Tuesday, 7 June 2022

Horvat Čagalj: Thousands Virtually Explored Central Dalmatia through Travel Influencers

PR TEXT - June 7, 2022 - The unique international meeting of travel influencers, an innovative project organized by the Split-Dalmatia County Tourist Board and led by the director Joško Stella and Croatian Hotspots magazine editor, Maja Zlokić, has come to an end. Local influencer Horvat Čagalj shares his thoughts. 

About thirty influencers from Croatia and all over the world - from Italy, Poland, and Great Britain, all the way to Brazil and Korea, enjoyed events as part of the 1st International Meeting of Travel Influencers in Split-Dalmatia county. They visited Dalmatia and discovered the best the County has to offer. They returned from the trip full of impressions, reports Dalmatinski Portal

The first among them is Horvat Čagalj, whose social networks are full of content. A two-time participant in Big Brother and a law graduate, Čagalj spontaneously became an influencer, and over 28,000 people follow his Instagram profile.

"I think that nowadays, organizing an international meeting of influencers is an excellent move made by the Split-Dalmatia County Tourist Board. I want to take this opportunity to thank you for your great hospitality. I think this is the easiest, and I would dare say the most efficient and cheapest way to promote a destination. To host such a large number of influencers in one place, who shared content about the county on their profiles for days, certainly reached a large audience. Thousands of people have 'virtually stayed' in Central Dalmatia. Among them is certainly many of them who will want to visit the places we visited after posting. They got first-hand impressions and useful information about a destination through stories and posts. In addition, the efficiency of posting on social networks is great," says Horvat Čagalj, who gained some new friendships at the 1st International Meeting of Travel Influencers.

"There were a few already famous people, but I still made a lot of acquaintances, mainly from Poland, and a few local influencers that I had not had the opportunity to meet before."

As it is popularly said, Central Dalmatia lit up social networks, and how could it not when the organizers prepared an exciting program. Their stay began in Split, continued at the Klis Fortress with the historical Kliška Uskoks. On the second day, the influencers were received by the County prefect Blaženko Boban. They also visited the popular Biokovo Skywalk and the WTA tournament in Makarska. On the third day, they visited the islands, enjoyed the beautiful Zlatni Rat in Bol, and wine tasting at the popular Stina winery. They also visited the Hvar Theater and Arsenal, and spent the same evening socializing at sunset on the Hvar Fortress. On the fourth day, they visited the magical Pakleni Islands and Inland Dalmatia - Sinj, the Sinjska Alka Museum, and the Red and Blue Lakes.

"Each place has its own story, everything was magical and superbly presented. Klis was interesting to me because of the popular Game of Thrones series and the history with the Turks. The Skywalk on Biokovo cannot leave anyone indifferent, and I have not visited it before, so I especially enjoyed it. Also, for the first time, I visited the oldest theater on Hvar, which has been renovated. It is always nice to discover some new beauties and cultural sights in our country," said Horvat, who often travels and discovers new destinations. He also admitted the shortcomings of Croatian tourism.

"We have so many advantages over other destinations, and sometimes we are not aware of that because we live there. I think the biggest drawback is that we don't have a lot of direct flights to many destinations, so the most beautiful destinations are still too expensive for us. There are also shortcomings of insufficiently trained and professional people in tourism."

Horvat praised the idea of the organizers for the interesting conference and round table on 'The impact of influencers on the tourism industry'.

"We certainly exchanged useful information, primarily which agencies to work with, which destinations are most interesting, how to reduce travel costs, what to look out for when it comes to safety, and how to take a good photo. It would certainly be useful to have more such and similar conferences," concluded the local influencer.

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


Monday, 6 June 2022

PEPSEA Project: WebGIS System for Marine Pollution Management Created

June the 6th, 2022 - The cross-border PEPSEA project has seen Split-Dalmatia County receive some extremely valuable equipment to deal with cases of marine pollution, which is integrated with the WebGIS platform developed for the PEPSEA project by Promet i prostor d.o.o.

As Morski writes, the entire system of marine pollution management in closed off parts of the sea (deemed a crisis response system) has been raised to a higher level.

The WebGIS platform, which boasts integrated data for the measuring of equipment, enables the viewing and management of data, as well as communication between users via the web service itself. Since information on the location and cause of the crisis can be crucial, and the WebGIS system, with its functionality, allows for the quick and easy management of (spatial) data, the system has been given to the Split-Dalmatia County Fire Brigade.

With the aim of achieving a high level of strategic action, improving communication between services and employees, easier access to key data in crisis situations and simplifying operational processes, an unlimited number of users and organisations can use the system and communicate quickly, easily and efficiently.

Furthermore, in the event of marine pollution being discovered, the PEPSEA project's WebGIS system, with regard to integration with marine monitoring stations, automatically notifies system users that pollution has occurred in order to have them react promptly to it.

In addition to "live" data on marine pollution, the WebGIS system also contains data on bathymetric and geodetic surveys, stereo images, multispectral images, water and sediment analysis and intervention plans, and the system allows users to enter new and modify existing data at any given time, all with the aim of having a complete and accurate database that is the basis for making timely and quality decisions at both strategic and operational levels.

With the funds and activities of the PEPSEA project, the first buoy with sensors was installed in Kastela Bay in the Croatian part of the Adriatic Sea, and a unique floating tank of five cubic metres was procured. Two IP cameras have been installed on Cemex's towers, and a drone worth 150,000 kuna has been procured to record the extent of the pollution and coordinate remediation and rescue operations from the air. In addition, 500 metres of absorbent and 400 metres of rigid dams, packages for the remediation of pollution in ports and complete protective equipment for human use were all also procured.

Tomislav Vidic, senior expert associate of the Administrative Department for Tourism and Maritime Affairs of Split-Dalmatia County, explained precisely what was gained by installing this equipment, who manages it, and how they do so.

''In cooperation with firefighters, we installed two cameras on the Cemex towers, and then a buoy with pollution sensors in the Kastela Bay, for which we had to obtain eight permits from various ministries that are to be renewed every three years. In this way, in the event of marine pollution, we'll be able to ensure the operation of the emergency services within the "golden hour", ie before the stain on the sea's surface spreads uncontrollably by being carried by the wind and the currents. The sensor on the buoy monitors all changes at sea and notifies the fire brigade via email, which then, in the case of pollution, alerts the Harbour Master's Office, and those responsible for solving the situation at hand.

The Harbour Master's Office has data on the movement of ships in order to find out which of them is the source of pollution, and cameras are especially helpful in this work. A drone can also be sent up, which gives the best insight into the situation on the ground both before and during the remediation action. Kastela Bay is a special area which is endangered not only by mercury and other pollutants from former factories in the Kastela area, such as Jugovinil, but also by  thedaily transfer of fuel from tankers to the INA terminal, as well as various raw materials in the northern port.

According to Vidic, as part of the PEPSEA project (Protecting the Enclosed Parts of the Sea in the Adriatic from Pollution), training sessions for firefighters were organised in order to better handle this sophisticated equipment and get involved in the firefighting and rescue operations at sea.

The PEPSEA project is otherwise a cross-border project implemented by four partners each from the Croatian and Italian sides. The project is worth a total of 2.9 million euros, of which 513 thousand euros went to Split-Dalmatia County. It is being co-financed from the Interreg V-A Italy-Croatia Cross-border Cooperation Programme 2014-2020.

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

Friday, 3 June 2022

International Meeting of Travel Influencers Roundtable held at Amphora Hotel

PR TEXT - June 3, 2022 - The International Meeting of Travel Influencers which started on the first day of June is spreading across social networks and local news portals.

After exciting and delicious events that honored attractive cultural heritage and local gastronomy, it was time for a conference and roundtable on the "Impact of travel influencers on the tourism industry". 

Thus, the creative ideas and marketing tools of the digital divas and multimedia heroes from all over the world were shared at the Amphora hotel with a lecture by the professor of the Faculty of Political Science Zagreb, Domagoj Bebić.

Bebić compared the new media demand with food, which, under the influence of pandemic trends and earlier, put tourism influencers in a very important place. Bebić said that gathering so many influential social networking representatives in one place is an excellent step by the Split-Dalmatia County Tourist Board, otherwise known for its innovation and tourism pioneering and a strong focus on innovations in the world tourism trends and marketing trends.

"What is interesting for me to study is how this media diet is developing and the future of these trends," said the professor.


"Getting closer to global influencers in this way and connecting them with local tourism stakeholders is a truly innovative move that certainly positions us even more on the tourist map of Europe," he concluded, emphasizing that the arrival of influencers in the County directly affects tourism and traffic.

Apart from Professor Bebić, the forces of the tourism profession were also represented by the Head of the Global PR Department of the Croatian National Tourist Board, Lucijana Jerković, who pointed out the quality of cooperation with influencers and bloggers in various markets even during the pandemic. It is believed that the communication with the surrounding countries contributed to the excellent tourist results of Central Dalmatia, even in uncertain pandemic times. Tonči Glavina, State Secretary at the Ministry of Tourism, also commented on the challenging pandemic conditions, emphasizing the need for people to travel and spend some time outside their residence as an integral part of their quality of life.


"Accordingly, we have chosen the path to position ourselves as the first country in Europe to send a message of opening and security," said Glavina.

Joško Stella, director of the Split-Dalmatia County Tourist Board, spoke about the exceptional power of social networks, which today no one can deny.

"The roundtable served as an opportunity to present to influencers our tourism figures, events, projects we are working on, and our results. As a result, we can boast that we have the best results on social networks of all local tourist boards in Croatia," Stella proudly pointed out, adding specific figures. Thus, Central Dalmatia has over 690 thousand followers on Facebook, over 36 million views on YouTube, and over 50,000 followers on Instagram.


"We also mentioned the 'Maritime Routes' project, where we went through all the nautical routes of the county with Google Street View and 52 themed trails, or 327 kilometers, which is unique in Europe. Our last project with Metaverse and NFT is unique, and this generation is interested," said Stella, proud to have organized a destination campaign using the power of influencers, which he plans to engage and implement even more in this unique International Meeting, with carefully thought out and developed marketing strategies.

The ambassadors of this project - the most recognizable local Instagrammer, Ella Dvornik Pearce, and the famous Croatian travel writer and adventurer Goran Jovic, also spoke at the roundtable.

"I don't know how long I have been an influencer, but if you influence someone publicly in any way, you are also a kind of influencer," said Goran.

"We shared the tools and tricks we use in business. The richness of social networks is that about thirty influential people, each different in their way, will share their impressions of our county to their followers."

"I came to promote Dalmatia - with a purger accent!" joked Ella.


"I explained to the audience how I promote a tourist destination. I gave them some advice if they want to hire influencers, look for them, and communicate the desired content of publications," she added. 

It should be noted that before the roundtable, other experts in the field were also in attendance - Lucijana Natalija Jerkovic, head of global PR in the Croatian Tourist Board, and director of the Istrian Tourist Board Denis Ivosevic, and the County deputy prefect Stipe Čogelja. Although he modestly admitted that he uses only Facebook, he is well aware that people in Dalmatia should fall in love. This will be helped by influencers, who have succeeded so far with their highly aesthetic posts and fantastic photos of natural or gourmet beauties. Central Dalmatia, without exception, makes us want to walk into the screen. However, he emphasized that there is still room for improvement in cooperation with influencers and that he nurtures the strategy of visiting a different Croatian island every year. Furthermore, at the county level, called "Hidden Dalmatia," he announced raising the potential for tourism in rural Dalmatia, calling it a nicer and better version of French Provence.


The day continued at the magnificent Skywalk and WTA tournament in Makarska. We can't wait to see how photo & travel blogger Diana Loos from Brazil, Karlovac's Marjeta Kessler, and Anne Wizental and her Polish compatriots Agnieszka and Woytek Tyuls, better known as Crolovepl present this content on social networks!

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

Monday, 30 May 2022

Split-Dalmatia County Overnights at 80% of 2019, High Demand at Split Airport

May 30, 2022 - Split-Dalmatia County overnights and Split Airport flight traffic have hit 80% of the record 2019!

"We are only at the end of May and in the middle of an extended weekend. Nevertheless, all tourist indicators tell us that from the beginning of the year to the end of May, we are at around 80% of traffic in terms of overnight stays compared to 2019," said Joško Stella, director of the Split-Dalmatia County Tourist Board for HRT.

"If we looked at 2021, we have three times more overnights than last year. So we have excellent bookings for the peak season," he pointed out.

As for guests, domestic tourists make up about 10% in Split-Dalmatia County, and the increase in prices will affect this.

"We hope that prices will not rise too much," Stella said.

Stella added that they had made a master plan for tourism development, and their main goal is sustainable tourism with the help of the local population. They have already taken some actions, and they know how much they can burden local tourism during July and August.

Stella concluded that he expects to get very close to the 2019 results, but it is more critical for them to take care of tourism sustainability.

The head of the Passenger Reception and Dispatch Service of Split Airport, Mate Melvan, was a guest on Dnevnik N1 on Sunday. 

He pointed out that they are delighted with the traffic this extended weekend, after which there are about 140 aircraft and approximately 34,000 passengers.

"Compared to previous years, we are now at about 80 percent compared to 2019, and the goal is to reach 2019. However, compared to last year, we are significantly in the black; it is best to forget," Mate Melvan told N1.

Commenting on the impact of inflation and the war in Ukraine on price growth, he added: “Airlines are under pressure due to the crisis, but it is not affecting high demand so far, and we are looking forward to it. Figures show that we could reach the 2019 figures in July and August. 45 to 50 airlines have announced flights. It turns out that the demand for Split is growing."

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

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 Lokalni.hr.

"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. 

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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. 

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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.

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