me twice. But I am sure they would be more amenable to someone else approaching them, so please contact me on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Subject Vukovar Card if you are able and willing to take it forward.

For Vukovar. 

****

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 will be out by Christmas. If you would like to reserve a copy, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Subject 20 Years Book

Sunday, 24 July 2022

Government Preparing Sustainable Croatian Tourism Strategy

July the 24th, 2022 - The Government is set to come up with a sustainable Croatian tourism strategy which would hopefully see the country escape from the chains of ''sea and sunshine'' which tend to see little more than three months of the limelight each year, and have a far less damaging effect in general.

As Morski writes, due to ongoing global challenges and rising energy prices as a result of continued inflation, the green and digital transition is becoming imperative in the tourism business, Tourism Minister Nikolina Brnjac pointed out. The number of tourists currently staying here in Croatia recently exceeded one million, and that was a week earlier than it was last year. There are currently 1.012 million guests from around the world visiting the country and the rush down on the coast is quite similar to the best tourist years.

In order for everything to be exactly how it was back during the pre-pandemic, record year of 2019, there are still a little under thirty thousand tourists missing, but an excellent August and a very good September are expected, so by the end of 2022, Croatia could witness a repeat of the best tourist year so far.

Tourism as a lifestyle

One issue which is frequently alluded to is the fact that the country's many foreign guests themselves enjoy things less when confronted with endless waiting and crowds, owing to which they don't really have much of a chance to experience the typical everyday life of the real Croatian lifestyle, that is, the lifestyle that makes each country recognisable and attractive and which, ultimately, largely "sells" its tourism offer. It is more or less clear to everyone working in Croatian tourism that something needs to change, and the current tourism authorities imagine the future quite differently.

According to the vision from the Ministry of Tourism, by the year 2030 there should be a strong shift towards socially, environmentally and economically sustainable year-round tourism, which valorises the natural and cultural heritage and unique identity of each individual region of this hugely naturally diverse country.

The key feature of tomorrow's tourism, which leans much more closely into sustainable Croatian tourism, should be authenticity, which, in addition to the diversity of the country's regions and rich natural and cultural heritage, is also evoked by hospitable, open and warm-hearted people. Such tourism is more than entrepreneurship, the aforementioned ministry pointed out, it is practically a way of life. All of this is outlined in the proposal of the Strategy for the Development of Sustainable Tourism until 2030.

The priority is to protect and present Croatia's multitude of tourist resources in an even better manner, to gradually put a stop to burdensome seasonality and the excessive overcrowding of spaces, and to preserve the welcoming spirit of local hosts. The focus for the sustainable Croatian tourism strategy is primarily on quality and innovation, and priority should be given to investments that will encourage harmonious economic development and equal progress of all regions. On the basis of the Strategy, the National Plan for the Development of Sustainable Tourism until 2027 is also being prepared, which will elaborate concrete measures, and will be adopted in parallel. The turn towards this new, more substantial, more fair form of tourism will certainly be facilitated by the financial resources available to the Republic of Croatia as a member of the EU, and the current global situation could speed up the transition.

The current summer tourist season is somehow still running with a deficit of about 5,000 workers in the hotel industry and a deficit of as many as 10,000 in the catering and hospitality industry, writes Vecernji list. This new Strategy which is aiming for more sustainable Croatian tourism may well indirectly alleviate this problem in the long term, but the Croatian Tourism Association has warned repeatedly that this problem shouldn't be ignored.

''We expect the Croatian Government to define some concrete measures for the stronger activation of the potential of the domestic labour force, the better retention of seasonal workers and the simplification and acceleration of the process of importing foreign labour as soon as possible,'' said Veljko Ostojic, the director of the Croatian Tourism Association (HUT), who also noted that the accommodation structure remains one of the the biggest challenges of Croatian tourism.

The number of beds in household/private facilities has now reached 620 thousand, and there are another 610 thousand beds in non-commercial accommodation. There are only 180,000 hotel beds, which represents a drop in the total number of registered beds. HUT says that such a structure in terms of accommodation capacities is primarily a consequence of the current tax system and that thanks to these "excessive" beds, Croatia is suffering enormous pressure on its infrastructure, and on the other hand, it is failing to achieve optimal tourism results.

For more on sustainable Croatian tourism, make sure to check out our dedicated travel section.

Sunday, 24 July 2022

Croatian Tourist Board Launches New Campaign at Split Airport

July the 24th, 2022 - The Croatian National Tourist Board (CNTB/HTZ) has launched an innovative new campaign involving the senses at Split Airport, and it appears to be winning over the many tourists passing through there at the moment.

As Morski writes, the CNTB is referring to their newly launched Split Airport campaign as a new, interesting and innovative one, which they claim delights foreign guests entering the country. Many passengers, leaving the planes and entering the area of ​​the Split Airport, can feel the specific smells of the Mediterranean - sea, pine trees, fresh citrus, lemon, orange, lavender, white cedar, and the list goes on.

According to research carried out the field of marketing and promotion, as much as 75 percent of a person's emotions are invoked by smells, which is one of the most important sensations in shaping reality, mood and concentration. Based on this, an interactive panel which displays the words "Croatia - Immerse your senses" was installed at Split Airport, which emits Mediterranean scents with appropriate animations.

''We at the CNTB follow modern trends in the promotion of tourism all the time, which has been confirmed by this interesting campaign that attracts the attention of many passers-by, that is, our guests at the most frequented locations, and in the middle of the peak summer tourist season, that is certainly at airports. We want to be innovative and immediately give our guests a feeling of summer, rest and comfort, and at the same time interest them and inform them about other Croatian destinations and parts of our overall tourist offer,'' said the director of the Croatian Tourist Board, Kristjan Stanicic, adding that this activity will be being carried out until the end of July.

The campaign also includes several additional locations in the City of Split, where digital panels are set up on which shots of other Croatian destinations are displayed.

Activities are also being carried out further south in Dubrovnik Airport (Cilipi), where the so-called ''digital towers'' that display video material work to promote the overall offer of Croatia as a tourist destination and showcase some of the most beautiful and attractive landscapes of the country to new arrivals.

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

Sunday, 24 July 2022

Safe Sailing 2022 Action Sees 400,000 Kuna in Fines Issued

July the 24th, 2022 - The Safe Sailing 2022 action which was carried on on Friday along the country's coastline has resulted in an enormous 400,000 kuna in fines being issued.

As Morski writes, officers from all captains' offices within the framework of the Safe Sailing 2022 action (campaign) carried out 438 inspections, on the basis of which they found 172 violations of regulations and charged violators over 400,000 kuna in fines.

The Safe Sailing 2022 action involves the enhanced supervision of navigation safety, which was held on Friday, July the 22nd, from 10:00 to 18:00 in the areas covered by ​​all Croatian port authorities. It was headed by the Ministry of Maritime Affairs, Transport and Infrastructure, monitored by the State Secretary for Maritime Affairs and EU Funds, Josip Bilaver, and the Director of the Administration for Safe Navigation, Captain Sinisa Orlic.

The goal of the action was primarily the education of all participants in Croatian maritime traffic, while the purpose of sanctioning violators was to prevent maritime accidents, and the main reason for holding a comprehensive coordinated action such as this one is certainly the heavily increased maritime traffic in the Croatian part of the Adriatic Sea during the height of the summer months.

State Secretary Josip Bilaver followed the course of action in the Zadar area of ​​sailing safety supervision and expressed his satisfaction with what he saw and noted that approximately 160,000 vessels are currrently sailing in the Croatian part of the Adriatic Sea, while supervision is being carried out by 40 ships from eight port authorities.

''The surveillance activities during the Safe Sailing 2022 action were primarily aimed at controlling illegal sailing speeds and gliding in areas where that isn't permitted, which accounts for over 60 percent of the total violations. Supervision will also be carried out over boat rentals, unscrupulous swimmers and divers, passenger boats being used for one-day trips and other participants in maritime transport. Finally, I'd like to point out that this is the first, but certainly not the last action set to take place this season. I'd like to ask all participants in maritime transport to respect the sea, and to take proper care of themselves and others,'' said State Secretary Josip Bilaver.

The increased level of supervision carried out as part of the recent Safe Sailing 2022 action was dealt with by the officers of the port authorities in coordination with the Service for the Supervision and Management of Maritime Traffic (VTS), whose employees provided support with their own reports on the observed areas in which there was increased vessel traffic, the violations in navigation they'd observed, unidentified and identified maritime objects, and more, all with a special emphasis on the control of improper sailing speeds in unauthorised areas.

100 officers of the Department of Navigation Safety from the competent ministry participated in this action, and inspections were carried out with 23 vessels from the composition of the port authorities and associated branches. 438 such inspections were carried out, which found a total of 173 violations of the regulations set out in the country's Maritime Code, that is, the rulebook (pravilnik) on the safety of maritime navigation.

Fines in the total amount of 406,000.00 kuna were imposed on participants in maritime transport who were found guilty of any violations.

Through preventive actions towards all participants in maritime traffic, the necessity of observing safety regulations during navigation has been pointed out. This central action is a demonstration of the operational readiness and efficiency of the competent services of the ministry, that is, of the navigation safety system, and the implementation of enhanced navigation safety monitoring actions will continue in the area of ​​competence of all eight port authorities during this period of increased maritime traffic.

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

Sunday, 24 July 2022

Porec Drainage Offering People Purified Water Free of Charge

July the 24th, 2022 - Istria recently introduced measures to limit the use of drinking water in the area, and now the Porec drainage company is offering people their purified water for free.

As Morski writes, after Istria introduced a reduction in the use of drinking water across Istria County, municipalities and cities are all looking for ways to provide residents with water for activities that aren't allowed during the reduction period, such as watering green areas or washing the roads and streets.

Due to the emergency situation involving the water supply, the Porec drainage company would like to informs Istria County's residents and all other interested parties about the possibility of using purified water from their wastewater treatment plants.

Four newly built devices have the possibility of supplying such water; namely UPOV Lanterna (with a treatment capacity for 30,000 inhabitants), UPOV Porec - North (at the Saladinka location with a treatment capacity for 37,000 inhabitants), UPOV Porec - South (at the Mornarica location with a capacity treatment for 48,000 inhabitants) and UPOV Vrsar (at the Petalon location with a treatment capacity for 22,500 inhabitants).

These newly built devices use membrane technology for the ultrafiltration of waste water after it has undergone a biological treatment process, which purifies the water to the degree that it is suitable for irrigating green and agricultural areas and sports fields, for washing streets, roads and undertaking other similar activities which require water. These are the first devices of such technology built in all of the Republic of Croatia.

The total wastewater treatment capacity of all treatment devices is the equivalent of 137,500 inhabitants or approximately 22,000 m3 per day during the summer season, while currently the devices treat approximately 13,000 m3 per day.

The Porec drainage company claims that they have secured all of the technical conditions and infrastructure for the delivery of the purified water to larger consumers from the tourism sector, so that in the future, the full capacity of purified water delivery from these newly built devices can be used, and currently this water is being used by utility companies.

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

Saturday, 23 July 2022

Bicycles, Scooters, Roller Skates, Equipment Given to Children in Ukraine

ZAGREB, 23 July 2022 - Bicycles, scooters, roller skates and additional equipment worth HRK 16,650 were given on Saturday to parents and children from Ukraine who have found refuge in Osijek and participate daily in activities conducted by Dkolektiv, a social development organisation from the eastern city.

The money was raised in a cycling campaign organised by Dkolektiv and the Slagalica foundation as part of which cycling duo Igor Toman and Ivica Lenard cycled 540 km from Zagreb to Trogir on the coast.

The objective was to raise HRK 15,000 but eventually HRK 16,650 was raised via 57 donations, said Mirna Šmit of Slagalica.

Bruno Koić of Dkolektiv said that before the campaign they mapped the needs of the children from Ukraine coming to their Social Studio every day. Our wish is to make their stay here as dynamic and nice as possible, he added.

The campaign organisers thanked Zagreb, Rijeka, Jastrebarsko, Trogir and Supetar for their logistic and financial support.

Toman and Lenard are disabled war veterans.

We went through a war and know what it's like, Toman said, adding that with this campaign they wanted to welcome the Ukrainian friends.

They started on 17 June and the ride took a little over 40 hours without interruption.

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