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.


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. 


(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?

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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.

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Monday, 8 February 2021

Mayor Mato Franković Announces Plan to Save Tourist Season in Dubrovnik

February 8, 2021 - Mayor Mato Franković has announced a plan to save the tourist season in Dubrovnik this summer.

Jutarnji List reports that given the efforts made by the United Kingdom and the United States to vaccinate their populations, it should come as no surprise that European tourism-dependent countries were among the first to dive into precisely those markets, believing they could logically be among the first to send travelers.

This also includes Greece, a destination that is already dependent on the British market, which in recent days has begun to announce that it is ready to lift the quarantine for all tourists who can prove that they are immune to coronavirus when entering the country. According to current Greek announcements, they are ready to lift the quarantine for British tourists in early May, and the Greek government is convinced that the vaccination of the British market will save them in the 2021 season.

However, other Mediterranean destinations will likely try to grab their share of British and American travelers, including Dubrovnik, which is desperate to save the summer of 2021 after an unsuccessful 2020.

Moreover, Dubrovnik Mayor Mato Franković says that the Israeli market is also important for Dubrovnik, as they also have a high vaccination rate and were among the last to cancel flights to Dubrovnik.

More hope is placed in the British and Americans, and Dubrovnik has already received confirmation that EasyJet, British Airways, and Jet2Com will fly to the city this season. The Philadelphia - Dubrovnik line, which unfortunately only operated season, will certainly not be renewed yet this year.

"We have agreed on everything with the British market, although at the moment, it is a matter of waiting until the trips are formally and legally renewed, and we also have an agreement with the British TUI, which will bring passengers to Dubrovnik with their own planes. We are planning strong marketing in the UK market, but we are waiting for the right moment because it is too early to do so while we are in lockdown. For now, we are counting on the end of June, or the beginning of July and market research shows great interest from passengers," said Franković, adding that the first deals with the American market have already been contracted.

Namely, the Swiss cruiser company Viking Cruises will organize air bridges to Dubrovnik to bring American tourists to the city. They will board cruisers and sail to Split, Šibenik, Zadar, and back to Dubrovnik.

According to Franković, the company has developed strict health protocols that it has already presented to the National Headquarters and the Croatian Institute of Public Health, which include PCR testing of passengers before boarding the plane, new testing before boarding a cruise ship in Dubrovnik, and then daily testing during the trip.

Passengers would stay in Dubrovnik for a part of the trip. Still, these will be so-called 'bubble groups' that will not be able to freely see the city or mix with Dubrovnik residents and local tourists but will have separate visits to museums and other cultural and other institutions.

"We had already planned to start with these groups from February, but due to the situation with the virus, we have postponed everything until March, so we will see what the situation will be like then," Franković explained. He noted that the arrival of Viking Cruises would be a big step forward, given that a ban on cruising has been in force in Croatia for six months now.

Apart from Dubrovnik, American and British tourists are also important for Split. Still, in principle, Croatia will try to use the status of a car destination this year as well, which means relying on Germans, Slovenes, Austrians, Italians, Poles, Czechs, and others.

The Ministry of Tourism is closely monitoring the epidemiological situation in Croatia's strongest markets, and it seems good so far. However, Jutarnji has learned that the organization of the summer season will require waiting for the EU to take a border crossing stance.

"We reckon that this will be standardized at the Union level so that we do not have the situation this season as the Dutch did last year when they decided to put Croatia on the orange list in mid-July. We now see that the Danes are announcing Covid passports, but we are moving in the direction of regulating this at the whole community level so that there is no rebound. Of course, that means that the Greeks will have to abide by these rules," says Jutarnji's source.

In the meantime, the Croatian Headquarters is announcing easing measures at the local level, which would enable the relaxation to be gradual and thus minimally endanger the tourist season.

The cautious opening could be launched before the beginning of summer, and only in counties with a good epidemiological situation. Still, a significant influx of tourists and a full opening is not counted before the beginning of June.

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

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Thursday, 15 October 2020

Mayor Mato Frankovic Interview: Dubrovnik Welcomes Digital Nomads

October 15, 2020 - Dubrovnik Mayor Mato Frankovic has been very active promoting his city as a digital nomad destination. TCN catches up with him ahead of the Dubrovnik for Digital Nomads conference which starts tomorrow. 

One of the most interesting initiatives I have been involved with this year has been the push to develop Croatia as a destination for digital nomads. With more and more people working in the same office globally (the Internet), many of whom who are looking for lifestyle rather than living in the same village, and with Croatia the lifestyle capital of Europe, the potential to match up the two opens up some rather exciting new options for Croatian tourism. 

The imminent arrival of a digital nomad visa for Croatia (only the 5th in the world, and the second after Estonia) will make Croatia an even more viable option, and a debt of gratitude is owed to Dutch entrepreneur Jan de Jong for his successful campaign which resulted in Prime Minister Plenkovic tweeting his plan to introduce the visa just 44 days after receiving an open letter on Linked in from de Jong. 

Other officials have been very quick to react to the new opportunity as well, among them Dubrovnik Mayor, with whom I met in late July with a digital nomad concept for Dubrovnik. 


Having had many meetings with public officials over the years in Croatia, I was not quite prepared for what happened next. Not only did the mayor grasp the essence of the opportunity, but he agreed in principle to support the initiative during the meeting, and the wheels were set in motion the very next day.  

The results of that meeting will be twofold - the conference starting tomorrow as part of European Freelancer Week, and an international competition for digital nomads to be guests of Dubrovnik next Spring.  

  1. Firstly, a quick word on the 2020 tourist season, which was the most challenging in living memory. As a flight destination and with no cruise ships, Dubrovnik suffered more than most. Can you give us a little insight into how it was, as well as any positives?

The start of the tourist season coincided with the ending of lockdown, so June and July weren't bad. We coped well with COVID-19. For 60 days we didn't have any cases of infection, and we had very good announcements for September and October. With the opening, we accepted the risk that more people could be infected, and when the first indications appeared that the UK would put us on the red list, I wrote to Prime Minister Johnson to look at the data by regions and counties. But after four weeks, we ended up on the red list even though we were doing everything in our power. The numbers of those infected were crucial.

  1. From undertourism to overtourism. The change in tourism from last year to this could not have been starker. How have the events of 2020 shaped your thinking regarding developing tourism in Dubrovnik in the future?

At the beginning of my mandate, I was faced with the challenge of an excessive number of guests, and at the end of my mandate, we are facing a shortage of guests. I see this whole situation as an opportunity for a fresh, clean start. I believe that we will get out of this story quickly and successfully, but also wiser for the future. I am optimistic and I think we can come back relatively quickly, this time with some new rules and thinking about sustainable tourism. I also believe the vaccine will be available in the first quarter of the next year, which will ultimately allow people to travel more easily and safely.


(Press conference of October 12 for the Dubrovnik for Digital Nomads conference - Ana Hrnic, Dubrovnik Tourist Board Director, Mato Frankovic, and Tanja Polegubic of Saltwater)

  1. One of the new opportunities for tourism in Croatia is catering to the remote worker industry. Prime Minister Plenkovic has committed to introducing a digital nomad visa for Croatia which should be in place in early 2021. What are your thoughts on that, and what could this mean for Dubrovnik?

We fully support this initiative and see it as one of the directions for the future development of tourism in Dubrovnik. We are the first city in Croatia to turn to the digital nomad market. After the Prime Minister announced an easier stay for digital nomads and special visas for them in Croatia, Dubrovnik is organizing a conference on this topic. By signing an agreement with Hrvatski Telekom (Croatian Telecom) and the Ministry of Regional Development, we are bringing a much faster Internet network to Dubrovnik, which will cover a wider area, thus enabling what is very important for digital nomads, and that is fast Internet. Everything else is already here. 

  1. After this event in October, the City and tourist board of Dubrovnik have announced a digital nomad project partnership with TCN and Saltwater for another event next April. Can you tell our readers more about that?

This event in October will be some kind of an introduction to the whole story with digital nomads, for Dubrovnik and digital nomads to get to know each other. Next year we will go a step further. To popularize Dubrovnik as a destination for digital nomads, it is planned to organize an international competition in April. Dubrovnik would therefore host 10 winners as special guests of the city who would do their work from Dubrovnik and actively participate in shaping and developing strategies for developing these types of business.


  1. What advice do you have for local Dubrovnik residents who are interested to know more about this digital nomad opportunity and perhaps reorientate their business/accommodation rentals in that direction?

All those who work in tourism are aware and must be aware that some things will change in the future. When it comes to digital nomads, it is important to offer better long-term rental opportunities, and the City is working to promote and provide other infrastructural conditions, such as high-speed Internet. This is, of course, an opportunity for everyone, not just for those dealing with accommodations. There are also caterers, as well as everyone else. Considering that these are the people who will stay here for longer, so they will need hairdressing services, health services, and maybe babysitting services if they are with their families, etc. 

  1. And finally, a message from Dubrovnik for any digital nomads considering moving temporarily to Croatia. Why Dubrovnik, and what are the key things you can offer digital nomads should they choose your city?

Digital nomads are very welcome in Dubrovnik. Here they have everything for a good quality of life, from a good climate and pleasant living space to the people of Dubrovnik who have always been hospitable to their guests. They also have excellent working conditions here, and the City of Dubrovnik is constantly working to improve the quality of life and stay in this city.

To follow the latest digital nomad developments in Croatia, follow the dedicated TCN section

  • If you would like to addend the conference, either virtually or in person, Tickets are available here. There are also a limited number of tickets available free for residents of Dubrovnik if you would like to learn more about the digital nomad lifestyle and opportunity. Regarding ticket purchase, please note that once you buy a ticket, you will be emailed your receipt and then a link and instructions on how to attend within. 
  • Event program and speaker information is on
  • Speaker Bios:
  • If you would like to ATTEND IN PERSON - there are some remaining spots for digital nomads who are in or get to Dubrovnik for EFWeek. Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.





Sunday, 23 August 2020

Dubrovnik Mayor Reveals 352 Brits Arrived on Six Saturday Flights

August 23, 2020 - Dubrovnik Mayor Mato Frankovic revealed in a live program for N1 television that, despite the coronavirus, six British planes had arrived in the city on Saturday. But how many British tourists did they carry?  

While the news certainly sounds positive at first glance, since the UK placed Croatia on its quarantine list on Thursday, let's take a closer look. 

Namely, if we look at the figures presented by Frankovic, it turns out that 352 British tourists landed in Dubrovnik, which isn't really a figure to brag about. Frankovic, however, stated that this was a positive number, and also emphasized that two more planes would arrive on Saturday night.

A brief analysis of the Croatian Aviation portal shows that 352 British tourists can't be considered good news. In fact, they call those numbers catastrophic.

"The mayor of Dubrovnik praised the media that a significant arrival of British tourists to Dubrovnik was recorded at Dubrovnik Airport on August 22 (after the mandatory self-isolation for all passengers coming from Croatia to the UK came into force). Six direct flights from Great Britain arrived with 352 passengers.

However, seven planes from Great Britain landed at Dubrovnik Airport, while the eighth will land late tonight (Saturday):

  1., London Stansted, 09:22h (B737-800)
  2. EasyJet, London Gatwick, 09:51h (A320)
  3., Birmingham, 09:54h (B737-800)
  4. EasyJet, Edinburgh, 10:11h (A320NEO)
  5., Manchester, 11:55h (B737-800)
  6. British Airways, London Heathrow, 12:00h (A320)
  7. EasyJet, London Gatwick, 20:12h (A320)
  8. EasyJet, Manchester, 20:37h (A320NEO)
  9. EasyJet, London Luton, 22.24h (A319)

As the 352 passengers on Saturday's first six flights from Great Britain to Dubrovnik have been publicly announced, we will only state the following; a total of 1,119 seats were offered on six flights in the direction of Dubrovnik. If only 352 passengers really arrived in Dubrovnik on those flights, the occupancy of the passenger cabin is only around 31%.

Given the number of seats offered and direct flights, the number of arrivals of British tourists is not good, but catastrophic."

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