Wednesday, 15 September 2021

Racism in Dubrovnik? Mayor Mato Franković Responds to Actress Gabrielle Union

September 15, 2021 - Mayor Mato Franković sent a letter to famous American actress Gabrielle Union, responding to a story in her new memoir that details racism in Dubrovnik when she visited in 2019.

Dubrovnik Mayor Mato Franković sent an open letter to famous American actress Gabrielle Union, who in her new memoirs recalled an unpleasant racially conditioned incident she experienced during a summer vacation in Croatia, reports Slobodna Dalmacija

"Dear Ms. Union, I was quite surprised by your statement that during your stay in Dubrovnik you had an unpleasant experience where you, I quote 'experienced a large amount of hatred and threats of violence,' as you say, in a club full of racist symbols and neo-Nazis who were present.

On behalf of the City of Dubrovnik, the people of Dubrovnik, and myself, I express my strongest condemnation of such a statement and outrage at any messages of hatred and violence. Dubrovnik has always been an open city where racist segregation clubs have never existed. Dubrovnik is a city that actually has a single nightclub that is one of the best clubs in Europe.

Dubrovnik is a city of highly tolerant people, culture, and history that has been developed on the Dubrovnik cliff for more than a millennium. That is why we are surprised by such a primitive and individual act.

Moreover, we are proud that our rich history is adorned by the fact that the Republic of Dubrovnik banned the slave trade in 1416, long before the United States did so, even though the republic's main economic branches were maritime trade. As in many ways, the people of Dubrovnik were already ahead of their time in respecting human life and human rights. The notion of ‘freedom’ (libertas, libertà) is one of the key motives in the political tradition of old Dubrovnik that has survived to this day.

I believe that you are aware that your statement on the isolated case has caused great damage to Dubrovnik and all its citizens, who will get the impression that they belong to a system of values that Dubrovnik and its citizens have never inherited. Dubrovnik, on the contrary, is a city that has always accepted all people, and our fellow citizens treat everyone like good hosts. Therefore, your recollection about the event that you stated happened two years ago took us by surprise, especially because there is no such club as you describe in Dubrovnik.

Therefore, dear Mrs. Union, I again express my regret for the isolated incident that happened to you in our city. I apologize to you and at the same time emphasize that Dubrovnik has always been and will be in the future a city of freedom, equality, and respect for all," said Dubrovnik mayor Mato Franković.

Namely, Union was in Dubrovnik two years ago with actress Jessica Alba at NEM. In her memoirs, “We're Going to Need More Wine,” she recalled a ‘terrifying’ racist incident she experienced in Dubrovnik. The actress reportedly got into what she thought was a gay bar with a group of friends, but after looking around, they realized they were surrounded by people they perceived as ‘neo-Nazis’ who immediately threatened them.

"I have never experienced such a level of hatred and the threat of physical violence," Union recalled, adding that the group followed them down the street as they left.

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

Sunday, 11 July 2021

Mayor Mato Franković Invites All Brits to Dubrovnik from July 19

July 11, 2021 - Dubrovnik Mayor Mato Franković has invited all Brits to Dubrovnik from July 19, when self-isolation measures are lifted for amber list countries.  

Dubrovnik Mayor Mato Franković gave a statement to Times Radio in which he invited the British market to vacation in Dubrovnik this summer, reports HRTurizam.

Namely, the UK authorities have made a new decision for the travel of their citizens, according to which from July 19, those returning from countries from the "amber list" and are vaccinated with two doses or are under 18, will no longer have to self isolate for 10 days after returning to the country, which includes returning from Croatia.

For Dubrovnik, the decision is critical given that it is the British market that holds the leading position in the number of tourist arrivals in the city.

"This is great news, and we see that a lot of European countries are going in that direction. Of course, we still need to be careful about the presence of the Delta Variant, but with both doses of the vaccine, people can be free to travel and enjoy. I must also say that we started direct flights with London even before this decision of the UK government and that the plane was full," said Mayor Franković in an interview with journalist Carole Walker.

She was also interested in what measures are in force and what the situation is in Dubrovnik today.

"Everything is open, masks should be worn indoors, and for clubs that gather more visitors, there is a rule of entry with a negative test or both doses of vaccine received," the mayor explained.

He also invited the British to come to Dubrovnik because they are having a warm summer and no crowds at the moment, so this time is an opportunity for a nice and pleasant vacation.

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.

Friday, 2 July 2021

Dubrovnik Mayor Cites Vaccinations as Crucial in Current Situation

2 July 2021 - Dubrovnik Mayor Mato Frankovic appeared on the N1 network’s central news show Dnevnik. In his interview, he was mostly focused on the current situation in Dubrovnik's tourism.

Dubrovnik is a world-famous destination and has been for quite some time. But, the city also lacks other notable industries contributing to the local economy. With the current situation on the city’s most important travel market, that of the UK, it is clear things are not looking great for Dubrovnik.

Frankovic reflected on the difficulties of getting guests from the UK at the moment. He did emphasize concerns over the Delta strain of the COVID19 virus that seems to be dominant in Britain. In his words, opening towards the British market this year needs to be slow and careful. In a couple of days the first British Airways flight of the season is coming to Dubrovnik from the UK. British Airways has been one of the most important airlines for Dubrovnik’s post-Homeland War tourism boom. This year, many in Dubrovnik are eager to see the company back at the local airport.

Fight for Tourism Numbers

The main goal for this season, according to Frankovic, is getting the number of fully vaccinated people up as soon as possible. In his words, we might be facing another abrupt end to the tourism season if the vaccination numbers don’t improve. The mayor also said over 47% of the general population has had vaccinations and around 30% of people have antibodies already. This will not suffice, according to him.

As reported on N1’s official website, Frankovic ultimately stated: “By vaccinating we are keeping the economy alive and putting bread on the table of each Croatian family. I am calling upon the moral responsibility of all those involved in the business.”

Quite dramatic from Dubrovnik's mayor as the city enters July and sees the beginning of direct flights from USA. Still, considering the city streets, beaches and restaurants are still half-empty, it comes as no surprise he is getting anxious about Dubrovnik’s tourism and hospitality numbers.

For all you need to know about coronavirus specific to Croatia, make sure to bookmark our dedicated COVID-19 section and choose your preferred language.

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

 

Monday, 28 June 2021

Dubrovnik Mayor Mato Frankovic Praised by CLIA's Kelly Craighead

June the 28th, 2021 - Dubrovnik Mayor Mato Frankovic has been praised by the Cruise Line International Association's director Kelly Craighead as Croatia's southernmost city sees cruise tourism make a gradual but steady return to its waters.

As Morski writes, Kelly Craighead sent a letter to Dubrovnik Mayor Mato Frankovic in which, among other things, she thanked him for his engagement because the City of Dubrovnik, despite the ongoing coronavirus crisis, stood firmly by this organisation.

''The coronavirus pandemic has brought some new challenges to everyone, but I'm glad that we've continued our cooperation during this time, which is why I'm sure that we will soon be able to intensify our joint efforts in responsible and sustainable tourism management in this destination,'' said Craighead, noting that sustainability remains very much a priority on the CLIA's list.

''We're really pleased that we managed to restart our operations around the world, including in Dubrovnik,'' she writes, thanking Dubrovnik Mayor Mato Frankovic and his team for their engagement and role they played in restarting the business of cruise companies operating in Croatia, which is the result of lifting the ban on passenger ships operating as international cruises in Croatian ports. The above was Dubrovnik Mayor Mato Frankovic's own initiative.

In her letter, the leader of the umbrella and largest association of the cruise industry, which represents 95% of the total market, states, among other things, that the city administration headed by Mayor Frankovic and Deputy Jelko Tepsic is a longtime partner of CLIA.

''We're proud of the Cooperation Agreement we signed back in July 2019 and everything we have achieved together so far, and the partnership and cooperation between CLIA and the City of Dubrovnik is a model for us successful destination management and engagement with local communities, we aren't going to miss the opportunity make it public,'' wrote Kelly Craighead.

In conclusion, Craighead is pleased that the cruise industry will in part contribute to the economic recovery of Dubrovnik and she thanked Dubrovnik Mayor Mato Frankovic for being a strong advocate of the interests of his city, sustainable tourism and for remaining a friend of the CLIA and the cruise industry as a whole.

For more, follow our lifestyle section.

Friday, 11 June 2021

First Big Dubrovnik Cruise Ship Arrives after Pandemic Break

11 June, 2021 - The very first large Dubrovnik cruise ship with passengers on board since the start of the pandemic arrrived today. This is a pieces of news many people in Dubrovnik have been waiting for for quite some time.

MSC Orchestra arrived to Dubrovnik this morning. It is the first big Dubrovnik cruise ship to bring passengers into the city after a long and costly silent period caused by the pandemic. This 294m long behemoth can house 2550 passengers in its 1275 cabins. It is not new to Dubrovnik as MSC ships are some of the most commonly seen cruise ships in the city's port. With the city’s tourism sector feeding so many local Dubrovnik families, the long awaited arrival of a thousand or so guests at one time is seen as nothing short of a blessing. This is exactly why Dubrovnik’s mayor Mato Frankovic was quick to point out the arrival of the ship and its significance on his social media.

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Source: Mato Frankovic / Facebook

Dubrovnik’s love/hate relationship with modern day cruise ships has been an ongoing state of being for the last couple of decades or so. The cruise ship industry brought to the city a quick way of recuperating large numbers of guests after the Croatian Homeland war of the 1990’s, which left the city’s economy in a total shambles. Soon after the first ships started arriving back to Dubrovnik, it became clear that Croatia's southernmost city is a perfect short stop port for many. Cruise ships brought with them large number of guests and did wonders in prolonging the tourist season.

Of course, it’s not all good news. A large amount of people coming to the city for a short time means crowded streets and traffic jams once again, an old Dubrovnik problem. For many, the experience of Dubrovnik became lessened by the fact the movement along the main areas was at times very difficult. Overcrowding and the strain placed on the infrastructure became a real issue. Dubrovnik’s image of a pleasant destination perfect for longer stays is now under threat.

What’s Next?

With all this being said, it will be very interesting to see how cruise ships are going to fit into Dubrovnik’s tourism picture this year. There will be a few of them, most probably with reduced capacity and sales. This might be a unique opportunity to see whether cruise ships and Dubrovnik can finally settle their differences.

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

Monday, 17 May 2021

Elections in Dubrovnik: Winners Expected, Exciting Race for Runners Up

May 17, 2021 – Sunday welcomed the Croatian local elections. The elected officials will hold the political power on city and county levels which in many ways affects the everyday lives of Croatian people more than the national parliament or the president. A look at the elections in Dubrovnik. 

Croatian election results are the main topic this Monday. It has been a slow and quiet campaign compared to most previous ones. This is mainly due to the pandemic and the current financial situation. Without all the bells and whistles, there were some results that surprised the general public. Still, the majority of the winners were as expected. For the vast majority of the towns and counties, the election process is not over. Many of them will have to go into second round of voting to find new mayors and county prefects. The top two candidates with the most votes in the first round will go over to the runoffs for a head-to-head election showdown.

Race for Mayor

As reported by Dubrovacki Vjesnik, both Dubrovnik and Dubrovnik-Neretva County will have to go into runoffs in order to elect the mayor of Dubrovnik and the county prefect. On the city and county level in the Dubrovnik area, the Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) is starting round two from the winning position. Mato Frankovic, reigning mayor of Dubrovnik, won the popular vote in the city with 36,7% of votes. Political veteran, Pero Vican finished behind him with 13,54% of votes. He won second place after a neck and neck battle with the former mayor of Dubrovnik, Andro Vlahusic. Considering the gap in results between Frankovic and Vican, the second round of Dubrovnik's race for mayor should confirm the results of the first one. However, everybody in Dubrovnik knows Pero Vican is not a politician to be underestimated.

Results on the County Level

Current county prefect, HDZ's Nikola Dobroslavic, took the win in the first round of voting with an impressive 40,12% of votes. The runner-up was Most party's Bozo Petrov with 21,11%. Petrov is a young, but already established politician. He is a current member of the Croatian Parliament and the leader of the Most party. He is a considerably younger and less experienced competitor than Dobroslavic. With this in mind, it will be an exciting second round of voting in Dubrovnik-Neretva County. The main dilemma before the voters is whether they want more of the same or are looking for a change.

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

Thursday, 18 March 2021

Opposition Slams Liberalisation of Tourist Guide Market

ZAGREB, 18 March, 2021 - The parliamentary opposition on Thursday strongly criticised the opening of the domestic labour market to tourist guides from other EU countries, saying they often did not have the required qualifications nor could they do as good a job as domestic guides.

Marin Miletić (Bridge) said a bill of amendments to the law on tourism services would allow foreign guides to present Croatia without sufficient education. "Such a presentation will be superficial and disorganised, and the tourist experience incomplete."

Hrvoje Zekanović (Sovereignists) said what guides said was important but that the way they spoke about a locality, whether it was with love, a stand and empathy, was much more important.

Katica Glamuzina (Social Democrats) said the bill did not take into accounts the remarks made by tourist guides and professionals, while her party colleague Boška Ban Vlahek said it destroyed the profession of Croatia's 5,500 guides.

Mato Franković of the ruling HDZ said that although he felt that Croatia should align with European regulations, the bill was not fully worked out regarding tourist guides.

"It's not unimportant who will guide groups in protected localities and how, nor is it enough to pass an exam in a couple of months and guide, for example, the sightseeing of Dubrovnik," he said, announcing amendments for stricter educational requirements for foreign guides.

Marijana Balić (HDZ) said it was important to prevent a potential misinterpretation of Croatian history and that special attention should be paid to localities of special respect such as Vukovar.

Only guides who pass Croatian language exam at protected localities

Tourism Ministry state secretary Tonči Glavina said only licenced guides who pass a Croatian language exam would be able to work in Croatia's 550-plus protected localities.

"That course will be available only in Croatia and the exam will be only in Croatian in front of a commission including our tourist guides," he said, defending the bill.

He said that guides coming with a group, from Germany for example, would be able to guide the group only in a general public area, talking about Split or Šibenik in general, for example, while only licenced guides would be allowed to work in protected localities.

The only change the bill brings is that foreign guides will not have to pass a special exam for Croatia's 21 counties but for regions, or another model will be used, Glavina said.

About 70 foreign guides stay in Croatia annually and they do so for two to three weeks, he said.

The law on tourism services is being amended due to two violations of EU law regarding package travel and the regulation of the profession of tourist guide.

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

Friday, 12 March 2021

Dubrovnik Mayor Mato Frankovic on Digital Nomads, US Flights, 2021 Season

March 12, 2021 - With the pandemic affecting its 2020 tourist season more than most of Croatia, Dubrovnik is actively gearing up for new markets and strategies for 2021. TCN caught up with Dubrovnik Mayor Mato Frankovic.

Nowhere suffered more in Croatian tourism last year than its most famous destination - Dubrovnik. Located in the far south of the country, it is heavily reliant on flight and cruise ship tourism for the bulk of its tourism business. Unlike more northern destinations in Croatia which were more accessible by car, Dubrovnik was forced into a rethink on its tourism strategy to deal with the current pandemic realities. 

Rather than sit back and hope for the best, Dubrovnik Mayor Mato Frankovic has taken the initiative to position the Pearl of the Adriatic as a prime destination in the emerging digital nomad tourism opportunity. Dubrovnik hosted Croatia's first-ever digital nomad conference in October last year, Dubrovnik for Digital Nomads, an event organised by Saltwater Nomads with support from TCN. 

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(Applications for the competition close on March 31 - you can learn more about it and apply here).

Inspired by the success of that conference and the global interest it generated, the Dubrovnik Mayor and his team have been working closely with Saltwater Nomads and TCN to develop a strategy to attract remote workers to the city. Last week, the Dubrovnik Digital Nomads-in-Residence competition was launched, the first of its kind in the world.

TCN caught up with the Dubrovnik Mayor to talk more about that, as well as the 2021 season prognosis, rumours of direct flights from New York, Dubrovnik's perception of an expensive destination, and more. 

1. You are one of the most famous destinations in the world, heavily reliant on cruise and flight tourism. What was the full effect of the pandemic on Dubrovnik tourism last year?

The figures are the best thing to look at when it comes to testifying to the situation, and they say that Dubrovnik ended the year with 20 percent of the total number of overnight stays when comparing to 2019. The fact that we depend the most on flights hit us the hardest. On top of that, among the most affected in the entire tourism industry is the cruise industry, which also makes up a significant part of tourism in Dubrovnik.

2. In October, you hosted Croatia's first-ever digital nomad conference. Tell us about the initiative and the opportunity for your city.

Turning Dubrovnik towards digital nomads is part of a serious focus being placed on diversifying our tourist offer and developing new facilities. The COVID-19 pandemic has significantly affected tourism-related economies, and Dubrovnik has felt significant consequences in this regard. At the same time, we have become aware of the fact of just how many people work from home today and how their numbers will only continue to grow over time, and that there are a certain number of people who can do their job from anywhere in the world. Due to this we noticed the possibility of expanding our offer to people who want to stay in a beautiful and comfortable environment, be on a holiday of sorts, and still do their jobs online.

In addition, these are special types of tourists who stay in a destination for longer than average and want to participate in local life by consuming content intended for the local population, not exclusively for tourists. In this sense, the promotion that is realised through the competition we launched is extremely important to us, especially if we know that a large number of influencers are among those individuals.

3. The Dubrovnik Nomad-in-Residence competition is a unique concept. Tell us a little about the type of applicant you are hoping to attract and what your expectations are from the programme. 

We expect the programme to map Dubrovnik out as a desirable destination for digital nomads. We want to get first-hand feedback on what is good for digital nomads in Dubrovnik and what needs to be improved. We also expect that in this way we´ll be able to promote the city as a tourist and destination for digital nomads and we believe that all those who will come to stay here will also become ambassadors of Dubrovnik across the world.

4. If you had to summarise in a sentence why Dubrovnik is a great place for digital nomads, what would you say?

I´d say that Dubrovnik has everything you need for a pleasant time when it comes to both working and staying here - beautiful surroundings and a good internet connection, as well as everything that makes life somewhere more beautiful, from the tradition of living in the Mediterranean to the local customs to the very many sunny days per year.

5. There are perceptions in some quarters that Dubrovnik is very expensive and there is not much to do once you walk through the old town. What would you say to that?

Of course, Dubrovnik has its exclusive facilities and offers, as have all of the world's top destinations. But Dubrovnik has an offer for everyone, from hostels and private accommodation to facilities in attractive and expensive positions, from exclusive restaurants to pleasant city cafes, where Dubrovnik´s locals sit down to drink their favourite coffee.

The historic core itself has so many nooks and crannies that you can go on discovering places for weeks, there are also numerous museums and events. For example, if you are here in winter, you simply have to feel what Christmas in Dubrovnik is like, as well as our thousand-year-long tradition related to the Feast of Sveti Vlaho, the patron saint of Dubrovnik, whom we celebrate on February the 3rd. (You can read more about TCN's impressions of a visit to the Feast of St Blaise a few years ago here).

In the immediate vicinity near the historic centre of the city is the Lokrum reserve, the Arboretum in Trsteno, the lookout on Srdj, the Elafiti islands with their sandy beaches. The advantage of Dubrovnik is its truly phenomenal environment, from Konavle to Peljesac and the island of Korcula, which both offer, for example, excellent indigenous varieties of wine, great local gastronomy and natural features. There is also the island of Mljet where there is a national park with gorgeous lakes. There is also the very close proximity of Bosnia and Herzegovina and Montenegro, which can also be interesting for day trips.

6. Dubrovnik has had some excellent coverage in the US media over the last year, including 12.5 million viewers on ABC's Good Morning America, and you currently have an ongoing campaign in 73 US airports. How important is the American market to Dubrovnik?

Along with the British, the Americans are our most important guests. That market is extremely important to us and Americans love Dubrovnik a lot. That´s why there is constant investment in terms of promotion over on the American market. The fact that Croatia was the only country open to American tourists in the whole of the European Union last year speaks volumes about how important the US is to us.

7. Direct flights from the States would obviously help. A new story of a direct flight to Dubrovnik from New York surfaced this week, and Philadelphia and Dubrovnik were connected before the pandemic. Can you share any updates?

That was a fantastic announcement and we certainly support such initiatives. However, neither we nor the Dubrovnik Airport have yet had any final confirmation of these flights. If those announcements really come to fruition, it will be great for tourism here and for those Americans who want to come to Dubrovnik.

8. And finally, what is your prognosis for this season? Will the cruise ships return? And are the days of overtourism in your city gone forever?

The good news is that since March the 1st, the bans on cruise ships to Croatian ports was lifted. It should be noted that cruise companies have invested a lot in passenger safety and we certainly have good expectations in that regard, considering that cruisers should start setting off in May.

Of course, the situation in tourism will mostly depend on the further development of the coronavirus pandemic, but the fact is that we ourselves are working hard to ensure the best possible conditions and to facilitate a smooth arrival in Croatia for tourists. In our most important markets, vaccination is progressing very well, so I´m optimistic and expect that we could have higher numbers in June. Dubrovnik is certainly working a lot on health security and that is a very important factor for us.

As far as overtourism is concerned, in the period before the pandemic we continuously worked on measures to combat that issue through the Respect the City project and we really laid down a good foundation for the future, so we have all the predispositions for the development of sustainable tourism. This period we´re going through now has allowed us to prioritise things and continue with the activities of this project because although we now have a large reduction in the number of tourists, we haven´t given up on the direction of sustainable tourism. We can say that we have recognised the pandemic as an opportunity to "reset".

****

The deadline to apply for the Dubrovnik Digital Nomads-in-Residence competition is March 31. You can learn more about the requirements and apply on the Saltwater Nomads website.

The Dubrovnik Digital Nomads-in-Residence competition is a partnership between the City of Dubrovnik, Dubrovnik Tourist Board, Croatian National Tourist Board, Saltwater Nomads and Total Croatia News. 

Looking to learn more about Dubrovnik? Check out the fully updated Total Croatia Dubrovnik in a Page guide

Tuesday, 9 March 2021

Croatia Should Welcome Vaccinated UK Tourists without Restrictions, Says Dubrovnik Mayor

March 9, 2021 - Dubrovnik Mayor Mato Franović announced on Monday that Croatia should welcome vaccinated UK tourists without restrictions and all Britons who overcame COVID-19 or have a negative PCR test from May 1, 2021. 

HRTurizam writes that the UK is currently the focus of all tourist destinations.

It is also among the top three countries globally in terms of vaccinating citizens, with only Israel and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) vaccinating more citizens. By Sunday, at least 21 million Britons were given their first dose. About 400,000 citizens are vaccinated every week, which is why all tourist countries are turning directly to the British market, from Greece, the Canary Islands, Turkey, Cyprus, Spain, and many other countries, because it is in British tourists that should travel en masse first due to high vaccination coverage.

The mayor of Dubrovnik, Mato Franković, is keeping this in mind. After a recent initiative to enable tourists at Croatian airports to be tested for COVID, he launched a new initiative aimed precisely at tourists from Great Britain.

Namely, Franković sent a proposal to the competent ministries to agree with the United Kingdom for British guests.

All Britons who received two doses of vaccine overcame COVID-19 or have a negative PCR test would be allowed to come to Croatia on vacation without restrictions. May 1.

"The UK market is the most important tourist market in the city of Dubrovnik, and since the UK left the European Union, its guests are considered guests from third countries, and the quarantine obligation is in force upon arrival at the destination. Given that such a measure could seriously jeopardize the season, this proposal was made, following the examples of Cyprus and Portugal that have concluded such agreements," said Franković, adding that leading British media report almost daily on which European Union countries the British are allowed to enter without having to quarantine upon arrival.

The consequences of Dubrovnik's inclusion on the UK red list are most clearly shown by the numbers of arrivals, according to which Dubrovnik ended 2020 with 20% of the total number of overnight stays compared to the number of overnight stays in 2019, concluded Franković.

Both initiatives are focused on air guests because the city of Dubrovnik is extremely dependent on air traffic. Still, they also show the mayor's proactivity and determination to define some things much faster. There is not much time until summer, and everyone is currently targeting the UK market with marketing messages. 

The European Union will present a "digital green pass" on March 17, i.e., to present the framework of the Member States' decision regarding Covid passports and all other open issues regarding opening to tourism. It is also important to point out that according to Minister Brnjac, Croatia is considering a model that would allow tourists to be tested by rapid antigen tests, as well as PCR testing at several points, which will be decided in cooperation with regional tourist boards and the Croatian Institute of Public Health.

On the topic of introducing digital green passports that would enable easier travel, and at the same time provide air destinations with a faster tourist recovery, Dubrovnik Mayor Mato Franković held a meeting with the Director-General of the European Region of Airports Council International Olivier Jankovec and the president of the Air Transport Association at the Croatian Chamber of Commerce, Tonči Peović.

Olivier Jankovec informed Mayor Franković that 100 European airports had introduced COVID testing so far. Still, he believes that the full implementation of the system requires urgent harmonization of recognizing rapid antigen tests between the EU member states, allowing easier travel.

On the other hand, Mayor Franković presented the initiatives and protocols proposed by the City of Dubrovnik, which relate to travel from all countries, regardless of whether they are part of the EU or not. The proposal introduces the rules according to the zones 'green', 'orange' and 'red,' and following them; guests would have certain conditions for coming to Croatia. Thus, the goal is not to stop travel but to make it possible for everyone under certain conditions.

Do you believe that Croatia should welcome vaccinated UK tourists without restrictions from May 1 this year?

For the latest travel info, bookmark our main travel info article, which is updated daily

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Thursday, 25 February 2021

Bookings for Dubrovnik Explode after Boris Johnson's Plan to Ease Lockdown

February 25, 2021 - Bookings for Dubrovnik explode after Boris Johnson's plan to end restrictions by June 21. 

Jutarnji List reports that British Prime Minister Boris Johnson's announcement that England is finally moving towards easing measures had a tremendous effect on tourism. According to British and world media, the world's largest travel company TUI recorded an increase in bookings from the British market by as much as 600 percent compared to previous days. Good numbers are coming from other companies.

EasyJet, for example, says that demands from the British market have tripled, and Thomas Cook is recording a 75 percent increase in traffic from the British market.

British interest in travel has also found Croatia, especially Dubrovnik, which is very much looking forward to welcoming Brits on holiday this year.

As Dubrovnik Mayor Mato Franković confirmed for Jutarnji List, booking from the British market increased immediately after Johnson's announcement that England plans to implement the measures in four phases, with the ultimate goal of abolishing all measures by June 21.

"Of course, immediately after that announcement, we felt the effect. Dubrovnik hoteliers have confirmed an increase in bookings from the British market in the amount of 30 to 40 percent compared to previous days, which makes us especially happy. These bookings mostly refer to the summer season, but hoteliers are hoping for a good September and October, especially with regard to vaccinations," Franković said.

According to foreign media reports, most Britons eagerly awaiting travel this year will, logically, opt for their traditional markets - Greece, Spain, Turkey, but Portugal and Italy will also benefit, according to Skyscanner, which on the day of Johnson's announcement saw growth in bookings of more than 100 percent compared to the day before.

Good announcements from the British market come just ten days after TUI UK announced that it would re-launch 15 lines to Croatia from May to three airports, Pula, Dubrovnik, and Split. There will be five direct daily lines from five UK cities to Pula from May to October, eight daily lines from eight UK cities to Dubrovnik, and two daily lines to Split. 

The return of TUI UK is good news for domestic tourism after traffic between these two markets was suspended last year, so in the 2021 season, if the epidemiological situation does not worsen, higher numbers of British tourists are expected than last year.

In the 2020 season, namely, only 127,129 Britons were recorded in Croatia, of which they achieved 685,000 overnight stays, only 14.8 percent of the year before.

In 2019, 898,000 Britons stayed in Croatia, recording 4.6 million overnight stays.

For the latest travel info, bookmark our main travel info article, which is updated daily

Read the Croatian Travel Update in your language - now available in 24 languages.

Join the Total Croatia Travel INFO Viber community.

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