Saturday, 30 April 2022

Great Demand for Inland Dalmatia Tourism, Says Split-Dalmatia County Tourist Board

April 30, 2022 - Inland Dalmatia tourism is a hit, says Split-Dalmatia County Tourist Board director Joško Stella. 

Split-Dalmatia County Tourist Board director, Joško Stella, is running for a new term at the helm of the tourist board. After presenting the Tourism 3.0 project, Dalmatinski Portal spoke to Stella about the results of his work, expectations from this season, and trends in tourism. 

Which parts of Split-Dalmatia County have made the biggest step since you became the head of the Tourist Board?

"Split Riviera and Makarska Riviera make the largest traffic as clusters in Split-Dalmatia County, and we also know that the city of Split has made a big step forward in tourism in the last five years. As for Inland Dalmatia, I would especially like to point out the area of Imotski where a large number of villas with swimming pools were built."

Many villas with swimming pools have been built in Inland Dalmatia in recent years. But is the demand still growing?

"There is a great demand for Inland Dalmatia and villas with swimming pools located in the hinterland, coast, and islands."

Did the pandemic affect the number of apartments in Split?

"The number of apartments in Split has decreased."

The world is changing fast, and so is tourism. What is the current trend that the general public may not be aware of?

"The current trend in the world is a return to nature, outdoor activities, exercise, walking, cycling, and general recreational sports. However, I would add that the growing trend is healthy food and quality nutrition where our Mediterranean cuisine has a great chance to grow as a brand."

The tourist board has been pushing cycling tourism in the county. What are the results?

"We have been systematically developing cycling tourism in the county since 2013. The result is over 3000 km of trails, over 200 'bed and bike' apartments, 50 bike hotels, and ten bike camps. In addition, the result is an increasing number of smaller and larger bicycle races and a growing number of organized groups of cyclists coming to our county."

Will this season break the 2019 record?

"From the beginning of the year to April 27, we have 2.8 times more overnight stays than last year, and if we compare with the same period in 2019, we are at 88 percent of overnight stays from pre-pandemic, record, 2019. So we are certainly expecting a better year than 2021, and we are expecting figures close to 2019, Of course, unless there are some unforeseen circumstances."

The City of Vienna recently launched a €2 million financial incentive program for film and television productions called 'Vienna Film Incentive.' The program should contribute to the growth of the economy and tourism and increase the attractiveness of Vienna as a tourist destination, and is expected to last until the end of 2023. The filming of Game of Thrones has contributed to popularizing Dalmatia. What can be done institutionally to make this industry more regularly choose our area?

"Split-Dalmatia County and the Split-Dalmatia County Tourist Board are actively working to establish a film office that would promote film tourism and locations in the destination for future filming. Back in 2015, we released a map of locations for Game of Thrones in several languages ​​and presented it at the Barcelona fair, where we co-financed a copy of the original throne from the film. In the following years, we actively brought in journalists related to the filming of Mama Mia and Game of Thrones."

The season is already visible and is slightly longer, lasting more than two months. So what else can be done?

"7-8 years ago, it started at the end of April, and now at the end of March. The flights ended in early October and now end later that month. With the development of particular forms of tourism such as enogastronomy, cultural and active tourism, we are already extending the tourist season. It is a process that has been going on for years, but progress is already visible."

The arrival of guests is related to the number of flights and the price. What can be done to increase the number of flights and make them more affordable?

"In 2022, in cooperation with the CNTB and the Split Tourist Board, we co-financed eight airlines. We agree with Croatia Airlines for additional routes in the winter flight schedule and are negotiating additional routes and flights."

The tourist board does a lot of education throughout the county. What are the reactions?

"In 2022 alone, we already had 15 trainings for private renters and four trainings for agencies where I would like to point out that we brought Rob Holmes from the USA and Victoria Smith from the UK. There are currently five trainings for EU funds in tourism. Attendance at most trainings is excellent. I would also like to point out that we have co-financed nine trainings for our local tourist boards.

Since 2012, we have been the first in Croatia with organized free trainings for private renters, and we are known to have the most free trainings of all county tourist boards in Croatia. The result of all this is that over 8,000 people and over a thousand more from the entire sector went directly through our trainings for private renters, thus raising the level of knowledge and competitiveness of tourism in our county."

What else makes the Split-Dalmatia County Tourist Board stand out?

"We, as the County Tourist Board, are leaders in the field of education and cooperation with private landlords (education, conferences, web pages, co-financing the Apartment Plus magazine, and cooperating with Landlord Counseling). In addition, we have exceptional cooperation with agencies in our area (DMK competition, cooperation with UHPA / education). We also highlight projects: 1. Marketing through social networks (Facebook and YouTube), 2. Development of cycling tourism (trail design, promotional materials, fairs, and races), 3. Development of themed hiking trails (the only tourist base in Croatia if not in Europe that has Google StreetView for all themed trails, special website, and printed materials), 4. Sustainable development and strategic planning, The only tourist board with a Capacity Study, 5. The first tourist board in Croatia to implement the Economic effects of tourism, 6. Cooperation with local tourist boards (joint advertising, special calls for tenders, co-financing trainings, and arranging destinations)."

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

Wednesday, 30 March 2022

First Split Winter Tourism Committee Meeting held at HGK to Discuss Winter Flights

March 30, 2022 - The first official Split Winter Tourism Committee meeting was held on Tuesday at the County Chamber of Commerce in Split. 

This meeting was attended by Joško Stella (Split-Dalmatia County Tourist Board), Joze Tomaš and Nataša Bušić (HGK), Pero Bilas (Split Airport), Arnoud Zaalberg (GM of Le Meridien Lav), Mario Šerić (MarCon), Jelena Tabak (Split Caterers Association), Maria Mustapić (Split caterers and hostels), Jasmina Kruščić (Split caterers), and Daniela Rogulj (TCN). 

This meeting was held specifically on the issue of bringing winter flights to Split, with two proposals presented to kick off the discussion.  

Initiative proposal

- Most logical - talk to airlines with a strong presence in the right markets

- Increase expectation

- Last weekend of October - first weekend after 3 Kings - January 6

- Extends season by 10 weeks

- Many people travel at this time already

- This period is beneficial for the private sector

- Gives time to create concrete products - events, conferences, city breaks, etc.

- Suggestion - connection with London - 2 airlines - British Airways and Easyjet

- Why? BA is a member of the Oneworld Alliance - gives us access to overseas customers - partner is American Airlines - 80% of the overseas market covered + the local market 

- The majority of the overseas market is covered if we have British Airways (OneWorld Alliance) in addition to Croatia Airlines 

- easyJet covers local British and Croatian market

- 6 flights - 3x week total

- 256 planes in BA fleet - 30 Airbus 319 with 144 seats, 67 Airbus 320 - 180 seats, 17 Airbus 320 neo with 180 seats

- Easyjet - 310 planes - 87 A319 or 320 with 156 seats, 167 A320 with 186 seats, 41 A320 neo wiith 186 sets 

- British Airways load factor - November 2018 - 80.6%, 2019 - 83.6%, December 2018 - 80.4%, 2019 -  83.7%

- easyJet load factor - November 2018 - 89.2%, 2019 - 90.8%, December 2018 - 89.2%, 2019 - 91.3% 

- 6-weekly flights - 3x each airline - 30 flights a month - 8,800 passengers each way - 10% locals (-800) - 2-3 overnights - 17-18k guest overnights total - growth of 12/13% in Greater Split area

- Private sector to promote and create offers, public to give support

- Promotion directed to the British market

- BA used to fly to Split in the winter of 2006-2007

- Find out why BA does poorly in Dubrovnik in winter

- London is only one example of a destination (i.e., we could do the same for Amsterdam or Paris)

County Tourist Board proposal

- Push shoulder season like the last 10 years

- Flights started in May-late September

- Shoulder season really broadened since 2019 

- Tourist boards propose to give 136k euros to airlines - HTZ must accept it

- The tourist board will get info on airlines with the most passengers during the year, out of these, which fly the most in April in October

- Let's meet with easyJet, Eurowings, and Ryanair and see if they'll fly 2 weeks before the summer flight schedule/2 weeks after (4 weeks total - March & November)

Hotel perspective

- Anyone can do business in the summer

- The difference for Le Meridien / Radisson, etc. is group business - their year is made if they have a good April / May / June - October / November

- Split is an excellent congress destination

- We rely too much on private accommodation, County approach continues this trend

- Initiative approach covers and gives more to everyone

- We need stability with flights for MICE markets

What is realistic?

Split Airport perspective 

- Airbus 320 is costly for return flights

- London is the biggest hub in the world but Britain is now a 3rd country, and Croatia is joining Schengen

- When Croatia joined the EU in 2013, traffic doubled - 1.5 million to 3 million passengers

- This will be a huge change when we join Schengen - it’ll be one big domestic flight

- Not sure what the best way is - to focus on one airline or several

- Croatia Airlines announced their summer flight schedule with 21 international destinations in total - 18 from Split Airport - 15 from Zagreb - 7 or so from Dubrovnik

- Croatia Airlines has been hugely impacted by Ryanair - but maybe this was a good thing

- Croatia Airlines did a study that revealed they shouldn’t stay in Zagreb but move to the coast

- Croatia Airlines will likely speak to Split Airport

- Potential Zurich flights planned 2-3 times a week

- Croatia Airlines is Split’s second-biggest airline - 17% of all traffic when looking at a total of 50 airlines

- Croatia Airlines is 80% of all traffic at Split Airport in winter

- Let's work on a Croatia Airlines winter flight and use it as an example for other airlines

Key takeaways

- Common goal of the private sector is to extend the season in November and December 

- Understanding and willingness to help expressed by Split Airport

- Assumed strategic shift of interests by Croatia Airlines from Zagreb towards Split

- Possibility to negotiate with Croatia Airlines to extend the season by introducing direct winter flights to Zurich as well as winter flights to other destinations

- County to meet with Croatia Airlines next week, Split hoteliers to get together to work on aligned offseason packages

For more, check out our travel section.

Saturday, 12 March 2022

Marine Pollution Solution in Kaštela Bay Presented as Part of PEPSEA Project

March 12, 2022 - Equipment to prevent marine pollution within the "PEPSEA" project was presented at the St. Florian Fire Center in Kaštel Gomilica. These are dams, cameras, drones, sensors, and similar equipment intended primarily to prevent marine pollution.

This is an EU project in which the partner is Split-Dalmatia County, with the Zadar County Development Agency ZADRA NOVA, Adriatic Educational Research Center for Response to Sudden Marine Pollution - ATRAC, Šibenik-Knin County and partners from Italy - Consorzio Futuro in Ricerca, Regional Agency for the Protection of the Ambient of Friuli Venezia Giulia, Enté Parco Regional Veneto del Po del and the Chamber of Commerce of Bari, reports

"The value of the project is in raising awareness about marine pollution. It is important to detect pollution quickly. The drone, cameras, and information collection center are the most important segments of the project. Rapid detection of pollution is more than three-quarters of the work," says Split-Dalmatia Prefect Blaženko Boban.

The head of the Administrative Department for Tourism and Maritime Affairs and the project manager Matea Dorčić emphasized that the equipment had been procured and the project was nearing completion.

"When we wrote the project, we thought about which is the most endangered area and where this equipment should be deployed. Everyone involved in the project immediately said that it should be the eastern part of Kaštela Bay," said Dorčić.

County Fire Chief Ivan Kovačević is also pleased.

"This is just one in a series of projects in which the County is behind us. I can only say that with the understanding and responsible behavior of Split-Dalmatia County, we can sleep much more peacefully," said Kovačević and added that firefighting is a job in which the consequences are usually remedied, and with this equipment, significant progress is made in preventing major disasters.

Martina Vukašina from the Zadar Agency NOVA expressed satisfaction that the project is nearing its end and pointed out that the cooperation is moving along nicely 

Luveti also delivered a total of 1,500 meters of dams.

"They are floating inflatable, floating rigid and absorbent. In addition, these dams are supplied with different types of skimmers and tanks that can float on water and tanks that are placed on land, thus ensuring all the pollution that may come," said Zoran Delaš from Luveti d.o.o.

Smart navigation system d.o.o. supplied a non-contact sensor installed above the surface to examine the quality of the sea and report possible pollution. The stainless steel sensor is installed on the "Pličina-Purič" buoy located at the pilot site and is owned by Plovput d.d. The sensor is connected to the GIS system, given for unrestricted use to the County Fire Operations Center, which is already on 24-hour duty.

Securitas d.o.o delivered the drone.

"The drone can be of immeasurable importance during the needs of monitoring the cleanliness of the sea, but also during other needs of firefighters such as fire detection, search and rescue," said Neven Pijanović from Securitas.

The company supplied two more fixed cameras to monitor marine pollution, which is located at the height of 30 meters.

The presentation was also attended by Vedran Martinić, director of ATRAC, the Adriatic Educational and Research Center for Response to Sudden Marine Pollution, who praised the choice of location for the installation of equipment.

For more, check out our lifestyle section.

Saturday, 5 March 2022

Croatian Monte Carlo: New Kaštela Promenade Project to Change Face of Coast

March 5, 2022 - The new Kaštela promenade will transform the waterfront into the Croatian Monte Carlo, says Mayor Denis Ivanović.

Since the beginning of the first term, one of the main goals of the current city government has been clear. Along with caring for young people and building communal infrastructure, arranging the coastal part of Kaštela is the main priority, evidenced by millions of investments in the already unrecognizable, more than 20 kilometers long coast, located along the unique Kaštela Bay.

Kaštela is unique in many ways. It comprises seven villages, without a classic center, and is the only city in Croatia with six postcodes. It is probably the only one in the world directly bordering two UNESCO cities with the oldest, more than 1,500-year-old olive tree. It is a town with three football clubs, three fire brigades, three carnivals, and it will soon become the Croatian "Monte Carlo," a destination with nearly 20 kilometers of coastline as a prerequisite for the development of tourism and the economy.

On City Day, which is celebrated on March 4, Slobodna Dalmacija spoke with Denis Ivanović, the mayor of the second-largest city in Split-Dalmatia County, about the implemented projects but also those that will follow on the coastal part of Kaštela.

"Even before I became mayor, i.e., in the election campaign, I promised that the focus of my work would be landscaping. So naturally, this is a priority for city authorities and those at higher levels, from county to state. That we are going in the right direction is evidenced by the fact that an active project to build a new port and coast in Kaštel Stari is currently in the final stages despite the health crisis surrounding the coronavirus pandemic.

This is the most financially expensive project of the County Port Authority since its existence, in which almost 15 million kuna was invested from our budget. At the same time, the rest of the funds were provided from the Split-Dalmatia County Port Authority and other sources. With this project, a breakwater almost 200 meters long was built. In addition, a total of 9,500 square meters of the coastal belt was arranged, including stonework, horticultural landscaping, and nautical electricity and water connections.

Through this project, the people of Kaštela will get 150 communal berths for the domicile population, i.e., for those who use boats for entertainment and sports, but also completely change the look of the Kaštel Stari old town," says Ivanović.

The investment is worth almost 50 million kuna. In addition to the 15 million from the city, the County Port Authority has allocated about 30 million kuna. The rest of the money was provided by Split-Dalmatia County, the state, and the Ministry of the Sea.

"This is truly the largest investment in the coastal part of Kaštela, and our goal is for residents to get a modern utility project that will serve them in the first place, as well as tourists from whom we live for a good part of the year.

"The project in Kaštel Stari will certainly affect economic development, and we are glad that all the work took place without any interruptions and delays. The arrangement of this communal port is one of the major projects in the past decade in the area of Kaštela," adds the mayor.

When asked what the next projects are for the coast, the mayor announced an investment boom with one goal: Kaštela will be the Croatian Monte Carlo.

"After we soon complete the new port and coast in Kaštel Stari, and it is a matter of days when that will happen, we will start with a new investment, which is the complete arrangement of the Kaštel Novi coast, from Kaštel Stari to the Ćipiko tower, worth about 50 million kuna, and the Ministry of the Sea and the Split-Dalmatia County are ready to help with financing.

This project will completely change the look of Donji Kaštela, which is why it is called the "New Face of Kaštela," emphasized Ivanović.

Namely, the planned project will significantly expand the existing waterfront into the sea, arrange the entire promenade and the city's coastal part, roads, various facilities, and horticulture.

"So, that part of Kaštela will take on a completely new look as Kaštel Lukšić did after we arranged and built the most beautiful and most expensive in our county - Glavica beach. We are in the process of doing the main project," says Ivanović and adds that the citizens enthusiastically accepted the newly renovated part of the Lukšić coast. 

But that's not all. The town of Kaštela is preparing and arranging the coast in Kaštel Sućurac, Štafilić, and Gomilica.

"We have prepared a preliminary design for Kaštel Sućurac, for the area from Gojača to Sokolana, followed by preparing the main design, obtaining approval, and the start of work. In the fall, work should begin on the complete arrangement of the coast in Kaštel Štafilić, where part of the promenade has already been arranged.

With the completion of works in Kaštel Stari, then on the stretch to the Ćipiko and Štafilić towers, Donja Kaštela will undergo a complete coastal transformation, which, believe me, many will envy us," announces Ivanović and adds that a conceptual solution has been made for Kaštilca and Marina Kaštela.

"All this is proof that Kaštela is almost the most active area in terms of construction throughout the year, thanks to which the unique, almost 20 km long coast will be the most beautiful in this part of Dalmatia," concludes Mayor Denis Ivanović, congratulating all citizens on Kaštela Day. 

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

Thursday, 3 March 2022

War in Ukraine Slows Down Travel Bookings in Split-Dalmatia County by 50%

March 3, 2022 - Travel bookings in Split-Dalmatia County have slowed down by almost 50% so far due to the war in Ukraine. 

After the tourist market began to recover from the corona crisis, some six hundred kilometers from Croatia, Russia invaded Ukraine. 

This will certainly affect guests coming from the Ukrainian and Russian markets. After all, Russian planes can no longer fly in most European countries, including Croatia. But what about the others? For now, it’s hard to say, but Dalmaciija Danas reveals that there could be a reduction in tourist arrivals from distant markets.

The Minister of Tourism and Sports, Nikolina Brnjac, held a coordination meeting with representatives of the largest hotel groups in Croatia. In addition, the possibilities of accommodating refugees from war-torn Ukraine were discussed.

The impact of this crisis on current bookings from the most important markets was also discussed at the meeting. A statement from the Ministry states that bookings are in a slight decline, but it is still good, and it is difficult to talk about estimates in this situation.

"We had already started the preparatory activities for this tourist year before these unpleasant events, and we will adjust them following the further development of this difficult situation, which we all hope will be completed as soon as possible," Brnjac concluded and added that promotional activities on the Russian market have been completely suspended.

Ukrainian tourists recorded 145,568 arrivals, and 857,482 overnight stays in Croatia last year, while Russian tourists achieved 145,592 arrivals and 800,979 overnight stays in 2021. 

The Split-Dalmatia County Tourist Board explained that the war in Ukraine slowed down tourist reservations by almost 50 percent, adding that only six days had passed since the war began, so it was too early to say from which markets the decline was most significant.

“During the pandemic, people learned how to behave in emergencies, so 'last-minute bookings' have become a common way of doing business in tourism. This means that if the war ends and the situation stabilizes, reservations will return very soon; that is, tourism will return to normal," the Tourist Board said. 

Alijana Vukšić, director of the Split Tourist Board, said that the events in Ukraine would undoubtedly have consequences for the tourism sector.

"Especially when it comes to tourist traffic from distant markets in which travelers view Europe as a whole. How much impact it will leave on tourist traffic between European countries depends on the further course of events," she told Slobodna Dalmacija and added:

"Last year, more than ten thousand tourist arrivals were made by Russians in Split and more than six thousand tourist arrivals from Ukraine. However, it is difficult at this moment to predict the return of tourists from the mentioned markets because it will depend exclusively on the geopolitical situation, which we hope will stabilize as soon as possible," the director concluded. 

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

Tuesday, 11 January 2022

Sushi Drop Project Preserves Adriatic in Split-Dalmatia County

January 11, 2022 - Split-Dalmatia County, with partners the Sunce Association and the Institute of Oceanography and Fisheries (IZOR), joined the Sushi Drop project to preserve the Adriatic and develop non-invasive methods of marine monitoring.

The Adriatic Sea boasts one of the highest productivity and biodiversity, but it is also significantly influenced by human activities such as fishing, aquaculture, and tourism. Scientific research and monitoring of fish communities have been conducted for decades. Still, the depth of fauna has been poorly researched, and fishing regulation measures apply to the shallower areas of the Adriatic, where fishing mostly takes place, reports Dalmacija Danas.

Existing knowledge of the sea has been consolidated by many years of research in areas up to 50 meters deep. On the other hand, a better understanding of the observed habitats is essential due to the greater effectiveness of existing protection measures and new conservation measures based on scientific evidence. That is why it is imperative to monitor the state of marine ecosystems and conduct research in a non-invasive way because traditional tools (brakes and divers) have limitations. The number of dives per day is limited, and diving at depths greater than 40 meters is dangerous. At the same time, trawls are extremely indiscriminate because they affect almost all organisms on the route during the retreat.


Udruga Sunce

Therefore, to preserve the Adriatic and develop non-invasive methods of marine monitoring, Split-Dalmatia County, with partners the Sunce Association and the Institute of Oceanography and Fisheries (IZOR), joined the SUSHI DROP project (Sustainable Fisheries with DROnes Data Processing), which, after two years of work, in cooperation with Italian partners, was completed. The project's total value was 1,714,847.50 EUR, and it was financed through the EU program Interreg Italy - Croatia.

During the project, a survey was conducted among key stakeholders to confirm that they are well aware of the existence and importance of using non-invasive technological solutions. Then, in the Split channel, marine habitat sampling was carried out to collect data on the state of benthic communities using various methodologies: conventional hut survey was conducted by IZOR, the Sunce Association conducted diver sampling, and drone sampling was conducted in cooperation with Croatian and Italian partners. The results obtained by different methods regarding the quality of the collected data were compared, as well as the amount of time and resources invested. It was confirmed that the drone could significantly contribute to data collection and determining the situation in research. Depending on the goal and purpose of the research, it may be the only method, or it may be used as an additional technology. The advantages of using drones are the reduction of risks associated with the work of divers, the accuracy of the calculation of the abundance index of marine organisms, and the ability to assess biodiversity at depth.


Udruga Sunce

All data collected by traditional methods and drones are available on the Geographic Information System (GIS) - an open-access database created in the project's final phase and open to scientists, researchers, non-governmental organizations, entities involved in the blue economy, and decision-makers.

Since the underwater drone can only obtain data on the current state of the study area, it will gain importance only after a long period of monitoring the set parameters. It can be used to monitor the condition of Posidonia meadows, coral extinction due to temperature, and climate change. It allows the collection of data to create detailed 3D views of the study area, which helps to explore the seabed and the reef. Also, the advantage of exploring the sea by underwater drone is that the exact boundaries of individual habitats could potentially be defined.

The SUSHI DROP project also resulted in a proposal of possible measures to protect biological diversity in the considered habitats, taking into account socio-economic factors. It is advisable to modify fishing equipment and techniques to reduce by-catches, increase the number of fish species for which assessments are made, establish and harmonize national administrations for all significant fishing areas and monitor climate change more closely. Among the recommendations are the diversification of fishing activities, the application of branding, and the certification of products obtained from the sea to improve their quality and increase value.

It is also essential to promote an approach based on joint decision-making in fisheries and environmental protection, involving all relevant stakeholders: fishers, NGOs, and decision-makers. Only a common approach can establish long-term sustainable fisheries in a preserved marine ecosystem and promote good practices and working methods to reduce human pressure on the marine environment.

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

Monday, 3 January 2022

New Measures in Split-Dalmatia County on Table as Covid Cases Rise

January 3, 2022 - With a rapid rise in Covid cases, are new measures in Split-Dalmatia County on the table? 

The Head of the Split-Dalmatia County Civil Protection Headquarters, Damir Gabrić, told Novi dan on N1 television that we cannot talk about improving the situation in that County just yet. 

"We have 192 hospitalized in the County, 40 people on ventilators and unfortunately three more who died. Of the 448 samples tested, more than 230 are newly tested. There is always some 50 percent or more infected. We have entered the new year with big numbers," said Gabrić.

He appealed once again to everyone to get vaccinated.

"In this way, we save our hospital system and not only those who suffer from Covid, but also from other diseases," he added.

"I am sorry that a large part of my fellow citizens did not use it. We are already reaping those fruits, and I am afraid that after the outbreak, it will be seen in some six or seven days at Split KBC," said Gabrić.

He said he would probably introduce some new measures, but did not want to take them out yet.

"We will probably have them today or on Tuesday, to slow down the pandemic, because we will certainly not help stop it. Everything is on the table, from the work of catering facilities to socializing ... I think we should start from that. But I say, the only real measure is - get vaccinated," he concluded and added that he is considering switching to online classes.

In the last 24 hours 1,103 coronavirus cases and 44 deaths have been registered in Croatia, the national COVID-19 crisis management team said on Monday. 4,577 tests were taken. 

There are 27,512 active cases, including 1,795 hospitalizations, of whom 239 are on ventilators, while 16,284 persons are self-isolating.

In the last 24 hours the share of positive tests was 24%.

Croatia has registered 722,054 coronavirus cases to date, including 12,653 deaths and 683,889 recoveries, of which 3,091 in the past 24 hours.

For all you need to know about coronavirus specific to Croatia, make sure to bookmark our dedicated section and select your preferred language if it isn't English.

Thursday, 30 December 2021

Sisak-Moslavina County 4th Graders to Holiday in Dalmatia Next Summer

December 30, 2021 - A wonderful gesture by Split-Dalmatia County, which will welcome 1,300 Sisak-Moslavina County 4th graders to Dalmatia on holiday next summer!

About 1,300 fourth-grade elementary school students from Sisak-Moslavina County will come to Central Dalmatia on holiday next summer! The agreement to organize summer vacations at the end of June and the beginning of July was signed by the Split-Dalmatia County prefect Blaženko Boban and his Sisak-Moslavina colleague Ivan Celjak, reports Dalmatinski Portal.

Boban reminded everyone that Celjak, one of the youngest prefects, has been dealing with the tough job of reconstructing after the devastating earthquake destroyed Banovina a year ago.

Split-Dalmatia County was among the first to react with help and participated in reconstructing the Ivan Goran Kovačić school in Petrinja, and last summer welcomed groups of children on holiday in the vicinity of Split.

"We were prompted to take this step by the fact that many children from Sisak-Moslavina County have not seen the sea. We want to bring them a little joy and help their parents that way. They have a lasting friend in us," said Boban.


He also pointed out that Split-Dalmatia County felt the kindness of the people when they were hit by disasters, from fires to floods.

"The multiplication of success is achieved by sharing goodness," concluded Boban.

Celjak thanked all the volunteers and people of goodwill who rushed to help after the terrible earthquake.

"It may be hard for you to imagine, but many children will see the sea for the first time and that is why I am very pleased to sign the contract," said the Sisak-Moslavina County Prefect.

"I don't know if we are aware of how much this meansto the children, but also to parents who can't afford their holidays," he concluded. 

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

Tuesday, 7 December 2021

Eco-village Vrsine and Inland Marina: Holidays in All-Natural Dalmatia

December 7, 2021 – How one small community preserves the authentic sights, scents, sounds and flavours of traditional Dalmatia by offering sustainable, all-natural holidays in the hinterland. Meet Eco-village Vrsine and inland Marina.

Everything best about a holiday in Dalmatia is a gift of nature. Whether it's the sunshine-filled days, the crystal clear seas, the fresh food on your plate or the scent of lavender, pines and herbs. These are the memories of Dalmatia that last. Timeless, inimitable, unique.

And yet, in our rush to experience Dalmatia, often we risk losing sight of these fundamental reasons for being here. Holidays in this part of Croatia are often sold by the sleek design of modern apartments, fully air-conditioned hotels and luxury villas. Here, you can choose from 50 different breakfast options and food from all around the world.

But, for those yearning to experience traditional, authentic Dalmatia, the solution is often very simple – step into the hinterland. There, you'll quite often find Dalmatia as it always was, and as it should be.

IvoPervan.jpgEco-village Vrsine and inland Marina © Ivo Pervan

That's certainly the case in the small Dalmatian municipality of Marina. Lying less than 10km to the west of Trogir, less than 40km from Split, Marina is not without a classic Dalmatian coastline. In fact, it has a generous stretch of great beaches around Poljica Bay. But, that's just a tiny taste of what's on offer here.

Just a short distance north, up into low lying hills, are villages that hold the true sights, sounds, flavours and scents of Dalmatia. It is a natural landscape, marked by telltale signs of agriculture – rows of vines or olive trees, dry stone walls. Of course, in these times, not everyone here still works in farming. But, many do. And, those who don't still live in harmony with this environment. They might not plough the fields or grow their own food, but everyone in Eco-village Vrsine and many in inland Marina live at one with nature. And, that's how they market themselves as a destination. This is what's on offer just a few minutes back from the sea.

Eco-village Vrsine and Inland Marina

ivopervan3.jpgEco-village Vrsine and inland Marina © Ivo Pervan

Learn the A to Z of Mediterranean olive oil at OPG Šalov (Šalov Family Farm)

olives.jpgEco-village Vrsine and inland Marina: OPG Šalov

The abundance of sunlight and gently rolling slopes make this part of the Dalmatian hinterland perfect for olive groves. Three generations of the Šalov family live and work on the Šalov family farm, looking after their 650 olive trees. Some of them are over 200 years old and the family has deliberately diversified to include 50 different varieties of olives from across the Mediterranean.


This is the opposite of intensive farming, a sustainable endeavour that much reduces the farm's footprint on the environment.


You can visit the farm to learn about olive trees and how the family make their award-winning olive oil. Of course, you get to try the finished product and in October and November, you can even help out with the olive picking – it's all done by hand.

You can learn more about OPG Šalov here

See superfoods in miniature at Jakus Family Farm

jakus_4.jpgEco-village Vrsine and inland Marina: Jakus Family Farm

Usually, you don't see very much of the produce from Vesna Jakus's family farm. Well, the microgreens, herbs and edible flowers she grows are very small. And also, they're in high demand.


You'll see leaves and flowers from Jakus Family Farm on plates at some of the fanciest hotels and finest restaurants in Dalmatia. They're full of antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and flavour, making them a chef's favourite.


Vesna grows everything using only organic and GMO-free seeds and all-natural methods. She doesn't use energy-burning lamps. Instead, her greenhouse harnesses sunlight, retaining the heat of the day so the microgreens stay warm at night – even in winter. Some of the varieties she grows are green pea, red beets, mangold, red radish, beans, adzuki beans, sunflower and basil, all of them fed by the rainwater she collects.


You can learn more about these natural growing methods by visiting Jakus Family Farm and you can see more of what Vesna does here.

Reconnect with You at a holistic wellness and Yoga retreat

sylvia.jpgEco-village Vrsine and inland Marina: Holistic Wellness and Yoga

Brazilian Yoga and wellness instructor Sylvia Nunes left behind a high flying city career in order to move to Vrsine, where she lives with her partner Mario. But, before the move, a lot of thought went into the relocation and the repurposing of her life.


First, she visited ecovillages around the world and learned how they combined community, sustainability and wellness. The result is the holistic wellness programme that visitors can experience when staying in Eco-village Vrsine with Sylvia.

Held during the spring and autumn seasons, guests at Sylvia's retreats will experience many aspects of the life of the village. They'll connect with the community and the nature that sustains its members. Visitors might take part in tree planting/reforestation programmes and other ecological projects locally. Before every day's endeavours, there are guided yoga sessions held in the peace and calm of the village's nature.

Discover the scents, flavours and wellness properties of Dalmatia's traditional herbs at Rozga Family Herb Farm

Rozga.jpgBlizna Gornja in inland Marina: Rozga Family Herb Farm

If your Dalmatia stay keeps you in restaurants on the coast, you might not encounter many of Dalmatia's herbs. Maybe some rosemary or parsley on your plate, or the scent of lavender from nearby? But, if you travel further back from the shore, up into the foothills around the village of Blizna Gornja, many secrets will be revealed.


Here, herbalist Mira Rozga keeps ancient and localised wisdom alive. Her herb garden sits on the slopes of hinterland hills and in it grow many different kinds of Mediterranean herbs. These are put to use not only as flavourings in food but also in cosmetics and in health, medicine and wellness products.


You can get to know the scents of Dalmatian herbs by walking around the 30 different varieties grown in the Rozga family herb garden. And, you can learn their secret properties from Mira herself. For more information, look here.

Treat yourself to a luxurious but traditional rural stay at Eco Villa Home Sweet Home

eco-villa-Home-sweet-home-Vrsine-1.jpgEco-village Vrsine and inland Marina: Eco Villa Home Sweet Home

If you want to take your time in enjoying Eco Village Vrsine and the surrounding villages, a longer stay is advised. And there are few more luxurious choices for doing so than in this traditional stone house, renovated with the specific ethos of the eco-village in mind.


Eco Villa Home Sweet Home preserves the original architecture of a centuries-old Dalmatian stone house. But, it enhances its fit into today's environment by using modern innovation. Power comes from strips of solar panelling atop the roof, there's an extensive organic garden, furnishings made by local artisans, enough WiFi to work remotely and a pool.

The villa is available to rent year-round and you can find out more here.

Immerse yourself in nature on a camping stay at Robinson Glamping Camp Marta

Robinzonski_glamping_kamp_Marta2.jpgEco-village Vrsine and inland Marina: Robinson Glamping Camp Marta

Holiday accommodation often feels far removed from traditional and the natural environment. At Robinson Glamping Camp Marta it's the opposite.


You'll fall asleep every night surrounded by the scent of lavender and herbs. When you wake in the morning, your first sight is the olive grove in which your glamping hut is placed.


The huts themselves are made from all-natural materials – the huts are made of wood, then sheltered from the sun by a canvas tent. The whole 12,500 m2 plot is surrounded by traditional drystone walls and there's a covered picnic area and generous pool too.

Find out more here.

Taste the full and delicious flavours of traditional Dalmatian food at Konoba Donja Banda

Konoba_Donja_Banda.jpgEco-village Vrsine and inland Marina: Konoba Donja Banda

One of the greatest secrets to learn of a holiday in Dalmatia – but rarely one of the first – is that quite often, the further from the shore you travel, the better the food will be.

Konoba_Donja_Banda4.jpgPeka at Konoba Donja Banda

You'll find the flavour, range, portion size, authenticity, cost, and quality of ingredients and cooking all improve greatly when you venture inland. Whether that's a trip up into nearby foothills or a trek to a village, town or city restaurant of the true Dalmatian hinterland, you'll discover evidence of this time after time. Taverns have to work that much harder for a reputation when the sea view doesn't sell the meal.


Nowhere is that more true than Tavern Donja Banda, where Roberto Nedeljko maintains the traditional cuisine Vrsine and its surroundings. All of their ingredients are sourced locally, including the olive oil and all of the wines. Indeed, many of their vegetables and herbs come from their own organic garden. Want to try traditional Dalmatian 'peka' – food cooked under a hot metal 'bell'? This is one of the best places in the area.


You can learn more about the tavern here.

You can find out more about holidays in Eco-village Vrsine and inland Marina by visiting Marina tourist board website here. For more great Croatia holiday ideas, bookmark Total Croatia News travel pages here.

Sunday, 5 December 2021

2021 Split Gastroadvent Lights Up Dvor with Prosciutto Creations by Chef Hrvoje Zirojević

December 5, 2021 - The second Split Gastroadvent candle was lit on Sunday by portal journalists and representatives of Split-Dalmatia County. The event is traditionally organized by famous dietician and nutritionist Olja Martinić. This Sunday's Advent candle was lit for peace and love, with prosciutto creations by famed chef Hrvoje Zirojević.

Gastroadvent is a unique event that has promoted the Mediterranean diet for decades through a fusion of nutrition, gastronomy, and tourism. Thanks to the engagement and participation of dedicated journalists, who continue to bring light to Split, the event persistently shares scientific knowledge woven into gastronomic skills, the numerous health benefits of the Mediterranean diet, and the preparation of dishes from unique ingredients.


The theme of this year's Gastroadvent is "Mediterranean nutrition is sustainable, achievable, and responsible."  In its original form, the stated principle is the basis of action and, as such, should remain the foundation of behavior. The Mediterranean Sea connects all the countries founded on the Mediterranean diet. For the Mediterranean diet to be sustainable, we must responsibly dispose of our waste and use resources rationally.


The most delicious prosciutto is produced in the Mediterranean region. Resources are used rationally, especially the sea and the bura wind, to obtain a dried ham product. The first recorded mention of prosciutto dates back to 100 BC and is preserved in the Italian city of Parma. And they, just like us, have kept the tradition of producing prosciutto all these years. 

But this is more than just a 2,000-year-long tradition. In addition to gastronomic quality, it is important to know the nutritional facts of prosciutto.

Namely, 100 g of prosciutto contains: 

Calories: 280 kcal
Carbohydrates: 0.3 g
Fat: 18.3 g
Protein: 25.9 g
Vitamin B1 (thiamine) - 82% RDA
Vitamin B2 (riboflavin) - 16% RDA
Vitamin B3 (Niacin) - 37% RDA
Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine) - 81% RDA
Vitamin B12 (cobalamin) - 27% RDA
Vitamin B9 (folate) - 6% RDA
Vitamin E (tocopherol) - 2% RDA
Calcium - 1% RDA
Copper - 3% RDA
Iron - 6% RDA
Magnesium - 5% RDA
Manganese - 1% RDA
Potassium - 27% RDA
Phosphorus - 26% RDA
Selenium - 20% RDA
Zinc - 23% RDA

Prosciutto is relatively rich in nutrients, and their relationship is synergistic. It is essential to emphasize that prosciutto and pork products primarily contain oleic acid, which is necessary for all those who take care of quality fatty acids. We can rightly say that prosciutto and related products, in the diversity of the Mediterranean diet, have guaranteed the sustainability of health for generations.


The sumptuous gastronomic table with dishes, prepared and served following current epidemiological measures, was the work of Caffe-restaurant Dvor under the baton of a distinguished chef, Hrvoje Zirojević, paired with Pošip and Crljenak wines from Kairos winery. 

This Sunday's menu included goose liver wrapped in prosciutto with brioche, prosciutto pesto, prosciutto and bacon with pickled vegetables and herbs, prosciutto and sauerkraut strudel, white cod with bacon chips, cod stew with bean paste and prosciutto pesto, saltimbocca, pljukanci with prosciutto, truffles, and mushrooms, and cream of pumpkin soup with prosciutto chips. 







Split-Dalmatia County and the Split-Dalmatia County Tourist Board are avid supporters of Gastroadvent in Split, thus promoting the Mediterranean diet and local producers, entrepreneurs, and tourism workers.

The Split Tourist Board has worked hard to position the destination, harnessing a natural combination of history, gastronomy, and modernity, all to protect the components of the Mediterranean diet. The City of Split is determined to support projects that benefit its residents and demands guests after authentic experiences and new technological opportunities.

The Croatian Chamber of Commerce has advocated for years to encourage the representation of domestic products, and since 1997 has implemented the national project "Let's Buy Croatian." The project aims to increase the consumption of local products and thus support the economy. This project is of particular importance, emphasized by the director Joze Tomaš, and confirmed by the cooperation with Gastroadvent.


JU RERA S.D., as part of the project to establish innovative food products, has cooperated with primary and secondary schools in Split-Dalmatia County and stakeholders involved in producing or marketing Mediterranean food products and promoting the Mediterranean way of life. The project focuses on development opportunities and problem-solving related to popularizing the Mediterranean diet. The Mediterranean diet is a part of the Mediterranean identity inscribed in the UNESCO list of intangible cultural heritage. The project aims to strengthen research in this area following the UNESCO Convention on Mediterranean Nutrition, raise the quality of nutrition and life in 9 project partner countries, and promote the Mediterranean diet, which is recognized as the gold standard of proper nutrition with far-reaching health benefits.

Apart from the desire to involve as many people as possible and bring them closer to the importance of the Mediterranean diet in everyday life, as well as its impact on their health, the other goal of the project is to establish a standard in the Med Diet Declaration logo to classify Mediterranean areas. The ultimate goal of awarding the Declaration is to position Split-Dalmatia County as a desirable Mediterranean culinary region.

Special partners of this year's Gastroadvent are Scala d.o.o. and Kairos winery. The "Mediterranean Food 2021" event host is Scala d.o.o. from Split in cooperation with the Olja Nutrition Counseling Center.

The designer of this year's Gastroadvent wreath is artist Tonka Alujević, who depicted the Advent wreath from a lifebuoy as "a maritime object that serves to save a man who, for various reasons, is helpless in the sea and is in mortal danger." And that is precisely the health and political position we are in at the moment. 

Split Gastroadvent is held every Advent Sunday at a new location, honoring a different group of journalists with new culinary creations at each event. 

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

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