Tuesday, 23 June 2020

Croatian Tourism: Austrians Replace Italy as Favourite Destination

From not wanting to open their borders to allow Austrian citizens to go on holiday to Croatia freely amid the coronavirus pandemic to Austrian travellers replacing Italy as their number one holiday destination all in a matter of weeks. Could Croatian tourism be in for a welcome boost?

As Barbara Ban/Novac writes on the 22nd of June, 2020, of the foreign destinations available to go on holiday to during this, entirely disturbed tourist season, Croatia is convincingly number one for Austrian nationals, followed by Italy, which is a traditional favourite of theirs.

This information is according to an analysis undertaken by the Gallup Institute, which was conducted per thousand respondents between June the 10th and June the 15th this year, and published in the Austrian newspaper Kronen Zeitung. Admittedly, as many as 60 percent of Austrian citizens plan to stay at home this year and pump some money into their own economy despite the borders of their neighbouring countries having been opened.

Only 28 percent of Austrians want to go abroad, and most of them want to go to the coast and to nearby countries, according to the survey. As many as a third of these passengers, or more specifically 32 percent of them, want to or will travel to Croatia and give the Croatian tourism industry a much needed spring in its step.

Croatia is closely followed by Italy, which comes as no surprise as the Mediterranean country has been the favourite destination of Austrian tourists for many years now, but only 15 percent of Austrian citizens claim that they will travel to Italy, which has otherwise had some devastating results in regard to the coronavirus pandemic, this year.

Eight percent of tourists from Austria say they intend to travel to Greece, and seven percent of them will go to neighbouring countries (Hungary, the Czech Republic and Slovakia). The same number of Austrians will go to Germany, Spain and the Canary Islands. The fewest Austrians opted for Turkey - a mere four percent of them, and even fewer will go to to other European countries such as Cyprus, Britain and France.

For more on Croatian tourism in the coronavirus age, follow our travel page.

Tuesday, 9 June 2020

Plenkovic and Kurz Agree on Free Movement Between Croatia and Austria

As tportal writes on the 9th of June, 2020, Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic has agreed with Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz that Austria would lift restrictions on free movement between Croatia and Austria.

Although Austrians were the most frequent visitors to Croatia last week after Slovenes, Austria hasn't yet officially approved travel to Croatia, nor has the country lifted restrictions on Croatian citizens crossing the border, as they did with their neighbouring countries with the exception of Italy.

Prime Minister Plenkovic announced that this would change soon.

He announced on his Twitter profile that he had talked with Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz about preparations for the next European Council meeting and the situation with the coronavirus epidemic. They agreed that the government in Vienna would make a decision tomorrow on lifting restrictions on the movement of people between Croatia and Austria from mid-June onwards.

''Croatia is open to Austrian tourists, they know it and they're coming,'' Interior Minister Davor Bozinovic said on Friday.

''At the moment, behind the Slovenes, the Austrians are our most frequent visitors. Croatia is open in that sense, the Austrians know that and they're coming,'' said Božinovic after the video conference of the European interior ministers.

"I think that Croatia is so recognised, so attractive and known by our neighbours and EU member states that I don't see what will prevent them from coming to Croatia," Bozinovic said, adding that Zagreb was now engaging in bilateral talks with Vienna.

He reported that a video conference showed that there was political will within the EU at the ministerial level to open internal borders around June the 15th, but that epidemiological situations still had to be monitored because the pandemic isn't at the same stage in all countries.

As for the EU's external borders, the Croatian minister pointed out that a coordinated approach would be applied in this regard 'given that coronavirus infection is very intense in various parts of the world,  but that a certain exception can always be made for those countries which have a favourable epidemiological situation, especially in the closer European neighbourhood.

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For more on travel between Croatia and Austria, follow our travel page and our dedicated coronavirus section.

Monday, 20 April 2020

27% of Austrians Want to Travel to Croatia Once Epidemic Is Over

ZAGREB, April 20, 2020 - Findings of a survey conducted between 6 and 9 April show that the current COVID-19 epidemic has not yet marred Austrians' plans to spend summer holidays in Croatia, the Jutarnji List daily said on Monday.

The findings of the survey conducted by the entrepreneurial advisory firm BlueRock and the Improve group specialised in the market research show that two thirds of the Austrians still stick to their plans to go on holidays abroad

Also 47% of those polled say that they will definitely go on holidays if the situation with the coronavirus infection changes for the better.

Only 13% of those polled say that they have given up on plans to go on holidays this summer due to the COVID-19 epidemic.

Also, as many as 40% of the respondents have not yet decided on their summer holiday plans, and 42% say that they will make decisions on summer vacations in the next two months.

Of all those respondents covered by the survey, 27% have selected Croatia as their most desirable destination among the seven possible foreign destinations which also included Greece, Italy, Spain, France, Turkey and Montenegro.

A considerable portion of those who say that they prefer Croatia have already made bookings for their summer holidays in our country.

The Jutarnji List concludes that under some optimistic scenarios, Croatia can expect some turnover in the tourism industry this season, too.

Last week, Czech travel agencies hinted at possibilities of organising travels to Croatia if the relevant authorities could provide for special corridors for Czech tourists bound to Croatia.

More news about Croatian tourism can be found in the Travel section.

Wednesday, 8 April 2020

About 100 Croatians Returning from Tyrol

ZAGREB, April 8, 2020 - Foreign and European Affairs Minister Gordan Grlić Radman on Wednesday announced that about 100 more Croatian citizens are returning home on Thursday from Tyrol, Austria.

"Tomorrow evening we expect the continuation of repatriation and the arrival of four busses with about 90 to 100 Croatian citizens from Tyrol," Grlić Radman said.

He said that they were mostly seasonal workers "who in the midst of the pandemic have been left without jobs as well as all those who stayed after the winter season ended." Tyrol has closed all ski resorts and hotels in an effort to combat the spread of coronavirus.

Grlić Radman added that Croatia's diplomatic and consular network is working "committedly, thoroughly and responsibly on individual repatriations because there are Croatian citizens virtually throughout the world."

"Here I am mostly referring to Australia, India, Canada, New Zealand, the Philippines and Thailand."

More coronavirus news can be found in the Lifestyle section.

Wednesday, 18 March 2020

Croatia, Austria Coordinate Repatriation of 17 Croatians from Morocco

ZAGREB, March 18, 2020 - The Croatian and Austrian foreign ministries have coordinated the return of 17 Croatian nationals from Marrakesh in Morocco to Vienna, the Croatian ministry said in a press release on Tuesday.

Problems with the repatriation of the Croatian nationals were primarily due to the suspension of flights caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

The Croatian nationals are expected to arrive in Vienna late on Tuesday evening, the Croatian ministry said.

According to current estimates, there are around 30,0000 EU citizens in Morocco.

For all of them, the Croatian Embassy in Morocco, which represents the country currently chairing the Council of the EU, continues to coordinate joint activities of member-countries regarding their repatriation, in cooperation with EU member-countries and the EU Delegation in Rabat, and it continues to provide all diplomatic support.

The embassy also continues to provide round-the-clock consular and other assistance to Croatian nationals in Morocco, the ministry said, thanking Austrian authorities for enabling the return of Croatian nationals to Europe.

More coronavirus news can be found in the Lifestyle section.

Saturday, 18 January 2020

Croatia, Austria Push for EU Entry Talks with North Macedonia, Albania

ZAGREB, January 18, 2020 - Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenković and the visiting Austrian Minister for the European Affairs, Karoline Edtstadler, said that their countries would advocate the opening of the accession negotiations with North Macedonia and Albania at the level of the European Council in March.

A press release issued by the Croatian government after the Plenković-Edtstadler talks in Zagreb on Friday evening reads that the two countries would push for the adoption of a decision on the start of the negotiations with the two aspirants at the level of the European Council, which is supposed to hold a summit meeting on 26-27 March.

Plenković informed the Austrian minister of the agenda of the Croatian presidency of the EU and its priorities.

Considering the adoption of the EU multiannual budget, Plenković called for agreement which would also take into account all specificities of each member-state, including the youngest member Croatia.

Edtstadler was quoted as saying that Vienna supports Croatia's activities within the preparations of the summit-meeting of the EU and southeast European countries, set for early May in Zagreb.

More news about relations between Croatia and Austria can be found in the Politics section.

Thursday, 2 January 2020

Foreign Minister Attends Ceremony in Vienna for Croatia's EU Presidency

ZAGREB, January 2, 2020 - Foreign Minister Gordan Grlić Radman on Wednesday attended a ceremony of the unveiling of a cravat on the facade of the Croatian Embassy in Vienna, symbolically marking the start of Croatia's presidency of the European Union after which he was at the traditional New Year's Day concert by the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra.

"We are marking the start of Croatia's presidency of the Council of the European Union while the red cravat, some three and a half metres long hanging from the balcony of the Croatian Embassy building in Vienna is symbolic. I think it will be noticed by everyone," Grlić Radman said.

"The tie (cravat) is recognised as a Croatian brand and in that way, we are attracting the attention of Austrian citizens," he added.

The unveiling of the cravat preceded this year's philharmonic concert and it is a great honour and pride for Croatian officials to be invited to this concert, Grlić Radman said who was invited to attend the concert by his Austrian counterpart Alexander Schallenberg.

Austria was one of the first countries to recognise Croatia's independence and continued to help it in later processes, Grlić Radman recalled.

Twenty-five years ago, Austria joined the EU and "today it is a great friend and we enjoy its support," he added.

Grlić Radman thanked Schallenberg for his invitation to attend today's concert on the occasion of marking Croatia's presidency of the Council of the European Union, saying that this was a "historic moment" for Croatia.

Schallenberg expressed Austria's support for Croatia in that process.

"Austria supports Croatia's presidency of the Council of the EU one hundred percent. Croatia is reliable and we know that it will do that job very well," Schallenberg underscored.

He said he was pleased his Croatian counterpart was in Vienna on the "first day of the New Year and the first day of Croatia's presidency of the Council of the European Union," and recalled that the Union is faced with huge tasks from adopting the budget, enlargement and neighbourhood policy and assessed that the EU is in good hands in Croatia.

Referring to bilateral relations between the two countries Schallenberg said that "not only is there a historical connection between the two countries but there is also a close human connection."

About 80,000 Croatians live in Austria and more than 1.2 million Austrians visit Croatia during their annual holidays, he recalled.

"They are close human ties and we have a very good economic cooperation. Austria is the number one investor in Croatia and with regard to bilateral relations, we can say that they couldn't be better," Schallenberg concluded.

Minister Grlić Radman believes that during its presidency Croatia will show "political credibility of its government and all its institutions, officials and in particular the foreign ministry as the coordinator of all activities."

"We are faced with a huge job and task and we have to do that job in the best way possible in the interest of all EU members, primarily based on regulating relations between the Union and the United Kingdom," he said.

The multiannual financial framework too is a challenge which "is pretty complex because various approaches exist in member state," believes Croatia's minister.

The meeting of the leaders of Eastern European and Western Balkan countries is a challenge because there are differing approaches when it comes to the issue of the Union's enlargement, he added.

Grlić Radman attended a breakfast held to mark the 25th anniversary of Austria, Sweden and Finland's accession to the European Union, which was attended by their host, the Austrian minister Schallenberg as well as Sweden's Prime Minister Kjell Stefan Lofven and Austria's Chancellor Brigitte Bierlein.

More news about Croatia and the EU can be found in the Politics section.

Wednesday, 1 January 2020

Speaker Jandroković Attends New Year’s Concert in Vienna

ZAGREB, January 1, 2020 - Croatia will do its best to show its ability and vision during its presidency of the Council of the European Union and it expects support from all friendly countries, including Austria of course, Parliament Speaker Gordan Jandroković said on New Year's Day in Vienna.

"It's a great honour and pleasure to be in Austria today on the occasion of Croatia's presidency of the Council of the European Union," Jandroković told reporters.

The Croatian parliament speaker and his wife arrived in Vienna at the invitation of his Austrian counterpart Wolfgang Sobotka, to attend the traditional Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra New Year's Day concert.

Jandroković also notes that the EU is faced with a demanding period and that the key challenges are the next seven-year budget of the EU bloc and Brexit.

"We will do our best to show that Croatia has the capacity and vision to be at the helm of such an important organisation," Jandroković underscored and added that he expects the "support of countries, particularly friendly countries. That is why I am grad that I am in Austria today."

Croatia took over the six-month rotating presidency of the Council of the European Union on 1 January 2020 from Finland, six and a half years after entering the European bloc.

"This is a very important day for Croatia. After six and a half years of membership and the long battle for full membership, today we are at the helm of the EU, which is a huge responsibility," said Jandroković. Together with his host Wolfgang Sobotka, Jandroković viewed an exhibition in Heldenplatz square dedicated 25 years of Austria's EU membership and on the occasion of Croatia assuming the EU presidency.

Sobotka said that Austria is a "friendly and important country for Croatia which has taken over the presidency of the Council of the EU."

He recalled that Croatia had recently hosted several international conferences and said that it had done that very well and that everything it had undertaken was also in Austria's interest.

"I think that Croatia is well prepared for the presidency of the Council of the EU and I look forward to its presidency in the first half of this year," Sobotka said.

Jandroković and Sobotka conducted a working meeting after the concert to discuss bilateral relations, European topics and southeast Europe.

More news about Croatia and the EU can be found in the Politics section.

Saturday, 7 December 2019

Austrian Croats Urged to Develop Unity and Stronger Bonds

ZAGREB, December 7, 2019 - The Croatian Home in Vienna on Friday held a conference in the Austrian capital city, bringing together members of the Croatian community in that country as well as representatives of the Croatian people from Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The speakers at the event, which was held in Austria Center Vienna, called for building firmer bonds among members of the Croatian community and for unity.

They agreed that it was necessary to generate greater synergy between representatives of associations of Austrian Croats with the aim of better promotion and protection of their identity, language and cultural heritage as well as their better integration in the Austrian society.

The head of the Croatian Home in Vienna, Andrej Lučić, said that the unity of the ethnic Croats should enable them to be an active protagonists in the Austria society.

"We need that unity," Lučić said.

The deputy head of the state office for Croatians abroad Croatia, Dario Magdić, said that this office would provide support to such efforts.

Petar Tyran informed the event of challenges facing the Burgenland Croats.

An estimated 50,000 Burgenland Croats live in Austria, apart from Croats who have arrived in Vienna and other developed areas of Austria in the recent decades to find employment.

More diaspora news can be found in the dedicated section.

Friday, 15 November 2019

Former Austrian Defence Minister Awarded Croatian Order of Duke Trpimir

ZAGREB, November 15, 2019 - Former Austrian Defence Minister Mario Kunasek, at a ceremony in Zagreb on Thursday, was presented with the Croatian Order of Duke Trpimir with Neck Badge and Morning Star for his outstanding contribution to the promotion of relations between the two countries, the Croatian Defence Ministry said in a press release.

The medal was presented on behalf of the President of Croatia and Commander in Chief of the Croatian Armed Forces, Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović, by Defence Minister Damir Krstičević, who also cited Kunasek's great contribution to the return of the MiG-21 fighter plane which Croatian pilot Rudolf Perešin had flown from a Yugoslav Air Force base outside the northwestern Bosnian town of Bihać to Klagenfurt, Austria in the early stages of the war in October 1991.

Expressing his gratitude for this honour, Kunašek said that he accepted it on behalf of all the people who had helped and participated in the process of returning the plane to Croatia.

"When Perešin landed the aircraft at Klagenfurt, he showed an attitude and posture that we should show today, and that is that our task is to ensure stability, security and peace in our region. I will always be a friend of Croatia and will always keep this recognition in my heart. Long live Croatia and Austria!" Kunasek said.

The Order of Duke Trpimir with Neck Badge and Morning Star is awarded to Croatian and foreign government ministers and other senior officials for outstanding contribution to the independence, territorial integrity and international reputation of Croatia and the promotion of relations between Croatia and other countries.

More news about relations between Croatia and Austria can be found in the Politics section.

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