Friday, 12 March 2021

Foreign Minister Gordan Grlić Radman Thanks Greece For Post-Earthquake Aid

ZAGREB, 12 March, 2021 - Croatian Foreign Minister Gordan Grlić Radman on Friday thanked his Greek counterpart Nikolaos Dendias for his country's aid to Croatia after last year's devastating earthquakes.

"I'm taking this opportunity to thank Minister Dendias for the generous and prompt humanitarian aid that Greece sent to earthquake-hit areas in Croatia," Grlić Radman said in Athens, where he arrived for an official visit a day after visiting Cyprus.

"Greece itself was recently hit by strong earthquakes and I'm conveying our support and willingness to help," he added.

Greece was struck by two tremors earlier this month, the strongest measuring 6.3 on the Richter scale, which caused material damage but no fatalities.

Support for Croatia's membership bids

Grlić Radman also thanked Dendias for the Greek support for Croatia's accession to MED7, a group which comprises seven Mediterranean EU member states - Cyprus, France, Greece, Italy, Malta, Portugal and Spain.

He also thanked Dendias for supporting Croatia's accession to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development and the euro and Schengen areas.

The two ministers underlined the importance of continuing EU enlargement to Southeast Europe and of Brussels having a consistent policy so that candidates do not lose the European perspective.

Grlić Radman cited Bosnia and Herzegovina, which is having a hard time managing the migrant crisis, and underlined solidarity with Greece, which is also on the front line of that "big political, security and economic problem."

The minister said they were pleased with the increase in Croatian-Greek trade, singling out the Greek company Avax, which is building access roads to the Pelješac Bridge in Croatia.

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


Saturday, 4 July 2020

Greece Returns to Tourism Game, Danger for Croatian Tourism?

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Marija Crnjak writes on the 3rd of July, 2020, Croatian tourism might take a blow as its old rival returned to the tourism game this week, with the official opening of Greece after the lockdown caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

Greece has an extremely strong tourism brand in which it has invested a lot over the last few years, a strong product with a large selection of travel opportunities and attractions, a significantly more developed hotel sector than that of Croatia, and a strong offer of all inclusive arrangements that Croatia cannot boast of because it has never bothered to properly develop its tourism in the same way Greece has.

In addition, Greece is already more price competitive than Croatia, and prices have fallen further this summer due to the coronavirus crisis.

Due to all this, as Poslovni dnevnik has learned from travel organisers, reservations have already started to be transferred from Croatia to Greece en masse since Greece announced that it would be opening up to tourists. This is especially important when it comes to the German market. In addition, other markets are opening up, the Spanish pilot project with German tourists in Mallorca proved to be a complete success, and reservations have since started there as well.

Europe's largest tour operator TUI is announcing programmes for the whole of Europe, with an emphasis on summer resort destinations, and good experiences in the Balearics could encourage the opening up of Madrid, travel organisers hope.

This week, the summer season was opened by the largest European tour operator TUI, with the launch of flights and the opening of its hotels in the Mediterranean. The first flights started from Germany, Belgium and Switzerland took off, and the TUI Group announced that the focus of the first holidays was the Balearic islands, Greece, Cyprus, Portugal, and only then on Croatia.

Most flights are announced for Greece and Spain, while here in Croatia, packages are mostly sold that include car transport, and the balance of reservations stands at approximately 40 percent of last year's sales. Additionally, TUI is particularly pleased with the opening of EU borders to third countries that are assessed to have a favourable epidemiological situation, and they hope to open soon to Turkey and Morocco, for which they are ready to activate their programmes in the short term.

TUI is currently analysing the results of launching holidays in Mallorca in mid-June with German guests. As it is known, the goal was to realise holiday packages in the conditions of a high level of protection against infection, and the first data showed that the concept they worked with in the hotels was highly accepted among guests, and more details on that are planned to be published next week.

In July, the German TUI plans to execute 1,500 flights, mainly to the Balearic islands, Greece, Cyprus and Portugal, and on July the 1st, flights to the Canary Islands also started. TUI Austria has arranged for 60 weekly departures with a focus on the Greek islands, all of which are scheduled for July.

TUI Poland has launched operations in Mallorca and Crete since July the 1st, it then plans to add Bulgaria and the Greek islands to that list. TUI’s second largest market, the United Kingdom and Ireland, is restarting its business from July the 11th, with the first flights departing from London to Ibiza and from Birmingham to Palma.

Greece is especially popular on the German market, as has been evidenced by the signing of a special memorandum of understanding between the Greek Ministry of Tourism and TUI on Tuesday. The strategic agreement stipulates that TUI in Greece will realise least half of its last year's turnover this year, which is a sign of TUI's strong support for Greek tourism. As of Wednesday, a total of more than 230 flights have left for Greece.

Cooperation with Croatia...

While Croatia welcomed the first 500 passengers by train from the Czech Republic on Wednesday, the Greeks welcomed the first flight from Hanover at Heraklion Airport, with live traditional Cretan music to greet the visitors. The island has welcomed about 4,000 passengers on flights from Germany, Switzerland, the Czech Republic and Poland.

When it comes to TUI, they have not yet achieved the desired potential on the Croatian market, partly due to the relatively low share of all-inclusive supply. For comparison, TUI brought 6 million tourists to Greece last year, and about 600 thousand to Croatia, and they have cooperation with hotel companies such as Valamar, Bluesun, and Karisma. These days, the tour operator has activated a special summer package with Karisma hotels in Croatia, which, in addition to a holiday at the TUI BLUE Kalamota hotel, includes transport by plane to Dubrovnik and then continued transport to the island.

40 percent of last year's results are currently recorded by TUI on package reservations for Croatia.

The programme will run from July the 4th to September the 26th, and includes a seven-day half-board holiday, a return flight from Zagreb and a transfer, at a cost of 5,000 kuna per person.

The program lasts until October the 1st, and the packages include a return flight from Zagreb every Thursday, all airfare + luggage, seven nights in a selected 3 to 5 star hotel, breakfast services to all inclusive, and a complete service in the destination, and arrangements start from 3070 kuna per person.

The Palma Agency experience

''We did the first flight on June the 25th from Ljubljana with 76 passengers to Dubrovnik, the group is very satisfied, they took a few trips and enjoyed the nice weather. Interest is still present given the excellent package prices, the speed of arrival to the destination, and it's worth mentioning that today, the first domestic guests are leaving from Zagreb to Dubrovnik, which shows that the domestic market is also showing interest. Bookings are mostly coming in at the last minute, ten days before, and it depends very much on the epidemiological situation - if the situation is good, the market reacts, reservations are made, travel takes place,'' explained Dalibor Canaglic from the Palma agency.

For more on Croatian tourism in the coronavirus era, follow our travel page.