Wednesday, 6 April 2022

NYT Writes About Decreased Croatian Reservations, Cites Ukraine War

April the 6th, 2022 - The New York Times (NYT) has written about the decreased Croatian reservations we're currently experiencing after high post-pandemic hopes were dashed as Russia invaded neighbouring Ukraine. To some foreigners, Croatia is too close on the map of Europe to the battlefield, despite the lack of truth in that.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, so far, the hardest hit destinations when it comes to reservations are countries near to Ukraine, including Poland, Bulgaria, Croatia, Estonia and Hungary, where bookings have dropped by between 30 and 50 percent, according to the New York Times, citing data from analyst firm ForwardKey.

Negative consequences are also being felt in more distant destinations such as in Spain. Diego Sanz, a tour guide on Spain’s gorgeous Mediterranean coast, received his very first international group in more than a year in mid-February. It was, he thought, a sign of better things to come.

''We live in paradise here and we were sure that when the coronavirus restrictions were lifted, we'd have no more problems and tourists would come flocking back to us like bees come to nectar,'' said Mr Sanz, sitting in the silence of a cafe in the very popular Spanish port city of Alicante.

International reservations have been slowing down ever since Russia invaded Ukraine. In the first week of the war alone, airline bookings within Europe fell by 23 percent, and overseas bookings to European countries fell by 13 percent, according to ForwardKeys.

What about Croatian reservations? The Republic of Croatia is often ranked among the European economies most highly dependent on tourism, as tourism accounts for about a fifth of this small nation's gross domestic product, according to the Croatian Bureau of Statistics (CBS).

Destinations along Croatia's sparkling Adriatic coast attracted the majority of 13.8 million visitors and 84.1 million overnight stays back in 2021, which led to GDP growth of 10.4 percent.

Although the cancellation of Croatian reservations have been somewhat minimal so far, there has definitely been a marked slowdown in some areas. Dubrovnik Boats, a private excursion and charter company with the majority of its clients coming from across the pond in the USA, was expecting a record year, but after the outbreak of war in Ukraine, their reservation rate suddenly fell by 70 percent. "We're an inch away from Ukraine to foreigners when looking at a map," said Niksa Smojver, the company's owner.

Significant concerns this year for shipping charter companies are also being caused by rising gas prices and the possibility of fuel shortages. For Dubrovnik Boats, for example, the cost of a return tour between Dubrovnik and Hvar is now 750 US dollars higher than it was last year.So far, the company hasn't increased its passenger ticket prices, but may need to if the situation fails to calm down. Still, Smojver remains hopeful.

''After the pandemic people have become fed up with everything and everyone wants to travel. This season could be one of the best we've ever had,'' he said.

In other parts of Europe, especially in tourism-dependent countries, the forecasts are gloomier. Cancellations in nearby Italy have brought pessimism among tour guides and operators, although some have expressed hope that the war will end soon and that the season will be saved.

''In general, the mood is a depressed one because it seemed like this was all over, and instead there was yet another new downturn,'' concluded Margherita Capponi, an Italian tour guide from Rome.

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

Thursday, 21 May 2020

New York Times Lists Dubrovnik Among 11 "Changed'' Global Destinations

The New York Times has published something about the famous Dalmatian city that nobody would have ever expected before coronavirus became a reality.

Before the coronavirus pandemic struck, the most frequent complaints you'd hear from residents of Croatia's tourist Mecca of Dubrovnik all involved too many tourists, a lack of proper infrastructure to cope with the crowds, damage to the UNESCO protected historic core, too many harmful cruise ships, and too much traffic.

Since coronavirus penetrated Croatia's borders, however, the situation has rather incredibly reversed almost entirely. What Dubrovnik strived for for many years has been acheived by no less than something invisible - a virus.

As Morski writes on the 19th of May, 2020, the popular and highly respected American publication the New York Times ranked Croatia's southernmost city of Dubrovnik among the eleven top global destinations that suddenly became peaceful places to live in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, and until that crisis, they ''fought'' with excessive numbers of tourists, a situation which saw the coining of a brand new term - overtourism.

"The eleven most visited tourist destinations in the world have recently completely changed. In Venice, for example, there are currently more locals than there are tourists, which is an extremely rare situation for a city that has been struggling with overcrowding for years,'' writes the New York Times, whose online edition is followed by more than five million subscribers.

In addition to Dubrovnik and Venice, the list of such "changed" destinations also includes Rome, Bali, Iceland, Amsterdam, Barcelona, ​​Paris, Prague, Halong Bay in Vietnam and the Galapagos Islands, reports the director of the Croatian National Tourist Board's office in New York, Ina Rodin.

The article also conveys the experiences of local residents in these destinations, and the situation in his native Dubrovnik was described by Darko Perojevic, chef and owner of the Azur restaurant, emphasising that the old town of Dubrovnik, where he has lived for most of his life, has not been so empty since the 1990s, when the city was ravaged by attacks by the Yugoslav People's Army.

Still, he admitted that it is now a special pleasure to walk through the empty city centre and see children playing in the streets.

"For a moment, it seems as if we've regained the city," said Perojevic, adding that the first quarantine was introduced in Dubrovnik in the 14th century to protect the local population from the plague. You can read more about that here.

For more, follow our travel page.

Tuesday, 10 September 2019

New York Times Tests Your Knowledge of Croatia

Croatia features in the New York Times Country of the Week feature in the New York Times on September 10, 2019.

A nice little promotion for Croatia in the New York Times yesterday, as well as a chance to see how well-known some of Croatia's most famous brands are in the American market. 

Americans are not famous for performing well in world geography quizzes, and so I was curious to see how readers of the New York Times would fare in a feature called How Much Do You Know About Croatia? After each answer, there was some promotional information about the subject of the question, a nice way to get a little information about the country out there to the important American market. 

As one might expect, the questions were not difficult, and the task of the reader was made infinitely easier by the fact that each answer came in the shape of 4 multiple-choice questions. The most interesting bit for me was the percentage of correct answers. 

1. Click or tap on Croatia on the map above.

The choices were France, Portugal, Greece and Croatia. Having read numerous articles over the years stating that 20% of Americans could not find their own country on a world map, I was surprised (and encouraged) to see that 88% found Croatia no problem.

2. What is the capital of Zagreb? Tallinn, Sofia, Prague or Zagreb? Just 73% got that one right.

3. Established in 1949 and named a Unesco World Heritage site in 1979,  , a chain of 16 lakes, 80 miles south of Zagreb, is the crown jewel of the country’s oldest and largest national park. Given the choice of Crater Lake National Park, Fiordland National Park, Torres del Paine National Park, and Plitvice Lakes, 82% chose Plitvice, higher than Zagreb which is perhaps not surprising as the other three were located in the USA, New Zealand and Chile.

4. Feared and revered in his day, the Yugoslav leader  is described by some as a hero of the anti-fascist struggle who kept Yugoslavia’s six republics, including Croatia, together for more than 35 years. Others call him a Communist dictator who purged his enemies. Given the choice of Erich Honecker, Lech Walesa and Joseph Stalin, 73% opted for Tito, the same percentage as Zagreb. Something for the PR gurus at the Zagreb Tourist Board to ponder, perhaps?

5. Every summer, the hordes descend upon          , a gem of a Croatian city nestled on the Adriatic Sea. With Venice, Nice and Mallorca to compete with, Dubrovnik scored highest of the whole survey with 90%. 

It would have been interesting to see what the percentages would have been if the multiple choice element had been removed. Some progress on visibility, some work still to be done. 

Check out the original quiz.

Thursday, 5 September 2019

European Capital of Culture in Focus: New York Times, BBC in Rijeka

September 5, 2019 - What’s cooking in Rijeka these days? A New York Times report and a show that will be broadcast primetime on BBC One. But that's just part of it.  

Namely, Alex Crevar, an experienced journalist who regularly collaborates with The New York Times, National Geographic Travel and Lonely Planet, is currently visiting the 2020 European Capital of Culture, reports Novi List.

Crevar is exploring the city before it takes on the title of the European Capital of Culture next year. During his stay, Crevar visited all the major sites and institutions that will host and be part of the Rijeka 2020 program.

Crevar is apparently enjoying his visit so much, he extended his stay by three more days and will carry on in the Croatian city until the opening of the Porto Etno Festival on Friday.

Alex Crevar is hosted by Edi Jurković, chief communications officer for Rijeka 2020, who revealed everything that Rijeka, its residents, and all guests can expect in the year ahead, as well as the hidden and undiscovered charms of the city. The journalist was particularly impressed with the Croatian National Theatre Ivan Zajc where he enjoyed browsing the ceiling paintings and the time capsule.

Crevar also spoke with Idis Turat, a well-known local architect, not only about the specifics of the city's architecture, but also about the program direction of Sweet and Salt Rijeka 2020. Crevar also visited Tito’s ‘Galeb’ ship, whose story he found particularly interesting. The Galeb’s new life as a museum ship should surely be a draw for tourists, especially from America.

During his stay, Crevar will also speak with the city's Mayor Vojko Obersnel, Culture Manager Ivan Šarar, and Rijeka 2020 Director Emina Višnić.

However, the New York Times is not the only foreign media in the city. We must not forget of the five-member British production team led by producer Ewan Chamberlain, who is reporting on Rijeka for one of the UK's most important television channels, BBC One, and the Gateway TV show. 

“The report will be broadcast primetime on BBC One, followed by a replay on BBC Two which is visible in Northern Ireland and Scotland, and will then be available on their web platform. They arrived in Rijeka organized by the Croatian National Tourist Board, and of course, their main focus is Rijeka as the European Capital of Culture 2020,” said Dino Matešić of the Rijeka Tourist Board.

The British TV crew stayed in Rijeka for two days and visited many attractions including the Croatian National Theatre Ivan Zajc, the ‘Galeb’, Korzo, the Trieste fortress, Rijeka cathedral, and the Governor's Palace to see the original Titanic vest. They also visited the unique Peek&Poke computer museum and the Astronomy Center.

“They even visited the future Art Quarter, that is, the ex Benčić complex, and a really special experience was the trip to the fish market and the plaza,” says Matešić , adding that they plan to visit Krk and Opatija.

In mid-August, a major report was published by Die Welt, one of Germany's most circulated dailies, and French Le Monde and Italian Rai also have plans to visit, focusing on the large exhibition 'D'Annunzio’s Martyr', which will open in mid-September in the Maritime and History Museum of the Croatian Littoral, that is, the Governor's Palace, which thematizes D'Annunzio’s occupation of Rijeka, which happened exactly one hundred years ago.

All in all, as the year 2020 approaches, or the takeover of the prestigious title of the European Capital of Culture, numerous foreign journalists, bloggers, and tourism professionals are increasingly visiting Rijeka. This is the result of intensive work on the international promotion of Rijeka 2020, joined by the Croatian National Tourist Board, the Tourist Board of both the City of Rijeka and Kvarner, and the Rijeka 2020 company.

Thus, in the past year, Rijeka has been visited by media teams including Irish Daily Mirror, The Times, National Geographic Traveler UK, Le Télégramme, The Mail on Sunday, Magazin Catholic Digest, Magazin Auto Touring, Giornale Sentire, Daily Telegraph and Sunday Times.

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

Wednesday, 9 January 2019

New York Times Puts Zadar on the 52 Must-See Places of 2019

We've already gotten used to Croatian towns and islands and other locations (Plitvice!) finding their place on various Top-Something lists in media all over the world. Still, it's wonderful to see a Croatian town on one of the most prestigious lists published in the year. And it's not one of the "usual suspects", like Dubrovnik, Split or Korčula, it's Zadar

That list is the New York Times' 52 Places list, a selection of the most popular, up-and-coming, fast-changing and interesting places in the world. Islands from the Zadar archipelago are also mentioned, with Dugi otok and Pašman being mentioned by name as the places you shouldn't miss if you've made your way to Zadar. We would, of course, mention Kornati, another group of islands close to the town, as another location you shouldn't miss if you've come to Croatia, but the NYT writers have decided to focus on the other two islands - which are, of course, also amazing and most certainly worth the visit! 

Luka Modrić, who always mentions Zadar as his home-town, is of course mentioned in the article, as the fame of the amazing World Cup played by the Croatian players in 2018 will not fade soon. The article also mentions the ever-increasing number of flights to the town. The spectacular sea-organ also makes an appearance, as well as Alfred Hitchcock who is often mentioned as visiting Zadar and experiencing the most beautiful sunset in the world there. 

Puerto Rico took No. 1 spot this year, and other places in front of Zadar on the final list are Hampi, India, Santa Barbara, Panama, Munich, Eilat, Setouchi Islands, Aalborg, the Azores and Ontario Ice Coves. 

We can't wait for Sebastian Modak, this year's selected 52 places traveller to come to Zadar and fall in love with it! 


Sunday, 26 November 2017

New York Times Highlights Rijeka's Quest to Restore Tito's 'Galeb'

The New York Times shines the spotlight on Tito's 'Galeb' and Rijeka's quest for its restoration. 

Friday, 23 June 2017

New York Times on the Pearl of the Adriatic: 36 Hours in Dubrovnik

The famed New York Times shines the international spotlight on the Pearl of the Adriatic in it's popular ''36 Hours In'' theme!

Wednesday, 17 May 2017

NYT Names Popular Croatian Destination One of Ten Best On the Water

New York Times writers share their favorite watery places in Europe in their piece “On the Water: Ten Favorite Places on European Rivers, Lakes, and Coastlines” published on May 16, 2017.

Monday, 30 January 2017

Croatian Tourist Offer Presented at New York Times Travel Show

For the 14th year in a row, the New York Times Travel Show was held at the Jacob K. Javits conference center in New York City.

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