Thursday, 20 August 2020

German Television: Croatian Tourism Needs Radical Changes

August 20, 2020 - German television WDR published a 45-minute report on Croatian tourism this year, which it called "Paradise for a vacation without tourists". reports that it is a continuation of a report from two years ago, which dealt with the problems of Croatian tourism, such as the overcrowding in Dubrovnik. However, the coronavirus pandemic has changed everything. 

"For tourists, this is an ideal situation because they have almost the entire coast to themselves, while the locals worry about whether they will survive financially and how to survive," the beginning of the WDR report states.

The impact of the pandemic on Croatian tourism

A Croatian waiter tells them: "Of course I am afraid of the future, I don't know who I could work for at all. Everyone here lives from tourism." Shots of Dubrovnik's rather empty streets follow, incomparable to the hustle and bustle filmed by German journalists two years ago at the same time.

"How hard has the corona crisis hit Croatia? How does it affect tourism? And how do people deal with it?" are questions that WDR is trying to answer.

Dubrovnik without tourists

They say that Dubrovnik is almost empty, so it is not difficult to keep a distance because there are simply no people. On the other hand, one Dubrovnik resident says that before the pandemic, Dubrovnik was so crowded that it was no longer possible to live in the city. "Everything was focused on profit," says the Dubrovnik resident, who recalls that there were days when six cruisers came to Dubrovnik, so the locals knew that there was simply no point in going out on the street that day because of the crowds. This year, however, no cruiser will come to Dubrovnik. One is in the harbor, but it is empty, and will spend the winter there.

It is stated that Dubrovnik is full of ads with discounts, but also that more and more business premises are offered for sale. They point out that the gastronomic sector in Dubrovnik was particularly affected, which last year served more than five thousand people a day, while now there are simply no guests. It is predicted that many restaurants and cafes will close this year, that they will not survive the crisis.

No crowds at Plitvice

The next location covered by the WDR report is Plitvice Lakes. A team of journalists film a camp near Plitvice, whose 2,500 spots are always filled. This year, there are only about 200 tents and caravans in the camp, and most of those who came did not reserve their place in advance because they concluded that there was no need for it.

Footage from 2018 shows a long line before entering Plitvice Lakes National Park, and this year there is no line at all. Now, due to the pandemic, a maximum of 300 people are allowed into the National Park per hour at each of the two entrances, but there are fewer guests than that. There were thousands of them before. The management of the National Park points out that they regularly disinfect everything and adhere to other epidemiological measures. Still, visitors wear masks, which are optional.

"For those who live from tourism, the situation is completely different, and they are already feeling the crisis," the report said. They point out that the area around Plitvice is poor, that there is no industry, and that many in tourism have tried to earn some extra money and taken out loans to build apartments for rent. But this year there are hardly any guests.

WDR reminds us that the tourist boom in Plitvice was created without the necessary infrastructure and that it has its dark side, especially when it comes to sewage and wastewater.

The journalists again visited the so-called 'seventeenth lake', i.e., 'the lake of crap' on Plitvice, which was created there a couple of years ago. “There was a bestial stench in the middle of the National Park,” recalls a WDR reporter. This year there is none of it, because there are no tourists, so the existing infrastructure is sufficient for those who live in Plitvice. There is also a treatment plant, a project of the National Park and the Ministry of Environmental Protection, which helped with the remediation. The mayor of Plitvice, Ante Kovac, explains that the problem was solved thanks to the protests of the local population, but also "because of the journalists, who pushed the politicians against the wall".

On the other hand, the residents of Plitvice experienced a "financial shock" due to the pandemic and hope to recover next year. One landlord says the financial pandemic is “worse than war”.

They want year-round, sustainable tourism on Hvar

The third destination visited by the WDR team was Hvar. They remind viewers that two years ago, it was a "party island", which created problems even then, so the local government introduced stricter rules of conduct for tourists and started threatening fines for inappropriate behavior.

"Now this problem has been solved on its own," the report states, along with footage of empty Hvar streets.

The owner of a Hvar hostel says that he no longer wants to do that business because the pandemic has shown that the whole model of Croatian tourism is wrong. “A new approach is needed, new projects,” he tells WDR. "Hvar can offer more than nightclubs, cafes and loud music," he said, adding that he wanted to implement "radical changes in tourism on Hvar" with local like-minded people. The goal is to achieve "year-round, sustainable tourism".

You can watch the video in its entirety HERE 

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Wednesday, 12 August 2020

Flights to Croatia: LOT Plans to Operate 8 Lines to Croatia in September

August 12, 2020 - The latest news from around Croatia’s airports for flights to Croatia with updates for Zagreb, Split, Dubrovnik, Zadar, and Rijeka.

Croatian Aviation reports that Polish LOT airlines have announced its flight schedule for September this year, in which it intends to fly on eight international routes to five Croatian airports. We bring you the flight schedule below. 

Lines from Warsaw to Rijeka and Zagreb

The Warsaw - Zagreb line continues to operate daily in September, on E170 and 175 aircraft, with a capacity of 70 and 82 seats, respectively.

The Warsaw - Rijeka line will be in operation until September 13, once a week as before, on Sundays. In September, smaller capacity aircraft will operate on the route. The line was originally scheduled to run until October 18, but the company will close it in the middle of next month.

LOT lines to Split

Of the currently active LOT lines to Split, only one will operate in September. The Warsaw - Split line continues to operate once a week throughout September, every Sunday, with aircraft type B737-800 and E195. The following lines end in August:

Lublin - Split will be in traffic until August 28, once a week (Friday),

Katowice - Split will be in operation until August 30, once a week (Sunday),

Poznan - Split will be in operation until August 31, once a week (Monday).

Gdansk - Split will be in operation until August 26, once a week (Wednesday).

Two lines to Zadar

LOT will keep traffic on two lines in Zadar through September; the Warsaw - Zadar line continues to operate once a week, every Saturday, as well as the Rzeszow - Zadar line, which will operate until September 19, also on Saturdays. The following LOT lines end in August:

Gdansk - Zadar will be in operation until August 28, once a week (Friday),

Szczecin - Zadar will be in operation until August 27, once a week (Thursday),

Krakow - Zadar line will be in operation until August 25, once a week (Tuesday),

Bydgoszcz - Zadar line will be in operation until August 29, once a week (Saturday).

Three lines to Dubrovnik in September

LOT will keep three lines to Dubrovnik in September this year, two from Poland and one from Hungary. The Warsaw - Dubrovnik line will operate four times a week (Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays), the Krakow - Dubrovnik line once a week, on Saturdays, while the Budapest - Dubrovnik line will operate once a week, on Sundays, until September 27.

The following LOT lines will not operate in September this year:

Katowice - Dubrovnik will be in operation until August 27, (Thursday),

Poznan - Dubrovnik will be in operation until August 30, (Sunday),

Wroclaw - Dubrovnik will be in traffic until August 29, (Saturday),

Gdansk - Dubrovnik will be in operation until August 25, (Tuesday).

Of the 20 currently active lines to Croatia, the Polish national company will operate only eight next month.

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Tuesday, 21 July 2020

Tighter Measures in Croatia from Weekend, Bozinovic and Capak Weigh In

July 21, 2020 - On Monday, 25 coronavirus cases were recorded in Croatia, which is the lowest number in the last month.

Last weekend, 309 gatherings of more than 100 people were held, and we will see the outcome of that in five to seven days. A particularly problematic gathering was a wedding in Ivankovo, where 50 people became infected. Vukovar-Srijem County is the current focus of the corona crisis and, thus, the county with the strictest measures. reports that, according to Minister Bozinovic, new measures will be introduced for the whole of Croatia this weekend, and we will find out on Wednesday precisely what these measures are.

The director of the Croatian Institute of Public Health, Krunoslav Capak, was a guest on RTL Danas on Monday.

"The National Headquarters has been talking for some time about limiting the number of participants in various gatherings, which is an epidemiological problem. I guess it will happen, but I can't say. We are talking about the number that would be allowed, there is no decision yet on the agenda," Capak said.

In Slovenia, the maximum number of participants at a gathering is 50, and at the request of the Health Institute, this number may be higher with special restrictions. There are many more at gatherings in our country, and Capak says that the Croatian Public Health Institute cannot prescribe it individually.

Asked if the Headquarters were wrong not to impose restrictions on gatherings earlier, Capak replied: "We are continuously talking about the need to get used to the coronavirus lifestyle. We felt that these numbers we gave, with the limitations we gave in the recommendations, were not excessive. If everyone followed the recommendations, the situation would be better. Whether it is better to discuss stricter measures and oversight of those measures or to limit the number is very difficult to decide. We try to balance between letting the population live normally, but with recommendations and education to bring the number of patients lower."

To the reporter's claim that it is similar to the Swedish model, Capak reminds us that Croatia is very far from Sweden.

"They are the most liberal country in Europe and one of the most liberal in the world. They did not have a quarantine. They let the economy work normally, schools and kindergartens worked, it is a completely different situation than in Croatia," he said.

He described what an epidemiologist's hunt for the contacts of an infected person from a wedding looks like.

"In two cases when there was a large gathering, epidemiologists informed citizens through the media to put themselves in isolation and report to an epidemiologist or doctor if they were at the gathering, but even that was not well received among citizens. We corrected that, we offered help to epidemiologists to talk to all these participants, it’s a terribly hard job. Imagine you have to contact 300 people in a couple of days. We have cases where people don’t want to admit they’ve been in contact, especially if it’s a company that, if it closes, can’t function. We appeal to the citizens that it is very important, when they are in self-isolation, then they cannot transmit the disease," he said.

He announced new measures for concerts

"We didn't close concerts, but the question is whether it is profitable for a musician to hold a concert with a third of the seats in the hall," he said, and when asked what would change for concerts, he added:

"We would increase the number of participants, to mark all the seats, and to make ticket sales exclusively electronic. Seating will be likely; standing is very difficult to control."

Bozinovic: New measures this weekend

Minister Davor Bozinovic also spoke about the new measures for Dnevnik Nova TV. As he said, stricter measures will start being applied this weekend.

"We will tighten something," Bozinovic said, and when asked by a journalist what exactly, he said the number of people at large gatherings would be limited.

“It turns out you can’t change tradition overnight, and the fact is that all those gatherings where people hug, which is normal, are susceptible to the spread of the coronavirus,” he said.

He says it is up to the epidemiologist how much that number would be limited, but it is certainly less than a hundred, and the measures will be adopted to start to be applied this weekend.

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