Wednesday, 4 August 2021

Last Minute Croatian Holiday Prices on Adriatic Go Wild as Guests Arrive

August the 4th, 2021 - Last minute Croatian holiday prices on the Adriatic coast are going wild as more and more guests arrive and attempt to seek out accommodation. Nobody could have possibly predicted this scenario at the beginning of the year, but could it be that we're finally closing the door on the global pandemic?

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, many predictions were made about summer 2021 for Croatia, and some were a little less negative about it than others, but the optimists who claimed that this summer would end being just a little worse than the summer of record 2019 were few and far between, reports Slobodna Dalmacija.

''I looked at the statistics yesterday and I couldn't believe my eyes. I compared them to those from the same period back in 2019 and concluded that there are only 12 percent fewer guests in Makarska today than there were back during that prosperous pre-pandemic year. In Makarska we have 43 percent higher tourist results than we did during the same period last year!'' stated Tonci Lalic from the Tourist Board of the City of Makarska, adding that the current issue of guests struggling to find places to stay is very real.

''In the age of online reservations, our guests, just like before, physically come to the tourist boards and travel agencies and look for accommodation. Who could have known they'd start doing that given the fact that it has been so long since people did it that way. They come here begging to be helped and they just agree to everything. They'd also spend the night in some accommodation unit somewhere below the hill, just to have it dealt with. We're witnessing a huge influx of tourists,'' explained Lalic as the last minute Croatian holiday phenomenon continues.

In Split, the situation is such that guests agree to rent basement space and ancillary facilities, and the owners suddenly evict tenants from their apartments, aware that, due to a poor assessment of the season that surprised everyone, they should have received tourists and not played it "safely" with longterm tenants. The moment one reservation is cancelled, another is booked, but it also comes with a thirty percent higher price tag.

The catch is that some of the people of Split gave up renting their accommodation units out to tourists last year entirely, so now there's a lack of apartments. The situation is similar to the one when "Ultra" took place in Split in the first few years, and there weren't enough tourist beds available. That's why those hurt by the pandemic and hoping to make some quick and effortless cash are looking to seize the moment and charge prices which go beyond any logic.

For more, follow our travel section.

Saturday, 24 July 2021

Split Airport Busiest in Croatia!

ZAGREB, 24 July, 2021 - Split Airport is currently the busiest in Croatia and this weekend alone it will handle 180 planes with 32,000 passengers!

This weekend has seen the largest numbers of passengers and planes, an executive at the airport, Mate Melvan, told Hina on Saturday, adding that 140 of those 180 planes were regular flights and 40 were private planes.

"If the situation doesn't deteriorate, we could have more than 300,000 passengers in July," he said, adding that Split Airport could already say that the current tourist season was exceptionally good when compared with last year's, which had been the worst to date.

Jelena Ivulić of the Jadrolinija shipping company told Hina there were many tourists in the Split port as well, their number rising constantly since June. She said 56,000 passengers and over 13,000 vehicles were expected in the port this weekend.

"It's a real July weekend. We are in constant positive growth and if it stays so, it will be excellent," she said, calling for caution due to COVID so that Croatia was not declared a red zone like last summer.

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Tuesday, 6 July 2021

Overnight Stay Share Rises in June as Croatian Hotels Regain Momentum

July the 6th, 2021 - The share of overnight stays realised in Croatian hotels as the epidemiological situation improves thanks to vaccinations has risen, providing hope for the height of the 2021 tourist season which is yet to come.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Marija Crnjak writes, unlike the first pandemic-dominated year in which Croatian hotels sadly had the lowest occupancy of all accommodation segments, hotels this year can be relieved at least in that regard, as can already be seen from the first tourist statistics.

Although the busiest traffic is still expected, in the first half of the year, Croatian hotels had 83 percent more overnight stays than last year during the same period, and in June there were as many as 2.8 times more overnight stays realised than in June last year. No less important, currently out of a total of 1187 Croatian hotels, 846 of them have been opened, 200 more than were open before the peak of the last summer season.

What has changed? There is also some maths to be looked at in this equation, as Croatian hotels were closed to a greater extent last year due to epidemiological measures than this year, but again, until recently the borders were barely open to tourists. With the vaccination programme giving tourism some optimism as opposed to the uncertainty of 2020, what has perhaps changed the most is the perception of guests this year.

This year, many guests see Croatian hotels as safe facilities, whose service and organisation of operations can guarantee guests will not get infected. This is due to the fact that last year no tourist staying in any of the Croatian hotels was recorded as having caught coronavirus from a facility. Then came the introduction of the national Safe Stay certificate.

"In 2020, Croatian hotels, when we compare all types of accommodation capacities, had the largest decrease in arrivals and overnight stays when compared to 2019. The index of arrivals was 24.36 percent, and overnight stays 27.12 percent. The lowest quality hotels had the smallest decline, which is proof that quality is in demand in the conditions of this crisis and is certainly a signpost for the future,'' pointed out Bernard Zenzerovic, the director of the Croatian Hotel Employers Association (UPUHH).

He noted that the success of this summer season will be measured by its length, if we're in the green all summer and during the post-season then we can expect great results.

Croatian tourism success will also be counted in terms of revenue, and Croatian hotels are known to be the strongest link in the sector in that regard, all the more so because the pandemic hasn't significantly lowered hotel accommodation prices.

Current figures from eVisitor from the Croatian National Tourist Board indicate that overnight stays spent in Croatian hotels in the first half of the year accounted for 23 percent of total overnight stays realised, compared to 19 percent last year. So far this year, the largest share of overnight stays of about 30 percent is held by private accommodation, which in the pre-pandemic year of 2019 was still slightly lower (27 percent), while hotel overnight stays in 2019 amounted to 35 percent of total tourist traffic.

With 3.5 million overnight stays (at 660 thousand arrivals), compared to 2019, family/private accommodation is currently at about 48 percent of turnover, while hotels are at 29 percent of the realisation of overnight stays when compared to 2019.

The Association of Hoteliers points out the data of the Hotel Benchmarking study conducted by the Faculty of Management in Tourism and Hospitality from Opatija, that in accordance with the increase in the number of overnight stays in June, the utilisation rate of work capacity in hotels increased from 7.18 percent in May 2020 to 26 , 97 percent in May 2021.

"But when we know that the capacity utilisation rate in hotels was 65.76 percent in May 2019, according to the same study, we can see that there's a long way to go ahead of us to reach that record year," explained Zenzerovic.

The quality of service and investment in numerous protocols have contributed to the growth of guests' trust in Croatian hotels, noted Zenzerovic.

"Croatian hoteliers have decided to create their own health & safety programmes and protocols, as well as branding, promotion and cooperation with international certification companies in order to emphasise this component that is currently crucial for guests. We've shown all guests that we know how to set up and manage hotel operations in a way that provides them with the pleasure of staying there while respecting epidemiological measures. This is exactly the capital we're bringing into the tourist year 2021. At the same time, projects such as "Safe stay in Croatia" raise the image of Croatia as a safe destination. All of the above gives us reason for optimism regarding the business performance of the hotels, and we expect a better season than last year,'' concluded Zenzerovic.

Vaccination is also considered an important link for optimism. Spring polls show that 70 percent of hotel staff want to be vaccinated against the novel coronavirus, and they are now dealing with an estimate that about 60 percent of the entire Croatian tourism sector has been vaccinated.

For more, follow our dedicated travel section.

Tuesday, 8 June 2021

Eyes Focus on Season, But Croatian GDP Depends on Other Factor

June the 8th, 2021 - The tourist season is rapidly approaching and all eyes are firmly fixed on just what that will do for the domestic economy as the epidemiological situation at any given time continues to hold all the cards. With that being said, Croatian GDP depends on one other important factor, too.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Ana Blaskovic writes, the announcement that the Croatian economy fell in the first quarter of 2021 by the least it has fallen since the beginning of the coronavirus crisis, more precisely by a mere 0.7%, was welcomed as an overture to recovery. In the turn towards the ''plus'' analysts' expectations of a significantly better performance remained firmly in the background. That means that the targeted 5.2 percent growth for 2021 (and all of the consequent revenue) will be a rather tight calculation that will focus not only on a good summer season but also peaceful autumn.

Most economists will say that it is difficult to forecast things for this year according to the first three quarters, even without the coronavirus pandemic, as Mystic Meg isn't around to do that job. Of the six analysts spoken to by Hina, three expected growth in the range of 0.7 and 4%, two expected stagnation, and one expected a decline of 6 percent.

"It's a bit hasty to come to conclusions based solely on the first quarter. Even with the data we have for the second, the picture is blurry because you have a base which is either too high or too low,'' explained Zeljko Lovrincevic from the Institute of Economics, emphasising that in the first three months of 2020, there were no coronavirus issues to really speak of, and the other three were marked by lockdowns.

"In the first six months, Croatian GDP growth is likely to be 3 to 3.5% annually. At this point, it's certain that the summer season could be good, and growth in the third quarter could reach 8-9%. With that being said, autumn remains uncertain and the last three months should have a similar dynamic to reach the planned 5.2% year-on-year. This will be possible only without an autumn wave of the virus and new restrictions,'' believes Lovrincevic, who is worried about the speed of the vaccination rollout. In order to curb the epidemic (and save the tourist season), the government has announced that 50-55% (out of 3.36 million) adults in Croatia will be vaccinated by the end of June.

23 days are left until June comes to an end, and according to the CNIPH, by June the 3rd, 1.317 million Croatian residents (39.1%) had been vaccinated with one dose, and 537,965 of them had received both, accounting for only 16% of adults. While the mass vaccination programme finally became operational after an amateur and frankly embarrassing start, a sharp drop in people being interested enough to get themselves registered for it has been noticed, meaning that the possibility of vaccinated people without the need for registration or an invitation is now a real and very likely possibility.

"Macro figures for this year are open due to the pandemic, but thanks to the relatively strong recovery of tourism, growth should be good in the 3rd and 4th quarters. Our expectations are a 5% increase in Croatian GDP in 2021 and 5.5% in 2022,'' says PBZ Croatia osiguranje macroeconomist Hrvoje Stojic, who forecasts a 4.5% budget deficit for 2021.

With a good tourist season, indicators for optimism are the growing share of exports of goods in Croatian GDP growth, stronger growth in investment and construction activities, European Union (EU) money and good indicators of personal consumption.

"If tourism surprises us and rises above our expectations, the forecasts could be adjusted upwards, so it makes more sense to talk about the direction in which the economy is moving than about the final speed of recovery, which can still vary," explained Stojic. RBA chief economist Zrinka Zivkovic Matijevic also points out that autumn is uncertain.

"There's a question of new strains, vaccinations, the duration of immunity… But I believe that, even if unfavourable scenarios come to be, Croatia will respond as before, with relatively mild measures and wouldn't just close shopping centres,'' she said, explaining this in terms of consumption and indirect taxes.

"It's not too easy to forecast, but we assume that the normalisation of movement will continue. That's why we remain with the forecast of 5.1% growth in 2021,'' she says.

The combination of the lower vaccination coverage of the population and the influx of millions of foreign tourists from countries with a diverse epidemiological picture, not to mention the confirmation of the Indian variant of coronavirus in Croatia, is understandably worrying.

Although Croatia is entering the summer with the first rebalance this year, the Minister of Finance announced the autumn reshuffling, counting on a clearer post-season picture.

With Croatian GDP projected, Zdravko Maric has a current target of 17.1 billion kuna (4.3% of Croatian GDP) of the central government deficit and 3.8% of the general government deficit.

This is a fragile balance on which a lot depends: the room for maneuver for measures to help the economy, the nation's credit rating, the implementation of the euro, all the way to the payment of salaries and pensions.

For more, follow our lifestyle section.

Monday, 7 June 2021

Epidemiologist Branko Kolaric Discusses Tourist Season and Infection Rates

June the 7th, 2021 - Croatian epidemiologist Branko Kolaric sat down recently to discuss the rapidly approaching tourist season and what that might mean for infection rates in Croatia when all the foreign tourists leave at the end of summer.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, epidemiologist Branko Kolaric commented on the current epidemiological situation for N1 this morning, and when speaking about the restrictions in care homes and nursing homes, he said that for the oldest and most unwell residents of such facilities, visitors should be allowed in for longer than fifteen minutes if the said visitor is vaccinated.

"The only thing left of the restrictive measures in care homes is if the resident hasn't yet been vaccinated, and was in the hospital, that after hospital treatment they go into self-isolation and that unvaccinated visitors can visit them for only fifteen minutes," Branko Kolaric told N1.

He said that the current vaccination rate across Croatian nursing homes is very good.

''We really do have a high turnout and currently there are a total of just twenty infected people living in nursing homes across Croatia. Of those who have fallen ill, the majority are unvaccinated people, but also some people who have been vaccinated. We know that the vaccine doesn't protect anyone at a level of 100 percent, but in the third wave, mortality was reduced by twenty times,'' explained Branko Kolaric, adding that he hoped that this pace of vaccination would continue so that we could enter autumn more calmly.

"We still have enough people interested in getting vaccinated and I hope that we will continue to have those people vaccinated in sufficient numbers," Branko Kolaric added.

''It's possible that we have variations and don't have a descent to zero as we had last summer and that is why it's still important to adhere to the anti-epidemic measures, avoid having too much contact with others, especially people who aren't yet vaccinated, and to avoid larger crowds, because in doing all that you can get infected,'' said Kolaric.

He also spoke about a possible easing of the country's epidemiological measures.

''I do think that the measures will be revised before the summer arrives and it's possible that the provision of wearing masks in areas where people have been vaccinated will be abolished. So, it all depends on how many people get vaccinated. That being said, we can't rely solely on vaccination, but we must also adhere to measures until we achieve collective immunity. Where vaccination coverage is low, at around 30-40 per cent, it remains possible that new waves of infection will occur. We need a very high percentage of vaccination,'' explained Kolaric.

Many countries are currently talking about the new wave of the coronavirus pandemic that awaits them and that the question is not whether or not it will happen, but how strong it will be. Asked if a new wave of infection awaits Croatia after the tourist season, Branko Kolaric said that on the one hand it is a matter of speculation, and that, taking into account the situation in the country's nursing homes, where there are ten times fewer infected people and twenty times fewer deaths, we can expect just that.

''That’s why we need to vaccinate people. We're never going to completely eliminate the virus, but it is important to reduce the number of deaths caused by it,'' concluded Branko Kolaric.

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

Wednesday, 12 May 2021

Question Marks Over Croatian 2021 Tourist Season Remain Plentiful

May the 12th, 2021 - The Croatian 2021 tourist season continues to have multiple question marks hanging over its head as warmer weather is here and the summer is rapidly approaching. Despite the advent of numerous vaccines which are highly effective against the novel coronavirus, issues with tourism and travel remain.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, the Croatian tourist market has finally been somewhat more lively in recent days, and the agencies for renting apartments and holiday homes are recording slightly more inquiries from foreign guests, but they're primarily related to July and August. Some guests say that they've already been vaccinated, and some ask if the hosts have received the vaccine, there are even requests for everyone they will come into contact with during their stay to be vaccinated, writes Slobodna Dalmacija.

The owner of a boarding house from the Central Dalmatian island of Brac, who wished to remain anonymous, will have to fulfill such a request put to them by would-be guests. This individual says that given the improving situation with the pandemic over recent days, there are more inquiries from guests for the upcoming Croatian 2021 tourist season.

Minimal interest

Bookings for the month of June is currently extremely poor, in fact it's terrible. However, guests are insecure and tend to ask for a greater possibility of cancellation, even when they're offered various discounts on making an advance payment. This was confirmed by Natasa Ljubicic from the "Top Season" agency.

''Most of them inquire about the possibilities of cancellation and typically ask for a complete refund in such a case. This is very inconvenient for owners who want to agree to cancel, but at least three days before arrival, but guests want it to be made possible one day before their planned arrival,'' explained Natasa, who has many years of experience under her belt. She confirmed that interest in apartments in cities is really small, but that she expects that most guests this Croatian 2021 tourist season will book at the last minute, which is understandable given the unstable situation regarding travel for leisure, vaccination certificates and negative test rules at borders.

She added that those guests who come by plane are waiting for the proper regulation of air transport on which they can actually rely, because one day, as she recalled, some guests informed her that their flight to Split had been cancelled.

The Dubrovnik-based agency Online Croatia has also noticed a more lively interest in reservations in recent days. What dominates conversations with foreign tourists is, as with others, the issue of flexible booking cancellations. They have almost no reservations for June, and they're also not interested in September because they assume that tourists are wary of last year's situation happening again this year, when at the end of August the public health situation worsened everywhere and countries began to close their borders.

''This year, it's more complicated to enter the country, given that negative PCR tests or confirmations of vaccination or proof of having recovered from COVID-19 are required, which is, for example, an additional considerable expense for a family of four. According to the latest information we have, such an obligation also applies to children older than seven, and we don't know if it will stay that way because something does alter every now and then,'' stated Maja Cupic, the owner of another agency.

Cupic, whose agency has focused more on closer markets since the outbreak of the global coronavirus pandemic, also expects that most bookings this Croatian 2021 tourist season will be at the last minute.

For more, follow our travel section. 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 centres across the country, make sure to bookmark our dedicated COVID-19 section and choose your preferred language.

Monday, 10 May 2021

More Than Two Thirds of Tourism Workers Willing to Get Vaccinated

ZAGREB, 10 May 2021 - Tourism Minister Nikolina Brnjac and Croatian Tourism Association director Veljko Ostojić said on Monday the summer season could be better than last year's, provided COVID-19 measures were complied with and a majority of tourism employees and the general population were vaccinated.

"Based on last year's experience and the preparations we have made together with the tourism sector and all tourism stakeholders, including the vaccination of tourism employees, which we consider the number one priority, I'm confident that this season could be quite good," Brnjac said in Rovinj.

The tourism sector is very interested in vaccination against COVID-19, she added.

"We have no problems with that at all because everyone is aware how important vaccination is so that we can ensure an even better season. After Dalmatia and Istria, the vaccination of tourism employees has begun in the interior and we have information that almost 70% of the tourism sector is willing to be vaccinated."

Brnjac said the Croatian Institute of Public Health should ensure additional doses for tourism employees.

She recalled that the Digital Green Certificate should be introduced on 1 June, that Croatia was part of a pilot project, and that Croatia already on 1 April clearly defined conditions and criteria for entering the country.

Ostojić said that unless something unforeseen and negative happened, he expected the summer season to be better than last year's.

He said he expected a lot from the Green Certificate, adding that the COVID-19 situation was improving.

"If the epidemiological situation isn't good, we have no right to expect tourism to happen. But by intensifying the vaccination of tourism employees as well as the general population, we will significantly improve the situation and be competitive as we were last year at the start of the season," said Ostojić.

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 centres across the country, make sure to bookmark our dedicated COVID-19 section and select your preferred language.

Sunday, 9 May 2021

Tourism Minister Brnjac: Season Could be Better Than 2020's

May the 9th, 2021 - Croatian Tourism Minister Brnjac has stated that she feels that Croatia has done all it can to send out the message to its emitting markets that it is taking the pandemic seriously and that all epidemiological rules are being fully respected.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, Nikolina Brnjac said that she believes that the Republic of Croatia has successfully met all of the preconditions for tourists eager for a holiday following a terrible 2020 to recognise the country as safe for precisely that purpose.

The summer tourist season could be better than last year for Croatian, Tourism Minister Brnjac told Vecernji list on Saturday.

"The good news is coming from Germany, Poland, Italy, the Czech Republic and the Netherlands… which shows that Croatia is high on the list of priorities for their residents when choosing a holiday destination," said the minister, commenting on forecasts that tourist traffic in 2021 could reach about 60 percent of pre-pandemic, record 2019.

In the latest European Commission (EC) report, she added, Croatia has climbed up and is now among the top 10 most desirable European tourist destinations for travellers this summer.

"This is certainly supported by the announcements of as many as 180 airlines from Croatia's emitting markets. Especially good news about new airlines is the latest from New York to Dubrovnik. This is a sign that everyone is seriously counting on coming to Croatia this summer. If the epidemiological situation in Croatia and on our emitting markets is favourable, with all the activities we're carrying out, I believe that we can achieve a better season than the one we had last year,'' Tourism Minister Brnjac stated.

"The borders are open, the Safe Stay in Croatia project has more and more users every day, we've defined more than 300 points for testing tourists in tourist centres/destinations, which can be found at www.safestayincroatia.hr. We're co-financing antigen tests for tourists, we've started vaccinating Croatian tourist workers, we'll have special epidemiological data for the islands, and we have launched the Experience local campaign, with which we want to attract domestic tourists as well.

We're ready for the season, and the epidemiological situation is crucial to that,'' Tourism Minister Brnjac stated.

For more, follow our travel section.

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