Thursday, 7 October 2021

American Lux Tourism Agencies Checking Out Beautiful Istria

October the 7th, 2021 - While Dalmatia and more recently the City of Zagreb have been attractive to American tourists, the gorgeous Istrian peninsula has been somewhat less visited by our friends from across the pond. That could all be about to change with the visit of several American lux tourism agencies to this stunning part of Croatia.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, five travel agents specialising in luxury tourism (American lux tourism agencies) arrived in beautiful Istria recently as part of a nine-day FAM trip (Familiarisation Trip) organised by RealCroatia. During their working visit, they will visit local accommodation and service providers, and check out what kind of experience they can offer to their clients.

These American lux tourism representatives have come to visit this part of the country because Istria, unlike Dalmatia and Zagreb, is not yet "on the radar" of the vast majority of guests visiting Croatia from America. In addition to Zagreb and Plitvice, they will be presented with offers in Opatija, Lovran, Motovun, Groznjan, Buzet, Rovinj, Pula, Savudrija, Brijuni and then further inland in Gorski kotar. Pascal Lee, a luxury tourism consultant at West Rock Travel Working, says she wants to see Croatia from a local perspective:

“Several of my clients, experienced world travellers, have recently returned from excellent trips to Croatia. I decided that I had to find out for myself what the secret of this beautiful country was.''

"We're encouraged by the excellent feedback and results of the April tour," stated RealCroatia director Petra Gracin, noting that North America is a market with better paying power than typical Western European guests visiting Istria and Dalmatia.

"The average consumption per passenger is often over 5,000 US dollars," said Gracin, and back in April this year, RealCroatia organised the first trip of travel agents from America to Europe since the global coronavirus pandemic began, when nine agents visited Zagreb, Plitvice Lakes National Park, Zadar, Trogir, Split, Hvar, Peljesac and Dubrovnik.

According to the data available from the Institute of Tourism, American tourists are the largest tourist consumers per capita in the Republic of Croatia, which likely isn't a surprise. In addition, as many as 83 percent of them claim that they will recommend visiting Croatia to their friends, which is something else putting them firmly in the lead. In comparison, this is 13 percentage points more than in the case of Germany and German tourists and as much as 23 percentage points more than in the case of neighbouring Italian guests.

It is expected that in 2022, about 400,000 North American guests will visit Croatia and that they will realise over 1.2 million overnight stays in total.

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

Tuesday, 21 September 2021

World Tourism Day Will Be Celebrated at 64 Locations Throughout Istria

September 21, 2021 - Summer takes a step aside for the arrival of autumn, and some regions, such as Istria, show the enormous variety of their tourist offer in all their corners and throughout the year. And that is demonstrated by announcing its celebration of the World Tourism Day for the sixth year in a row on October 2 and 3.

HrTurizam reports that, for the sixth time in a row, the Administrative Department for Tourism of the Istrian County is organizing and encouraging the inclusion in the celebration of the World Tourism Day in Istria. This year, World Tourism Day is held under the motto: "TOURISM FOR INCLUSIVE GROWTH".

”The celebration of the World Tourism Day in Istria 2021 will be held on Saturday, October 2 and Sunday, October 3 from 10 am to 6 pm at 64 points throughout Istria where tourist attractions open their doors that can be used with discounts of up to 50% or completely free. In this way, we make our offer more accessible with the aim of getting to know the contents and attractions in Istria as much as possible, and thus strengthen the promotion of Istria”, pointed out the head of the Tourism Board, Prodan Mrakovic.

All those interested, in addition to adrenaline parks, museums, castles, caves, protected areas, workshops, performances, and more, will be able to visit the many winemakers, olive growers, truffle growers, and other local producers who joined the action. Also, numerous local tourist boards joined the event with their programs.

"In the Department of Tourism, we believe that, in accordance with this year's theme of World Tourism Day, this event will point to domestic, indigenous products, offers, and services and encourage consumption and thus support local facilities. Thus, we contribute to inclusive development, ie the development of new, lesser-known content that has been most affected by the crisis in recent years. In this way, we encourage sustainable and responsible tourism development. and ultimately, we point out the importance of tourism that affects the economic, social, cultural and environmental segments.” concluded Prodan Mraković.

To find the most complete information on all the destinations in Croatia that you can visit, take a look at the Total Croatia guides HERE. Now in your language!

For more, check out our dedicated travel section.

Saturday, 31 July 2021

Central Istria Tourist Board Appoints New President

July 31, 2021 - Goran Hrvatin, who has been the mayor of Tinjan for four years, has been appointed as the new mayor of the Central Istria Tourist Board.

HrTurizam reports that the Mayor of Tinjan, Goran Hrvatin, was unanimously appointed the new President at yesterday's meeting of the founders of the Tourist Board of Central Istria (TZSI) and will hold this position until the end of his current term. Until now, the duty of the president of the Central Istria Tourist Board was performed by Renato Krulčić, the mayor of the City of Pazin, and with the termination of the duty of the mayor, his duty as the president of the Tourist Board ceased.

The biography of the new president shows that from 2005 to 2008 he actively participated in the work of the Municipality of Tinjan as a councilor in the municipal council. Since May 2015, he has been volunteering as the Mayor of Tinjan. In his biography, he states that "during his tenure, he found a model for overcoming the crisis of the Municipality of Tinjan and laid the Municipality of Tinjan on a solid foundation." He has actively participated in IPARD projects for unclassified roads, tourist facilities, and in projects related to public lighting. Through four years of work on projects of the Municipality of Tinjan, he states that he has the necessary experience to manage projects co-financed by state and county aid and aid from EU funds.

The Central Istria Tourist Board was established, as one of the first in Croatia, for the area of ​​several local self-government units. It includes the City of Pazin and the municipalities of Cerovlje, Gračišće, Karojba, Lupoglav, Pićan, Sveti Lovreč, Sveti Petar u Šumii Tinjan.

It is important to mention that the Municipality of Tinjan has for many years recorded the largest number of overnight stays in the Central Istria Tourist Board, and has the largest accommodation capacity with more than a thousand beds.

Also, one of the positive things that are happening in Istria, and thanks to more and more luxury holiday homes is the opening of a new market for family farms. Thus, local Istrian family farms are organized and offer guests in holiday homes the delivery of their products to the doorstep. A new market has opened up, which we also wrote about in an article last year.

“Central Istria strives to position itself as an ideal combination of uniqueness, but also of untouched nature, ideal for outdoor activities. Thus, the beauty of the natural landscape and the richness of cultural heritage are key elements of the tourist offer", said then director of the Central Istria Tourist Board, Sanja Kantaruti, adding that the principles of slow, green, and healthy tourism have been adopted.

The main problem of central Istria is still the fact that it is not united as one tourist product, the North-Western cluster is missing, which creates additional problems in positioning, branding, and development. It is the north-western part of Istria that is developing and positioning the fastest and it is absurd that Motovun belongs to Central Istria and Grožnjan to North-Western Istria. Tourists really do not know or are interested in various municipal, city, county, and other imaginary borders, but they see first Croatia as a destination, and only then Istria.

And this is proof of how it is necessary to brand the regions, and then descend to logical and natural wholes, as well as niche rounded tourist products. And that is why central Istria must be one brand because it is one story and practically one destination. I emphasize that this is the interior of Istria, that is, only one area where visitors do not see the borders, here is the idea for a new President of the Central Istria Tourist Board.

For more information and travel tips on the Istrian region, be sure to visit our newly launched Total Croatia portal.

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

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.

Saturday, 22 May 2021

Pula Arena Muay Thai Spectacle: Battles Return to the Roman Amphitheater Today!

May 22, 2021 - A Pula Arena Muay Thai spectacle will be held inside the famous Roman amphitheater today! 

Glas Istre reports that today, the Roman Amphitheater in Pula will become the center of spectacular fights in Thai boxing. In the main, evening program, renowned fighters from several countries will fight, while in the daytime, the younger age groups will fight in the Croatian Championship and measure their strength around noon.

In the evening, spectators will be able to attend the five most interesting finals of the Croatian Championship, both men's and women's in the category up to 65 kg. The final four tournament of fighters up to 73 kg, however, comes with even more incentive, as the winner will receive a trip to Thailand, where they will be able to train twice a day with local fighters, have a paid fight against one of them, and enjoy free food and accommodation.

Senad Ramakić, Denis Vojniković, and renowned Istrian fighter Teo Mikelić are part of the organizational team, and the president of the Croatian Thai Boxing Association, Mario Franić, also commented on today's fights.

"We also visited some of the clubs that operate in Istria County; we are very pleased with what we saw. All that is happening in Istria is a big step in the development of Thai boxing. And the Croatian championship in the Arena itself will be an unprecedented spectacle and an important criterion in choosing a national team to go to big competitions. Everyone has a chance, and only the best will be in the national team," said Franić.

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Although the citizens of Pula are still used to watching him inside the ring, this time, Teo Mikelić found himself organizing the tournament. 

"Pula really deserves this, and we are proud. The organization was harder than we expected, yet the Arena is outdoors, and we’re still not sure if it’s going to rain. In addition, one fighter from Serbia was forced to cancel his performance today; he was not allowed to enter Croatia at the border and had to return. We had to find another fighter at noon, but luckily we managed to combine something. That fighter will have to correct his weight a bit, as he has a bit overweight but has enough time available.

Organizing really isn’t a joke; I think it’s a lot easier to fight than to organize a tournament! Still, I think everything will be fine if time is on our side. In case of rain, our alternative was the Home of Croatian Veterans, but we spoke to various meteorologists and, as things stand, it should not rain tomorrow after 10 am. The ring is folded and covered with a tarpaulin," Mikelić said and continued:

"The event was supposed to start at 10 am - we have about seventy registered fighters, which would mean that the first part would end after about six hours, so around 4 pm. A break of four hours is to follow, until 8 pm when the main program of the evening begins. This way, we will start with the first part somewhere between noon and 2 pm, and then without a break or with a short break, we will continue with the main part of the evening," Mikelić said yesterday at the House of Croatian Veterans, where the fighters officially weighed.

To follow the latest sports news in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page

To get more news about sports in Croatia, CLICK HERE.

Friday, 21 May 2021

Donald Tusk in Rovinj: "Croatia is Ready to Restart Tourism''

May 21, 2021 - As the season approaches and tourists start to arrive, a message comes from the European People's Party's Donald Tusk in Rovinj, Istria.

As reported by nacional.hr, Donald Tusk, who served as President of the European Council from 2014 to 2019 and as the 14th Prime Minister of Poland from 2007 to 2014, is currently enjoying the early days of sun in Croatia with his family. Through his Twitter profile, the most famous Polish politician internationally announced his visit to the popular Istrian destination of Rovinj. The sight of Donald Tusk in Rovinj is likely to give this destination hope for the summer ahead.

Tourism in the Istrian peninsula has proven that it can defy the obstacles caused by the pandemic, not only at its worst during the past year but also in recent months, prior to the start of the rapidly approaching summer season. Istria saw, with surprise, local and foreign tourists arrive not only during Easter but also during the first weekend of May, thus exceeding their expectations in the face of the complicated situation that tourism has been going through in the country in the last year.

All this highlights the advantages of the peninsula of being better connected with the European continent, providing the opportunity for all those tourists to travel by car. It also sends out a powerful message about the willingness of many tourists to enjoy the sea and the beaches before they get crowded, and especially in the present context of social distancing. As the vaccination process in Croatia continues its course and the numbers of infections continue to decline, it seems that the results are beginning to appear.

Given this hopeful precedent, there is reason enough in Istria to believe that the approaching summer season may bring life back to hotels, restaurants, private accommodation, and more. And one of the people who believes that it is time to face the coming months with optimism is nothing less than the Polish representative in the European People's Party (EPP), Donald Tusk.

"Croatia is ready to restart tourism and to receive guests. We are all in love with Istria ", reads the announcement of Donald Tusk in Rovinj on Twitter, accompanied by a photo of him enjoying an Istrian sunset with his family.

For more information on what the City of Rovinj can offer you on your next visit, such as sights, hotels, beaches, food, or drink, be sure to check out Total Croatia's Rovinj in a Page 2021, HERE.

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.

Tuesday, 4 May 2021

Istrian Tourism Starts Off on Right Foot with 11,100 Arrivals During First May Weekend

May 4, 2021 - The first weekend of May saw 11,100 tourists arrive on the Croatian peninsula and 47,000 overnight stays, giving hope to Istrian tourism ahead of the season.

Despite the fact that this year continues to drag the same obstacles as the previous one in terms of the pandemic and its negative effect on the tourism sector, the ongoing vaccination and the recent decrease in infections seem to show that positive changes are about to appear soon not only for Istrian tourism.

The numbers of tourists who visited Istria to spend the first days of May, among which are Slovenian and German citizens, seem to be satisfactory for the tourism board and Istrian tourism.

According to tportal.hr, Slovenian and Croatian citizens are in the lead among the visitors, followed by citizens of Serbia and Germany, the director of the Istrian County Tourist Board Denis Ivošević told Glas Istre, commenting on the tourist results achieved in Istria over the past weekend, which saved May Day tourist figures.

Namely, as far as the structure of guests is concerned, out of a total of 47,500, Slovenians are expected to lead, with 12,600 arriving in Istria. They are followed by domestic guests, 10,000 of them, while there were almost equally 6,500 Serbs and Germans.

‘‘Approximately one-third of all May Day tourists stayed in hotels this weekend, another third of guests opted for camping, while the remaining third stayed in private accommodation, including non-commercial (homeowners or holiday homeowners)’’, continues Ivošević and adds that the most visited Istrian destinations were, as expected, Rovinj and Poreč.

‘‘These figures were expected, we knew that we would not be able to achieve greater tourist arrivals since at this time we cannot count on our most important markets, namely Germany, Austria, and Italy. In any case, taking into account that Slovenes have finally started coming to us and that Serbs have coincided with Easter with the May Day holiday, we can be satisfied’’, Ivošević claims, noting that we still cannot use the potential of a favorable epidemiological situation in Istria.

The Croatian National Tourist Board reports that, according to the eVisitor system, which shows tourist traffic realized in commercial and non-commercial facilities and nautical charter (eCrew system), in Croatia during the first weekend in May, ie from Friday, April 30 to Monday, May 3; there were 41,400 arrivals and more than 157,000 overnight stays. Out of that, foreign tourists made almost 23,000 arrivals and 112,000 overnight stays.

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

For more information and travel tips on the Istrian region, be sure to visit our newly launched Total Croatia portal.

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

Tuesday, 20 April 2021

Forbes Included Istria in 50 Spectacular Places to Visit Post-Pandemic

April 20, 2021 – Another recognition of Croatia's beauty and tourist offer as the American magazine Forbes included Istria among 50 spectacular destinations for post-pandemic travels.

As reported by Ina Rodin, the Croatian National Tourist Board director in the USA, the prestigious American media have been writing about the current conditions for entering Croatia in recent days.

The Forbes article states that Istria is an ideal destination for all gastronomy lovers who can taste quality olive oil, truffles, prosciutto, wine, and seafood in Istria. The article also emphasizes the beauty of Istrian towns and its excellent geographical position.

"Foodies should consider Croatia's Istrian Peninsula for their next taste-testing vacation. As the crow flies, you're practically in Italy; in fact, there's a ferry that runs between Venice and Pula, Croatia. You'll find truffles, olive oil, prosciutto, wine, and all types of seafood, plus delicacies that are 100% Croatian.

This region is popular with European travelers, but Americans are only just beginning to visit. If you go, be sure to split your time between a coastal city (such as Rovinj or Pula) and inland villages (hill-top Motovun is a favorite)," writes Forbes.

The story of the American television network CNBC also revealed all the charms of Istria. It provided an overview of the digital nomads' costs of living in four global destinations, namely Bali, Jamaica, Barbados, and Croatia. The story of life in Croatia is told through the example of Melissa Paul, a digital nomad who found her place under the sun in Istria.

The American edition of the travel magazine Condé Nast Traveler also writes about Croatia, which brings a list of countries that are open to vaccinated visitors and states the current conditions for entering those countries.

Lonely Planet, the world's leading brand of tourist guides, also writes about the current conditions of entry into Croatia. In an additional article about our country, they list the 17 best must-visit locations in Croatia. The list includes Dubrovnik, Plitvice Lakes, Hvar, Mljet, Zagreb, Istria, Vis, Bol, Korcula, Krka National Park, Split, Zagorje, Zadar, Cres, Cape Kamenjak, Kopački Rit Nature Park, and Motovun.

Besides, the Travel Pulse portal and the renowned American travel magazine Travel+Leisure write about the conditions for entering Croatia. Travel+Leisure includes one Croatian destination, namely the city of Split, in the nine best European destinations for retirees.

For all you need to know about coronavirus specific to Croatia, including border, travel and quarantine rules, as well as the locations of testing centres across the country, make sure to bookmark our dedicated section.

For more on travel in Croatia, follow our dedicated section.

Monday, 12 April 2021

Istrian Wine in International Spotlight Thanks to Croatia Unpacked

April 12, 2021 - Saša Muradori and Tanya Schmitt are the founders of Croatia Unpacked, with which they seek to popularize Croatian wine in Canada. Their company has been recently featured this month in an article in The Circular - the monthly publication by The Circle of Wine Writers - the world's leading international association of authors, writers, journalists, bloggers, broadcasters, photographers, and lecturers, communicating about wines and spirits.

Tanya was interviewed by award-winning wine writer & editor of The Circular, Amanda Barnes, about her interest in wine, her experience with Croatia Unpacked in the wine industry in Canada, and her passion for Istria. TCN transmits the full interview with Tanya:

What sparked your interest in wine?  

I’ve always enjoyed wine, but it was when I met my husband – a self-confessed old-world wine snob – in 2005, that my interest was really sparked. Thanks to some wonderful trips (the only rule we have when we travel is to eat and drink local) and many enjoyable dinners, my palate swiftly evolved, and I quickly became a wine lover with, who would have guessed it, a preference for old-world wines…

It was, however, only when we discovered Croatian wine that I ever considered entering the wine industry. Croatia produces intriguing wines that, on tasting for the first time, were both familiar to us yet, at the same time, totally unique. Before I knew it, I found myself on a fascinating journey of discovery – exploring wine regions where indigenous grapes thrive, and where the influence of Croatia’s distinctive terroir is ever-present. Although I am no wine expert, I was quickly convinced that this was a wine experience that deserved attention.

You’ve been involved with Croatian wine and tourism since 2019. What attracted you to Croatia initially?

I am English, my husband Dutch, and outside of work, we are history & art lovers, explorers, foodies, and wine lovers. We live in Canada today, but holidays typically take us back to Europe, where we jump on a motorbike and hit the open road. Before heading out on a road trip a few years ago, a friend recommended that we visit Istria (northwest Croatia, a short hop from Trieste in Italy).

We took his advice and discovered a region so culturally rich yet relatively undiscovered, a gourmet paradise and a land of opportunity. During our short stay there, we visited one of the best-maintained roman amphitheaters in the Mediterranean, learned about the ancient technique of Amphora winemaking at a beautiful local winery, saw mosaics in Poreč that rival those in Ravenna, and were wowed by the food and wine scene. As entrepreneurs, we also saw incredible potential: gaps begging to be filled in the tourism sector, as well as opportunities to introduce the relatively unknown yet extremely high-quality local produce to the global stage, to name but a few.

You also co-founded ‘Experience Istria’. What do you think is the quintessential Istrian (tourism) experience?

Istria is a hidden gem. In recent years it has been labeled the “New Tuscany” – and with good reason.  I often say to people that if you were parachuted into Istria, you could easily be mistaken for thinking you were in Italy, but a very rustic, natural version of its more developed neighbor. Tourists typically flock to Istria’s Adriatic coastline, with destinations such as “Venetian” Rovinj, being an eternal crowd-pleaser.

For me, however, it is time spent in the hinterland of Green Istria that reveals the true, authentic heart of the region. Picture a landscape of rolling hills, medieval hilltop towns, mysterious truffle-laden forests, and olive groves and vineyards stretching as far as the eye can see.

In October 2016, my husband and I visited Istria in the “off-season” for the first time. It was during this trip that we promised each other we would return at this time, every year. Autumn in Istria is difficult to beat. You will find yourself treated to the pungent aroma of generously shaved white truffles in the traditional konobas (local restaurants) scattered around the interior. Take a truffle hunt with a trusted guide and you may be lucky enough to find one yourself! It is also harvest time for both grapes and olives.  As you roam the endless wine and olive oil roads, you will witness the locals coming out in their dozens to gather the precious fruits by hand, which will soon be lovingly transformed into the next great vintage, or in the case of olive oil, into liquid gold.

Unknown to many, Istria has been named the best olive oil-producing region in the world for the last 6 years, and an olive oil tasting experience is not to be missed. Istrians are proud of their cultural heritage and this can be witnessed in Autumn through a host of local festivals filling the cobbled marketplaces of hilltop towns. As an added bonus, with the summer crowds long gone, all that the region has to offer can be explored in relative isolation.

What really excites you about Croatian wine at the moment, and what do you think wine writers really ought to put on their radar?

I am excited about seeing Croatian wine increasingly recognized on the international stage. The tally of awards at the top competitions is growing year after year, and the global exposure to Croatian wine seems to be growing with it. This is a trend that I hope we will see continue.

The pandemic has, without doubt, been extremely challenging for the wine industry, as it has for many others. I do believe however that there has been one key learning out of it that will hopefully benefit Croatian winemakers in the long term. It is not easy to sample Croatian wine outside Croatia. Exports are notoriously low, with the output largely being consumed within the country by locals and tourists, with minimum quantities making their way to some fortunate countries throughout the EU.

With restaurants shut down, and tourism at all-time lows in the last 12 months, many winemakers have recognized the importance of diversifying their sales channels. This heralds an opportunity not only for the winemakers but also for inquisitive wine lovers, with previously unheard of varietals making their way onto wine shelves around the world. A few years ago, the intrepid explorer in search of sampling Grk, would have no option but to make the journey to the distant island Korčula, off the Dalmatian coast. To think that this wine will be available in Ontario (Canada) this summer is pretty exciting!

As for what I would like to see wine writers put on their radar, my answer would be Croatian wine! There is still relatively little coverage of the region, which historically may be tied to the low exports and thus lack of availability. However, as more and more wine agents, ourselves included, are bucking the trend and focusing on making Croatian wines available around the globe, it would be great to see wine writers embracing this evolution, and helping to educate consumers on this emerging new old-world wine destination.

Which Croatian wines are particularly resonating with the Canadian market? And what is the greatest challenge in selling Croatian wine to Canada?

The greatest challenge in selling Croatian wine in Canada is education. Croatia is not recognized by the average Canadian wine consumer as a wine-producing destination, let alone an old-world wine region. This is somewhat understandable, given that 12 to 18 months ago, you would have had to search high and low to find a single bottle of Croatian wine on a physical, or virtual, store shelf across Ontario – Canada’s largest province.

Changing this perception takes time – it will not happen overnight, but we are confident that it will happen. With the goal of shifting this perception, we spend significant time on promoting the brand of Croatia as a whole, rather than the brand of winery A or winery B. The wineries we partner with understand this challenge and have taken steps to form an association with this collective goal in mind. We are cautiously optimistic that, thanks to this association, we will secure EU funding in 2021 / 2022 for some pretty exciting promotional activities that will take place both in Canada and Croatia (as the situation allows). In the meantime, we are starting to see a shift emerging.  As more wines are available on the market, inquisitive wine lovers are excited to try new varietals, are intrigued by the taste profiles, and, invariably, are surprised by the quality.

Wines with a great story are definitely resonating with the Canadian market. For example, the majority of Canadian wine lovers may not be familiar with Plavac Mali, but they most definitely know Zinfandel. Plavac Mali is the renowned offspring of 2 ancient Croatian varietals, one of which – Tribidrag – is in fact the original Zinfandel. Telling this story draws an immediate connection in the mind of the consumer with something known and trusted, and it has definitely opened the door to a new and growing following for Dalmatia’s flagship red.  Followers now start to embrace Plavac Mali and compare it to a Californian Zinfandel, in the same way, others compare a Burgundy to a Californian Pinot Noir.

We have, most recently, had incredible success with Dalmatian Dog Babić from Testament Winery. Babić is a lesser-known varietal, comparable to the much loved Italian Chianti. It is the price to quality ratio of this wine, outshining similar wines from its Adriatic neighbor, that has contributed to its success, with its latest release in Ontario selling out in less than a week. This will not be a one-off. There are many other success stories like this just waiting to be told!

Finally, do you have any exciting travel plans post-pandemic? What’s next on your bucket list?

 Like so many, I am longing to travel again, once it is safe to do so.  Priority number one will be spending some time with my close family in England. After this, we will definitely be heading back to Istria, hopefully just in time for white truffle season!

In a few year's time, we are looking forward to calling Istria home. In addition to the pleasure that we know this will bring us in our daily lives, its central location, in the heart of Europe, also opens up easy access to a range of new bucket-list targets.  First on our list will definitely be riding on our motorbike into Istanbul!

If you are interested to get a taste of Istria from the comfort of your home, then please join Tanya, and her co-host Wanda Srdoc, on April 24th at 6 pm for "An Evening to Experience Istria" - a gourmet escape to Istria with wine and truffles!

To read the original article by The Circular, click here.

To know more about wine in Croatia, read our Total Croatia dedicated page.

To read more about lifestyle in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Tuesday, 6 April 2021

Expectations Were Exceeded: Thousands of Guests Traveled to Istria for Easter!

April 6, 2021 - Despite the epidemiological situation that has put the tourism sector on a hold, the Istrian County Tourist Board is satisfied with the number of guests that arrived in Istria for Easter over the last week.

‘‘On a daily basis, Istria has had approximately 16,000 guests every day these days, which means that we will realize slightly less than 50,000 overnight stays, led by Germans and locals’’, says the director of the Istrian County Tourist Board Denis Ivošević, commenting on tourist results in Istria over the past Easter holidays in a report made by Glas Istre.

‘‘If we compare it with an average year, say 2018, we can say that this year we are at some 50 percent of that. If we compare this year's results with the record year 2019 when Easter fell on a much later date, then we are at some 30 percent’’, Ivošević explains and confirms that, regardless of that result, ‘‘we can still be extremely satisfied’’.

‘‘Namely, we were afraid - he continues - that many Germans would return to their homes because their authorities put us on the red list. However, fortunately, this did not happen so we can be satisfied with the numbers’’.

Ivošević adds that even though they’re aware that several German tourists decided to stay home or choose nearer options, the numbers were still good considering the current situation.

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Credit: PIXSELL

Around 50 hotels opened for the Easter holidays in Istria, and among them were both large hotel houses and small family hotels. Also, about 25 camps received guests, and so did a large number of private family apartments in the interior of Istria and on the coast.

Regarding the structure of guest arrivals, there were six and a half thousand German tourists that arrived in Istria. This was followed by about five thousand local tourists. Unfortunately, the number of Slovenes, Austrians, and Italian tourists was considerably low in comparison to previous years.

‘‘Approximately 35 percent of all tourists stayed in hotels this weekend, 35 percent in private accommodation or apartments, while 25 percent of guests decided to camp’’, says Ivošević, and adds that the most visited Istrian destinations for the Easter holidays have always been Poreč and Rovinj, and so they were this year again.

‘‘About 4,000 overnight stays were realized in Pula this Easter, which is satisfactory considering the epidemiological situation in the world’’, says the director of the Pula Tourist Board Sanja Cinkopan Korotaj, adding that 40 percent of guests chose private accommodation, 24 percent of them chose hotels and 18 percent decided for camping.

''The structure of guests in Pula seems to be a copy of the situation in the whole of Istria, so we had 40 percent of Germans, 34 percent of domestic guests, and 12 percent of all Austrians, Italians, and Slovenes''.

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Credit: Aminea Maravea Camping Resort (Novigrad)

‘‘This year's figures are above our expectations, so we can be satisfied. The number of arrivals this year is an indication that people want to travel and no longer want to be locked in their homes, cities, or states. People want freedom. Seven hotels were opened in Poreč and about 10,000 overnight stays were realized in four days, which is satisfactory considering the conditions in which we operate’’, says the director of the local tourist board, Nenad Velenik. ‘‘However, we see that the structure of guests here is a bit different, so in Poreč the locals are in the lead’’.

‘‘The occupancy by markets is interesting. Namely, in the first place are guests from Croatia, followed by Germans, and in third place are tourists from the Czech Republic, followed by Austrians and Swiss. Therefore, traditional markets such as Italian or Slovenian have been completely absent this Easter, explains Velenik and hopes for a more favorable epidemiological situation and greater vaccination of the population, especially tourist workers, as the May Day holidays are getting closer. Thus, we can once again come to the green list of countries in our major markets’’, concludes Velenik.

Ivošević ends by saying that they were unable to get information on the specific numbers of many other tourist boards since they did not answer the official phone numbers. Thus, these Easter holidays will remain short of the tourist figures of Umag, Labin, Medulin, Rovinj, and Fažana.

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