Thursday, 2 September 2021

Plenković: We Could Exceed 70% of 2019 Tourism Results

ZAGREB, 2 Sept 2021 - Prime Minister Andrej Plenković on Thursday commented on the latest ECDC map on which Croatia's coast has stayed orange, saying that foreign tourists had recognized Croatia as a safe destination and that this year's tourism results could exceed 70% of tourism results in the pre-crisis year 2019.

"According to the new ECDC map, the Croatian coast has stayed orange into September. Foreign tourists have recognized Croatia as a safe destination and we could exceed 70% of the tourism results from the pre-crisis year 2019," Plenković said on his Twitter account.

He concluded that with responsible conduct and vaccination public health and the national economy were being protected.

According to the latest European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control map, released on Thursday, eastern and central Croatia have turned red while the coast and northern Croatia have stayed orange.

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

Wednesday, 21 July 2021

New Rules: Negative COVID-19 Test for Vaccinated British Tourists Entering Croatia from Monday

July 21, 2021 - New travel rules will take effect from Monday, as all vaccinated British tourists entering Croatia must also present a negative COVID-19 test to enter the country. The same rules apply to tourists from Russia and Cyprus. We're bringing you the details. 

A major change is being introduced to enter Croatia. All Britons, Russians, and Cypriots must have a negative test to cross the Croatian border, regardless of whether they have been vaccinated or have contracted and recovered from COVID-19. The change takes effect next Monday, reports Index.hr.

The basis for the changes is the Decision on the temporary prohibition and restriction of crossing the Croatian border, which states that the CNIPH determines the list of countries to which additional rules apply.

The CNIPH has added the United Kingdom, Russia, and Cyprus to the list of countries that require a PCR test not older than 72 hours or a rapid antigen test not older than 48 hours, which was expected.

The CNIPH published the news, which is transmitted in its entirety below.

"To protect health and prevent the spread of COVID-19, additional epidemiological measures have been introduced, which are applied when crossing the border into the territory of the Republic of Croatia to prevent the introduction of new variants of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Due to the above, there was a quarantine obligation for arrivals from the Republic of South Africa, Brazil, Zanzibar, and India for a period of 14 days, which a negative PCR test can shorten after 7 days.

Since the Delta strain was imported from India, it has now become dominant in the European Union. The list of countries for which quarantine is mandatory remains the Republic of South Africa, Brazil, and Zanzibar. For persons coming from India, the mandatory quarantine after crossing the border is abolished. The obligation to present a negative test result on SARS-CoV-2 is introduced within 48 hours when crossing the border if it is a rapid antigen test or within 72 hours if it is a PCR test, regardless of whether the person has contracted COVID-19 or has been vaccinated.

Due to the worse epidemiological situation in the United Kingdom, Cyprus, and the Russian Federation, as an additional measure for all persons coming from these countries, a negative SARS-CoV-2 test performed in the home country, regardless of vaccination status or recovery from COVID-19, is required before entering the territory of the Republic of Croatia.

The change will be published on the CNIPH website and will take effect on Monday, July 26, 2021," the CNIPH said.

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

Saturday, 10 July 2021

640 Thousand Tourists Are Currently Staying in Croatia

July 10, 2021 - German media Bild highlights Croatia as a safe destination in the summer, and according to the first data from the eVisitor system, there are currently around 640 thousand tourists in the country, most of them from the markets of Germany, Slovenia, and the Czech Republic.

Renowned German media have been publishing more information about Croatia in recent days, so one of the leading German weekly Die Zeit published an extensive report on the natural beauties of the Kornati until the highest-circulation German tabloid Bild published an extensive and informative report on Croatia, not only highlighting it as a safe destination in times of pandemic and new variants but also mentioning that around 640 thousand tourists are currently in the country, reports hrturizam.hr.

"The beginning of July is the period in which most Germans prepare for summer vacations, and in the coming weeks, school holidays will begin in a large number of German provinces, which will mark the peak of the summer season. In this context, it is very important that in that period Croatia appears in the national media as a desirable and safe holiday destination",  said the director of the CNTB Representation in Germany Romeo Draghicchio.

In the article  Die Zeita,  journalist Nikola Ljubić describes the unique experience of a relaxing atmosphere, beautiful sea, and excellent food on the Kornati archipelago that delighted him in late spring this year, during a study trip organized in cooperation with the Croatian Tourist Board and Šibenik-Knin County Tourist Board. and thanks to the cooperation of the CNTB Representation in Germany with the author of the article. A report on Croatia entitled "Last Minute Check" was published in the online edition of  Bild which informs the readers in detail about the current situation in Croatia. The article describes our country as a safe destination and states the conditions for entering Croatia and returning to Germany. This article is the result of the cooperation of the CNTB Representation in Germany with the Bild editorial office, ie with the author Marco Oliver Rühle, who has been following the events in Croatia since the very beginning of the pandemic.

Let us add that  Die Zeit is a high-value edition followed by almost 1.7 million readers, and during the corona crisis, its circulation increased by almost 25 percent and now amounts to almost 600 thousand copies. On the other hand, Bild.de is one of the most-read online portals in Germany with a reach of  24 million unique users.

"It is extremely important to adhere to all prescribed epidemiological measures in order to maintain the most favorable epidemiological situation in the country and thus attract as many tourists from our most important emitting markets to Croatia,"  concluded the director of the Croatian Tourist Board Kristjan Stanicic. According to the first data from the eVisitor system, there are currently around 640 thousand tourists in the country, most of them from the markets of Germany, Slovenia, and the Czech Republic.

For all you need to know about coronavirus specific to Croatia, including travel, border, and quarantine rules, as well as the locations of vaccination points and testing centers across the country, make sure to bookmark our dedicated COVID-19 section and select your preferred language.

Saturday, 3 July 2021

About 120 Tourists Arrive in Split from Budapest by Train

ZAGREB, 3 July 2021 - About 120 tourists arrived in Split from Budapest on Saturday on board a train that will be operating on this route three times a week until 11 September. 

This is this year's third seasonal train service bringing tourists from central European countries to the southern Croatian Adriatic city, after the Prague-Split route launched on 29 May and the Bratislava-Vienna-Split route established on 19 June.

The management board chairman of the Croatian Railways (HŽ) Passenger Transport company, Željko Ukić, who welcomed the train from Budapest, announced a promotional route between Poland and Split for early September.

"We expect a new train service to be established between Poland and Split next year, and possibly between Poland and Rijeka as well," Ukić said.

Lucijana Natalija Jerković of the Croatian Tourist Board said that an increasing number of tourists were travelling to the Croatian Adriatic coast by train. In the previous years, Hungarians mostly spent their summer holidays in the Zadar area, but now with the introduction of the latest train service their number in Split-Dalmatia County is expected to increase, she said.

For more, follow our travel section.

Thursday, 1 July 2021

11.8 Million Overnights in Croatia Recorded in First Half of 2021!

July 1, 2021 - Some good tourism news for the first half of this year, as 11.8 million overnights in Croatia have been recorded, mostly in Istria, Primorje-Gorski Kotar, and Split-Dalmatia County!

After a mostly tourism-less 2020, some reassuring news coming from the first six months of this year.

Namely, during the first six months of 2021, there were 2.6 million arrivals and 11.8 million overnight stays recorded in Croatia, i.e., 54 percent more arrivals and 53 percent more overnight stays than in the same period last year. At the same time, foreign tourists recorded 9.1 million overnight stays, while domestic tourists recorded 2.7 million overnight stays, reports HRTurizam.

These are the first data provided from the eVisitor system, which contains tourist traffic in commercial and non-commercial facilities and nautical charter (eCrew system).

Most tourist overnight stays were realized in Istria County (3.6 million), Primorje-Gorski Kotar County (2.2 million), and Split-Dalmatia County (1.8 million), followed by Zadar County (1.6 million overnight stays), Šibenik-Knin County. 732,000), and Dubrovnik-Neretva County (624,000).

Observing the results of destinations, the highest number of overnight stays since the beginning of the year was achieved in Rovinj (681,000 thousand), Zagreb (427,000), and Poreč (418,000). Looking at the markets, since the beginning of the year, the largest number of overnight stays was recorded by foreign guests from Germany (2.4 million), Slovenia (1.5 million), Austria (987,000), Poland (866,000), and the Czech Republic (681,000). According to the type of accommodation, most overnight stays were recorded in household facilities, hotels, and camps.

During June this year, there were 1.5 million arrivals and 7.9 million overnight stays, or 62 percent more arrivals and 61 percent more overnight stays than in June 2020.

Guests from Germany (1.6 million), Slovenia (1.2 million), and Austria (805,000) spent the most overnight stays in Croatia. Most tourist overnight stays were realized in Istria County (2.4 million), Primorje-Gorski Kotar County (1.5 million), and Split-Dalmatia County (1.3 million), while the most popular destinations were Rovinj (439,000 overnight stays), Poreč (266,000), and Vir (232,000).

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

Saturday, 19 June 2021

What Croatians Find Strange When Living Abroad

June 24th, 2021 - Born and raised in Croatia but has lived abroad for most of her life, TCN intern Marina Kaleb looks at what Croatians find strange when living abroad, speaking from her own experience. 

Croatians are very particular with their daily habits and traditions, so when you're raised in a small town or even the capital, moving abroad is a whole different dimension you have to get used to. Of course, every country has its own way of living, but here are some things I have come across when living abroad that are still strange to me as a Croat. 

1. Working from a cafe

croatians-find-strange_.jpg

Pixabay

Various cafes abroad have work-friendly stations such as large tables, charging stations, and student discounts to encourage people to choose their place instead of home or a library. It's very common to see people sitting alone or in groups working on their laptops in a cafe, take Starbucks anywhere in the world, for example. It's kind of glamourized to work in a cafe to get the best of both worlds and fit into an aesthetic but are they even productive? Personally, it took me a while to adjust to this because I was raised in a place where going to a cafe for a coffee is for relaxing, socializing, and forgetting about work. You'll rarely see people working in cafes in Croatia (apart from digital nomads), although it is not considered as strange as it used to be anymore. In larger cities, foreigners enjoy working from a cafe, even in Croatia. 

2. Western coffee culture 

Another one to do with coffee, as Croats are very particular about it. The Western coffee culture is the complete opposite of what we are used to in Croatia. We like to sit down with a coffee for hours and catch up with our friends, but it's either quick coffee at the cafe or a coffee on the go in most countries abroad. During the Covid-19 outbreak, coffee to go suddenly became an option in most cafes in Croatia, but people still went and sat down somewhere to enjoy it rather than rushing. To this day, sometimes I still feel weird staying at a cafe for hours and only having one coffee because I feel guilty, but it is such a normal thing back home. 

3. Fast-paced lifestyle 

The pre-pandemic fast-paced lifestyle is extremely strange to someone who comes from a tiny town in Croatia. At home, everything is very relaxed and handled with ease which now sounds extremely strange to me. Perhaps it's the Dalmatian lifestyle of living in peace and simply allowing things to happen at their own pace. However, wherever you go abroad, you will face a fast-paced lifestyle, whether you like it or not.  

4. The lack of old romantic songs abroad

croatians-find-strange-.jpg

Dusko Jaramaz/PIXSELL

Growing up in Croatia, we are used to listening to beautiful, timeless ballads that our parents and grandparents also grew up with. Whether you go to Croatia, a cafe, a restaurant, or even a bar, you are bound to hear old romantic songs that everyone adores. While you still hear old romantic songs abroad, it's not as common. In Croatia, it's completely normal to play romantic and traditional songs in clubs and bars, while abroad, it's mostly pop music. There is nothing like listening to traditional Croatian acapella singing, Klapa, and it's something I really miss hearing! 

5. Moving away from family 

It's very common for people to remain in their hometown or the region they grew up in their whole life, stay close to family, or even live with their family. Croatia is a collective community, and we like to be close to our family because they always come first. In contrast, many countries focus on their own individual life rather than having family nearby. When it comes to holidays or weekly family dinners, Croats remain very traditional and prefer to spend time with their family, whereas abroad, it's not as common. When living abroad, friends become your family as you form new bonds, but at home, traditions are to be kept.

Is there anything else that you find strange as a Croat living abroad? Let us know your experiences! 

For more, follow our lifestyle section.

Monday, 14 June 2021

Split Tourism 2021: Most Guests Expected from July, Over 2,700 Tourists in Split Currently

June 14, 2021 - There are just over 2,700 tourists in Split, though announcements of a promising summer are underway. 

Slobodna Dalmacija reports that there are currently 2766 tourists in Split - mostly Croatians, followed by guests from the USA, Germany, France, and Poland, confirmed Alijana Vukšić, director of the Split Tourist Board, which clearly speaks of the current tourist picture in Croatia's second-largest city, which broke records until the coronavirus pandemic.

From the beginning of June until June 13, a little more than 26,000 tourist overnights have been realized, while the number of tourist nights in the same period last year was 5,800, and in 2019 a little more than 100,000, which the people of Split can now only dream of.

The Split Tourist Board director is optimistically looking forward.

"The interest in Split is growing day to day, which is confirmed by tourist traffic, and also the current announcements of travel agents, journalists, and tourists. We have a reason to be optimistic, and I believe there will be growth in tourist traffic in the following months. Still, we need to be very careful because the success of the tourist season depends on the responsible behavior of each individual," says Vukšić.

The current situation in Split in terms of tourist arrivals is not great, as evidenced by the announcements of numerous renters in various groups on social networks. They mostly complain about the lack of reservations. There are many empty apartments in the city center, those in great locations, beautifully decorated.

By reviewing the offer of accommodation on popular online platforms, it is easy to see how some renters struggle because their existence depends on renting or on credit. In despair, they began to significantly lower prices. Some stunning central apartments can be found for as little as fifty euros.

"According to people's reactions and available information, the pre-season was catastrophic in the case of those renters who previously had guests in that period. Only now, in mid-June, something similar is starting to happen that once took place in the pre-season - in Split, some reservations began to appear, and the first guests appeared. This is very weak, considering that our epidemiological situation is excellent and that we thought that our "last minute" would start at full speed. For now, the story is on the respirator, but for at least the last two weeks, the reservations have started to come to life, and there are no cancellations as before," notes Martina Nimac Kalcina, president of the Family Tourism Association of the Croatian Chamber of Commerce.

The first guests move into the apartments in Split almost shyly, but this is far from what the renters hoped for. Nimac Kalcina will say that the current situation in Split on this issue looks like the one that the people of Split used to have in April. And that means - there are some guests, but it's generally poor. 

"Attractive apartments in the center of Split, even those with their own parking, are empty. In the last few days, their owners are asked to inquire daily, which usually ends with a reservation, but all this is too little, insignificant. These are apartments in Varoš, Get, Bačvice, Radunica, Spinut, which were once full throughout the summer. In addition, the prices of their rent have been lowered by about twenty percent compared to 2019, so again it is not going," says the president of the Croatian Chamber of Commerce Family Tourism Association. 

However, Nimac Kalcina believes that the Split tourist story will soon heat up somewhat, as the planes in full operation towards Split should start returning at the end of June.

"Unfortunately, the pre-season has been lost, and the peak season itself will not be what we hoped for," predicts the long-term volunteer in the family tourism sector.

Split Airport: Traffic growth and the announcements are good

"According to the information from Split Airport, already May, in which the traffic of approximately 33 thousand passengers was realized, from 14 markets where 15 airlines flew, was a good announcement of what awaits us in the next period," said the Split Tourist Board. 

The airport expects further traffic growth by the end of June, a total of 80 to 90 thousand passengers, an additional 10 markets, and a total of 35 airlines.

"Confirmations of flight announcements for a period longer than three weeks are ungrateful given the variability of the epidemiological situation in our country and in the world. But if the favorable epidemiological situation is maintained from June to September this year, we can expect approximately 800,000 passengers," Vuksic hopes.

She notes that, according to the Split Port Authority, 151 cruise ships have been announced by the end of the year.

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

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

 

Thursday, 10 June 2021

Tax Relief Enables Tourism Sector Businesses to Have €15.8m at Their Disposal

ZAGREB, 10 June 2021 - The Croatian ministry of tourism and sport has adopted three ordinances about the reduced tax burden and tax exemption, which would enable businesses in the tourist trade to have 118 million more kuna at their disposal.

The changed regulations about the exemption from payment of some of the accommodation surcharge lump sum and membership fees for the local tourist boards were published in the Official Gazette on Thursday.

Minister Nikolina Brnjac says in a press release that she is sure that this tax relief in the amount of 118 million kuna "will definitely facilitate the efforts of hotels, campsites, private accommodation renters, family farms, and nautical tourism companies to do business more easily" and also help them to alleviate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

(€1 = HRK 7.5)

For more about business in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Saturday, 20 March 2021

Croatia's Plan to Save the Tourist Season in German Spotlight

March 20, 2021- Croatia's plan to save the tourist season has been in the German media spotlight lately as travelers tentatively plan 2021 holidays. 

Index.hr reports that German and Austrian media have been writing about how Croatia plans to save the tourist season this year. Croatia will soon want to attract tourists again with its safety concept, Tagesschau.de writes. 

Author Nikolaus Neumaier of ARD Studio Southeast Europe cites the example of German citizen Elmar Vogel, who is trying to save his business in Croatia during the coronavirus pandemic. The 66-year-old has been running a surfing school on Lošinj, an island in the Kvarner Bay, for 40 years. With six employees so far, he has been able to make a decent living. Vogel also rents bicycles and surfboards. Lošinj, on the other hand, is relatively close to German tourists, and it is easy to reach by car, he points out.

Vogel hopes that enough people will be vaccinated by mid-May and they get their first guests on Lošinj this year. He does not expect Easter guests this year.

"The importance of tourism for the Croatian economy is huge. According to the National Tourism Association, the country was visited by about 21 million tourists in 2019, mostly from Germany. In the previous year, the share of tourism in the gross domestic product was 18.4 percent, much more than in any other country in the European Union," Neumaier says.

This time, Croatian Minister of Tourism Nikolina Brnjac wants to make it as easy as possible for tourists to come to the country, and now the program "Safe Stay in Croatia" has been created for tourists. It should guarantee special safety for tourists, including free tests. The Minister believes that it is good that accommodation is already being booked for Easter.

But in all steps, the Croatian government wants to act in a way that is in line with the European Union's values, which means without national independent efforts.

Anita Štefanič also hopes that tourism will start again soon. This German citizen of Croatian origin comes from Solingen and has been living in Croatia since 2010, running a travel agency on the island of Krk. She owns her own holiday apartments and rents and manages apartments and houses of other German owners - a total of more than 30 properties that could be rented for good money if guests come. Štefanič says that she urgently needs tourists now.

“We had a six-month loss of revenue financially, and you notice that, of course, especially now in the winter, when you have to make ends meet with the reserves from the previous year,” Štefanič revealed to Neumaier.

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Wednesday, 10 February 2021

Nikolina Brnjac and Croatian Tourism Players Discuss 2021 Tourist Season Expectations in Croatia

February 10, 2021 - Tourism Minister Nikolina Brnjac and Croatian tourism players discussed the 2021 tourist season expectations in Croatia on HRT's Otvoreno program Tuesday night. 

T.portal reports that Minister of Tourism and Sports Nikolina Brnjac, as a guest on the HTV show Otvoreno hosted by Zrinka Grancaric, said domestic and foreign experts had far lower expectations last year than was the result of the tourist season, at 50 percent of the record 2019.

"We closed everything on time, and we started to open on time. In compliance with all epidemiological measures and standards, we had a tourist season. The tourism sector has proven to be much tougher than others had thought. Croatia has had good results compared to other Mediterranean countries. Of course, we will strive for that this tourist season as well. We hold regular meetings with the directors of our market offices, we have included our embassies, and the feedback is that tourists inquire about the epidemiological situation. The second issue is the security situation. The third question is the vaccination rate," she said.

She added that occupations for travel exist, bookings exist. Camps, holiday homes, nautical tourism, active holidays are mostly booked. Today's tourist is looking for that through security, she added. She pointed out that the certificate for health purposes was discussed at the last meeting of state and government heads.

"COVID passports, which are used as a travel document, were not discussed, but a document that would serve as a vaccination certificate. The vaccine is optional. It is not yet available to the general population, and therefore to set something like that is to restrict freedom of movement," she stressed.

Veljko Ostojic, director of the Croatian Tourism Association, said there was significant interest in hoteliers' vaccinations.

"Today, it is only clear that if the county is in a green area, there are 25 or fewer new cases in the last 14 days. There is no possibility of travel restrictions. Everything else is still not clear. And that was one of the basic problems of the past year. There was no agreement at the EU level. It is now important that we try to vaccinate as soon as possible. We need clearly defined rules at the European Union level and to ensure that tourism professionals are well prepared," he said.

He added that the same result should be made in terms of epidemiological measures. Croatia was a safe destination last year before the vaccine was found, and there is no reason why it should not be this year.

Damir Krešić, director of the Institute for Tourism, said that the upcoming tourist season's key messages are quite clear and related to safety.

"We must send the message that we are a safe destination and that we keep the epidemiological situation under control. No matter what you do, the success of the 2021 season will depend on the epidemiological situation. If the epidemiological situation is good, we have reason to expect a very good tourist season," he pointed out. He added that it is good that Croatia has traditionally been perceived as a safe destination.

"We are entering this tourist season under less favorable circumstances than it was last year. Then we normally prepared for the tourist season, in April we counted the infected on one hand, and now if we have a figure less than 200-300, we can say it is a good day," he said.

Brnjac believes that it is essential for tourism workers to be vaccinated because they are in direct contact with the guest. That sector cannot be pushed because the Government has adopted a vaccination plan, the first and second phases, and it is known what the priorities are. After that, when the third stage of vaccination occurs, tourism workers would be added.

Martina Nimac Kalcina, president of the Family Tourism Association of the Croatian Chamber of Commerce, said that it was difficult and that a critical period was coming when those who managed to earn money last season had used up their supplies.

"Now the question is how to survive until May, June when the arrival of the first guests is announced. We have many tourism workers interested in vaccinations, and I am sure that the number of renters and other tourism workers would increase over time. We will certainly not all be able to get vaccinated by the end of this season. It is not only possible to distinguish between guests and tourism workers who have been vaccinated and who have not, but work should be done to enable testing. Other states will set the condition that one cannot enter their country, their citizens cannot return if they do not have a negative test in the last 72 hours. It costs about 100 euros for a foreigner to take a test in Croatia. What if you have a family of four who has to spend another 400 euros to return to their country? On the other hand, there are not enough checkpoints, and that testing is not organized enough," she said.

Minister Brnjac replied that meetings had been held with the Croatian Institute of Public Health to provide tourists with arrival and departure testing. They had begun discussing processing facilities and providing a sufficient number of testing sites. She also added - standard rules need to be regulated at the EU level. Damir Krešić agreed with this, believing that it must at least be easier to do if testing could not be cheaper.

Selimir Ognjenović, owner of the company I.D. Riva tours appeared on the show from Germany. He says the interest in vacationing in Germany is high. All of these ‘lockdowns’ have resulted in a great desire to travel.

He considers the experience from last year to be the biggest Croatian argument for entering the 2021 season.

"Our guests were protected, and we proved to be an excellent host," he emphasized. "Thirty camps were open all winter. Do you need more proof of trust than that?" he asked.

ORF journalist Christian Wehrschutz said that the question of what conditions the Austrian government will set regarding travel is crucial. If it is a two-week quarantine and an additional test - that's not good. Austrian hoteliers have asked the government for a clear strategy for testing on departure and arrival, the issue of nightclubs, and the vaccination of tourist workers. He believes that Austria will invite its citizens to spend their summers in their country, especially after the catastrophic winter season.

Damir Krešić agreed with that. He believes that small domestic tourist demand is a big problem in Croatia. In other countries, about 40 to 50 percent of guests are locals, while in Croatia, the number is about 10 percent. Therefore, he believes - Croatia should focus on Central Europe's markets and the regional markets of BiH and Serbia, depending on the epidemiological situation in those countries.

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