Friday, 3 September 2021

PM Andrej Plenkovic Expresses Pride for Main 2021 Tourist Season

September the 3rd, 2021 - PM Andrej Plenkovic hasn't been shy in expressing his feelings of pride towards what has so far been an excellent tourist season. The predictions back at the beginning of the year as the vaccine rollout was plagued with issues and lockdowns were still ''in fashion'' weren't good at all, and in light of that, the height of the Croatian tourist season of 2021 has been rather remarkable.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, Croatian PM Andrej Plenkovic took to Twitter to comment on the new ECDC corona map, according to which the Croatian coast has remained orange, but some parts of Croatia are unfortunately now in red. These areas are Slavonia, as well as Sisak-Moslavina and Karlovac counties.

"According to the new ECDC map, the Croatian coast has remained orange even at the beginning of September. Foreign tourists have recognised Croatia as a safe destination and we could exceed 70 percent of the tourist results from the pre-crisis 2019. With responsible behaviour and with vaccination, we can protect the health and economy of Croatia!'' wrote PM Andrej Plenkovic proudly on Twitter.

It's worth remembering that Croatia's traditional tourism competitors across the rest of the Mediterranean generally had a worse epidemiological picture, with Spain, popular with Northern European tourists such as Germans and Brits having an extremely unfortunate situation on its hands. The whole of Greece, also popular with the above, is in red or crimson, while Cyprus is in crimson.

The whole of Portugal is also marked in red, as is France. Southern and central Italy are in red, while most other Italian regions are in orange. Croatia did excellently and managed to maintain an extremely favourable epidemiological situation throughout the height of the tourist season, which can be seen by the brilliant results and economic recovery.

For more, make sure to follow our dedicated lifestyle section.

Sunday, 22 August 2021

Will European Countries Decide Fate of Rest of Croatian Tourist Season?

August the 22nd, 2021 - Will powerful European countries such as Germany, France and the United Kingdom be the ones to decide the fate of the rest of the Croatian tourist season, which has been going remarkably well so far? Maybe, but with people far more relaxed now than last year - maybe not.

With the memory of the dire 2020 Croatian tourist season still fresh in the memories of many, especially those who work within the sector, few could have imagined that the Croatian tourist season of 2021 would yield such impressive numbers of arrivals and overnight stays realised primarily by foreign tourists. Still leaning on the various coronavirus maps and traffic light systems of European countries, things could still take a turn yet.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, might we expect the mass exodus of tourists and serial accommodation reservation cancellations, like we did last year? Do guests rely on these measurements at all, and do they also surf the ECDC website as often as their hopeful Croatian hosts do?

The methodology itself has been the subject of serious debate for weeks now, but with the vaccination rollout across the continent going more or less well, European tourists seem much more relaxed than they were last year, when there was no such vaccine to speak of.

The public is beginning to realise that the mere addition of positive test results may not be the best criterion for introducing new anti-epidemic measures, especially now the vaccine is here and hospitalisations and deaths can be greatly reduced despite positive tests being returned. Dissonant tones can even be heard among country leaders.

When it comes to the tone being set by Croatian leaders, if we put President Zoran Milanovic and PM Andrej Plenkovic in that category, they managed to agree in principle that ''after the summer'', epidemiological measures can be abolished freely, according to a report from tportal.

The situation in family accommodation for tportal was described by the president of the Family Tourism Association at the Croatian Chamber of Commerce, Martina Nimac Kalcina.

"The potential transition of Croatia in the red zone would definitely affect the course of the Croatian tourist season, but it wouldn't be as drastic as last year. Most of our guests are vaccinated, and there are a number of countries that aren't guided solely by ECDC data, but have their own criteria, such as Norway, the Netherlands or Denmark. On their maps, Croatia is generally in a much better position,'' stated Nimac Kalcina.

"This year, we have an extremely large number of younger guests, and they're completely relaxed and simply want a more chilled atmosphere. The fact that Croatia had milder measures than most of Europe definitely influenced their decision and is definitely responsible for the success of the Croatian tourist season. But now the reversal follows: middle-aged and elderly guests keep their eye on the situation with the pandemic much more closely, they're much more cautious and are obviously less inclined to come. And they're the key for the post-season, meaning September and possibly October,'' explained Nimac Kalcina.

The president of the Split-Dalmatia County Tourist Board, Josko Stella, says that the reaction of tourists to a possible change in the colour of Croatia on the ECDC map, which is realistic to expect next Thursday, is actually the question mark above all other question marks.

"It's possible that they'll just completely ignore this information and just go on the holiday they booked, but there's also a chance that they'll urgently pick up their belongings and leave Croatia, while those who intended to come will give up on taking the trip. The truth seems to be somewhere in the middle, and I'm optimistic,'' said Stella.

"The answer isn't unequivocal - in the end, European countries like the Czech Republic, Poland and the United Kingdom have their own criteria. The most important thing is certainly the behaviour of large countries and the Croatian tourist season could be abruptly interrupted only if some of them decide to impose isolation upon return, even for vaccinated people, which in my opinion is unlikely,'' added the president of this Tourist Board.

He warned that the German Robert Koch Institute is preparing for a strategically important move, on the basis of which the largest European economy defines its epidemic measures, including the conditions for the return of its residents from their summer holidays.

"Over recent days, new criteria has been being proposed that will no longer take into account only the number of cases and the percentage of positive tests, but also parameters such as the number of critically unwell patients, the percentage of occupied respirators or the emergence of new strains of the virus. The incidence of coronavirus itself may have been relevant half a year ago, but that will hardly be the case for a long time to come,'' added Stella.

For more on coronavirus specific to Croatia, make sure to bookmark our dedicated COVID-19 section and choose your preferred language.

Wednesday, 18 August 2021

More Croatian Toll Fees Collected in 2021 With 25% More Vehicles on Road

August the 18th, 2021 - Croatian toll fees have felt the positive effects of the excellent summer tourist season so far, with a third more in such tolls being taken than pandemic-dominated 2020.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, during the last weekend on all motorways under the jurisdiction of the Croatian Motorways (HAC), a turnover of 878.2 thousand vehicles was recorded and Croatian toll fees totalling a massive 49.01 million kuna were collected, which is an increase of 25 and 29 percent when compared to the same period last year, they announced on Monday from HAC.

During the weekend from the 13th to the 15th of August 2021, traffic on 878,191 vehicles and Croatian toll fees in the amount of 49.01 million kuna without VAT included were recorded on all of the country's motorways under the jurisdiction of HAC, the statement said.

When compared to the same weekend last year, when a turnover of 700,173 vehicles was recorded, and Croatian toll fees were collected in the amount of 38 million kuna without VAT, the number of vehicles has increased by a more than encouraging 25 percent and the amount in tolls collected has risen by 29 percent.

The growth in the number of vehicles on the country's motorways and the Croatian toll fees collected as a result of that increased traffic is a reflection of a much better tourist season than last year, when Croatia found itself in the "red" in mid-August on the eve of a new wave of the coronavirus pandemic.

HAC also made a comparison with the same weekend of the record, pre-pandemic tourist year of 2019, when 919,666 vehicles were on Croatian motorways under the jurisdiction of HAC, and the total toll fees collected amounted to a massive 52.1 million kuna without the inclusion of VAT.

As such, last weekend, vehicle traffic was lower by 4.5 percent, and the amount of tolls collected was lower by just six percent when compared to the same weekend in 2019.

For more, follow our lifestyle section.

Monday, 16 August 2021

Croatian Hostel Attempts to Charge German Tourists 900 Euros for Two Nights

August the 16th, 2021 - We've been hearing some horror stories of apartment owners deciding to cancel previously booked reservations, often those made by Croatian tourists, to instead go for last minute foreign tourists willing to pay far higher prices. Now one Croatian hostel in Zadar has decided to take advantage of the unexpectedly good tourist season with such shameful and unethical practices, too.

The Croatian tourist season has been remarkably good, with some specific indicators being even better than the pre-pandemic, record year of 2019. Sadly, with this unexpected turn of events, greed has come out to play after a long time of uncertainty, lack of income and ever-tightening restrictions. One Croatian hostel attempted to charge tourists the insane price of 900 euros for just two nights spent there.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, the last few days have been full of big, glossy and quite frankly rather unusual stories from up and down the country that testify to the incredible tourist crowds we're seeing in August so far. The latest news is about young Germans to whom a hostel in Zadar tried to charge 900 euros for two nights. 

This case, illustrated by a screenshot from the rental site, only highlights the awful stories we've been hearing about the owners and managers of private accommodation down in Dalmatia cancelling previous reservations agreed at normal prices in order to accept tourists who are willing to pay sky high prices because there is no free room anywhere else, as Kult Plave Kamenice reports.

Post-coronavirus (if we can dare to say that) greed is only on the rise after such a long time spent doing nothing, earning nothing and being unsure what government economic measures are available, if any. That said, such practices are the absolute worst anti-propaganda for Croatian tourism in general and will unfortunately be remembered in the rightly bitter thoughts of tourists long after the pandemic is resigned to the history books.

For more, follow our dedicated travel section.

Friday, 6 August 2021

Croatian Covid Reservations Cancelled for Last Minute Bookings

August the 6th, 2021 - Croatian covid reservations, which means the far cheaper reservations made months and months ago are being cancelled as higher paying last minute tourists are being favoured by apartment owners.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, this information has come about mainly from irritated Croatian guests who had booked accommodation units last winter, paid for them, and then a day or two before arriving at their destination, they'd received notice of the cancellation of their reservation.

"There are excuses from the landlords that they've had a death in the family, so they don't want to rent their units for a certain period, then their guests got infected with covid, so they have to be allowed to stay in the same apartment/house for another fourteen days," annoyed would-have-been guests told Slobodna Dalmacijap. In reality, this is deception and cheaper Croatian covid reservations are being kicked to the curb as those with deeper pockets turn up on a whim.

It's clear to everyone how the following has happened: in fear of a bad season, landlords offered their units for very low ''covid'' prices, now they've realised that the season is doing far better than anyone could have ever predicted and they're opting for higher paying last minute tourists instead, giving those who had previously reserved the accommodation ridiculous exuses.

Not all landlords are like that, of course. Many have stuck to their guns and rented to those who had made Croatian covid reservations months ago, when the epidemiological picture was dire and the season looked bleak.

One lady decided to book an apartment not far from Split back in March. Four people, one week, with a hundred euro advance payment included, and then two days before departure - she was hit with a shock.

"The reason for the cancellation is allegedly that the German guests who are currently there have become infected and need to isolate there. When I angrily told them that I would send an inspection to their address, they begged me not to report them,'' she said.

In Podstrana close to Split, a similar story played out but with a different reason for cancellation. Before their arrival to their Croatian covid reservation which had been booked months in advance, the would-be renters called the unit's owner and found that their reservation had been cancelled due to an alleged ''death in the family''.

Josko Stella, director of the Split-Dalmatia County Tourist Board, said that he had heard of no similar complaints, and claimed the same from the Croatian Tourist Board, which said they had no knowledge of such unfair practices.

Despite the above claims, we at TCN have been told of several similar cases occuring in Dalmatia, and claiming this isn't happening is adding insult to injury to all of those on the receiving end of this awful behaviour.

For more, follow our lifestyle section.

Wednesday, 4 August 2021

20% More Polish Tourists in Croatia in Summer 2021 Than Summer 2019

August the 4th, 2021 - When it comes to Polish tourists in Croatia, it's almost as if the ongoing global coronavirus pandemic doesn't exist, with the number of Polish tourists in Croatia as surprising and encouraging as it was even last year.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Marija Crnjak writes, the growth of the Polish emitting market when it comes to tourism, which has been recorded in Croatia for several years now, hasn't been halted by the ongoing pandemic. In July this year alone there were as many as 20 percent more Polish tourists in Croatia than there were recorded back during the record 2019 summer before the pandemic.

Polish tourists in Croatia surprised us all with their sheer numbers last year as well, when the tourist season was significantly weaker than this. The Polish market was practically the only emitting market that, despite the epidemiological situation back in August 2020, recorded an increase in arrivals of 4 percent when compared to August 2019. The share of turnover from the Polish emitting market in July and August reached as much as 95 percent of the pre-pandemic year of 2019's impressive figures.

After the figures on the 33 percent increase in overnight stays realised in the current part of the peak season at the level of the entire Republic of Croatia were published, the Dubrovnik-Neretva County tourist board reported an increase in tourist arrivals of as much as 90 percent on Monday. The extreme south of the country, which had the biggest drop last year due to issues with air traffic, recorded 65 percent more overnight stays in July than last year.

Instead of the Brits and Americans, who have been the most numerous guests in Dubrovnik for years now, the most overnight stays so far this summer season were realised by guests from Poland, Slovenia, the rest of Croatia, Germany, neighbouring Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Czech Republic.

Almost 207 thousand overnight stays realised by Polish tourists in Croatia, more specifically in that southern Dalmatian county, is an increase of almost 40 percent when compared to the record year of 2019. It also represents 30 percent more overnight stays realised when compared to the pre-pandemic year of 2019.

As the British market was officially closed in regard to tourism until the middle of the month, Dubrovnik-Neretva County had only 12 percent of overnight stays from that traditionally very secure Northern European market during the month of July, but direct flights with the United States introduced this summer helped bring US traffic to almost 70 percent of 2019's number of overnight stays.

This year, as many as nine times more American guests arrived in Dubrovnik-Neretva County than last year, and there also twice as many Poles, who thus became the most numerous guests in Dubrovnik.

At the level of the whole of Croatia, according to currently unofficial figures, e-Visitor counted 347,346 arrivals of Polish tourists who realised a total of 2.42 million overnight stays, which is not only 50 percent more overnight stays than last year, but a growth of 20 percent compared to to the last normal season of 2019.

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated travel 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.

Saturday, 22 May 2021

Wealthier Guests Booking Croatian Holidays as Summer Reservations Begin

May the 22nd, 2021 - Croatian holidays are being sought after as the epidemiological picture across most of Europe becomes more favourable and the vaccination rollout picks up its pace. It seems that when it comes to guests with higher paying power and deeper pockets, there isn't much to question when it comes to their arrival this summer.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Suzana Varosanec writes, there has been some excellent news circulating about this tourist season, which is hopefully going to be significantly better than it was last year. Even for those guests who prefer to stay in other types of accommodation, the outlook currently looks reassuring for Croatian holidays when compared to the summer of 2020.

In the reservation structure of the Boutique Hotel Vestibul Palace in Split from the Small Luxury Hotels of the World (SLH) group, 35 percent of reservations refer to guest members of that group.

SLH has six hotels operating in the Republic of Croatia - in addition to this one owned by Nenad Nizic, there are also D-Resort Sibenik, Boutique Hotel Alhambra Mali Losinj, San Canzian Village & Hotel in Central Istria and Villa Orsula and Hotel Excelsior in Dubrovnik.

Additional safety protocols for Croatian holidays in 2021

Those hotels all have good announcements for the second half of June, while their booking in large numbers has started for the months of July and August. According to Nizic, the president of the Group of Unique Luxury Hotels Stories at the Association of Hoteliers of the Croatian Chamber of Commerce (HGK), a lot of these reservations depend on customers being able to rely on air companies, which hasn't been easy throughout the pandemic, although some are more easily driven to.

The aforementioned group boasts 18 hotels from down in Dubrovnik all the way up to Porec, Istria and Kvarner are classed as destinations foreign guests can drive to, and they naturally take the lead with booking from June onwards, but for their hotels in Dubrovnik, Zadar, Split and Sibenik and on the islands where their members operate - Hvar, Solta and Korcula, a lot is riding on airlines running and people trusting them to do so properly.

"Given the announcements of more direct flights, the number of which will increase by 20 percent through June to a total of about 45 percent, everything will likely come to life quite rapidly, and in the heart of the season even more so. For the members of our group, occupancy is expected at the levels of 65-70 percent, significantly more than last year when the occupancy was around 50 percent.

Guests with deeper pockets arriving in Croatia this year aren't in question whatsoever, which will significantly increase our results compared to 2020,'' assured Nizic, adding that a large number of their members are also part of large global chains, and are represented by SLH through the chain Relais & Chateaux (Zadar Bastion Heritage Hotel, Meneghetti in Bale, Bevanda in Opatija and the Lesic Dimitri Palace on Korcula).

When it comes to the structure of guests, in the first place are tourists from outside Europe, more specifically from the United States, and while this large emitting market is opening up to travel as the vaccination process continues, evidence of a reason to be in Croatia such as proof of having paid for accommodation is still needed, and this factor also instills an additional sense of safety.

"We're glad that all the trends indicate that the tourism sector is moving back towards normalisation, for good results we need a continuous good epidemiological situation. We're looking forward to participating as the Stories Group next week in the first live event this year in Montenegro at the Adriatic Luxury workshop, which will bring together tourism entities from across the region as well as tuxury tourism agents from Ukraine, Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan. These markets proved to be extremely important last year and we expect increased demand this year as well,'' stated Nizic.

The Russians are also very interested in coming to Croatia...

The fact that Croatia, as the first of the European countries to open up to the Russian market, is high on the list of priority destinations for the Russian tourism sector, has also been confirmed by the director of the Croatian National Tourist Board (HTZ) in Russia, Rajko Ruzicka.

Safety protocols in line with Croatia's public health recommendations, the “Safe Stay in Croatia” campaign, the public health regulations in countries that are Croatia's key emitting markets, so-called COVID passports with a more lenient regime for cross-border travel by international airlines, all speak in favour of a much better season for Croatian holidays than we had before the advent of the vaccine last year.

When it comes to the niche of luxury guests booking Croatian holidays, the indicator is the already relatively strong increase in the number of reservations being made from America, due to the announcement of the establishment of an air bridge between the United States and Croatia.

Such are the results of the reservations of the travel agency Croatia Luxury Rent, owned by Josip Stulic. Since the beginning of May, that company has recorded an extremely high growth in the number of bookings, in the first two weeks of May, they've seen a massive 100 percent increase when compared to April. This high growth in the number of bookings from the US is accompanied by those from the neighbouring Canadian market, and they also have good data from here in Europe, more precisely from the British and Scandinavian markets.

Connected to the USA and Russia by new flights, with air connections of 44 airlines from a total of 72 destinations, the number of passengers and air connections is finally expected to increase at Dubrovnik Airport during the second half of June.

For more, follow out dedicated travel section.

Saturday, 20 March 2021

Croatia's Plan to Save the Tourist Season in German Spotlight

March 20, 2021- Croatia's plan to save the tourist season has been in the German media spotlight lately as travelers tentatively plan 2021 holidays. reports that German and Austrian media have been writing about how Croatia plans to save the tourist season this year. Croatia will soon want to attract tourists again with its safety concept, writes. 

Author Nikolaus Neumaier of ARD Studio Southeast Europe cites the example of German citizen Elmar Vogel, who is trying to save his business in Croatia during the coronavirus pandemic. The 66-year-old has been running a surfing school on Lošinj, an island in the Kvarner Bay, for 40 years. With six employees so far, he has been able to make a decent living. Vogel also rents bicycles and surfboards. Lošinj, on the other hand, is relatively close to German tourists, and it is easy to reach by car, he points out.

Vogel hopes that enough people will be vaccinated by mid-May and they get their first guests on Lošinj this year. He does not expect Easter guests this year.

"The importance of tourism for the Croatian economy is huge. According to the National Tourism Association, the country was visited by about 21 million tourists in 2019, mostly from Germany. In the previous year, the share of tourism in the gross domestic product was 18.4 percent, much more than in any other country in the European Union," Neumaier says.

This time, Croatian Minister of Tourism Nikolina Brnjac wants to make it as easy as possible for tourists to come to the country, and now the program "Safe Stay in Croatia" has been created for tourists. It should guarantee special safety for tourists, including free tests. The Minister believes that it is good that accommodation is already being booked for Easter.

But in all steps, the Croatian government wants to act in a way that is in line with the European Union's values, which means without national independent efforts.

Anita Štefanič also hopes that tourism will start again soon. This German citizen of Croatian origin comes from Solingen and has been living in Croatia since 2010, running a travel agency on the island of Krk. She owns her own holiday apartments and rents and manages apartments and houses of other German owners - a total of more than 30 properties that could be rented for good money if guests come. Štefanič says that she urgently needs tourists now.

“We had a six-month loss of revenue financially, and you notice that, of course, especially now in the winter, when you have to make ends meet with the reserves from the previous year,” Štefanič revealed to Neumaier.

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