Friday, 14 February 2020

Coronavirus Shuts Down Chinese Factory Supplying Croatia Peljesac Bridge

The Pelješki most (Pelješac Bridge) might be the first victim of the coronavirus in Croatia. The Chinese factory which is building the steel structures for the bridge is temporarily closing. Fortunately, the virus has not yet reached Croatia.


Coronavirus Closes Chinese Steel Structure Factory

The virus has paralyzed China, and that now includes the factory where steel structures are being made for the Pelješki most, according to Vibor Vlainić/Dnevnik on February 13, 2020. This does not mean that work on the bridge will cease in Croatia, but the question remains what will happen when the time comes to install these new structures.

Will the steel structures arrive in Croatia on time? Hrvatske autoceste (Croatian Roads) indicated that the contractor has not asked for an extension. The bridge is scheduled to open on July 31, 2021.

"The contractor (China Road and Bridge Corporation) has taken all the necessary measures, first and foremost, to prevent a potential (coronavirus) health threat to the construction site. They have implemented protective measures at the site and these measures are being enacted according to clear guidelines," HAC reported.

However, Hrvatske autoceste will not be able to send supervisory engineers to the factory in China due to the rapid spread of the infection in that country.


EU Heath Ministers Meeting: Croatia Will Not Close Borders

Due to the danger of the virus, a meeting of health ministers of all EU member states was held in Brussels at the invitation of the Croatian Presidency.

Although several countries have imposed entry restrictions on passengers who have been in China; Croatia has not yet followed suit. Two Chinese tourists have reported to Croatian hospitals with upper respiratory infections this past month: one in Pula and one in Split. Both tested negative for the coronavirus.

"We are not claiming to be absolutely certain (in our approach) but are taking caution. Everyone is asking about closing the Croatian borders, but that is not presently a realistic option. If the situation escalates; of course, we will consider additional factors. That is the most constructive approach for this situation, because emergency situations require extraordinary measures," explained Health Minister Vili Beroš.

At the meeting, several countries requested that each passenger coming from a country with confirmed coronavirus cases list each person with whom they have been in contact upon their entry to the European Union. But they eventually arrived at a compromise.

"It is certain that any person would be able to list all the contacts they have had, but it is expected that someone would answer whether they have had contact with people who have showed signs of illness, cough or fever or have been ill," Beroš added.

Daily updates on the coronavirus can be found here. An archive of Total Croatia News articles on the coronavirus can be accessed here.

Tuesday, 12 November 2019

Aminess Grand Azur Hotel in Orebic Awarded Travelife Gold Certificate for Sustainability

November 12, 2019 - Aminess Grand Azur Hotel in Orebic has received the prestigious Travelife Gold certification, one of the most esteemed awards for sustainable tourism businesses, which confirms that the hotel adheres to the strictest ethical and environmental standards in its operations.

HRTurizam writes that Travelife is an international certification system that promotes sustainability within the tourism industry, which is an essential segment of tourism, helping to preserve the unique natural and cultural features of the destination.

Protecting the environment, animals and biodiversity, local culture and heritage, relationships with the community and employees, and support for the local economy are just a few of the standards that have been successfully met by the Aminess Grand Azur Hotel according to the Travelife Gold certification.

"We are proud that the Aminess Grand Azur Hotel meets the highest standards of sustainable development. The Travelife Gold certification is the result of our continued and dedicated work in this area, which we plan to continue to pursue in the future. This certificate is also a confirmation of our past accomplishments and efforts to make our guests as comfortable as possible,” said Marina Brcic, Aminess Grand Azura director.


In each of the 185 guest rooms and suites, guests of the Aminess Grand Azur Hotel can expect a panoramic view of the sea, Peljesac, and the nearby Korcula. The hotel offers two refurbished outdoor pools with freshwater and a sun terrace, and restaurants serve Mediterranean cuisine prepared with homemade olive oil, along with a selection of local red wines.

In addition to the Aminess Grand Azur Hotel in Orebic, the Aminess Lume Hotel in Korcula is also the proud owner of the Travelife Gold certificate this year, while the Aminess Maestral Hotel in Novigrad has held the certificate since 2013.

Travelife has approximately 1500 members in more than 50 countries around the world and is recognized and promoted by the Global Sustainable Tourism Council's umbrella institution for tourism sustainability, GSTC.

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

Tuesday, 29 October 2019

VIDEO: Peljesac Bridge Rises Above Sea as Construction Continues

As Morski writes on the 29th of October, 2019, a whole fifteen months from the beginning of the construction of the foundations of the future Peljesac bridge that will finally connect not only the territory of the Republic of Croatia into a single entity, but join that of the European Union itself, the very first contours rise above the sea.

Peljesac bridge seemed like a very far off saga just several years ago, and after Croatia joined the EU it was entitled to access to EU funds, a huge proportion of which are going towards financing the construction of this highly anticipated bridge which will connect, as stated, not only the territory of the country but the territory of the EU, removing the need to cross borders in and out of neighbouring Bosnia and Herzegovina at Neum when entering or exiting the extreme south of Dalmatia.

Despite the fact that a Chinese company is building the bridge, and the EU was not entirely pleased with the idea, there can be no doubt that the speed at which the Chinese work will see the bridge completed on time.

The Chinese company China Road and Bridge Corporation requested permission to work 24 hours per day, installed floodlights to allow them to do so and as such have now successfully placed 139 pilots at the bridge's base and then prepared the very first load-bearing columns for the rest of the bridge's upcoming construction.

While the tireless and classically hardworking Chinese are working on what is a capital project on Peljesac bridge, a project of strategic importance to Croatia, more steel structures are being prepared at the two factories over in China, and they're expected to arrive in Croatia to be used on the much anticipated southern Dalmatian bridge in early 2020.

The deadline for completion of the bridge is July 2021, have a quick look and see how it looks today in the video below.

Follow our lifestyle page for more.

Wednesday, 31 July 2019

After University, Man Returns to Pelješac to Continue Family Tradition

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Marta Duic writes on the 30th of July, 2019, the Mikulić family from Pelješac entered this tourist season with a bit of a novelty on offer - glamping. With their campsite and their boutique winery in Mokalo and the Adriatic Hotel in Orebić, this investment was a logical next step.

"From classic tents, we've switched over to mega luxury and I don't think we've made a mistake in doing so. This is a unique offer not only in the county, but throughout the region," proclaimed Antonio Mikulić.

Mikulić explained that their Adriatic Hotel is the only one in all of Pelješac that operates for 365 days per year, it used to be a parish church, then it was a school, then it was a shop and an apartment building. He notes that none of the six rooms are the same, and thanks to their beautiful design, they're reminiscent of the old sailboats, which they're named after: Stipan, Paulina, Isac, Jacob, Mimbelli, and Pelag. Done in the eye-catching style of a luxury boat lounge, there is also an a la carte restaurant named Stari Kapetan, the terrace of which is a replica of a seventeenth-century ship.

"Our boutique winery is an upgrade the offer of our family-run hotel and campsite, accounting for about 25 percent of this business. Since we live in Orebić, the tourist centre of Pelješac, our market is right there on our doorstep and there's almost no guest who visits our winery who doesn't end up buying our olive oil or our family-branded wine. Although we sell almost everything we produce, we participate in fairs throughout the year, organise presentations, and send off our wines to be judged,'' added Mikulić.

This is a local Pelješac family which has always cultivated vineyards and produced wine. According to Mikulić, his grandfather Josip also worked in the highest quality wine, Plavac, which is cultivated in the family's vineyards in Pelješac to this very day, and in his honour, the wine bears the name Don Josip.

"As a kid, I went with my grandfather to the vineyards and to the cellar, and after graduating from university in Zagreb, I decided to return to Pelješac and devote myself to the job I love the most. We started producing wine in a serious way back in 2014, when we equipped the winery with modern technology and all of the equipment.

Since the guests of the family hotel responded excellently to the first bottles of wine, in March last year, we decided to open our boutique winery on the slopes of Postup (village in Pelješac), where we also do tastings and try to tell the story of the beauty of this peninsula, the weight that Pelješac carries, and premium wines,'' explained Mikulić. They annually produce about 15,000 bottles of Plavac Mali and about six thousand bottles of Pošip.

The Pošip wine is bought from subcontractors from the nearby island of Korcula, and about 80 percent of the Plavac comes from their vineyards that cover 2.5 hectares in the best positions on the slopes of Postup, while another 20 percent is purchased from subcontractors, winemakers who have vineyards next to theirs. In addition to the peninsula, these wines are present in family-run small hotels and in better restaurants, they can be found in Split and Zagreb for sale, and can also be purchased online.

Given that their main priority is high quality and that a good deal of wine is sold to wineries, as well as in the restaurant of the family's hotel and camp, they're not focused on exporting.

"The tasting room looks like an old Dalmatian tavern and is especially interesting to foreign guests, and often they stay longer than planned in the relaxed atmosphere. In the few years that we've been open, we have had guests from almost all European countries, as well as from all over the world.

The most numerous are guests from Germany, Austria, the USA and the Scandinavian countries. These modern guests want to get to know the place they've come to, they want to taste authentic food and wines, and they are especially interested in Plavac which is our indigenous variety, and best results are known to be provided on Pelješac.

We also worked hard on the winery last winter, we made a bank and an archive of wines, so we've rounded it all together with a diverse offer for all guests - from the winery, the beach bar, the beach restaurant, the glamping, the camp, the apartments, the rooms, the hotel, and the restaurant right in the centre of Orebić,'' concluded Mikulić.

Make sure to follow our dedicated lifestyle and business pages for much more.

Saturday, 27 July 2019

Dalmatia as It Once Was: Orebic on Peljesac in 1972 (VIDEO)

July 26, 2019 - Continuing our look at the Adriatic coast as It Once Was almost 50 years ago, a visit to Orebic on Peljesac. 

Tourism has changed the Croatian coast considerably in the last 50 years. Some destinations have changed beyond recognition, such as Dubrovnik, where the mass tourism of cruise ships and buses and buses of day trips are filling the old town as never before - a far cry from 50 years ago

Other destinations, such as Korcula, seem hardly to have changed at all

The paths that Korcula and Dubrovnik have chosen for their tourism are very different, something I looked at recently in Is Korcula Really a Mini Dubrovnik? Please May It Never Be

One man who has been instrumental in lifting the quality of Korculan tourism is Brit Michael Unsworth, who arrived in Orebic across the water back in 1972 chasing a local girl. They have been happliy married ever since, and Michael found a second love - Korcula and Orebic. He is the man behind Lesic Dimitri Palace, arguably the best 5-star boutique hotel on the coast, and his Michelin-recommended restaurant has been the catalyst for Korculan hospitality to up its game, and with considerable success. 

So this one's for you, Michael, to thank you for all you have done. A trip down memory lane to the Orebic you arrived to back in 1972. 

Tuesday, 16 July 2019

Sun Lounger Under Palm on Pelješac Beach 3X More Expensive?

According to a report from Poslovni Dnevnik on the 16th of July, 2019, the media in neighbouring Bosnia and Herzegovina reported on some news about a Bosnian tourist visiting Croatia who experienced a somewhat strange situation on the Pelješac peninsula, more precisely in Trpanj: to rent a sun lounger, you'll pay a reasonable 25 kuna, but if you want to put that sun lounger under a palm tree for some shade from the sun's harsh rays, then it costs three times more - you'll pay 75 kuna.

This story does seem a little odd, so tried to find out what was going on and whether or not the story truly is correct.

Trpanj's mayor, Jakša Franković, believes this is a pure fabrication because he just doesn't believe this is possible.

"I think it's just something someone made up, it's almost impossible, because the municipal council has issued two concessions for the rental of sun loungers, one to ''Plavi obrt za morski ribolov'' who own 36 of the sun loungers placed at that location in Trpanj, and ''Hotel Faraon d.o.o. Trpanj'', which owns 20 sun loungers on that same beach. They rent out sun loungers, not shade, and that's what they've been approved for. If this really is true, I'd like this to be sent to our e-mail address or to that of the Trpanj Tourist Board. If the guest used the sun lounger after having paid three times more for it for the above reasons, then I'd like to see that receipt,'' said Mayor Franković.

"If this honestly is true, then it's a kind of bad marketing trick, and the market punishes such unsuccessful jokes, and they can't know if everyone is joking or if they aren't. Mr. Jakov Begović (one of the concessionaires, op.a.) is otherwise inclined to making jokes. Recently, he wrote in front of his facility, ''Govorimo sve jezike osim vašeg'' (We speak all languages ​​except yours). In my opinion, that's also one of those bad jokes that can also be misunderstood,'' added the mayor.

The owner: We're not charging for shade, we're charging for sun loungers next to the palm tree.

Jakov Begović, the owner of the otherwise well-known facility in Trpanj, told that he saw no issue with this.

"I don't see anything controversial about it, and it's not about shade, but because the sun lounger is standing next to the palm tree," he said.

"There are two palm trees and a table is placed next to them, and it's called a palmset. If the gentleman from Bosnia was used to seeing parasols advertised for rent for protection from the sun, then he wouldn't be upset about it. If people want to, people can rent sun loungers and then lie beneath them and use the shade of the chair!'' he concluded, clearly irritated.

Follow our dedicated lifestyle page for much more.

Monday, 8 July 2019

Pelješac Bridge Construction Finally Surfaces!

After the Chinese company CRBC started working on the new Pelješac bridge in July last year, and after all of the 148 permanent (+ 2 test) pillars have been installed at their sites, in the last couple of days the construction of the bridge has finally surfaced!

Večernji list brings the story and a gallery of photos by Hrvatske ceste (Croatian roads), of how it's possible to see the structure of the bridge above the sea level, as the work on the foundation slabs has started, and those are the first sections of the bridge that will be above water.

It took less than a year to reach that benchmark, and it takes a lot of human and machine power to be able to work that fast. Currently there are more than 20 vessels working on the site, although the biggest one, the Xong Cheng 1 crane, left the bay in May. Currently there are 385 workers on the site, 44 of which are Croats and 341 are Chinese nationals working in Croatia (and recently there have been some problems with their work permits, so the company had to pay a hefty fine).

The foundation slabs connect the pillars that belong to the same group, thus allowing for better stability of the bridge, as well as to protect it against any boats potentially hitting the pillars - as they are at water level and visible. Once they're completed, the piers of the bridge get attached to the slabs. There's more work to be done, as Croatian roads reports, on the pillars of the bridge, pouring concrete and finalising the structure at the seabed.

It is expected that Pelješac bridge will be completely finished in two years. And whether it's going to be fully operational then depends on some other factors, which have almost nothing to do with the bridge itself, rather they almost perfectly tell the tale of Croatia.

Sunday, 7 July 2019

One Man and His Dog: Outdoors Croatia Explores St. Ilija on Peljesac (VIDEO)

July 7, 2019 - Looking to escape the crowds and explore the Great Outdoors? The one man and dog team from Outdoors Croatia have the answer on Peljesac. 

If you are an active outdoor person looking for a place to research what Croatia has to offer, there is only one recommendation I would make - the YouTube channel of Outdoors Croatia, which has done more to highlight the potential of Croatia as an active tourism destination than any other I have come across.

And rather than focusing just on the popular spots, the one man and one dog team have explored literally every corner of Croatia, while taking exceptional footage of each activity along the way. I, for one, have learned of a number of new destinations and hidden gems through their excellent videos. 

This week's video comes from Peljesac, as our dynamic duo first kayak to the peninsula, then hike to the tallest peak of the peninsula, Sv. Ilija, which stands majestically some 961 metres above sea level. 

Views from the top include the gorgeous island of Korcula and its archipelago.

Feast your eyes on yet another stunning part of this beautiful country awaiting your hiking boots. 

You can follow the latest from Outdoor Croatia on their YouTube channel.

Tuesday, 14 May 2019

VIDEO: Croatian Roads Release 3D Simulation of Pelješac Roads

Pelješac bridge is something we've been reading about and anticipating for many years now. From wondering where the funding would come from before Croatia's accession to the EU to hearing Bosnian arguments against its construction, this enormous Croatian strategic project will see the construction of a bridge connect Croatian territory without a detour through Neum, Bosnia and Herzegovina, needed in order to reach Dubrovnik and the extreme south of Dalmatia by car. 

Works on Pelješac bridge which once seemed like they'd never happen finally began not so long ago, after a Chinese company was chosen as the contractor, much to the European Commission's irritation, given the fact that the bridge is majority financed by European Union funds. Despire that, works appear to be going smoothly and owing to the famous efficiency of the Chinese, more quickly than expected.

The joke is now that the Croats who can't seem to get the construction of Pelješac bridge's access roads off the ground (no pun intended) won't have even chosen a contractor before the Chinese have finished with the entire bridge.

Regardless, Croatian Roads (Hrvatske Ceste) have published the first 3D promotional video on what Pelješac's brand new roads are set to look like.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 13th of May, 2019, just two days ago, the last pilot was put into place at Pelješac bridge's construction site, along the sea bed below the future bridge, 148 permanent pilots and two testers were placed, and the quick and efficient Chinese builders have thus completed the first phase of the bridge's construction, well before time.

This was the timely occasion for Croatian Roads to announce their promotional film showcasing a 3D simulation of the future road through Pelješac for the first time. Have a look at the video (in Croatian) here:

Make sure to follow our dedicated lifestyle page for more information on the construction of Pelješac bridge and much, much more.

Saturday, 11 May 2019

Pelješac Bridge: All 148 Pillars Installed, Access Roads Behind Schedule?

The final of a total of 148 planned permanent pillars was installed at the site of Pelješac Bridge on Thursday night. The hammer of the Xong Cheng 1 crane installed the last, 126.6 metres tall pillar, reports Večernji List on May 11, 2019.

According to the construction plan, the last permanent pillar was supposed to be installed on May 21, which means that the Chinese builders from China Road and Bridge Corporation (CRBC) have completed this phase 12 days ahead of schedule. The longest pillar is 128.6 metres tall and weighs about 230 tons, while the shortest one is 36 metres long. The diameter of the pillars is between 1.8 and 2 metres. The Croatian Roads public company says that the next phase is for the sludge to be extracted from the steel pipes and discharged, according to the environmental impact study, at a location 21 nautical miles from the site of the future bridge.

While the pillars are still underwater, it is expected that they will become more visible starting from October. The first phase of the construction has passed according to estimates and without additional, unforeseen costs.

There are currently 150 Chinese and 55 Croatian workers at the construction site of Pelješac Bridge. CRBC has pledged to build the bridge within three years from the date of its arrival at the site, which means by the end of July 2021. It is possible that the works will be finished ahead of schedule.

The construction of access roads, however, has not yet begun. Croatian Roads need to re-issue a decision on the contractor for the Duboka-Sparagovići section after the initial decision on the selection of the Greek company J&P Avax has been annulled. They are yet to make a decision on the contractor for the Ston bypass road. It is 32 kilometres long with numerous smaller bridges and tunnels.

Croatian Roads say that the deadline for completing the entire link with southern Croatia is January 31, 2022, and that it is essential for the whole project to be completed by 2023 because the money from EU funds has to be spent by that time.

Translated from Večernji List (reported by Josip Bohutinski).

More news about Pelješac Bridge can be found in the Business section.

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