Tuesday, 29 June 2021

Croatian Hospitality Facilities Desperate for Staff as Pandemic Takes Toll

June the 29th, 2021 - Croatian hospitality facilities and their owners are desperate to find waiters, waitresses and other such staff as the pandemic sees many individuals formerly employed in the trade seek more secure employment owing to lockdowns and layoffs.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, the cry of one utterly desperate Croatian hospitality facility owner from Pula states that 1000 kuna is on offer as a gift to anyone who can find him a waiter for the season.

Although the season has already begun, and there are more and more tourists in Pula, Croatian hospitality facilities are looking for trained waiters. This owner was left without a waiter one morning because they simply didn't show up for work after a stormy night. New ones are hard to find, so they're waiting for workers from Serbia for whom the dreaded paperwork is still being dealt with by MUP.

Although many expected that because of the pandemic, we'd be falling over would-be local employees for Croatian hospitality facilities because many have returned home from working abroad, and that employers might take advantage of this situation by diminishing their rights, the total opposite has happened. Amazingly, this year there is a shortage of domestic labour on the market, writes Deutsche Welle.

From the beginning of the year to June the 16th, the Ministry of the Interior (MUP) issued 31,157 residence and work permits for third-country nationals, 13 percent more than last year during the same period, but also a fifth less than the year before. This year, 4,191 such permits were issued for work in the tourism and catering industry alone.

"Although some workers returned to Croatia due to the pandemic, there is still a noticeable shortage of labour in some industries, especially in tourism and catering, construction, and there is a lack of craftsmen such as electricians and locksmiths. From March 2020 to the end of May this year, public authorities paid more than 10.5 billion kuna for the salaries of more than 680,000 workers through job preservation support measures. Those measures cover more than 120,000 craftsmen and employers,'' explained Kresimir Sever, President of the Independent Croatian Trade Unions.

As a result of the ongoing coronavirus crisis, trade unionists have faced various abuses by some employers: from forcing workers into taking their annual leave, the non-payment of the corresponding difference between the contracted salary and paid state aid, to the reduction of the contracted salary without employee consent.

For more, follow our business section.

Thursday, 24 June 2021

Croatian 2021 Tourist Season Already 58% Better Than That of 2020

June the 24th, 2021 - The Croatian 2021 tourist season is already way ahead of 2020's coronavirus pandemic dominated summer season. With temperatures soaring and epidemiological measures finally beginning to ease for non-resident foreign arrivals, things are looking good.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Marija Crnjak writes, during the penultimate weekend in June, which was also an extended/long weekend, from Friday, June the 18th to Wednesday, June the 23rd, 2021, 330,000 arrivals and 1.6 million overnight stays were realised across Croatia. Out of the total number of overnight stays, foreign tourists realised 1.2 million overnight stays, and domestic touists realised 335,000 overnight stays. The above is a real indicator of the Croatian 2021 tourist season progressing cautiously but well.

During the weekend, the largest number of tourists came to Croatia from Germany, Slovenia, Austria and Poland. The average daily number of tourists over the past five days was 313,000, while in the same period last year it was lower by about 104,000, according to the Ministry of Tourism.

The highest number of overnight stays last weekend was in Rovinj (85 thousand), Porec (54 thousand) and Vir (47 thousand). According to the type of accommodation, most overnight stays were realised in household/family accommodation facilities, camps and hotels.

From the beginning of the year until today, there have been 2 million arrivals and 8.4 million tourist nights in Croatia, ie a growth of 57 percent in arrivals and a growth of 58 percent in overnight stays compared to the same period in 2020. Minister Nikolina Brnjac called for further compliance with epidemiological measures in order to continue the positive trends for the height of the Croatian 2021 tourist season.

"With about 4.4 million overnight stays realised in June, we exceeded the tourist turnover in the same period last year by more than 80 percent, and most arrivals are recorded from the markets where we're currently conducting our main call campaign this year, entitled ''Trust me, I've been there''. The current numbers of tourists in the country show that Croatia is one of the most popular and safest destinations in the entire Mediterranean this year,'' said the director of the Croatian Tourist Board, Kristjan Stanicic.

For more on the Croatian 2021 tourist season, follow our travel section.

Wednesday, 23 June 2021

A Busy Summer in Croatia for American Tourists

June 23, 2021 - TCN contributor Ana Bačić talks about a busy summer in Croatia for American tourists! 

The latest developments regarding the introduction of direct flights to Croatia continue to improve this summer season, placing Croatia on the radar for many fans and avid travelers seeking new adventures. Whether travelling from Europe, the US, or Canada there are many options to reach the most popular tourist destinations. According to the Ministry of Tourism press releases, visitors can expect a positive tourist season, despite pandemic situations. All safety precautions were taken, in addition to most of the tourist sector employees being vaccinated. 

From early 2021, Croatia has experienced a significant increase in tourism from the US market compared to other Mediterranean countries.  American arrivals to Croatia are expected this summer in greater numbers than before. Owner of Croatia Travel Agency in New York Boris Miketić noticed an increased interest in bookings: “This is the first time ever that two American companies are serving Croatia with non-stop flights. Our website not only features excellence of Croatia but also offers airline tickets, hotels, car rentals, insurance and activities (such as day tours).”

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The United Airlines from Newark to Dubrovnik and Delta Airlines from JFK to Dubrovnik were newly introduced non-stop flights.  Consequently, Dubrovnik became the top searched city on many platforms especially as we head into a highly anticipated and busy summer travel season. As one of the most attractive year-round destinations in the Mediterranean, popularity among visitors is noticeable. The city’s stellar tourism offering, strong infrastructure, warm and inviting hospitality, and quality of service all anchored around its “City for all seasons” motto. Additionally, the new airline Pragusa One introduced flights from Los Angeles and New York to Dubrovnik, which should operate a couple of times a week.

Although the above flights will help many visitors from North America reach Croatia, there are still plenty of other ways to travel to Croatia.

For anyone preferring to fly into Croatia (via a stopover), the best places to fly to in Europe are Amsterdam or somewhere in Germany (one has a number of options, but Munich and Frankfurt are probably the best airports to fly to). Great news as the Dutch airline KLM increases daily flights from Amsterdam to Croatian destinations such as Dubrovnik, Split, and Zagreb for the summer season.

Another popular stopover is Italy.  Certainly, a great country to fly to – and many travelers plan a two-country holiday of Italy and Croatia. There are numerous buses and ferries connecting the two countries. 

Croatia Travel Agency in New York designs the ideal vacation based on its American clients’ needs:

“With vacation season coming Croatia Travel NYC has already settled on many travel programs for tourists. We have the best possible fares available from anywhere in the United States to anywhere in Europe. Croatia Travel has been in business for more than 20 years with a long list of clients. Our agents will help with everything a traveler needs to know, where to stay and where to visit,” said Mr. Miketić.

For more, follow our travel section.

Tuesday, 22 June 2021

Croatian Sustainable Tourism Experts to Receive 1.3 Million Kuna

June the 22nd, 2021 - Croatian sustainable tourism experts are set to recieve a large sum of money for the promotion of this sort of tourism which has so much appealed to Croatia and which could bring about a longer season.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, the Ministry of Tourism and Sport announced a tender worth more than 1.3 million kuna for the development of Croatian sustainable tourism projects last week. As part of the EUSAIR Facitiy Point project, a financially attractive budget has been provided for the development of adopted project ideas for the development of sustainable tourism in the Adriatic-Ionian region, up to the stage of readiness for application and funding from EU funds.

Croatian sustainable tourism experts are expected to make a quality contribution in six months of the contract for topics that have been discussed and deemed important in the professional public for some time now. Expanding the tourist offer through the development of thematic tourist routes and merging that with cycling tourism, the stronger involvement of cultural heritage, the synergy of creative and cultural industries and the hospitality sector, connecting those engaged in tourism through regional and transnational projects and research - these are just some of the demands for those tasked with this job.

Important elements in the tender documentation state goals such as the development of new educational programmes for tourism professionals, the training and development of competencies for the unemployed, and the development of networks of Croatian sustainable tourism companies and clusters. An important component of the task is education and association, as well as the implementation of a system for sustainable destination management.

Potential bidders for this tender should provide two key experts for the development of project proposals with experience in EU projects. Procurement is divided into four groups, and each group consists of the development of one project, whose project idea has already been accepted by the managing authorities of the Adriatic-Ionian Strategy.

The CruiseAIR project, whose key goal is to prepare management plans for sustainable cruising tourism destinations. AIR Cultural Routes is a project aimed at developing tools for the integrated sustainable management of cultural routes at the level of the Adriatic-Ionian Strategy and achieving a balanced distribution of tourist flows. The goal of the ProDest AIR (MIQS) project is to develop a strategy and system for smart, sustainable, integrated destination management at the EUSAIR level and to design systems capable of responding to all real development challenges, needs, constraints, trends, risks and threats. The Living the Sea 4.0 project aims to expand the tourist offer through the digitisation of fisheries and their heritage and increase the availability of a common fishing history for the entire region.

The documentation for this open high-value public procurement procedure was published in the electronic public procurement notice on the 14th of June. The deadline for submission of bids is July the 26th, by 10:00. The Ministry of Tourism and Sport, together with their Albanian colleagues, is coordinating the topic of Sustainable Tourism for all ten countries of the Adriatic-Ionian Strategy, and winning such a job would be another opportunity and recognition for Croatian sustainable tourism experts.

For more, follow our travel section.

Saturday, 19 June 2021

Minister Brnjac Tweets That 200,000 Tourists are Currently in Croatia

June the 19th, 2021 - Tourism Minister Brnjac has taken to Twitter to tweet that 200,000 tourists were staying in Croatia as of the 18th of this month, which is a fantastic sign for things to come as the very height of the summer tourist season rapidly approaches.

The current favourable epidemiological situation across Croatia and across most of Europe as the vaccination process picks up its pace and warm weather returns has allowed for a significant drop in coronavirus infection rates and the return of some sort of normality that we took so much for granted before the pandemic struck back in early 2020.

As such, more and more foreign tourists are arriving in Croatia, ready for some vitamin D and a swim in the glorious Croatian Adriatic sea after over a year of lockdowns and uncertainty surrounding travel, especially travel for leisure and tourism.

Croatian Tourism Minister Nikolina Brnjac took to social media to state that 200,000 tourists are holidaying in Croatia, and as things make a slow but steady return to semi normality, we might get a summer that looks something like it usually would have done in pre-pandemic times.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, Minister Brnjac's recent tweet reads: "According to the first data from the eVisitor system, the number of 200,000 tourists in one day was exceeded today (the 18th of June). Namely, there are currently 213,000 tourists in Croatia, of which 183,000 are foreign tourists and 30,000 local tourists.''

"This is a confirmation that tourists see Croatia as a safe destination for their stay and holiday. We have created all of the preconditions for that, and compliance with the epidemiological measures is still crucial in order to maintain this favourable epidemiological situation and to achieve a successful season,'' she added.

For all you need to know about coronavirus specific to Croatia, including travel, border and quarantine rules, as well as the locations of vaccination points and testing centres across the country, make sure to bookmark our dedicated COVID-19 section and select your preferred language.

For travel to and within Croatia, click here.

Thursday, 17 June 2021

For Germans, Record September in Croatia on Cards if Lockdown Avoided

June the 17th, 2021 - When it comes to German tourists, Croatia has always been a firm favourite and the sight of a German convoy of motorhomes carrying bikes and small boats bombing along the motorway to the Adriatic coast isn't an unusual sight in normal years. Thankfully, this sight has gradually started to become the norm again, and if lockdowns can be avoided, as far as the Germans are concerned, there could be a record September in Croatia this year.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, Selimir Ognjenovic, the head of the Munich tour operator ID Riva tours, was present at a recently held meeting between the Minister of Tourism and Sport, Nikolina Brnjac, and Karlheinz Jungbeck, the Deputy President of the respected and well known German Auto Club ADAC.

Commenting on the encouraging travel and tourism announcements from the German market, he said that this car club is the right place from which to send a message about Croatia's safety and readiness to welcome foreign guests once again. He also pointed out that the Croatian Safe stay project had been met with a great response.

"People who arrive in Croatia by car are, of course, our focus, that is, they've been important before, however, given the situation, it's clear that all eyes are on them, and that air traffic will still take a bit longer to recover from this.

As for the situation in Bavaria and the announcement for the upcoming season, I can say that the Bavarian capital has come back to life, even faster than I expected, and we have 250 to 300 inquiries and reservations a day, which is almost like it is during even the best months.

What does represent a problem, however, is the very short time for the realisation of these announcements, given that a good part of the booking in normal years is done at the end of the year or in February. I'd say that the success of the tourist season will depend on how long it will last, or how long things in the off-season will last.

If we aren't put back into another lockdown due to the possible deterioration of the epidemiological situation, and that remains the basic condition for arrivals, September in Croatia will be a record one for us.

For that reason, Minister Brnjac's meeting with German bus companies, which are also an important part of the pre- and post-season in Croatia, and which suffered a strong blow due to the pandemic in the form of reduced traffic, is extremely important,'' Selimir Ognjenovic told Novi list of the potential for a fantastic September in Croatia.

For more, follow our travel section.

Sunday, 13 June 2021

Arrival of 14 Zadar Cruise Ships Scheduled! First Arriving on July 20

June the 13th, 2021 - With the epidemiological picture finally becoming more favourable and vaccination across Europe going well, things are beginning to very slowly but steadily return to some form of pre-pandemic normality. For Croatian tourism, there couldn't be better news. So far, 14 Zadar cruise ships are scheduled, the first of which is set to arrive in mid-July.

As Morski writes, the well known Cruise company Viking Cruises is the first cruise company to publicly announce the return of their cruisers to the Dalmatian city of Zadar this summer, and it isn't the only one. As 057.info has learned from Rebeka V. Pevec, the General Manager of ZIPO (Zadar International Port Operations), 14 Zadar cruise ships are set to arrive in Zadar's Gazenica Port this summer.

''With an increasing number of cruisers returning to operation and choosing the Mediterranean for their itineraries, we hope that number will increase. Of course, all this primarily depends on the epidemiological situation in Croatia and in the Zadar region, on how much everyone will adhere to the epidemiological measures, and on the level of vaccination of the population. All these are factors that these companies are closely monitoring, and based on that, as well as on the recognisability of the destination, they make decisions that they will include in their itineraries for this season,'' explained Rebeka V. Pevec.

Passengers with deep pockets will arrive on 2020's Zadar cruise ships...

The companies that have confirmed their Zadar cruise ships this year are Viking Cruises, Holland America Line (HAL) and Regent Seven Seas Cruises. All three companies are considered luxurious and passengers generally have a higher purchasing power, and accordingly have higher expectations of their chosen destinations and expect a higher level of service and quality, not only on board, but also in the destinations they visit.

The first announced and so far confirmed of the Zadar cruise is on July the 20th, when Viking Venus is due to arrive, the newest ship in the Viking Cruises fleet of identical ships. Considering that Viking Venus is the first cruiser to visit Zadar after more than a year, and that this is its inaugural arrival in Zadar, we hope that together with the tourist boards and citizens of Zadar and the region we'll give a worthy welcome to both the guests and the crew, to prove ourselves as good hosts and as a good destination for cruisers,'' Pevec added.

Given the pandemic and the slightly better numbers after the start of the vaccination rollout, is there any optimism for this season?

''What gives us optimism and hope is the fact that more and more cruising companies are returning to operation, they're creating new itineraries and depending on the epidemiological situation, we see our opportunity there. However, at the same time, it's important to note that there is a lot of competition between ports and destinations in both the Mediterranean and the Adriatic, in terms of service, shipping costs, fees and the very recognisability of the destination. Therefore, and compared to the announced numbers of tourists arriving in Croatia by land, and the still current classification of the US State Department, according to which Croatia is in the red zone, our optimism is very cautious,'' Pevec stated.

Now is the time to make the best impressions for next year

''As for the epidemiological measures themselves, the recommendations were made in accordance with the recommendations of the most relevant regulatory bodies, the ECDC and EU Healthy Gateways, and since back in August 2020, no incidents have been recorded. Most ships are currently sailing at approximately 50% capacity, the passengers and crew are mostly vaccinated, so things should be fine if good preparation is carried out and if all stakeholders strictly adhere to the prescribed and agreed epidemiological measures.

In this situation and given all the circumstances, we look forward to every guest and every cruise ship arrival and we'll try to leave the best possible impression as a port and as a destination, in order to attract as many arrivals in the future. So, we aren't just focusing on this season, but we're thinking long term, because in this industry the real results are not seen immediately, but are realised through at least two years. The priority is to prove ourselves as a safe destination, with a high level of vaccination and with a culture of adherence to prescribed epidemiological measures, and of course as excellent hosts to ships, their guests and their crew,'' said Pevec.

Given the overall situation across the world, especially in the emitting markets of the cruising industry, a return to the figures from 2019 is expected in five years.

''Of course, it could happen earlier, but with the condition of very strong promotion in all media relevant to the cruise industry, and with a focus on Zadar as a safe and ideal destination for cruisers. With the appearance of the pandemic, all previous results were minimised and now we need to win over cruise companies to choose Zadar as one of their destinations. As a community, we can achieve this only with strong marketing, impressive service and the creation of a reputation as a serious destination that understands and appreciates the cruising industry,'' Pevec concluded for 057.info.

For more on cruises to Croatia, check our our travel section.

Saturday, 12 June 2021

16,000 Safe Stay in Croatia Users, 60% of Tourism Workers Vaccinated

June 12, 2021 - Tourism Minister Nikolina Brnjac has revealed 16,000 Safe Stay in Croatia users and more than 60% of tourism workers vaccinated in Croatia so far. 

HRTurizam reports that the Minister of Tourism and Sports, Nikolina Brnjac held meetings with the directors of county tourist boards and representations of the Croatian Tourist Board (CNTB) to discuss preparations ahead of the summer season and the results of activities aimed at recognizing Croatia as a safe tourist destination.

In recent months, Croatia has been working intensively on several activities to make the tourist system ready to welcome tourists. From the Safe Stay in Croatia project to the setup points for testing tourists, co-financing tests, and vaccinating tourist workers, Brnjac emphasized.

"As of today, the Safe Stay in Croatia project has more than 16,000 users, and we are delighted with that, but now all facilities that have been awarded the national label and protocols apply, and the Ministry must begin increased control. All directors of tourist boards should be engaged to make tourists feel as safe as possible in their destinations, especially in terms of encouraging tourist workers to vaccinate and adhere to measures and establish additional testing points. The government is continuously working on all the preconditions for a safe and successful season in Croatia, in which its partnership with the county tourist boards is essential. Only with the coordination and responsibility of all stakeholders can we remain competitive this year as well," said Minister Brnjac during the meetings.

During the meeting, the directors of representative offices in key markets especially pointed out that the Safe Stay in Croatia project had an excellent response in emitting markets, which recognized Croatia as a destination that focuses on safety and takes all measures to ensure that their guests have all the necessary services available in today's travel conditions. It was emphasized at the meetings that it is crucial to maintain and improve the current favorable epidemiological situation. In this context, it is essential to increase the vaccination of the population and tourism workers.

Namely, one of the most important factors in choosing the destination of many tourists in the security segment is the data on the vaccination of the population and employees in tourism and activities related to tourism. So far, more than 60 percent of employees in Croatia have been vaccinated not only in the tourist system but also in activities that are part of the travel chain, from carriers, employees in airports, marinas, and others. 

In addition, since the possibility of simple and affordable testing is an integral part of the trip, they also discussed the continuation of setting up additional testing points depending on the needs and increased tourist traffic. So far, about 350 additional testing points have been set up throughout Croatia.

Furthermore, the current trends related to measures to facilitate travel, i.e., crossing borders and increased demand from numerous markets, were also discussed. Croatia or parts of Croatia and its counties have been removed from the list of high-risk countries in Austria, Germany, Russia, Switzerland, and Slovenia in recent days.

Yesterday, by a new decision of the Croatian Civil Protection Headquarters, entry into the Republic of Croatia for persons coming from the Schengen area, who are vaccinated with two doses of vaccine, will be allowed to enter as soon as they are vaccinated with another dose, and will not have to wait 14 days.

"This is extremely important news for Croatia, given that the German market is one of our most important markets because German tourists are the most numerous guests in our country," said Brnjac and added: "I believe that with this new travel facilitation, German tourists will choose our country even more as it is an ideal destination, but also how this decision will be an incentive for other countries that have not yet done so, to declare Croatia safe for travel."

For all, you need to know about coronavirus specific to Croatia, including travel, border, and quarantine rules, as well as the locations of testing centers and vaccination points across the country, make sure to bookmark our dedicated COVID-19 section and choose your preferred language.

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

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

Friday, 11 June 2021

Croatian Tourist Agencies Struggle as Government Measures Awaited

June the 11th, 2021 - Croatian tourist agencies are in a dire situation and have been for a while, state measures should finally come to the rescue - but not until the very last moment next week.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Marija Crnjak writes, the rebalance of this year's state budget, which was presented by the Minister of Finance Zdravko Maric in Parliament on Wednesday, should include the money that will be spent on measures to help Croatian tourist agencies prepare for the rapidly approaching summer season. This particular sector is literally on its knees.

As has been unofficially found out, the decision on the adoption of measures that Croatian tourists agencies have been asking for for months should be made at the Government session next week, after the adoption of the supplementary budget.

It will be more than two months after the government announced the adoption of measures to help these agencies, which have so far been covered only by corona-fees for job preservation, and that is simply not enough for them to restart work whatsoever.

Croatian tourist agencies are still wary of such statements until they see concrete solutions actually made, but although help is arriving quite late, they say it will be more than useful to them at long last. It is a question of survival of about two thousand economic entities that have practically had no income since back November 2019, so for more than a year and a half.

It is not yet known whether this planned Government assistance will come in the form of the reimbursement of operating costs for the first months of 2021, as proposed by the agencies at meetings in the Ministries of Tourism and Finance, or whether it will be defined in some other way.

"We've been warning for months that we aren't going to have anything with which to start up our business when it starts again, and we're appealing to the authorities in the Government about it. Let it be known that Croatian tourist agencies didn't, unlike those from the catering and hospitality sector, receive any compensation for their business expenses, although they had even less turnover than some in that aforementioned sector. Restaurants were allowed to deliver food even during lockdown and then their terraces were allowed to be opened.

Although the work of Croatian tourist agencies was never formally banned, the fact is that due to all of the measures to prevent the spread of the infection, Croatian tourist agencies didn't have any income throughout the past year, but also during most of the time this year,'' stated Tomislav Fain, President of the Association of Croatian Travel Agencies (UHPA), which numbers about 240 agencies.

The situation is critical for many Croatian tourist agencies that may have saved employees, but now it is a matter of keeping their heads above water. The summer season practically started in Croatia last weekend, as did the reservations which are accelerating with the opening of the borders.

Katarina Hauptfeld, the owner of the Katarina Line Adriatic Cruise Agency, complained that she had a problem with the organisation of transfers and other services that are crucial for the realisation of what they offer.

"If the Government doesn't urgently help out with non-refundable assistance to Croatian tourist agencies, I honestly don't know how we're going to manage this season. We have a paradox, our demand is growing, and we're fighting to realise the service,'' complained Hauptfeld.

Fain explained how company owners are trying to manage in all sorts of ways.

"According to the data from the Tax Administration and the Central Bureau of Statistics, the average decline in the activities of Croatian tourist agencies in 2020 was continuously above 85 percent. Most agencies in the market have been around for a long time, they're family businesses and they've invested a lot in their business and don't want to lose it.

That's why they're using their own reserves, private loans are being taken out en masse, property is being sold, a lot is being taken on in terms of debt until some income starts to be generated from the end of June or the beginning of July. But it's all short-lived, and that's why I hope that the announced help from the Government will come soon,'' said Fain.

It isn't known how many Croatian tourist agencies closed their doors due to the pandemic. Such an outcome awaits those who entered the murky waters of the ongoing pandemic on shaky feet, says Boris Zgomba, the president of Uniline.

"Our agency was lucky in that we welcomed the pandemic in a healthy state, but if someone had told me twp years ago that I'd be working like this for more than a year and survive without much damage, I wouldn't have believed them.

Certainly, this was helped by the Government's fast-paced job preservation measures which helped keep to the sector from losing the manpower it needs to continue doing business once business starts up again. Now things have finally started moving again, but we're in trouble because some will have workers, but they won't have a company that will not survive, and that's why assistance measures to prepare for the season are crucial,'' said Zgomba.

Unlike Croatian tourist agencies, agencies in the surrounding countries, primarily in Slovenia, have previously received assistance from the budget for liquidity and cost recovery, and are currently in an advantage over their Croatian counterparts.

"We have nothing against the open market, but we believe that everyone should have equal preconditions for work, which isn't the case at the moment. That's why it could happen that the work of Croatian tourist agencies is done by Slovenian agencies, because they're in a better starting position than we are.

It should also be borne in mind that the amendments to the Law on the Provision of Services in Tourism will soon enter into force,'' noted Zgomba.

Make sure to follow to follow our dedicated travel section for more.

Thursday, 10 June 2021

German and Swiss Tourists in Croatia Without Restrictions: Great News for Croatian Coast!

June 10, 2021 - German and Swiss tourists in Croatia can now visit without restriction upon returning home, which is a great sign for tourism on the Croatian coast. 

Slobodna Dalmacija reports that the best news for the Croatian tourism sector in the last two years came from Germany and Switzerland. After the European Center for Disease Control and Prevention last week removed the entire Croatian coast from the red epidemiological zone and placed it in the yellow zone, the German state epidemiological institute Robert Koch removed Croatia from the list of high-risk areas on Monday.

Moreover, Split-Dalmatia County, Dubrovnik-Neretva County, Istria County, Karlovac County, Krapina-Zagorje County, and Požega-Slavonia County entered the green zone of this prestigious institute. The whole of Croatia was removed from the list of epidemiologically high-risk countries on Tuesday by Switzerland, with the abolition of all restrictions on completely vaccinated persons, persons who have recovered from Covid-19, but also those who have not been vaccinated or have recovered from Covid, but travel by land.

Since the ECDC map, like the opinion of the German Robert Koch Institute, is considered the most relevant indicator of destination safety for European tourists, the door to a successful season in Croatia in early June is wide open to all Europeans, who no longer have to isolate themselves after returning from the Adriatic. This is the best confirmation that the epidemiological situation is the only criterion that will determine the success of the season and that the effort of reaching the "green" in some regions pays off.

"Given the current epidemiological situation as well as the forecasts for the coming weeks, and if something unforeseen does not happen in the next period, the overall result of the season could be significantly better than last year, but still below the record 2019. What is crucial is that we ensure a quality epidemiological situation for as long as possible, preferably to be "green" at least until October," said Veljko Ostojić, director of the Croatian Tourism Association.

How important it is for Croatia to be in the green zone of epidemiological safety in Germany is shown by the fact that 1.5 million Germans arrived during last year's Covid season while we were in the green zone, so even better numbers can be expected this year.

Croatian tourism partners from Germany welcomed three Adriatic counties in the green zone with great pleasure, which is why the airlines will certainly strengthen their routes to Split and Dubrovnik. Thus, Split Airport already has 30 confirmed airlines in June, with the expected 80,000 passengers.

Eight regular lines have been announced to Germany, seven to France, five to Poland, four to Great Britain, three to Switzerland, two to Spain, Sweden, and the Netherlands, and one to Serbia, Luxembourg, Belgium, Russia, Austria, Italy, the Czech Republic, Ireland, Ukraine, Latvia, and Denmark.

In addition to many airlines already operating to Split, Aeroflot from Moscow, Air France from Paris, Iberia from Madrid, British Airways from London, Luxair from Luxembourg, Ryanair from Dublin, Edelweiss from Zurich returned to Split Airport, Ukraine International and Windrose from Kyiv resumes in early June. Last weekend alone, 70 flights landed on regular routes, and 8,000 passengers passed through Split Airport.

"At the moment, bookings for July, August, and September are excellent. For some types of accommodation facilities, it is even at the level of 2019. We are already seeing a much fiercer market competition, considering that we are no longer the only Mediterranean country that can achieve significant international tourist traffic in such epidemiological conditions this year. The whole main season is ahead of us, and we must be careful not to repeat the mistakes of last year," warns Ostojic.

"Croatia is primarily a car destination, which is why it is logical that guests from key markets first visit Istria and Kvarner and Zadar County. As for our southern destinations, we expect a larger influx of guests after June 15, i.e., from the beginning of July, when over 180 airlines from our most important markets start operating. We are especially looking forward to direct flights from the USA to Dubrovnik," said Kristjan Staničić, director of the Croatian National Tourist Board.

For all you need to know about coronavirus specific to Croatia, including travel, border, and quarantine rules, as well as the locations of testing centers and vaccination points across the country, make sure to bookmark our dedicated COVID-19 section and choose your preferred language.

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

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

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