Saturday, 10 April 2021

More Than 350 Zagreb Establishments Receive 'Safe Stay in Croatia' Label

April 10, 2021 - The Ministry of Tourism's campaign to promote safe tourism in Croatia is off to a good start with the announcement of more than 350 Zagreb establishments in the tourism sector with the ''Safe stay in Croatia'' label.

As turistickeprice.hr reports, the prominent ''Safe stay in Croatia'' label, which proves the growing number of Zagreb tourist facilities every day, is a guarantee that they are organized and operate according to the current recommendations of the World Travel and Tourism Council and the Croatian Institute of Public Health. It also confirms that tourism workers have put the safety and health of guests first, thus enabling them to enjoy the tourist offer in a safe way.

The campaign was officially announced last February and included a promotional video showing the concept of safe travel to Croatia in times of health crisis. The idea behind the project is to get establishments dedicated to tourism, such as restaurants, accommodation, museums, agencies, transportation, marinas, attractions, and many more, to join the initiative.

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Credit: Zagreb Tourist Board

One of the main revolutions that will take place in the sector is the idea that this season tourists will seek accommodation and other places that comply with international epidemiological protocols and standards to fight the pandemic. That is why the Ministry of Tourism launched the project and now seeks to generate greater interest among tourist establishments and catering facilities. So far, the general reception has met the expectations, and the goal is to increase the number of affiliated locations in the coming months and not only in Zagreb but throughout the country.

After the request for the Safe stay in Croatia label has been approved, tourist and other facilities in Zagreb can pick up the label in a physical form at the Visitor Center at Trg bana Josipa Jelačića 11 or at the Tourist Office of the Zagreb Tourist Board and use it for promotional purposes.

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Credit: Zagreb Tourist Board

The promotional campaign is the responsibility of the Croatian Tourist Board, which aims to act informatively and educationally around the concept of safe tourism, introducing guests to protocol and epidemiological measures that require the responsibility of tourism workers, and also, of course, imply individual responsibility.

The only condition for obtaining the free ''Safe stay in Croatia'' label is adherence to the prescribed health protocols. Their compliance is monitored and constantly adjusted through the system of the Ministry of Tourism and Sports of the Republic of Croatia, professional associations in tourism, and from users who can leave their comments and observations via the website.

The list of facilities that acquire the ''Safe Stay in Croatia'' label will be available and constantly updated on the official website. There is also a range of other current information and advice in the same place, and it gives guests the opportunity to share their impressions, which directly helps everyone in the chain to continuously enrich and improve their service in accordance with current international health and tourism protocols.

Follow the latest travel updates and COVID-19 news from Croatia HERE.

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

Thursday, 8 April 2021

Preparations for Upcoming Uncertain Season in Croatia Continue

April 8, 2021 - Preparations for the upcoming uncertain season in Croatia continue.  A look at the latest in Kvarner. 

During Easter, two virtual presentations of Kvarner were held for Italian agencies and journalists, organized by the Kvarner Tourist Board, the Croatian Tourist Board (HTZ), HTZ Representation in Milan. If the COVID-19 restrictions allow, Italians will be able to reach Kvarner by catamaran!

During the presentation, Kvarner tourist destinations have a long tradition in health tourism - Opatija, Crikvenica, and the island of Lošinj - were presented through short promotional films. The Italian market is one of the most important for Kvarner and Croatia, but the epidemiological situation is not good there either, and the pandemic has impoverished the Italians. Among other things, emphasis was placed on the offer of health tourism in Kvarner, a key, traditional, and essential tourist product this year.

Regarding the situation in this important market, the director of the CNTB's representative office in Milan, Viviana Vukelić, said there was a mini lockdown in Italy from April 3 to 6 and that travel between regions was banned.

Novilist.hr reports: "There are no tourists in Italy itself, the resumption of tourism will be extremely slow and associated with the gradual easing of measures, vaccinations, the opening of airlines, border measures, and more. Given the above circumstances, the tourism industry's focus in Italy is currently on locals and guests from the surrounding countries.

In general, tourists from Italy will decide on travel at the last minute, prices will be looked at, and the key criterion will be health security," said Vukelic, adding that the projections of what will be the tourist flows this year, with constant restrictions and introduction of sudden and new travel measures, difficult to articulate. 

"However, when we talk about Croatia, there is interest in traveling to our country, which numerous partners confirm. In these uncertain times, it is important to maintain market presence and visibility.

For example, in cooperation with the Kvarner Tourist Board, we held two virtual presentations of Kvarner intended for Italian partners, tour operators, and representatives of B2B media. In addition to the beauties and motives of Kvarner, the emphasis in the presentation was placed on all measures implemented for a safe stay in the destination, as well as on the health offer of Kvarner, active tourism, and gastronomy.

The presentations were very successful and gathered 80 participants, and the largest number of questions related to post-COVID treatments in Kvarner, sports tourism, travel with families and children, beaches, said the director of the Milan CNTB Office and pointed out that it is clear that everyone is looking for security and free space to distance themselves.

With this aim, the implementation of the Safe Stay in Croatia campaign will soon start on the Italian market, followed by a B2B campaign in specialized tourist media, and after that, the implementation of the main invitation campaigns. The BIT virtual fair in Milan will be held on the Italian market at the beginning of May, while the BMT fair in Napoli has been announced for May 28.

Although in Italy the focus is on the domestic guest, among other things, because Italy did not even have a winter ski season, some agencies are thinking about Croatia. Thus, Paolo Gorini, owner of the Gomoviaggi agency, which last year had a catamaran connection between Lošinj and Italy, told us that even though the situation is still very uncertain, they are preparing a program for the summer of 2021.

This summer, they plan to focus on the most favorable holiday period for Italians, and they also plan to introduce some innovations. They have already contracted a Dash 8Q400 Croatia Airlines aircraft for the line between Split and Ancona.

With a capacity of 76 passengers, the aircraft will fly from July 31 to August 28, with three flights a week. In Split, they also rented a small cruise ship with 15 cabins, so their guests can use the flight plus cruise if they wish. We also find out that they are in negotiations with Italian and Croatian shipowners about renting catamarans.

"We intend to work with two lines. The first is from Pescara and Cesenatica to Lošinj, Novalja, and Rovinj. From mid-July to the end of August, two weeks of travel to Rovinj, two trips a week to Lošinj, one of which will continue to Novalja on Saturday.

The second line we are planning is from Civitanova to Lošinj and Hvar, again from mid-July to the end of August, with two trips a week to Hvar and one to Lošinj. Of course, all this will depend on the development of the situation with COVID-19, which made a bad joke with us last August.

Namely, we were forced to stop the line in mid-August, when we already had hundreds of reservations that we had to cancel. But let’s hope for the best this year," Gorini concluded.

Follow the latest travel updates and COVID-19 news from Croatia HERE.

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

Friday, 2 April 2021

Croatia Features in New York's Condé Nast Traveler!

April 2, 2021 - Croatia features in New York's Condé Nast Traveler!

Croatia, as a desirable tourist destination, graces the cover of the April issue of the renowned New York travel magazine Condé Nast Traveler. 

Condé Nast Traveler Magazine is a luxury travel magazine aimed at the upmarket, independent traveler. It provides its audience with the latest travel news, guides, tips, and ideas including some of the most beautiful places, best vacation spots, and places to visit worldwide. 

As Htz.hr reports, a photo of Lake Mir and the surrounding cliffs of Telašćica Bay is on the cover, while the same issue of the magazine published a large article entitled Time and Tide, which describes the beauties of the Northern Dalmatian coast and islands. Croatia is described in the article as "a country of extreme beauty and resilience, where sun-bleached islands smell of sage and salt, and limestone-paved cities proudly carry their history." Special emphasis is placed on the charm of sailing through the Kornati archipelago, but also on the beauty and historical significance of Zadar and Šibenik, which are located in the immediate vicinity.

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New York travel magazine Condé Nast Traveler April cover 

"Americans eagerly await new trips to Croatia, which is confirmed by numerous direct inquiries and reservations through travel agents and numerous articles in leading American media such as Condé Nast Traveler, Forbes, USA Today, The Washington Post, CNN Travel, Travel + Leisure, Departures, Lonely Planet et al. We need to continue to build the image of a safe and responsible destination and clearly communicate information about the epidemiological situation, protocols in the country and the conditions for travel to Croatia," concluded HTZ director in the US, Ina Rodin.

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Time and Tide article on the beauties of the North Dalmatian coast and islands

While this may be the first Croatia cover for the New York travel magazine Condé Nast Traveler, it surely won't be the last! 

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Thursday, 1 April 2021

New Lika Tourist Attractions in Untouched Nature Sure to Delight All Tourists

April 2, 2021 - New Lika tourist attractions in untouched nature are sure to delight all types of travelers! 

The residents of Lika are hoping for full accommodation capacities for Easter and the upcoming tourist season. This year, there are new attractions for tourists to discover in Lika; a real hobbit house has sprung up in untouched nature, and for a complete atmosphere, there is a forest organ, the first in Croatia.

The play of branches and wind creates a symphony on the forest organ; that's how the Lika forest sounds. "It produces the sound of air flowing through pipes and holes in pipes. They have an aid during weak winds so that people are not disappointed when the organ is not heard when there is no wind", said Tomislav Špehar, from Grabovača Cave Park.

Dnevnik.hr reports, the small houses with green doors lead us to a real-life fairy tale. The Hobbit houses also have furniture, a small bed, books about the Hobbits in more than ten world languages ​, and a herbarium of real Lika plants that grow in the garden in front of the houses. Last year, volunteers from all over the world worked on the creation of this project. 

"Our goal is to have editions of the book The Hobbit in foreign languages. Volunteers from Spain, France, Pakistan, and Vietnam took part in the last project", says Mario Paral, Grabovača Cave Park.

The children of Lika will also find a piece of paradise for themselves and have the opportunity to learn new languages. "When books in different languages ​​come, then I will be able to learn a little more languages," says Niko, 9 years old.

Foreign languages ​​are already being heard. The season in the cave park Grabovača started earlier than usual. "We've been open for three weekends. In those six days, we were visited by about 300 visitors. Of which 99% are Croats and only one percent are foreigners from the Netherlands and the Czech Republic", said Jelena Milkovic, director of the Grabovac Cave Park.

That is why they rightly expect more guests than last year's five thousand because enjoying the smells and sounds of the forest with a little escape in the imagination - is the cure for all problems. 

For the latest travel updates and COVID-19 news from Croatia, CLICK HERE.

Thursday, 1 April 2021

Part Of Croatia Delivered To Your Home: Introducing Plitvice Times Webshop!

As HrTurizam.hr reports, an interesting offer of gifts that you can use to make yourself and your loved ones happy are now available through a new tourist webshop launched this week. All products, about 300 of them, promote Croatia in a positive context. They are intended primarily for tourists who may not be able to come to Croatia this year due to epidemiological measures. In this way, part of Croatia will come to their home address, wherever it is located!

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Credit: HrTurizam.hr

Thus, within several categories, you can find unique handicrafts by creatives from the Gacka Valley, but also delicious cheeses from a local producer from Velebit. There are also modern clothing items for winter and summer with a large number of messages, funny jokes, and motifs.

This is followed by attractive posters of various sizes with beautiful motifs from all over Croatia, painted cups, and many other products. The products are divided into six categories, and the webshop will be updated with new ones on a weekly basis. Winter items are already at a discount and a new part of the range from Istria, Dalmatia, and Slavonia is being prepared through partnerships.

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Credit: Plitvice Times webshop

"Our goal was to adapt to the new times because movement is limited and tourist shopping is becoming more complex. The webshop is an area that has seen a large increase in traffic in the last year precisely because of its simplicity and necessity, and for this reason, we decided to make this move and fill the webshop with as many products as possible. We organized the products, filled them in, and the first orders have already arrived. We are targeting the international market, and the first campaigns in Central Europe will start next week", says Ante Fumić, owner of Prilika Group.

According to the announcements, the range will be expanded in order to offer users the widest possible range of products in various categories. All manufacturers who think that their products would fit well into this webshop are also invited to contact their website in order to achieve cooperation.

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Credit: Plitvice Times webshop

The webshop was launched by the young creative team of Prilika Grupa, a marketing company that already has several successful thematic creative projects behind it. The webshop is part of The Plitvice Times magazine, and if you go to check on a variety of articles you will see that you can find something that you'll certainly like!

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

Saturday, 20 March 2021

Foreign Tourists Eager to Visit Croatia, But Worried About Coronavirus Restrictions

ZAGREB, 20 March 2021 - Tourists and owners of property in Croatia from Slovenia, Poland, Austria and Germany want to spend their summer holidays in Croatia this year. Still, they are cautious in planning and booking because of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and restrictions imposed to contain it.

Last year the Croatian tourism industry recorded the best results from these four markets, so Hina asked the directors of the Croatian Tourist Board (HTZ) offices there about current booking figures for this year, including the forthcoming Easter holidays.

This and the Safe Stay in Croatia project were also discussed earlier this week at HTZ online workshops for the Slovenian and Polish markets. Over 200 participants from Croatia attended, and the two countries' workshops will soon be held for the Austrian and German markets.

As for the Easter holidays, tourist arrivals from these and other countries are not expected in large numbers because of the third wave of the pandemic and the restrictions that are in place there, as well as because of the existing measures in Croatia, which requires a negative PCR test or a quarantine until PCR test results arrive for travelers wishing to enter the country.

The initial optimism for this tourist season and travel has diminished in many countries as the vaccination process is slower than expected. New, more infectious variants of the coronavirus have emerged, resulting in increased infections.

Slovenia

The director of the HTZ office in Ljubljana, Metka Bradetić, said that Slovenian partners see Croatia as a country where Slovenians will definitely travel to as soon as the conditions allow. She said that they are not worried about the summer and post-summer seasons but that the pre-summer season is uncertain because the epidemiological measures currently in Slovenia are rather strict. It is hard to make any predictions.  

"Slovenian owners of real estate and vessels in Croatia can't wait for relaxation of the border crossing regime," Bradetić says, noting that the current booking for Croatia is lower than at the same time last year, but that Slovenian tour operators and travel agencies expect stronger last-minute sales.

Poland

The director of the HTZ office in Poland, Agnieszka Puszczewicz, said she is pleased with the response to the HTZ business workshop, where Polish partners said they are hoping that their compatriots will be able to travel to Croatia this summer despite the third wave of the pandemic because Croatia is among the most sought-after destinations.

"Our Polish partners stress the importance of information about health safety protocols and the conditions tourists will have to meet to visit Croatia this summer. They all hope that an increase in the number of vaccinated people and those with antibodies will further facilitate travel. The Polish government's decision on return protocols will also have an impact, and we should also take into account the fact that a PCR test costs 125 euro in Poland," Puszczewicz said.

She noted that Poles praise Croatia for its handling of last year's season and hope that this year too, they will spend safe and carefree holidays in Croatia.

Austria

Austrians are mostly interested in the conditions for entering Croatia, the cost of PCR and rapid antigen tests and testing sites, the epidemiological and vaccination situation in Croatia, and the country's plan to open to international tourism, the head of the HTZ office in Austria, Branimir Tončinić, told Hina.

"Assuming that Croatia will be on the green list and that Austria will change its present regime of return to the country with mandatory testing and a 10-day quarantine, even larger visits from this market are possible than in 2020, but only as of June, because Austria has only recently extended the return regime for its citizens until 31 May," Tončinić said. 

Asked about Austrian owners of real estate and vessels in Croatia who, like Slovenians and citizens of other countries, visited Croatia in the pre-summer season last year, he said that they are mainly interested if there are or there will be any regulations allowing them to enter Croatia to check on their property.

"There is a great interest in Croatia among this section of the public because they own property in Croatia where they can stay in isolation with the greatest possible degree of safety from infection. There is currently fear that because of the Austrian border crossing regime, they will not be able to travel abroad unless their country changes the conditions for returning citizens. They are less concerned about the Croatian border regime," Toničić said.

Germany

Similar information also comes from Germany, Croatia's most important travel market. The director of the HTZ office there, Romeo Draghicchi, says that Germans are eager to travel but are still delaying booking their holidays and following coronavirus developments both at home and abroad.

Tour operators and airlines will adjust their services to destinations for which German authorities will not prescribe a quarantine on return to the country. Everyone agrees that any facilitation of travel between European countries will positively affect the tourist turnover said.

"The number of Germans who visited Croatia in 2020, mostly in the two main summer months, was about 50% lower than that in the record year 2019. If the coronavirus situation gets back to normal before June and lasts until the end of September, this market season could be more successful than last year. Still, total results will depend on the overall situation with the virus in Europe, especially in Croatia," Draghicchio said.

He said that Germans are mostly asking about general conditions for entering Croatia, including types of testing. At the same time, property owners are mainly interested in simplified entry procedures, such as short-term visits to check their vessel or house.

"Currently, booking for Croatia in Germany is at 30% of last year's level, but it is expected to pick up in the lead-up to the summer provided that the pandemic subsides. Everyone is hoping for a positive scenario, a longer season, and better results than those achieved in 2020," Draghicchio said.

He said that "a certain number of Germans" will visit Croatia already for the Easter holidays. They are mostly inquiring about Istria, which is currently designated as a safe travel destination from which Germans can return home without undergoing testing or staying in a quarantine.

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Tuesday, 26 January 2021

Expert Predicts First Tourist Wave in May, Central and Southern Dalmatia with Hardest Recovery

January 26, 2021 – Siniša Topalović, a tourism consultant, spoke for HTV's Studio 4 show about why it is illusory to expect a pre-season, why Central and Southern Dalmatia will have the most challenging recovery, and where the future of Croatian tourism lies.

In the previous years, the media would already have been full of articles about preparing for the tourist season. Croatia has the largest share of tourism revenues in GDP in Europe, which reaches almost 20 percent of GDP and employs 11 percent of people. During the coronavirus crisis, the state still has high expectations, as it is an important source of tax revenue for it. However, tourism workers mostly complain and have black forecasts.

'The further north we go, the better tourism results'

When asked about official estimates that say Croatia could expect 60 percent of the income from tourism realized in 2019 this year, Topalović said that he believes that such an expectation is still too optimistic according to financial criteria.

"Between 60 and 70 percent of the physical traffic, we had in 2019 is achievable this year. If we talked about 70 percent of overnight stays and arrivals, everyone would sign that result at the moment. Still, when we talk realistically about the financial performance, it is probably about 50 to 60 percent of income," says Topalović, tourism consultant at Horwath HTL.

He added that Croatia does not expect an "even" recovery of tourism, but the results will vary geographically.

"As last year showed, the further north we go along the coast, the better our result is. The reason for this is the geographical position of Croatia. We were lucky that Istria, Kvarner, and the northern Dalmatian counties have relatively good access by road, and people took advantage of that. From Split to the south, the Makarska Riviera, and towards Dubrovnik will continue to have a more difficult situation this year, because the air connection will still not recover," explains Topalović.

He assessed the actions of the state during the pandemic as good and timely.

"Essentially, in 2020, the state reacted well in terms of maintaining employment in the tourism sector. Job-saving measures came relatively quickly, halting a potential wave of layoffs in the hotel industry. Both the management and the staff were protected, and there were no excessive losses. If the measures are extended until April, they should be sufficient to preserve the stability of the tourism sector," says Topalović.

'Now is the time to restructure Croatian tourism'

He says the expectation of a wave of tourists during the Easter holidays as in previous years in these conditions is illusory. Easter comes earlier this year, he says, so traditionally, the pre-season would be weak. But with COVID this year, there shouldn't be pre-season at all. The first wave of tourists is expected during May, and more intense from mid-June.

When choosing between quality and quantity, Croatian tourism has always gone in the direction of quantity. In 2020, it turned out to be the wrong direction.

"Last year denied populism, where the state, through tax systems and everything it did or did not do, allowed an uncontrolled increase in private accommodation of medium and lower quality. Those who were thinking a step further with quality accommodation this year scored and ensured their stability," says Topalović.

He added that quality has won this year, regardless of the type of accommodation, and thinks that this is a sign to those who decide and work on legislative frameworks that the state should encourage quality tourism with all its arsenal. Now is the time, he added, to restructure Croatian tourism.

"It's never a good time for us. When we grow, then we don't change anything because everything is good. When there is a crisis, we don't change anything because we need help. The crisis here has shown in which direction the market is going. Croatian tourism has no future if it stays on the concept of a low-budget mass market, which we currently have," explains Siniša Topalović.

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Monday, 14 December 2020

State Secretary: 'The Goal is to Reduce Seasonality in Croatian Tourism'

December 14, 2020 - State Secretary Tonči Glavina participated in the "Business panel on Tourism" as part of the online conference "Finance for Sustainable Growth" where, among other things, he stressed that the goal is to reduce seasonality in Croatian tourism by increasing the quality of tourist products and services.

As the Ministry of Tourism and Sport writes, the panel discussed financial instruments to recover tourism, Croatia's entry into the euro area, and expectations for the upcoming tourist year.

State Secretary Tonči Glavina pointed out that Croatia will first have access to funds from the Recovery and Resilience Fund from the new multi-year financial perspective.

"Measures for the placement of these funds will be defined by the National Recovery and Resilience Plan coordinated by the Government of the Republic of Croatia. The Plan refers to the challenges facing the Republic of Croatia, i.e., strengthening economic and social resilience, mitigating social and economic effects of the crisis, and a contribution to the green and digital transition," Glavina stressed.

The State Secretary also said at the panel that in the tourism sector, the goal of the National Recovery and Resilience Plan's measures and reforms is to strengthen the competitiveness and resilience of Croatian tourism. The goal is to reduce seasonality in tourism by increasing the quality of tourist products and services and developing particular forms of tourism, i.e., the development of sustainable, innovative, and resilient tourism.

Glavina added that it is necessary to increase Croatian tourism's sustainability and resilience by implementing reforms and activate investments that will have a positive impact on the development of new tourism products, the attraction of new market segments, and more even regional distribution of tourist traffic.

"By implementing the reforms and initiatives identified in the National Recovery and Resilience Plan, the tourism sector will contribute to GDP growth during 2021 and beyond, which is extremely important for Croatia," Glavina concluded.

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Monday, 14 December 2020

Croatia More and More Sought-After by Swedish Tourists

ZAGREB, Dec 14, 2020 - Croatia is an increasingly attractive destination for holidays in 2021 among Swedes, according to data collected by TUI Nordic tour operator, the Croatian National Tourism Board (HTZ) has recently reported.

Vedran Susic, director of the Croatian National Tourist Board Representation in Sweden, has been quoted as saying on 7 December that twice as many trips were booked in Sweden last week than in the week before that.

Croatia is among several Mediterranean destinations that are chosen most frequently by Swedes for holidays in 2021, the other destinations being Crete, Rhodes, Cyprus and Antalya.

According to HTZ data, from 1 January to 30 November this year, about 41,000 travellers from Sweden visited Croatia and made 228,000 overnight stays, which was equivalent to 15% of their arrivals in 2019.

Friday, 13 November 2020

The Times Names Croatia among the World's Top Three Destinations!

November 13, 2020 - The Times names Croatia among the world's top three destinations!

HTZ announced that esteemed British newspaper The Times & The Sunday Times has awarded the world's best countries for many years. This time, Croatia was among the top three.

Namely, Croatia won third place among the world's best destinations in the "Best Country award 2020" category. Given the current epidemiological situation, the award ceremony was held virtually and attended by the Croatian National Tourist Board Director in the United Kingdom, Darija Reić.

"With its fantastic tourist offer and tireless promotion, Croatia unquestionably deserves the title of one of the best countries, and we are extremely pleased that the British public has recognized our quality. A visit to Croatian destinations is something that Brits like to brag about, to the extent that even going into isolation did not sway some of them to travel and enjoy our Mediterranean wealth. This success has strengthened the position of Croatia as a destination of beautiful landscape and diverse, high-quality tourist offer, and we will continue to maintain our reputation in the market through further promotional activities," said Reić.

The news of the award delighted the Croatian National Tourist Board, too

"According to Eurostat data, we took the leading position in the Mediterranean this season, and this is additional confirmation of the safe and stable position that our country enjoys on the international market. The United Kingdom is one of the most important markets for Croatian tourism. I believe that by stabilizing the situation, our loyal British guests will return in greater numbers," the director of the CNTB, Kristjan Staničić, said.

In this category, Italy was declared the best country globally, while second place went to New Zealand. The shortlist, which was awarded for the eighth time, also included some of the world's best destinations such as France, Turkey, the United States, Dubai, Spain, Portugal, Greece, and Thailand.

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