Wednesday, 17 November 2021

Model of the Vukovar Water Tower Placed in Vukovarska Avenue, Split

November 17, 2021 - These days, numerous tributes have been carried out throughout the country to remember the victims in Vukovar and Škabrnja in 1991 during the Homeland War. In Split, school students have built an impressive model of the Vukovar water tower, which has been placed on the city's Vukovar avenue.

In memory of all the victims of Vukovar and Škabrnja, students and professors of the Craft and Technical School Split made a model of the Vukovar water tower, a symbol of suffering and resistance of the city during the Homeland War, reports Slobodna Dalmacija.

On the occasion of tomorrow's anniversary of the fall of Vukovar, a model of the Vukovar water tower was placed today at the beginning of the street named after that city. The Split-Dalmatia County also helped make this model.

''This is an example of how students who do practical things can be involved in this initiative, which marks one of the most significant events in our history, and that is the sacrifice and suffering of Vukovar. We strive for all schools to be involved in such activities, in order to pay tribute to all victims of the Homeland War, and especially the victims of Vukovar who are most responsible for the establishment of our independent and sovereign Croatia'', said the head of the Administrative Department for Education, Culture, Technical Culture Tomislav Đonlić.

Students of carpentry and electrical engineering participated in the creation of this model, while a group of designers conceived and designed the model. This school has been similarly participating in the celebration of this important date for several years. This year they decided to build a water tower and light it up.

''Fifteen students participated, and we made an electrical and wooden installation. It seems good to us and the idea is to do something every year to combine work and what should be celebrated in our country'', said the director of the Craft Technical School from Split Milivoj Kalebić.

The idea is a month old, and it took them two weeks to implement the draft. Students in the field of carpentry technicians and designers conceived a model, carpenters made a tower out of waterproof plywood, while electricians designed and made lighting. The water tower will take on its full splendor as soon as night falls.

This work of Split high school students is another reason to visit Vukovarska Street and light a candle on the eve of the Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Vukovar and Škabrnja. The Split School of Crafts and Technology has been participating in a similar way in the celebration of this important date for several years. This year, they decided to build the Vukovar water tower, and one of the works that they did not do in previous years in memory of tomorrow is the bench in the school building.

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated lifestyle section.

 

Monday, 15 November 2021

Split Winter Tourism at Chops Grill: Chopsylicious Menu, Weekend Music, Christmas Flair

November 15, 2021 - Is Split winter tourism that hard to achieve? Croatia's second-largest city and the star of summer loses its buzz as soon as the seasons change. But it doesn't have to be that way. Our new TCN series looks at the Split businesses working hard in winter to give locals, and visitors, the environment they deserve. Continuing this week with Split winter tourism at Chops Grill. 

I was lucky to be introduced to Jasmina, the owner of Chops Grill, in my early days with TCN. That is something I am grateful for to this day. Not only is Chops one of Split's best restaurants, maintaining quality and culinary consistency year-round, but Jasmina and I have built a wonderful relationship over the years - and she continues to inspire me season after season. 

Chops Grill is not your typical Split restaurant, but a superb steakhouse that rewards guests with the best cuts of meat, American influences, and, of course, a Dalmatian touch. Jasmina and Chops also know no season and are applauded for working tirelessly year-round, adapting their offer depending on the time of year, from unique 3-course menus to on-the-go breakfast sandwiches. 

But what motivates Jasmina, Chops, and sister cafe bar Paradiso to bring the best to guests even in the winter? 

Croatia and Split had booming year-round tourism in the 1980s until the outbreak of the Homeland War, but now the Dalmatian coast sleeps through the winter. Why do you think that is?

First of all, I think we were a more affordable destination at that time. I know this because when I worked for Sunčani Hvar back in 2006, we had half-board offers that were very cheap per person through agencies. 

There also aren't as many big tour operators today. Everything is done online. Tourists do their own research and don't need agencies or operators as much.

And because nothing is state-owned, the prices are much higher, even in the winter. 

Back in the 1980s, many hotels offered health tourism, spas, and indoor pools, allowing older travelers to visit here even when the weather wasn't as nice. Today, we mainly have city hotels that do not have spas or facilities to accommodate winter tourism. 

If flights were not the problem, does Split have a winter tourism offer, and if yes, what is it?

I feel bad for tourists that visit Split in the winter, especially now. The only real options are for visitors to have dinner then drinks in a half-empty bar. Guests ask us what they should do after dinner, and we honestly don't know what to tell them.

The museums here are great and interesting for Croatian schoolkids needing to learn about the history of Croatia, but for international tourists, and even if I was a tourist here, there are no interactive museums where you could spend the day. When it comes to culture, we are also lacking in offering shows. HNK is amazing, but the program is mainly in Croatian, which doesn't tempt tourists - especially when musicals or drama plays are in focus. 

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If I am on a city-break getaway with my husband, I would also want to go shopping, which is a huge problem here. My guests often ask where they can buy certain designer items. The people that come here are minimum middle to upper-class guests. They pay big money for their hotel room - around 300-400 euros. Most people on city-break trips travel without their kids - usually with their significant other or friends. This then targets travelers who want to go to a nice show, dinner, enjoy good cocktails, and maybe explore a museum. But they will also want to go shopping, and there isn't a designer shopping offer in Split. This is a problem we need to start addressing now. The wealthy Russian tourist cannot buy their Chanel in Split but can elsewhere. They could go to Montenegro instead. 

Istria already has a winter tourism offer, but Inland Dalmatia is not yet as developed. If you're coming to Split for 3-4 days, wouldn't you want to spend one day in nature with a local family that will serve you their homemade wines and products? Especially somewhere that is only a taxi ride away from Split? There are few places you can send tourists for that experience, and we see a lot of interest around this idea from our guests at Chops. We already have beautiful villas with pools in Imotski, but a nice family farm or winery where you can spend the day? Our current offer mainly targets Croatian families for a Sunday lunch. It's not a Michelin-star experience, but it's an authentic and local experience, and tourists would love it, too.

Are you aware of any initiatives to improve the winter tourism situation?

Only Paul and Total Croatia News, haha. I've been part of the tourism industry for a long time, and I don't know of anything happening at the moment. Oh, but I do know that the Mall of Split bus is running from the ferry port! 

Give us a few quick wins that could make Split a bit more attractive in the winter months?

Shopping, winery day trips from Split, contemporary/interactive art and museums, and shows. This is what I believe is most important for Split to offer in the winter. There also are not many destinations that offer both the beach and city-break getaways. Maybe Nice and Cannes if we are talking about cities comparable to Split. But what do they have? Shopping, art, and beautiful restaurants - but why? Because they have yachts. They have a similar climate, but it is not swimmable in the winter there either. Yacht owners, however, keep their yachts there in the winter. They check up on them and maintain them in the offseason. They know that bars and restaurants are open and that they can shop. Montenegro is starting to do the same thing. We have a lot of regular guests at Chops that live abroad but keep their yachts here in the winter, but what can we offer them? We also have an advantage compared to similar cities because these guests can easily fly into Split Airport, check on their yacht, and spend 2-3 days in Split. We need this tourism. 

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Are you planning an event(s) of your own soon?

On Saturday night we had a lot of reservations, due mainly to our Chopsylicious menu, which we have been doing for the last 7 years! Once we announced it this year, the interest was crazy. Everybody wants to try the menu, which is an excellent value for money. Diners can taste some of our products during the winter when they have more time. We have adjusted the menu to the season. For example, we are not selling the wagyu for 200 kuna. Instead, we changed the menu and are using it to test new dishes for next year. We are tracking what guests like and improving what is needed. When next season comes, we can introduce it to our menu. It's a win-win situation. And guests who like the Chopsylicious menu revisit us in the summer or recommend us to friends and family!  

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Besides Chopsylicious, we host two music professors from the Josip Hatze school who play inside the restaurant every weekend. Paradiso will be bringing in some light live music from next weekend, and we will begin decorating for Christmas as part of our winter wonderland. We have done it already for two years, and it's beautiful. This year we are going the extra mile to create a Christmas village. We will once again offer our breakfast sandwiches at Chops and Paradiso, so people will always have a place to eat and drink. 

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Will you close at all this year?

We always close from January 6 to March 1. It gives us a small break, but we also need to use the time to prepare for the season with renovations. We cannot preserve everything and need to repaint, repair the chairs, and the like. We also use this time to create the menu. 

Back in 2020, we had plans to keep Chops open year-round. But, of course, the pandemic happened instead. That remains our ultimate goal, and I don't think we would have much trouble doing business even in January and February.

When winter tourism is mentioned, many locals say that they do not want it, as they are tired after the busy season. What is your perspective as a successful business owner?

We want it! We do need a break; everyone needs a break. I know I do because I have never worked harder on the operational side of things than this summer. But I only need about 15 days. I get nervous after that, haha. I need to do something actively; I cannot just twiddle my thumbs at home and not work because we had a 'successful season'. The Chopsylicious menu and our winter offer keep us busy, and I am happy we have that.

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I would be terrified to close my doors for the entire winter. You cannot keep quality by doing that. Businesses that close in the winter also make the hospitality industry less desirable. It makes us a servant to our tourists. If you can work for an entire year, especially at a restaurant with a lot of business in the summer, and have good business throughout the winter with a year-round salary, then being a waiter is a beautiful job where you can support your family. Who wants to be a waiter only for 4 months? Then it's just a student job. 

We care about our suppliers a lot and try to find a lower-cost product in the winter than the premium products we offer in the summer. With our chefs and their innovation, we create affordable dishes that guests can enjoy in the offseason. For example, the tuna salad on the Chopsylicious menu uses lower-cost ingredients but looks beautiful. The most expensive part of that dish is that someone had to come up with it in their head. If I am looking at that as the owner, the cost of that dish is lower, but someone needs to think about how to create that using the products available. That is why I invest in my staff throughout the year, and that is how you can adapt your offer in the winter to make sense for your restaurant and your guests. 

What are the key steps in your opinion to getting more flights in winter? (Optional)

The Marriott (which will open eventually), Le Meridien Lav, Radisson Blu, and Atrium offer over 1,000 hotel rooms combined. All of those hotels have a spa, which I've already mentioned is crucial for city-break destinations. That's about 2,000 potential guests per day, offered beautiful hotels, great service and food, and indoor pools. If they all got together and spoke to a low-cost carrier about offering and filling these 1,000 rooms, that's a solution. It could almost be some non-formal tour operator. Say, for example, you buy the flight from a low-cost carrier and are offered reasonable rates at these hotels. This is especially important on the weekends when there are no business people from Zagreb in Split. But I truly believe these hotels with indoor pools need to come together; that is the only way it will work. Think - 2,000 people per day is 14,000 potential tourists per week. Those guests will be able to visit the hotel spa and swim, have a nice dinner in town, go to a cocktail bar, and even go to Joker for shopping!

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I would also try to create a promo video for tourists showing them exactly how their 4 days in Split would look, instead of just sharing Croatia's most beautiful destinations from above, usually without people. You could create a beautiful 'day-in-the-life' type of promo video showing exactly what you can expect on your Split trip. We need to show tourists what they can do here and not just share aerial footage. 

Message to other businesses in Split?

If you stay open in winter, the summer will be easier since you can keep your staff. You'll offer better service, too. If you have both of those things, you'll earn even more money. And if we are all open during the winter, buying from our suppliers won't be as complicated!

Some businesses see each other as competition. If you have a city with many good restaurants, people visit for gastronomy, meaning they'll choose a new restaurant every day. Having more quality restaurants means more business for everyone. This would also help us to be recognized as an excellent gastronomic destination. We all need to support each other. Why can't other restaurants recreate the Chopsylicious idea? That is a wonderful idea, and it gives us more places to visit for dinner!

We also need to think about the minds of tourists and understand that they may not want to eat Dalmatian food every day of their trip. While local food should be enjoyed, it is impossible to expect that someone will eat grilled fish and blitva all the time. I know that when I am visiting Mexico, I cannot eat Mexican food every day. Sometimes you need a burger or pizza; comfort food that hits the spot and gives you a taste of home. And that is fine, too.

We offer eggs benedict on our breakfast menu and make the English muffins in-house because you cannot find them in Croatia. While we have to put in more work, knowing that our guests have that piece of familiarity is worth it.  We also can't expect that every tourist likes eating fish or can peel scampi! A lot of these experiences may be new to them. That's why we should think about what tourists have available at home and try to recreate it in our way with traditional influences. 

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This is the direction we need to be going in. We should never lose our identity, but let's celebrate international cuisine with a Dalmatian twist. 

You can explore Chops HERE.

If you are a business in Split with a winter program, please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with the subject Split Winter Tourism. 

Sunday, 14 November 2021

1:0 at Poljud: Croatia Qualifies for 2022 World Cup in Qatar!!!

November 14, 2021 - It was the match of the year and the biggest since Croatia made it to the 2018 World Cup final. With a 1:0 win against Russia at Poljud, Croatia qualifies for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar!

The Croatia national team played their final 2022 World Cup qualifier against Russia at a rainy Poljud Stadium in Split on Sunday.

30,257 fans were at Poljud, with around 500 Russia fans. Croatia needed a victory to win first in the group and qualify directly for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. All Russia needed was a draw. 

Coach Zlatko Dalić decided to start Dejan Lovren and Nikola Vlašić against Russia, replacing Duje Ćaleta-Car and Lovro Majer in the lineup compared to Thursday's win against Malta. 

Lineups

CROATIA: Grbić, Lovren, Gvardiol, Juranović, Sosa, Brozović, Modrić, Pašalić, Vlašić, Perišić, Kramarić 

RUSSIA: Safonov, Karavajev, Divejev, Dzhikiya, Kudryashov, Fomin, Barinov, Golovin, Ionov, Bakaev, Smolov

Recap

A slippery pitch was in no one's favor this afternoon at Poljud but Croatia came out attacking from the start. Perisic had the first shot on goal in the 5th minute.  The first corner for Croatia came in the 6th minute after Modric's ball to Sosa was deflected. 

Modric and Perisic had a quick one-two a minute later which Perisic sent to the top of the box but the wet pitch made it difficult for Vlasic to get a shot off. 

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Slobodan Kadic

Juranovic sent a brilliant ball to Kramaric's head in the 9th minute but the ball went to the keeper. It was the best chance of the game so far. 

Perisic and Vlasic had another chance in the 14th minute, though it was called out for a goal kick. 

The rain was relentless in the first 20 minutes as Croatia tried to maintain possession and was mostly in Russia's half. Sosa shot from 30 meters out in the 21st minute which went wide of the goal. 

A brilliant Croatia attack in the 23rd minute saw Brozovic hit just wide of the post which sent the crowd into a frenzy. A Juranovic cross found Perisic's head a minute later which swept the crossbar. 

Croatia was awarded a corner in the 26th minute. Modric went short to Brozovic who nailed the goal frame, but the Russia keeper punched the ball away to keep it 0:0.

Croatia was given another corner in the 31st minute after a Modric free kick was sent out by the Russia defense. 

Another perfect ball in by Juranic found Perisic at the near post who tried knocking it into the back of the net. The ball went out for a goal kick instead. 

Russia had a dangerous free kick in the 44th minute which was saved by Grbic. Their first corner of the game came in the 45th minute. The ref added two minutes of stoppage time and the match went into halftime at 0:0. 

The second half started with a shot from Kramaric followed by a header to the keeper one minute later. 

Croatia had a corner in the 47th minute and great chances in front of the goal but the pitch was a catastrophe, making it impossible to play. 

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Slobodan Kadic

Another brilliant attack by Croatia went out for a corner in the 52nd minute. Chance after chance and we failed to find the back of the net.

Juranovic found Kramaric down the right-wing, cut inside, and shot over the goal. Vlasic was subbed off for Petkovic in the 57th minute. 

Petkovic headed at the keeper in the 60th minute. Yet another attacking play found Brozovic who shot just wide of the post. Croatia was hungry for that goal but the adverse weather conditions did not let up. 

A Modric free kick found the head of Kramaric which also went just wide of the goal.  

Gvardiol sent a great ball in from the right wing in the 72nd minute which Petkovic headed at the keeper. 

Brekalo and Livaja went in for Juranovic and Pasalic in the 75th minute, an offensive decision by Dalic with only 15 minutes to go. 

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Slobodan Kadic

But the goal finally happened with 10 minutes to go - and it was an own goal at that. Kudryashov put Croatia ahead 1:0 in the 81st minute!!!

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Slobodan Kadic

Stanisic came on for Kramaric in the 85th minute.  

The ref added 4 minutes of stoppage time to the end of the match. 

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Slobodan Kadic

With a 1:0 result, Croatia goes to the 2022 World Cup in Qatar!!!!

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

Saturday, 13 November 2021

Zlatko Dalić and Luka Modrić: "Croatia-Russia Qualifier at Poljud is Our Final"

November 13, 2021 - The Croatia national team is in Split ahead of the last 2022 World Cup qualifier against Russia at Poljud on Sunday. Zlatko Dalić and Luka Modrić addressed the press on Saturday and agreed that the Croatia-Russia qualifier at Poljud is the final. 

After defeating Malta 7:1 in Valletta, morale is high - and a sold-out Poljud stadium is the best motivation to secure a spot at the World Cup next year in Qatar. 

Zlatko Dalić and Luka Modrić addressed the press at Poljud on Saturday to discuss the critically important match on Sunday. Only the winner is guaranteed a spot in Qatar. 

"We will see how Russia will play tomorrow. We have to be strong from the start; we know what we want. We need to be aggressive. That will be the most important tomorrow," said Luka to open the conference. 

"I know all the Russia players, and they have many young talented players as well. The ambient in Split is phenomenal, and I believe it will be that way tomorrow, and that will give us the motive to play well and bring us the win," Luka added. 

"This is football; this is sport. We believe in ourselves; we have a good team. The pitch is the only measure. We will decide on the pitch the better team. 

We knew when we saw the qualifying group that Russia would be the toughest. Tomorrow is the final, for them and for us. That makes it a different kind of game. We are the favorite in front of our fans, and we will show that on the pitch.

This is the most crucial game for us since the 2018 World Cup. This is the most important game for this team.

We are 100% focused on this game. We will show that tomorrow. Split and Poljud mean a lot. I remember the last match against Hungary, and the ambient was already there when we went to warm up. So this will be the motivation for us. 

The atmosphere is really good in the team, and of course, when we win and play well, that lifts the atmosphere. The young players have shown that we can count on them. I am pleased with the future of Croatia football," concluded Luka Modrić. 

"All players with us are in great shape. Nikola Vlašić is in much better form than the last Croatia action together. 

Russia was tough in the World Cup. A lot of players we played against at the World Cup are no longer on the team. They have many young new players now. But this is a different game than at the 2018 World Cup - this is a final," said coach Zlatko Dalić. 

"We knew this game had to be in Split due to the atmosphere and the public. However, all of our games played around Croatia have had an incredible atmosphere. I always feel good in Split, welcomed, and I am happy. I am calm and focused on tomorrow's game. 

We won't change many details in the lineup from Malta. We have a lot of good attackers. Vlašić is back; Majer had an incredible game against Malta. Pašalić is in brilliant form. But we don't want to change a lot in the lineup," added Dalić. 

"We are fighters, winners, and will do that tomorrow. But, we have to be smart," concluded Dalić. 

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

Saturday, 13 November 2021

New Ryanair Zadar Summer Flights, Blue Air Bucharest Flights to Dubrovnik, Split

November 13, 2021 - The latest flight news to Croatia as Ryanair Zadar summer flights and Blue Air flights from Bucharest to Dubrovnik and Split have been announced.

As the summer flight schedule is slowly being announced, more routes to Croatia have gone on sale, including to Zadar Airport, reports Croatian Aviation

New Ryanair summer flights include:

Zadar - Nuremberg - Zadar, from March 29, 2022, twice a week, every Tuesday and Saturday until the end of October,

Zadar - Stockholm Arlanda - Zadar, from March 27, 2022, twice a week, every Wednesday and Sunday, until the end of October,

Zadar - Turin - Zadar, from March 28, 2022, twice a week, every Monday and Friday, also until the end of October.

These new lines will offer almost 70 thousand seats from the end of March to the end of October next year. 

Nuremberg will also be Ryanair's ninth destination in Germany from Zadar (along with Berlin, Bremen, Cologne, Dusseldorf Weeze, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Karlsruhe, and Memmingen), and Stockholm will be the third in Sweden (existing lines to Vaxjo and Gothenburg).

Currently, 39 international Ryanair routes are on sale to and from Zadar Airport. 

In addition to the lines to Zadar, Ryanair operates on year-round lines to Zagreb, and next summer, it will be present in Pula, Rijeka, Split, and Dubrovnik. 

Furthermore, Croatian Aviation reports that Romania's low-cost airline, Blue Air, announced two scheduled flights to Croatia in the 2022 summer flight schedule.

Namely, Blue Air has announced seasonal routes to Split and Dubrovnik.

The Romanian low-cost airline operated mainly on charter routes to Croatia in the summer flight schedule this year, specifically to Dubrovnik, with ad-hoc arrivals to other Croatian airports. The airline is now announcing regular operations to Dubrovnik and Split from the Romanian capital.

Bucharest - Split - Bucharest will run from June 23 to September 29, 2022, twice a week, every Thursday and Sunday,

Bucharest - Dubrovnik - Bucharest will operate from June 28 to September 27, 2022, every Tuesday and Saturday, also twice a week.

The airline plans to operate on ad-hoc charter flights to Croatia next summer, mainly for Romanian tour operators selling holiday packages in Istria and the central Adriatic. Blue Air will thus operate on charter flights to Pula and Zadar airports.

When asked about introducing a regular line to Zagreb, Blue Air points out that they are considering several destinations, including the Croatian capital. 

Until the beginning of the global pandemic, Croatia Airlines operated three times a week (Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays) between Zagreb and Bucharest in the summer flight schedule. The line was introduced in May 2017 and was in operation every summer until 2020. It is unknown whether Croatia Airlines will resume operations between Bucharest and Zagreb in the summer of 2022.

In addition to two new lines from Split and Dubrovnik, Zadar will also have a regular connection to the Romanian capital. Ryanair will continue to operate between Zadar and Bucharest next summer, twice a week, on Wednesdays and Saturdays, from March 30 to October 29, 2022.

For more on flights to Croatia and other travel announcements, make sure to check out our dedicated travel section.

Tuesday, 9 November 2021

The Cruiser, the Luxury Yacht & the Empty Airport: Split in November

November 9, 2021 - Split in November - a tourist destination or a ghost town?

I must confess that my inbox is livelier than ever. 

And opinions are as divided as ever - I am still searching for a positive answer to the question I posed a few years ago - Could Croats Ever Unite If They Were Not Under Attack?

The subject of winter tourism is one which has been with me for years. As an island survivor of 13 winters in Jelsa, I am perhaps more invested in the topic than most, but this interview with a UK tour rep in the 1980s on how Croatia was truly full of life 12 months a year before the geniuses from the Kingdom of Accidental Tourism took over the running of tourism, was truly eye-opening. Croatian Winter Tourism in 1990: Full of Life! Tour Rep Interview

And then yesterday, from data supplied to my inbox - Wow! Comparing Split, Dubrovnik Winter Flights to ExYu, Mediterranean Competition

Several people are informing me that they don't want winter tourism. They make enough during the season, and they are too tired to work more and want to chill over the winter. Ah,  the pleasures of being Dalmatian. Others are very keen to continue the discussion. I have been particularly encouraged by the number of clever people who know a lot more about the topic than I do who are in contact and engaged in the conversation. 

Among them, Zoran Pejovic of Paradox Hospitality, with whom I had a very pleasant drink at the weekend.  And what a great photo Zoran captured with his latest LinkedIn post.  Split in November: The cruiser, the luxury yacht, and the empty airport.

Early November and it has been raining for several days in Split. It is that time of the year. It has to rain sometimes. Despite the rain it is very pleasant outside, with daily temperatures around 20 degrees.

Tourists and travelers are still around. You can tell them easily as they are mostly dressed as if it was still summer, while locals have decided it is about to freeze, so they are wearing coats, hats and scarfs. It is lovely to see the cruise ship back in the port. My thoughts on the cruise industry are not straightforward and simple, but I was happy to see this Oceania Cruises MS Marina cruise ship, and alongside it jaw-dropping sailing yacht A.

The sea is still busy, but the air is completely empty. Split is currently mostly disconnected from the world. The only two countries from which you can fly directly to Split at the moment are Germany and Italy. That is not good and certainly not enough, and most certainly not in accordance with the current travel trends, as people are happier to travel in low season more than ever before, and places like Split and Dalmatia in general are as intriguing offseason as they are in high season.

The airport timetable for the next few days at Split Airport, which services Croatia's second-biggest city. 

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If you would like to join an initiative to develop winter tourism in Croatia and have something to contribute (please state what), contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Subject Winter Tourism. 

Monday, 8 November 2021

Wow! Comparing Split, Dubrovnik Winter Flights to ExYu, Mediterranean Competition

November 8, 2021 - How do Split and Dubrovnik winter flights compare to other cities in the region, as well as competitor destinations on the Mediterranean. Quite interesting... 

I am just back from a couple of trips to the Adiatic coast in October and November. 

So much beauty, such a great time to visit. 

And yet... 

Split and Dubrovnik winter flights are as scarce as summer flights are abundant, and the whole Dalmatian coast largely goes to sleep from the end of October until March. 

It was not always that way, as we learned in a recent TCN interview with a UK tour rep in the 1980s, who explaine how year-round flights were bringing in Americans for stays of up to 6 weeks. Read more in Croatian Winter Tourism in 1990: Full of Life! Tour Rep Interview.

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And yet, there are pockets of the coast which are very much alive in the winter months. Small initiatives that show there are people here - and the feeling that many more would come if the likes of Split and Dubrovnik were more accessible. Above is a photo from Nomad Table in Split on Friday night, a weekly event hosted by Saltwater Nomads and Zinfandel in Split. It was packed and sold out - again. I spoke to several remote workers who are enjoying Split as their temporary new home. More flights and easier access, combined with a proper strategy would increase their numbers considerably. 

After writing a few articles on the potential of winter tourism recently, I asked if there was anyone with something to contribute on the subject who would be interested in getting in touch to kickstart an initiative to improve the Split and Dubrovnik winter flights situation. 

Among the many who get in touch was tourism consultant Mario Seric, who was actively involved in a concerted effort with Split's hotels to bring more flights to the city a decade ago. Although the main initiative was ultimately not a success, there were some wins, including the Split to Munich flight, which continues today. 

I met Mario in Split over the weekend for a beer or three, and was not only deeply impressed by his intimate knowledge of the subject, but also just how badly served Split and Dubrovnik are when compared to the neighbours and competition. 

Although comparing Split and Dubrovnik winter flights to other Ex-Yu destinations is not a like for like comparison, it serves as a useful indicator of their position in the region in this regard. And when one compares to similar destinations in the Mediterranean, that is where things get a little shocking - for me at least. 

I asked Mario to send me some data on winter flights in terms of numbers of flights a week, number of airports served, and number of countries connected. This is what he sent me.

I am sending the basic airport info as well as main information for the winter 2021/2022 timetables for direct scheduled flights for 9 selected airports that I have chosen based on the following criteria:

  • I exclude big Mediterranean metropolises such as Madrid, Barcelona, Rome, Athens, and Istanbul;
  • I also exclude some other big Mediterranean cities such as Malaga, Valencia, Marseille, Naples, and Izmir;
  • I also exclude island cities such as Palma de Mallorca, Cagliari, Palermo, Catania, Heraklion, etc.
  • I include mid-size Mediterranean cities with established or emerging tourism industries such as Alicante, Nice, Venice, Bari, and Thessaloniki (for serious comparisons);
  • I also include some cities in the Western Balkans that are not comparable at all such as Banja Luka, Tuzla, Niš, and Ohrid (for fun).

I would also like to point out that the information below for the winter 2021/2022 timetable is the latest official info from the airports and the airlines, but this is constantly changing, especially nowadays during the pandemic (even on a daily basis).

ALICANTE-ELCHE AIRPORT

Basic Airport Info

  • Serving Alicante, Elche, and Costa Blanca
  • Passenger traffic in the year before pandemic (2019): 15.048.240
  • No. 5 airport in Spain by passenger traffic (after Madrid, Barcelona, Palma de Mallorca, and Malaga)

Winter 2021/2022 Timetable for Direct Scheduled Flights

  • Number of airlines: 29
  • Number of routes: 167
  • Number of airports: 105
  • Number of countries: 24
  • Top airlines by the number of routes: Ryanair (64), Vueling (19), easyJet (11), Jet2.com (9), Norwegian (8), Wizz Air (8), etc.
  • Top countries by the number of routes: UK (46), Spain (21), Germany (12), Norway (11), Belgium (9), Netherlands (9), Italy (8), France (7), etc.

NICE COTE D'AZUR AIRPORT

Basic Airport Info

  • Serving Nice, Cannes, and French Riviera
  • Passenger traffic in the year before pandemic (2019): 14.485.423
  • No. 3 airport in France by passenger traffic (after Paris Charles de Gaulle and Paris Orly)

Winter 2021/2022 Timetable for Direct Scheduled Flights

  • Number of airlines: 43
  • Number of routes: 113
  • Number of airports: 78
  • Number of countries: 33
  • Top airlines by the number of routes: easyJet (27), Air France Hop (10), Wizz Air (8), Air Corsica (4), Norwegian (4), Transavia (4), Volotea (4), etc.
  • Top countries by the number of routes: France (29), UK (12), Germany (5), Italy (5), Spain (5), Tunisia (5), Netherlands (4), Russia (4), Switzerland (4), etc.

VENICE MARCO POLO AIRPORT

Basic Airport Info

  • Serving Venice and Padua (also Treviso, but it has its own airport with quite strong business)
  • Passenger traffic in the year before pandemic (2019): 11.561.594
  • No. 4 airport in Italy by passenger traffic (after Rome Fiumicino, Milan Malpensa, and Bergamo)

Winter 2021/2022 Timetable for Direct Scheduled Flights

  • Number of airlines: 37
  • Number of routes: 75
  • Number of airports: 55
  • Number of countries: 26
  • Top airlines by the number of routes: easyJet (14), Volotea (11), Wizz Air (9), Ryanair (6), etc.
  • Top countries by the number of routes: Italy (16), France (14), UK (8), Germany (5), Spain (5), etc.

BARI KAROL WOJTYLA AIRPORT

Basic Airport Info

  • Serving Bari, northern and central parts of Apulia region
  • Passenger traffic in the year before pandemic (2019): 5.545.588
  • No. 11 airport in Italy by passenger traffic

Winter 2021/2022 Timetable for Direct Scheduled Flights

  • Number of airlines: 14
  • Number of routes: 76
  • Number of airports: 56
  • Number of countries: 18
  • Top airlines by the number of routes: Ryanair (37), Wizz Air (19), Volotea (4), etc.
  • Top countries by the number of routes: Italy (31), Germany (8), France (5), Spain (5), Poland (4), Romania (4), etc.

THESSALONIKI MAKEDONIA AIRPORT

Basic Airport Info

  • Serving Thessaloniki and central Macedonia (including Chalkidiki peninsula)
  • Passenger traffic in the year before pandemic (2019): 6.895.331
  • No. 3 airport in Greece by passenger traffic (after Athens and Heraklion)

Winter 2021/2022 Timetable for Direct Scheduled Flights

  • Number of airlines: 18
  • Number of routes: 80
  • Number of airports: 57
  • Number of countries: 23
  • Top airlines by the number of routes: Ryanair (26), Aegean (15), Sky Express (8), Olympic Air (7), Wizz Air (6), Eurowings (4), etc.
  • Top countries by the number of routes: Greece (20), Germany (19), Cyprus (4), Italy (4), Russia (4), UK (4), etc.

BANJA LUKA AIRPORT

Basic Airport Info

  • Serving Banja Luka and northwestern Bosnia and Herzegovina
  • Passenger traffic in the year before pandemic (2019): 149.693
  • No. 3 airport in Bosnia and Herzegovina by passenger traffic (after Sarajevo and Tuzla)

Winter 2021/2022 Timetable for Direct Scheduled Flights

  • Number of airlines: 3
  • Number of routes: 14
  • Number of airports: 14
  • Number of countries: 8
  • Airlines by the number of routes: Ryanair (7), Wizz Air (6), Air Serbia (1)
  • Countries by the number of routes: Germany (4), Sweden (4), Austria (1), Belgium (1), Italy (1), Netherlands (1), Serbia (1), Switzerland (1)

TUZLA AIRPORT

Basic Airport Info

  • Serving Tuzla and northeastern Bosnia and Herzegovina
  • Passenger traffic in the year before pandemic (2019): 593.083
  • No. 2 airport in Bosnia and Herzegovina by passenger traffic (after Sarajevo)

Winter 2021/2022 Timetable for Direct Scheduled Flights

  • Number of airlines: 1
  • Number of routes: 14
  • Number of airports: 14
  • Number of countries: 6
  • Airlines by the number of routes: Wizz Air (14)
  • Countries by the number of routes: Germany (8), Sweden (2), Austria (1), Denmark (1), Netherlands (1), Switzerland (1)

NIŠ CONSTANTINE THE GREAT AIRPORT

Basic Airport Info

  • Serving Niš and southern Serbia
  • Passenger traffic in the year before pandemic (2019): 422.255
  • No. 2 airport in Serbia by passenger traffic (after Belgrade)

Winter 2021/2022 Timetable for Direct Scheduled Flights

  • Number of airlines: 4
  • Number of routes: 12
  • Number of airports: 11
  • Number of countries: 7
  • Airlines by the number of routes: Wizz Air (5), Ryanair (4), Air Serbia (2), Swiss (1)
  • Countries by the number of routes: Germany (3), Austria (2), Sweden (2), Switzerland (2), Italy (1), Malta (1), Slovenia (1)

OHRID ST. PAUL THE APOSTLE AIRPORT

Basic Airport Info

  • Serving Ohrid and western parts of North Macedonia
  • Passenger traffic in the year before pandemic (2019): 317.218
  • No. 2 airport in North Macedonia by passenger traffic (after Skopje)

Winter 2021/2022 Timetable for Direct Scheduled Flights

  • Number of airlines: 2
  • Number of routes: 9
  • Number of airports: 9
  • Number of countries: 6
  • Airlines by the number of routes: Wizz Air (8), Edelweiss Air (1)
  • Countries by the number of routes: Germany (3), Switzerland (2), Austria (1), Italy (1), Sweden (1), UK (1)

Concerning SPLIT AIRPORT, as you know it is the second busiest airport in Croatia (3,30 million passengers in 2019) and has very good connections in the summer timetable, but the winters have been disasters since I have been following this and for Winter 2021/2022 timetable Split Airport has 10 routes served by Croatia Airlines (Frankfurt, Munich, Rome, and Zagreb), Eurowings (Cologne Bonn, Dusseldorf, and Stuttgart), and Trade Air (Dubrovnik, Rijeka, and Pula / Osijek - it is the one flight that goes to Pula and then continues to Osijek). If you take away Croatian airports, Split is connected with only 6 other airports (5 in Germany and 1 in Italy).

Concerning DUBROVNIK AIRPORT, it is the third busiest in the country (2,90 million passengers in 2019) and has also very good connections in the summer timetable. For the last few winters it had slightly better connectivity than Split Airport, but this year it has only 4 routes served by Croatia Airlines (Zagreb), Trade Air (Split / Rijeka - one flight that goes to Split and then continues to Rijeka), Turkish (Istanbul), and Vueling (Barcelona).

Thanks Mario, very interesting statistics. I will be featuring more of Mario's findings in the near future. Mario is preparing some information for me about an initiative which started back in 2008, which was strongly supported by Split Airport and the bigger hotels (Le Meridien Lav, Radisson and later BlueSun), but sadly not by the relevant official bodies at the time. With the continued support of Split Airport and others joining the debate, could things be different this time?

If you are interested in joining an initiative to improve the Split and Dubrovnik winter flights situation and have something to contribute (please state what), then please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Subject Winter Flights

What could life after Croatia Airlines look like is the struggling national carrier was no longer on the scene? A very interesting interview with some parallels with the CEO of Budapest Airport a few years ago on life after the demise of the Hungarian state carrier - Lessons from Budapest Airport: CEO Jost Lammers on Life After Malév.

Sunday, 7 November 2021

Enterprises in 4 Urban Agglomerations Net HRK 16.2 bn in Profit in 2020

ZAGREB, 7 Nov 2021 - In 2020, enterprises in the Osijek, Rijeka, Split, and Zagreb urban agglomerations netted HRK 16.2 billion in profits, or 77% of the profits of all enterprises in Croatia, according to an analysis by the Financial Agency.

The agglomerations were established in 2015 and 2016 under a decision of the Regional Development and EU Funds Ministry.

In 2020, the biggest consolidated net profit was generated by enterprises in the Zagreb urban agglomeration (HRK 14.3 billion), followed by Osijek (HRK 804.1 million), Split (HRK 631.6m), and Rijeka (HRK 399.8m).

Of the 139,009 enterprises which submitted annual financial statements for last year, 79,229 were based in the four urban agglomerations, up 1.8% in 2019. Most were in Zagreb (55,282) and least in Osijek (4,476)

Of the 947,874 persons employed in enterprises in 2020, 566,310 were employed in the four agglomerations, the most in Zagreb, 430,965, or 7.8 employees per enterprise on average, and the least in Osijek, 30,930, or 6,9 employees per enterprise on average.

Last year, enterprises in the four agglomerations made HRK 512.3 billion in total revenue, down 5.5% in 2019, and accounted for 68.9% of the total revenue of all enterprises in Croatia (HRK 743.8 bn).

Their profit totaled HRK 32.5 billion, down 4.4% in 2019, while total losses went up by 45.4% to HRK 16.3 billion.

In 2020, the highest average net monthly salary in enterprises in the four urban agglomerations was in Zagreb, HRK 6,796, 5.2% more than the average in all four and 13.8% more than the average in all enterprises in Croatia, which was HRK 5,971.

The lowest net monthly salary was registered in the Osijek urban agglomeration (HRK 5,155).

(€1 = HRK 7.5)

For more, check out our business section.

Friday, 5 November 2021

Largest Croatia Fan Procession Expected before Russia World Cup Qualifier at Poljud

November 5, 2021 - The largest Croatia fan procession ever is expected ahead of the Croatia-Russia World Cup qualifier at Poljud Stadium in Split on November 14. 

All available tickets for the match between Croatia and Russia have been sold. A packed Poljud of about 33,000 fans will cheer on Croatia in an attempt to win first place and secure a spot in Qatar for the 2022 World Cup. That is, assuming Croatia wins in Malta three days earlier. 

Tickets went on sale October 25 at 1 pm, and hours later all tickets for the west and east stands were claimed. In the following days, tickets for the remaining sectors in the north and south stands were taken, sold from 80 to 200 kuna.

HNS announced that there will be no ticket sales at the box office and that in the coming days some free tickets may appear on the Internet if the customers who ordered them do not pay on time.

Fans who come to the match are invited to the Riva waterfront, where the largest Croatia fan procession in history, with between 20,000 and 30,000 people, is expected in honor of the 30th anniversary of Vukovar. Fans will head towards the stadium from 12:30 on November 14. Kickoff at Poljud is scheduled for 3 pm. 

All fans coming to the stadium must have an EU digital covid certificate with a valid QR code to be checked at the entrance. Certificates of vaccination or illness or various test results will not be recognized.

Children under the age of 12 do not have to have a certificate if they are accompanied by a parent or guardian who has a valid certificate and a ticket, and HNS will provide rapid antigen testing to fans who do not have a digital certificate.

Tickets for the match in Malta, which will be played on November 11 at 8:45 pm at the Ta'Qali National Stadium, went on sale from Thursday at the price of 80 kuna.

In Malta, however, only people with full vaccination against the coronavirus or those who have recovered from Covid AND have received at least one dose of the vaccine are allowed. This does not only apply to children aged five to 11, who need a negative PCR test not older than 72 hours.

Source: 24 Sata

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

Thursday, 4 November 2021

Start Your Split Morning Right with Chops Breakfast, Fresh Juices, and Fit Options

November 4, 2021 - Because Chops breakfast serves every kind of Split morning, rain or shine. 

Breakfast - sworn by parents as the most important meal of the day, never missed by athletes, and indeed a meal no tourist traveling Croatia can afford to miss before their sightseeing adventures. 

And while you're exploring Split, you'll notice that some restaurants do breakfast better than the rest. Chops Grill is one of them. 

Making waves last year with their affordable yet quick grab-n-go brekky options, like the irresistible croissant sandwich with prosciutto or salmon and tangy spring onion and honey mustard touch, dining at Chops for your morning meal comes with a generous selection of feel-good food you won't soon forget. 

A staple on the Chops breakfast menu is the hard-hitting eggburger, which first made its debut last year on the new Chops to-go menu with the favorite croissant sandwich. A perfectly chewy bun warmed by fluffy scrambled eggs, cheese, sriracha mayo, and spring onion make for a delightful yet just filling enough morning munch. 

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But Chops' breakfast goes beyond these beloved sandwiches. Classics like eggs benedict on in-house English muffins, the ham, cheese, and pancetta omelet, or the over-the-top Chops breakfast with scrambled eggs on focaccia with pancetta, grilled sausage, and asparagus will teleport your morning from Split to the USA. You can even sit down for American pancakes to seal the deal! 

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But that's not all. 

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Those of you looking to keep things light can opt for the chia pudding, fit breakfast with Greek yogurt, avocado toast, or veggie omelet, or quench your thirst thanks to a variety of freshly squeezed juices, from apple, mint, and ginger, to Super Green, Veggie Focus, or the Heartbeat abounding in avocado, banana, apple, and red beet! 

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And juices aren't the only way to whet your morning palate, with standout items like the avocado or almond butter berry shake on offer, too. 

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Topped off with award-winning coffee, there is something for everyone at Chops Grill - and you'll likely return for dinner to try their star-studded selection of steaks! 

You can see the full Chops breakfast menu HERE

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated lifestyle section.

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