Saturday, 14 May 2022

Over 400 Participate in Recreational Cycling Tour of Vinkovci

ZAGREB, 14 May 2022 - The third edition of the annual event called "Tour Natur", which was held in the eastern Croatian city of Vinkovci on Saturday, brought together over 400 cyclists who toured the city to get acquainted with its past and its ongoing projects.

Commenting on the event that attracted the highest number of participants so far, Mayor Ivan Bosančić, who also participated in the ride, said that the route passed by the city's landmarks and through parts where EU-funded projects were being implemented.

The mayor announced the construction of 20 kilometres of bicycle lanes throughout the city.

The purpose of the Tour Natur event is to promote tourism and raise awareness of the beauties of scenery in the city.

Since last December, public bicycles have been available at three locations in Vinkovci as part of efforts to make the city cleaner and greener.

Before using public bikes, users need to register in the Nextbike application, scan the bicycle number and pay. Rental prices start at HRK 5 (€0.66) per 30 minutes, and the annual ticket costs HRK 200 (€27).

The value of the project is HRK 656,000 (€87,470), of which 40 per cent was provided by the EU through the Environmental Protection and Energy Efficiency Fund and 60 per cent came from the city budget.

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

Saturday, 23 April 2022

Slavonian Truffle to Round off the Region's Gastro Offer

April 23, 2022 - Slavonia is a region in the far east of Croatia, known for its golden plains, kulen, rakija, and truffles... wait. Well, maybe not just yet, but yes, truffles could become another reason to visit and discover this area. Though Istria is considered to be the Croatian queen of truffles, Slavonian forests are, apparently, just as rich with the fancy fungi.

As Glas Slavonije writes, Željko Labaš follows the situation in the forests of the Bizovac region and its surroundings with great love and attention.

Truffles were sought in this area as early as 1777.

"Due to its geographical position, it is understandable that seekers in Istria were the first to find out about the value of truffles, and I would say that they also had good marketing, so they raised their white truffles to the world level and are able to price them from one hundred to several thousand euros per kilogram, depending on quality. However, although the first written trace of truffle hunting in Istria dates back to 1924, Slavonia has a great advantage, because the Austro-Hungarian imperial governor Otto von Tauben mentioned the search for truffles in this area in 1777", Labaš reveals.

According to him, when our ancestors took their pigs to graze in Slavonian forests, they noticed that the pigs with their extraordinary sense of smell, in addition to acorns, would find some "tubers" and eat them with great pleasure. And while there was no particular reaction to this in the area, the Istrians decided to get dogs from Italy to look for truffles and start a big business.

A few years ago, however, there was a change in the research and search for truffles. Istrians kept their brand of white truffles, but enthusiasts in the Pannonian area from the Sutla to the Danube came to their senses and confirmed that Pannonian forests are richer in truffles than Istria, particularly black truffles. Željko Labaš says that Varaždin County has gone the furthest, and at the request of the Novi Marof Tourist Board financed four months of research during which it was determined that there are as many as four species of black truffles in Kalnik and the surrounding forests. During the Boletus Days festival in Paka, there was a demonstration exercise for finding truffles, and these fungi were included in the gastronomic offer especially appreciated by Germans, visitors to local holiday homes. The search began in Petrinja, through the Lonjsko Polje Nature Park, where the Russula mushroom association successfully finds truffles.

Poor man's truffle

"Veterans of the homeland war joined in the truffle search as, they say, there is no better therapy for PTSD - outdoors, active, with your best friend, a dog, enjoying an unsurpassed sense of freedom. I must also mention Matija Josipović, the author of several manuals and a great connoisseur from the area of ​​Kutina - Novska. The truffle connoisseurs closest to us are Hrvoje Knežević from Našice, who works with the Mushroom Association on a beautiful and well-attended exhibition of Slavonian forest mushrooms, and Darko Adamović from Koška, ​​with whom I have worked for years and he has always got beautiful mushrooms, chanterelles and black trumpets. I state this information because, in Europe, these black trumpets are known as the "poor man's truffle", since they have the same effect as the famous Istrian white truffle, which is considered an aphrodisiac", says Labaš.

Unlike Boletus mushrooms, truffles can also be artificially grown on the roots of hazelnuts or hornbeams, which requires a lot of knowledge and patience.

"It took us a whole century to understand the wealth of Slavonia from the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy. All this, thanks to persistent enthusiasts - from top wines, to old cattle species, today we can round off the beauty of Pannonia with the addition of truffles to its gastronomic, tourist, and recreational offer", comments Labaš.

When it comes to ways of finding this prized and expensive delicacy, Labaš prefers specially trained dogs.

"Every hunting dog can be trained to look for truffles, but the Lagotto Romagnolo breed is the most skilled. These dogs have a long history in hunting from the 15th century as the so-called water dogs who used to pull the hunted game out of the water. At one point, someone realised that because of their exceptional sense of smell they could also be used to search for truffles. The price of a Lagotto Romagnolo is acceptable these days, starting from 500 euros. These small, shaggy big-eyed puppies are incredibly lively and adore their owner and families. Their training is a little different from training dogs to search for mines and narcotics. It consists of several phases, and from the beginning, the owner must be with the dog at all times. An introduction follows to the forest, the smell of truffles, and how to act when you find it. Training is the most expensive part, so the price of a well-trained truffle-seeking dog reaches that of a good car" says Labaš, adding that pigs can also be trained to search for truffles because they have a better sense of smell, the disadvantage being that they don't really like sharing the yummy mushroom, and it could be complicated to transport them through forests.

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

Tuesday, 19 April 2022

Croatia Records Nearly 500,000 Tourist Nights Over Easter Holidays

ZAGREB, 19 April 2022 - About 135,000 tourists stayed in Croatia over the Easter holidays, on 15-18 April, generating 493,000 nights, 346,000 more than over Easter 2021, the National Tourist Board (HTZ)  said on Tuesday.

Foreign tourists accounted for 103,000 arrivals and 412,000 nights, while registered domestic tourists accounted for 31,000 arrivals and 80,000 nights.

Istria County saw the largest number of nights at 188,000.

The most popular destinations in terms of nights were Poreč, Rovinj, Dubrovnik, Zagreb, Split, Umag and Zadar.

Tourists from Germany, Austria, Slovenia, Italy and Slovakia accounted for the largest number of nights. Most of them stayed in hotels, which registered 210,000 nights, followed by private accommodation (112,000) and campsites (99,000).

HTZ director Kristjan Staničić said the numbers indicated that Croatia could enter the summer season with exceptional results and trends.

Tuesday, 19 April 2022

Revenues of Camping Businesses On Rise From 2016 to 2019 to Fall in 2020

ZAGREB, 19 April 2022 - Revenues and the number of people on the payroll of camping businesses and campsite service providers rose on the year from 2016 to 2019, however, they dropped in the pandemic 2020, show the data collected by the Croatian Financial Agency (FINA).

However, the number of businesses in this sub-sector of outdoor tourism has increased from year to year: in 2016, there were 146 camping businesses in Croatia to grow to 165 in 2017, 177 in 2018, 187 in 2019 and 197 in 2020.

They employed as many as 1,354 workers in 2019, to see a drop to 1,169 in 2020, while in 2017 there were 1,226 employees and 1,224 workers were in those businesses in 2018.

Revenues according to annual financial statements

The revenues kept rising from nearly HRK 600 million in 2016, to HRK 662.5 million in 2017 and 855 million in 2018 to reach a record high 874 million in 2019 and in the pandemic 2020 it dropped to 585 million.

Five businesses earn 50% of total revenues in this sub-sector

In 2020, in terms of the volume of revenues and the number of employees, the top performer was the Rovinj-based Valalta.

Its revenues came to HRK 192.3 million, making up 33% of  total revenues in this tourism business activity. There were 333 employees on its payroll, and their average monthly salary was HRK 6,237.

The second-ranking business was Industrial Projects from Fažana, with the revenues of HRK 30 million and 31 employees.

The Zagreb-based Proficio ranked third, with the revenues of HRK 25.6 million and 74 employees.

The remaining top five included the Zagreb-based Noa with HRK 21.4 million in revenues in 2020 and 22 employees, and the Lošinjska Plovidba, based in Mali Lošinj, with 41.4 million kuna in revenues and 52 employees.

These five businesses realised a half of the total revenues of all camping businesses in 2020.

Also, Proficio ended the year in the red and its loss was HRK 18.1 million.

In 2020, 64% of businesses registered in the camping sub-sector registered losses, and 36% wrapped up the year in the black.

(€1 = HRK 7.5)

Sunday, 17 April 2022

Eastern Croatia Attracts Increasing Number of Domestic Tourists

April 17, 2022 – Good news coming from eastern Croatia, with trends showing an increased interest of domestic tourists in the golden fields, fiery stews, and the sweetest wines of Slavonia.

As hrv.hr writes, last year's trend of increasing the number of overnight stays in eastern Croatia continues this year as well.

According to the Vukovar-Srijem County Tourist Board (TZ VSŽ) for the first three months of this year, the number of overnight stays in this part of Croatia increased by more than 40 percent compared to the same period last year.

Most of the guests are domestic tourists who have had a positive impact on the county's tourist results with their arrivals and overnight stays, and it is evident that their interest in the eastern part of Croatia is finally stable and growing.

According to the director of the Vukovar-Srijem County Tourist Board, Rujana Bušić Srpak, the results of the first quarter, but also the whole of last year, show that tourism can be maintained even in crises such as a pandemic.

“It is important to emphasize that the survival of tourism in the continental part of Croatia should be credited to domestic guests. They are in our focus, and they are the ones who can maintain the tourist movement even in crises, revive the tourist potential, and stimulate the domestic economy. The majority of our guests come from Croatia, and almost half of them are from Zagreb and the Zagreb County”, says Rujana Bušić Srpak, adding that in the wave of current price increases, the county still has affordable prices and provides excellent value for money.

For more, check out our lifestyle section.

Wednesday, 6 April 2022

Osijek Ferivi Half Marathon on Saturday to Welcome 1,250 Participants from 11 Countries

April 6, 2022 – On Saturday, April 9, the annual Osijek Ferivi Half Marathon will be held, with a range of events for professional and recreational athletes alike.

As SiB writes, the citizens' race and relay race will start at 10.00 am on Ante Starčević Square, while children's races will start at 5.00 pm on the promenade of the upper Drava coast, west of the winter port. A press conference was held yesterday on the central city square in Osijek, the Ante Starčević Square, at which the 18th Osijek Ferivi Half Marathon was announced, a traditional event that will this year take place on Saturday, April 9.

This is the largest and most visited race in the ​​Slavonia and Baranja region, which has been held since 2005 and brings together many athletes, recreationists, and other citizens who want to enjoy running through the streets of Osijek. In addition to the half marathon (21.1 kilometers), there is also a 5km citizens’ race "Are you running, lega?", as well as the men's, women's, and mixed relay races of 3 x 7 kilometres and children's races from 300 meters to 1 kilometer. The organizer of the event is the Marathon Club Hrvatski Sokol from Osijek, and the sponsors are the Osijek-Baranja County, the City of Osijek, the Tourist Board of the City of Osijek, and the Croatian Red Cross.

"The pandemic finally allowed us to gather in large numbers and continue to socialize outdoors through running, cycling, walking, and other sports. I urge our citizens to come to the race because the contemporary lifestyle means a lot of sitting and using cars or public transport, so we need to practice sports. I am sure that everyone who runs the race for the first time will be excited for the next Osijek Ferivi Half Marathon," said the prefect Ivan Anušić.

The citizens' race and the relay race will be starting at 10.00 am on Ante Starčević Square, while the children's races will start at 5.00 pm on the promenade of the upper Drava coast, west of the winter port. More than 1,250 competitors have already registered, not only from Croatia but from 10 other countries (USA, Sweden, Norway, Serbia, Slovenia, Northern Macedonia, Hungary, Germany, Austria, Bosnia and Herzegovina).

The Osijek Ferivi Half Marathon is not just a sporting event, but a combination of sports, entertainment, culture, and tourism, and contributes to the branding of Osijek. What is especially enriching about this event is that not only athletes but also recreational athletes take part, and even more so that children do. The city will continue to support this event", said the mayor of Osijek Ivan Radić.

He added that Osijek cares about its athletes and sports facilities and that this year Osijek will acquire a real Olympic swimming pool (at the Copacabana pools) for the first time, as well as introduce scholarships for athletes of the 5th and 6th categories while striving to raise sports and recreation to a higher level.

The Osijek Ferivi Half Marathon is an event that has been organized by the Marathon Club Hrvatski Sokol since the first race. The Club entered into a partnership with Ferivi & Co d.o.o. in 2008. and the race has since been called the Osijek Ferivi Half Marathon. Last year, the event had a record number of participants and outstanding accompanying content.

To read more about sports in Croatia, follow TCN’s dedicated page.

Friday, 18 March 2022

Festivities in Eastern Slavonia: Things To Do in Spring

18 March 2022 - Spring is on the horizon! Ceremonies and events are slowly but surely moving outdoors and since TCN already covered “Five Places You Must Visit During Spring in Croatia”, this is a look into what festivities in Eastern Slavonia are happening during the new season. 

Firstly, we need to start with the biggest city of Eastern Slavonia - Osijek. As usual, the greenest city in Croatia has various events that can fulfill any person's preferences: from music, film, theater, and traditional events to sports and other activities that include all of citizens and guests. Since there is no shortage of events this spring season, we had to single out a few that will happen soon. It doesn't hurt to mention again that Osijek is going to host the 29th Porin Music Awards on the 25th of March. For more details, check the article here.

 

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Antiques Fair, (Photo:Okusi sreće by Pavica/Facebook)

 

Antiques Fair - 2nd of April 

The citizens of Osijek love their culture and heritage so it’s not surprising that the Antiques Fair is one the most popular events in the city. From old gramophone records to lost books and masterpieces from local unknown artists, this festivity is for everyone. Excitement as you pass by a sea of stalls that potentially contain a lost “treasure”? It is guaranteed only at the Osijek Antique Fair that is usually held on the first Saturday every month in the Old Town of the city - Tvrđa. However, the next Antique Fair will be held in King Držislav Park near the famous urban statue The Shell (Školjka) on the 2nd of April. The Park is located just across from Tvrđa, so it is not hard to find it. You can check for more here.

 

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Osijek Ferivi Half Marathon (Photo Osječki Ferivi Polumaraton/Facebook)

18th Osijek Ferivi Half marathon - 9th of April 2022 

This event, as the name suggests, will take place in Osijek, with four different races included: a half marathon (21.1 km), relay (3 x 7 km), citizens’ race (5 km), and a race for the youngest - children. These events will be accompanied by a music festival, instrumental, dance, and singing groups with a goal to entertain the visitors and competitors. Since its foundation, Osijek Ferivi Half Marathon has had an increase in the number of participants every single year and it’s becoming one of the biggest sporting events in Osijek and its surroundings. If you’re interested, the application is still open for everyone - it doesn’t matter if you’re a professional or casual, everyone is welcome!

 

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Craft Beer Festival in Osijek (Photo: Osijek CRAFT BEER Festival/Facebook)

Craft Beer Festival - sometime in May (to be determined) 

How can Spring pass in Osijek without an event for beer lovers? In the last decades, Osijek has become a center for beer connoisseurs, not only in Eastern Slavonia but for beer enthusiasts all over Croatia. This fact is not surprising at all if we take into account that Osijek is also a center of multiple small breweries that produce various types of beers which have become iconic for this part of Croatia. Craft Beer Festival has been held last year during June but this year it’s probably coming back to its original date in May. We still don’t know the exact date. Nevertheless, the event will come back to the famous so-called “beer street” - Sun Street (Sunčana Ulica). For updates check their Facebook page.

If you’re interested in breweries in Osijek, check an article from our intern Toni.

After Osijek, we go further East and present cities of Vinkovci and Vukovar. Two historical Slavonian cities have a lot to offer with the support of surrounding small towns and their own events that enrich the lives of locals in Vukovar - Srijem County.

 

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Flower Festival in Vukovar (Photo: Miroslav Slafhauzer/Turistička zajednica grada Vukovara)

Flower Festival - end of the April 

Flower Festivals are a common event in Slavonia (we already had one in Osijek during Women’s Day). At the end of April every year, a Flower Festival is held in the center of Vukovar which brings together local and regional plant growers, florists, arrangers, related craftsmen, and lovers of flowers and ornamental plants. The Fair has sort of an exhibition and sales character which gives a completely different, colorful, and warmer look to the center of Vukovar. This event is also an overture for marking City Day.

 

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Svi zaJedno Hrvatsko Naj Festival in 2019 (Photo: svizajedno.eu/Galerija)

Svi zaJedno hrvatsko naj - cultural and tourist event - part of Vukovar City Day, 3rd of May 

This festival is fairly new - it was firstly held in 2018, as a part of the European Year of Cultural Heritage. Its uniqueness lies in the fact that it is the first Croatian festival to present protected Croatian intangible cultural heritage on the national and UNESCO list with the most attractive tourist events, attractions, and destinations from all over Croatia. During the event, visitors have a chance of exploring various manifestations held all over Croatia by tasting autochthonous Croatian dishes and enjoying the offer of the best Croatian wines. Of course, what would be a Slavonian event without traditional music and dance groups? For more details, you can check their website.

 

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"Motorijada" in 2021 (Moto Klub Županja/Facebook)

Motorijada by Moto Club Županja - 10th of April 

Motorijada (Moto Race) is an event that is organized by Moto Clubs all over Croatia. Motorcycle enthusiasts organize these events to promote, among other things, motorsports and use this opportunity to meet with their fellow motorcycle buddies. This April, Moto Club Županja is organizing the 16th Opening of Moto Season of Vukovar - Srijem County with the aim of drawing the attention of other road users to the presence and safety of motorcyclists in the traffic. They will start their tour in the village Rajevo Selo and go through multiple towns in Vukovar - Srijem County with the ending in the host city - Županja. Everyone is invited and if you’re a motorcycle enthusiast or just love looking at the motors, this is a great event to visit. For more information, check their Facebook page.

 

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Logo of the Festival (photo: Festival Glumca/Facebook)

Actor’s Festival - all cities of Vukovar - Srijem County, 13 - 22 May 

The festival was founded in 1994 by the Croatian Society of Dramatic Artists and Vukovar - Srijem County and it is the only festival in Croatia dedicated to the actor and their artistic work. Today, this event has grown into a festival that brings chamber and large ensemble performances to the audience. If you’re interested in the festival full of character, good acting, acting personality, talent, and originality, visit Vukovar - Srijem County from 13th to 22nd May this year. Every city will have its appropriate events surrounding this festival. For more, check their official website.

 

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 Petrovačko Zvono event few years ago (photo: savezrusina.hr)

Petrovačko Zvono - sometime in June, 49th edition 

Rusyns are a national minority in Croatia with most of the residents residing in the village of Petrovci, which is located near Vukovar. Tradition, heritage, and constant maintenance of their culture for more than 40 years made this event one the most important in Vukovar - Srijem County. Rusyns from all over Croatia and other countries, visit Petrovci to connect to their fellow Rusyn people. They have a strong connection to Ukraine and their people, so if you’re nearby, visit this event, learn about the traditions of the people who’ve chosen Croatia as their home, and enjoy Petrovačko Zvono and its celebration of their heritage. For more details, you can visit their website here.

This is it for now. There are a lot more events that need mentioning, however, this article won’t be enough. TCN will bring you stories from some of these events and part two of places to visit in Eastern Slavonia is already on the way. Stay tuned!

Make sure to check out our dedicated travel section.

Saturday, 12 March 2022

13m Tourists Stay in Croatia's Commercial Accommodation in 2021

ZAGREB, 12 March 2022 - Nearly 13 million tourists stayed in commercial accommodation in Croatia in 2021 and generated 70 million bed nights, which are increases of 82.5% and 72.1% compared with 2020, while compared with record 2019 the number of tourist arrivals was down by 35% and that of bed nights by 23%, according to data from the National Bureau of Statistics.

The number of domestic tourists in commercial accommodation increased by 47% from 2020 to 2.1 million and the number of bed nights rose by 36% to 7.4 million. Compared with 2019, the number of tourists fell by 3.5% while the number of bed nights increased by 3.6%.

The number of foreign tourists grew by 92% from 2020 to 10.6 million and they generated nearly 63 million bed nights, up by 77.6%. Compared with 2019, the number of foreign tourists was down by 38.7% and that of bed nights by 25.3%.

Among the foreign visitors, Germans were the most numerous (2.7 million, +85%). They generated nearly 20 million bed nights (+70%), or nearly 32% of all foreign bed nights in commercial accommodation. They were followed by Poles, Slovenians, Austrians and Czechs, who all generated more bed nights than in 2020.

By region, Istria County recorded the largest number of tourists and bed nights - 3.4 million and 21.7 million respectively, which are increases of 94.2% and 90% compared with 2020. It was followed by Split-Dalmatia County (2.3 million tourists, 13.5 million bed nights) and Primorje-Gorski Kotar County (2.2 million tourists, 12.4 million bed nights), which were increases for both counties.

By type of commercial accommodation, the largest number of nights were spent in holiday and short-stay accommodation (including private households) - 37 million, which is an increase of 50.1% compared with 2020.

Camping grounds followed with 17.5 million nights (+91.5%), while 15.7 million nights were spent in hotels, twice as many as in 2020.

 

Tuesday, 8 February 2022

Croatia Records Increased Tourism Numbers Despite Surge in COVID-19 Infections

ZAGREB, 8 Feb 2022 - A total of 178,700 tourists visited Croatia in January 2022 and generated 586,300 overnight stays which, despite the surge in coronavirus infections, are increases of 89% and 71% respectively compared with January 2021, the Croatian Tourist Board (HTZ) said in response to a query from Hina.

Compared with January of the record 2019, the number of tourist arrivals was about 17% lower and the number of overnight stays was only 1.5% lower.

Of the 178,700 tourists registered in the eVisitor system, 101,700 were Croatians and 77,000 were foreign nationals. Compared with January 2021, the number of domestic tourists increased by 34% and that of foreign tourists by as much as 313%.

The number of domestic tourists was 11% higher than in January 2019. The 265,000 overnight stays that they generated in January 2022 was 20% higher than in January 2021 and 12.3% higher than in January 2019.

Although the number of foreign tourists was considerably higher than in January 2021, it was 38% lower than in January 2019. This past January they generated 321,300 overnight stays, up by 162.7% from January 2021 but down by 10% from January 2019.

The Istria and Kvarner regions recorded the largest numbers of tourist arrivals and overnight stays in January this year. Istria registered 124,100 overnight stays, up by 62% compared with January 2021 and by 17.5% compared with January 2019. With 103,600 overnight stays logged, Kvarner saw an increase of 71% from January 2021 and of 20.4% from January 2019.

Zagreb recorded 106,400 overnight stays in January 2022, which is 133.6% more than in January 2021 and 11.5% fewer than in January 2019. As for tourist arrivals, Zagreb topped the ranking with 42,500 arrivals, which is 175% more than in January 2021 and 24.1% fewer than in January 2019.

The results for January include the New Year and winter school holidays, when people traditionally travel more. Zagreb also hosts the Snow Queen Trophy skiing competition, business and similar events which attract visitors.

Monday, 7 February 2022

Croatian Ports Visited by 208 Foreign Cruise Ships in 2021

7 February 2022 - During 2021, Croatia was visited by 208 foreign cruise ships, which is considerably more than in 2020 when a mere 26 foreign cruise ships were registered in the Croatian Adriatic seaports, and markedly fewer than in 2019 where there were as many as 726 foreign cruise ships.

According to the data provided by the national statistical office, as many as 194,000 guests were on those 208 ships that visited Croatia last year.

In 2020, a mere 4,000 guests cruised the Croatian Adriatic Sea.

In 2019, as many as 1.1 million passengers were registered on foreign cruise ships visiting Croatia, according to the data of the DZS.

In 2021, the first foreign cruise ships arrived in Croatia in June and in that month, 15 such vessels were registered.

In July 2021, there were 34 foreign cruise ships, two more, that is 36, were in August, whereas 49 foreign cruise ships were recorded in September and 50 in October, while 21 were in November, and three in December.

For the sake of comparison, October 2019 saw as many as 105 cruise ships under foreign flags.

In 2021, nearly two thirds, that is 63% of cruise ships, visited the ports in Dubrovnik-Neretva County, while the seaports in Split-Dalmatia County accounted for 27.4% of visits, and the remaining destinations were in the rest of Croatia's coast. 

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