Friday, 24 May 2019

Croatian Travel Festival Taking Place in Šibenik

The Croatian Travel Festival is a project started by the Croatian Traveller's Club in 2012, which aims to bring many of the travellers and travel writers in Croatia to one place, to talk about their travels to among themselves, but also to share their experiences of their adventures with the audience. This year, the festival will last for a full week, from May the 20th until the 26th, in four different locations in Šibenik.

33 lecturers will hold 23 lectures about their travels, there will be a food workshop, an eco-workshop, a travel book fair, a screening of a well-liked travel documentary, a travel pub quiz and a concert by a famous Croatian band Pavel - and many other activities will be organised during the week of the festival.

On the first day of the festival, on Monday, it all got started with the beginning of group action of cleaning the seabed in the bay around Šibenik, which will go on for two weeks - longer than the Croatian Travel Festival itself, and an evening discussion of how to protect the world's seas and oceans from microplastic. On Tuesday, the lectures were about diving and global heating.

For the first time, Domagoj Jakopović Ribafish will present his RokOtok project (which we've already written about) on Friday evening, and on Saturday, the highlight of the festival is taking place: one of the most famous Croatian journalists and travellers, Goran Milić, will interview the star guest of the festival, British writer and documentarian, best known for his documentary Walking the Himalayas, Levison Wood.

That will happen on one of the most impressive stages in the world, at the Fortress of St. Mihovil. Tickets for the evening can be purchased here. On Sunday, you'll be able to hear from a Croatian couple who travelled to North Korea, as well as take a free guided tour of Šibenik.

 

 

Tuesday, 21 May 2019

Šibenik Continues to Impress with EU Fund Withdrawal for Cultural Heritage

Šibenik is an example of excellent practice when it comes to withdrawing the European Union funds made available to it, and while the rest of Croatia rather unsurprisingly lags in that particular field (among others), it seems that this Dalmatian city is quite easily outshining the rest.

As Novac/Matea Grbac writes on the 21st of May, 2019, although tourism is one of the major economic branches of Croatia, accounting for a significant nineteen percent of the national GDP, it seems that the country's leading individuals in Croatian tourism will have to work a little harder to make sure Croatia's numerous destinations, which were visited by just over 19.4 million tourists last year, manage to really remain competitive in the face of competition.

In order to successfully keep up with increasingly popular European destinations like Greece, an old ''king'' of tourism, and not to mention Turkey, which is returning from a rather tumultuous period, much more than sea and sunshine needs to be placed on offer to would-be tourists and visitors to Croatia. Packed with a wealth of possibilities, is the country really using everything as it could, and should?

For the development of a much more varies tourist offer, Croatia has had a number of different forms of EU funds available to it for almost six years now, more specifically since the country joined the bloc. They're mostly related to the development of rural, regional tourism and OPGs, the reconstruction or building of more private accommodation, the development of domestic entrepreneurship, health, ethno and gastro tourism, as well as what is arguably the most important thing of all - the proper restoration of Croatia's countless pieces of cultural heritage.

Despite having EU funds readily available to it for a variety of purposes, according to increasingly numerous sources in the media, Croatia continues to be rather insufficient in taking proper advantage of that support. However, it seems that we can still find examples of good practice among the tourist destinations of the country and one of them is the historic Dalmatian City of Šibenik.

This beautiful coastal Dalmatian city, one of the few world cities to have been listed on UNESCO's prestigious list with two protected facilities, is an example of just how things should be being done when it comes to EU fund withdrawal in Croatia.

Although Šibenik has been being visited more and more in recent years, it still isn't one of the most visited Croatian destinations, and by the end of October last year, it counted only 287,872 visitors, Šibenik is certainly a pioneer in withdrawing funds made available to it by the EU when it comes to restoring its cultural heritage.

For the reconstruction of its famed fortification system consisting of three land and one sea fortress, Šibenik has withdrawn approximately 56 million kuna from EU funds over the last several years.

Financed by the European Regional Development Fund, totalling more than 1.6 million euro, of which the EU co-financed almost a million euro, the Fortress of St. Mihovil became an imposing open-air amphitheatrical stage with 1,077 seats. Thus, this ancient historical fortress which once used to serve as the defensive wall of the city, plays its current role for Šibenik of an urban and dynamic gathering place for both the local population as well as visitors to this stunning city.

The second in the series comes Šubićevac Fortress, or Barone, which has been transformed into the gastronomic centre of Šibenik. The reconstruction of this facility stood at slightly more than 1.3 million euro, and just like the fortress of St. Mihovil, it received most of these funds from EU funds, more specifically, 993,000 euro.

Although still unfinished, the farthest fortress from the city, Sv. Ivan, is also part of the ''Fortess of Culture of Šibenik'' and is financed with European Union money. The entire project was worth 49 million kuna, and as much as 41 million kuna came from the Regional Development Fund.

The fact that the entire project proved to be successful is the fact that more than 200,000 tourists visited last year alone, while revenues in 2018 amounting to a more than impressive 6.7 million kuna.

With the synergy of natural resources, culture and domestic products, Šibenik has proved that with planning and smart investment, every Croatian tourist destination can turn into a rounded whole that will meet the needs of even the most demanding tourists.

Make sure to follow our dedicated lifestyle page for much more.

 

Click here for the original article by Matea Grbac for Novac/Jutarnji

Tuesday, 14 May 2019

Potentially Harmful Compass Jellyfish Appear Near Betina

As the tourist season approaches in Dalmatia, the compass jellyfish makes an appearance.

As Morski writes on the 14th of May, 2019, potentially harmful compass jellyfish (Chrysaora hysoscella) have made an appearance in the sea near Betina, experts warn that if one sees this jellyfish they should give it a very wide berth and make no attempt whatsoever to go near it or touch it as a sting from this animal is very painful.

Chrysaora hysoscella, known as the compass jellyfish, is a species that typically lives in the coastal waters of the Atlantic ocean and the Mediterranean sea, often appearing along the coast of the United Kingdom, especially in the North sea, Ireland, and as far south as Turkey. It is characterised by a yellow-brown ''cap'' that resembles a compass and it can grow to up to thirty centimetres in diameter, with tentacles reaching up to one metre long. The compass jellyfish has 24 tentacles that are divided into three groups of eight, as was described by the Centre for Invasive Species, which reported that the same had jellyfish appeared near Poreč in Istria last summer.

Although during spring compass jellyfish may occur in slightly larger numbers, a small number of individuals reach sexual maturity and continue to survive until the summer. This type of compass jellyfish belongs to a group of jellyfish which possess their cnidocite on their tentacles and thus, if one comes into contact with it, it can cause painful burns and marks on the skin. 

Compass jellyfish tend to appear in cycles but not each and every year, and their lifespan is one year. They feed on zooplankton, and the natural enemies are sea turtles and the Ocean sunfish (Mola Mola) - a large fish that feeds on them.

The aforementioned centre advises that if you do come across and come into accidental contact with a compass jellyfish while swimming, then you need to cool the burned area with aloe vera or a similar gel which soothes burns.

Make sure to follow our dedicated lifestyle page for much more.

Monday, 13 May 2019

Fishing Monitoring Equipment Presented in Šibenik

ZAGREB, May 13, 2019 – The new fishing monitoring system was presented in Šibenik on Monday, with Agriculture Minister Tomislav Tolušić saying other countries hardly had the kind of surveillance equipment Croatia had.

The equipment including drones, boats, vehicles and cameras as well as a fully digitised fishing centre was also seen by Prime Minister Andrej Plenković, Defence Minister Damir Krstičević, Regional Development and EU Funds Minister Gabrijela Žalac and local officials.

Croatia is on the vanguard in the Mediterranean when it comes to the protection of one's own sea resources, Tolušić said, adding that surveillance equipment worth 75 million kuna was purchased over the past two years.

He said the drones, cameras and boats covered all of the Adriatic and that a majority had been financed with EU funds. "It's everything the fishing inspectorate is doing to protect our fish resources and fishermen," he said, adding that the system would be modernised further.

The drones presented today will be used to monitor the sea 60% of the time and in firefighting the rest of the time, it was said.

"Although last year we invested over HRK 20 million in thermographic cameras all over the Adriatic, this is an additional possibility to raise our firefighting readiness," said Tolušić.

Mario Rogošić of the Fishing Authority said the goal was to protect the fishermen who fished legally and punish those who did not. There are 3,500 commercial fishermen in Croatia and 70,000 permits are sold for recreational fishing, he added.

Today and tomorrow Šibenik is hosting a fishing conference.

More fishing news can be found in the Business section.

Sunday, 5 May 2019

Teslas at the Ready: World's Quietest Rally About to Start in Croatia

One of the finest Croatian tourism promotion events takes place once again on May 12, 2019 - Nikola Tesla EV Rally, the quietest rally in the world. 

It is an event in his homeland that would have made Nikola Tesla proud. An event whose past participants have included the mother of Mr Modern Day Tesla, Maye Musk, the new king of electric supercars, Mate Rimac, and the first buyer of the Rimac Concept One. An event which takes place in a country of staggering natural beauty, 10% of which is given over to national and nature parks. It is an event in his homeland that would have made Nikola Tesla proud. An event whose past participants have included the mother of Mr Modern Day Tesla, Maye Musk, the new king of electric supercars, Mate Rimac, and the first buyer of the Rimac Concept One. An event which takes place in a country of staggering natural beauty, 10% of which is given over to national and nature parks. 

Welcome to the Nikola Tesla EV Rally in Croatia, officially the quietest rally in the world.

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Now in its 6th year, this unique rally comprises a luxury tour of the finest sights, nature, hotels and gourmet experiences that Croatia has to offer. An 8-day luxury electric vehicle rally over 1,500 km taking in Croatia's fabled coastline and islands, 6 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, 4 national parks, 3 Game of Thrones filming locations, and the birthplace of Nikola Tesla himself in Smiljan. 

Starting at luxury Novi Spa and Hotels Resort in Novi Vinodolski, the rally will be based at Sun Gardens Dubrovnik, before heading north to Sibenik, then inland to Smiljan, Plitvice Lakes and finishing in Zagreb. 

The electric vehicle revolution is taking off in Croatia, largely due to the efforts of the rally organisers, and full charging options are catered for. As just one part of its contribution to sustainable tourism, the Nikola Tesla EV Rally is the only rally in the world which leaves infrastructure for e-vehicles behind. This includes a charging station donated at the birthplace of Tesla in Smiljan.

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The rally attracts a truly international field each year, with many from Austria, Belgium, Germany, Finland, Switzerland and Norway, as well as further afield from Canada and South Africa.

Last year's rally saw the remarkable sight of 50 Teslas alone on a ferry at one time. The rally is not a race as such (although there are 3 speed races included), more a leisurely drive admiring one of the truly more glorious natural paradises in the world. 

If you are interested in seeing the magic of the country which gave the world Nikola Telsa in a manner in which he would surely have approved, learn more about the Nikola Tesla EV Rally on the official website, and check out the 2019 itinerary below.

 

 

"NIKOLA TESLA EV RALLY CROATIA 2019"

12.05.2019. START Novi Vinodolski (hotel Novi Spa Hotels & Resort)

  • 19.00 h conference room: gathering and official introduction of team, route and schedule
  • 20.30 h Dinner
  • 22.00 h Welcome drink with the view, our DJ will play some good music ….

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13.05.2019. Novi Vinodolski – Klis - Dubrovnik

  • Famous TV Show “Game of Thrones” was filmed on 2 locations in Croatia – Fortress Klis in Dugopolje and Dubrovnik. Lunch in Fortress Klis is not allowed for public so you will have a unique opportunity to experience lunch in medieval fortress overlooking the city of Split.
  • 20.00 h arrival at Sun Gardens Dubrovnik hotel
  • 20.30 h dinner at the hotel
  • 22.00 h briefing in conference room (presentation of route and activities for the following day

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14.05.2019. Dubrovnik Old Town – Lokrum island

    • After relaxing morning and lunch in Sun Gardens hotel our first stop will be visiting fortress Srđ built in time of Dubrovnik Republic which was an aristocratic maritime republic centered in the city of Dubrovnik that carried that name from 1358 until 1808. One of the most spectacular views in Croatia overlooking city of Dubrovnik.
    • One more location we must visit is Island of Lokrum which was first mentioned in 1023. in connection with the funding of Benedictine abbey and monastery where peacocks roam free.
    • Walk in the Old City up Stradun
    • 20.00 h Dinner in Taj Mahal
    • 22.00 h 22.00 h briefing in conference room (presentation of route and activities for the following day)

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15.05.2019. Dubrovnik – Cavtat

  • 11.30 h „Skill exam”-Port Gruž
  • Lunch in konoba Vinica
  • Visit to Cavtat (Birth house one of the most famous Croatian painters, Vlaho Bukovac and Meštrović Pavilion)
  • 20.00 h Dinner
  • 22.00 h briefing in conference room (presentation of route and activities for the following day)

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16.05.2019. Dubrovnik – Ston - Šibenik

  • 08.00 h Start from Sun Gardens
  • Visit to Ston, salt factory where the tradition od harvesting salt has been passed on for over 400 years and since then salt is produced in the same way with only the assistance of the sun, sea and wind. Also, you will see the walls of Ston that were built in 1333, a massive architecture and construction feat originally 7000-meters long (22 965 ft.), they consist of several parts; the Ston city walls, the Mali Ston city walls and the Big wall with its three forts. Its forts and towers are strengthened by 10 round and 31 square flanking towers and 6 semi-circular bastions

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  • Visit to Red and Blue Lake in Imotski. Red Lake is known for its numerous caves and remarkably high cliffs, reaching over 241 metres above normal water level and continuing below the water level. The total explored depth of this sinkhole is approximately 530 metres with a volume of roughly 25–30 million cubic meters, thus it is the third largest sinkhole in the world.
  • 20.00 h Amadria park hotel Jure
  • Dinner
  • 22.00 h briefing in conference room (presentation of route and activities for the following day)

17.05.2019. Zadar – Šibenik – Skradin – NP Krka

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    • 11.00 “Skill exam”
    • Lunch in restaurant Skala in Skradin
    • Visit to NP Krka 7th largest national park in Croatia and home of the hydro plant that was open in 1895, just two days after Tesla’s hydroelectric plant on Niagara Falls. At the same time, 11 km of power lines to transmit electricity and a city lighting network were built, the first complete electricity system in Croatia. Thanks to Šibenik Mayor Ante Šupuk and engineer Vjekoslav Meischner, Šibenik had electrical lighting before many European cities, including Vienna, Budapest, Rome, London and others.
    • Visit to Old town Šibenik Sv.Mihovil and Barone fortress. The Medieval St. Mihovil Fortress was erected on a sixty meters high and steep rocky hill that dominates the surrounding waters. Under its walls, Šibenik evolved - the oldest native Croatian town on the Adriatic. Barone Fortress was built in 1646 on Vidakuša, the 80 meter-high hill above the city. Along with the other three fortresses in Šibenik, it represents a unique defence system which resisted the enemies of the city for centuries. Today, it has an exceptional monumental value recognized across Europe.
    • 20.00 h Dinner
    • 22.00 h briefing in conference room (presentation of route and activities for the following day)

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18.05.2019. Šibenik - MC Nikola Tesla-Plitvička Jezera - Zagreb

  • 11.30 h Visit to Smiljan – MC Nikola Tesla (birthplace of Nikola Tesla)
  • Croatia, the one and only Homeland of Nikola Tesla! Nikola Tesla was an inventorelectrical engineermechanical engineer and futurist who is best known for his contributions to the design of the modern alternating current (AC) electricity supply system.He was born 10 July 1856. In Croatia (former Austria-Hungarian Empire) and spent his childhood in his birthplace, small village Smiljan near Gospić
  • Visit and lunch at NP Plitvička Jezera. Plitvice Lakes is the oldest and largest national park in the Republic of Croatia. With its exceptional natural beauty, this area has always attracted nature lovers, and already on 8 April 1949, it was proclaimed Croatia’s first national park. The process of tufa formation, which results in the building of the tufa, or travertine, barriers and resulted in the creation of the lakes, is the outstanding universal value, for which the Plitvice Lakes were internationally recognized on 26 October 1979 with their inscription onto the UNESCO World Heritage List.

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  • 20.00 h Zagreb- arrival on Ban Jelačić square (main city square).
  • The city of Zagreb, capital of Croatia is a cultural, scientific, economic, political and administrative center of the Republic of Croatia. The streets and monuments proudly testify to its thousands of years of history. A mixture of Austro-Hungarian and modern architecture, Zagreb has culture, arts, music, gastronomy and most important of all … vision of the future. Only city in Croatia with fast charging stations in front of Municipality

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  • 21.00 h Amadria Park hotel Capital Zagreb/Heritage hotel - dinner
  • 22.30 h briefing in conference room (presentation of route and activities for the following day)
  • *Vehicles will be parked and charged overnight at the main square under security protection (hotel is located 100 m by walking distance from the main Square)

19.05.2019. Zagreb- FINISH

  • 11.00 h Start from Ban Jelačić square
  • Carousel arround the city, visit to Meštrović Pavilion- HDLU
  • 12.30 h „Speed race“

 

Award and celebration ceremony

Lunch- FINISH!

See you in 2020.

Nikola Tesla EV Rally Team!

 

 

 

Thursday, 2 May 2019

First Edition of Proceed with Care Conference Begins

The first international expert and scientific conference Proceed with Care has been opened at the Croatian National Theatre in Šibenik, organised by the National Association for Interdisciplinary Activities in the Field of Heritage and Tourism. The conference is taking place under the auspices of the President of the Republic of Croatia Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović, Croatian UNESCO Commission and the Ministry of Tourism, and in the partnership with the Town of Šibenik, the Croatian National Tourist Board and the Krka National Park.

At the opening ceremony, the conference organiser Jelena Skorup addressed the audience, beginning her speech with the central question of the conference "Why should we proceed with care?" “Tourism is one of the most important social and economic phenomena of recent decades and shows significant growth. Countries and communities have the opportunity to promote their unique heritage identity with great passion through tourism. In the last few decades, some cities and monuments, especially those on UNESCO's World Heritage List, have been put at risk due to a large number of visitors which exceeds their capacity," said Skorup.

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Speeches were also given by Šibenik mayor Željko Burić and a representative of the Ministry of Tourism, State Secretary Tonči Glavina, who said that the Croatian towns are increasingly encountering the issue of excessive tourism and need to take the necessary measures to prevent the phenomenon of over-tourism.

After the opening ceremony, the introductory lecture was given by Yonca Erkan, head of UNESCO's World Heritage Management and Promotion Service focusing on new media, at the same time a professor at Kadir Has University in Istanbul. The lecture was held on the topic "Inclusiveness for Sustainability: Multiplicities for Cultural Tourism". Through her career, she has worked on many projects, she is a member of UNESCO and Europa Nostra, and she has received many global awards for her work.

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The theme of the Proceed with Care conference is the "Coexistence with Tourism", and it will cover two main areas. The first will deal with the strategies and techniques for designing and planning tourist sites and infrastructures for sustainable heritage management and tourism in areas with valuable cultural and natural heritage, with an emphasis on world cultural heritage under the UNESCO protection. The second area refers to communication strategies and techniques for the implementation of sustainable planning and design solutions where the strategy of positioning the heritage tourist destinations and defining their brand architectures will be discussed.

More about the conference can be found on the official website.

More tourism news can be found in the Travel section.

Thursday, 25 April 2019

Proceed with Care Conference - Living with Tourism Just One Week Away

For the first time in Croatia, the international scientific and expert conference "Proceed with Care - Living with Tourism" will take place, organised by the National Association for Interdisciplinary Activities in the Field of Heritage and Tourism. The conference will be held under the auspices of Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović, Croatian Commission for UNESCO, and the Ministry of Tourism, and in the partnership with the Town of Šibenik, the Croatian National Tourist Board and the Krka National Park. The Proceeding with Care - Living with Tourism conference is to become an annual gathering of international experts, relevant authors and researchers, and at the same time position Croatia as the initiator in the field of the preservation of material and non-material heritage.

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The first edition of the conference will take place at the Croatian National Theatre in Šibenik from 2 to 5 May, and world-renowned experts will discuss the growing conflict between excess tourism and the protection of the cultural environment, historic cities, monuments and sites, especially those listed on the UNESCO World Heritage List. Top international experts in the field of cultural heritage conservation will share their knowledge and experience.

The conference aims to inform the representatives of all institutions that make executive decisions on the preservation of spatial and cultural resources, as well as on the development and implementation of sustainable development, from state to local administration levels, from local communities to entrepreneurs in culture and tourism. The main idea of the Proceed with Care conference is "Coexistence with Tourism", and some of the main topics of the conference will be:

Yonca Erkan – „Inclusiveness for Sustainability: Multiplicities for Cultural Tourism“
Mar Santamaria – „Measuring Tourist Impact in Cities: Empowering Local Communities with Bigdata“
Dejan Verčič – „A Supermodern Tourist Paradox: Turning Heritage Sites into Non-places“
Xavi Llobert – „Decentralization and Tourism _ Recovery of the Infant’s Channel“
Juan Manuel Corso Sarmiento – „Great Complexity Heritage Surveys“
Dimitri Ioannides – „Is Over-tourism the Final Straw? / A Long Tale of Lessons not Heeded“
Ludwig Thorsten – „Europe’s Future in our Hands“
Relja Ferušić/Carles Sala – „Productive Tourism: The Role of Architecture to Promote an Active and Productive Tourism“

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The Proceed with Care conference aims to bring together researchers and experts from around the world to find solutions for sustainable tourism growth of the world's tourism capitals through shared awareness, knowledge and experience. The conference will present the latest academic and scientific research, field research, strategies, techniques and tools. In addition to keynote speaker presentations, all participants will be able to attend various panels and lectures by local and international authors of scientific papers dealing with the main topic of the Living with Tourism conference.

Find out more about the conference programme and how to register here.

More tourism news can be found in the Travel section.

Wednesday, 24 April 2019

World's Biggest Welcome in Croatia: Day 31 - Kurba Vela to Šibenik (Kayak)

April 24, 2019 - Putting Croatian adventure tourism on the map, with the biggest welcome in the world. Day 31 of this incredible 2011 adrenaline trip covering 2,500 km along the Croatian coast. 

The World's Biggest Welcome, an ambitious adventure tourism project in 2011 in Croatia enters Day 31 of this 2019 appreciation of one of the finest tourism promotion projects ever in Croatia.  

The plan? To showcase the diversity and fabulous offer of adventure tourism in Croatia by following a GPS route the length of the Croatian coast in the shape of the word 'Welcome' - thereby creating the biggest welcome in the world from a hospitable tourism country. 

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Day 31 moved from Kurba Vela to Šibenik by kayak. 

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35 kilometres for the day: And really, what was meant to be a smooth kayak ride from Kurba Vela to Šibenik to complete forming the ‘C’ in ‘Welcome’. 

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Day 31 began with Lacko waking up on the windy island of Skrižanj Veli.

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Lacko hiding from the wind to check his email and weather forecast in peace.

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Just to show you how strong the wind was that day. 

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Lacko was a bit worried. 

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The conclusion? The bura wind was too strong, the boat can't get to the group, and Lacko can't sail out.

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But they could be stuck in worse places. 

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The boat finally managed to reach Lacko and the crew. 

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And Lacko set out to battle the bura. 

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The crew hid in a cave and waited for Šime Stipanič.

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Lacko could no longer kayak and had to continue to Šibenik by another form of transport...

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Lacko and Šime Stipanič on their way to Šibenik.

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The guys got thirsty.

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Lacko.

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Lacko and Šime sailing towards Prvić.

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And the Sv. Nikola fortress.

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Šibenik.

A key part of the project was promoting tourism, and the official website has details of the key places visited during the day. 

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National Park Kornati.

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Šibenik.

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Zlarin.

You can see the entire project on the Welcome website, as well as much more of Luka Tambaca's stunning photography on the Welcome Facebook page

After Lacko takes a day off in Šibenik on Day 32, tune in tomorrow for Day 33 as Lacko heads to Split for the Sv. Duje celebration.

To follow the whole project from the start, follow the dedicated TCN page

Wednesday, 24 April 2019

Digital Croatia: Best Large ''Digital'' Cities Zagreb and Rijeka

Just how close are we to a real digital Croatia? The answer is unclear and as varied as ever, but some Croatian cities have shown promise with some rather impressive and encouraging results.

As Novac/Gradonacelnik.hr writes on the 23rd of April, 2019, although more and more cities are gradually digitising their business and investing in smart city solutions, and some of the most advanced have almost completely switched to doing solely digital business, generally speaking, Croatian cities are only in the very early stages of the much needed digital transition, just as Croatia is, as a country, at the very bottom in Europe in terms of the digital readiness of general society and the economy.

As the methodology for ranking cities in terms of digital readiness is only at its very beginning even at the European level, stories and analysis of the "smart city" concept development here in Croatia are still very much based on individual experiences, examples and projects.

That is why, in order to gain a real elementary insight into the digitalisation of Croatia's services and the communication of the country's many city administrations with citizens, experts from Apsolon, a consulting company specialising in digital business development, has undertaken the very first major study of the ''digital readiness'' of twenty of the largest cities across Croatia. This study, according to project manager and smart management director at Apsolon, Ivana Novoselec, is the basis for the further development of research tools and methodology that will track the development and progress of Croatia's cities on an annual basis.

In its study, Apsolon divided the cities into three categories - large (Zagreb, Split, Rijeka, Osijek), middle (Zadar, Velika Gorica, Slavonski Brod, Pula and Karlovac) and smaller cities (Sisak, Varaždin, Šibenik, Dubrovnik, Bjelovar, Kaštela, Samobor, Vinkovci, Koprivnica, Đakovo, Vukovar.)

The digital readiness index at Apsolon was set based on several criteria - the availability of e-services (the number of administrative services and their digitalisation rate in Croatia), the availability of site service information and the development of unified services for making payments in the city, then came the availability of city data, the level of citizen participation in decision making and communication channels between the city administration and citizens, ie, the availability of data and time in which citizens receive answers to their various questions. At this stage, Apsolon hasn't entered into the internal processes in Croatia's city administrations, but rather focused on what services are offered to the city's citizens and how long such things typically take.

After this type of indexing and ranking, the title of the ''digitisation champion'' among the Croatian cities was awarded to the City of Rijeka, thus confirming its status as the best city in the Smart City category which it won last year. Apsolon pointed out that the City of Rijeka has achieved the greatest advances in the systematic raising of the quality of its services, but also the opening of data and communication channels to citizens.

"Rijeka as the most advanced city in Croatia in terms of digitisation and is characterised in particular by the emphasis on openness and communication with its citizens. Its administration is oriented towards clear communication (a very clear centralised e-services approach with well-organised access to all automated services and available forms), openness and participatory management," said project manager Ivana Novoselac.

In many categories, especially those relating to the functional aspects of digitisation (advanced digital services, e-citizen connectivity, etc.), Rijeka is followed closely by the City of Zagreb.

The city of Pula is the most advanced middle-size city in Croatia, which also presents its services and available information to its citizens in a systematic and very detailed way, raising standards in terms of transparency and interaction with citizens, and is certainly a champion among cities with between 50.000 and 100.000 inhabitants.

In relation to the criteria relating to specific functional and technological solutions, Karlovac, Velika Gorica and Zadar follow. For the City of Karlovac the large number of available administrative procedures on its website and responses to citizens' inquiries are generally quick made it stand out from the crowd.

Among the small cities in Croatia, there is no distinctly dominant digital champion, but according to research findings in different aspects of digitisation, Dubrovnik, Samobor, Sisak, Koprivnica and Varaždin appear to be the most successful ones, according to this research. Among the prominent representatives of this category, Dubrovnik is strategically trying to profile as Smart City and has a high quality City Card, e-Visitor platform, is very active on social networks and it continuing to develop innovative application solutions. When it comes to the number of digitally available services, Koprivnica ranks above all.

Samobor, which is particularly active on social networks and is the category winner for social networking, has a very comprehensive and interactive website which separates the site accordingly and has adjusted all of the information for citizens and for visitors, as well as separating foreign visitors from domestic ones.

It should also be noted that Bjelovar is extremely proactive in the field of the digitalisation of its administration, it is working on applicative transparency solutions as well as on internal digitalisation processes. What is particularly commendable is Bjelovar's focus on the digitalisation of its internal processes.

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Click here for the original article by Novac/Jutarnji/Gradonacelnik.hr

Thursday, 18 April 2019

Meet Martinska, Šibenik's Hot New Summer Festival Destination

Located directly across from Šibenik, on the unique Srim peninsula and at the very entrance to the Šibenik harbor, Martinska is a former important transport point, city beach and retreat of many generations. Today, with the initiative of the City of Šibenik, the Tourist Board of Šibenik and festival organizers, it opens a new page of its history, reports Dalmacija Danas on April 18, 2019. 

Almost every subculture will find its place in Martinska this summer, in the beautiful setting of the beach and the former Martinska camp, which offers six genres of unique festivals in its vibrant summer concept; Regius, Seasplash, Kanal, Nox, Membrain and Blast Festival.

The 9th Regius Festival, which is held from July 12 to 13, is characterized by its musical diversity and eclecticism in the selection of styles, genres and, as such, performers. The line-up already boasts Sajsi MC, Marin Ivanović Stoka, Cold Snap, Piknik Park - Linkin Park Tribute Band, Dreger Rofellos and Babylon. The Regius Festival promotes the culture and music of a wide variety of alternative genres.

Seasplash, known as the longest-running Croatian festival dedicated to dub, reggae, and sound system culture, has ended its 16-year stint in Istria and will take the beach in Dalmatia from July 18 to 21 this year, precisely in Martinska. In addition to the program in Martinska, for the first time, there will be an opening concert on Wednesday, July 17, at the beautiful fortress Sv. Mihovil in Šibenik. The festival lineup this year is led by Dub Pistols, Lee Scratch Perry, Scientist, Vibronics, Edo Maajka and many more as the next round of artists should be announced soon. 

Shortly after, July 26 and 27 are reserved for the Kanal Fest, which is taking place this year for the second time and hosts exclusively punk and hardcore bands, all organized by the Association “Liješnjaci”.

The first weekend of August, namely August 2 and 3, a two-day festival of electronic music called NOX Festival will hit Martinska. During two days on two stages, NOX will host performers from Croatia, the region and abroad - whose genre is singled into melodic electronic music and a somewhat slower sound. Of the twenty-two names arriving in Šibenik, six names have been confirmed so far: Juan Atkins, Red Axes, Petar Dundov and Coeus, DJ Jock and host Lawrence Klein.

Martinska is also home to the Membrain Festival, the largest gathering of bass music in Dalmatia. Over four days on three stages, over 80 performers from Croatia and the world will perform, which will bring the audience the most current trends of drum and bass, dubstep, grime, dub, global/tropical low and sub-genres, uniting cultures and bass music lovers. Some of the names you can catch at the Membrain Festival, which will be held from August 8 to 11, are Loxy, DLR, Overlook, Clarity, and. Ruffhouse.

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