Friday, 30 July 2021

Split PR Agency VAJT Bags Second IPRA Golden World Award for Digital Nomad Visa Project!

July 30, 2021 - The Split-based public relations agency VAJT has received a new major professional recognition.

For the second time in three years, VAJT has been awarded the most significant professional award, the Golden World Award given by IPRA, the International Public Relations Association, the world’s umbrella organization in public relations.

VAJT was again awarded in the Public Affairs category, this time for the project "Introduction of a visa for digital nomads - how a Dutchman provided Croatia with the first official digital nomad", on which VAJT worked with Jan de Jong. There are many peculiarities of this communication campaign, including the fact that it's the first one done entirely on LinkedIn, and the end result is that Croatia was among the first countries in the world and the second after Estonia in Europe to adjust its legislation and respond to the new phenomenon. in the market - young people who want to work for employers in their country, but physically out of it and at the same time enjoy the benefits that such a lifestyle provides.

"In the time of Rimac and the Olympians, little can delight, but for us there is nothing further than this. We are lucky that we can repeat good projects, and the domestic and international professional public recognizes and rewards us. The IPRA Golden World Award is the pinnacle in professional terms and I never dreamed it could be repeated to us in such a short period of time. I am especially glad that this is the Public Affairs category because working in this segment is extremely demanding, especially because the domestic public does not yet understand the role of public relations in public policies in the best way. Of course, the key to success this time was Jan de Jong as the bearer of communication. With maximum trust in us, he invested exceptional effort, gathered a small number of international experiences, was maximally positive and open to the Croatian authorities and showed how laws can be changed through affirmative communication. We are going to continue to learn and grow, and with other colleagues from Croatia we regularly take the first places because they certainly belong to us in terms of knowledge and effort ", said the director of the VAJT agency Jerko Trogrlić.

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In just four months, VAJT and Jan de Jong managed to initiate changes to the law and ensure that digital nomads have a regulated stay in Croatia for a year, instead of the three months they used to be able to stay with a tourist visa. The story started with Dutchman de Jong, who moved to Croatia 14 years ago as a 22-year-old and has been changing it for the better ever since. Launching an initiative to introduce a visa for digital nomads is just one of the projects that helps its new homeland and all those who recognize Croatia as a beautiful place to live and work.

From the moment I moved to Croatia, I fell in love with this country. But that doesn't mean that everything is perfect and great here. Over the past 10 – 15 years, nearly 500.000 mostly young and talented Croats have left the country in search of opportunities abroad. At the same time, Croatia's economy depends for over 20% of its GDP on tourism. When the world stopped traveling last year as a result of the global pandemic, Croatia's economy was severely hit by not being able to welcome tourist any longer. That was the moment we connected all the dots. By introducing a digital nomad visa we could turn Croatia into a year-round destination, while at the same time reverse the brain-drain by welcoming young and talented professionals – by granting them 12-month staying permits. With a strong believe that “digital nomad tourism” could turn into a new industry for Croatia as a whole, we started our campaign on LinkedIn. After winning the support from the LinkedIn community, we managed to get the support from Prime Minister Andrej Plenković and his cabinet which I thank very much. In a country known for its bureaucracy, we have shown that Croatia was able to pivot when its presented with opportunity. None of our efforts were done with the goal to win awards. We wanted to help prepare Croatia for the next generation. This award however is an amazing recognition for the efforts we have made and serves as a reminder of an amazing journey I feel proud to have been part of“, said Jan de Jong.

For this project, VAJT has already been awarded two professional awards this year - the Polaris International Award and the Grand Prix of the Croatian Public Relations Association. In total, this is the ninth professional award for VAJT and the fourth international. As a reminder, VAJT was awarded three years ago for the campaign "Do you want to switch places?" for the client Split parking with the IPRA Golden World Award, Polaris and the Grand Prix of HUOJ.

Among this year's IPRA laureates are the world's best public relations agencies and large companies such as T-Com, Nestle, numerous banking houses, foundations ...

The annual IPRA Golden World Awards (GWA) have been awarded since 1990 for excellence in public relations practice around the world in a variety of categories.

For more news and features on digital nomads in Croatia, follow the dedicated TCN section

Tuesday, 27 July 2021

Supplementary Education in Split: Activities for Kids of All Ages

6 August 2021 - One TCN intern spoke to a primary school teacher and scout leader Ivana Jarebica about opportunities for supplementary education in Split and prepared a guide for parents. The new school year is coming soon, and it's the right time to think about how to organize your child's free time with profit for their personal development.

There's a critical remark. We will review opportunities for informal education only. For instance, we won't concern music schools in the classical sense. Instead, we will talk about more flexible, free activities which are closely connected to kids' everyday practices and don't create any pressure of doing homework, preparing for exams, etc.

Another critical remark is that Split has a powerful sports tradition. Split can flaunt a vast number of Olympic and other medal winners per capita. Split was well-known for its football and water polo teams during the last century, and although it doesn't experience its 'golden age' now, a sports sphere is still vibrant enough, competitive, and dynamic. Also, sports activities are related to informal education.

How to choose

According to Ivana's teaching experience in Split, the most common reasons for choosing a club or courses for kids is because:

1) A parent wishes this activity for a kid. 

It's a normal situation, especially when a child is still young. Parents with their horizons can give a child good advice or starting points for leisure time activities.

2) A kid's friend visits this club.

"My friend Mia goes, and I want to go with her." Encourage your kid's friendship and let it go. Then, at least, children will be happy to spend free time together in the informal atmosphere. If one of the friends finally does not like an activity, they will change and at the same time will acquire the skill to compromise with a friend.

3) A club is situated in your neighbourhood. 

Split is the second biggest city in Croatia, but still small enough. Citizens don't usually change districts for extra classes. Children often visit a club situated in the vicinity of their home or school. For example, in the district of Spinut many students play rugby because there's a rugby field. Of course, if you live in some district as far from the city center district as Brda, you have to be ready to go to another district for extracurricular activities. There is not a lot nearby, perhaps, except for dance classes.

4) Specific interest

Classical ballet dances or playing football for a famous club (definitely Hajduk Split), programming, or whatever else that could be inspired by pop culture a child lives in. Support your kid's interest, especially with almost all activities given in Split. We don't have ice hockey or figure skating in Split, but Split is a coastal summer city, so it's not expected here.

What to choose: for young learners

Ciciban and Sports academy Sportko are good choices for preschoolers. These clubs offer kids a wide range of possibilities to develop fine motor skills and try different activities. Both clubs can be a great help to prepare a child for further sports education. It will be easier for kids to become a member of some football, volleyball, or swimming team or have fun and A+ grades at physical education lessons at school. 

Sportsko takes children from 3 y.o. and works with age groups 3-7 and 7-10. Its full-year program includes gymnastics, athletics, football, handball, tennis, bowling, judo and wrestling, movement orientation, and some others. They also have independent swimming, football, roller skating, cycling, rhythmic gymnastics, and others. Ciciban starts from 5 y.o. and has groups 5-6 and 7-10. Ciciban programs include various sports activities and swimming once a week. Both clubs are large in several students and fit for socialization objectives. The fact they conduct summer and winter camps can be considered an advantage too.

Sports academy Sparta, as well as Sportko, works with children from 3 to 10 y.o. Through a dozen sports activities mixed with singing songs and entertainment, the academy develops kids' motor skills and motivates them to lead healthy lifestyles. Besides sports sections, Sparta has a commercial part with toy shops and the. organisation of children's birthdays. They are active on social media; write them if you have any questions. 

Zutko sports school in Split pursues the same goal - to instill in children a love of sports. Zutko is founded and managed by the base of the Split Basketball club. They take groups of 3-6 and 7-10 y.o. three times a week classes. A working program consists of essential sports such as athletics, gymnastics, martial arts, and ball sports such as basketball, etc. Highly recommended for developing team-working skills. Athletic school Proaktiv trains children from 7 to 10 y.o. 

For more artistic activities, Split can offer pre-scholars studio Perlice or ballet studio Skoljkica. Skoljkica specializes in ballet dances, while Perlice teaches singing, dances, stage movement, and stage speech. Perlice studio has a rich history with its founder, musician Ingrid Flesch. They perform theatrical musicals, stage programs, record sounds, win awards at festivals, release videos with 120+ mln views on Youtube.

The younger, the better, Mrs. Flesch says about the enrollment age in the studio. The youngest artist of Perlice has 3.5 y.o., the eldest - 10. At Skoljkica, the threshold age is higher. They educate children from kindergarten age up to the last year of secondary school. Baletni studio Labudici presents ballet classes in the surroundings of Split. The troupes are based in Solin, but performances are often shoulder to shoulder to Split troupes. 

Glazbena mladez Split sees its mission in connecting children and young people with musical culture. GMS accents classical music, but as a whole, they encourage every musical genre and style. GMS is also a cluster of performing troupes with 170+ various programmes in a year; it provides children scope for creative expression. GMS familiarizes kids with music and theatrical art, audience, and rules of cultural behaviour. A team of Playdrama promotes participation of all generations in theatrical art too. Since its program includes lectures and production process stuss, they enroll children from 9 y.o.

To develop the cognitive abilities of a kid, Malac Genijalac is a convenient option in Split. 'Genius kiddo,' as the school's name can be translated, offers three mathematical programmes: Numicon for 3-6 y.o, Mentalna aritmetika for 4-12 y.o. and Super Um for 10-17 y.o. Classes are held in small groups. The learning process contains fun activities, games, and competitions. Abilities that children gain through learning will be helpful not only in math lessons but in different spheres of life.

Excluding bilinguals which are extraordinary stories, children usually begin to learn a foreign language since primary school, 7 y.o. However, tutors say that you can start with learning languages earlier - since the primary speech apparatus is totally formed. The average is 4 years old, but in any case, you can ask for a trial session and consult with a teacher before paying for a course. Language schools such as AnglijaWotan, Katedra, Tweety, Pitagora in Split take children from kindergarten. 

For elder children

The first decade passed, children are mature enough to join some of the 'entertainment sphere's pillars' of Split or start their own track in sport, etc. KUD Edinstvo recently celebrated its 100 anniversary. One of the oldest and most famous Croatian artistic troupes keeps folklore traditions of different country regions and transmits them to new generations through well-organized infrastructure.

Edinstvo maintains a folklore dancing school, a music school for mandolin and guitar players, and a children's ensemble. Folklore dancing enrolls kids from 1st to 8th grade of the school (primary+lower secondary). Mandoline and guitar teachers allow students from 9 to 18 y.o. Music courses last for three years. A lighter alternative is any dancing troupe. Manage your choice independence of proximity to your neighbourhood and style preferences. Centar plesa (wide profile), Sedmi vjetar (cheerleaders), D'N'F (urban dances), Lolita (wide profile), Vruca cokolada (show and jazz dances), Lambada (Litin American dances), Clique (hip-hop, house, funk dances) and others. KUD Splitske mazoretkinje is an extraordinary story for girls who love twists! 

Waterpolo club Jadran celebrated its 100th jubilee last year. Jadran is the oldest water polo club in Split and a sports pride of the city. Waterpolo Club Mornar-Brodospas, with many medals and trophies won, is a bit younger; it celebrated 70 years from the foundation of the sports section in 2019. Waterpolo school usually holds classes in the mornings, then the teams come. Depending on age, clubs have 'hopes and young hopes,' 'young cadets,' 'cadets,' 'young juniors,' and 'juniors' teams. The application form is available on their website.

Basketball, another sport that brought Split great sporting fame during Yugoslavia, is played and mastered by children in Kosarkaski Klub Split. Besides the universal sports academy for kids, KK Split has a basketball school for boys of 15 y.o. and younger and a mini-basket for girls of 18 y.o. and younger. ZKK 3 Point also approaches girls. Zenski Kosarkaski Klub is literally a 'Women Basketball Club'. It aims to teach skills, instill a love for the sport, and help with self-confidence. KK Adriatic recruits both boys and girls; training is held on the courts of four different schools in Split and surroundings so that you can find the closest to your house.

The same rule can be applied to football. There are some clubs in almost every district of Split: NK‌ ‌Pomak,‌ ‌NK Bili‌ ‌As,‌ ‌NK‌ ‌Brda,‌ ‌NK‌ ‌Primorac‌-Stobrec,‌ ‌NK‌ ‌Talent‌, etc. These clubs began to recruit kids from kindergarten age, and it's one more reason to choose the closest one. NK Bili As and Brda train kids from primary school, and on average, the football club calls for 13 y.o. and younger. NK Pomak opens its doors for boys and girls. Especially for girls, there is ZNK‌ ‌Marjan - Women Football Club. Futsal, or 'mini football', is presented by FC Split that has its academy and young teams of 'cadets' and 'juniors.'

An exception is HNK Hajduk academy. If you fancy it, you can put your child there to have football training, fitness, psychological talks, educational seminars, English lessons, and social work at the same place. A fact you need to consider is that its time- and resource-consuming, so football training 3 times during working days and a match on the weekend would be difficult to combine with other classes or courses. 

To train the hands of the young generation, Split has tennis or handball. TK Pomak and Tenis Klub Split 1950 teach children to hold a racket, balance energy, and get pleasure from the game. Clubs encourage professional tennis tracks as well as playing for recreation purposes. There is also women-led handball education in Split. Women Handball Club ZRK Split occupies a unique place in a region: the first league club with 70 years of history and 150+ members enrolling girls in five age categories. A good place for your future wonder women!

A kind of comprehensive training for the body is swimming that can be found by the above-mentioned water polo clubs Mornar and Jadran or in swimming clubs like Grdelin and Posk. Both are based in the Poljud pools. In any case, water skills will be useful in the coastal city of Split. Don't refuse an offer to take a trial training to understand whether this sport fits your child's temper.

The majority of students start learning foreign languages in the first or second grade of primary school. If you suppose that language classes in a school are not enough or you want to give a child another, there are many language courses in Split. When your child is already a student, we can add several others to the above-mentioned list of schools that teach kids since kindergarten. Eduka Center in Split conducts programs on English and French and has an interesting program on faster reading and learning for children from 12 y.o. Inicijativa center also has some educational programs besides English in individual, group, express, and business forms.

Viktorija teaches groups of primary and secondary school students, groups who fancy improving their speaking, and individual students. Sintagma suits children as well as their parents. Besides six other languages, they teach Croatian as a foreign language and prepare for professional translation. Alliance Francaise in Split is certainly good to learn French, Dolphin - to learn German, and Jantar is probably good for studying Russian as I can guess from the name (they teach other languages too).

Programming languages are equally important nowadays, and coding classes promise to prepare our children for a digital future. Codey Rocky – Inovatic could be a perfect place for beginners. They use popular global platforms like Lego Mindstorms, robot Maqueen microbit to gradually introduce children to designing, modelling, programming processes. Logischool focuses more on programming itself, and things can be produced using bare code - computers, games, applications, etc. School code course is recommended for 7-18 y.o. Robotics Lego is 10-18 y.o. Students are divided into different age groups. The school provides students with all necessary tools and doesn't ask for any prerequisites. 

For those children interested in nature, there's an opportunity in the outskirts of Split. Zvezdano selo Mosor (star village Mosor) by the observatory situated in the Mosor mountains chain organizes a 'small school of astronomy' and 'school in nature' for primary and secondary school students. Lectures are held in their space in Split once a week. For field observations, students go to the Zvezdano selo; transportation issues can be discussed in private.

For teenagers

Teenage children can continue with supplementary activities. However, sometimes they want to change it because they're not interested in a sports career or need more time for themselves or their spheres of interest change. Or, for instance, their family moved to Split.

Teenage boys are often into martial arts. Karate and taekwondo classes are present in the widest variety. Taekwondo club Marjan has eight sites in Split and the surrounding area. It trains kids from kindergarten, but here we will emphasize their program for 'juniors.' When children face growth, responsibility, peer pressure, and become teenagers, taekwondo helps them get perseverance and self-control. In addition, Aikido facilitates the development of flexibility, concentration, and coordination. Also, Aikido club Bonaca offers a handy 2-month course that doesn't oblige you to anything.

A solution for teenage girls to keep self-confidence and body coordination is often proposed by dance studios. Clique, Dance Box, and Dance Crew United have younger groups but mostly target an older audience of dancers willing to drive, show, scene, expression. Sailing and rowing sports experience would be a valuable asset to take to college years. Mornar, Split, and Labud's Sailing clubs have their sailing schools, and Zenta has even radio-controlled sailing that can be a good combination for those interested in both sport and physics.

Many college students in Croatia participate in student hiking clubs. Therefore Planinarski Klub Split will definitely be a good foundation for your child's future. Split has many wonderful natural places nearby - Labištica, Opor, Kozjak, Mosor, Omiška Dinara, and Biokovo. Hiking will help a teenager keep fit, discover amazing trails, and change shifts and locations. An alternative for young people who like climbing but don't enjoy long hikes could be the artificial climbing wall in the district of Znjan (SPK Lapis).

Spending almost a year in the Split scout association as an international volunteer, I would surely recommend it to any kid from 6 to 21 y.o. Scouts give a big improvement to general school education concerning nature, sociocultural, ethic issues. They put children in situations when they have to think by themselves and make collective decisions, finally to derive skills from their own life experience. And in particular, I'd recommend the scout movement for teenagers.

In my opinion, in this period of life, the scout environment can be most helpful for personal development. An overwhelming majority of sections and clubs mentioned above conduct camps, however with scouts, you participate so much in the organization of camps, can take the initiative, go first, etc. Furthermore, a pleasant bonus is travelling and meeting scouts from other countries - insensibly a big network is around you! Last but not least: scouts release you not only as an educated know-it-all or pumped-up athlete but a responsible citizen. 

Monday, 26 July 2021

Matea Jelić Wins Taekwondo Olympic Gold Medal!

July 26, 2021 - Taekwondo fighter Matea Jelić defeated Great Britain's Lauren Williams in the finals of the 67 kg category at the Olympic Games in Tokyo!

It was the duel of the last two European champions in this category - Jelić won gold in Sofia this year, and Williams won gold three years ago in Kazan.

In the uncertain final, the result was 13-13 entering the final minute, but then Williams with two kicks to the body reached an advantage of 17-13. It was 21-15 for Williams until 15 seconds before the end when Jelić managed to reach colossal success with three kicks to the head.

This is the fourth medal for Croatia in the women's taekwondo competition. Before Jelić, bronze medals were won by Sandra Šarić and Martina Zubčić in Beijing in 2008, Lucija Zaninović in London in 2012, and Toni Kanaet earlier on Monday in Tokyo.

TK Marjan Split thus achieved incredible success today in Tokyo! Jelić's gold is the greatest success for Croatian taekwondo at the Olympic Games.

In her first appearance in Tokyo, Jelić defeated Haitian Lauren Lee 22-2, in the quarterfinals Brazilian Milena Titonelli 30-9, and secured a medal with a 15-4 victory against American Paige McPherson in the semis. 

More soon...

To follow the latest sports news in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

To learn more about sport in Croatia, CLICK HERE

Saturday, 24 July 2021

Faithful Czech, German, and Polish Tourists Saving the 2021 Tourist Season in Split

July 24, 2021 - The 2021 tourist season in Split is in full swing, with 14,000 tourists currently in the Dalmatian capital. 

"Currently, more than 14,000 tourists stay in Split, and according to the eVisitor system, 67,600 tourist arrivals and 254,000 tourist overnight stays have been realized in the Split area since the beginning of July, which is an increase of 94 percent in arrivals and 80 percent in overnight stays compared to 2020. The largest number of tourist overnights was realized from these main markets: Poland, Germany, France, and the USA, and from Croatia itself," said Tina Ćurković from the Split Tourist Board and explained that the number of tourists in Split is actually higher because of the midnight registration deadline for currently registered tourists in the eVisitor system, reports Slobodna Dalmacija.

"Our statistics do not include guests from cruise ships or visitors who do not spend the night," says Tina Ćurković.

When looking at Split-Dalmatia County, things are also going better than expected in the most optimistic forecasts from the beginning of the year. However, it has become increasingly difficult to find free accommodation in Split and its surroundings in recent days, especially with private renters.

"The acceleration of the season is noticeable. Statistics also show this. The most numerous guests are Poles. From the beginning of the year to July 22, as many as 935,000 Polish tourists arrived in Croatia," reports Joško Stella, director of the Split-Dalmatia County Tourist Board.

He confirms that the Czechs are behind them, and there are also Germans and Slovenes. There are also a lot of local guests - about half a million.

"Tourists who come by car predominate, and this has been the case for the last ten years, and the only thing that has changed is their order, so sometimes we get the most Germans or Czechs, and this time its Poles. So we can say that Poles, Czechs, Germans, Slovenes are among our most loyal guests and that our season, at least for now, is going very well," Stella says satisfied.

Between 65 and 70 percent of traffic from the record and most prosperous 2019 has already been recorded. 

"Which, hand on heart, should not be a reference because it was exceptional by all criteria. Honestly, we all shot at the seams that year because of the overcrowding and could hardly wait for that season to end. So I would rather say that our measure is tourism that happened to us in 2016 or 2018, and if we compare ourselves with those seasons, then today's numbers of guests and overnight stays are close to the results achieved then," says Stella.

Americans and Brits have not arrived in large numbers yet. However, in recent years, they dominated when Ultra came to town. 

"The numbers have always been on the side of Poles, Czechs, Germans, Slovenes ... The Americans and the British prefer Split because they come by plane, and there is also Hvar, Dubrovnik, Zagreb, and Plitvice. There are indeed fewer guests from Asia. From South Korea, for example. Americans often came to us as cruise guests, and today there is much less of that," Stella adds.

Luckily, we are very well connected by motorways with the richest countries in Europe, which are practically our neighborhood, and our airports are great.

"Especially Split, which can be seen by the number of flights and guests, and that is our great advantage. In fact, if they managed to finish the season at this pace, they would calmly welcome autumn because the state, based on such tourist results, would still have the strength to encourage those whose business was threatened by the coronavirus pandemic," says Stella.

He also commented on the announced arrival of British tourists, whose government has lifted all epidemiological measures.

"The biggest problem for us is testing guests on their way home and prescribing mandatory quarantine. So, naturally, that discourages people from going on vacation. However, in the case of Britain, which has almost completely abolished epidemiological measures, logically things should not be asked of their tourists, which means that they could easily come to Croatia on holiday," Stella is optimistic.

He thinks that it would be more correct to measure the number of hospitalized and thus determine completely safe or less safe zones than to look at the total number of infected.

Follow the latest on flights to Croatia HERE and the latest travel updates and COVID-19 news from Croatia HERE.

For more on travel in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Saturday, 24 July 2021

Split Students Want to Map Marjan Paths, Organise Kids' Zoo Workshop

July the 24th, 2021 - A group of Split students have a praiseworthy project in mind which would see the paths of the Marjan Forest Park properly mapped out and a kids' workshop designed and created at the zoo.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Lucija Spiljak writes, ''For a better Marjan/Za bolji Marjan'' is the name of the project that Split students Nikolina Musa, Mia Rosic and Ariana Kecic applied for a UPSHIFT three-day workshop within a unique UNICEF programme (ZABUM/Za buducnost mladih/For the future of young people), from which they returned as one of the winning teams/projects.

As the name suggests, this group of Split students focused on arranging unmaintained existing areas and creating new recreational facilities in the Marjan Forest Park in the heart of Split.

Nikolina, Mia and Ariana explained how they heard from their school psychologist Hana Paver about the three-day workshop for UPSHIFT, which is jointly conducted by the UNICEF Office for Croatia and the Croatian Office for Creativity and Innovation (HUKI).

It was, as these Split students say, a great opportunity for them to try something new, something different and get out of their comfort zones. Before the beginning of the workshop, they conducted a survey with 200 respondents for the reported topic of PS Marjan in order to determine what is bothering Split's citizens about the area the most.

"Based on that, we devised a plan that we first presented to the school psychologist because she was our biggest support in the beginning. We prepared the project for realisation at the workshop with the guidance of our mentor Nikola Jamicic,'' explained Nikolina.

For the first project, the Split students chose a photo competition with the main theme of natural beauty and cultural heritage of Marjan in order to take small steps to bring young people closer to the beloved forest park.

"We've noticed that people neglect it and don't appreciate it as much as they should. As individuals, we couldn't organise the photo contest on our own, so we turned to HPD Mosor for help, and at the meeting we presented our finished idea to the President, Ivana and the head of the photo section, Zana. They were delighted with our plan and we immediately started cooperating. The competition was open from June the 1st to July the 4th, and the awards ceremony was held on July the 12th at the First Viewpoint on Marjan, followed by the opening of the exhibition in the HPD Mosor, where the photos will be exhibited until the end of September,'' explained Mia.

As part of the initiative, they say, they want to raise awareness, as well as educate and motivate young people and initiate volunteer actions.

"Our next plan is to complete the project from Upshift and we're preparing leaflets with QR codes that lead to the All trails programme where Marjan's thematic trails will be mapped out with bilingual descriptions and photos. In addition, we've established cooperation with the zoo on Marjan and together we will organise fun and educational workshops for children,'' announced Nikolina.

Despite this truly commendable idea, the Split students say it wasn't at all easy for them at first because the environment was uninspiring and their peers underestimated their project and the effort and work they'd put in. However, Nikolina, Mia and Adriana say that this was just an additional incentive for them to prove that with perseverance, everything can be achieved.

"As we worked, so many doors began to open for us and we just caught the opportunities that came our way. Of course, our biggest support lay with our parents, the school psychologist and our class teacher. We've cooperated with: HPD Mosor, the Marjan Association, the Public Institution for the Management of PS Marjan, and Zoo Split,'' stated Nikolina.

Given that they tried something new in a somewhat uninspiring environment, just how do these promising high school students view the Croatian education system, and what are their plans are in the future? Do they want to stay here in Croatia or would they prefer to build a career abroad.

"The Croatian education system, despite the reforms, is a bit behind. Not all parts of Croatia are equally equipped for normal operation, and defective parts can often be found. But the biggest problem is the professors' attitudes, which hasn't changed to keep up with the reforms.

In my opinion, more educational programmes should be introduced in which, in addition to students, professors will also be educated. In addition, the material should be reduced by eliminating excess unnecessary information. Special attention should be paid to making presentations, and especially to the way these works are presented,'' said Ariana.

Although it was not easy for the Split students back at the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic due to online classes and having to keep a distance from their classmates and friends, they believe that the schools did well.

For more, follow our dedicated lifestyle section.

Thursday, 22 July 2021

12 Arrested in Split Under Investigation Over Corruption

ZAGREB, 22 July 2021 - The Office for Suppression of Corruption and Organised Crime (USKOK) on Wednesday launched an investigation against 12 persons who were arrested by the police in Split on Tuesday on the graft charges.

The police directorate confirmed on Tuesday that 12 people were apprehended after early morning raids were conducted, including in the city's administration offices in that biggest Croatian coastal city.

The police said that the evidence was being collected and once the criminal investigation was over, the public would be informed of the details.

The anti-corruption raid led to the arrest of businessmen Mario Jukić and Zvonko Kotarac, his brother Ivan Kotarac, architects Emil Šverko and Neno Kezić, a former councilor from the HGS party, Danijela Špalj, a former head of the physical planning and construction department in the city administration, Lada Pocrnić Mladinić, her husband Neven Mladinić and assistant Ljiljana Poletti Kopešić.

The suspects are believed to have conspired to enable the investors of the Amphora Hotel and buildings at the suburbs of Meje to illegally gain €3.2 million.

USKOK also demanded detention for five of the 12 arrested persons.

For more news about Croatia, click here.

Wednesday, 21 July 2021

5-6 Positive Cases at Split Airport Every Day, Says Željka Karin

July 21, 2021 -There are 5-6 positive cases at Split Airport every day, the director of the Split-Dalmatia County Teaching Institute for Public Health, Željka Karin, said on the TV program "Good Morning, Croatia" Wednesday morning. 

Split-Dalmatia County was happy to open its doors to guests, but this also led to an increase in the number of infected people. The director of the County Teaching Institute for Public Health commented on the current situation in Split-Dalmatia County, reports HRT.

"We were looking forward to the tourists, but the situation needs to be controlled, so they need to come with COVID certificates. There are also suggestions that they have tests when entering the country, given that the Delta variant predominates not only in England but also Croatia," said Željka Karin as a guest on the show. 

She also pointed out that they have a checkpoint at the airport to control the situation very well both when tourists enter and leave Croatia. 

"At that point, we discover 5-6 tourists a day who have a positive rapid test. So we immediately put them in self-isolation, and we confirm this result with a PCR test. Then, after 10 days, we retake the swab, and the tourist can continue their journey," said Karin.

She referred to the current situation in Split-Dalmatia County.

"The situation is not worrying, but it is not satisfactory either. Our numbers are growing, and the number of hospitalized has increased. Therefore, epidemiological measures should be strengthened because until we get vaccinated, and the vaccine starts to work, the infection will spread," she said, emphasizing the importance of adhering to epidemiological measures and reducing gatherings.

Mate Melvan from Split Airport also spoke about the Delta Variant and the arrival of British tourists for Slobodna Dalmacija.

"The fact is that the British market at Split Airport has always been the strongest, but this year during the spring, many lines that have been operating for years were removed from the flight schedule until July 19. So far, only Croatia Airlines and British Airways have flown several times a week.

After the measures were lifted in Britain, airlines have started to return some of those canceled routes. However, there can be no question of any mass arrivals, because by the end of July we will have only 40 flights from Britain to Split, and in the pre-pandemic years there were more than 100 per week. So, everyone who is now heading to Croatia again still has a bunch of canceled flights, and that is not even close to normal traffic to Split," said Mate Melvan.

As the British can only arrive in Croatia by plane, we should not believe they will spread the Delta variant in Croatia, says Melvan.

"Everything that is now in the flight schedule was agreed and announced three or four weeks ago, and we now have five airlines from Britain and another in August. Some of them have only one flight, and some are just starting to operate in August. That is why there is no panic about it, because about 60 planes land in Split every day, and three or four of them are from Britain, with an occupancy of about 60-65 percent of the passenger cabin," Melvan explained on the fear that the Brits will increase cases. 

The testing center at Split Airport worked from:

Monday to Friday from 08:00 to 16:00,

on Saturdays from 07:00 to 17:00,

on Sundays from 08:00 to 16:00.

For all you need to know about coronavirus specific to Croatia, including vaccination points and testing sites, make sure to bookmark our dedicated COVID-19 section and select your preferred language.

Tuesday, 20 July 2021

2022 World Cup Qualifiers: Croatia and Russia to Meet at Poljud in November

July 20, 2021 - Croatia and Russia will meet at Poljud Stadium in Split to close out the 2022 World Cup qualifiers in Group H. 

The Croatian Football Federation Executive Board has registered Poljud Stadium as the host of the Croatia and Russia match as part of the European qualifiers for the FIFA World Cup, which will be held in Qatar in 2022, reports HNS.

Croatia and Russia have played four times so far, with Croatia recording two wins and two draws. Recall, Croatia and Russia most recently met in the quarterfinals of the 2018 World Cup at Fisht Stadium in Sochi. The match finished 1:1 thanks to a goal by Kramarić before going into extra time when Vida scored for the 2:1 lead. Fernandes equalized in the final minutes, forcing to game to penalties. Rakitić scored the winning penalty, advancing Croatia to the semifinal match against England. 

Split will host two Croatia national team matches this fall - on September 7, Croatia will host Slovenia on Poljud (20:45), and the competition in Group H will end on November 14 at 15:00 against Russia. In other news, the 2018 World Cup finalists will host Slovakia on October 11 at City Garden Stadium in Osijek.

After the introductory three rounds in March, the Croatia national team leads in Group H with six points, the same number of points as Russia, while Slovakia is one point behind. Croatia is expected to play against Russia (September 1) and Slovakia (September 4) in September, and the three-match program will end in Split against Slovenia.

The 10 first-placed national teams in their groups will qualify directly for the World Cup, while the second-placed national teams will compete in the playoffs in March 2022. The 2022 World Cup will be held in an untraditional term, from 21 November – 18 December 2022. 

To follow the latest sports news in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

To learn more about sport in Croatia, CLICK HERE

Monday, 19 July 2021

Fountain of Youth May Come from Split-based Biotech Company: Meet Cell Culture Lab

July 19, 2021 - French scientist Dr. François-Xavier Pellay and Belgian businessman Ronny Haesen are behind Split-based Cell Culture Lab, providing science's top anti-aging therapies to local clinics!

Split is very well known for its historical palace and its beautiful Riva, and its economy is mostly centered around tourism. But tourism itself is evolving as more and more people are coming to Croatia to benefit from its very competitive pricing and high-quality medicine, particularly dentistry and aesthetic medicine.

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Dr. François-Xavier Pellay

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Ronny Haesen

Last year, in the middle of the Covid crisis, a new biotech startup was created to broaden even more this new wave of medical tourism. Cell Culture Lab d.o.o. (CCL), a company co-founded by a French scientist, Dr. François-Xavier Pellay, and Belgian businessman, Ronny Haesen, is now working with local clinics to provide anti-aging therapies at the top of what science has to offer today.

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The company is based on the original research of Dr. Pellay, who is an expert in aging biology and particularly in anti-aging and rejuvenation medicine. His research, mostly done in Croatia, has led to the discovery of ways to rejuvenate human cells. Such research is to be applied in aesthetic medicine for skin rejuvenation and long-term anti-wrinkle treatment.

As we are all well aware, skin quality decreases with age, with the most obvious sign being the apparition of wrinkles and the loss of skin elasticity. These signs of skin aging are mostly due to the loss of fibroblasts, the main cells of the dermis, which are like skin factories for the production of collagen, elastin, and hyaluronic acid.

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Shutterstock / Cell Culture Lab

Dr. Pellay’s skin rejuvenation treatment is based on the possibility to reinject your own rejuvenated fibroblasts to replace the ones lost with age. This kind of anti-aging therapy for the skin is quite different from the usual fillers and mesotherapy available today. Botox and Hyaluronic acid treatment, which are the most popular and most efficient ways to reduce wrinkles almost instantly, have the main disadvantage that they only last for a few months, in the case of botox, and are not free of possible side-effects. Most importantly, they don’t make the skin younger; they make it look younger.

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Shutterstock / Cell Culture Lab

On the other hand, this biotechnological approach for skin rejuvenation is completely natural since it uses people's own cells and is based on bringing the skin back to where it was 10 to 15 years ago.

A year after its creation, this Split based company is now on the verge of becoming a multi-national company with developments in the USA, UAE, Singapore, Hong Kong, and Japan.

CCL is also actively working on the next step of what could be brought by their cellular rejuvenation technology. The possibilities are enormous, but their next product will probably be stem cells, in particular mesenchymal stem cells, for which a lot of applications are already on the market for regenerative medicine. Rejuvenating these cells before using them could have tremendous potential and bring us one step closer to the fountain of youth.

More info can be found on their website www.cellculturelab.eu

For more on lifestyle, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Monday, 19 July 2021

Diocletian's Dream: a Stunning VR Experience Bringing Split History to Life

July 19, 2021 - How to combine modern technology and ancient heritage in a UNESCO World Heritage Site? Check out the incredible Diocletian's Dream VR experience, bringing Diocletian's Palace to life as never before. 

How to bring a an ancient monument to life for all ages?

Diocletian's Palace is one of my favourite places in Croatia. Superbly located on the gorgeous Split waterfront, it is a vibrant living Roman city within a city than breathes history on every corner. 

Walking tours of the palace are among the most popular activities in Split, and yet over the years, I have lost count of the number of times I have heard a variation of the following question to tour guides after the tour is complete:

"That was very interesting, but where is the actual palace?"

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Other key Roman attractions such as Salona or the Pula Arena are easily identifiable for what they once were, but with so many cool bars, restaurants, museums and galleries, boutique hotels and AirBnBs, it is sometimes hard to imagine what Diocletian's Palace once was, never mind visualise it for what it was constructed - the retirement home of Emperor Diocletian. For  years I have watched tour groups walk around taking photos and only half-listening to the guide. I always  wondered exactly how much they were taking in. With the summer heat an additional factor, it was clear that the messages of the tour guides were only partially successful. 

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If only there was something which could explain the majesty of Diocletian's Palace as it once was in a simple and communicative way to suit the modern tourist. 

I heard about a new concept called Diocletian's Dream over an excellent cocktail at Kavala Beach Bar on a quick trip to Split last week. Diocletian's Dream was apparently an Irish-Croatian parntership, offering a high-quality 15-minute Virtual Reality (VR) experience of life at the time of Diocletian, entertainingly narrated by a senior slave. As I was looking for some educational bonding experiences with my teenage daughter, Diocletian's Dream seemed to tick the box, and I put a visit on the agenda for the following day. 

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Located conveniently an an 80m2 ground floor space at the back of Djardin and overlooking the palace, Diocletian's Dream is perfectly located to compliment a walking tour of the palace. And while the imminent VR experience was bound to be spectacular, it was more than matched by the passion and enthusiasm of Irish co-owner Declan, who greeted us warmly. 

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One of  the few such experiences in the world (they are currently about 5-6 others) and the first in Croatia, it didn't take long to become absorbed by Delcan's enthusiasm for the project or attention to detail. Everything had been factually checked with local experts, he assured, and the movie production crew had been painstaking in their attention to detail to get everything completely right. Actors, script writers and even some celebrity voices (including the lead singer of popular Croatian band TBF) were enlisted in the effort to bring 1,700 years of history to life for the modern tourist.

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The first three impressions that struck me were cleanliness, space, and temperature. That airconditioning was a lifesaver with temperatures over 30 degrees outside. I could just imagine how refreshing it would be to come and enjoy the VR experience after walking around the palace. As this is clearly a project of passion, Declan and his partner have chosen comfort over profit. The beautifully designed and themed viewing room holds a maximum of 15 people, where they could perhaps have crammed in 30. There is a sitting area and use of a toilet for tour guides who want to relax after bringing their guests in. A very refreshing change from outside altogether. 

As for the VR experience itself, I will not give away too many secrets as I really do encourage you to check it out yourself. My daughter laughed when I told her that this was my first real VR experience - how the generations are different when it comes to technology. With a choice of English, Croatian, French, German and Italian, I chose the English. Delcan applied my headset and I was transported back to 305 BC, with my very own slave tour guide. I was reminded not only to look ahead, but encouraged to look up, down and back. And I felt a little dizzy as we mimicked a Roman drone to get a bird's eye view of the palace 1,700 years ago. 

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Apart from the excellent graphics and attention to detail, what makes Diocletian's Dream a winner is the way it tells the story. Rather than spouting facts and dates, the story developed through our slave guide was both educational and humourous, taking us not only through some of the key parts of the palace, but also through situations in daily life during the time of Diocletian. The storyteller succeeds in weaving in useful facts and observations about the palace into his story, facts that are with me still in a way that walking tours do not succeed. 

The 15 minutes flew by, and my understanding of this magnificent palace was certainly enriched. Now I wanted to go to some of the locations featured and see them through fresh eyes. 

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A visit to Diocletian's Dream costs 80 kuna for adults and 50 kuna for children. It is one of the few attractions in the city which is truly for all ages. And if you are trying to excite your kids about ancient heritage at a time when they just want to be on their smart phones, Diocletian's Dream is a little hard to beat. 

Personally, I think it should be a recommended addition to all walking tours of the palace, as it really helps to fill in the gaps and make the palace come to life. I am just not sure which would be better, to do the VR experience before a walking tour, or after. The benefits of watching it before mean that you will be a lot more prepared and engaged for what you are about to experience. Having said that, perhaps seeing it at the end with that nice cool temperature is the perfect way to relax and fill in the gaps. Or perhaps both... 

Looking online for feedback from other visitors, I was delighted to see it ranked number 1 out of 476 tours in Split. Deservedly so. And a really good vlog and interview with Declan with our friends from 45 Degrees Sailing

The partnership between modern technology and ancient heritage is an important one for the development of tourism in the modern age, and it is not easy to get right. Diocletian's Dream has certainly managed. Learn more on the official Diocletian's Dream website

To learn more about Diocletian's Palace and Split, check out the TC Split in a Page guide

 

 

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