Thursday, 27 October 2022

Coffee App 'Kava' Conceived in Croatia Launches on App Store

October 29, 2022 - Croatia, a land of inspiration. Meet Sam Brown, a British digital nomad who came for the lifestyle, stayed for the coffee, then launched a spceciality coffee app called Kava. 

Kava, a new speciality coffee app that was conceived in Croatia, has just launched on iPhone and Android. Sam Brown, the founder and lead developer of the app, first thought of the idea after spending time in several of Croatia’s world-class speciality coffee shops, so it was natural to name the app after the Croatian word for coffee, Kava.

In an interview with Total Croatia News, Sam explained:

“As a Digital Nomad, I’m always visiting somewhere new and when I land in an unfamiliar city I want to find the best places to go for speciality coffee. But Google searches often result in inaccurate suggestions and blog recommendations are often untrustworthy or outdated. And if I do find somewhere that sounds good it is often unclear what sort of place I’d find when I get there. Would it be laptop friendly? What sort of food would be on offer?

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So I had the idea for an app that solves two problems.

One, it’s a map of the best speciality coffee shops across Europe (and eventually the world) all of which have been approved by us. Whenever you travel to a new place, you can check the Kava app to not only find the best coffee, but also see accurate information about what is on offer at each coffee shop. All this data comes directly from the Kava community so you can trust that it is impartial and up-to-date.

Two, it creates community around speciality coffee. Every time you go for coffee you can rate your experience on Kava. What type of coffee are you drinking? How good is it? What amenities are available?

Users can have fun sharing these ratings, images, comments and likes with their friends and followers. All this data feeds back into the map and gives other Kava users a clearer idea of where they should go for coffee.”

The popularity of speciality coffee has soared in Croatia, with locals, expats, tourists and digital nomads alike now flocking to the country’s speciality coffee shops around the country. Not just confined to the big cities, speciality coffee shops can be found up and down the country from Rovinj to Stari Grad.

Sam adds: “Kava isn’t only aimed at people like me who are constantly traveling. The aim of Kava is to create connections and community between coffee lovers and coffee shops which is just as important at home as it is on the road. We strive to support speciality coffee shops by connecting them to coffee drinkers who care about what’s in their cup. We give coffee lovers a place to share and connect with like-minded coffee drinkers. Above all, we champion the sustainable, ethical speciality coffee industry.”

Kava is available now on iPhone, Android and as a Progressive Web App. Visit discoverkava.com to learn more and download the app.

For more innovation from this beautiful land,check out the TCN Made in Croatia section.

Thursday, 27 October 2022

Mate Rimac Puts Sveta Nedelja at Top of EU Investment in Climate Tech

October the 27th, 2022 - Croatian entrepreneur Mate Rimac can be praised for many things, from attracting the automotive industry's attention to a small nation without any car production to speak of, to placing Croatia firmly on a map that doesn't involve tourism. The list is a long one, and attracting huge EU investment in climate tech to Sveta Nedelja is another string to his impressive belt.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Mladen Miletic writes, a new report by PwC, in partnership with Wolves Summit, on the status of climate technology investment in 27 countries across the Central and Eastern European region found that investment in climate technology grew from 10.6 million US dollars back in 2013 to an extremely impressive 398 million dollars in the pandemic-dominated tear of 2020. It continued on that same upward trajectory, reaching more than 502 million US dollars in the first half of 2021 alone.

Although more than 1.76 billion dollars has been invested in climate technologies in the aforementioned region (which includes Croatia) between 2013 and the first half of 2021, the report also states that there are further opportunities for growth and diversification in this country's immediate region. It is also stated that investments in climate technologies in Central and Eastern Europe are more concentrated in the mobility and transport sector (59.8 percent) and in startups based in Estonia and Lithuania (74.8 percent), and it is also interesting to note that the three most active centres of investment in climate technologies are Tallinn, Vilnius, and Croatia's very own Sveta Nedelja!

Although it isn't explicitly stated in this report, the development of Mate Rimac's Rimac Technology, in which Porsche has been rather heavily investing since 2018, as well as the start of the construction of the Rimac Campus spanning more than 70 thousand square metres of production space in Sveta Nedelja, are responsible for this town near Samobor's enviable position. It also confirms a clear tendency towards complete integration into the environment and climate neutrality.

The example of Mate Rimac's remarkable company was pointed out by the vice-president of the EIB, the EU's climate bank, Teresa Czerwinska, during her visit to the City of Zagreb, during which she pointed out that the Republic of Croatia needs more such companies who are focused on contributing to the green transition.

For more, make sure to keep up with our dedicated business section.

Thursday, 27 October 2022

AWFT: BiH Signs Agreements - Cross Sector Collaboration for Sustainability

October 27, 2022, Nimes, France - The A World for Travel Forum was opened this morning with welcomes from the representatives of the partner organisations, the Occitanie region, agencies, as well as Jamaica's Minister of Tourism. The event of the morning was the signing of agreements between the Ministry of Environment and Tourism (notice how environment takes the first place) of Bosnia and Herzegovina and their partners, all on a mission to develop tourism in Bosnia and Herzegovina while focusing on sustainability. Tourism will not be an accident but a planned collaborative effort, with environment in the focus, built on the foundations of communication and partnerships between the governmental organisations and external partners. Panels of the country's representatives and interviews will follow this afternoon, but their opening did make us wonder if Croatia can still learn.

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The representatives from the Global Travel and Tourism Resilience Council, Intrepid Travel, The Travel Corporation and USAID’s Developing Sustainable Tourism in Bosnia and Herzegovina (Turizam) project are signing the culmination and launch of their partnership which was born to facilitate the sustainable tourism development of Bosnia Herzegovina. The project is built on a platform of collaboration starting with the spurring of sustainable community-based tourism experiences to drive and answer increased market  demand for unique experiences. The international networks of these partners will jointly work on transforming Bosnia and Herzegovina’s world-class tourism potential into a globally recognized example of sustainable tourism development. Two agreements are being signed by USAID Turizam Chief of Party Ibrahim Osta, Intrepid EMEA Managing Director Zina Bencheikh, The Travel Corporation Global Sustainability Manager Nadine Pinto and the CEO of Jacobs Media Group/The Global Travel and Tourism Resilience Council, Duncan Horton.

“We could not be prouder of the work our Resilience Council has done this year, particularly with such a positive story coming forward to share with other destinations who may be looking at repositioning sustainably,” stated Mr. Horton in a recent interview with Travel Weekly.

“Developing sustainable tourism in new destinations is a key focus for us at Intrepid and we are delighted to be working with USAID, Project Turizam and the Global Travel and Tourism Resilience Council on this project. Partnerships like these are essential as we move toward a more sustainable future for our industry,” said Zina Bencheikh, Managing Director, INTREPID Travel, EMEA.  She continued,” We’re grateful to play a part in making this beautiful destination more accessible in a way that respects the history of the country, leaves a light footprint and respects and supports local communities."

The partnerships are building upon a strong foundation which includes community engagement, toolkits and consistent communication on the value of collaboration in driving sustainability.  The destination benefiting from these projects, Bosnia and Herzegovina has joined the AWFT22, as they did last year in Evora to share more in depth various aspects of the project with this year’s attendees.  The  announcement at AWFT 22 includes the participation of Deputy Minister of Tourism and Environment of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina Sabina Sahman-Salihbegovic, Secretary General of the Republika Srpska Chamber of Commerce Dragana Kokot, Deputy Director of the USAID/BiH Economic Growth Office Dr. Erol Mujanovic and USAID Turizam Chief of Party Ibrahim Osta.

Additionally, USAID Turizam Tourism Product Development Team Leader Fedja Begovic will participate in the Case Study Agriculture and the Food Industry’s Relationship with Travel, Sabina Sahman-Salihbegovic is one of the speakers at the panel Community Involvement vs. Engagement – Has it Been defined? Are the Benefits Reaching Local Communities?, Dragana Kokot will be part of the panel How to Bring Talent Permanently to the Industry?. Ibrahim Osta will lead one of the headliner sessions titled Billions Available, a session with panelists such as BpiFrance, Certares, ICF and Roland Berger which represent investment, finance and consulting global powerhouses with billions of euros in annual investments in the tourism, hospitality, aviation and infrastructure spheres. The objective of this session is to explore the most optimal approach to expand access to capital for large-scale multi-billion dollar investments and to identify challenges and solutions to smaller borrowing needs of tourism enterprises. In addition to his participation in the opening session dealing with international partnerships, Erol Mujanović will participate in the conference’s Final Roundtable slated to determine the event’s output.

"Tourism is the country's strategic sector, accounting for around 11% of total employment and one of the key generators of exports and foreign exchange. And perhaps the best embodiment of the concept of partnership is how our USAID Developing Sustainable Tourism in Bosnia and Herzegovina project is being implemented. Our delegation here in Nimes consists of the Ministry of Environment and Tourism representing government, the Chamber of Commerce representing the local private sector, two international trade partners, examples of our global partnerships, and our project leadership that works with local communities, entrepreneurs, and youth," noted Erol Mujanović, USAID/BiH Economic Growth Office Deputy Director.

USAID Turizam is a five-year project that aims to fuel broad-based tourism-driven economic growth and promote social harmony by capitalizing on Bosnia and Herzegovina’s rich cultural heritage and distinctive nature. The project aims to set the tourism industry on a robust growth trajectory toward a sustainable tourism economy with increased employment and business expansion. With the aim of generating arrivals, increasing tourism spending by international travelers in Bosnia and Herzegovina, expanding retail options for the country’s rural producers and spreading economic opportunities into secondary destinations, USAID Turizam is establishing partnerships with the following companies and organizations:

  • Global Travel & Tourism Resilience Council’s key focus is to bring together the public and private sectors to facilitate collaboration and sustainability in the development of tourism strategies. Similarly, broad dissemination of collaborative efforts towards sustainability through tourism dispersion, cultural product development, experiential opportunities, local community inclusion, regional coalitions and financial parity sets a path for others to follow.
  • The Travel Corporation (TTC) is a leading operator of 40 award-winning, sustainable brands, offering unique and industry-leading service that puts its guests at the heart of everything the brand does. TTC also has an extensive global distribution & marketing network to support the inward flow of business to support activities included in TTC tours.
  • Intrepid Travel is a leading operator of Sustainable Experience Rich travel with significant expertise in developing experiential activities in communities and supporting various stakeholders to prepare to manage, operate and maintain their business as a supplier. Intrepid also has an extensive global distribution & marketing network to support the inward flow of business and support activities included in Intrepid tours.

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

Wednesday, 26 October 2022

Croatian OPG Tourism Improving, Digital Marketing Crucial to Growth

October the 26th, 2022 - Croatian OPG tourism has seen significant improvements since the pre-pandemic year of 2019, but continued digital marketing is absolutely crucial to further growth.

As Mladen Miletic/Poslovni Dnevnik writes, the tourism campaign entitled "Experience all Croatia has to offer" was carried out jointly by the Croatian National Tourist Board (HTZ) and Mastercard this summer with the aim of promoting the Republic of Croatia as a tourist destination with a focus on the European markets of Italy, the United Kingdom and the Netherlands.

Croatian OPG tourism was also the topic of a panel discussion within the wider scope of this campaign in which the representatives of the Croatian National Tourist Board and Mastercard, Kristjan Stanicic and Gea Kariz, as well as the scientific advisor of the Institute for Tourism Josip Mikulic, all participated.

As digital marketing is crucial today when people make their decisions on the choice of a travel destination, the panelists agreed that this country is less recognised in general when it comes to continental and rural areas, and Mikulic also pointed out that overnight stays realised on family farms (Croatian OPG tourism) have a share of a mere 0.1 percent in all of Croatia, and as such they also recorded the smallest drop in the global coronavirus pandemic, and compared to the pre-crisis years of 2018/19, they're now at 146 percent.

OPGs as micro-destinations offer everything that a modern tourist is looking for - a combination of agriculture and tourism, being totally green, promoting what is native and non-massive, it is generally much less seasonal, and offers a personalised approach to the guest, to Croatian products, and to the secure employment of the resident population.''

The average CTR (click-through rate) of this particular tourism campaign was at least ten times better than the market average, and it was implemented entirely on the basis of data from Mastercard's Tourism Insights solution, which provides a comprehensive analysis of the attitudes, behaviour and preferences of tourists.

For more, make sure to keep up with our dedicated news section.

Wednesday, 26 October 2022

From Mattress to Bank - How Much Deposited Kuna Cash is Legit?

October the 26th, 2022 - With Croatian Eurozone entry looming, more and more kuna cash is appearing in bank accounts having made its way there from sock drawers and under mattresses. How much of it is legitimate, however? With many of these amounts not exactly being small, these deposits might well attract the taxman's unwanted radar.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, as RTL has learned from the Croatian Association of Banks (HUB), back in June this year, household deposits reached 255.2 billion kuna, in July they rose to 259.6 billion kuna, and according to the latest Croatian National Bank (CNB) data, they rose to 263.4 billion kuna this August.

When compared to the same month last year, at least according to the Croatian National Bank, this is an increase in deposits of this kind by 22.3 billion kuna or 9.4%. Peoples' deposits have been growing rapidly for a couple of years already, meaning the growth of deposits was similar a year earlier compared to 2020, when they grew by 20.7 billion kuna or 9.2%. People in this country typically deposit far more foreign currency than they do kuna cash, so the share of foreign currency deposits was 59.4% or 156.5 billion kuna, while the share of kuna cash savings and stood at 7.1% or 18.9 billion kuna.

In this way, some of the money that has been under the radar until now will surely end up being deposited into various different bank accounts. If a larger amount appears on someone's account, the spotlight might well be switched on and the bank's due diligence and analysis procedures will automatically be activated. On top of that, there there is also the Law on the Prevention of Money Laundering and the Financing of Terrorism, which also prescribes which alarms need to be raised and when.

"Measures of in-depth analysis should basically ensure that banks get to know their clients and the transactions being carried out in detail, and include establishing the identity and verifying the identity of the party, collecting data on the purpose and intended nature of the business relationship, and carrying out the constant monitoring of the business relationship", they stated rom the CNB.

If an amount greater than 200,000 kuna appears in someone's account all of a sudden, regardless of who is carrying out that cash transaction, the bank is also obliged to collect information on the source of the funds.

For more, make sure to keep up with our dedicated news section.

Wednesday, 26 October 2022

AWFT: A World For Travel Global Travel and Tourism Forum in Nimes, France

October 26, 2022 - The renowned A World for Travel (AWFT) event will take place in Nimes, France, on October 27-28, 2022, celebrating its 2nd year. 

As stated in the official press release, the Forum announces the Egyptian government providing a preview of COP27. Ukrainian officials will share how destinations cope with war and protect their tourism assets, while Google will deliver new traveller trends. Ministers of Tourism will participate in discussions sharing groundbreaking initiatives. The two-day event, designed in a Davos-style manner, is aimed at transforming the travel industry and all those serving the traveller to become sustainable in all aspects of their businesses: environmentally, socially, economically, and climatically. Produced in conjunction with the Global Travel and Tourism Resilience Council, the A World for Travel organisers are working globally to ensure the travel industry and all associated businesses operate sustainably.

Thought leaders from global enterprises such as Mastercard, Costa Cruises, Pierre et Vacances, ICF, Amadeus, World Bank, Delta Airlines, Europcar, TUI, American Express GBT, SNCF, Alstom and Accor will join public sector officials, including Ministers from France, the EU, Scotland, Jamaica, Bosnia, and Herzegovina, Moldova and Portugal to determine “how” to make travel more sustainable.

The event moves into its second year partnering with the 3,000-year-old city of Nimes in the South of France, where the city is “set to become one of Europe’s outstanding examples of sustainability,” announced Jean-Paul Fournier, the Mayor of Nimes. The city’s efforts are supported by the regional government of Occitanie. “With the support of the local community, the event will deliver clear guidance on the development and management of sustainable destinations, how to address the human aspect and impact on a destination, its economics, and adaptation to climate change,” shared Christian Delom, Secretary General, AWFT.

About the Global Travel and Tourism Resilience Council

In 2016, the Global Travel and Tourism Resilience Council was launched. The Council is a global platform to bring together the public and private sectors, addressing crisis management, preparedness, recovery, and resilience. As an international thought leadership forum, the Council facilitates dialogue and works with best-of-breed companies to benefit destinations and the global travel industry. More information at resiliencecouncil.com.

About A World for Travel

A World for Travel (AWFT) is aimed at transforming travel to preserve, globally and locally, at the same time and for the same purpose for humanity and the planet. A World for Travel allows all tourism stakeholders to react, take initiatives, reshape the tourism product to meet climate, digital & social requirements, develop a positive image brought by tourism, fix the ongoing milestones to make it happen, create a common platform to share best practices and perspectives by involving all stakeholders with mixed interests and identifying threats to travel development.

Follow along for coverage, interviews, insights into how Croatia has been performing, and more with TCN.

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

Wednesday, 26 October 2022

Pets in Croatia - Laws, Strays, Dog Beaches and Dalmatians

October the 26th, 2022 - In this edition of How to Croatia, we're going to be looking at pets in Croatia and exploring everything from animal welfare laws, vaccines, dog beaches, and adopting stray animals to Croatian dog breeds (because the list doesn't begin and end with the beloved Dalmatian).

While the City of Zagreb is dominated by well looked-after small ‘apartment dogs’ such as Lhasa Apsos, Pomeranians, Yorkshire Terriers and mongrels consisting of genetic mixes of everything from the Jack Russell to the Pug, the Dalmatian coast is unfortunately dominated by stray cats and the apparent total inability to understand why spaying and neutering one animal can prevent the suffering and disease of litter after litter of kittens who didn’t ask to be born. 

I’ll be frank, you’re going to see many stray cats wandering the streets all along the coast. Dalmatia, at least for the most part, and there are of course exceptions, still hasn’t quite cottoned onto the fact that foreign visitors typically adore cats and do not see them as ravenous pests or walking vectors of disease to be shunned away into dark corners somewhere. I’ll get into that more later as it’s something that I am passionate about as an animal lover and I don’t want this to just be me on my soapbox banging on about fleas and intestinal parasites.

Let’s start with the basics - Can I bring my pet with me into Croatia?

Speaking generally - Absolutely. Yes. There are also opportunities for your pets to have a great time while in Croatia, including swimming, trekking, or doing anything else you and your pet enjoy doing. By ‘pet’, I’m assuming dog here, as I highly doubt your cat enjoys diving off rocks into the sea, but maybe you have an outlier. Or a Bengal tiger.

One thing that does unfortunately seem to bypass some people and which is very dangerous, is bringing your pet to Croatia when it is boiling hot. Croatia can get too hot even for humans who have a choice about turning on the air conditioner, putting it on turbo mode, closing the blinds or having a nap during the particularly harsh afternoon hours. Pets don’t get that choice and the amount of people who continue walking their dogs in 30+ degree heat is infuriating to see. So, a word to the wise: If you plan on bringing your pet to Croatia with you, you’d do well to avoid the peak tourist season (that would be late June, July and August) or at least try to avoid the most popular tourist destinations. It tends to be extremely hot and very crowded here during that wildly busy summer period, and dogs won’t appreciate walkies when their paws are burned and when they succumb to heat stroke which can and does kill them. While this is true for all dogs, if your dog has spent their life in the UK, Norway or indeed anywhere else in Northern Europe, the heat will be an additional shock to their system that they won’t have a chance in hell of knowing how to cope with.

Transporting a pet to and from Croatia

The rules and regulations regarding the entry of pets to the Republic of Croatia are what you'd expect from any European Union (EU) member state. Pets must have a microchip, have a valid pet passport or authorised certificate, and this must confirm their clean bill of health, and they absolutely MUST be vaccinated against rabies.

For pets younger than three months, things are somewhat more complicated, but you shouldn’t really be travelling with an animal that young. All the aforementioned rules are valid for the non-commercial entry of animals to Croatia (under five individual animals), for low-risk countries, and are valid for dogs, cats, birds, rabbits, ferrets and some other species.

There is a bylaw which defines which border crossings are permitted for animals to enter the country, but it includes almost all major border crossings in Croatia, including ports and airports, so you shouldn't worry about that, as it is highly unlikely you'll find yourself crossing the Croatian border at any of the border crossings that aren’t included in that bylaw.

Similar rules apply for when an animal is leaving Croatia and going to a different country. Your pet must be able to be clearly identified through its microchip and be vaccinated against rabies. Please note that these are Croatia’s own rules for animals exiting the country, and it is entirely possible that any country to which you plan to bring your pet might have more stringent rules of its own in place, so if you choose to take your pet with you on your onward travels from Croatia, please make sure you know precisely what the authorities of the country you’re going to need from you in order to make sure your pet has a smooth journey and a safe arrival to their destination.

Attitudes towards pets and domestic animals in Croatia 

I’ll be frank (as I was before), there are people, particularly down in Dalmatia, who for some unknown reason cannot grasp that cats are pets which require our love and care. There are still enormous issues with spay and neuter programmes not being the absolutely obvious thing to implement, and there are sadly situations in which cruel individuals poison cats and allow them to die horrific and drawn out deaths. While this is illegal in Croatia, it is rare that the culprits are ever found or punished.

There is also an awful practice of dumping hunting hounds which are too old to keep up, injured, or aren’t fulfilling their purpose anymore. Tourists coming across confused, dehydrated and frightened hounds which have been abandoned in the middle of nowhere (often in the Dalmatian hinterland) or running in and out of traffic on busy roads isn’t an uncommon occurrence. And while litters of helpless kittens too young to be away from their mother being dumped in bins (yes, seriously) are still very much a reality which is dealt with by selfless animal rescue volunteer organisations and vets, over the past several decades, the situation has gradually improved.

There are certain cities, towns and municipalities in different areas of Croatia which now run fully or semi funded spay and neuter programmes, so the owner of the animal in question isn’t charged. Others run ‘actions’ where the owners of dogs kept outside chained up are severely fined. There are even checks for microchips on pet dogs out on the street from time to time. There are vets who will selflessly treat injured strays and many organisations and shelters which will feed, foster and adopt out strays. It would be a lie to say that Croatia has reached ‘Western standards’ of animal care, and the situation is unfortunately somewhat similar in just about all Mediterranean countries, but have things become far better on the whole? Yes.

Pets and the conditions in which they live across Croatia have gotten better. In most places in Croatia now, both dogs and cats live cushy lives as well-fed, fully vaccinated, and sometimes totally spoiled furballs.

While generations of local cats line the old stone walls, sit waiting in harbours for fishermen they have ingratiated themselves with to give them some sardines and laze around in the sun, in most places in Croatia it is against the local bylaws to let dogs roam around freely without being on a leash. This isn’t really enforced in smaller areas, and to be perfectly honest, you’re far more likely to meet a local dog who belongs to so and so who everyone knows taking himself for a quick wander and a swim before going home than you are Cujo. This is especially the case in smaller Dalmatian towns and villages. And, yes, we'll get back to the topic of Dalmatians and their origins a bit later on.

Laws regarding pets in Croatia

We've already mentioned the most important laws regarding pets in Croatia, such as the fact that they should have a microchip and they should have all of the necessary vaccinations and proof of such (for dogs, the most important one of all remains the rabies vaccine). While they are the main things to keep in mind, there are some other national laws regarding pets to consider as well. The most notable one concerns so-called ‘dangerous breeds’. This refers to dogs from the group of breeds discriminated against by many countries solely because of idiots with two legs which fall under the ‘(pit) bull terrier type’ category. Any dog lover will tell you that the idea of a dog breed being inherently ‘dangerous’ is a completely idiotic notion, but unfortunately this breed discrimination does continue.

Opinions aside, there are unfortunately some special conditions for keeping ‘(pit) bull terrier type’ breeds. This includes the provision that the dogs considered to belong to this particular breed type can only enter Croatia if they have a pedigree issued by a member of the International Canine Federation (Fédération cynologique internationale). These dogs should always be on a leash when outdoors and have a muzzle on at all times while in public.

While there are areas and bylaws which prescribe where your dog can be off the leash, you do generally need to keep your dog on a leash in more populated areas (unless it's a dog park). When it comes to taking your dog with you to a restaurant or a cafe, do ask if animals are permitted. Generally (and especially in bars and cafes) the answer will usually be an emphatic ‘Yes’, and your four-legged companion will also likely receive a bowl of water, especially in warm weather.

What about finding accommodation which accepts pets in Croatia?

First things first, don't assume that all accommodation units will be fine about accepting your pet. You do need to check and if you’re booking online through a platform such as Booking.com or Airbnb, you’ll find that whether or not pets are welcome is typically clearly highlighted. On top of that, almost all campsites across Croatia are very pet-friendly. There are only a small handful that have a strict pet-free policy, so they’re very easy to avoid. If you’re going about booking something in a less common or straightforward way, make sure to ask about your dog, cat, bird, hamster, or whatever pet you have.

When it comes to actual hotels, the situation can become a little bit more complex so make sure you explicitly ask, and also let them know if your pet (particularly if the animal in question is a dog) is a large breed. Some hotels have very vague guidelines about ‘smaller pets’ which won’t be made clear unless you ask about them specifically. Although both are technically ‘smaller pets’, there’s still a rather big difference between a guinea pig and a West Highland Terrier. If the answer is no, don’t be put off. Do shop around. You’ll definitely find somewhere more than happy to accommodate your furry family member.

Things to note

There are handy websites that can help you navigate Croatian accommodation facilities and private landlords, so do look for the ones that are happy to house you and your pet: while probably not completely up-to-date, you can certainly get a feel of the number of options there are out there by visiting Povedi me/Take me.

Taking pets on public transport

More often than not, it’s very possible to take your pet on most forms of public transport, but the rules will usually be somewhat vague, not clearly defined and you and your furry (or feathered, or scaled) pal’s success might vary. A lot depends on the size of your pet, the exact time you want to travel with your pet and honestly, the mood of the driver themselves. Less than ideal, I know, but that’s the reality and it’s worth keeping in mind.

Pets on trains

Small animals which are 30 centimetres or less in height are permitted on Croatian trains as long as they spend the duration of their travel time in the safety of their pet transporters. This is also true for dogs of that size, as they can sit calmly on their owner's lap. The great news is that both of those options are usually free. Service dogs of all breeds, sizes and weights are more than welcome everywhere and also travel for free. For larger dogs, owners will often need to have their veterinary booklet with them to prove a clean bill of health, their list of completed vaccinations and proof that they’re microchipped. They will need to be kept on a short leash and will usually need to wear a muzzle (although this isn’t always checked) for the duration of their time spent aboard the train. You’ll also need to pay for their train ride. If you want to take your dog on a sleeping coach, you’ll also have to pay for all the beds in the section.

Pets on buses

For bus travel between cities in Croatia, the rules are more vague owing to the fact that there are a great many companies providing all sorts of bus services. The rules naturally differ from company to company. Because of that, it is very difficult to say with certainty that you will or won’t be allowed to board a bus with your dog or other pet. Your safest bet would be to go with the presumption that you can’t board any bus with any type of dog during the height of the summer tourist season, and during the off-season, your best chance to get a dog on the bus are if it's a smaller breed which can either sit comfortably on your knee or be in a pet transporter.

Pets on ferries

Dogs and animals of all kinds (okay, maybe not lions or crocodiles, although there was a tiger travelling on a Croatian ferry to Hvar once, don’t ask) are more than welcome on ferries, with similar conditions as on the trains: either in pet transporters (smaller dog breeds, birds, cats, guinea pigs, rats, rabbits, and what have you) or on a short leash and with muzzle (bigger dogs). Be aware that there are many larger dogs not wearing muzzles on Croatian ferries and I’ve honestly never personally seen any dog owner asked to produce one, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have a muzzle on you, just in case. Often, pets may not enter certain areas on ferries, such as saloons, restaurants and cabins. That said, I’ve taken my cat, Newton, in his pet transporter on the ferry between Split and Supetar many times and nobody has batted an eyelid.

When it comes to public transport in individual cities within Croatia, such as in Zagreb, Split and Rijeka, the whole ‘pet on board’ situation also varies significantly. I know, it wouldn’t kill anyone to just have one single set of rules in place, would it? One can dream...

In Split and Rijeka, your dog or other pet is welcome on public transportation if they can fit inside a pet transporter (meaning that bigger dogs aren’t really allowed), and in the City of Zagreb, you have the option of taking your pet with you and they can board the tram or bus on a short leash (in the case of dogs) or inside their pet transporter. 

As always, it's the owner's full responsibility to make sure animals don't destroy, damage or soil the vehicle in which they’re travelling. Make sure to have water and plenty of bags and tissues with you, and if the animal in question is a dog, it might be wise to take them for a walk or an outdoor play session before getting on any type of public transport, you know, to get things moving and out where they need to be as opposed to on a vehicle’s seat.

Strays in Croatia - What should I do if I come across one?

You’re not likely to see that many stray dogs wandering the streets. Cats? Yes. Especially on the coast. While some of these free roaming felines do actually either belong to someone or are street cats who are looked after and fed by people, others are strays living very difficult lives. Only recently has there been an increased level of awareness of their poor quality of life, and many good-hearted people often get involved to provide them with medical help, spaying and neutering them, and of course - feeding them. Over more recent years, many towns, municipalities and local communities have launched various Catch, Spay and Release programmes specifically for street cats. This has resulted in 1) less cats roaming around and suffering 2) a far better quality of life for the cats which are there 3) more tolerance from locals who are perhaps not exactly cat lovers as they cannot breed so numbers don’t keep on spiralling out of control.

Animal shelters

There are many selfless volunteers running animal rights groups all over Croatia, rescuing animals from the harsh reality of life out on the streets and providing them with shelter, medical care, sterilisation and then finding them suitable homes even outside of Croatian borders. Other kind-hearted people often volunteer to give animals adopted by people in different cities or indeed outside of Croatia lifts in their cars to their new homes. Since 2017, all animal shelters have been no-kill shelters. Before that, sometimes it was difficult for decent people to even think of taking stray animals to shelters, because although they would be cared for and fed, their days there were unfortunately numbered, but thankfully that isn’t the case anymore.

Stray dogs

As I already explained, most dogs in Croatia that have owners are microchipped, so if you do happen to come across a dog in Croatia that looks like a stray (do ask around first, especially in smaller coastal areas where people’s very much loved pet dogs do often take themselves out for a wander and a quick dip in the Adriatic) your first course of action is to take the dog to the local vet.

Once there, the vet will be able to see if the dog is microchipped and scan them to get the owner’s details. They’ll then start the process of returning them to their owners. Although microchipping is mandatory for dogs in Croatia, not everyone does it, and if you come across a dog without a microchip or one that is out of date or cannot be scanned and read by the vet for some reason, there's no way to quickly find out who the dog belongs to. 

In such cases, the vet will take care of the dog while they get in contact with the local shelter in charge of caring for stray or abandoned dogs in the area. Dogs are given the necessary vaccinations, such as that against rabies, when arriving at these shelters. They’re also treated for any obvious diseases (unfortunately, they are usually not spayed or neutered at the expense of the local government unit at this moment in time) and microchipped, so they're ready for adoption. Many tourists who have either found kittens or stray dogs have taken them home with them, so if you're an animal lover, there’s a chance you could head home with a new furry pal in tow. I rescued my cat six years ago after finding him abandoned by his mother as a tiny kitten with his eyes barely open under a bush in Dubrovnik. No regrets. I absolutely recommend it!

Veterinary services

Nobody wants to think of their pet becoming unwell or injured, but it happens, especially if your cat is practising their ‘nine lives’ theory or if your dog has decided to try and make friends with a bee. The Croatian Chamber of Veterinary Medicine has a list of veterinary practices on their website, although, as with most things in Croatia, you shouldn’t count on the list being fully up to date. Google is your friend here, and a quick search of the word ‘veterinar’ (vet) or ‘veterinarska ambulanta’ (vet clinic/practice) and your location will give you the results you’re looking for, as well as reviews and opening times.

In larger veterinary practices, such as at Zagreb’s famous Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, which is part of the historic Zagreb University, you'll be able to have blood tests, ultrasounds, scans and an array of other diagnostic workups done for your pet if necessary. The prices for basic veterinary services and medicines are quite affordable in Croatia, especially when compared to Western Europe, where even pet insurance usually doesn’t get your bank account off the hook completely.

Rabies and other serious transmittable diseases in Croatia

Rabies (Lyssavirus)

Rabies is a death sentence for all those who are infected and not vaccinated with a post-exposure vaccine as soon as possible. There is no cure once symptoms begin to show. Post-exposure treatment (ironically known as PET) using a rabies vaccine with or without human rabies immunoglobulin (HRIG) is extremely effective in preventing rabies from developing in humans if given correctly and as quickly as possible after exposure to the virus.

Animals exposed to rabies, even if they are already vaccinated against it, require revaccination as soon as possible. As diabolical as rabies is, it is very easy to prevent.

Luckily, there is no terrestrial rabies (known as dog rabies) in Croatia. This is primarily thanks to vaccination against rabies being mandatory and good controls on animals entering the country. Contrary to popular (and mistaken) belief, that does not mean that rabies may not be present in other animal species, this is especially true of wildlife that could be reservoirs of rabies. This is particularly the case with bats, as it is all over the world. Croatia is an EU country and as such has numerous protocols in place for the prevention and control of rabies, but it does border non-EEA countries, and a case of rabies was confirmed in neighbouring Bosnia and Herzegovina in 2020. So, while one can never be too careful when it comes to something as dangerous as rabies, the risk of coming into contact with it in Croatia is very, very low indeed.

Dog beaches

Croatia has several dog beaches, and they are a fantastic way of bonding with your furry friend while also keeping them active and cool at the same time in the hot weather. Most dogs adore playing in water and swimming, and the calm Adriatic waves (if you can even call them that, coming from the UK and watching the North Sea in action, I struggle) are the perfect and safe watery playground for dogs of all abilities. There is even a dog beach bar up in Kvarner! 

The concept of dog beaches has become a hot topic, as it highlights the need people have to spend time with their dogs having fun on the beach, and that while to some they’re ‘just’ animals, for the vast majority of people - they’re family members and deserve to be treated as such. You can also take your cat of course, although I highly doubt they’d be appreciative of the idea.

Most dog beaches are located further north up the coast, and in Kvaner and on the gorgeous Istrian peninsula there are several of them. Here’s a list of just some of them:

Punta Kolova (Opatija)

Zaton Holiday Resort (close to Zadar)

Cvitačka beach (Makarska)

Šimuni beach (Pag)

Portić and Premantura beaches (Istria)

Zaraće beach (Hvar)

Podvorska beach (Crikvenica)

Privlaka’s dog friendly beach (near Zadar)

Foša beach (Zadar)

Stara škola (Šibenik)

Supetar’s plaža za pse (dog beach) - Brač

Brajdica, Mikulova, Igralište - Kostrena, Rijeka

Duilovo beach (Split)

Kašjuni beach (Split)

Kaštela beach (near Trogir)

Vartalac beach (Vis)

Danče beach (Dubrovnik)

Bi Dog beach (Fažana)

Hidrobaza beach (Štinjan near Pula)

Bol’s plaža za pse (dog beach) - Brač

These are just some of the main dog-friendly beaches along the Croatian coast and on the islands. It’s worth noting that all of the beaches in Slano near Dubrovnik are dog-friendly, and all campsites in Poreč have areas of the beaches where dogs are permitted. The Marina Frapa resort in Rogoznica also has part of their beach where dogs are allowed. 

As I mentioned, there is even a dog beach bar up in Kvarner, a region known for its progressive stances on the whole. To be honest, this particular beach is easily the most dog-friendly beach in all of Croatia and possibly even in all of Europe - Podvorska beach. Located in Crikvenica, this beach has been designed specifically for people with dogs, with impressive infrastructure created and installed just for our canine friends. There’s even a dog-friendly bar where your dog can get an ice-cream or a beer. No, really. Even the New York Post was impressed by it. They also now have a second location on the island of Rab in Northern Dalmatia.

Dalmatians do actually come from Dalmatia

As ridiculous as that sounds, as the name should give that away and it would appear obvious, many people don’t actually realise this. These popular spotted, clownish dogs which became famous for almost becoming Cruella DeVil’s coat are Croatian. While Pongo might be the most well-known Dalmatian of all, their history dates back a very long time, and there is an altar painting located in Veli Lošinj depicting what looks exactly like the Dalmatian dog we know and love today from back in the early seventeenth century. The first mention of the Dalmatian’s name was in the early eighteenth century in the continental town of Đakovo, far from the Dalmatian coast, where in the archives of the Archdiocese of Đakovo, Canis Dalmaticus is mentioned.

Several other, lesser-known breeds also originate from Croatia, including the Posavac (pronounced Posavatz) hound, a hunting dog from the Posavina region, the Istrian shorthaired and coarse/wire-haired hounds, the Croatian sheepdog (or shepherd dog), which is jet black with a course, curly coat and has reportedly not changed at all since the fourteenth century, and, the brave, mighty mountain dog - the Tornjak.

One now sadly extinct breed of dog, the Old Croatian Sighthound (sometimes called the Old Bosnian Sighthound), also originated from the territories of modern day Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina. Having allegedly descended from sighthounds bred by the Celts, this hound closely resembled the greyhound-like hunting dogs depicted on coins from the fifth century BC.

For more on How to Croatia, make sure to keep up with our dedicated lifestyle section.

Tuesday, 25 October 2022

Great Success of Umag Sea Star Festival, Organisers Recount

October 25, 2022 - This year's Sea Star festival in Umag, the first festival held in Croatia since 2019, brought a new 54 million kuna in profit for the Croatian economy. From 2017 to today, the total exceeded 225 million kuna, the festival organisers reported.

As Index writes, on May 27 and 28, more than 40,000 visitors came to the fourth edition of the Sea Star Festival, according to research by the consulting firm Hotelis, which specialises in tourism and hotel management, and the independent agency TIM Centar. The visitors brought a new 54 million in profit for the Croatian economy.

The total realised contribution from 2017 to today has exceeded HRK 225 million or almost EUR 30 million, and only direct consumption caused by the Sea Star event was included in the analysis.

Visitors from more than 40 countries and four continents

In addition to this amount, the total value of the marketing promotion of the festival and the destination, specifically Umag, the Stella Maris lagoon, Istria, and Croatia, has been estimated at more than HRK 128 million, or EUR 17 million. In 2022 alone, the value of the marketing campaign carried out in more than 20 countries exceeded five million euros.

In two evenings, visitors from more than 40 countries and four continents entered through the festival gates of this year's Sea Star. Fans from Croatia, Slovenia, Italy, Austria, Switzerland, BiH, and Serbia prevailed, and some came to Umag from the USA, Australia, Israel, and Kuwait.

Regarding audience size, Sea Star in 2022 was the most visited music event in Istria and Primorje and one of the three most visited in Croatia. According to the data of the Umag Tourist Board, about 15,000 tourists and almost 50,000 overnight stays were recorded at the destination from May 26 to 29.

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

Tuesday, 25 October 2022

e-Redomat at Petrinjska: No More Waiting in Lines at MUP Zagreb

October the 25th, 2022 - Is waiting in line clutching a number and longing to be called (only to be spoken down to and told you're missing a document or two) at MUP Zagreb on Petrinjska ulica a thing of the past now?

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, Marija Goatti, head of the service for reporting analytics and PR for the Zagreb Police, has stated that ''over last four years, we have gotten closer to people, and since then, people have been able to deal with their various administrative tasks at four locations in the City of Zagreb, and in this way, we're showing much more respect for their time.

With this goal in mind, the e-Redomat system was introduced, which enables people to have numbers issued for the carrying out of various individual services at the entrance to administrative offices. Listening to the actual needs people have, and with the aim of better functionality and better accessibility, the service which allows people to come and reserve a queue number via mobile the mobile application (app), as well as reserve appointments for administrative tasks has now been introduced.''

The new service has been available at MUP Zagreb (Petrinjska) since October the 24th, and the above-mentioned service will be active for some of the administrative tasks that people come to the infamous address of Petrinjska 30 (which until this point was synonymous with waiting around for hours on end), to do. The possibility of reserving a queue number via the mobile application of the e-Redomat system can now be used for the processes of applying for a new identity card or passport, the issuing of already created identity cards and passports, and for regulating residence. In this way, long queues at counters will be avoided.

It took Croatia long enough to enter the 21st century, and it seemed to many that not only MUP Zagreb, but administrative police stations in general were the institutions still desperately clinging to a way of doing things that most other countries, certainly other modern EU member states, have long since abandoned. With this move, ''getting there before 07:00'', which is a phrase anyone who needed anything doing at Petrinjska has heard and said before, will be sent to the history books.

Thank. God.

For more, make sure to keep up with our dedicated lifestyle section.

Tuesday, 25 October 2022

Public Auction for State-Owned 19th Century Villa in Attractive Location

October 25, 2022 - For the first time, the state will offer real estate hunters in Croatia an oral public auction for some of the valuable properties from its portfolio. A public auction will be held at the Ministry of Spatial Planning, Construction and State Property on November 21. The villa which will be auctioned is in a very attractive location in the elite Tuškanec area of Zagreb, and it is known as the Stejskal Summer House.

As Poslovni writes, the villa was built in 1888 by the industrialist Ferdinand Stejskal, the founder of the brick factory in Bedekovčina, which is still operating today. Potential buyers can view the villa at Nazorova 72 before the auction. It consists of a house with an area of ​​182 square metres, with split-level apartments in the basement, ground floor and first floor. They will be, however, sold together as a whole. The villa also boasts a little more than a thousand square metres of garden.

In addition to being neglected, the building also has limitations due to the fact that the conservator's approval must be obtained for renovation, as the villa is part of the Historic Urban Complex of the City of Zagreb and is subject to the provisions of legal protection and preservation of cultural assets.

Due to the attractive location of the property, there is a lot of potential. The number of contestants who will enter the race to buy will become more apparent after the deadline for submission of applications to participate in the auction, which is on November 11 at 11:59 p.m.

In the Ministry headed by Ivan Paladina, only those candidates who pay a guarantee in the amount of HRK 748 thousand, i.e., 10 per cent of the initial price of HRK 7.48 million, will be invited to tender.
The auction step will amount to HRK 20,000, and the highest offered amount in three rounds, i.e., the highest last offered price, will be selected.

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

 

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