Friday, 30 April 2021

Preparations for Another COVID Season in Mali Lošinj Underway

April 30, 2021 - Preparations for another COVID season in Mali Lošinj are underway, with numerous initiatives and positive changes for citizens. 

Jutarnji List reports that in the last four years, the City of Mali Lošinj has become a leader in numerous initiatives and positive changes, which is the right recipe for improving the quality of life and keeping young families on the island.

The largest city on the Croatian island in the last four years is run by Mayor Ana Kučić, who is proud that this island area has many young people, business people, and farmers. All of them are very much responsible because Mali Lošinj has been in the top 10 destinations in the Republic of Croatia for years. Sustainable development management is carried out at all levels of the destination, which is why Mali Lošinj was ranked among the Top 100 sustainable destinations globally for the sixth time, and in 2019 the island of Lošinj was declared the most successful health tourism destination.

Dedicated work on responsible tourism was also awarded by the Responsible Tourism Partnership, which awarded the Responsible Tourism Award at the World Tourism Fair in London to the City and the Mali Lošinj Tourist Board for responding to the challenges caused by COVID-19. It is a plan that envisages a kind of "Insurance Policy," i.e., monetary compensation for renters of private accommodation and the costs of self-isolation of the guest, quick coordination of the authorities in case of suspicion of infection, as well as safe return to the home country. Thus, Lošinj became one of the first cities in Croatia to take this problem seriously, aware that the island's budget is largely, like most of Croatia, dependent on tourism.

Mali Lošinj does not understand youth education only declaratively. Therefore, co-financing a full-time stay for students from 1st to 4th grade, student scholarships and scholarships for those students who reside in the City of Mali Lošinj and study outside it, subsidizing bus tickets to pupils and students to the place of schooling is only part of the measures. The city is also undertaking almost one million kuna from the budget. At the same time, in the past four years, HRK 40 million has been allocated for preschool education, and in 2021 a total of HRK 10.7 million is planned.

Aware of the importance of continuously providing quality health services to residents, the City provides housing for physicians coming from other areas and provides them with accommodation in the existing adapted housing stock owned by the City. Namely, on the island of Lošinj, funding has been provided for years for doctors - specialists who regularly come to the island. The City allocates about 500 thousand kuna, and a total of 1.2 million kuna is allocated from the budget to ensure a quality health program. In addition to the health program, they initiated amendments to the spatial planning documentation to start constructing the future Health Center in cooperation with the Primorje-Gorski Kotar County.

The city's priority is housing construction through several different models, such as renting city apartments and city ruins and land for a longer period. The first public call is currently being prepared, in which a dozen families will be provided with such housing. The housing construction is oriented not only to the City of Mali Lošinj but also to all other places that administratively belong to Mali Lošinj.

Unfortunately, due to the unenviable situation caused by the pandemic, Mali Lošinj planned as much as 2.9 million kuna for the social program in the budget for 2021, which is almost 40 percent more than, for example, in 2017. The reason for this is the development of social measures in recent years, but also the amendment of the Decision on the social standard of citizens, which increased the amount of social census, which includes a larger number of socially vulnerable citizens and families while maintaining existing standards in health care and all educational institutions and programs.

In the past few years, through eight different measures, more than five million kuna of support has been awarded to the economy and farmers to preserve jobs, facilitating business for entrepreneurs, and encouraging agricultural production and investment in agricultural infrastructure. Aware of the challenges facing the economy during the pandemic, the City has brought several benefits for entrepreneurs to preserve jobs, such as exemption from taxes on the use of public areas and rent of business premises and exemption from concessions and utilities. 

The agglomeration project is significant, primarily due to rising living standards and environmental protection. The largest investment that will be realized in the coming years in this area, worth as much as 486 million kuna, will eliminate the use of septic tanks and the discharge of wastewater into the environment in all settlements. This will enable the development and improvement of standards for the provision of water services and directly affect the quality of life of all residents.

From 2017 to 2021, 51 projects were applied for European and national funding sources, and 14 letters of support were issued for all projects whose implementation will take place in this area. The total amount of registered projects is HRK 529 million for EU projects and HRK 33 million for national projects. In addition to the financial injection of EU funds, which is necessary for serious projects, Lošinj and Cres have jointly launched an energy transition project at the European Commission for Clean Energy of EU Islands that develops broadband infrastructure, smart water management, and utilities.

The City of Lošinj annually allocates HRK 10 million for the work of institutions, the Public Open University, the City Library and Reading Room, and the Lošinj Museum, which includes the Museum of Apoxyomenos, and for capital projects in culture, which is one-seventh of the City's total budget. Funds have also been provided for the repair of the damaged Osor ramparts. A project for the arrangement of Kaštela is being prepared, for which complete archaeological research of the fort has been carried out, and a project for the maritime collection - the Maritime Museum.

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

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Wednesday, 28 April 2021

Lošinj Gastro Weekend 2021: Local Culinary Spectacle Throughout May

April 28, 2021 - Starting this weekend, the Lošinj Gastro Weekend 2021 prepares a real treat to the visitors of 14 restaurants on the island.

A beautiful island setting of Lošinj, and delicious food next to the Adriatic - all a regular feature of the annual gastro weekend which starts this week and continues until the end of May.

As Losinj Tourist Board website announces, fourteen restaurants from Osor all the way to Mali Lošinj will each weekend have a special offer based on a specific product.

Starting with this Friday, April 30 to Sunday, May 2, the restaurants will have lamb specialties in which the local meat will be offered to satisfy your taste buds.

The next is asparagus weekend (May 7-9), followed by fish dishes (May 14-16), Medditaranian herbs dishes (May 21-23), and finally the Antic cuisine (May 28-30).
Artatore, Baracuda, Bocca Vera, Bora bar, Borik Mediterranean Bar, Deveron, Diana Steakhouse, Eki, Lanterna Grill Mare, Silvana, Silver Bay Televrin, and Veli žal are the restaurants. also covered the story and warned readers to reserve their place in the restaurants to enjoy this lovely culinary spectacle.

„In these moments, the cooperation between every actor in the destination is extremely important to overcome the negative effect of corona crisis as fast as possible. This festival is an ideal opportunity for visitors to meet Lošinj through local specialties. Come and enjoy!“, said Mali Lošinj mayor Ana Kučić, writes Turizmoteka.

"It is our wish to bring our guests almost all gastronomy pleasures the Island of Vitality is known for“, said Dalibor Cvitković, president of Lošinj Tourist Board, referring to the island's nickname.

Learn more about Croatian islands on our TC page.

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

Thursday, 25 March 2021

Development of Health Tourism: High Priority for Croatian Tourist Offer

March 25, 2021 - Both the Croatian Ministry of Tourism and Sports and Croatian tourist boards recognised the development of health tourism as a high priority for Croatia.

To discuss the development of health tourism in Croatia, a branch that is becoming one of the more important Croatian tourist products, Croatian Tourism and Sports minister Nikolina Brnjac met with Kvarner Tourist Board director Irena Peršić Živadinov, Kvarner Health Tourism cluster president Vladimir Možetič, and Zagreb Tourist Board director Martina Bienenfeld. As life expectancy and healthy lifestyle trends increase, the value of health tourism grows. The novel coronavirus only made that growth even more rapid.

"Over 80,000 tourists in 2020 visited Kvarner (well-known for Lošinj Island and its hospital for respiratory issues) for health services. Today, many people are recovering from the consequences of the novel coronavirus there," said the Kvarner Tourist Board director Živadinov.  

"We have all the advantages for further development of health tourism: a good reputation of health services, qualified staff, natural richness of thermal sources, good climate, and long tradition of tourism," said minister Brnjac. Her goal is to pull Croatia out of the perception of a country only good for the summer season.

Croatia offers health services in wellness and medicine tourism. Health tourism is most associated with the regions of Kvarner, Istria, northern Croatia, and Zagreb, but the goal is to include other regions that have the potential for health tourism and to achieve the goals of a strategy that needs to be accomplished by 2030.

Martina Bienenfeld said that the Zagreb Tourist Board is working on the City's recognition as the centre of medical excellence. She pointed out good traffic connections, a mixture of the Mediterranean and mid-Europe climate, as well as good prices of health services as great advantages of Croatia's capital to the international clientele.

The Health Care Bill and Services in Tourism Bill now allow hospitality and health tourism services in hospitals and medical centres. These legal changes are also significant in attracting further investments in the field.

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


Thursday, 11 March 2021

HRK 17.5 Million Set Aside From State Budget To Upgrade Ports in Primorje-Gorski Kotar County

ZAGREB, 11 March, 2021 - Several contracts, worth 17.5 million kuna, for reconstruction of seaports and waterfronts in the broader Rijeka area were signed on Thursday by Sea and Transport Minister Oleg Butković and local authorities.

The contracts envisaging the upgrade of ports on the islands of Krk, Rab and Lošinj as well as the coastal cities of Bakar, Mošćenička Draga, Novi Vinodolski, Crikvenica and Kraljevica are part of the Croatian Coast Renaissance project in which two billion kuna has been invested to date, and the lion's share of this amount has been ensured from EU funds.

Minister Butković said today that investments in seaport infrastructure would continue.

(€1 = HRK 7.582776)

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

Thursday, 11 March 2021

Jadrolinija Shipping Company Adds 54th Ferry to its Fleet

ZAGREB, 11 March, 2021 - The Jadrolinija shipping company added the 54th vessel to its fleet on Thursday - a ferry with a capacity of 600 passengers and 140 vehicles, the company announced in a press release.

The Lošinj ferry, built by the Kraljevica shipyard, will operate between Lopar on the island of Rab and Valbiska on the island of Krk in the northern Adriatic.

The vessel is 97.85 metres long and 15 metres wide and develops a speed of 13 knots.

CEO David Sopta said that fleet development was the most important point in Jadrolinija's development strategy over the last four years. He added that renewing the fleet was necessary for the company to maintain its leading position in the Adriatic and to provide islanders with a more comfortable service. 

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


Sunday, 20 December 2020

PHOTOS: Epic Croatia Weather Photography Stuns The World

December 20, 2020 – The 13 winners of the incredibly popular World Meteorological Organization annual competition have just been announced, and two fine pieces of Croatia weather photography are among them. These spectacular images of Croatia weather photography show all 9 Croatian photographs which reached the final in 2020 and all 10 Croatian finalists who similarly stunned the global audience in 2019

Croatia weather photography: the two newly announced winners from the 2020 competition
LošinjSandroPuncet.jpgPhotographer: Sandro Puncet Photo taken: Losinj island

Zrinka Balabanic Beach Sv.Duh -Pag island.jpgPhotographer: Zrinka Balabanic Photo taken: Pag island

Thanks to its popularity as a tourist destination, lots of people are now used to seeing beautiful photos of Croatia. Although, the images they usually see are of idyllic beaches, cloudless skies, stunning nature and turquoise blue seas. But, as anyone who knows the country will tell you - and as these photos show - Croatia isn't always like that.

Croatia weather photography: the two newly announced runners-up from the 2020 competition
Šime Barešić Drage, Croatia.jpgPhotographer: Šime Barešić Photo taken: Drage, Pakostane

Mislav Bilic (Croatia)Dubrovnik - Lapad Peninsula.jpgPhotographer: Mislav Bilic Photo taken: Lapad Peninsula, Dubrovnik

Out of season, Croatia can experience vastly different weather conditions to those advertised in travel brochures and blogs. And, whenever there's a spectacular weather occurrence, usually there's a photographer out there, braving the elements, trying to capture it.

Over recent years, some of the best Croatia weather photography has featured in the annual competition organised by the World Meteorological Organization. 2020 has been no different.

The other five Croatian finalists from the 2020 competition
Šime Barešić Drage, Croatia222.jpgPhotographer: Šime Barešić Photo taken: Drage, Pakostane

Sandro Puncet Isolated cloudisland Lošinj, Croatia.jpgPhotographer: Sandro Puncet Photo taken: Losinj island

Zoran Stanko Geisler Alm, Dolomites, Italy.jpgPhotographer: Zoran Stanko Photo taken: Geisler Alm, Dolomites, Italy

Maja Kraljik Umag, Croatia.jpgPhotographer: Maja Kraljik Photo taken: Umag, Istria

Igor PopovicRijeka, Croatia.jpgPhotographer: Igor Popovic Photo taken: Rijeka

The winners of this year's competition have just been announced and the two fantastic examples of Croatia weather photography within the top 13 will take their place in the 2021 World Meteorological Organization calendar.

The 10 Croatian finalists from the 2019 competition
Danica Sičič Srobreč, Croatia2019-min.jpgPhotographer: Danica Sičič Photo taken: Srobreč, Dalmatia

Romeo IbriševićPlitvička Jezera2019.jpgPhotographer: Romeo Ibrišević Photo taken: Plitvice Lakes National Park

Božan Štambuk Bundek Zagreb, Croatia2019.jpgPhotographer: Božan Štambuk Photo taken: Bundek park, Zagreb

Miroslava Novak (Pribislavec, Međimurje) 2019.jpgPhotographer: Miroslava Novak Photo taken: Pribislavec, Međimurje

As well as the two winners, two further examples of Croatia weather photography came in the runner-up category, of which there were 12 in total.

Francesca Delbianco  Zagreb, Croatia2019.jpgPhotographer: Francesca Delbianco Photo taken: Zagreb

Ivica Brlić Sava river Davor, Croatia.jpgPhotographer: Ivica Brlić Photo taken: Sava river, Davor, near Slavonski Brod

Nataša ŠafarKarlovac, Rečica2019.jpgPhotographer: Nataša Šafar Photo taken: Rečica, near Karlovac

Romeo IbriševićPlitvička Jezera201922222.jpgPhotographer: Romeo Ibrišević Photo taken: Plitvice Lakes National Park

Over 1000 photographs from all over the world were entered in the 2020 competition. The submissions were narrowed down to a final selection of 70 contenders. As TCN reported back at the start of October, no less than 9 examples of Croatia weather photography made it into the final 70, taken by 7 Croatian photographers.

Danijel PalčićPagIsland2019.jpgPhotographer: Danijel Palčić Photo taken: Pag island

Aleksandar Gospic Ražanac, Croatia2019.jpgPhotographer: Aleksandar Gospic Photo taken: Ražanac

Croatia regularly punches well above its weight in the annual competition, as we can see from these 10 examples of incredible Croatia weather photography that were among the finalists in 2019.

All images courtesy World Meteorological Organisation

Sunday, 27 September 2020

Mali Losinj Tourist Board Takes Corona-Era Tourism Challenges in Stride

September. 27, 2020 - This year, the Mali Losinj Tourist Board made the most of the COVID crisis, from communication, campaigns, ideas, and, most of all, proactivity. The Ferry Free campaign is just one example.

Namely, Goran Rihelj of HRTurizam writes that the Mali Losinj Tourist Board launched the FERRY FREE campaign to attract visitors in September. Thus, for visitors staying in September for more than seven nights, the Tourist Board co-finances return ferry tickets in the facilities that responded to the invitation.

"In our main markets, we have conducted, and still carry out in some, the marketing campaign 'Losinj - Your island oasis' with the action 'Ferry Free' where guests who come in September and stay at least seven nights, we reduce the price of accommodation by taking care of the return ferry ticket for both vehicles and passengers," points out Dalibor Cvitkovic, director of the Mali Losinj Tourist Board.

Because the tourist season ended abruptly as the borders closed,  the course and efficiency of the action were disrupted, but the action has borne concrete results in the current framework.

"During September, following the 'Ferry Free' campaign, we expect to achieve more than 5,000 overnight stays, which is a direct consequence of the campaign. Of course, we expected a greater economic effect, but our main markets are closed, and most of the guests who took advantage of the action were guests from Germany. According to everything, we can be satisfied, and in cooperation with partners, we plan to continue the action next year. On the contrary, we plan to expand it even more, through more terms; in the pre- and post-season, as well as to focus especially on domestic guests," said Cvitkovic.

Yet even in these current frameworks, the action has proven to be successful. If we consider that the average consumption of tourists on Losinj is around 100 euro, then it is slightly lower in the COVID crisis (approximately 80 euro). Thus, we come to a simple calculation that, thanks to this action, 400,000 euro was generated in September - which is more than great success. Of course, this is a rough estimate. And September is still here.

When asked how he would comment on the summer season, Cvitkovic said they were satisfied, following the initial announcements. The bitter taste of unrealized tourist traffic in the second part of the season remained. "We are to blame for the increase in the number of infections, which, of course, reflected on the whole situation. The question is whether we have learned anything this year," adds Cvitkovic.

It is possible to have tourism during the coronavirus pandemic, but we all have to adhere to epidemiological measures, emphasizes Cvitkovic, and this season has shown that, among other things.

"For the first eight months, we achieved an index of 58 in overnight stays, but we hoped that the post-season would have higher numbers. What makes us happy, both in the whole of Croatia and also on Losinj, was that there were no COVID cases in accommodation capacities. Also, despite many people and common rooms, hotel accommodation did not have a single case of new patients, nor were they hotspots. And we know how hotels are generators of consumption and employment and how important they are for every tourist destination," Cvitkovic points out and says that on the other hand, the Headquarters must work on putting out some possible hotspots faster and more efficiently.

"Synergy within the tourism sector is important, and the Institute of Public Health is currently one of our main partners. We have to form teams to be ready to do the testing quickly, so in less than 72 hours, we have test results. This is a key issue for guests. Also, we all need to network much better, to have a health care system behind us, and to make tests and reservations on time - everything was ad hoc this year, but now we have the opportunity to plan the whole system and story in 2021. Now we are much smarter and more prepared for the whole situation and the challenges that tourism brings during the COVID-19 crisis," adds Cvitkovic.

In case one of the guests has coronavirus symptoms, the Mali Losinj Tourist Board, in cooperation with everyone in the destination, has prepared clear protocols this year and an "insurance policy" for guests.

Namely, in case of suspicion of COVID-19, the guest does not go to the doctor alone but must contact the hotel's reception or the owner of the accommodation. Then the questionnaire made by the Losinj Tourist Board is filled in, and the hotel or the landlord calls the doctor and the epidemiological service. Also, Losinj is the first destination in Croatia that covers the cost of accommodation and meals for guests or their families in case of self-isolation.

The lesson for next year is that it is difficult to plan anything. Still, we must be ready to react quickly, as this year, says Cvitkovic and adds: "The situation will change from day to day and therefore we will have more plans because we cannot know in advance what will happen, but we must be ready for all situations," says Cvitkovic and announces that the Losinj Tourist Board is preparing more action protocols for next year.

"We have to be ready to react very quickly and make decisions quickly. That is why synergy is important and that we have prepared several scenarios. From campaigns, communications to protocols. The 2021 season will not be significantly different than this one. Losinj will continue to be primarily a resting place for holidayers and car tourists."

Now we have time to prepare well for next year, and as Cvitkovic says, we are much smarter than at the beginning of the crisis.

"Sun and sea, outdoor, wellness, gastronomy - this form of tourism is good for us, our biggest markets recognize it, but I would like to dedicate more time to the domestic guest. Here, the State could turn Cro cards into Cro vouchers, not to put everything at the employer's expense, but to co-finance partly or 100% as in Slovenia. I think it would be a great opportunity for 2021 to raise the number of domestic guests, because they have no limits with borders, and the domestic guest is more than a good guest. Also, the presentation of new cases from the national level should certainly be viewed in all regions, even destinations. For example, this year, we had zero patients on the island, while in Rijeka, for example, the picture was different. And there were many more such examples," Cvitkovic concludes.

Quick reaction, communication, synergy, proactivity, courage, and readiness for action are the qualities that adorned the Mali Losinj Tourist Board this year. 

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Saturday, 1 June 2019

Lošinj Finalizes Candidacy for European Island of Sport 2020

The final phase of candidacy to give Lošinj the title of the ”European Island of Sport 2020" was presented at the Museum of Apoxyomenos. The prestigious title is awarded by the European Association of ACES Europe, reports HRTurizam on May 31, 2019. 

The idea arose several years ago with the rise of the promotion of Lošinj as a destination for various sports activities. At the beginning of this year, the island was offered an ideal opportunity for this candidacy and developed a conceptual solution in cooperation with the Sports Association of Mali Lošinj and other associates.

The Evaluating Committee (comprised of Gian Franco Lupatelli - President, Hugo Alonso - Secretary, Bilyana Mircheva, Lukaš Vorel Adams and Danilo Montanari) met on the island of Lošinj from May 28-30, 2019 and toured the sports infrastructure across the Lošinj terrain. It was crucial to show that a large number of islanders of different ages used their leisure time to engage in various sports activities.

“It is an indisputable fact that the island of Lošinj, among other things, is known for many accomplished sports results thanks to the meticulous and persistent work of Lošinj athletes. We are therefore honored to be nominated for the title of the European Island of Sport 2020. This extraordinary award will certainly be an incentive for new activities and content to bring sport on the island to a higher level. Numerous investments in sports infrastructure are planned so that we can track the needs of our athletes of all age groups, and we pay particular attention to children and young people,” said Ana Kučić, mayor of Mali Lošinj.

On the occasion of the World Sports Day, which was celebrated for the 27th year in a row, a rich program was held at the Bočac Sports Hall, which aimed to show a multitude of sports activities and clubs on the island.

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

Wednesday, 7 November 2018

Economic Boost: Successful Tourism Company Seeks Expansion, Raises Wages

An economic boost could well be on the cards for Croatian tourism as one of the country's most successful companies within that sector raises employee wages and aims for further expansion for 2019's tourist season.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 5th of November, 2018, after a successful seaso, one of the most successful tourist companies in Croatia, the Jadranka Group from Lošinj, is investing in the salaries of its employees and is looking for reinforcements for next season.

Jadranka Group's education program includes in-house workshops, theoretical lectures and practical training. Among them, the Gastro Academy stands out, and employees are encouraged to focus on improving the skills needed for high-level service at a five-star level.

With internal education, employees have the opportunity to expand their knowledge and skills and thus attend specialised programs held in external institutions for highly specialised professions such as those in concierge and bartending, to name a couple. Therefore, it comes as no real surprise that in Jadranka hotels, the daughter company of the Jadranka Group, the number of employees has doubled since 2009.

"We believe that salary increases are a logical step in developing the group's business and employee relationships, which are key factors for successful business operations. In the hotel and camping industry, we're constantly increasing from year to year so that along with the improvement of living and working conditions, we give a kind of acknowledgment and gratitude to our employees for our collective success. In addition, this year, we've increased the basic salaries in our commercial sector, for retail, wholesale and food production,'' said Sanjin Šolić, the CEO of the Jadranka Group, who celebrated 30 years of work in Jadranka last year.

When speaking about an economic boost, raising salaries and improving employee conditions come above all else.

Mr. Solić emphasised that one of the group's priorities is to ensure the proper conditions for seasonal employees as soon as possible. With this aim, the raising of the level of the tourist facilities to a four-star level began, in a move which will provide the employees with adequate accommodation and ensure much more enjoyable living conditions during their stay and time spent working there in Lošinj.

Jadranka Group's good attitude towards their seasonal workers speaks volumes in support of the fact that the group is by far one of the most desirable employers on the Croatian coast and islands.

In a further economic boost for the workers and the company, at the end of the season, they offer those workers a type of permanent status, which is a guaranteed job for the next year, as well as all of the rights enjoyed by permanent employees. Jadranka Group employs some 700 permanent employees, while during the tourist season the total number of employees stands at about 1,600, a large number of those employees are deployed in the group's daughters-businesses.

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Tuesday, 5 September 2017

31st Euro-African Spearfishing Championship to Take Place in Lošinj

This year, Mali Lošinj will be the host of the 31st edition of Euro-African Spearfishing Championship from 13th to 17th of September

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