Wednesday, 25 May 2022

Bol Tourist Board Director Markito Marinkovic Consults Constitutional Court on New Law

May the 25th, 2022 - The new Law on Tourist Boards and the Promotion of Croatian Tourism, more precisely the legal provisions which entered into force on the 1st of January this year, has made it so that the term of office of elected directors of tourist boards will now last for four years, and contracts concluded for indefinite periods will be changed to fixed-term contracts. Bol Tourist Board director Markito Marinkovic has taken his argument all the way to the Constitutional Court.

As Dalmatinski portal writes, this resulted in some very serious headaches to multiple local tourist boards. More and more tourist boards are publicly pointing out the illogicality of legal changes that have now put directors at a disadvantage. Criticism was directed primarily at the relevant Ministry of Tourism and Sport, the initiator of the disputed law, holding it responsible for what they consider to be such poor legislation.

Everything is actually happening at a very untimely moment, at a time when local communities are preparing seriously and diligently for the rapidly approaching summer tourist season, which, according to all projections, is expected to surpass last year's. There's no doubt that the most is expected from the tourist boards during this preparatory time. They are all already designing and planning their tourist programmes and facilities, organising events, and offering training sessions for private renters so that everyone is ready to accept tourists. Instead of all energies being directed to the best possible preparation of tourist destinations, the leaders of tourist boards, as well as the local governing units are having to spend their precious time dealing with the election of their directors, Brac danas (Brac today) writes.

The directors of local tourist boards are outraged at the move

It was these elections that caused an avalanche of dissatisfaction, and the tourist boards were forced to act according to legal provisions which, according to the public, don't really seem very logical, justified or meaningful. The negative reactions are mostly coming in from out in the field, and the directors of the tourist boards are indignant. I can't believe what they're doing at the moment and how, in their opinion, the Ministry is overstepping when it comes to their rights and everything they've done and are doing for the development of local tourism. One of them, the long-term director of the Tourist Board in Bol, Markito Marinkovic, went through all the joys and sorrows of engaging in work related to tourism, in that particular island tourist Mecca, won numerous awards, and is now full of astonishment at the controversial decisions being made by the Ministry of Tourism and Sport in the form of a law which applies to the directors of tourist boards.

Marinkovic warns: This provision is applicable only in pro futuro sense...

''After 27 years of work, the Ministry of Tourism and Sport is questioning my employment contract, which I've concluded for an indefinite period of time,'' said the current director of the Bol Tourist Board, Markito Marinkovic, who is also a signatory of the request for constitutional review of the Law on Tourist Boards and the Promotion of Croatian Tourism. After consulting with legal experts, that request was sent to the address of the Constitutional Court, requesting that the Constitutional Court address this issue, which, as he said, will result in some serious legal consequences.

Marinkovic is ready to show the documentation with which he's armed himself, including the request he sent to the Constitutional Court, emphasising that the main problem of legal norms is their application to current (read existing) directors of tourist boards, instead of having them apply solely to any new directors.

''This provision is applicable only pro futuro (for future actions) and only for new employment and concluding employment contracts with directors of tourist boards who were employed after the 1st of January 2022. We can't apply this provision to directors who concluded their employment contracts for an indefinite period of time before the entry into force of the new Law on Tourist Board, because in that case, there'd be a violation of Article 90 Paragraph 4 of the Constitution of the Republic of Croatia on the prohibition of the retroactive application of the law,'' Markito Marinkovic says when reading part of the request that has now been sent to the Constitutional Court, not hesitating to say that this is a law that is unconstitutional and illegal.

The Ministry of Tourism wrote back in 2012: There are no obstacles to the conclusion of an indefinite contract

In an interview for Brac danas, Markito Marinkovic openly asked the following:

''Why would I agree to have my contract for an indefinite period of time terminated and instead accept an offer a contract for a part-time job?'' He noted that he signed his employment contract back on December the 15th, 2009, for an indefinite period of time as the tourist board director there. His contract was concluded in accordance with the provisions of the then Labour Act, the Law on Tourist Boards and the Promotion of Croatian Tourism, as well as the provisions of the Statute of the Tourist Board of the Municipality of Bol. The fact that there is nothing disputable in his contract was confirmed by the Ministry of Tourism in its interpretation on June the 27th, 2012, to which Marinkovic refers, and in which he unequivocally points out that ''there is no obstacle to concluding an employment contract for an indefinite period in accordance with the Labour Law as the regulator''.

Marinkovic also pointed out the absurdity of these new legal provisions, claiming that tourist boards will elect directors who already have employees within the tourist board.

Marinkovic: We'll end up with two directors, one for an indefinite period and the other for a definite period...

Formerly ''protected'' directors of tourist boards, who were employed indefinitely with their employers, will now be elected for a fixed term, more precisely for a term of four years, as determined by the now disputed law. Current directors will now find themselves at the mercy of their employers who, according to instructions issued to the tourist boards by the competent Ministry, should terminate existing contracts and offer them amended contracts with a specific duration attached to them. Such a thing is simply not acceptable for Markito Marinkovic, which is the reason why he didn't apply for the position of head of the Bol Tourist Board.

''It seems that we're going to have two directors by the will of the ministry; one for an indefinite period of time, and the other for a definite period, which will be elected by the Tourist Council under the new Act,'' he added, noting that the instructions, written back in December last year and subsequently sent out to the country's local tourist boards, are also confusing and difficult to follow properly. According to the guidelines signed by the Ministry of Tourism and Sport's Monika Udovicic, current directors who aren't selected in a tender and those to whom the institution doesn't offer another job within the tourist board will receive a termination of their employment contract.

''How is it possible for a director to become an organisational redundancy, and for someone else to be hired for that position? The Labour Law stipulates that a business-related dismissal (contract termination) can only be given if the need to perform a certain job ceases. In addition to that, another person can't be hired following that for the next six months,'' Markito Marinkovic said, clearly terribly surprised by the numerous illogicalities that the Ministry somehow keeps on coming up with owing to their controversial decisions and interpretations of things.

Why was the tender for the position of the director of the Bol Tourist Board cancelled?

When it comes to the tender for the election of the director of the Tourist Board of Bol, it became somewhat unstuck on the very first step. After the tender deadline expired, and interested candidates submitted their applications and received notification(s) of the presentation of the programme at a session of the Tourist Council, the same council, at the suggestion of the President of that body of the Tourist Board, Katarina Marcic, agreed to the cancellation of the tender. The explanation for that was:

''We want to eliminate every single slight suspicion of illegality of the procedure. According to Marcic's announcement and her public attempt to explain the reasons why the tender was annulled, these aren't serious irregularities, at least not according to the statement of the Ministry to which Marcic refers. It's true, the tender was open for 21 days, while the recommendations lasted from 8 to 15 days. Experts on the election procedures we contacted are of the opinion that the tender deadline which is longer than the deadline recommended by the competent ministry should not call into question the legality of the election procedure. All in all, a new tender will be drawn up, a check by the Ministry will be awaited, and then another tender will be announced. Whether it's really an election procedure or some other reason why the Tourist Council decided to return everything to the beginning, only time can tell.

The Constitutional Court has since confirmed: The case has been assigned to a judge-rapporteur

Brac danas contacted the Constitutional Court. They were interested in what happened to the request for a review of constitutionality under the controversial Law on Tourist Boards and the Promotion of Croatian Tourism, and when the request would be on the agenda. The Constitutional Court confirmed that it had received a motion for assessment.

''The case has been assigned to a judge-rapporteur, and at this moment it isn't possible to predict when it could be sent to the session of the Court to decide on the proposal,'' said the Secretary General of the Constitutional Court, Dr. Teodor Antic. Back in mid-April, Markito Marinkovic addressed the Constitutional Court yet again, this time in a hurry, at a time when the tender for the position of director was open.

''Considering that in the meantime, more precisely on April the 1st, 2022, the Tourist Council of the Tourist Board of Bol announced a public tender for the election of the director for a term of four years referring to the provisions of ZTZ, and ignoring the employment contract concluded on an indefinite basis between me and the Tourist Board of Bol for the same job for which a public tender has now been announced. It's obvious that the implementation of this tender will violate my employment rights,'' Markito Marinkovic wrote in his letter. He emphasised, in addition, that the above-mentioned actions of tourist boards will generate numerous lawsuits in the near future due to the disputed provisions of the law.

The Ministry of Tourism and Sport isn't responding to press inquiries on the matter

Given the fact that only the competent ministry is looking at the disputed tender for the director of the Bol Tourist Board, and especially at the request sent to Prisavlje 14 in Zagreb by a concerned resident of Bol, asking for the tender to be annulled, the ministry was also asked to comment on the topic. A press inquiry with specific questions was sent to the Press Service on May the 1st, as Brac danas had received an anonymous letter to its editorial e-mail about a possible illegal tender being announced by the Tourist Council.

The aforementioned publication still hasn't received a response from the Ministry of Tourism and Sport. On several occasions, they also tried to contact the Media Service by phone and find out what this delay was about. After several calls, they were once connected to the press service, and in another case, an official of the ministry apologised for not providing a timely response. A reminder of the inquiry was then sent to the cabinet of the same Ministry, on May the 6th, asking for answers to the questions which had been sent already. However, the main cabinet of the Ministry of Tourism and Sport hasn't yet responded or attempted to clarify any of the issued mentioned in this article.

For more, check out our politics section.

Wednesday, 25 May 2022

Bol&Culture: Bol Tourist Board Awarded Distinguished International Award for Tourism Film

May 25, 2022 - The Bol&Culture tourism film has won the Golden Bear Award in the “Art & Culture” category!

Everybody knows that the sun and the sea are not enough for memorable summer holidays anymore. The town of Bol on the island of Brač, a famous Croatian tourist destination, is especially aware of that. This picturesque town has a rich and versatile offer irresistible for international and domestic visitors. Apart from the cycling tourism and many other sports activities and one of the most beautiful beaches in the world, Golden Horn (Zlatni Rat), the citizens of Bol also take pride in their rich cultural heritage and are dedicated to preserving it. The value of this heritage has also been recognized recently at a prestigious international film, print, and multimedia competition, the Golden City Gate 2022, held during the famous international tourism fair ITB Berlin. Amongst a selection of tourism films from all over the world, 45 professional judges chose “Bol&Culture”, as the winner (The Golden Bear Award) in the “Art & Culture” category.

Markito_Marinković_i_Đurđa_Eterović_s_nagradom_s_ITB_Berlin_2022.jpg

The basis of evaluation criteria followed by the jury was creativity, storytelling, emotional effect, and information value communicated in the film. The film was made in cooperation with the DOKU FILMS production team, Mihaela Reščić, the producer, and the screen-wright, Hana Klain from the Klain PR Agency. Tourist fairs are an excellent opportunity for the global promotion of natural beauties and the rich cultural heritage of Croatia. Every year, this prestigious event attracts more and more visitors and tourism professionals seeking to learn about famous and beautiful tourist destinations, and Croatia is one of them.

Đurđa_Eterović_i_direktor_Markito_Marinković_iz_TZO_Bol_s_nagradom.jpeg

The awarded film is an omnibus that brings together three stories: Zmajeva špilja (The Dragon's Cave), the Dominican monastery, and the Branislav Dešković Art Gallery. Zmajeva špilja (The Dragon's Cave) is a place of ultimate peace. Its walls are decorated with a fascinating and unusual set of reliefs believed to be sculpted by 15-century friars who expressed their faith, preaching, and asceticism through them. A 15-century Dominican monastery hides a collection of valuable works of art dating back to the 16th to 19th centuries. Archaeological finds, liturgical items, many rare manuscripts, and a numismatic collection with samples of rare antique coins are just a part of this valuable display. The most attractive piece of artwork in this collection is an altar painting Madonna with a Child and Saints by Tintoretto. A visit to the Branislav Dešković Art Gallery, located in the Bol centre, is an opportunity to experience Brač through the eyes of famous Croatian painters. This Renaissance-baroque palace is the home of hundreds of artworks by Croatian painters and sculptors.

 

“I am really happy to see that more and more visitors show interest in our rich cultural heritage. The art is eternal, and it adds unmeasurable value to Bol. We are sincerely proud to offer this authentic treasure dating back to distant history. Like all the awards we have received so far (and there were many of them), this is an important recognition of our efforts and the quality of our projects that further strengthen our motivation to be even more dedicated to our work. At the same time, I am proud of 'the special recognition of the presentation of the excellence of the Bol tourist offer I received from international travel journalists last year," added Mr. Markito Marinković, Bol Tourist Board director.

0027-Das-goldene-Stadttor-22.jpeg

Bol is actively preparing for the upcoming season. Almost all the hotels and resorts are open, and around 1.000 visitors are already spending their holidays in this town. We aim to accomplish 90% of the 2019 turnover. Most visitors are from Austria, Germany, Slovenia, and Croatia - visitors arriving here by car. We hope that this will change and that more guests from overseas will visit us. We have 14 ferry lines and 4 catamaran lines, all from Split, during the summer. We also have direct flights Zagreb-Bol throughout the season until October. We expect charter flights from Graz and Wien to start from May and new lines from Bratislava and Bolzano.

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

Monday, 18 April 2022

2022 Brač Airport Season Opens, Excellent Results Expected this Year

April 18, 2022 - The 2022 Brač Airport season officially opened last weekend as the first Croatia Airlines flight from Zagreb landed on the island. 

Shortly after 14:30 on Saturday, the first passenger plane of Croatia Airlines landed at Brač Airport. Nineteen passengers were on the domestic flight, which opened this year's season. Two passengers left the Brač runway on the same plane for Zagreb, reports Brač Danas.

Croatia Airlines will connect the Croatian capital and Brač airport twice a week, on Tuesdays and Saturdays. Departure from Zagreb's Franjo Tuđman Airport will be at 13:45, while the plane from Brač airport will depart at 15:05. The first passengers at the airport were welcomed by the director of the Bol Tourist Board, Markito Marinković.

"This year, Croatia Airlines will operate flights on Tuesdays and Saturdays. There is an announcement of a flight from Bratislava, then Bolzano Bergamo and Vienna and Graz, which Croatia Airlines operates mainly for guests of the hotel "Bretanide." We hope that the season ahead of us, despite the events in Ukraine, will still be good. Our projections are between 80 and 90 percent of the 2019 tourism results. We’ll see how the season goes. It is difficult to predict in advance what the situation will be like. However, the preparations are going well, and we expect good tourist results," director Marinković said, adding that the number of visits to websites and social networks has increased in the last two weeks.

During last year's tourist season, given the complex, almost impossible air transport due to the unfortunate coronavirus pandemic, the emphasis in many tourist destinations, including Bol, was placed on car guests, i.e., tourists from countries closer to Croatia. Marinković confirmed that car guests would prevail this year as well.

"Emphasis will be placed on guests from Slovenia, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, and Poland. And here, we will monitor the situation and see how it will develop. Interestingly, Great Britain and France are waking up, so the results from those countries will certainly be much better compared to the past two years."

The director of the Bol Tourist Board said that Vitar Hotel opened in Bol and that Bretanide Hotel will open its doors to guests next weekend. Bluesun hotels are undergoing a thorough renovation, so they are expected to open in early June.

"If we managed to be at 70 percent last year, then this year we can be at 80 to 90 percent of tourist traffic," Marinković concluded. 

For more, check out our lifestyle section.

Monday, 28 February 2022

From Bol to Makarska: 16th WTA Makarska Open Hosted by Valamar Announced!

February 28, 2022 - After 15 successful years in Bol, the popular WTA tournament will move to Makarska for the first-ever Makarska Open hosted by Valamar!

After 15 successful years in Bol, the time has come for a new destination, say the organizers of the WTA tournament. Its 16th edition will be held from May 30 to June 5 in Makarska! 

1.jpeg

The magnificent sea view, great atmosphere, and excellent organization are again the strongest assets of the famous sporting event, which features the best-ranked female tennis players from Sweden, the Netherlands, Belgium, Slovakia, Montenegro, Italy, China, Luxembourg, Serbia, Slovenia, and Croatia - and all the winners regularly return! 

"First of all, I would like to thank Bol, its residents, and all partners on Brač for the exceptional cooperation over the past six years of leading this tournament. They were great hosts; we breathed as one and lived for this event. But the time has come for new energy and a new place. The city of Makarska, with a long sports tradition, and Valamar Riviera as a leading tourist group are the right partners for the growth and future of our event. I am convinced that this year we will bring the best of women's tennis and create a real sports spectacle in the pre-season," said Felix Lukas, director of the WTA tournament, which this year has a new name - WTA Makarska Open hosted by Valamar.

1-felikjs.jpeg

WTA leader Steve Simon says Croatia has always supported women’s tennis and the WTA tournament.

"Croatia is a country with exceptional success and history in organizing top tournaments dating back to 1991. We are looking forward to the Makarska Open continuing our WTA story on the beautiful Croatian coast," says Simon.

1-bol-rabco.jpeg

Global promotion of Makarska

"We are on a good path to turn Makarska into one of the better destinations in Europe. From the first day, our goal is to bring globally recognizable events such as the WTA tournament to our city below Biokovo. I am extremely proud that we managed to bring such a prestigious tournament to Makarska and the cooperation of the City, WTA, and Valamar, which proved to be an outstanding partner to the local community. The WTA tournament in Makarska is the first and significant step in realizing our vision of Makarska as a desirable tourist and sports destination. I am sure that the tournament will help us get on the map of destinations that offer tourists new experiences and interesting content," says Zoran Paunović, the mayor of Makarska.

Makarska locals are looking forward to promoting their city, the arrival of top tennis players, and exciting matches, and they hope that they will be great hosts like Bol.

Split-Dalmatia County could not hide their satisfaction that this tournament is still being organized in the region. 

"This is a significant international sports event that promotes our county, the whole of Dalmatia and Croatia. Thanks to its extremely positive atmosphere, this tournament is recognized, and I am convinced that it will be the same in Makarska, another beautiful Dalmatian destination. From the beginning, Split-Dalmatia County has supported the WTA tournament, which sends a picture of optimism to the world, and we all need that in these challenging times," said Blaženko Boban, County Prefect of Split-Dalmatia County.

Dalmacija_Places_Hotel_arhiva_Valamar_Riviera.jpeg

Valamar is investing in the renovation of the Tennis Center.

"The development of the destinations in which we operate is part of Valamar's strategy of socially responsible business. Therefore, we are looking forward to this new partnership and that we will be the general sponsors of the WTA Makarska Open tennis tournament, which we will be proud to host for at least three years, for which we have signed a contract so far. By sponsoring this tournament, which includes an investment in the renovation of the Makarska Tennis Center, which will be the venue of the tournament, but also the reconstruction of the Dalmacija Places Hotel, which will be officially opened during the tournament, we prove how much Valamar Group believes in Makarska as a destination and its tourism development," said Alen Benković, Senior Vice President for Development, Property Maintenance and Technical Services at Valamar Riviera and President of the Management Board of Imperial Riviera.

To read more about sport in Croatia, follow TCN’s dedicated page

Monday, 13 September 2021

European Junior Windsurfing Championship Ends in Bol, Ian Anić U15 Champion!

September 13, 2021 - Croatian Ian Anić is the European champion in windsurfing in the U15 iQ foil Olympic class, ahead of Israeli Gefen and Latvian Busmanis at the European Junior Windsurfing Championship in Bol. 

In the U17 group, Frenchman Eliot Ponce-Baranski won among men and Israeli Tamar Stainberg among women. In the U19 competition, the best among the men was Frenchman Gaspard Carfantan, and among women, Israeli Mika Kafri. Slovenian Lina Eržen, who finished second, was also excellent.

The Open European Championship in the iQ foil class was held last week at Zlatni Rat, organized by the Sailing Club Labud from Split and the windsurfing club Zoo station Bol, with the support of the Bol Tourist Board and the municipality. Over 118 competitors from 17 countries competed in three disciplines - course, slalom, and marathon in ideal conditions, which once again put Bol on the list of destinations that should be counted on in world windsurfing.

IQ_Foil_Bol_Croatia_Day_5_-_Roni_Marinkovic_RMP_7627.jpeg

This is the second important competition held this season in Bol on Brač - in July; the popular Zlatni Rat beach hosted the World Windsurfing Championships before hosting the young hopes of world windsurfing - among which may be the future Olympic winners. Namely, the iQ foil class was approved in November 2019 by the World Sailing Council as windsurfing equipment at the 2024 Olympic Games in France. Thus, the IQ foil replaced the RS: X, which has been the Olympic equipment of choice since Beijing 2008.

Ian_Anic_i_trener_Siriscevic_-_Foto_Roni_Marinkovic.jpeg
"I am delighted with the results and conditions that did not disappoint - we had wind every day, ranging from 12 to 25 knots, which is not often the case even in destinations more famous than ours. All guests are delighted with Zlatni Rat, Bol and Croatia, and the Israelis, Poles, and British are returning for preparations, which will bring Bol an additional significant number of nights in the pre-season and post-season," says Toni Bulić, one of the two organizers of the competition.

Competitors collected points to enter the medal race throughout the five days of the competition. A total of 84 races were raced in three disciplines. The 12 final races included the competitors who collected the most points in their category through the competition - 12 of them per category. The results in all disciplines were added up for the medal race for which a special field was agreed today.

Ian_Anic_i_Maroje_Skoro_-_Foto_Roni_Marinkovic.jpeg

"I am very pleased with the progress of our competitors, juniors who performed at this week's open European Junior Championships, but also seniors. They only got the equipment a couple of months ago and progressed very quickly, and these are phenomenal results. We have never had better surfers at that age, not only in Croatia but also in the Adriatic," said Marin Siriščević from JK Labud, coach of all Croatian competitors in Olympic windsurfing, to whom experts attribute the main credit for the great success of Croatian competitors.

In the Olympic windsurfing class, the European Championships in Marseille for seniors, which starts at the end of October, is significant. Palma Čargo (21) and Luka Mratović (34) from Split will go with coach Siriščević to collect points that could lead them to the Olympic Games in Paris in 2024. What is especially gratifying is that the generations gaining experience in Bol today are of great Croatian hope for the 2028 Olympic Games in Los Angeles.

Photos: Roni Marinković / Snimke: Trio Stories

To follow the latest sports news in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

To learn more about sport in Croatia, CLICK HERE.

Wednesday, 8 September 2021

European Junior Windsurfing Championship Begins in Bol with Two Croatian Competitors

September 8, 2021 - Organized by the Sailing Club Labud from Split and the Bol windsurfing club Zoo Station Bol, the Open European Junior Windsurfing Championship in the new Olympic class iQ Foil began on Zlatni Rat.

118 competitors from 17 countries are taking part in the regatta, including the Netherlands, Denmark, Italy, Spain, France, Latvia, Poland, Israel, Slovenia, and others, and Maroje Škoro and Ian Anić are competing for Croatia.

iQ_foil_Bol_1.jpeg

Following the successful organization of the World Windsurfing Championships in July this year, Bol is once again showing its attractive sporting side and will host the young hopes of the World Windsurfing Championships until Sunday September 12 - among whom may be future Olympic winners. Namely, this is one of a series of regattas in which competitors are also preparing to perform at the Olympic Games in Paris in 2024.

The iQ foil class was approved in November 2019 by the World Sailing Council as windsurfing equipment at the 2024 Olympic Games in France. So the IQ foil replaced RS: X, which had been the Olympic equipment of choice since Beijing in 2008. It was a big win for Starboard and North sailboard manufacturers, who have been working on innovations for many years and developing equipment that will be equally exciting and suitable for Olympic windsurfing, but also the average recreational surfer.

"Apart from the fact that it's nice to have a competition of this rank in Bol, which has already proven to be a real mecca for windsurfing, and iQFoil could become the only class that unites all surfers - the Olympic community, PWA, and weekend surfers - I'm thrilled to be in this class. We have our young, talented competitors to whom I wish good luck and good wind," says Toni Bulić, one of the two organizers of the competition.

IQ_Foil_Europens_Bol_Croatia_-_Roni_Marinkovic_76_RMP_4613.jpeg

iQFOiL is the result of many years of development of surfing equipment that allows windsurfing from 6 to 35 knots regardless of sea conditions. It is also characteristic of the class that it is standardized - that is, all competitors in the men's and women's competition ride identical equipment. There are three iQFOiL class formats - course, slalom, and marathon - which will all be run in Bol as well, while the competition always ends with a medal race in which the 12 best competitors in each race enter.

On Sunday, September 12, we will watch three separate medal races - in each of the three competition formats - and the final will include four overall best competitors. After the first day, Ian Anić is an excellent fifth in the under-17 category.

Photos: Clive Bevan/Roni Marinković

To follow the latest sports news in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

To learn more about sport in Croatia, CLICK HERE.

Friday, 16 July 2021

Two Bike Storytelling Trails in Bol Make Brač Tourist Town Unique in the World!

July 16, 2021 - Two bike storytelling trails in Bol on Brač can be heard in three languages and are adapted for blind and partially sighted people!

The demand for the facilities offered by active tourism is growing day by day, and the supply is getting richer. In addition, domestic and foreign guests are increasingly turning to nature, so new hiking and biking trails in Croatian destinations are becoming more numerous.

Although the sun and the sea are still high on the list of demands of many tourists, some of them are looking for something more. As a result, some tourist boards have recognized the "new normal" demands and started preparations before this season, reports HRTurizam.

Thus, three months ago, the Bol Tourist Board on Brač, aware that active tourism is one of the prerequisites for extending the season, presented three new hiking and two new bike trails based on local legends. But as we find out, the story of enriching the offer did not stop there.

“Four years ago, we marked the trails, last year we made maps and told stories for the first time, and now we have put those stories and maps on the info boards. Anyone who can't read the stories can listen to them after reading the QR code on their smartphone. As far as we can see, the info boards are already attracting a lot of attention, and people are stopping, reading, and scanning," said Markito Marinković, director of the Bol Tourist Board.

Thus, the world novelty in Bol cycling was realized in an express period of only a few weeks, which has passed since the design, licensing, production, payment, and installation of signage, info boards, and accompanying software on two Bol cycling trails about 60 kilometers long that have at least one world novelty.

Two Bol cycling trails: 767 - Smell the intoxicating scents of Brač, and 768 - Brač villas from myths and legends, are the world's first Bike Storytelling trails and have their own stories that can be heard in three languages, Croatian, English, and German, using accompanying software, at the locations of large info boards located on the trails. Thus, Bol's storytelling trails are adapted for blind and partially sighted people, at least in the storytelling part.

“Cycling trails with Storytelling are a world novelty, and another novelty is the automatic launch of these stories on a mobile phone in three languages when the QR code is scanned. This morning we agreed with the Split-Dalmatia County Association of the Blind and Visually Impaired to place markers and descriptions in Braille on these codes on the info board, so blind and partially sighted people will be able at least to hear the story of these trails in their language. Furthermore, this morning we were contacted by colleagues from two Austrian tourist regions who are interested in this world novelty in cycling tourism," said Denis Špadina, President of the Cycling Association of Split-Dalmatia County, who added that the trail is not suitable for blind and partially sighted people, but they can feel the beauty on tandem bikes. 

Bicycle paths and new info boards are just one part of the rich tourist offer of Bol, which concerning 2020, records excellent results. According to Marinković, about 73% of tourist traffic has been realized compared to 2019.

Currently, the most numerous are Slovenian tourists, followed by Germans and Croats, who make up 11% of tourists in Bol. This is a large percentage considering that so far domestic tourists in the tourist traffic of Bol made up between four and five percent.

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

Wednesday, 7 July 2021

2021 Zoo Station Bol PWA World Cup Comes to an End, Croatian Competitors 2nd and 3rd!

July 7, 2021 - Polish windsurfer Maciek Rutkowski and Dutch windsurfer Sara Wennekes are the winners of the 2021 Zoo Station Bol PWA World Cup, due to which the world's best windsurfers have occupied Bol on Brač for the past week, thus further attracting and entertaining many tourists and sports enthusiasts.

During six days of competition, 39 men and eleven women competed in a total of 15 separate regattas.

PWA_Bol_Croatia_-_Roni_Marinkovic_photo_-_Enrico_Marotti.jpeg

Roni Marinkovic

Croatian competitor Enrico Marotti was also excellent, finishing second in the overall standings ahead of Matteo Iachin from Italy, and Palma Čargo, who finished second in the foil competition and third in the fin competition. Tuesday-Lou Judd from France was faster than Palma in the fin competition. Luka Mratović was 18th, Matko Jovanović 29th, Ian Anić 32nd, Ivica Podrug 36th, and Mistral Matulja 38th. In the women's competition, Katarina Pelivan was eighth, Lara Bulić ninth, and Urška Kavčič Desnica tenth in the fin competition.

Clive_Bevan_photo_-_Maciek_Rutkowski.jpeg

Clive Bevan

"I was happy to do my best, I rode great, and the equipment was fast and well-chosen. I am very pleased with the results. Congratulations to all the competitors on a great fight, they were all fantastic, and I like this success even more," said Enrico Marotti, from Volosko, a multiple Croatian champion, amateur world champion in 2018 and probably Croatia's best slalom surfer of all time.

Clive_Bevan_photo_Rutkowski_-_Marotti.jpeg

Clive Bevan

Twenty-one-year-old Palma Čargo from Split, who is also preparing for the Olympic Games in Paris 2024, had a similar opinion: “It was wonderful for me to achieve such a good result at home. I felt great the whole regatta, and it was seen in the results. Congratulations to the winner and all the competitors who, I must admit, were not easy to overtake," she said.

Clive_Bevean_photo_-_Palma_Cargo.jpeg

Clive Bevan

This year, PWA Bol took place for the first time on Zlatni rat, and for the first time, it scored points for the championship with the highest number of points, which enabled us to see the best windsurfers in Croatia.

"I am extremely pleased with the regatta and the time it served us; the conditions were fantastic. I am most pleased that Bol has shown itself in its full light as one of the world's most attractive destinations for windsurfing, and it seems to me that Zlatni rat had never looked more beautiful than when it showed its sporting side. I thank the municipality of Bol, the tourist community, and companies for their trust, and I look forward to the arrival of the world's windsurfing elite in Croatia in the coming years," said Toni Bulić, regatta organizer, longtime sports lover, and owner of Zoo station Bol boards in Croatia.

PWA_Bol_Croatia_-_Roni_Marinkovic_photo_-_Sara_Wennekes.jpeg

Clive Bevan

Bol on Brač proved to be a real windsurfing mecca with a strong mistral and generally excellent conditions for the World Cup, which was greatly contributed by the beauty of Zlatni rat. As a result, the world's best windsurfers leave Croatia with great impressions and fond memories that will further promote our tourist and sports offer. Furthermore, competitors in the IQ foil Olympic class come to Zlatni rat in September to compete.

Photos: Roni Marinkovic and Clive Bevan @clivebevanphoto
Recordings: TRIO stories

To follow the latest sports news in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

To learn more about sport in Croatia, CLICK HERE

Tuesday, 6 July 2021

World's Best Windsurfers on Brač for 2021 Zoo Station Bol PWA World Cup!

July 6, 2021 - The Windsurfing World Cup in the slalom discipline is currently underway on Brač - meet the 2021 Zoo Station Bol PWA World Cup!

The strong northwest wind has contributed to the attractiveness of the World Windsurfing Cup on one of the world’s most beautiful beaches. Until Wednesday, spectators and tourists have the opportunity to watch the competition of the world's best slalom windsurfers who run through the regatta from Zlatni rat to Bol at speeds of up to 40 miles per hour.

During a total of six days of competition, 39 men and eleven women will compete in a total of 15 separate regattas. Although this is not the first regatta in Bol, it is the first time to score points for the championship with the highest number of points, and therefore the first time that we are watching the cream of world windsurfing in Croatia.

After the first three days in the men's competition, the fastest was Maciek Rutkowski, a distinctive Polish surfer and winner of last year's Bol PWA regatta, ahead of 2019 world champion Basile Jacquin and Dutchman Jordy Vonk. Enrico Marotti, the best Croatian slalom surfer, is currently fourth.

In the women's competition, the fastest is the Dutch Sara Wennekes ahead of the Dutch Fabienne Hoogendam and the French Tuesday Lou-Judd, while Palma Čargo from Split was the fourth and best placed Croatian competitor.

Gledatelji_su_uzivali.jpeg

Clive Bevan

All competitors are delighted with the conditions in Bol and the strong, stable wind ideal for competition. And while the winners won't be known until Wednesday, July 7, the competitors shared their impressions of the competition so far.

"Excellent conditions in Bol; I hope it will stay like this for the following days," said Jordy Vonk, a Dutchman, otherwise a driver for windsurfing equipment manufacturer Duotone.

Rutkowski_i_Marotti.jpeg

Clive Bevan

“It was difficult to choose the right equipment, but this winter, I worked very hard to reach top speed with less equipment, and I knew it would pay off. I knew that a lot would depend on the start, and I was careful to be good, and I succeeded. I hope it will continue to be so, but it is definitely not easy. It is a long week, and there will be more eliminations," said Rutkowski.

"The equipment was fast; I'm looking forward to the competition in the coming days," said Enrico Marotti, from Volosko, a multiple Croatian champion, amateur world champion in 2018, and probably the best slalom surfer of all time. Palma Chargo had a similar opinion: "I had great decisions about the equipment; it was just right for me, I am satisfied," she said.

Jak_maestral_priodnio_je_atraktivnosti_natjecanja.jpeg

Clive Bevan

Last year's Bol PWA regatta was the only one held in 2020 due to the pandemic. Therefore, PWA (Professional Windsurfing Association) decided that this year's regatta in Bol, organized by Zoo Station Bol, will be scored on an equal footing with other well-known competitions, such as the one in Israel in June, and in Sylt in Germany and South Korea. This decision is also why we are currently watching the elite of windsurfing in Bol, which we have not yet had the opportunity to host in our region, and our competitors stand out.

"I am extremely pleased that the world's best surfers have come to us, and it is nice to see them fighting for the title in Bol," said Toni Bulić, regatta organizer, longtime windsurfer, and owner of Bol Zoo station - the cult "station" for sailing on boards in Croatia.

Photos: Clive Bevan @clivebevanphoto

Tuesday, 29 June 2021

2021 WTA Croatia Bol Open Watched by More than 2.7 Million Viewers Worldwide!

June 29, 2021 - The 2021 WTA Croatia Bol Open was a huge success, which is confirmed by the impressive numbers this year alone. Over 2.7 million viewers watched the women's tennis tournament around the world! 

More than 2.7 million viewers in a hundred countries, a commercial value of more than $8.2 million, a total of 84 broadcasting hours - this is what the WTA Croatia Bol Open looks like in terms of numbers.

The semifinal and final on June 11 and 12, thanks to the HTV broadcast, were taken over by 14 stations, including Fox Sports Asia, Eurosport India, London Live, TV Asahi, Dubai Sport. Thus, once again, the positive image of Bol on Brac toured the world from the Caribbean to Indonesia, India, Singapore, Japan, to Africa, the Middle East, and Great Britain.

It is known that tennis players adore this tournament, not only because of the organization but also because of the ambiance. Playing tennis on the island by the sea, near one of the biggest attractions, Zlatni rat beach, is a special experience. In addition, the Bol tournament traditionally opens the summer tourist season, and this year two important events were held with the theme of combining sports and culture - the opening of the "Jadran Lazić: 50 years of photography" exhibition at the Bol Cultural Center and the opening of the museum-gallery space in the Dominican monastery. 

The success of the 15th WTA Croatia Bol Open, led by organizer Feliks Lukas, is even greater given the circumstances in which it was organized - without spectators, with the strictest adherence to epidemiological measures and daily PCR testing at the hotel.

An incredible Croatian event at work, we can't wait to see what the next WTA Croatia Bol tournament will bring! 

To follow the latest sports news in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

To learn more about sport in Croatia, CLICK HERE

Page 1 of 9

Search