Friday, 30 July 2021

Croatian Smart Tourism Pilot Project Begins Under Smartmed Auspices

July the 30th, 2021 - Could a Croatian smart tourism project be the way forward for tourism not only here in Croatia but for the entire Mediterranean region?

We know tourism has been hit like never before over the last eighteen or so months since the coronavirus pandemic struck the world, and this could be a vitally important way forward.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Marta Duic writes, the Ministry of Tourism and Sport is developing a unique pilot project for Croatian smart tourism worth 1.1 million kuna.

It will be implemented until February next year, and it is a pilot project of the SMART tourism business model, which refers to the establishment of a platform for cooperation and which aims to establish proper cooperation for joint action and the empowerment of all involved stakeholders in tourism.

The Croatian smart tourism project aims to develop and test instruments that will enable partner countries and regions across the entire Mediterranean to achieve a common high level of understanding of the importance of participation and inclusion, the exchange of best practices and the promotion of the Mediterranean as an inclusive destination where tourism actors and visitors are integrated and make decisions together.

The platform will focus primarily on strengthening local capacities, developing territorial and thematic networks among its users, promoting tourism products, content and infrastructure, and ultimately on the development of tourism involving a wide range of stakeholders, including local people and even the tourists themselves.

It's worth mentioning that this pilot project of establishing a platform for cooperation is being implemented under the auspices of the Smartmed strategic project, which brings together thirteen partners from nine Mediterranean countries, and for which the Croatian Ministry of Tourism and Sports is the leading partner.

For more on Croatian tourism and what's on offer from the continent to the coast, make sure to check out our dedicated travel section.

Wednesday, 28 July 2021

900,000 Tourists in Country - Croatian Coastal Destinations Popular

July the 28th, 2021 - There are currently 900,000 tourists staying in various locations across the country as the traditionally popular month of August approaches, with Croatian coastal destinations proving the most popular of all.

The ongoing coronavirus pandemic remains a threat to tourist seasons across the Mediterranean, but with the vaccination rollout making things easier, tourists are moving around more easily and bringing the hope of a better tourist season than that of summer 2020 to Croatia's shores.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, according to the first data from the Croatian eVisitor system, there are currently more than 900,000 tourists staying across the Republic of Croatia. Most of them are holidaying in Croatian coastal destinations in Istria, Kvarner and further south in Split-Dalmatia and Zadar counties.

Looking at Croatian coastal destinations which are of course the most popular at the moment, most guests are staying in Rovinj, Vir, Porec, Medulin, Umag and Mali Losinj. Most of them have come from Germany, Slovenia, Poland, Austria and the Czech Republic, reports HRT.

Last weekend, there were 448,000 arrivals and 2.7 million overnight stays recorded, which marks a 20 percent increase when compared to the same weekend last year. Compared to that same weekend record back in pre-pandemic 2019, there have been 24 percent fewer arrivals and 18 percent less overnight stays.

During the weekend, almost 843 thousand vehicles were recorded on Croatian motorways and 46 and a half million kuna in tolls were collected.

When compared to the same weekend last year, vehicle traffic has very encouragingly increased by 39 percent, and the amount of tolls collected has increased by 41 percent. Compared to the same weekend of the record 2019, vehicle traffic is down by 3 percent, while the amount of toll fees collected is down 8 percent.

For more on Croatian tourism and destinations that you might want to pay a visit to in the near future, make sure to follow our dedicated travel section.

Tuesday, 27 July 2021

Tourists Fooled by Croatian Scammers Offering Someone Else's Accommodation

July the 27th, 2021 - Croatian scammers have fooled at least fifteen German families in a new form of cyber-fraud in which other people's private accommodation units are being offered. The situation occurred in Istria.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, as yet unknown Croatian scammers have caused financial (and indeed psychological) damage to at least fifteen German families by falsely offering them a holiday home rental in Istria. On a German website, they published an ad with pictures of the house, introduced themselves as owners and offered the property at an extremely affordable price.

This particular holiday home in Istria was used by these unknown perpetrators for a brazen cyber-scam. The last victim of this particular scam was a tourist from Germany who was suspicious that the house was being rented out as Villa Imamovic, while the pictures read the inscription Casa Delphia. The group of Croatian scammers told her that they had bought the house, but they hadn't replaced the board yet, RTL reported.

"However, the woman in question was suspicious and saw that the price was too low so she started researching and found out that the house was being falsely rented out, that the gentleman she'd spoken to wasn't the owner," said co-owner of the rental house, Ljerka Lisica.

German Edmond Rama wanted to gift his parents a holiday, so he bought them two-week accommodation and plane tickets to Croatia, but when he called the number from the ad again, there was no answer.

“I wanted to see pictures of the house to show them to my parents. I tried to contact them via Ebay and by phone, but there was no answer,'' said Edmond Rama, a victim of the same fraud and likely the same group of Croatian scammers.

He was damaged for about 850 euros, but the worst situation of all involved a single mother with three children.

"In the end, she said that she was amazed, that she didn't know how to explain to her children that she had no more money, and that they weren't going to be able to go on holiday," said a disgusted Ljerka Lisica.

Although the owners themselves haven't actually been harmed, they say that they greatly sympathise with the deceived would-have-been German tourists.

"It's a disaster for these people, and we're involved in it and we feel obligated to those people even though we haven't actually done anything to anyone, we aren't involved in this nor do we have anything to do with it, but it hurts us because our house is involved in it," explained Boris Lisica, the co-owner of the house at the centre of the scam.

From the information available so far, the name used by the fraudster is known: Samir Fabian Imamovic, the actual German IBAN to which the victims paid money is also known. The police are advising people to use verified websites for the renting out of such property and to read the reviews of previous users when choosing.

"They can also check the landlords through the tourist board, and if they suspect that it may be some form of fraud, they can contact the police," said the spokeswoman of the Istrian Police, Suzana Sokac.

The police are not revealing the stage of the criminal investigation into these Croatian scammers at this moment in time.

For more, follow our lifestyle section.

Saturday, 24 July 2021

Faithful Czech, German, and Polish Tourists Saving the 2021 Tourist Season in Split

July 24, 2021 - The 2021 tourist season in Split is in full swing, with 14,000 tourists currently in the Dalmatian capital. 

"Currently, more than 14,000 tourists stay in Split, and according to the eVisitor system, 67,600 tourist arrivals and 254,000 tourist overnight stays have been realized in the Split area since the beginning of July, which is an increase of 94 percent in arrivals and 80 percent in overnight stays compared to 2020. The largest number of tourist overnights was realized from these main markets: Poland, Germany, France, and the USA, and from Croatia itself," said Tina Ćurković from the Split Tourist Board and explained that the number of tourists in Split is actually higher because of the midnight registration deadline for currently registered tourists in the eVisitor system, reports Slobodna Dalmacija.

"Our statistics do not include guests from cruise ships or visitors who do not spend the night," says Tina Ćurković.

When looking at Split-Dalmatia County, things are also going better than expected in the most optimistic forecasts from the beginning of the year. However, it has become increasingly difficult to find free accommodation in Split and its surroundings in recent days, especially with private renters.

"The acceleration of the season is noticeable. Statistics also show this. The most numerous guests are Poles. From the beginning of the year to July 22, as many as 935,000 Polish tourists arrived in Croatia," reports Joško Stella, director of the Split-Dalmatia County Tourist Board.

He confirms that the Czechs are behind them, and there are also Germans and Slovenes. There are also a lot of local guests - about half a million.

"Tourists who come by car predominate, and this has been the case for the last ten years, and the only thing that has changed is their order, so sometimes we get the most Germans or Czechs, and this time its Poles. So we can say that Poles, Czechs, Germans, Slovenes are among our most loyal guests and that our season, at least for now, is going very well," Stella says satisfied.

Between 65 and 70 percent of traffic from the record and most prosperous 2019 has already been recorded. 

"Which, hand on heart, should not be a reference because it was exceptional by all criteria. Honestly, we all shot at the seams that year because of the overcrowding and could hardly wait for that season to end. So I would rather say that our measure is tourism that happened to us in 2016 or 2018, and if we compare ourselves with those seasons, then today's numbers of guests and overnight stays are close to the results achieved then," says Stella.

Americans and Brits have not arrived in large numbers yet. However, in recent years, they dominated when Ultra came to town. 

"The numbers have always been on the side of Poles, Czechs, Germans, Slovenes ... The Americans and the British prefer Split because they come by plane, and there is also Hvar, Dubrovnik, Zagreb, and Plitvice. There are indeed fewer guests from Asia. From South Korea, for example. Americans often came to us as cruise guests, and today there is much less of that," Stella adds.

Luckily, we are very well connected by motorways with the richest countries in Europe, which are practically our neighborhood, and our airports are great.

"Especially Split, which can be seen by the number of flights and guests, and that is our great advantage. In fact, if they managed to finish the season at this pace, they would calmly welcome autumn because the state, based on such tourist results, would still have the strength to encourage those whose business was threatened by the coronavirus pandemic," says Stella.

He also commented on the announced arrival of British tourists, whose government has lifted all epidemiological measures.

"The biggest problem for us is testing guests on their way home and prescribing mandatory quarantine. So, naturally, that discourages people from going on vacation. However, in the case of Britain, which has almost completely abolished epidemiological measures, logically things should not be asked of their tourists, which means that they could easily come to Croatia on holiday," Stella is optimistic.

He thinks that it would be more correct to measure the number of hospitalized and thus determine completely safe or less safe zones than to look at the total number of infected.

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

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

Saturday, 24 July 2021

Vili Beros on Croatia and Competition: Croatia is Safest Destination

July the 24th, 2021 - Croatian Health Minister Vili Beros, otherwise a neurosurgeon by profession, has taken to Twitter to praise Croatia for being the safes destination for tourists when compared to the country's typical competition across the Mediterranean.

Despite the Delta variant seeing infection rates shoot up once again across Europe, with the United Kingdom being hit particularly hard despite their decision to drop all restrictions and attempt to live with the novel virus as normally as possible, Croatian numbers are still favourable.

Britain recently moved Croatia to its much desired green list in its own traffic light system, but the ECDC map recently changed the colour of the Croatian coast from green to orange, which isn't the best news as the height of the summer season approaches, but Health Minister Vili Beros isn't letting that get in the way of the generally positive Croatian epidemiological trends.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, Health Minister Vili Beros took to social media and published a graph showing a comparison of the Republic of Croatia and the countries that represent its competition in terms of the summer season and tourism.

Vili Beros concluded that we're still the safest destination compared to tourist competitors and uged people to continue getting vaccinated and sticking to all of the current epidemiological measures in order to make sure this summer season is closer to that of pre-pandemic 2019 than to the dire situation we all experienced this time last year.

''Compared to the competitive flagships of European Union tourism, the Republic of Croatia is the safest tourist destination. Let's keep it that way! Do we need a better motive for vaccination and adherence to epidemiological measures than this? Let's stay responsible, let's get vaccinated and let's preserve the tourist season,'' read Vili Beros' tweet which accompanied the graph.

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

Friday, 23 July 2021

Lonjsko Polje Nature Park Sees 150% Visitor Increase Compared to 2020

July the 23rd, 2021 - Some excellent news for the popular Lonjsko polje Nature Park (PP Lonjsko polje) in continental Croatia, which has experienced 150 percent more tourists when compared to pandemic-dominated 2020, including many more foreign visitors.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, the beautiful Lonjsko Polje Nature Park has been enjoying more visitors and much higher attendance than it did last year, and that same increased attendance should be further contributed to by the Crna roda (Black stork) Visitor Centre, the opening of which is planned for this September. The new visitor centre is part of a 20 million kuna project co-financed by European Union (EU) funds, according to Lonjsko polje Nature Park's administration.

The increase in attendance of a more than encouraging 150 percent was realised in the first six months of this year when compared to the comparable period last year. Although the figures from before the coronavirus pandemic haven't yet been reached, they point out from Lonjsko polje Nature Park that this year has finally seen the return of foreign visitors from other parts of Europe, including French, Germans Poles and British tourists.

However, most of the visitors do continue to be domestic tourists from all over Croatia, and some of them stay for a few days, using family/private accommodation, on family farms and the like, in places and villages within or near the park itself.

There are no new accommodation units being constructed for tourists, but the existing ones have been improved, they say from the park, emphasising that most visitors are still day trippers. They're mainly interested in going on the solar-powered boats on the river Strug, also known as the "Slavonian Amazon".

There are two such boats and another ''ordinary'' small boat, also used for excursions. Visitors are also currently interested in weekend programmes, with sailing and a tour of the Lonjsko polje Nature Park with departures to several lookouts/observatories, which they plan to open two more of this summer/

For more, follow our dedicated travel section.

Thursday, 22 July 2021

New Rules for Weddings and Events on the Croatian Coast in Effort to Save Season

July 22, 2021 - Interior Minister Davor Božinović announced that new restrictive measures would be introduced on Monday, applying to the "orange" Adriatic Coast and that EU digital Covid certificates would be a criterion for participating in events on the Croatian coast. 

"They will refer to the Croatian Adriatic according to NUTS regions, that is, the part that is currently in orange and where the incidence is growing, although not as in other countries in the Mediterranean. Croatia is holding up well compared to others. However, the numbers are growing, and we have to do something to prevent at least some events from turning into super-spreaders," Božinović told Dnevnik Nova TV, as reported by Index.hr.

He explained that all gatherings of more than 50 to 1,000 people would have to be organized so that local headquarters and county headquarters take responsibility for their organization, while the EU digital Covid certificate is a criterion for entering the event.

“I am sure, if this is respected, that we can practically continue normally this summer, but under control,” he pointed out.

As for the numerous festivities and fairs held throughout the Adriatic, which bring together many people, Božinović explained that the point is to register these festivities and local headquarters with county officials to decide whether they can control them and whether they will let it happen. If the two headquarters do not agree and there have been such cases, then the National Civil Protection Headquarters will decide.

Božinović said that it is in the country's interest for as many tourists as possible to come to Croatia and create conditions so that they feel safe and so that the infection does not spread too much.

In addition, he stated that weddings also have their own epidemiological framework.

"Anything over 15, now it will be practically unlimited in Dalmatia, but weddings can be 200, 300 people at most. So a Covid passport is a high guarantee that everything will go well," said Božinović.

He also commented on sports competitions, stating that they will allow spectators to come with Covid certificates. He added that these measures should take effect on Monday.

Stricter conditions for British tourists

In addition, it was announced today that British tourists would have more difficulty entering Croatia.

All Britons, Russians, and Cypriots must have a negative test to cross the Croatian border, regardless of whether they have been vaccinated or have contracted the virus.

As far as tourism is concerned, this could have the greatest impact on the expected increased arrival of the British on the Adriatic. As a reminder, practically all measures have been lifted for them since Monday, making it easier for them to travel. Meanwhile, Portugal and Spain, the traditional destinations of British tourists, have ended up on the red epidemiological list, making entry into those countries difficult, and several measures have been introduced. Therefore, a significant number of Britons are expected to come to the Adriatic. In Britain, the Delta strain has spread significantly in recent weeks, despite high vaccination coverage, especially among young people. Therefore, there is a danger that the number of infected people in Croatia will increase, which would negatively affect the tourist season.

For these reasons, all Britons, whether vaccinated or unvaccinated, will need to show a negative PCR test.

The CNIPH published the news, which is transmitted in its entirety below.

"To protect health and prevent the spread of COVID-19, additional epidemiological measures have been introduced, which are applied when crossing the border into the territory of the Republic of Croatia to prevent the introduction of new variants of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Furthermore, due to the above, there was a quarantine obligation for arrivals from the Republic of South Africa, Brazil, Zanzibar, and India for a period of 14 days, which a negative PCR test can shorten after 7 days.

Since the Delta strain was imported from India, it has now become dominant in the European Union. The list of countries for which quarantine is mandatory remains the Republic of South Africa, Brazil, and Zanzibar. For persons coming from India, the mandatory quarantine after crossing the border is abolished. Instead, the obligation to present a negative test result on SARS-CoV-2 is introduced within 48 hours when crossing the border if it is a rapid antigen test or within 72 hours if it is a PCR test, regardless of whether the person has contracted COVID-19 or has been vaccinated.

Due to the worse epidemiological situation in the United Kingdom, Cyprus, and the Russian Federation, as an additional measure for all persons coming from these countries, a negative SARS-CoV-2 test performed in the home country, regardless of vaccination status or recovery from COVID-19, is required before entering the territory of the Republic of Croatia.

The change will be published on the CNIPH website and will take effect on Monday, July 26, 2021," the CNIPH said.

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

Wednesday, 21 July 2021

Why is Istria on ECDC Orange List When Cases are Minimal?

July the 21st, 2021 - I think it's safe to say that everyone is sick to the back teeth of colours, traffic light systems, and the words testing and quarantine. The advent of the vaccine was supposed to put a gradual but certain end to all of this, and it leaves one wondering when everything will become normal again. Some things make little sense, and Istria being on the ECDC orange list is just one in a long line.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, numerous reactions, but also fears for the height of the summer tourist season were caused by the decision of the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) to mark the Croatian coast with orange on the now almost Godly coronavirus map.

Protests against the criteria according to which ECDC designates high-risk regions were the loudest of all in Istria, from which experts and politicians said that they had a favourable epidemiological situation and that they were victims of other more irresponsible Croatian counties.

Namely, the ECDC divided Croatia into four regions - northern, Pannonian, Adriatic and the City of Zagreb. There was an initiative aimed at the ECDC to change the criteria and apply to individual counties, but it seems that the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control isn't even thinking of changing their current practice. The total lack of logic shows obviously when Istria is placed on the ECDC orange list, when, at the time of writing, there were no new cases, much less hospitalisations or deaths.

''Such a decision was agreed at the level of EU member states last year during the German presidency. Observing each unit separately wouldn't be practical, as it would mean that 1,500 regions need to be treated as being in the European Union, while with this methodology there are 330,'' the ECDC told HRT.

It's worth reminding ourselves of the fact that the ECDC monitors the fourteen-day incidence of new cases of coronavirus infection per 100,000 inhabitants and the percentage of positively tested persons, and according to these criteria, the coastal part of Croatia is shown in orange. Continental Croatia is still very much green.

On the map of Europe, most countries are in green, and in the red are Spain, Portugal, the Netherlands, Malta and Cyprus, as well as parts of Greece, Belgium and Denmark. Apart from the Croatian coast, parts of France, Greece, Sweden, Norway, Finland, Denmark and Belgium, and the whole of Ireland are also all in orange.

For more, follow our travel section.

Monday, 19 July 2021

"No Masks, Few Vaccinated Citizens": German Media Warns of Short 2021 Croatian Tourism Season

July 19, 2021 - The 2021 Croatian tourism season is in danger, according to German media, as the coast moved to orange, masks are hardly worn, and few citizens are vaccinated. 

The German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ) published an article on the problems caused by the pandemic for the tourist season in Croatia. They state that in Croatia there is a fear of a short tourist season, reports Index.hr.

"Croatia, whose economy depends on tourism more than any other EU country, is worried about the continuation of the summer season. The country is facing a 'battle to save the season," the newspaper writes. The country's tourism sector has been upset since the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) last Thursday switched the previously green corona status of Croatia's coastal areas to orange," FAZ writes.

ECDC data, showing the situation from the previous two weeks, is actually a warning, according to the German daily. There is a fear that the entire Adriatic coast will "turn red".

"It threatens the success of a tolerably good season so far. So far, Croatia has reached about 75 percent of the tourist level in the last pre-pandemic summer of 2019," states FAZ.

"The general mood was optimistic because the number of infections was low until recently, and the fact that the incidence is currently higher than in the comparable period of 2020 indicates a new seriousness of the situation."

Interior Minister Davor Božinović warned that the authorities take the guidelines on prevention seriously. It is about preventing the loss of control, the German paper points out.

"There is little readiness for vaccination in Croatia. Only 46 percent of the population has received at least one dose so far. The supply of vaccines has long since exceeded demand. Almost 400,000 doses have already been given to other countries, of which 240,000 to Bosnia and Herzegovina. The government has also decided that from now on, uninsured people and foreigners can also be vaccinated for free," writes FAZ.

Tourism Minister Nikolina Brnjac said the new orange status was an additional warning.

"Brnjac called on all employees in the tourism industry, but also the travelers themselves: 'Be reasonable, get vaccinated, and pay attention to epidemiological measures.' Meanwhile, Brnjac also demands that the ECDC take a closer look at Croatia and assess the Croatian coast. Dissatisfaction with the new classification comes especially from Istria, which has significantly lower incidence values ​​than Dalmatia, but it does not appear in ECDC statistics and maps, because there the Croatian coast is recorded as a whole," the article reads.

In the meantime, some regions in Dalmatia have announced stricter measures to combat the virus.

The mayor of Dubrovnik, Mato Franković, referring to the large increase in the number of infected people, announced sanctions for those who do not pay attention to respecting epidemiological measures in their restaurants.

"In everyday life, of course, things in Croatia are still quite loose. No one in the bars asks for tests or vaccination certificates, wearing masks is interpreted very casually in many places. Masks often only function as a fashion accessory that casually stands under the chin," concludes the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung.

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

Saturday, 10 July 2021

640 Thousand Tourists Are Currently Staying in Croatia

July 10, 2021 - German media Bild highlights Croatia as a safe destination in the summer, and according to the first data from the eVisitor system, there are currently around 640 thousand tourists in the country, most of them from the markets of Germany, Slovenia, and the Czech Republic.

Renowned German media have been publishing more information about Croatia in recent days, so one of the leading German weekly Die Zeit published an extensive report on the natural beauties of the Kornati until the highest-circulation German tabloid Bild published an extensive and informative report on Croatia, not only highlighting it as a safe destination in times of pandemic and new variants but also mentioning that around 640 thousand tourists are currently in the country, reports hrturizam.hr.

"The beginning of July is the period in which most Germans prepare for summer vacations, and in the coming weeks, school holidays will begin in a large number of German provinces, which will mark the peak of the summer season. In this context, it is very important that in that period Croatia appears in the national media as a desirable and safe holiday destination",  said the director of the CNTB Representation in Germany Romeo Draghicchio.

In the article  Die Zeita,  journalist Nikola Ljubić describes the unique experience of a relaxing atmosphere, beautiful sea, and excellent food on the Kornati archipelago that delighted him in late spring this year, during a study trip organized in cooperation with the Croatian Tourist Board and Šibenik-Knin County Tourist Board. and thanks to the cooperation of the CNTB Representation in Germany with the author of the article. A report on Croatia entitled "Last Minute Check" was published in the online edition of  Bild which informs the readers in detail about the current situation in Croatia. The article describes our country as a safe destination and states the conditions for entering Croatia and returning to Germany. This article is the result of the cooperation of the CNTB Representation in Germany with the Bild editorial office, ie with the author Marco Oliver Rühle, who has been following the events in Croatia since the very beginning of the pandemic.

Let us add that  Die Zeit is a high-value edition followed by almost 1.7 million readers, and during the corona crisis, its circulation increased by almost 25 percent and now amounts to almost 600 thousand copies. On the other hand, Bild.de is one of the most-read online portals in Germany with a reach of  24 million unique users.

"It is extremely important to adhere to all prescribed epidemiological measures in order to maintain the most favorable epidemiological situation in the country and thus attract as many tourists from our most important emitting markets to Croatia,"  concluded the director of the Croatian Tourist Board Kristjan Stanicic. According to the first data from the eVisitor system, there are currently around 640 thousand tourists in the country, most of them from the markets of Germany, Slovenia, and the Czech Republic.

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 centers across the country, make sure to bookmark our dedicated COVID-19 section and select your preferred language.

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