Saturday, 19 December 2020

Digital Nomads Helping Split Winter Tourism this Year

December 19, 2020 - The numbers are in for November - and they aren't totally grim when considering Split winter tourism. 

Believe it or not, there is some turnover in tourism this year, reports Slobodna Dalmacija.

According to the eVisitor system, there were 4,323 arrivals, and 21,671 overnight stays in the Split area in November, which is about 23 percent of arrivals and 53 percent of overnight stays realized compared to November last year, says the Split Tourist Board.

However, there are no noticeable changes. Moreover, according to Martina Nimac Kalcina, president of the Family Tourism Association of the Croatian Chamber of Commerce, this crisis has taken us back ten to twenty years.

"Regardless of the COVID crisis, the occupancy of private accommodation has always been very low from November 1 to April 1, which is understandable given that seasonality is generally pronounced in the Republic of Croatia, and it is an accommodation that is exclusively reserved for families and small groups, who mostly base their summer trips during the school holidays.

However, in the last few years, this seasonality has extended, especially in cities and luxury facilities, and we have been on the best path to making some destinations year-round.

Nowhere is the situation good. In situations when we lack guests from air destinations, the northern Adriatic always passes better, because it is more accessible by car to neighboring countries. Some brave guests go on vacation to a destination from which they can easily and quickly return home," says Nimac Kalcina.

The low occupancy that we currently have in private accommodation is mostly made up of foreigners who are on a longer stay in the Republic of Croatia, mostly digital nomads and people transferred to working online due to COVID.

"Such guests feel safer and more comfortable staying with us in private accommodation by the sea than in the cities where they normally live. Given this, we welcome the amendments to the Aliens Act, which enter into force on January 1, 2021. The category of digital nomads is extremely facilitated for obtaining visas for up to a year.

Some renters have already informed me that their guests have encountered the problem of needing to extend their stay because their tourist visa, which is valid for 3 months, is expiring. They would like to extend their stay precisely because of COVID. From January next year, this will be possible by a much easier procedure," she announces.

Due to the epidemiological situation and the recommended measures, there isn't much reason to celebrate this year.

"Given that, I believe no one expects reservations. On the other hand, we have been leading socially isolated lives all this year and will be doing so for some time to come. I believe that all those who can afford to should organize a short trip for themselves and their children.

Private accommodation is ideal for these trips because they have no contact with other people, and they do not need to meet the host if they do not want to. A large number of owners have already organized the possibility of "self-check-in." Unfortunately, this is a small number of potential guests because the spending power has dropped," says Nimac Kalcina.

Prices of accommodation this season are lower. Luxury facilities mostly did not lower prices (emphasizing holiday homes), while smaller units, by city, had significantly lower prices, averaging about 25 percent. For next season, she predicts prices similar to 2020 with better occupancy.

Still, it looks like hotels will recover more slowly because there will still be fewer group trips and fewer business events, regardless of their prices.

There will also be a smaller number of guests from third countries who were hotel guests in large numbers, due to the reduced number of airlines. Camps, on the other hand, could have a good occupancy rate.

"This difficult situation will not lead to a significant reduction in private accommodation. So far, to my knowledge, there has been a reduction of some 6 to 15 percent, depending on the region.

I expect that another percentage of renters will decide to deregister their accommodation units, but I also expect a part of the new facilities to be categorized.

First of all, I am thinking of the many hosts who have invested in their facilities and planned to categorize them in the spring of 2020. However, because of the pandemic, they decided to postpone the categorization for next year. The profitability of apartments with a large number of beds, rooms, in cities ... is questionable," says Martina Nimac Kalcina. 

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Tuesday, 6 October 2020

Split Tourist Board Released September Data: 82% Fewer Overnight Stays than Last Year

October 6, 2020 - The Split Tourist Board released September data, which isn't all too optimistic. Namely, Split recorded 82% fewer overnight stays than in the same month in 2019. 

Turizam24 reports that after a somewhat promising August, September brings quite devastating data. Due to the closure of borders and Croatia's place on the red list of many countries, most flights to Split were canceled during September. With the cancellation of flights, accommodation was also canceled. Thus, Split recorded a drop in overnight stays of 82% compared to 2019.

As we have learned from the official data of the Split Tourist Board, the statistics for September are not optimistic.

A total of 16,142 tourists entered the city of Split in September, of which 12,786 were foreigners. 3356 Croatians visited Split in September, too. 

A total of 55,682 foreign nationals spent the night in Split last month. There were much fewer Croats, who recorded only 7,831 overnight stays.

Looking at the data by nation, during September, mostly Poles (7,997) and French tourists (7,027) spent the night in Split. Interestingly, third place was taken by the Americans. There were almost no Americans during August, so 6497 overnight stays in September is not so bad. Although it is only 15% compared to 2019.

There were 1,356 Britons in Split in September, which is 80% less than in the previous year. By putting Croatia on the red list and introducing mandatory testing, the UK stopped its residents on their desired journey.

Eight hundred twenty-seven German citizens visited Split and realized 4811 overnight stays, which is only 87% less than last year. There were 95% fewer Spaniards and Italians who decided to visit Split in September 2020 compared to the same month in 2019.

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Saturday, 29 August 2020

Goodbye, Summer: 60,000 Passengers Expected at Split Airport and Ferry Port this weekend

August 29, 2020 - During the last weekend in August, the number of passengers at Split Airport decreased significantly, and on Saturday and Sunday, 150 planes should land at Resnik, bringing 20,000 passengers.

Mate Melvan from Split Airport says that in August, the traffic will be at the level of 40% from the same month last year, but that, given the situation around the coronavirus and the measures taken by individual countries, they are extremely satisfied with the results, reports Dalmatinski Portal

"We expect to be at 550,000 passengers in the first eight months of this year, which are excellent results when we take into account that we had 30,000 passengers in April, May, and June," said Melvan.

As for the forecast for September, some carriers have already canceled the planned flights, and 30 carriers from 50 destinations should fly to Split.

"It is very difficult to predict what will happen in September due to the measures adopted by the Civil Protection Headquarters. However, we can say that we have a large number of flights in the announcement, but it all depends on how much the recommendations of other countries to come to Croatia will affect the decision of passengers to decide to travel," added Melvan.

That this year's season is slowly coming to an end can also be seen at the Split Ferry Port. This is the first weekend in which there are no extra lines to the islands, and it is expected that about 40,000 passengers and 10,000 vehicles will pass through the ferry port this weekend. 

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Sunday, 23 August 2020

83,000 Passengers Expected at Split Airport and Ferry Port Over Weekend

August 23, 2020 - A total of 83,000 passengers will pass through Split's Ferry Port and Resnik Airport this weekend, while the total number of passengers who arrived at Split Airport will reach more than half a million passengers since the beginning of the year.

Slobodna Dalmacija reports that Jelena Ivulic from Jadrolinija said that 55,000 passengers and 13,500 vehicles in both directions would pass through their ferry port on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

"There are more people leaving the island this weekend than coming. However, despite the fact that the season is somewhat slowing down, there is still great interest in Brac, which is why an extra ferry line will sail across Supetar this morning," she added.

No less active is the Split Resnik Airport, where 150 aircraft will land and take off this weekend, taking 28,000 passengers. Among them are about 20 private planes.

"August this year is at 40 percent of last year's traffic, and we expect that we will have 250 thousand passengers by the end of the month. It is interesting that in the first seven months of this year, we had 277 thousand passengers, and only in August, 250 thousand passengers. Thus, the total number of passengers since the beginning of the year is more than half a million passengers. Indeed, August has lifted our declining traffic," said Mate Melvan of Split Airport.

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Friday, 14 August 2020

Split Records 160,000 Overnight Stays Since Beginning of August, 51% of 2019

August 14, 2020 - In August, Split boasts an increasing number of tourists, and since the beginning of the month, almost 160,000 overnight stays have been recorded, which is 51% of the overnight stays achieved in the same period last year.

Dalmacija Danas reports that hotel accommodation recorded 60% of last year's overnight stays, private accommodation 51% of last year's overnight stays, and the most numerous are tourists from Germany, Poland, the United Kingdom, France, and domestic tourists.

“The successful and timely response of all important actors in tourism has led to results that are favorable in the context of a global pandemic. According to the announcements of arrivals in August and the airlines' plans for flights to Split by the end of September, it is to be expected that tourist traffic will continue to grow. The continuation of the season will largely depend on the epidemiological situation for this reason through social networks, and through offline communication, we tell tourists to adhere to the prescribed measures and recommendations. In our info centers, we give them free masks. In this way, we send the message that as a destination, we care about preserving their health, but also that cooperation is extremely important to achieve a common goal. We also take care of safety when organizing events, so all events are held outdoors in compliance with epidemiological measures," said Alijana Vuksic, director of the Split Tourist Board.

August in Split continues with numerous events. Up next is the finale of Split Summer, which, in addition to the traditional Judita Award, will be enriched by the concert of Massimo and Mostar Sevdah Reunion at Sustipan. Urban Culture Revival festival - Evo Ruke! this year entertains many domestic and foreign visitors at the unique location of Split's Djardin, the theater under the stars will bring culture, laughter and fun to the Gripe Fortress, and classical music lovers can enjoy the Summer Charms of Classical Music and the seventh edition of the Piano Loop festival. The Split House of Language and Culture, the Kula Gallery, the Art Gallery, the Galic Salon and the Split Photo Club have prepared interesting exhibitions, and the Bacvice Open Air Cinema offers a diverse and exciting program for all film lovers.

This Friday, August 14, at 8 pm, the favorite event 'Roman Life' returns to tourists in an edition adapted to epidemiological measures. Domestic and foreign tourists have the opportunity to experience the ancient history of Split through Diocletian's footsteps. Every Friday, Emperor Diocletian, with a Praetorian Guard, goes out to the front of the Peristyle and takes a walk of our city.

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Sunday, 2 August 2020

Magic Johnson Arrives in Split on $150 Million 'Aquila' Super-Yacht

August 2, 2020 - Earvin 'Magic' Johnson, the most famous number 32 in basketball, the tallest point guard in NBA history, and one of the most revolutionary basketball players of all time, has arrived in Split.

Slobodna Dalmacija writes that the trademark of the celebrated Los Angeles Lakers has decided to spend part of his summer vacation in Croatia with his friends and family, as is evidenced by his arrival on the mega yacht "Aquila", which stretches 85.6 meters long and is worth about 150 million US dollars. 

On Friday, news spread through Split that Michael Jordan, perhaps the biggest basketball player to walk the globe and a brand of the Chicago Bulls, was coming to a famous restaurant in Split at around 8 pm. Photojournalists and journalists thus came together at the scheduled time to immortalize this historic photograph. But there was nothing from the photo, as Air Jordan never showed.

Only an hour or two later, information came that the initial story was wrong and that it was not Jordan coming to Split, but Magic Johnson.

In the end, the news turned out to be correct, which is evidenced by fan photos of the famous basketball player who was photographed in front of Aquila with Nina and Mario, employees of "Madura", a famous cafe on the West Coast, where many mega yachts park. You can see the photos here.


Break Time

Magic Johnson and teammate Kare Abdul - Jabbar ruled the world of basketball in the late '70s and '80s, when he won five NBA titles with the Los Angeles Lakers.

Today, he is a very successful businessman, whose fortune is estimated at about a billion US dollars, so it is not surprising that he can rent a yacht that costs one million dollars a week.

In addition to titles with the Lakers, Magic won everything that can be won in basketball. He was the MVP of the NBA Finals three times, the MVP of the entire NBA League season three times, he played 12 NBA All-Star games and won the gold at the Olympic Games in Barcelona, ​​when the then American "Dream Team" beat Croatia, led by Drazen Petrovic, Toni Kukoc, and Dino Rada in the final. 

In addition to these accomplishments, Magic averaged 19.5 points, 7.2 rebounds, and an average of 11.2 assists per game throughout his NBA career.


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Sunday, 28 June 2020

Diary of a Split Tour Guide in the Age of Corona - Part 7

June 29, 2020 - Part 7 of Ivica Profaca's Diary of a Split Tour Guide in the Age of Corona - you can start at the beginning here.

As a dedicated filmgoer, I just couldn't help it but think about a quote from Godfather (later also used in The Sopranos), which nicely describes feelings about the Coronavirus revival. You probably heard it before, it's famous Michael Corleone's "Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in!" And it's really like that.

It's been more than a month since my last diary entry on Total Croatia News. Since May things looked maybe not good, but better. At one point, at least with the epidemiological situation in Croatia, one could have thought something like "So, this is how it will look when pandemic fades out." However, with borders opening, and an almost complete return of almost normal life, it was obvious that it might hit back. And it did. In only a few days, with a boost from the Adria Tour tennis tournament, the opening of night clubs, a few church events and imported cases from other countries (mostly those in the region), Croatia climbed up from zero to 95. If you regularly follow Total Croatia News COVID news, you probably know everything about. If you don't, follow it.

The new rise of COVID cases in Croatia (I believe this is not the second wave) created a big question mark above my head, and many other heads. Two days ago Croatia had the second biggest number of new daily cases ever (95, compared to 96 in April), and it brought a lot of questions. If we were completely locked down with 96, and I do believe it was a good decision, how come that with 95 cases we have all stores open, tourists coming in, night clubs working, beaches opened with barely respected restrictions, people sitting in bars and restaurants, masses, weddings, funerals, public transportation, etc. Whatever you can think of that was closed or banned less than two months ago, now is open, with only a few exceptions.  Experts are racing with explanations, so anyone can try to follow, but in case you were obeying what Civil Protection HQ was saying before, and have a basic fear of risky population being infected, what to do now? Well, maybe it will be more clear after the elections scheduled for July 5. I don't think every single thing or move depends on that, but some decisions definitely do.

To make things even more confusing, at least for me, is that I'm not sure if borders had to be open so soon, and so wide. Now there are restrictions for Bosnia-Herzegovina, Serbia, Kosovo and Northern Macedonia, all passengers need to stay in 14-days self-isolation. On the other hand, it's easy to travel from some of the most affected European countries, like Sweden or United Kingdom. Actually, the only obstacle is the lack of flights. Some of the lines will be re-opened in July, and then it will be even easier. Did you see images from English beaches a few days ago? Well, are we sure we want to accommodate them in the name of reviving tourism? In spite of the fact that I will lose some jobs, I'm closer to a negative answer, because if we rush, the finale might be postponed. Some will say "You are panicking, change of reaction on a new case is proof that Coronavirus is just a big scam". Call me whatever name you like, but I really don't think such claims deserve a reply.

This growth of new cases number brought also some problematic interpretations, not in Croatia but abroad. For example, The New York Times published a colored map, with Croatia being the only European Union country painted in red, which always means alert. They used a very strange methodology; calculated in percentages increase of seven-days average of new cases in previous two weeks. Thus, Croatia looks like a disaster, because the average number rose from 0.7 to 46 in the period observed. Theoretically, some country could have had an increase from 1000 to 10,000, and it would still be below Croatia.

By coincidence, a new outbreak arrived at the same time with the first new booking in my calendar in months. I think the last one I received was sometime early February. A group of four wants tours in Split and Trogir, and a full-day trip to Hvar, in late August. Looking at that e-mail was like meeting an old friend.

Will it really happen? I have no idea, just as it's completely uncertain what will happen with the last bookings still alive in 2020, all of them in September and October. Besides those two new dates, there are only seven that survived. Last season it was my weekly average. Knowing that most of them are from other continents, it's hard to believe in having those jobs done. Even harder with the recent announcement that the EU might ban US, Brazilian and Russian travelers when it reopens its borders on July 1. I promised Paul Bradbury that I will write a story about the first post-COVID tour, but even if you like what I write here you will have to wait for some more time, unless something suddenly changes. I can only regret not being good enough as a student to learn German, because some dear friends among the guides had this year's premiere with some of those few tourists, mostly from Germany and Austria, who arrived in Split.

Catching up with bookings became very dynamic. When I started writing this piece, I had a total of ten dates booked, including two that just arrived. Then, halfway through, I checked the news in the cruise industry, and found out that the last ship I had booked was cancelled. So, don't blink too long, who knows what can happen.

We will be following Ivica Profaca's journey through the rocky weeks ahead.

If you find yourself in Split, or are planning a post-corona visit, check out his range of tours on his website - families, look out for the kids tour of Diocletian Palace. It will not only entertain your kids while allowing you to absorb this unique UNESCO World Heritage Site, but it will bring out the inner child in you too. Learn more about it here

You can read other parts of Ivica's Split Tour Guide in the Age of Corona series here.

(To be continued)

Saturday, 20 June 2020

Meet Fermai: New Art Nouveau Inspired Heritage Hotel Opening in Split

June 20, 2020 - One of the most attractive hotels on the Adriatic will open at the end of June, enclosed within a protected cultural property, which once housed the Cooperative Association and later the University of Split. Meet Fermai, a new place for modern travelers

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"Exceptional architecture, top design with carefully selected details, modern, warm, Mediterranean flair - this is how the new luxury hotel Fermai in the center of Split could be described, just a few steps from Diocletian's Palace.

The century-old building, one of the few Art Nouveau in the city, is a masterpiece by architect Petar Senjanovic, and the sophisticated, unpretentious, relaxing interior is signed by the famous Studio Franic Sekoranja. A touch of Art Nouveau elegance, classic and vintage furniture combined with modern details, stretch throughout the hotel, 33 rooms, and two suites.

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Fermai is a great choice for modern travelers, lovers of superior design, ambient architecture, Mediterranean atmosphere, and true hedonists who want to experience the local atmosphere in the heart of the city. There is no doubt that the new, urban hotel will attract many citizens of Split who will enjoy their first morning coffee there," reads the announcement for the new hotel. 

The investor, the well-known Split company Quatro Company, invested HRK 42 million in the project, and all works were carried out in cooperation with the Conservation Department in Split.

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Slobodna Dalmacija reports that the building that once housed the Rectorate of the University of Split was sold to Quatro, owned by the entrepreneurial family Pulic for 2.7 million euro, at the beginning of 2018. The Rectorate moved to the former "Brodomerkur" administrative building on Poljicka (it should soon move to the University Library on Campus), and the sale price of the property in the Split center was set by Roko Mijanovic, a court construction expert.

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Mijanovic prepared a study on the market value of this 1218.1 sqm of real estate and concluded that each square meter is worth EUR 2,175.58. In the meantime, the Art Nouveau building was thoroughly renovated and transformed from an academic building (and formerly a Cooperative Association, as mentioned above) into a new heritage hotel.

You can learn more about Fermai here.

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Sunday, 7 June 2020

Hostels Could be Hardest Hit Sector of Split Tourism

June 7, 2020 - Hostels could be the most affected by the corona crisis in the tourism sector, and hundreds have sprung up in Croatia in recent years. There are forty hostels in Split alone, all of which are mostly empty.

HRT reports that guests who stay in hostels, mostly young people arriving by plane from overseas countries, will hardly be able to come this summer, so many hostels are threatened with closure.

Antea is the owner of two hostels in Split. At the end of last season, she invested her earnings in a food bar. Now there are no earnings, and the bills for rent and utilities are piling up.

"Our guests are Americans, Australians, Canadians, and British, I would say 90%, which is a huge percentage, and a few Europeans will come. I don't know how much of the season we will save along the way," says Antea Ćurin.

It is not just a matter of the owners' troubles, as jobs are also questionable. 

Last year, Split hostels with about 1,300 beds recorded more than 115,000 overnight stays. All of these rooms are now empty, as is the city center where most are located.

"We would already be full, we planned to start on April 1 this year and by May 1 it would already be a full season," says Antonia Dora Ferić, the hostel manager.

A returnee from Germany has invested almost one million kuna in the renovation of this hostel, restaurant and another facility just for this season.

"And what will happen now, I don't know. I guess we will have to survive and not sink, or something like that. That's my forecast, and even when you look around, everything is still quiet. No foreign voices are heard yet," points out Ćiro Sabljić, a hostel owner in Split.

Savings are wasted and prices have been lowered. However, there are no guests, so most of the 80 hostels in the county will not survive the year. Thus, the Split-Dalmatia County Hostel Group called an emergency meeting for survival at the beginning of the week.The solution remains to be seen. 

You can watch the full video on HRT

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Saturday, 30 May 2020

First 200 Tourists from Germany Arrive in Split

May 30, 2020 - Two planes from Frankfurt have arrived at Split Airport, bringing 200 German tourists to the coastal Dalmatian city.

Dalmacija Danas reports that on Thursday, the Croatian government decided that Croatia would open its borders to citizens of 10 countries that, like Croatia, are estimated to have a favorable epidemiological situation. This applies to citizens of Slovenia, Hungary, Austria, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, and Germany.

With the decision made, passengers from these ten countries will not have to prove the reason for their entry into the Republic of Croatia. However, epidemiological control is still necessary, reports HRT.

After domestic air traffic, international air traffic was re-established. Two planes from Frankfurt with about 200 passengers landed at Split Airport.

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In recent years, due to record results and good business, Split Airport has invested HRK 500 million in the building of the new terminal.

"In June, there will be 180 flights in international traffic and 80 in domestic, and 30,000 passengers are expected," said Pero Bilas, Deputy Director of Split Airport.

Which is ten times less than last June, but optimism is not lacking.

Split Airport had direct flights from 25 countries around the world. They are aiming for that record even in this most difficult tourist season.

Upon entering the Republic of Croatia, their entry will be recorded with the collection of additional data (destination, mobile phone number and e-mail address), due to the possible need to contact for epidemiological reasons.

Therefore, in order to reduce congestion at border crossings and shorten the waiting time for crossing the state border, it is recommended that foreign citizens submit their data in advance via the website

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