Saturday, 3 July 2021

50% Croatian Tourism Growth Even Without "Covid Passports"

July the 3rd, 2021 - Even without the controversial ''covid passports'' which have only become available relatively recently, Croatian tourism growth is encouraging to say the least. With 50 percent better results for Croatian tourism growth in the first six months of 2021, things appear to be looking up.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Marija Crnjak writes, despite the announcements of the fourth wave of the pandemic potentially approaching, the interest of tourists for holidays in Croatia is failing to wane, and the results from the first half of this year confirm that the vaccination programme has increased optimism. During the first six months of 2021, there were 2.6 million arrivals and 11.8 million overnight stays realised in Croatia, which is 54 percent more arrivals and 53 percent more overnight stays than in the same period last year. At the same time, foreign tourists realised 9.1 million overnight stays, while domestic tourists realised 2.7 million overnight stays.

German tourists are the most numerous

The largest number of overnight stays was realised by foreign guests from Germany (2.4 million), Slovenia (1.5 million), Austria (987,000), Poland (866,000) and the Czech Republic (681,000).

According to the type of accommodation, most overnight stays were realised in household/private facilities, hotels and camps, the Ministry of Tourism reported yesterday.

"We're extremely satisfied with the results of the 2021 tourist year so far and the announcements for the months ahead. At the moment, 425,000 tourists are staying in Croatia, which is about 100,000 more than at the same time last year. In the coming weeks, the peak of the season awaits us, and we must all be aware that the precondition for the further continuation of such results is a favourable epidemiological situation in Croatia. The recognisability of Croatia as a safe destination for which tourists choose our country gives us the opportunity for better financial results and the continued development of tourism, and thus faster economic recovery,'' said Minister of Tourism and Sport, Nikolina Brnjac.

As it is known, Covid certificates came into force throughout the EU and in Croatia as of the 1st of July, combined with new measures that will be more relaxed for the holders of these certificates, and will enable people with EU digital certificates to participate in various events without limiting the number of participants or time spent.

Direct flights as a further Croatian tourism growth boost

As has previously been written, the situation with freedom of travel within the EU is likely not going to be quite as previously expected or hope due to the penetration of the Delta strain virus into some countries such as Portugal. At the same time, a lot is expected from direct flights from the USA to Croatia.

The two major US airlines, United Airlines and Delta Air Lines, are launching their routes from New York to Dubrovnik this week.

For more, follow our travel section.

Saturday, 19 June 2021

Minister Brnjac Tweets That 200,000 Tourists are Currently in Croatia

June the 19th, 2021 - Tourism Minister Brnjac has taken to Twitter to tweet that 200,000 tourists were staying in Croatia as of the 18th of this month, which is a fantastic sign for things to come as the very height of the summer tourist season rapidly approaches.

The current favourable epidemiological situation across Croatia and across most of Europe as the vaccination process picks up its pace and warm weather returns has allowed for a significant drop in coronavirus infection rates and the return of some sort of normality that we took so much for granted before the pandemic struck back in early 2020.

As such, more and more foreign tourists are arriving in Croatia, ready for some vitamin D and a swim in the glorious Croatian Adriatic sea after over a year of lockdowns and uncertainty surrounding travel, especially travel for leisure and tourism.

Croatian Tourism Minister Nikolina Brnjac took to social media to state that 200,000 tourists are holidaying in Croatia, and as things make a slow but steady return to semi normality, we might get a summer that looks something like it usually would have done in pre-pandemic times.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, Minister Brnjac's recent tweet reads: "According to the first data from the eVisitor system, the number of 200,000 tourists in one day was exceeded today (the 18th of June). Namely, there are currently 213,000 tourists in Croatia, of which 183,000 are foreign tourists and 30,000 local tourists.''

"This is a confirmation that tourists see Croatia as a safe destination for their stay and holiday. We have created all of the preconditions for that, and compliance with the epidemiological measures is still crucial in order to maintain this favourable epidemiological situation and to achieve a successful season,'' she added.

For all you need to know about coronavirus specific to Croatia, including travel, border and quarantine rules, as well as the locations of vaccination points and testing centres across the country, make sure to bookmark our dedicated COVID-19 section and select your preferred language.

For travel to and within Croatia, click here.

Tuesday, 15 June 2021

Croatian Tourism Minister Nikolina Brnjac Visits Bavaria to Discuss Tourism Cooperation

ZAGREB, 15 June, 2021 - Croatian Tourism Minister Nikolina Brnjac met with Bavaria's Deputy Premier and Minister of Economic Affairs, Regional Development and Energy, Hubert Aiwanger, in Munich on Monday to discuss ways of increasing cooperation in the tourism sector.

Brnjac said that Croatia and Bavaria would continue exchanging experience and best practice in the digitalisation of tourism services and the development of cultural and rural tourism, her ministry announced in a press release.

"Croatia and Bavaria put emphasis on the development of sustainable tourism, and their cooperation in many areas of common interest has been going on for about 50 years within the Bavarian-Croatian Commission," Brnjac said.

She noted that half of German tourists visiting Croatia come from Bavaria, which is why it is very important for Croatia to convey the information on the activities that are being undertaken so that Croatia is recognised as a pleasant and safe destination.

Bavaria supports Croatia's Schengen membership bid

Aiwanger said there was a lot of space for cooperation between Croatia and Bavaria in the tourism sector, emphasising that Bavaria supported Croatia's accession to the Schengen area next year as an important precondition for facilitating movement of tourists.

The working meeting was also attended by the deputy president of the ADAC motoring association for tourism and finance, Karlheinz Jungbeck.

Brnjac and Jungbeck discussed preparations for the summer tourist season as well as expectations and plans for future development. Brnjac said that the cooperation with ADAC, which has 22 million members, ensured the greater visibility of Croatia on the German market, adding that today's meeting set a framework for future institutional cooperation.

According to ADAC, there is a growing interest in visiting Croatia, notably in the camping segment. This year ADAC included 134 Croatian campsites on its list of the best European campsites, the same number as in 2019, and 13 of the campsites were rated as ADAC Superplatz 2021.

About 42,000 Germans are currently vacationing in Croatia, mostly in Istria. Last year German tourists generated 1.6 million arrivals and 12.7 overnight stays, which was 60 percent of overnight stays made in 2019 when a record 21.2 million overnight stays were generated by German visitors. Last year, the 12.7 million overnight stays made by German tourists accounted for 23 percent of total overnight stays in Croatia.

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

Monday, 10 May 2021

Minister for Bolstering Tourism's Resilience, Sustainability

ZAGREB, 10 May 2021 - Tourism Minister Nikolina Brnjac said on Monday the National Recovery and Resilience Plan's goal regarding tourism was to increase the sector's resilience and sustainability through green and digital transition.

Speaking in Rovinj about the development of sustainable, innovative, and resilient tourism as part of the national plan, she said another goal was to contribute to tourism's recovery from the crisis caused by the pandemic and to increase tourism's added value and indirect effects on other industries.

Investments in tourism's environmental, economic and social sustainability safeguard resources and build tourism for the long term because, she said, "in the future, we wish to be an even more successful tourist destination."

Brnjac said the national plan ensured the necessary funds "and it's up to us to carry out reforms and strategically steer the development of this important sector." She added that reforming the sector and investments were the prerequisites for utilizing the HRK 2.2 billion earmarked in the national plan for tourism until 2026.

She said the funds would be available to all tourist enterprises, both on the coast and on the continent, and that they would be awarded based on public calls, with 60% intended for direct investments in the private sector.

The rest, she added, is intended for investments in the public tourist infrastructure, but may also be used by private enterprises as part of public-private partnerships.

Tourism reform and investments are aligned with the government's strategic policies, the national reform program, and the national development strategy, Brnjac said, adding that the reform included drafting a sustainable tourism strategy until 2030, a sustainable tourism plan, and a strategic environmental impact estimate.

For more, follow our dedicated politics section.

Sunday, 9 May 2021

Tourism Minister Brnjac: Season Could be Better Than 2020's

May the 9th, 2021 - Croatian Tourism Minister Brnjac has stated that she feels that Croatia has done all it can to send out the message to its emitting markets that it is taking the pandemic seriously and that all epidemiological rules are being fully respected.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, Nikolina Brnjac said that she believes that the Republic of Croatia has successfully met all of the preconditions for tourists eager for a holiday following a terrible 2020 to recognise the country as safe for precisely that purpose.

The summer tourist season could be better than last year for Croatian, Tourism Minister Brnjac told Vecernji list on Saturday.

"The good news is coming from Germany, Poland, Italy, the Czech Republic and the Netherlands… which shows that Croatia is high on the list of priorities for their residents when choosing a holiday destination," said the minister, commenting on forecasts that tourist traffic in 2021 could reach about 60 percent of pre-pandemic, record 2019.

In the latest European Commission (EC) report, she added, Croatia has climbed up and is now among the top 10 most desirable European tourist destinations for travellers this summer.

"This is certainly supported by the announcements of as many as 180 airlines from Croatia's emitting markets. Especially good news about new airlines is the latest from New York to Dubrovnik. This is a sign that everyone is seriously counting on coming to Croatia this summer. If the epidemiological situation in Croatia and on our emitting markets is favourable, with all the activities we're carrying out, I believe that we can achieve a better season than the one we had last year,'' Tourism Minister Brnjac stated.

"The borders are open, the Safe Stay in Croatia project has more and more users every day, we've defined more than 300 points for testing tourists in tourist centres/destinations, which can be found at www.safestayincroatia.hr. We're co-financing antigen tests for tourists, we've started vaccinating Croatian tourist workers, we'll have special epidemiological data for the islands, and we have launched the Experience local campaign, with which we want to attract domestic tourists as well.

We're ready for the season, and the epidemiological situation is crucial to that,'' Tourism Minister Brnjac stated.

For more, follow our travel section.

Wednesday, 31 March 2021

Tourism Minister Nikolina Brnjac: We Are Working On Clear Criteria For Entry Into Croatia

ZAGREB, 31 March, 2021 - Tourism and Sports Minister Nikolina Brnjac said on Wednesday that clear entry criteria for Croatia were being prepared according to European Commission recommendations for travel across borders, which will probably be - recovered from COVID-19, vaccination or a PCR or antigen test.

Asked by reporters ahead of an inner cabinet meeting what she thinks of the measures by the national COVID response team and how the deteriorated epidemiological situation is being reflected on tourism and bookings, Minister Brnjac said that as soon as the European Commission released its draft recommendations on travel restrictions, Croatia immediately started working on clear criteria for entry into Croatia.

The Commission recently proposed a regulation on creating a Digital Green Certificate which should enable safe travel within the European Union during the pandemic. The certificate should be proof that a person has been vaccinated against COVID-19, has received a negative test result or recovered from COVID-19.

Brnjac added that this requires technical preparations which are already being worked on in the Interior Ministry and the Croatian Institute for Public Health so that, as soon as the regulation enters into force, it can be integrated in the system.

That is important because of the epidemiological situation, which is why at the end of 2020 we launched safe protocols and the "Safe stay in Croatia" label, she said.

"We have previously warned that the most important thing is for Croatia to be in the 'green' zone and we asked local tourist boards to recommend testing stations for tourists... We need to achieve flow of both tourists and tests," said Brnjac.

Asked how the current situation is being reflected on bookings, Brnjac said that she is in constant contact with partners on the markets and that there has been an increase in enquiries, mostly about whether Croatia is in the "green" and about the vaccination of tourism workers which, she added, could be conducted in May and June as "vaccines are coming."

"There are fewer bookings than in previous years, even for Easter, but more are expected... from the end of May and in June, for which there is more interest by tourists, and that is why we should have the best epidemiological situation possible," she said. 

Asked about aid for travel agencies which are required to refund deposits for cancelled travel arrangements, yet don't have the funds to do so, Brnjac said "they can get loans and return what they owe, with state guarantees for up to 100 per cent of the loans that are earmarked for SMEs and 90% for (those earmarked for) large companies."

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

Thursday, 25 March 2021

Development of Health Tourism: High Priority for Croatian Tourist Offer

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Sunday, 21 March 2021

Highlights of the Week: 5 Big Events in Croatia from March 15-21, 2021

March 21, 2021 – From the Mamić brothers verdict on Monday to Dinamo's historic match with Tottenham on Thursday, here are TCN's five highlights of the week from March 15 to 21, 2021.

As we look back and review the top news in Croatia over the past week, we realize just how much can change – and even history can be made. For Dinamo's fans, this week's match with Tottenham will surely be one of the most significant games, as they secured a place in quarter-finals of the Europa League after more than half a century. But that is not the only good sports news from Croatia this week!

From Monday to Sunday, we list five events featured on the front pages of news portals in Croatia.

Highlights of the week: Mamić brothers verdict

At the beginning of the week, the news of the brothers Zdravko and Zoran Mamić verdict resonated with the public. Namely, the Croatian Supreme Court has issued a final judgment and confirmed prison sentences for the Mamić brothers, former Dinamo director Damir Vrbanović, and tax collector Milan Pernar.

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Zdravko Mamić. Photo: Denis Kapetanovic/PIXSELL

Zoran Mamić and Milan Pernar were found guilty of reducing Mamić's tax liabilities and accepting bribes, and Zoran Mamić was also found guilty of giving bribes. Zdravko, Zoran Mamić, and Vrbanović are guilty of splitting the Dejan Lovren transfer and Zdravko Mamić for splitting the Luka Modrić transfer.

Zdravko Mamić was sentenced to six and a half years in prison. Four years and eight months in prison were given to his brother Zoran Mamić, who resigned as Dinamo coach after the verdict, just three days before a crucial match against Tottenham. Former Dinamo director Damir Vrbanović was sentenced to three years in prison.

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Zoran Mamić. Photo: Marko Prpic/PIXSELL

Also, Zdravko Mamić must return 52 milion kuna. According to the verdict, Dinamo was damaged by 80 million kunas in total. The state will also take their other assets, namely property, and cars.

Highlights of the week: Dinamo tops Tottenham and writes history

Regardless of the events in Dinamo earlier this week, the players showed all the quality on the field on Thursday and beat Tottenham 3: 0 (3:2) in a historic match. Thanks to the incredible game of Mislav Oršić, who was later named UEFA player of the week, Dinamo secured a place in the quarter-finals of the Europa League after more than 50 years!

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Mislav Oršić. Photo: Goran Stanzl/PIXSELL

Dinamo thus created the first-class sensation, and this match will be remembered for a long time. A big celebration of Dinamo fans Bad Blue Boys and players followed the game in front of the Maksimir Stadium in Zagreb. Deservedly!

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Dinamo fans and players celebrating after the match, Mislav Oršić in the air. Photo: Goran Stanzl/PIXSELL

Highlights of the week: The UK and Croatia tourist opportunities

Andrew Dalgleish, the British Ambassador to Croatia, visited Croatia this week to discuss tourism opportunities between the two countries with Croatian Tourism Minister Nikolina Brnjac.

As she pointed out, Croatia is ready to receive tourists from the UK, one of Croatia's most important tourist markets, as soon as the UK's epidemiological rules allow for that.

"We're pleased with the fact that the destination of Croatia is still perceived in the United Kingdom as high quality, desirable, and safe. A dialogue has been opened with the British side on travel facilitation modalities between the UK and Croatia," said Brnjac.

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Photo: Romulić and Stojčić

She was even cited by the Daily Telegraph. Croatia's attempts to get the best out of the upcoming summer season are recognized by many other countries interested in traveling to Croatia.

Highlights of the week: Increasing number of new infections and citizens' dissatisfaction

As the pandemic rages on, the infection numbers started to grow again in Croatia, and now statistically younger people need respirators. With the increase in the number of new coronavirus cases that we witnessed this week, citizens' dissatisfaction with the current epidemiological measures has also increased.

To express their dissatisfaction, protesters gathered in five Croatian cities and protested against the measures, but also against the mandatory wearing of face masks.

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Protest against epidemiological measures in Zagreb, March 20, 2021. Photo: Zoe Sarlija/PIXSELL

Organized by the Rights and Freedoms Initiative, Croatians in Zagreb, Dubrovnik, Split, Šibenik, and Osijek thus supported the protests in about 40 countries worldwide under the slogan "World march for freedom, peace, and democracy."

Highlights of the week: Filip Zubčić wins second place in Lenzerheide

Croatia is truly a home to great athletes. As if we haven't seen big results in Croatian sport this week, Croatian skier Filip Zubčić took care of the even better end of the week, winning second place in the Lenzerheide Grand Slalom.

Zubčić had an excellent performance in the last giant slalom of the season. After ranking third place in the first run, he finally won second place, 20 hundredths of a second behind French skier Alexis Pinturault. In the overall ranking of skiers, Zubčić is fifth with 744 points.

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

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Saturday, 20 March 2021

Daily Telegraph on Croatian Tourism Minister Opening Country for Tourism

March the 20th, 2021 - Croatian Tourism Minister Nikolina Brnjac has discussed what re-opening Croatia to British tourists could look like, and it could happen in May, the Daily Telegraph reports.

When it comes to extremely important European markets for Croatian tourism, it's difficult to contend with the British market. UK tourists came en masse to Croatia's beautiful Adriatic coast before the coronavirus pandemic threw a proverbial spanner in the works and flights were disrupted and became totally unreliable. Just how can we bring British tourists back to pre-pandemic levels?

The topic was breached by outgoing British Ambassador Andrew Dalgleish and Croatian Tourism Minister Nikolina Brnjac recently, and the pair discussed how a return of British tourism to Croatia can be facilitated amid the ongoing pandemic and the problematic border rules which continue to dominate.

The United Kingdom is currently under a full lockdown which is due to expire in its entirety on the 21st of June, according to PM Boris Johnson. As such, leisure and tourism travel from the UK is currently illegal. Travel is indeed permitted if one lives abroad and can prove it, or has pressing reasons for which they must leave their place of stay which they can also prove. Other than that, a stay at home order is in full force.

Croatian Tourism Minister has said that as soon as the epidemiological situation in the United Kingdom allows for it, or perhaps it is better to say when lockdown rules ease for international travel, British tourists will be absolutely welcomed back into Croatia. Otherwise, the UK has an extremely impressive vaccination rate which exceeded an enormous 25 million (people to have received their first dose) at the time of writing.

Croatian Tourism Minister Nikolina Brnjac and Andrew Dalgleish initiated the first serious conversation between the two European nations about the return of tourism between both countries, with the hope that border measures, a good vaccination rate and a better epidemiological picture overall, which will be what is key to decision making, will facilitate easier travel.

To read the Daily Telegraph's article, click here.

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Thursday, 18 March 2021

Tourism Minister Nikolina Brnjac Welcomes European Commission's Digital Green Certificate

March 18, 2021 - Croatian Tourism Minister Nikolina Brnjac welcomes the European Commission's digital green certificate proposal. 

HRTurizam reports that the European Commission adopted a legislative proposal to establish a common framework for digital green certificates and an additional proposal to ensure that digital green certificates are issued to third-country nationals residing in the Member States or Schengen countries and visitors entitled to travel to other Member States.

Digital green certificates are digital evidence proving that the traveler has been vaccinated against COVID-19, has recovered from it, or has a negative test result. Apart from possible uses in health care, the certificate also serves for the safe free movement of citizens of one European Union country in another.

Of course, the digital green certificate has no meaning if EU countries do not accept it. That is why the European Commission has announced that it will work closely with the European Union members. Namely, cooperation is needed to find technical solutions for the use of certificates as soon as possible. The authenticity of certificates can be verified safely throughout the EU and finally enable the mutual recognition of certificates or endorsements throughout the European Union. Member States are still responsible for deciding which public health restrictions for travelers can be lifted and will apply the same to travelers holding a digital green certificate.

Digital green certificates will meet data protection, security, and privacy requirements. For the certificates to come to life by the summer, EU member states must speed up preparations and their introduction. The European Commission will help develop a legal solution for a common framework for vaccination, testing, and recovery certificates to facilitate free movement within the EU. Member States are expected to establish technical solutions at the national level rapidly. In this way, certificates could be issued and verified securely anywhere in the European Union.

Digital green certificates should be established based on interoperability guidelines, which define common data sets and unique identifiers for vaccination certificates. A common data set for test results is already agreed upon by Member States.

Certificates will be issued in digital or paper form. Both versions will have a QR code containing the necessary basic information and a digital signature to ensure that the certificate is authentic. Certificates shall be made available free of charge in the official language or languages of the issuing Member State and English.

All persons, vaccinated and unvaccinated, should use digital green certificates when traveling within the EU. To prevent discrimination against non-vaccinated persons, the Commission proposes not only issuing an interoperable vaccination certificate but also a COVID-19 test certificate and a certificate for those who have recovered from COVID-19.

If Member States accept proof of vaccination to lift certain public health restrictions such as testing or quarantine, they would be required to accept vaccination certificates issued under the digital green certificate system under the same conditions. This obligation would be limited to vaccines authorized in the EU, but Member States may accept other vaccines.

The digital green certificate will be valid in all EU Member States and can be used by Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland. The digital green certificate should be issued to EU citizens and their family members, regardless of nationality. It should also be issued to third-country nationals residing in the EU and visitors entitled to travel to other Member States.

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The digital green certificate system is a temporary measure. It will be suspended after the World Health Organization declares an end to the extraordinary public health threat caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

For the proposal to be ready before the summer, it needs to be adopted quickly by the European Parliament and the Council. At the same time, Member States must apply the reliability framework and technical standards agreed within the eHealth network to ensure the timely introduction of digital green certificates, interoperability, and full compliance with personal data protection. The goal is to complete the technical work and proposal in the coming months.

The certificates will be available free of charge and are expected to be implemented by the summer, i.e., from 1 June.

The Minister of Tourism and Sports, Nikolina Brnjac, stated that Croatia welcomes any document that will facilitate tourist movements through uniform and predictable rules.

"The EC today adopted an important proposal for a common framework for the recognition of certificates, which should facilitate free movement during the pandemic. As a tourist country, Croatia welcomes any document that will facilitate tourist movements through uniform and predictable rules. In the forthcoming discussions in the Council, which must agree on the final version of the document, we will advocate that the announced certificate in no form constitutes a restrictive factor for free movement and that it is not discriminatory. In parallel with the preparations for adopting this document at the EU level, the Government of the Republic of Croatia regularly coordinates positions regarding border crossing conditions, taking into account the epidemiological situation in the Republic of Croatia well as in the major markets. Facilitation is also being intensively discussed with the EU Member States as well as third countries," Brnjac said and emphasized that to ensure predictability for business entities in tourism, the Government will make a detailed decision on the conditions for entry of tourists into the Republic of Croatia, which will be in force at least until the establishment of a common European model.

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

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