Tuesday, 6 July 2021

HDZ Whip: Shopping Hours to be Adjusted to Seasonal Activities

ZAGREB, 6 July, 2021 - The whip of the ruling HDZ, Branko Bačić, said on Tuesday the parties of the parliamentary majority supported amendments to the Trade Act, adding that shopping hours would be adjusted to seasonal activities.

Parliament will debate the amendments in the autumn.

Speaking to the press after a meeting of the parliamentary majority, Bačić said they talked about the problem of restricting shopping hours until 9 pm, notably during the summer tourist season, when they have the biggest turnover.

"We must take account of the international convention on the rights of shop workers to daily and weekly rest," Bačić said, adding that it was important to reach as much consensus as possible with those to whom the law applied.

"We'll take into account rest and adjusting shopping hours to seasonal activities across Croatia. We'll give employers the possibility to decide how many Sundays in the year they will work."

Reformists president Radimir Čaćić pushed for as much flexibility regarding shopping hours as possible, saying that family firms should be allowed to work when and how long they wanted.

He praised the proposal by Silvano Hrelja of the Croatian Pensioners Party "not to define shopping hours but the number of non-working hours, to say that a shop must have eight non-working hours. That's very good as it allows everyone to organise themselves as they wish."

Bačić said the parliamentary majority also talked about plans to make job-keeping payments in sectors affected by the epidemic conditional on worker vaccination, adding that the purpose was to stimulate employers with a high vaccination rate "for contributing to curbing the epidemic as soon as possible."

He said the government was not shifting responsibility to employers and that measures to that effect would be agreed by the government, the social partners and legal experts, taking Croatia's economic interest into account.

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Wednesday, 8 July 2020

Adriatic Sees No Foreign Cruise Ships Since March

ZAGREB, July 8, 2020 - Since March there have been no foreign cruise ships in the Croatian Adriatic because of the COVID-19 pandemic and the 15 cruises recorded in the first five months of this year were realised from January through March, down 91.2% on the year.

Cruises resumed after epidemiological restrictions were relaxed but they have mainly been organised by smaller domestic ships, with only a few organised by foreign tour operators at the end of June and early this month.

However, there have been no big liners with thousands of passengers since March and given the increase in coronavirus cases around the world, they can hardly be expected this year, especially in any big numbers.

In the period from January to May 2020, six foreign vessels on cruise arrived in Croatian seaports, down 86% year on year, which realised 15 journeys. There were 3,737 passengers on board these vessels, (-98.5% y-o-y), who stayed for 47 days in Croatia (-86% y-o-y).

The highest number of cruises was realised by vessels under the flag of Malta (12 cruises), Belgium, Italy, and the Marshall Islands.

Wednesday, 17 June 2020

Bozinovic: Croatia Is Safe And One Of Few Countries That Will Have Tourism Season

ZAGREB, June 17, 2020 - Croatia is a safe country and one of the few countries that will have a tourism season this year, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Interior Davor Bozinovic said on Wednesday, adding that the more than 350,000 tourists had announced their arrival via the Enter Croatia system.

"Croatia is perceived as a desirable country to come to for a vacation and at the moment it is probably the only country with announcements of foreign tourists arriving and with congestion at border crossings," Bozinovic said at the opening of a headquarters for the implementation of safety measures during the 2020 tourism season.

Bozinovic recalled that last year 20 million tourists visited Croatia and generated 90 million bed nights.

"We probably won't reach those numbers this year but based on today's reports we can say that the entire security system has proved to be exceptionally efficient in resolving crises, regardless of whether they be an epidemic, crimes or wildfires," he underscored.

"Our Homeland Security system is sending a message not only to Croatian citizens but to foreigners as well - Croatia is a safe country and this year again foreign tourists can feel safe here," he said.

Reporters wanted to know the minister's position regarding wearing masks as tourists are confused because the majority of people in Croatia are not wearing them.

"It is always better to have a mask than not, but it is not compulsory. If we were to introduce that as a compulsory measure, that would mean that the situation is a lot worse than it is," he explained.

He added that the epidemic is under control in Croatia. "Our numbers are low but we have to keep in mind the situation in neighboring countries, in Europe as well as globally, as it indicates that the virus is still present," he said.

Croatia is prepared to react if hotspots emerge

Bozinovic underlined that Croatia is prepared to react should certain coronavirus hotspots emerge.

"We have shown that we know how to handle those challenges, that we first of all have the people but also the technology and experience that can guarantee safety," he said.

This is the third year that the safety headquarters is being opened during the tourist season to protect citizens, property, and tourists during the season.

Last year a record number of foreign police officers, 95, came to Croatia from 19 countries to help during the tourism season. At the moment there are 36 police officers from nine countries who have registered to participate and join their Croatian colleagues in making the season safe in Croatia.