Saturday, 17 July 2021

Additional Precautions on the Table for Vaccinated Russian and British Tourists in Croatia?

July 17, 2021 - Will there be additional precautions for vaccinated Russian and British tourists in Croatia? Discussions have already taken place. 

After Croatia was upgraded to the UK green list of countries late Wednesday night and announced that the first British tourists would arrive in the Adriatic on July 19, the tourism sector was flooded with concerns.

The United Kingdom is one of the countries with the highest growth in the number of newly reported cases of the Delta Variant, and tourism workers justifiably feared that it could close the season. Thus, the National Headquarters is considering introducing some additional restrictions for the arrival of British tourists.

As Jutarnji List unofficially learned, the possibility of introducing mandatory antigen testing for all vaccinated British tourists is being discussed, while those who have not been vaccinated before crossing the border must be tested anyway, but it is not yet known whether and when this decision will be made.

Arguments for introducing a rapid antigen test are to preserve the season and open borders despite the spread of the Delta Variant that has already ruined the season in some Mediterranean countries, such as Spain, Portugal, Cyprus, and Greece.

Namely, the Headquarters believes that 100 kuna for a rapid antigen test would not be a more significant financial burden for our guests, but on the other hand, it would still increase security and reduce the number of imported cases.

"It is to be expected that at a time when the virus is spreading in many countries, someone who will develop the virus will cross the border, but by introducing additional measures, we want to reduce this to a minimum," said a source close to the Headquarters.

Apart from the Brits, the same is being considered for visitors from Russia.

This year, Croatia has recorded extremely high interest of Russian tourists for holidays on the Adriatic, mainly as a result of the fact that in April this year, we restarted tourist visas for Russian citizens, and the CNTB confirms that the Russian Federation has received a large number of first applications since April.

This is already reflected in tourist traffic: in the first 14 days of July, Russians in Croatia recorded an increase in the number of arrivals of 348 percent and overnight stays of 404 percent. The data are similar at the annual level.

"That the demand for Croatia as a tourist destination is expressed on the Russian market is confirmed by Aeroflot Airlines, the Russian national airline which connects Moscow with Pula, Zagreb, Dubrovnik and Split with daily flights from the beginning of June to the end of September this year. Among the flights are S7 from Moscow to Pula, Split, and Zadar and Nordwind to Zagreb, Pula, and Dubrovnik," confirmed CNTB.

Given that it is the arrival of tourists from outside the EU, i.e., from third countries, Russian citizens who are not vaccinated will have to be tested before arrival. Still, the introduction of mandatory antigen tests for vaccinated Russians would also establish additional security measures, especially given that the number of newly reported cases is continuously growing in Russia. The country also has a minimal share of vaccinated adult citizens. Only 13.1 percent of the total population is vaccinated with both doses.

Jutarnji also learned from the Headquarters that the introduction of testing for vaccinated visitors would be adapted to the epidemiological situation in our key markets, which means that the list of countries that will require such a condition may be further expanded.

Such an attitude is welcomed in the tourism sector as well.

"Given the situation and what is happening in Spain, Portugal, Cyprus, and Greece, additional precautions are needed, and it is up to epidemiologists to decide what those measures will be. But, instructed by last year's experience when we closed the season on August 15, I can only say - better to prevent than to treat," says the director of the Croatian Tourism Association, Veljko Ostojić.

Recall, the tourism sector yesterday appealed to lobby for a change in the criteria by which countries are declared epidemiologically unsafe, that is, instead of the number of newly infected, deaths and hospitalizations are preferred, given the fact that almost half of the European adult population has been vaccinated with both doses. However, this will likely not happen for the time being.

For all you need to know about coronavirus specific to Croatia, including vaccination points and testing sites, make sure to bookmark our dedicated COVID-19 section and select your preferred language.

Saturday, 10 April 2021

The Mirror: British Tourists Soon to be Able to Travel to Croatia

April the 10th, 2021 - British tourists will soon be able to travel to Croatia for tourism and leisure purposes, according to a recent report from the widely read British publication The Mirror.

The United Kingdom is one European country which is still only very, very cautiously easing its lockdown restrictions which have been firmly in place for months now. Despite their seemingly harsher measures, the UK is one country in Europe which has done exceptionally well with its vaccination rollout, having vaccinated many millions of its inhabitants with at least the first dose.

As Morski writes, the British daily The Mirror, which is followed by about 32 million readers per month, published an article stating that, after easing travel restrictions in the UK, Croatia will be open to British visitors, and this was stated by the director of the Croatian National Tourist Board (HTZ) in the United Kingdom, Daria Reic.

''The British are very eager to travel and it's only a matter of time before they can do it again. The United Kingdom has one of the most successful vaccination rates in Europe, which is certainly a promising factor for restarting international travel, and timely information on the conditions of entry into Croatia, as well as continuous communication on everything Croatia does to make sure it remains safe for tourists will certainly influence the decisions of many people when choosing holiday destinations this summer,'' said Daria Reic.

The Mirror's article states that British tourists could soon travel to Croatia without any hindrance, if they meet one of the prescribed conditions, ie attach proof of their vaccination, bring a negative PCR or antigen test or a certificate of recovery from COVID-19 which isn't older than 180 days.

In addition, The Mirror's article states that all tourists must enter the confirmation of their previously booked accommodation and fill in the online form before travelling when entering Croatia. As it was emphasised in the text, these are new rules according to which tourists from non-EU countries can also visit Croatia, which are valid from the 1st of April.

These rules will apply after the travel restrictions in the United Kingdom are finally relaxed. Namely, a measure according to which international travel is banned is currently in force in the United Kingdom unless you are resident abroad (and can prove it) or have other pressing reasons you can also prove. This restriction is expected to ease after the 17th of May.

The author of the article additionally states that, in addition to short tourist stays, British citizens without residence in the EU or Croatia can spend the whole year in Croatia using a "visa" for digital nomads, more about which can be read here.

It's worth adding that the information about the new measures to travel to Croatia is also being transmitted by the British publication The Independent and the travel platforms TTG Media and Travel Weekly. Jet2 has indeed announced flights, and Brits are set to travel to Croatia, a little later on.

For more, visit our travel section. For all you need to know about coronavirus specific to Croatia, including border and travel rules, as well as testing centres located across the country, make sure to bookmark this page.

Saturday, 20 March 2021

Daily Telegraph on Croatian Tourism Minister Opening Country for Tourism

March the 20th, 2021 - Croatian Tourism Minister Nikolina Brnjac has discussed what re-opening Croatia to British tourists could look like, and it could happen in May, the Daily Telegraph reports.

When it comes to extremely important European markets for Croatian tourism, it's difficult to contend with the British market. UK tourists came en masse to Croatia's beautiful Adriatic coast before the coronavirus pandemic threw a proverbial spanner in the works and flights were disrupted and became totally unreliable. Just how can we bring British tourists back to pre-pandemic levels?

The topic was breached by outgoing British Ambassador Andrew Dalgleish and Croatian Tourism Minister Nikolina Brnjac recently, and the pair discussed how a return of British tourism to Croatia can be facilitated amid the ongoing pandemic and the problematic border rules which continue to dominate.

The United Kingdom is currently under a full lockdown which is due to expire in its entirety on the 21st of June, according to PM Boris Johnson. As such, leisure and tourism travel from the UK is currently illegal. Travel is indeed permitted if one lives abroad and can prove it, or has pressing reasons for which they must leave their place of stay which they can also prove. Other than that, a stay at home order is in full force.

Croatian Tourism Minister has said that as soon as the epidemiological situation in the United Kingdom allows for it, or perhaps it is better to say when lockdown rules ease for international travel, British tourists will be absolutely welcomed back into Croatia. Otherwise, the UK has an extremely impressive vaccination rate which exceeded an enormous 25 million (people to have received their first dose) at the time of writing.

Croatian Tourism Minister Nikolina Brnjac and Andrew Dalgleish initiated the first serious conversation between the two European nations about the return of tourism between both countries, with the hope that border measures, a good vaccination rate and a better epidemiological picture overall, which will be what is key to decision making, will facilitate easier travel.

To read the Daily Telegraph's article, click here.

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Friday, 19 March 2021

UK and Croatia Want Return of UK Tourists to Pre-Pandemic Levels

March the 19th, 2021 - The UK and Croatia both want the rapid return of British tourists to the country, hoping for pre-pandemic levels as soon as possible. The British market, one of the most important European markets for Croatia, will be one of the keys to the return of the level of tourism the country is used to.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Marija Crnjak writes, Croatia is ready to receive tourists from the United Kingdom as soon as the epidemiological rules in the United Kingdom, which is currently under a lockdown, allow for that, said Minister of Tourism Nikolina Brnjac at a recent meeting with the Ambassador of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland to the Republic of Croatia, Andrew Dalgleish.

At the aforementioned meeting, Ambassador Dalgleish and Minister Brnjac exchanged information on the current epidemiological situation, the importance of continuing tourism trends, and discussed the European Commission's proposal to introduce Green Digital Certificates, as well as positioning Croatia as a desirable destination for digital nomads. Minister Brnjac informed Ambassador Dalgleish that the Croatian Government regularly coordinates positions regarding the conditions of crossing the border, having in mind the epidemiological situation in Croatia, but also within the borders of surrounding countries.

Ambassador Dalgleish expressed satisfaction with the presented Safe stay in Croatia project, which provides additional safety standards in the tourism sector, and expressed his hope that the United Kingdom will soon open once again for tourist travel. It is extremely important for Croatia to ensure the conditions for the number of British tourists in Croatia to return to pre-pandemic levels as soon as possible, in which good vaccination and the return of tourists' confidence in air travel will play a very important role. Clear and predictable rules for the entry of non-resident British citizens into the Republic of Croatia will also be properly regulated.

The Minister pointed out that a dialogue between the UK and Croatia on travel facilitation was opened recently, and that Croatia would be ready to receive tourists from the United Kingdom as soon as epidemiological rules on that Northern European island nation allow it.

According to the currently available data, Croatia is still perceived in the United Kingdom as a "high value" destination, and UK tour operators and airlines still have great interest in continuing to fly here. At the beginning of November 2020, Croatia was included in the top three world destinations in the category "Best Country Award 2020" awarded by one of the most prestigious UK newspapers, The Times & The Sunday Times, with over 16 million readers per month.

"We're pleased with the fact that the destination of Croatia is still perceived in the United Kingdom as high quality, desirable and safe. A dialogue has been opened with the British side on the modalities of travel facilitation between the UK and Croatia. Croatia will be open to British tourists as soon as they're able to travel, bearing in mind that the starting point for all tourist trips is the epidemiological situation in both countries," said Minister Brnjac, adding that the UK and Croatia will continue to nurture and strengthen their already very close cooperation in the fields of both tourism and sport.

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Friday, 25 September 2020

Expect Many English Speaking Visitors to Croatia in 2021, says Google

September 25, 2020 - Croatia is the 14th most searched holiday destination in the world for next year. With over 810, 000 searches on Google, the country should expect a big return of English speaking visitors to Croatia in 2021

Aside from the drop in numbers, the country's accessibility and the implementation of epidemiological guidelines, the biggest effect the Coronavirus pandemic had on Croatia's tourist season of 2020 was the change in visitor demographic. The British, Americans, Canadians and Australians largely stayed away. All that looks set to change next year as Google indicates a big return of English speaking visitors to Croatia in 2021.

Over 810, 000 searches have already been made of Croatia as a holiday destination for 2021 on Google, informing that many thousands are already researching or actively planning a trip. Croatia ranked 14th among the most searched for 2021 destinations, trailing slightly behind the likes of Italy, the Maldives, Mexico, Thailand, Spain and Greece.

01-4_gradska_centralna_plaza_makarska_tz_makarska.jpgTheir language mostly absent from beautiful Adriatic beaches in 2020, English speaking visitors to Croatia in 2021 look set to return © Croatian National Tourist Board

The good news for the return of English speaking visitors to Croatia in 2021 was published by the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA). The data has been taken from a period starting not before March 2020. This means that all searches took place in full knowledge of the ongoing Coronavirus and epidemiological situation. English speaking visitors are undeterred.

Iva Bahunek, the head of the Croatian Tourist Board in Los Angeles has not had the easiest of tasks since the pandemic began. Her appointment is a relatively recent one. Nevertheless, she has clearly done an excellent job of promoting Croatia as a destination for American tourists in 2021. She confirmed the trends are correct - that US citizens are ready for international travel again - by analysing data from the large American travel insurance company Squaremouth. 65% of all reservations for next year refer to international destinations.

52331947_10157169672643675_7765862747379597312_n.jpgIva Bahunek accepting her Mediterranean Stars Award for outstanding achievement in promoting Mediterranean tourism, awarded at the 6th Mediterranean Tourism Forum in Malta, 2019. She now heads the Croatian Tourist Board in Los Angeles and analysed data which backs up Google's prediction for a return of English speaking visitors to Croatia in 2021

Indications from the British market are the same. Total Croatia News recently published an interview with Vedran Meniga, organiser of a music festival site in Sibenik that successfully hosted over 10, 000 festival-goers in summer 2020. Sadly, they were the only ones who braved it. All of the international music festivals that usually take place on the Croatian coast cancelled their 2020 events.

But, some organisers of these festivals have been seen in Croatia over recent weeks, inspecting improvements to the famous The Garden Tisno festival site, which lies at the approach to Murter island. The festival's hugely popular beach stage has had walls removed, its space widened and now looks very well equipped to take on social distancing advice. Music festivals bring tens of thousands of people to Adriatic beaches each summer and the return of the international events will entice English speaking visitors to Croatia in 2021. On the below video you can see Alex Lowes of the Suncebeat Festival and Nick Colgan of The Garden Tisno recently checking out the new layout of the site in preparation for the return of festivals in 2021.

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Thursday, 30 July 2020

HTZ Marketing Succeeds in UK, Problem Lies in Another European Country...

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Marija Crnjak writes on the 29th of July, 2020, an intensified campaign on the UK market will be carried out intensively until August the 10th, and a special article about Croatia in the Daily Mail was excellent promotion for Croatia, but there needs to be a resolution to the issues with another European country for HTZ to succeed further...

As soon as the United Kingdom put Spain on the red list of countries from which the British must enter into a fourteen-day quarantine upon their return to their country, the Croatian National Tourist Board (HTZ/CNTB) decided to step up promotional activities on that market.

As confirmed by HTZ, an intensified online campaign on social networks, the Google search engine and through native articles has been active since July the 27th, which also provides all relevant information for a safe arrival and stay in the country.

The intensified campaign will be carried out intensively over the next two weeks, more precisely until August the 10th. Promotion on the Dutch market is continuing at the same pace as before, although the Netherlands put Croatia "on the orange list" last week, HTZ added.

If we were to ask the tourism sector alone, the Dutch issue is perhaps more important for Croatia at this time, because the British were almost given up on this year due to a number of reasons, despite the fact that the UK is perhaps the most important European country when it comes to tourism in Croatia. The announcements from the Dutch market were decent, and it is a generous camping emitting market that is more accessible than the British market is this year due to a lack of flights.

"We started implementing intensive promotional campaigns on the British market in early July, from the moment the British put us on the list of safe countries. In addition to advertising and invitation campaigns and informative messages about travelling to Croatia, it's great that a special on Croatia was published in the Daily Mail (on July the 24th), which presented Croatia's tourist offer, and showcased Croatia as safe,'' they stated from HTZ.

It has since been discovered that the Daily Mail's glossy ''Croatia special'' wasn't a paid contribution, but it was created upon a decision made by the editorial board that Croatia is attractive and safe enough for British guests. Croatia expects stronger traffic from the British market in August, given that airlines have started with operations from London, Manchester, Liverpool, Newcastle, Birmingham, Bristol and other areas of the country.

This is especially important for destinations in the central and southern parts of Dalmatia, where British tourists most often come to stay. So far in July, there have been around 20,000 arrivals and almost 90,000 overnight stays from the UK market, and there are currently around 7,000 British tourists staying in the country.

While the Spaniards are struggling since the British authorities issued a mandatory fourteen-day quarantine for British tourists returning from that country, for Croatia, the biggest problem remains the Dutch decision to introduce the same measure for Dutch passengers arriving back in the Netherlands from Croatia.

The decision which was made a week ago is still in force, despite numerous actions to try to withdraw it, be it through politics or civic initiatives and petitions.

Despite the issues, about 17,000 Dutch tourists are currently staying in Croatia, which shows that the number of guests who left Croatia due to the Dutch Government's recommendation isn't at all significant, as there were about 23,000 at the beginning of last week. There were 56,350 arrivals from that market in July, and since the moment Croatia was put on the orange list by the Netherlands, over 6,000 guests from that country have come to Croatia.

HTZ hopes that Croatia, given the fact that the Dutch list is revised every fourteen days, will soon return to the list of safe and stable destinations. However, if the decision of the Dutch Government is not withdrawn, Croatia will lose significant traffic during the season, was was pointed out by the director of the Croatian Tourism Association, Veljko Ostojic.

"The decision to place Croatia on the orange list by the Dutch Government came just when people were planning their summer holidays, and many people could be deterred from coming to Croatia because of that decision. We are witnessing the decisions of some countries about travel becoming more political and less epidemiological. Therefore, there's no relaxation, and at all levels, from us in this sector to politics, we must manage the situation every day and inform our guests as much as possible that Croatia is safe to travel to and that all stakeholders in tourism are following the recommendations of epidemiologists,'' said Ostojic.

In addition to its weekly newsletter reporting on the situation in Croatia, HUT launched the Corona Region Tracker portal www.croatiacovid19.info last week, which monitors the epidemiological situation in four regions, the North Coast (Istria and Kvarner), the South Coast, Central Croatia and Eastern Croatia.

HTZ has pointed out that, in addition to classic marketing and advertising campaigns, they're working on special PR projects and activities, primarily with foreign journalists who can personally come and see how safe Croatia is for themselves.

"HZ is proactively communicating and monitoring announcements made on key markets, and is reacting in the event of inaccurate information about Croatia, which has recently been available, especially in the German and Austrian markets. We're delivering corrections and placing accurate information through our representative offices. In addition, we're communicating very intensively with the competent institutions, especially diplomacy, in order to react in a timely manner to certain situations in certain countries,'' they concluded.

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Thursday, 25 June 2020

Croatian Tourism: Air Bridge Talks Between Britain and Croatia Arise Again

Brits, much like other sun deprived Northern Europeans, are getting itchy feet in their desperation for a getaway and a bit of vitamin D. As Croatia's epidemiological picture is so favourable, more talks are underway which could provide a much needed boost to Croatian tourism this year.

Media updates from UK (June 27)

Summer holiday air bridges: Government confirms ‘traffic light system’ to make international travel easier for Britons in July

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 24th of June, 2020, British ministers are in talks with the leaders of six other European countries to establish ''air bridges'' for British tourists looking to spend their holidays abroad, the Guardian has learned. The British, among others, are negotiating with Croatia.

The key to the story is to allow tourists from the United Kingdom to come to countries with a low prevalence of coronavirus infections and be able to return home without having to go into self-isolation or quarantine.

In addition to Croatia, British ministers are negotiating with Spain, Italy, Greece, France and Turkey, and the possibility of an agreement with Germany and Austria is being discussed. In Britain, they hope that the negotiations will be completed by Monday, when the United Kingdom, otherwise the worst affected country in Europe, is set to announce a new set of mitigation measures.

A source from the British Government told the Guardian that when they were compiling the list of countries, they only looked at the percentage of infection per 100,000 inhabitants. Australia, for example, was also considered, but in the end the choice fell only on the Mediterranean countries which have always been a traditional favourite for British holiday makers due to their close proximity and being on the same continent.

''Air bridges will be strictly monitored and this plan is a priority for the British Government at the moment, there's no doubt about it,'' a source from the British Government told the Guardian.

However, the popular British newspaper warns that the European Commission (EC) said a few months ago that the opening of such corridors could be subject to discrimination and that the rules must be the same for all countries that have a similar epidemiological situation.

In any case, the British choice eventually fell on the Mediterranean countries, and the reason is more than clear - overseas destinations require transfers in countries where the epidemiological situation is much more serious.

''There was talk about Singapore and Bermuda, but in the end the decision was made to focus on here in Europe,'' it was claimed.

For now, it is known that this idea is strongly supported by Transport Minister Grant Shapps, who spoke extensively about passenger corridors last week.

''We've been working for some time on establishing 'air bridges' or, more precisely, passenger corridors,'' he said at a press conference held in Downing Street, and his deputy, Jim McMahon, publicly said that the rule of 14 days quarantine upon return must be abolished, according to Jutarnji list.

For more on Croatian tourism, follow our travel page.

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