Tuesday, 25 August 2020

Season Continues on Kvarner Islands: "Germans Staying, Czechs Coming in Off-Season"

August 25, 2020 - While many tourists rushed home last weekend to beat new rules announced by their countries, the season is still in full swing on the Kvarner islands.

Croatia was a dream this summer with no overbookings and undercrowded tourist destinations. However, an increase in the number of coronavirus cases earned the country a spot on the red list of the Netherlands, the UK, Slovenia, Austria, and regionally, the most loyal Germany.

The coronavirus pandemic reduced air travel, which always benefited the most visited Istria and Kvarner, but Dubrovnik, predominantly an air destination, ended at the back of Croatian tourist regions in August, somewhere alongside Lika-Senj County. The Kvarner islands, however, achieved results above their expectations, and the island of Rab is a corona-free zone, reports Glas Istre.

"We have more tourists, and it feels like the tourist season is still going. There are mostly Germans, but there are also Slovenes and Italians. The novelty this year is that Czechs and Hungarians are increasingly coming to us and booking the post-season period," says the director of the Rab Tourist Board Ivana Matusan. However, the City of Rab, for example, had 11,800 tourists on Thursday, 10,900 on Friday and 8.5 thousand on Sunday, which is 55 percent of overnight stays compared to the same day last year. Looking at August, the City of Rab is at 75 percent of last year's results.

There are currently 4,470 tourists in the Municipality of Lopar, which is 56 percent compared to last year, and a thousand fewer guests than on Thursday last week. Most of them were Austrians and Slovenes. In the previous part of August, Lopar achieved almost 73 percent of last year's results.

"We can be satisfied with the results of the tourist traffic, considering the pessimistic announcements at the very beginning of the tourist season, when we planned traffic at the level of 35 percent compared to last year.

Traditionally, Germans made up the biggest number of tourists here, and it is interesting that after the Germans, most are Czechs, about 10 percent, and Croats, also 10 percent. Austrians and Slovenes, who usually participate in tourist traffic with about 10 percent, currently make up 2 percent each. Announcements for September are good, although the San Marino resort is likely to close earlier than planned. There are a lot of cancellations of reservations and the uncertainty is great, because the situation is changing from day to day," the director of the Lopar Tourist Board Marin Musco said.

There are currently 11,000 guests in the town of Mali Losinj, which is 47 percent compared to last year.

We can see a drop in guests since the introduction of special measures of entry into Italy, Austria, and now Slovenia; every day, we have a thousand fewer guests. For example, on August 14, we had 19,631 registered guests. Currently, the island of Losinj has the largest number of German guests, 3,415, followed by guests from Croatia (2,342), 1,616 Slovenes, 1,042 Italians, 510 Czechs, Poles… and now there are 1,600 of them with a tendency of further decline, considering the departures on Monday before the mandatory 14-day quarantine measures," says the director of the Mali Losinj Tourist Board, Dalibor Cvitkovic. He also points out that during August, they realized 413,612 overnight stays, which is 68 percent of last year's result, with the index being 74 in the first 15 days of August.

And the 'golden island' Krk is nearing the end of the season...

"Following the new situations from last week with the introduction of new measures of individual countries, a number of cancellations have started, which will certainly affect the post-season, as well as the further course of the season. Booking has almost stopped, but tourist traffic is still moderately intense, although the decline in traffic is very noticeable. For example, on August 23, 25,410 overnight stays were registered on the island of Krk, which is 49 percent compared to 2019.

In total, there were slightly less than 4,000 arrivals on Krk on Sunday, August 23, which is half of last year's result," says the director of the Krk Island Tourist Board Majda Sale and estimates that the post-season will depend primarily on the epidemiological situation, but also on the weather.

"Domestic guests increased in statistics, in July in arrivals by 20 percent, and in overnight stays by 3.8 percent, while in August they broke into third place with a share of 12 percent. In the first half of August, Slovenes came in second place, and in August, it was customary for the Italians to be in the first place. The Germans, who are also the most represented in terms of the number of arrivals and overnight stays, kept the share of 35 percent, for example, in July, guests from Germany had only 2.6 percent fewer arrivals than last year and 8 percent fewer overnight stays than last year. It is also noticeable that the guests stayed longer on the island of Krk, compared to last year, 6 days on average, and for the most part, they came individually, as many as 83 percent of them.

By the way, about 2.3 million arrivals and 17.6 million overnight stays have been made in Croatia so far in August, which is 67 percent of last year's result achieved in the same period in terms of tourist overnight stays. The highest number of overnight stays in the same period was realized in Istria, which recorded 4.3 million overnight stays, in Kvarner 3.5 million overnight stays, in Split-Dalmatia County 3.4 million overnight stays, Zadar 3.2, Sibenik-Knin 1.4 million overnight stays, Dubrovnik-Neretva 999 thousand and Lika-Senj County 636 thousand overnight stays.

In the current part of August, most tourist overnight stays were realized from the German market, about 4.3 million, which is 90 percent of last year's result. The domestic market follows with 3.3 million overnight stays, which is the result of last year's level in the same period, the Slovenian market with 2.6 million overnight stays, which is 94 percent of last year's result, and the Polish market with 1.8 million overnight stays, an increase of 5 percent over the same period last year. From January 1 to August 22, a total of 8,855,337 overnight stays were realized in Kvarner, which is 61 percent compared to the same period last year.

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Wednesday, 5 August 2020

VIDEO: Rijeka Fans Light Up Krk Bridge with 222 Flares for Operation Storm

August 5, 2020 - 222 defenders were killed in Primorje-Gorski Kotar County during the Croatian War of Independence. 222 torches are traditionally burned in their honor on Krk Bridge to commemorate Operation Storm.

Operation Storm, a strategic victory in which the Croatian Army liberated Croatia, began on this day in 1995. It is considered the most important military offensive of the Croatian War of Independence. 

Index.hr reports that during the Croatian War of Independence, from 1991 to 1995, 222 defenders were killed in Primorje-Gorski Kotar County, and 222 torches are burned in their honor on the Krk Bridge. The traditional torchlight procession has been organized since 2017 by the NK Rijeka fan group 'Armada', the 'Vavik Vjerna Kirija' fan association from Crikvenica and members of the 'Blue and White Island' fan association from the island of Krk.

Take a look at the scenes from the Krk Bridge below.

"There is no surrender! Honoring the dead does not allow a delay, not for anything, let alone for the rain!" pointed out the Armada fan group, answering the question if the adverse weather on Tuesday would disrupt the torchlight procession on the Krk Bridge, by which fans pay tribute to the fallen veterans from Primorje-Gorski Kotar County that gave their lives for an independent Croatia.

"On this day in 1995, the victorious Storm started. How would it be if the operation was postponed because very high temperatures were announced, if they delayed the action for a more pleasant situation? We cannot retreat, there will be 222 torches for the heroes from Primorje-Gorski Kotar County whose lives were lost for our freedom in the Homeland War.

Several inquiries arrived in the last few hours about whether the traditional Armada torchlight procession would take place. The reason for concern can be seen with the naked eye, just by looking out the window and the announcement of more torrential rain over Rijeka, including in the area of Kraljevica during the torchlight procession. Delaying this is out of the question and there is no surrender. Get dressed and go to Kraljevica, Oštar, Voz, Črinjševa," said the members of the Armada before the torchlight procession.

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

Saturday, 18 April 2020

First Virtual Camino Krk Pilgrimage to Be Held on 21-26 April

ZAGREB, April 18, 2020 - The Camino Krk project, developed by the City of Krk Tourism Board and the Croatian Confraternity of St. James which is the member of the archconfraternity of Santiago de Compostela, will be held virtually on 21-26 April, due to the lockdown imposed because of COVID-19.

Last October, the first edition of the Camino week on the Croatian island of Krk was held.

The second edition of the pilgrimage along the 107-kilometre-long route was scheduled for 21-26 April this year.

However, following confinement measures imposed due to the coronavirus infection, local authorities are calling on pilgrims to go on virtual pilgrimage and the itinerary includes the following towns as destinations throughout this northern Adriatic island: Krk, Porat, Omišalj, Dobrinj, Vrbnik, Baška and Kornić.

Following the tradition of Croatian Confraternities of St. James that have been helping pilgrims on their way to Santiago de Compostela since 1203, the Croatian Confraternity of St. James has started with the revitalization of medieval pilgrimage routes leading to Santiago de Compostela, according to the information available on the project's website.

"The island of Krk has been chosen as the first section of the Croatian Camino route to be officially marked with yellow arrows (customized with a Croatian traditional symbols)," it was also stated.

During the pilgrimage, participants can enjoy "spectacular natural scenery, forests, hills with amazing view, old castles and churches, abandoned villages, small medieval town, gorgeous beaches" and "each day offers a unique opportunity to find inner peace, a chance to reflect, to discover that special kind of 'Camino experience'."

More Krk news can be found in the Lifestyle section.

Saturday, 18 April 2020

Krk Island Presents Virtual Tour of Croatian Camino Route

April 18, 2020 - From April 21-26, experience the Camino Krk route through your computers, mobile phones, or tablets thanks to a virtual tour provided by the Krk Tourist Board.

HRTurizam writes that Camino Krk is a great new tourist product as well as a motive for arrivals in the pre and post-season. It is an event commemorating the Croatian Camino Route following the medieval pilgrimage routes on the island of Krk. The Camino Krk themed route also joined the European network of St. James pilgrimage routes, and created the preconditions for the development of pilgrimage and religious tourism on the island.

However, since we are all in isolation at the moment and as tourism has literally stopped, the Tourist Board decided to organize a virtual Camino Krk that brings the experience of the Way of St. James directly to everyone's homes.

Although it is difficult to connect the island of Krk with the famous 'Camino' pilgrimage at first, it is further proof that there are hundreds of phenomenal and authentic stories in Croatia that we need to put together, brand and tell. It is this content that we are chronically missing.

So, how does the island connect with the Camino de Santiago or Way of St. James?

The Camino de Santiago or Way of St. James is a network of pilgrimage routes leading to the Spanish Sanctuary of Santiago de Compostela - the last resting place of St. James the Apostle, patron saint of pilgrims and travelers. From northern Norway and the Baltic countries, signposts lead to Santiago de Compostela, with over 320,000 people traversing the Franco-Spanish section of the route as long as 800 kilometers each year. In 1987, the Council of Europe awarded Camino the longest street in Europe, while in 1993, UNESCO declared its Spanish and French parts a World Heritage Site. Although the network of Camino routes stretches across Europe, Croatia was almost the only European country that, despite its rich pilgrimage tradition, until recently had no route to Santiago.

In Croatia since 1203, the Fraternity of St. James organized pilgrims who then walked from Croatia to Santiago de Compostela and back. The present-day Brotherhood of St. James, based in Samobor, inherits this tradition. They are a member of the St. James in Santiago de Compostela, the central institution that brings together the associations and fraternities of St. James from all over the world. They publish the Croatian pilgrimage passport - Credentil, officially accepted as a pilgrimage certificate with which in Santiago de Compostela, a diploma of completed pilgrimage is obtained.

Last October, at the initiative of the Krk Tourist Board and the Brotherhood of St. James, medieval Krk pilgrim routes were marked as a Croatian contribution to the European network of pilgrim routes of St. James.

Camino Week on Krk is a project that lays the foundations for the development of pilgrimage and religious tourism in order to extend the season and develop tourism following the principles of sustainability and preservation of tradition.

As the first in a series of Croatian Camino routes, Krk proved to be an ideal choice. The island, which, due to its natural and material treasure, rightly prides itself on the epitome of Croatian history and culture, is an ideal backdrop for a spiritual journey, thanks to its old castles and churches, abandoned villages, small medieval towns and beautiful beaches. It is not disingenuous to say that the interior of the island gives the impression of an outdoor cathedral.

"The situation that has spread around the entire world has made it impossible for much of the planned activities, including the holding of the second Camino Week. We have therefore decided to provide the interested audience with a part of the experience with the help of digital tools and hold a Virtual Camino Krk Week, which will be available on our Facebook pages. At the moment, most everyone is spending time in isolation and quarantine, and digital media in the true sense has become their only window into the world. Perhaps this particular story from the island of Krk will embellish our days," said Natasa Jurina, director of the Krk Tourist Board.

Camino Krk is a circular route Krk - Porat - Omisalj - Dobrinj - Vrbnik - Baska - Kornic which covers the whole island. It is about 107 kilometers long and is advised to walk through using the six-day program. Trails are marked between the cities listed, and one is passed each day. Camino Krk also has its own special sign, which with the recognizable symbol Camino bears the Glagolitic script - the oldest Slavic script specific to Croatia and Krk.

The first Camino Week in Krk was held in October 2019, and at the end of April, the second guided tour of the Camino Krk route was to take place.

As this is not possible now, the Krk Tourist Board decided to approach part of this experience virtually. Over the course of six days, you can experience part of the Camino experience virtually through:

- multimedia story for every single day through pictures, video, voice-over, music
- an online photo exhibition with Camino de Santiago with different subjects
- interactive description of daily routes
- attractions and descriptions of individual places, natural and cultural sights along the route
- testimonies of pilgrims who passed Camino Krk
- the messages and thoughts of the day about what can be learned on the Camino

The tour will also include e-stamps, or an e-passport for pilgrims, and at the end of the six-day virtual tour, all "travelers" will receive an e-Composel, while the original Compostela will be able to be picked up at the Krk Tourist Board live when possible.

"This is a new experience for all of us, we are doing it for the first time, and we apologize in advance if the production is not flawless due to the short preparation time. However, we have a strong desire to provide you with some of the experience you have been deprived of because of the current situation and we want to do the best we can. Join us and be part of the first virtual Camino Krk adventure. Thank you to everyone who will join and contribute," concludes Natasa Jurina.

The project was designed by the Krk Tourist Board and the digital marketing agency Smartingo.com, and the great news is that all tourist boards on the island of Krk have joined the project: Tourist Board of Omišalj and Njivice, Tourist Board of Malinska, Tourist Board of Baška, Tourist Board of Dobrinj, Tourist Board of Punat, and the Krk Island Tourist Board.

From April 21-26, experience Camino Krk through your computers, mobile phones or tablets on the City of History and Culture's Facebook page.

Find out more about the whole project HERE

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

Thursday, 16 January 2020

Gifts from Krk: Praiseworthy Project Promoting Local and Authentic Souvenirs

January 16, 2020 - Gifts from Krk is a project of the Krk Tourist Board, which has proven to be the most successful in the Croatian market when talking about defining and encouraging the creation of authentic souvenirs for a tourist destination.

HRTurizam writes that it is essential to emphasize that this project focuses on quality and not plastic souvenirs from China. This year, the Krk Tourist Board announced the ninth consecutive tender to apply to be an official souvenir, which will be marked with the ‘gifts from Krk’ stamp.

The souvenirs can be works of art and art objects, arts and crafts and gastronomy, clothing and usable items, and graphic materials and multimedia [photographs and video materials]. The solutions must be of high-quality artistry made of environmentally friendly materials, the competition states.

This year's competition will give preference to souvenirs that interpret the cultural and tourist values of the city in different ways, taking into account its historical heritage, the richness of architectural, sculptural, and artistic heritage, and the specialty of natural surroundings.

The tender is guided by the most renowned Krk manifestation ‘Camino Week’, which began at the beginning of October last year, following the medieval pilgrimage routes of the island of Krk, the commemoration of the official Croatian Camino route as part of the European network of pilgrimage routes of Sv. Jakov. Thus, the emphasis is placed on accepting creative challenges that are stimulated by the lives of saints related to the city and island of Krk, their specific iconography and related symbolism, added the Tourist Board.

Gifts from Krk is a stamp that is given to a souvenir as a kind of presentation of the city, thus reflecting the continuity of its artistic, cultural and historical heritage, while also presenting its material, intangible and natural heritage.

You can find the souvenirs thus far labeled as a gift from Krk here, while you can find more details about the competition here

To read more about Croatian products, follow TCN’s dedicated page.

Friday, 10 January 2020

Krk Recognized Among 10 Energy Sustainable Islands in European Union

January 10, 2020 - The Clean Energy Secretariat of the EU Islands ranked Krk among the top ten best practices in the whole of Europe related to the transition of energy.

Novi List reports that the island of Krk is one of the Croatian leaders in the efforts to implement programs related to ecology, energy efficiency and the transition to clean sources. Thus, it has been recognized as one of the ten best examples of good practice across Europe.

Namely, Krk is "seen, monitored and recognized" in the EU capital for their efforts to make their island clean, that is, green and (energy) sustainable.

In addition to the island of Krk, which is the only Croatian island to be included in the prestigious list of European energy-transition islands, the Dutch island of Ameland, the Irish Aran Islands, the Portuguese Azores, the Isle of Gigha, the Swedish Gotland, the Spanish Menorca, the Italian Pantelleria, the Danish Samso and the Greek Tilos are also on the list of good practices. 

Recall, in 2012, the people of Krk adopted the "Island with 0 percent CO2 emissions" strategy, aiming to make the island the first CO2 neutral and energy self-sufficient island in the Mediterranean.

In the meantime, Krk has also done a study on wind farm development and solar power plant integration.

The use of LED technologies has reduced electricity consumption from 1.02 million kWh in 2010 to 734,864 kWh in 2018.

In order to reduce emissions, that is, carbon dioxide, which comes from traffic in 53 percent of the island's total emissions, they have also worked on an electromobility program by building 12 charging stations for electric vehicles, and more recently eight charging stations for 80 electric bikes (which should soon come into use through a bike-sharing system).

The island of Krk also has an energy cooperative (founded in 2012), and two energy transition management companies have recently been established - Island Krk Energy (which will coordinate the process production and transmission of clean, solar energy from the future solar power plant Barbičin), but also Smart Island Krk, which, according to the intention of its founders from local self-government circles, should focus on smart processes and digitization.

Island Krk Energy develops a plan for the construction and operation of a 5 MW solar power plant, which should rise above Baska already this year. According to the plan of representatives of local self-governments and utilities, co-ownership in this project (and facility) should also be made available to all islanders, or island companies.

The same document published by the Clean Energy Secretariat of the EU Islands also recalls that local authorities in Krk adopted an updated version of their "Zero Emissions Development Strategy" in 2018 as an impetus for integrated and sustainable island development.

These efforts introduced a long-term socio-economic development model, with a particular focus on energy savings by increasing energy efficiency and the share of renewable energy sources (wind, solar and biogas).

The strategy envisages about 36.8 MWP of new photovoltaic installations (on roofs), as well as an additional 4 MWP of photovoltaic installations on the earth in the near future.

In addition, the plan also targets 25.2 MWP of wind power and 250 KWP of biogas plants.

The investment, whose total value is estimated at 89.65 million euros, is expected to make Krk completely energy independent in the coming decades.

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

Thursday, 9 January 2020

Croatia Kvarner Region Tourist Traffic Up 50 Percent in 10 Years

Kvarner's tourist traffic numbers continue their upward trajectory. The Kvarner region, located in Northwestern Croatia, finished 2019 with 3.1 million arrivals and 19.1 million overnight stays. Compared to 2018, there were 2% more arrivals and 1% more overnights. Overnights also increased by 3% compared to 2017, 13% compared to 2016 and 50% compared to 2010.

During peak season, overnight stays remained at last year's levels, with an average occupancy of 25 days, and 30 days at hotels. That means that there wasn't a lot of room for growth during the the busiest season of the year, according to MorskiHR on January 8, 2020. Therefore, it is important to emphasize that overnight more stays increased by 1% during pre-season, while the post-season overnight stays increased by 4%. The increase in overnights during pre and post-season is more significant when compared with results from 2010, and it shows that overnights during these times of the year increased by 90%, according to the tourist board.

Germany Traditionally Strongest Market

In 2019, 630,000 German guests visited the Kvarner region, resulting in almost 4.7 million overnight stays. This figure has certainly been influenced by the large number of promotions directed toward the German market.  In addition to Germany, three more markets have reached more than one million overnights: Slovenia (3 million), Austria (1.8 million) and Italy (1.3 million). The share of foreign traffic for these four countries is nearly 70%.

Kvarner’s inclusion on group tour routes which take guests from distant markets to Europe has also resulted in a large increase in traffic from these markets. In the last 3 years, guests from China have almost tripled their number of overnight stays while US citizens have increased their overnights by 50%.

Guests from the United Kingdom are also worth mentioning. They spent 137,000 overnights in Kvarner which is 25% increase from 2018, and 44% increase from 2016! Foreign tourists account for 85% of overnight stays and domestic tourists 15% (3 million nights, an increase of 5%). 

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Mali Lošinj

Most Guest Overnights on Island of Krk

Among the subregions, the island of Krk is in the lead, with an increase of 1% and 7 million overnights (and has a 36% share of total overnights in Kvarner).

The Crikvenica-Vinodol Riviera ranks second (3.2 million) followed by the island of Losinj (2.4 million). The number of overnight stays continues as follows: the Opatija Riviera and the island of Rab (2.2 million), the island of Cres (1.1 million), the Rijeka area (925,000) and Gorski Kotar (110,000). The highest percentage increase in overnight stays (14%) was recorded in the Rijeka area.

Mali Losinj (2.4 million nights) and Crikvenica (2.2 million nights) are among the "best" destinations.

Guests Prefer Croatia Family Accommodations

Family accommodations accounted for 40% of recorded overnight stays (7.7 million). Campsites and hotels recorded almost the same number of total overnights: 3.7 million each with individual shares of 19%. 

The highest increase in overnights was recorded in upper-category accommodations:

  • Hotels generally realized 1% more overnights. However, 4 and 5-star hotels enjoyed a 6% increase.
  • All family accommodations experienced a 1% increase in overnight stays, but 5-star family accommodations enjoyed a 38% increase!
  • A similar scenario applies to campsites: there was an overall 1% decrease in overnight stays, but overnights at 5-star camps are up 22%.

Regardless of the type, 5-star facilities have seen 15% increase in overnight stays during the past year and 70% increase overnight over the last 3 years!

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Cres

Nautical Tourism Overnights Up Thirty-Two Percent

These figures do not include 24,500 arrivals and 156,000 overnight stays due to nautical traffic, which in has increased by as much as 32% the last year alone. There are about 20 nautical tourism ports in Kvarner, and Marina Punat alone accounts for more than half of nautical overnights.

Kvarner Third to Istria and Split-Dalmatia in Accommodation Capacity

As of 2019, there are 190,000 permanent beds available for tourists in Kvarner which represent a 17% share in accommodation capacity within Croatia. The Kvarner region ranks third in terms of total available accommodation, which is behind Istria and Split-Dalmatia counties in Croatia. 

Irena Peršić Živadinov, Director of the Kvarner Tourist Board, emphasizes that the primary goal is to strengthen the pre and post-seasons, because one cannot always count on a record “peak” season.

Kvarner Tourist Board Expects Long-Term Increase

“In recent years, the Kvarner region has definitely succeeded in strengthening the pre and post-seasons. Compared 2010 to 2019, we have seen a huge increase in overnight stays during both seasons - almost 90%! Over the past 10 years, we have invested in the quantity and quality of the regions’ offerings. We have also focused on joint branding and activities and recognized our strengths regarding products and offerings."

“These steps probably won’t yield immediate results but will take a longer time to have an effect. Taking that into consideration, for example, 12.7 million overnight stays were recorded in 2010, it is clear that in a period of 9 years we have realized 6.3 million more overnights, or the total number of overnights in Kvarner ha increased by almost 50%,” Peršić Živadinov points out.

 

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Thursday, 9 January 2020

VIDEO: Sunken Greek Boat Peltastis Goes from Tragedy to Attraction

Have you ever heard about the Greek vessel Peltastis which sunk near Krk?

As Morski writes on the 9th of January, 2020, members of the Neptune Diving Centre from Silo, with the support of the Dobrinj Municipality Tourist Board and others, continued the tradition on Tuesday the 7th of January of commemorating the eight sailors killed during the sinking of the Greek ship Peltastis just off the coast of Krk.

The Greek ship Peltastis was built and launched at the Kremer Sohn shipyard in northern Germany in late 1952 in order to be handed over to its client early in 1953. It was an 874 tonne cargo vessel initially bearing the name Alsterpark after the name of its parent company P/R Alsterpark in Hamburg.

It was a motor boat which was just over sixty meters long, intended for coastal navigation. After fourteen years of service the ship changed owner, more specifically in 1967. The new owner was the Greek company CHR M. Sarlis & Co. from Piraeus, which changed the vessel's name to Peltastis. But unfortunately the ship did not sail for long in the hands of its new owner, writes the Otok Krk portal.

On the night of January the 8th, 1968, one of the greatest maritime tragedies in the area of ​​Krk occurred. At 03:50 in the morning, the Peltastis ship sank about halfway between Silo and Klimno, taking down with it seven crewmen and Captain Theodoros Belesis. The day before, on the 7th of January, in the afternoon, the ship was loaded with wood and was sailing towards Rijeka. Captain Belesis heeded the port captain's warning not to set sail due to a strong storm. Unfortunately, the Greek captain underestimated the strength of the storm, which started getting worse during the night with hurricane force winds.

Neither the ship's engines nor the anchors thrown in the direction of the storm helped Peltastis in its attempt to protect itself from drifting towards a rugged and unforgiving shoreline. Peltastis met its fate and sank during the early hours of the morning. Seven crew members and a captain drowned, and four managed to survive the tragic incident with serious injuries.

The ceremony of laying a wreath for the seamen who went down with Peltastis began back in 2005 with the head of the Neptune Diving Centre, Boris Jelenović, who keeps some interesting documents on the premises of the centre, including a photograph of the body of the ship's captain found after ten months.

''One can clearly see that this is a person and he was found by Austrian divers. Unfortunately, both the command bridge and the rest of the ship was messed around with by those very same divers. People like to take souvenirs, but today the situation is different. We, as well as other centres that visit the wreckage, are careful not to remove anything,'' Jelenović told Croatian Radio Rijeka.

''As for the surviving crew, four of them survived but with serious injuries. They had to undergo amputations, and interestingly, none of them contact the people who rescued them later on, so we have no knowledge of their further fate. It's probably too late for that now...'' he added.

The laying of a wreath to commemorate the lives lost on board Peltastis has been going on for a while now, and the main message it provides, alongside respect for the dead, is that the sea must always be respected.

Today, Peltastis remains in relatively good condition, lying at a depth of eight to thirty metres, and is an attraction for many interested divers. The bow of Peltastis faces the coast of the popular island of Krk and the ship lies almost perpendicular to the direction of the shore. The top of the bow is at a depth of fifteen metres, while the deepest part of the boat lies at a depth of 33 meters. Due to its low level of depth, the wreck is ideal for all categories of divers to go and visit. Although souvenir hunters have sadly taken increasingly valuable items from the ship, the ship is exceptional in terms of its excellent preservation in spite of the passage of time.

Watch the video below!

Make sure to follow our dedicated lifestyle page for more.

Thursday, 12 December 2019

Primorje-Gorski Kotar County's Amends Plans to Facilitate Business Projects

ZAGREB, December 12, 2019 - The Primorje-Gorski Kotar County Assembly on Thursday endorsed a motion to amend the county's physical plan to facilitate new investment in the economy at the initiative of the JANAF, Delmont and Lošinjska Plovidba companies and Dobrinj municipality on Krk island.

One of the initiatives is to expand the capacity of the JANAF oil pipeline operator's terminal in Omišalj. The initiative envisages building six 80,000 m3 storage facilities for crude oil, which will replace the existing 40,000 m3 tanks; and building three 15,000 m3 storage facilities for oil products and replacing one 5,000 m3 tank with a 20,000 m3 tank.

The plan is also to connect the Omišalj terminal to the Urinj refinery with a pipeline for oil products which will be laid along the existing pipeline from the refinery to the terminal.

The motion also envisages amending the physical plan so that a state shipbuilding port can be built in the area of the Kraljevica shipyard, where the Dalmont company is currently doing business, which would facilitate further investment in the shipyard.

The plan is also to change the administrative definition of the Privlaka marina in Mali Lošinj, which will be included in a plan with a number of port basins instead of the previously designated two in order to avoid expensive infrastructure works.

Also, the Blato-Meline health tourism resort in Dobrinj will be built at another location because there has been no interest among investors for the existing one.

More news about Primorje-Gorski Kotar county can be found in the Lifestyle section.

Wednesday, 20 November 2019

Rijeka Airport to Hit 200,000 Passengers For First Time, Still Far Behind Others in Croatia

November 20, 2019 - For the first time in its history, Rijeka Airport will reach 200,000 passengers. But how does this compare to the other airports in Croatia? A closer look. 

Novi List writes that for the past seven to eight years, the airport on Krk has made its way from an airport threatened with closure, with traffic barely at fifty thousand passengers, a building that hadn’t seen any renovations since the early 1970s, and business dependent on grants from the budget, to an airport that manages to cover operating costs, while generating profits. Furthermore, more than thirty million kuna was invested in the renovation of the building, new facilities, as well as the necessary infrastructure and equipment.

As good as it may sound at first glance, Rijeka still lags far behind all airports in Croatia, apart from Osijek. Zagreb, Split, and Dubrovnik have millions of passengers, so they should not be compared, but Pula and Zadar, which, similar to Rijeka, are highly seasonal airports, exceed half a million passengers a year, which is the goal of Rijeka Airport. With just 200,000 passengers, it is nowhere near that figure, but the growth of passenger traffic in recent years shows that there is room for progress, and Rijeka Airport is at a turning point at the co-owners, with the largest share in Croatia (55 percent), followed by the Primorje-Gorski Kotar County (20 percent), will have to make the right moves with the tourism economy of the country and region. Rijeka would at least reach Zadar and Pula, of which the tourism sector would benefit the most, as well as the economy as a whole.

Deputy Mayor of Primorje-Gorski Kotar County, Marko Boras Mandic, said that by setting up a new administration and investing, the county had turned the negative trends that prevailed at the airport just seven years ago.

“With 200,000 passengers, I believe that we have reached our maximum of what we, together with the Kvarner Tourist Board and local governments, could do. We managed to stop the shutdown of the Airport, when it was considered, at the national level, that Croatia did not need it. At that time, the development of the Zadar Airport, which with fifteen thousand passengers, came to over half a million today, as well as Pula, was primarily encouraged. Unfortunately, at that time, many tourist workers in Kvarner supported the thesis that this was an auto destination and that we did not need the airport. We managed to deny it,” says Boras Mandic.

Through the combined advertising system, the counties and the tourist boards are investing around HRK 6 million a year in the development of air traffic in Rijeka, but Boras Mandic believes that with changes to the provisions on the collection of tourist taxes, the tourist boards will have more money to be directed towards air traffic.

“Majority stakeholders and politics are now on the move. It should be made clear that we currently have political trump cards that we must use - Croatian National Tourist Board Director Kristjan Stanicic, Transport Minister Oleg Butkovic and Tourism Minister Gari Capelli, three key persons for the development of the Rijeka Airport, are from this region and I believe they recognize the importance of the second tourist region in Croatia and many second cities. It is not necessary to look for the impossible, but only what is economically justified. 

When Bozidar Kalmeta was Minister of Transport, Zadar Airport was growing at a rapid rate, just as Pula was growing during the term of Tourism Minister Lorencin, as they recognized the potential of these airports. I believe that the mentioned three will equally know the potential of Rijeka Airport. First and foremost, Rijeka will receive at least one hundred thousand seats a year through the Flight Incentive Program (PSO), and that the funds for joint advertising will be increased and that conditions will be created for Eurowings or another company to establish its base on Krk. With these three conditions, we can reach half a million passengers. We have the same majority owner, but also totally different policies and investments in airports, with Rijeka getting the least, even though it is the airport that needs the most development. And in the way that, as we finance the development of less developed counties, the development of Rijeka Airport can be funded from the earnings at larger airports and tourist boards,” says Boras Mandic.

Airport director Tomislav Palalic says the changes to the PSO program would encourage flights within Croatia as well as the EU (in which Rijeka now has only four thousand subsidized seats on planes a year, with Pula and Zadar at seventy thousand each, and Split over 200 thousand ), and traffic could increase by another 20 to 100 percent in the next year.

“With the increase in the number of passengers and operations, we directly influence the development of accompanying external service providers, in particular, the Croatian Air Navigation Control and the INA d.d. and we encourage them to develop their resources at the Rijeka Airport site, which by their work greatly influences the provision of services to all entities at the Rijeka Airport,” says Palalić.

Rijeka Airport has resolved property legal relations on the land on which it is located in the past, adding that it has acquired the basic preconditions for applying to all types of sources of funds, especially EU funds, to which the Airport will apply for new development projects.

“Another prerequisite for upgrading the infrastructure in order to optimize and modernize the capacities in some parts is to prepare the project documentation and obtain the associated permits, which is intensively done on major projects such as the construction of a subway connection of the passenger terminal building with the bus station on the D102 Most - Krk road, the expansion of the aircraft platform and the construction of a vertical runway in relation to the existing one, to cancel the negative impact of storms on the existing runway and thus the availability of the same 365 days a year,” says Palalic.

Rijeka Airport expanded its operations beyond the airport last year and now provides training for airport staff, as well as a screening service for passengers at the Losinj airport, and intends to apply the same at large airports with traffic greater than two million passengers and at small sports airports.

“We went to the furthest airport away, Vis Airport, where we expect a location permit and the approval of the Croatian Civil Aviation Agency soon, and we even hope to put it into operation for the 2020 summer season,” says Palalic.

Regarding the investments made so far in the system of infrastructure, as well as the equipment that serves the safety of performing aviation operations, they proudly point out that Rijeka is today among the more modern airports in Croatia, and by some systems also the first thanks to the Ministry of Transport and the County of Primorje-Gorski Kotar as the two largest co-owners.

Despite this, Rijeka Airport, in relation to all other Airports in which Croatia is the majority owner, receives the least amount of funds directly and indirectly, which, even with the present indicators, is considered insufficient, but it is slowly but surely changing thanks to the Ministry of the Sea, Traffic and Infrastructure, says the director.

About the future development of Rijeka Airport and the allocation of larger incentives, primarily through the PSO program, the Ministry said that over the past three years, their budget has invested more than HRK 14 million, and over the last seven years, over thirty million.

“Rijeka Airport marked last year with historical records, generating a total of 183,606 passengers, and this trend continues this year, as the results in the first nine months indicate an increase of 11.1 percent compared to last year. Such a significant increase in passenger traffic, among other things, is the result of numerous activities, efforts and financial resources that the Rijeka Airport Administration, in cooperation with the Ministry of the Sea, Transport and Infrastructure and other stakeholders, have invested in the introduction of new routes, as well as extending the operation period of existing ones.

Considering the potential of traffic development at the Rijeka Airport, it is necessary to take into account the plans of the Management Board as well as the potential of generating additional economic activities and traffic demand in the environment served by the Rijeka Airport. Comparisons with other airports in the Republic of Croatia are not good because each operates in the circumstances unique to its environment where the market does not have the same potential or does not realize it with the same dynamics. Thus, the process of analyzing the possibility of establishing lines between Rijeka Airport and destinations in the other EU Member States, also within the PSO system, is currently underway. It is also important to emphasize that investments in the infrastructure of the airport, but of local communities, primarily tourist entities, will depend, to a large extent, on the increase in the number of passengers at Rijeka Airport,” the Ministry said.

Director of the Croatian National Tourist Board Kristjan Stanicic points out that Rijeka Airport has the largest space for increasing the number of passengers in the tourism sector, since Kvarner is still lagging behind other tourist regions by the number of airlines and more markets. According to Stanicic, they could open new markets and extend the tourist season.

“Airports play an important role in the development of all tourist destinations as they enable faster and easier travel to the destination, which is an important criterion when choosing a destination for certain segments of tourists as well as tourists from more distant markets. In line with these trends, it is desirable that airports, such as destination hotels, cooperate more closely with each other to establish and maintain business relationships with tour operators, as this is one of the most effective ways to positively increase the number of flights. The added synergy of all stakeholders in joint appearance and promotion in established and emerging markets is key to strong marketing support in introducing new airlines,” says Stanicic.

The trend in tourism, he added, is that the number of guests traveling by plane is continuously growing, so he sees the opportunity for Rijeka Airport as well.

“There is certainly room for further growth and progress, especially in the tourist sense, as it is in a good geographical position near the most popular destinations in Kvarner, but also near key road routes. The Croatian National Tourist Board will also contribute to harnessing these potentials and stimulating further traffic growth, primarily through joint advertising with strategic partners. Kvarner has all the potential for quality positioning as an airline destination in foreign markets. In the Croatian National Tourist Board, together with the system of tourist boards, as part of strategic projects, we very intensively cooperate and support partners, that is, tour operators and air carriers that have programs for Croatia and Rijeka Airport as well. For these activities, we have secured around HRK 40 million this year for the implementation of strategic promotional campaigns in broadcast markets, or for strategic cooperation with airlines and tour operators, which have organized programs for Croatia in their offer,” says Stanicic.

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