Tuesday, 1 June 2021

Croatian Motorways Ready for Tourism Season with Even More Amenities

June 1, 2021 – Investments in the yearly maintenance of Croatian motorways are sizeable, but justified when compared to the revenue generated, particularly during the summer season.

Croatian motorways are a crucial part of Croatia’s tourism infrastructure. They are also a very important factor in connecting various regions of the country. The topography of Croatia often makes local roads inefficient. Year after year majority of guests coming to Croatia with cars have very positive comments on the motorway system. However, the entire thing doesn’t come cheap.

With the constant need for maintenance and updating, Hrvatske Autoceste (Croatian Motorways Ltd - HAC) is hard at work every year to prepare the infrastructure for the summer season. The surge of cars on Croatian roads will once again happen in a year, starting in June. Index.hr reports Croatian Motorways Ltd invested 404.9 million kn (around 54 million EUR) into this year’s maintenance and upgrading of the motorway system. Much of this money has been invested in rest stops along the motorways. This is one part of the investment travellers to Croatia will immediately feel. Upgrades made in rest stops are mostly in interiors, bathrooms, and operational technology. HAC also notes the emergency services are going to be reinforced.

New and Updated Services

Along with the standard 24/7 road assistance patrolling the motorways, additional contractors will provide more complex roadside and system maintenance services. Teams of emergency medical services and over thirty vehicles with automatic defibrillators will be on hand as well. Much like the majority of other businesses, HAC expects higher revenues in 2021 than the previous year. In 2020 the numbers were very low due to COVID19 pandemic restrictions. Because of this, HAC started this year with around a hundred employees less than 2020. Estimated revenue from motorway tolls in Croatia this year is 2,18 billion kn (around 290 million EUR).

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

Saturday, 29 May 2021

Czech Tourists Can Enter Croatia without Restrictions 22 Days Since First Vaccine

ZAGREB, 29 May 2021 - Czech tourists will be able to enter Croatia without additional restrictions within 22 days of receiving the first COVID-19 vaccine shot, the foreign ministers of the two countries said on Saturday.

The decision should enter into force next week, when "the details are finalised at expert levels," Gordan Grlić Radman of Croatia said at a press conference.

The agreement between Croatia and the Czech Republic is "a great pattern for further bilateral agreements with other states," he added.

Croatian Tourism Minister Nikolina Brnjac said she would discuss this subject with her Austrian counterpart on Monday and that all tourist-generating markets would be contacted.

Czech Foreign Minister Jakub Kulhanek said Croatia was excellently prepared for the coming tourist season and that a Czech train which arrived today was just the beginning, as it would bring Czech as well as Slovakian and Hungarian tourists every day from now on.

He said Croatia had allowed children under 12 to enter without restrictions and that this was very positive for many Czech families.

Kulhanek announced that as in previous years, two Czech consular offices would be open this year, in Split and Rijeka, and that Czech police officers would arrive for joint patrols with Croatian police.

He said Prague supported Croatia's entry to the Schengen area because, he added, Croatia deserved it.

Wednesday, 7 April 2021

As Pandemic Rages On, Can You Enter Croatia Without Quarantine?

April the 7th, 2021 - The coronavirus pandemic is continuing to hold the entire world in its iron grip with lockdowns and complicated measures being introduced and changed frequently. With that said, can one even enter Croatia without quarantine? Yes and no.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, those passengers who don't have a negative molecular (PCR) or a negative rapid antigen test that is not older than 48 hours when entering the country will be entered into a digital monitoring platform for COVID-19 as people who must go into mandatory self-isolation/quarantine in which they must spend 10 days, according to a report from 24sata.

If they want to shorten that time spent in mandatory quarantine/self-isolation, passengers can be tested for the novel coronavirus immediately upon entering Croatia, but they must remain in self-isolation until a negative test result arrives. This is the procedure adopted by the National Civil Protection Headquarters on March 31st, 2021, and it refers to all people entering the country.

Those who enter the country and want to be tested only after arriving in Croatia must order their tests. Going for their coronavirus test is a justified reason for leaving home or your accommodation for the duration of mandatory quarantine.

Of course, those people must wear a mask and adhere to all other current epidemiological measures. The individual then must send their negative test result to the email address they received on the leaflet given to them upon entry by the border police, and based on that result, the police will remove the person's obligation to remain in self-isolation within the aforementioned digital platform.

If a passenger is allowed to enter Croatia on the basis of a having a negative rapid antigen test and intends to stay in Croatia for more than 10 days, then they must be retested for the novel virus by the tenth day from the date of issue of that initial test.

Those who are tested upon entering the country and end up receiving a positive test result or develop symptoms of the disease during their time spent in quarantine must contact a doctor. If they aren't residents of the country or for whatever reason don't have a GP, the owner of the facility in which they're residing must provide the contact details for a doctor for them.

For more on coronavirus, including border, quarantine and travel rules, as well as testing centres located across the country, make sure to bookmark this page.

Monday, 22 February 2021

Is Croatia Planning Covid Passport Introduction for Better Tourist Season?

February the 22nd, 2021 - Is Croatia planning Covid passport introduction in order to facilitate a less stressful summer tourist season for this year? The move would see the country have a more stable situation and a desperately needed boost from its strongest economic branch.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Marija Crnjak writes, Croatia is working on bilateral agreements to facilitate the crossing of its borders for those vaccinated against the novel coronavirus without the need to present a negative PCR test, in order to facilitate easier traffic during the tourist season, Davor Bozinovic, head of the National Civil Protection Headquarters confirmed on Friday.

"This is a sensitive matter because in Europe, they believe that there should be no discrimination on this basis. And we're going to have to see what we do and set ourselves up practically. We've already spoken with the Ministry of Tourism. On the one hand, it is still too early to decide concretely or run before we can walk. These talks will see the situation looked at more deeply and we'll see how we can facilitate a better tourist season this summer than the one we had last year,'' Bozinovic assured.

As has since been learned unofficially, a meeting of the European Commission (EC) on the topic of Covid passports will be held tomorrow, in order to define as soon as possible how people will be able to travel within the borders of the European Union and beyond for leisure during the summer months.

When it comes to Croatia planning Covid passport introductions, the country has held off even talking much about the matter and has instead been sitting back and waiting for a joint EU solution before delving into what some consider to be a controversial topic. This is the opposite move of some other EU member states that have already signed agreements with their emitting markets.

Nearby Greece, which was the first to raise the issue of Covid passports at the European Union level just a month or so ago, has so far signed an agreement with Israel, as well as Cyprus, and is now announcing an agreement with the United Kingdom, as the Northern European island nation brings enormous amounts of traffic to Greece each and every year.

The key issue that Covid passports hope and want to address is the issue of costs, which will be high for all those who will usually need to be tested before and after taking their trips without one unless such requirements are dropped.

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Tuesday, 9 February 2021

London to Zagreb COVID-19 Trip Report, February 8, 2021

February the 9th, 2021 - Just how does a trip from London to Zagreb look during pandemic-dominated times? I got to experience it yesterday as I made the journey and it was a mixed bag. 

At the end of December, I went to the UK to spend Christmas there and deal with some urgent and pressing matters which unfortunately couldn't wait. I had a bad feeling about it, but went ahead anyway as for some things, time wasn't on my side.

I left on the 20th of December on what turned out to be the very last flight (Zagreb-London) which Croatia allowed to operate between the two countries as an initial 48 hour flight ban was introduced impulsively and suddenly as the news of the new ''British variant'' of the novel coronavirus, referred to as VOC-202012/01 (also known as lineage B.1.1.7, 20I/501Y.V1), had been discovered circulating in southern Britain. 

The new variant, a mutated strain, was believed to spread more quickly and efficiently, but not to cause a more severe clinical picture than the ''older version'' of the novel coronavirus. Of course, a rapidly spreading pathogen causes issues even if the symptoms remain more or less the same, as hospital capacities fill even more quickly and the strain on the healthcare system becomes even more difficult to cope with. The need for extra caution was understood.

As soon as I landed at an empty Heathrow Terminal 5, which was all but devoid of life with the exception of me, a few other stragglers and some rather bored looking staff, my phone pinged, letting me know that Croatia had joined what was then a handful of other countries to place a sudden and temporary ban on passenger transport from the United Kingdom. It was initially for a mere 48 hours. Brilliant, I thought, as I stood waiting for my case breathing in the eye-watering smell of bleach which managed to penetrate my mask.

I read Plenkovic's tweet, UK and Croatia flag emojis thrown in for good measure, and combed through the comments of disgruntled and angry people stuck on both sides of the English channel as they tore into the decision as my case and I wandered through the empty baggage reclaim area to the exit.

''Given the new findings about the more rapid spread of COVID-19 in the United Kingdom, we're going to temporarily end passenger transport from the UK out of caution for 48 hours, until we find out more precise information about this possible new variant of the virus. Our priority is the health of citizens''

I arrived to where I was meant to be following a journey through an empty, silent and eerie London, began my ten days of self-isolation and on the tenth day, the area I was in went into Tier 4, the then highest tier of the UK's restriction system. A few days later, the entire country went into lockdown as cases rose, with over 1000 deaths recorded per day for a while. The country with the highest death toll in Europe was continuing down a deeply unwanted path.

Fast forward a few weeks and I begin planning to return from London to Zagreb as the situation calmed in Croatia, hoping to quickly make the journey before anything else altered within the blink of an eye, as has become so commonplace since the virus emerged.

I booked a Croatia Airlines flight for the 8th of February, leaving London for Zagreb at around 17:00. At that time, people entering Croatia with a reason or those with residence or Croatian citizenship (which applied in my case) could technically enter without presenting a negative PCR test which was no older than 48 hours as long as they tested immediately upon crossing the border, went into isolation and emailed their (hopefully) negative result to the border police, an email address which was provided to such passengers upon arrival.

Of course, having a negative PCR test in hand already was the more desirable situation, and back then, no self-isolation of any kind was needed if you could present that negative result upon arrival. Still, it was pleasant to see that the Croatian authorities recognised that this demand was difficult to achieve (other countries typically ask for 72 hours), and that they were willing to cut people some slack.

That quickly altered.

The new ''British variant'' was gaining traction in southern England and forcing infection numbers to soar and the Croatian Institute of Public Health created a new list of countries. No longer was it just EEA and non EEA, but a list of countries with ''special epidemiological measures'' applied to them. On the list back then were the United Kingdom and South Africa, which had its ''own'' concerning variant, with the later addition of Brazil. 

For those countries, a PCR test no older than 48 hours was needed, accompanied by self-isolation for a period of 14 days with ''test to release'' measures in place to cut the period of self-isolation short after seven days if, on the seventh day at the earliest, the person tests negative again at their own expense. This isn't obligatory and you can just end your self-isolation without any more tests after 14 days if you so wish.

The 6th of February arrived and I called to book a PCR test for that evening. I arrived to the facility and underwent the test for the fourth time since the pandemic began. I had contracted coronavirus only several months before and was aware I'd more than likely return a negative result, but I did have some doubts as I saw the swab taken out of my throat and nose and pushed into the red liquid in the test tube and sent away to the lab. Just 18 or so hours later on the 7th, my negative result arrived in the form of a text and an email. 

Obstacle one was dealt with.

I went to check in online on Croatia Airlines' website, only to be hit with what is obviously an outdated and very, very poorly thought out message that ''flights are banned'' until the 15th of February from the UK to Croatia. This of course isn't true at all for essential travel and I immediately realised that it simply meant I'd have to go to the check-in desk in person upon arrival as they'd need to see a reason as to why I was travelling, and if I had a right to do so as the UK remained in lockdown with a ''stay at home'' order in place. Although I understood that, I'm not sure others who are less observant of the situation would.

Paying the price Croatia Airlines wants for a very, very basic less than two hour flight from London to Zagreb (and the same is indeed true in the other direction, which is thankfully a trip I only make twice per year) and then being hit with a ''flight ban'' message isn't really ideal. Would it be so hard to issue a message stating that online check-in simply isn't currently available rather than inciting yet more confusion? Obviously.

On the 8th, I made the journey to Heathrow and prepared myself mentally for some more potential issues. Here's where things were impressive and I have to take my hat off to Britain (which is something I do seldomly). Both its rate of vaccination (there were over 10 million people vaccinated at the time of writing this, more than twice Croatia's entire population) and its proper and efficient checks on travel seem to be second to none.

I saw a few people told they couldn't fly from London to Zagreb due to having incorrect documentation, which must have been devastating, as a staff member called me to a check-in desk.

I presented a British passport and a Croatian ID card and he went to have it checked, 2 minutes later he returned saying that it was fine, sending my suitcase off to the plane as I went to the empty security. Passing through in 3 minutes (which is unheard of at Heathrow) and entering the empty departure lounge to await my flight.

As the gate for Zagreb was announced and the handful of people boarding the plane gathered, passports, ID cards and PCR test documents in hand, staff demanded negative tests before anyone could board the flight. Each person appeared to have an issue or two as boarding staff rushed back and forth from passenger to phone, calling the authorities to ask questions which were obviously not made properly clear. Some people were convinced they didn't need a test to enter, referencing the previous rule which stated that a PCR test could instead be obtained upon arrival, which now no longer applied to anyone (regardless of their status or citizenship) coming directly from the UK. Others had expired test results as 48 hours is difficult to achieve in many places across the UK due to demand.

The boarding staff kept calling the authorities, heading back to passengers, back to the phone, and looking very flushed. They then asked for ''Enter Croatia'' forms which don't need to be filled in if you're a citizen or a legal resident, but the staff had to take passengers' words for that as it was indeed as clear as mud. Ah, Croatia.

The process was very long, one woman was nearly denied boarding until a phone call from the authorities allowed her to enter Croatia despite some sort of issue with her PCR test. The phone kept on ringing and Heathrow's poor staff continued to look more and more confused as rules seemed to be interpreted differently by each and every person. Ah, Croatia. Again.

The plane took off after de-icing as it was snowing in England, air stewards handed out and then took back Passenger Locator Forms, and we landed in Zagreb just under two hours later. Usually, the border procedure is fast at Zagreb Airport, regardless of how busy it is. This time, despite the relatively few people travelling, we were stuck there for an hour. Frustrated people called taxis, family and friends waiting to pick them up to apologise repeatedly as only two border police were (very slowly) facilitating entry to passengers, with the occasional appearance of one or two others who came and went of their own accord.

One policewoman struck up a conversation with me because an apparently ''fast-track smart border'' device had broken, that very device was supposed to be used by precisely those people coming from London to Zagreb that day. We spoke in Croatian as she used my passports to try to see if it would work. It didn't. She was pleasant and it passed the time a bit quicker as she complained about the new technology and joked light-heartedly about the self-isolation measures. Each and every person arriving experienced issues because of their PCR tests, but were let in following repeated documentation checks as their mandatory self-isolation was on the cards anyway.

Upon finally arriving to the competent border guard, the surprisingly smiley and cheerful man took my documents and asked for my PCR test. He appeared confused by it, despite being well intentioned, and I had to explain in Croatian what each part meant. He appeared surprised by my willingness to explain and joked that this was all so difficult to follow. His exhaustion with the rules he must keep up with showed for a second or two before his cheerfulness returned, telling me that was all fine with a slight Dalmatian twang, copying the papers I gave him and asking me if I wanted my instructions for the removal of my self-isolation measure in Croatian or English. 

''Svejedno mi je'' I said. (Either of them, it doesn't matter to me), to which he provided both versions and waved me through, looking happy that his day dealing with often confused arrivals from countries with ''special epidemiological measures'' applied to them was almost over.

The 5 or 6 people left by that point in time in Zagreb Airport took their bags, sitting rather sadly on the now motionless carousel and exited, happy to remove their masks and breathe in the fresh, cold winter air outside after hours stuck in oxygen-poor queues and on planes.

All in all, the process was pleasant given the amount of stress actually involved. Heathrow did excellently, but Croatia and Croatia Airlines could improve on several things. Simply say that online check-in isn't available during lockdown rather than selling basic one-way flights at what truly are often extortionate prices and then issuing a very wrong message when people naturally attempt to check in online.

Croatia is continuing to deal with the pandemic excellently, dragging the infection and death rate down enormously in just a matter of weeks, and it is more than obvious that this 48 hour PCR test requirement (48 hours from the swab having been taken, not from the result!) is in place to make it as difficult as possible and to make even essential travel for citizens and residents problematic. The majority of other comparable countries ask for that time window to be 72 hours, which is much more reasonable and attainable.

Some institutions which do PCR tests in the UK do not expilicitly state that the test which has been done is a PCR test as this is typically implied. If you have a rapid antigen test or a lateral flow test, it will state in your result what that test is, but a ''coronavirus test'' in the UK implies that it is PCR in the vast majority of cases. Of course, some places which do them will write much more on the result, but others won't, and it's impossible for you to know that beforehand.

It would be beneficial for Croatia, people making essential journeys between the two countries and indeed airport staff who have been swept up into this to look more into what the procedures the country they're placing further restrictions on actually look like so as to avoid such confusion.

The 48 hour window is, as stated, a bit of a challenge most of the time. I spoke to a man standing near me at the border who had to travel from Wales to London two days before and pay for a hotel in order to obtain his PCR test at Heathrow on time for his flight, costing him far more time and money than is needed. His test more than likely expired during the border procedure as most of ours had done. Surely it would be better to ask for a window of time a little bit longer rather than to demand something you actually do not allow to be fulfilled because the queues are too long, the rules are too easily misunderstood and there are only two guards working?

It is quite typical of Croatia to ask for something that either doesn't exist, is difficult to acheive or is actually prevented from being fulfilled by Croatia itself. 

To end this London to Zagreb saga on a positive note, it was nice to see that there was a level of understanding and flexibility from the border police, and even real friendliness, which offered the message that they are as fed up as we all are with this seemingly endless situation. It's difficult to imagine that for the last seven years I have caught God knows how many flights from London to Zagreb and back again for next to no money and with zero issues (I miss you, British Airways!). Let's hope that if and when that ease of travel returns we'll learn to appreciate it that much more.

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Tuesday, 26 May 2020

Split-Dalmatia County Tourist Board Begins Promotion in Europe with New Promo Video

May 26, 2020 - The Split-Dalmatia County Tourist Board is targeting the biggest European markets with a new promotional video showing the beauties of Central Dalmatia. 

A press release from the Split-Dalmatia County Tourist Board reads that the most prominent part of the promotional campaign is the new video that was launched a few days ago, which is aimed at targeted European markets. It is also a marketing step at the time of opening borders and aims to establish tourist traffic in these areas.

"Central Dalmatia and all its treasures, the beauties of lakes, rivers, seas, beaches, bays, towns, and islands are ready for their dear guests. They are safe, preserved, and corona-free, full of hidden beauties, and always ready for their dear friends and guests. She is a treasure trove of feelings and a set of memories for those who have already met her in their gatherings. It is a dream that awaits all those who will meet her for the first time. There she is, ready to socialize again, with an invitation for all who want to taste the holiday, which will never leave their heads and hearts. And that is why she invites all those after a true adventure on the journey of a lifetime, to get to know it as the most special, most diverse car destination. Which at every new corner, behind every bend of the road, after exiting every tunnel, gives the most beautiful postcard.

The Split-Dalmatia County Tourist Board has launched promotional campaigns aimed at the markets of Germany, Poland, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Slovenia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Austria. And this time, it turns to all people ready to step into the new platform of the tourist offer. Those who will give them a rest that they will never forget even in this post-corona time. It gives them a chance to get to know the specialties of Central Dalmatia as a car destination, which offers a variety of specifics. Because Central Dalmatia is more than a tourist destination, it is a feeling of 100% freedom, at the same time, the most beautiful harmony. It is an area where every friend and guest can feel all the treasures gathered in one place," the Tourist Board adds.

"We are carefully monitoring the situation in the main markets of Central Dalmatia, just like hoteliers, caterers, tourist camps, owners of family accommodation and nautical, waiting for an agreement between the epidemiological and tourist professions which should enable human health protection and realizing the summer part of this tourist year. But in the meantime, despite the modest funds available to the County Tourist Board in these circumstances, we have prepared promotional campaigns aimed at our traditional markets of Germany, Poland, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Slovenia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Austria. Through them, we will further promote Central Dalmatia as a car-destination. The most prominent part of the promotional campaign is the new video that was launched a few days ago, which is aimed at targeted European markets and is a marketing step at the time of opening borders and establishing tourist traffic in these areas," says Joško Stella, director of the Split-Dalmatia County Tourist Board.

"Because with this way of getting to know her, every new and old guest in Central Dalmatia has the opportunity to get to know the connection between history and the present, gastronomy and adrenaline, fun and relaxation. Through car tours, they will touch UNESCO cities, Trogir and Split, drink coffee in the square of Emperor Diocletian, enjoy the healthiest, Mediterranean food in the world, watch kitesurfers on the city beaches. They will rise in Zagorje, taste grilled trout from the river, and taste top-quality homemade wine from carefully guarded vineyards. They will head south, to the famous beach in Bol, to Zlatni rat, and see with their own eyes a unique world phenomenon that shifts as the wind blows. They will swim in the crystal clear coves, enjoy the sea never more transparent, never softer, and then they will return to the coast again. And soar into the hills of Omis, to enjoy the lookout from the palm of your hand, and in its center, enjoy the city where the famous Omis Pirates guarded their honor and freedom.

There they will walk through the cobbled streets, then head in the direction of the Makarska Riviera, driving to choose which beach to go to. And they will feel something that will never leave their minds again, the warmth of the soul and people, the feeling of unique fun, and a memory that will stay in the soul forever. Because when Central Dalmatia invites you as a guest, everyone who responds will begin breathing with full lungs. Come to Central Dalmatia to taste happiness," the Split-Dalmatia Tourist Board concludes.

You can visit the Tourist Board website here.

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

Monday, 25 May 2020

Flights to Croatia: Air Serbia Announces June Flight Schedule to Croatian Destinations

May 25, 2020 - The latest news from around Croatia’s airports for flights to Croatia with updates from Zagreb, Split, Dubrovnik, Pula, Zadar and Rijeka.

Croatian Aviation reports that Serbia's national airline, Air Serbia, announced its preliminary flight schedule for June. 

The Belgrade-Zagreb route is also in the adjusted flight schedule, which will be in traffic again from Tuesday, June 16.

From that date, Air Serbia will fly to Zagreb 4 to 5 times a week through June, while from July, daily flights are announced.

Reservations to other destinations in Croatia are possible as follows:

Belgrade - Pula is announced 3 times a week from July 10 (Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays),

Belgrade - Zadar is announced twice a week from July 11 (Tuesdays and Saturdays),

Belgrade - Split is announced from June 28, three times a week (Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays),

Belgrade - Dubrovnik is announced from June 26, three times a week (Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays),

Belgrade - Rijeka line is not for sale.

Recall, we recently announced that German leisure company, Condor, would be resuming regular international lines from several German cities to well-known tourist destinations across Europe, including Split.

Before the outbreak of the pandemic, this German airline regularly flew on seasonal routes from German airports to Rijeka, Zadar, Split and Dubrovnik, but in the current summer flight schedule, the lines have not yet started operating.

In its last announcement, the company announced the resumption of operations, and the first line to Croatia will be introduced from the end of June.

From June 26, Condor will fly on two routes to Split:

Frankfurt - Split, from June 26, twice a week (Fridays and Sundays),

Dusseldorf - Split, from June 26, twice a week (Fridays and Sundays).

In addition to these two direct routes, the company, in cooperation with Lufthansa, also offers flights to Hamburg and Munich with short transfers. The mentioned lines will be operated by A320 aircraft, with a capacity of 180 seats.

Tickets are already on sale on the airline's official website. Split will thus be connected to Dusseldorf 3 times a week, considering that Eurowings, as we announced earlier, will fly between these two cities from June 20.

The airline has not yet confirmed the start of traffic from German cities to Zadar, Rijeka and Dubrovnik.

Furthermore, Aegean Airlines announced new start dates for operations to destinations in Croatia.

The Greek airline plans to fly to 3 destinations in Croatia: Dubrovnik, Split and Zagreb in the current summer flight schedule. The line to Zadar was canceled in 2019.

Athens-Dubrovnik will be in operation twice a week from June 25, wit A320 aircraft. Aircraft of this type at Aegean has a capacity of 174 seats. The increase to five-week flights is planned for July 3.

The Athens-Split line has been announced four times a week from July 6, with the A319 aircraft, with a capacity of 144 seats.

The Athens-Zagreb route will again operate from July 1, three times a week, on A319 and A320 aircraft (capacity 144 and 174 seats, respectively).

Finally, Emirates, an airline from the United Arab Emirates, has additionally canceled the start of operations on the Zagreb-Dubai route.

Although this seasonal line was supposed to start operating on the first day of the summer flight schedule, this did not happen due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

After that, the company repeatedly delayed the start of operations on this line, and the latest information was that this well-known company would come to the Croatian capital again from July 1 this year.

Emirates usually flies on the Dubai-Zagreb route every day, but due to reduced demand, flights are now postponed until August 1, when the line should start operating with only four flights per week (Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays). B47-300ER aircraft with a capacity of 354 seats have been announced on the route.

Given that this is the only seasonal Emirates route in the entire destination network, there is a high probability that this airline will not return to Zagreb this season.

For the latest travel info, bookmark our main travel info article, which is updated daily

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Monday, 25 May 2020

Croatian National Tourist Board Launches New Campaign: Enjoy the View from Croatia

May 25, 2020 - Following the #CroatiaLongDistanceLove campaign, the Croatian National Tourist Board launched a new communication platform titled 'Enjoy the view from Croatia' to promote Croatian tourism further.

"Welcome to 'Enjoy the view from Croatia', where you can enjoy the countless unique beauties of Croatia in one place. The past months have been challenging. For the sake of each other, we stayed in our homes and thus showed togetherness.

Although distant, here we are together, united in love for the crystal-blue Adriatic, sun-soaked beaches, centuries-old customs, and cheerful people who make every holiday special.

Let's forget about the worries. Let's swim in the virtual waves of Croatia and enjoy the flavors and aromas that we have transferred to the screens in the hope that the hardest is behind us and that we will see each other as soon as possible!

Dear hosts, we would like to add your photos or videos to our gallery. Send us the most beautiful scenes from where you are and together, we will show the world that Croatia is waiting for you, more beautiful than ever and ready to create new memories!" writes the Croatian National Tourist Board about its latest campaign.

vidikovac-makarska-optimizirano-za-web-vjeko-begovic - #_0.jpg

Namely, HRTurizam reports that the Croatian National Tourist Board invites you to participate in the project by sending photos or videos, which will be included on the CNTB platform. The photo or video should be sent to the e-mail address This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

If you use Instagram, you can send the photo/video to the enjoytheview_fromcroatia profile, use #EnjoyTheViewFromCroatia or mention @enjoytheview_fromcroatia. You can also share your photo or video on Facebook and Twitter using #EnjoyTheViewFromCroatia.

The Croatian National Tourist Board especially invites hosts to send a picture or video to their guests via the inbox of the booking service they use, and write #EnjoyTheViewFromCroatia in the message. Also, the CNTB advises adding a private message if desired (example message: We hope you are well, our vacation is not the same without you!) In the message, share the link to the website so that they too can enjoy the most beautiful Croatian views. If there is a story behind your photo or video that you would like to share, feel free to add a short description.

More information about the Tourist Board's new campaign HERE

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

Monday, 25 May 2020

More than 10,000 Foreign Tourists Arrived in Croatia, Mostly Slovenes and Germans

May 25, 2020 - A favorable epidemiological picture is bringing tourists back to Croatia. There are currently about 22,000 of them in the country - half are domestic guests, and of the foreign ones - most are Slovenes, but also Germans.

Dnevnik.hr reports that in Croatia, they say, they feel safe. A pleasant temperature just above 20 degrees, swimming pools, and good company are the only things that Germans need for a vacation in Croatia.

But to get here, they still needed more paperwork than in previous years. “At all borders, we had to show our reservations, passports and phone numbers,” Ali from Germany said.

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It only took them a few extra minutes of waiting at the borders. They had no problems moving through Austria, Slovenia, and finally to Croatia.

"We left early in the morning, we waited fifteen to twenty minutes at the border with Austria, and about 30 minutes with Slovenia and Croatia. The trip was very nice," adds Ali.

The excellent epidemiological picture in Croatia, which is better than in their country, is the reason why they never thought about canceling their reservation.

"I feel safer here than in Germany because Istria has been without the coronavirus for about three weeks now, while there are many more in Germany," says Werner from Germany.

But there were cancellations and relocations of reservations, especially in the pre-season, that is, in April, May and the first half of June.

"What makes us extremely happy is the fact that we managed to keep about 90% of reservations in terms of transferring reservations to later dates, but also in the 2021 season or through vouchers that guests will use for reservations in the same facilities," said Mladen Bujanic, co-owner of the travel agency Myistria.

The facilities that will be full this season are certainly holiday homes, but also camps that provide guests with isolation and privacy. However, we must accept the fact that occupancy will not be at the level of previous years.

"We hope that from the middle or the beginning of June from the 10th to the 15th, we will really start something that will look like a pre-season and start for the main season with the opening of borders with our most important markets," said Denis Ivošević from the Istria County Tourist Board.

The travel agencies note that the amount of official information and instructions for tourists should definitely be increased. This is a year of struggle for every guest.

"What will help keep guests in the future is certainly unambiguous and clear communication of the conditions under which one can come to the Republic of Croatia as a foreign tourist," said Mladen Bujanić, co-owner of the travel agency Myistria.

There is also an increase in the number of domestic guests, who are currently Croatia's most numerous tourists, along with Slovenes and Germans. "We could hardly wait for these security measures to be lifted, for these county borders to be opened so that we can move a little," Biljana said.

And some traveled even before the measures were lifted in their country, so on their return, they will have to be quarantined, or tested for COVID-19. “When the borders reopen, everyone will come, they’re not really scared now, but the only problem is later, when they get home,” states Debbie from Austria. 

Nautical tourism is among the first to recover. Spanish media report that some multinational companies are relocating their fleets to the Croatian coast.

Guest of Dnevnik Nova TV Sean Lisjak, president of the Marina Association at the Croatian Chamber of Commerce, says he isn't sure if it is true, but that he heard the media broadcast the same news.

"We are pleased with the information. It is too early to say whether there has been any official contact with the companies located among our marinas. Tomorrow we will all be informed about all this. If so, we welcome it, our marinas are ready to receive new clients," he said.

For the past weekend, he states that the first modest arrival of clients was recorded.

"This weekend, we have already recorded a more serious arrival of clients in our marinas. No marina has not recorded a more serious arrival of individual guests, boat owners who, based on the decision on the possibility of coming to our country, used it," he said.

"We appeal to speed up the flow of guests with passes and hope that their number will grow every weekend. We also recorded the first charter clients, which makes us very happy because some marinas have vessels in their fleets that sailed. This is at the level of some 200 or 300 clients and there are about fifty ships that have come from central Dalmatia from marina to marina," said Lisjak, adding that he hoped that two ugly months were behind us.

To increase the number of guests, he states that the level of service quality in marinas is rising every year. "We are recognized by that. The Institute of Tourism evaluates services and customer satisfaction every year and we rank very high. There are some shortcomings, but they are not drastic to the point of devaluing us," Lisjak explained, adding that it is important to increase the number of client arrivals.

"It should be possible for vessels smaller than 24 meters, i.e., our real transits, clients from Slovenian and Italian marinas or anywhere in the world, to be able to enter our marinas under the same conditions without any problems," Lisjak concluded.


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Friday, 31 May 2019

World Tourism Organisation Secretary-General: Croatia is Success Story

As Barbara Ban/Novac writes on the 30th of May, 2019, world tourism officials met this Tuesday in Zagreb at the 64th meeting of the World Travel Organisation Commission (UNWTO), which was inaugurated among others by UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili, a well known Georgian politician and diplomat. This event has now been held for the second time in the Republic of Croatia, and it's particularly important because Croatia is chairing the commission.

With that, the largest number of delegations to have come to Zagreb arrived - from as many as 44 countries. Pololikashvili has nothing but complete praise for Croatia's striking tourism success.

''Croatia is a true European tourism success story. Just last year alone, it hosted about 20 million visitors, thanks to its beautiful coastline, rich culture and heritage, and its vibrant cities. Every year, the tourism sector contributes to the Croatian economy with about 10 billion euros and employs a large number of people, including young people. In addition, Croatia has long supported UNWTO.

This is the second time for the Regional Commission for Europe to meet here and it's wonderful to come back. The meeting in Zagreb focused on the implementation of the UNWTO's Framework convention on tourism ethics, the goals of which are the establishment of tourism as a driver for sustainable development and the opening up of tourism to all.

Zagreb is also home to the Sustainable Tourism Observatory. It's part of UNWTO's global network of Sustainable Tourism Observatories and has an important task. It follows the tourist numbers of the very popular Adriatic coastal region and identifies the ways in which the sector can be managed in a more efficient, sustainable way.

How much is Croatia recognised as a tourist country across the world?

''Croatia is a very popular tourist destination, and it's understandable why that is so. It's famous for its coastline, beaches and historic towns. Croatia also offers a diversified tourist offer. The market for sport tourism as well as gastronomy is growing. The growth of these two sectors is really encouraging. For example, gastronomic tourism can play a key role in protecting the state and regional heritage and encourages tourists to visit places other than the main tourist destination-type cities, and thus the economic benefit of tourism is more evenly distributed.''

What are the expectations of tourism this year and what can we expect in the future?

''The latest UNWTO tourist barometer shows that, globally, international tourist arrivals are continuing to grow, currently at a rate of four percent per year. UNWTO expects global international travel arrivals to increase between three and four percent in 2019. Europe is still the most popular tourist destination in the world, although Asia, the Pacific and Africa are growing, within its regions, and beyond them.

We can expect this trend to continue in the coming years. We've already exceeded 1.4 billion international arrivals per year and we expect that in a little more than a decade, by 2030, that figure will reach 1.8 billion. But this growth is accompanied by different consumer habits, which determine new ethical patterns of behavior, interest in culture and communities, but also the enormous impact of new technologies, smarter cities and disruptive business practices.''

Given the increasing growth of tourism, one of the biggest problems is the so-called tourist "overproduction". Do you have any guidelines to resolve this problem?

''Tourism can bring many benefits, but also challenges. This is visible in very popular destinations. Quality management is crucial for the proper management of tourist destinations. This means that the private and public sector must jointly ensure that as many people benefit from tourism as possible and that the satisfaction of visitors isn't to the detriment of local residents and communities.

It's encouraging to see that this is happening in Croatia. The extension of the tourist season and the constant efforts to promote the country's popularisation, and not explicit focus on several locations, are positive steps.''

The fact that the World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) meeting having been held in the Croatian capital of Zagreb is important for the further promotion of Croatian tourism on a global scale, and this is undoubtedly considered to be the case for Croatian Minister of Tourism, Gari Cappelli. He said that this was an opportunity to highlight Croatia's candidacy for the Executive Council of the organisation where all UNWTO decisions were prepared, which would enable Croatia to create its activities in the world's top tourist organisation.

We've heard that global tourism has been growing for years, regardless of terrorism and unstable political situations. Has Croatia used enough of the opportunities for such trends and what can be expected of this year?

''Our tourism policy is focused on the quality and sustainability of the entire tourist system and the further activation of other economic activities, primarily domestic production in the function of tourism activities, where agriculture is extremely important.

As we're witnessing, trends are more variable and more challenging. The impacts from the environment include unpredictable socio-economic factors and therefore competitiveness can only be sustained and improved by quality and innovation and a clear tourism policy. We have recently introduced a reform package of tourism laws due to come into force in 2020 which are based on destination management. This means that we'll run public coordinating functions, from planning and organisation to control, in order to create the prerequisites essential for the development of a destination's [tourism] product.''

This is an opportunity for Croatia to be the focus of the interest of the cream of the crop of the world tourism scene. How much is Croatia recognised as a tourist country today across the world?

''Croatia is no longer only the land of the sun and the sea, although we can be proud of our resources. Our natural benefits are our great comparative advantage. By putting them in the function of tourism, comparative advantages should be made competitive. Our country is a country of knowledge, innovation, good hosts, diversity and more quality tourist offers in all segments. In addition, the fact is that we're more attractive to investment also goes in our favour. Last year, we saw almost one billion euros in investment, which means it's 55 percent more in 2019 than it was in 2016. This year, investments are about one billion and 50 million euros, and already 60 percent of those investments have been realised.''

Which markets have we not yet sufficiently addressed, and what about promotion on distant markets?

''We strive to maintain our tourist demand on our traditional foreign markets such as Germany, Italy, Slovenia and others, but also expand onto new markets, with special attention to distant markets such as the United States, China, Korea, Japan... Each year we note the rise of tourist arrivals from these areas, and this is going beyond the peak months of the tourist season. This has also contributed to the positioning of our program of Croatia as an aviodestination, in which we invested 70 million kuna in two years and this year, we're connected with 81 destinations in 25 countries across the world. We have a direct line with Korea, soon with the USA, and there's also a direct link with China.''

Given the continued growth of tourism, one of the biggest problems we face is excessive tourism. Do we have any guidance here in Croatia on how to deal with this problem?

''Excessive tourism growth leaves a negative impact and some countries are bad examples of how mass tourism and sudden growth permanently destroys key resources - the natural basis. Sustainability awareness is very important, and the implementation of the principle of responsible management is crucial to the development of the [type of] tourism we strive for. That's why we've recently included in our progrm, 25 million kuna's worth of funding for the development of sustainability studies so that residents, tourists and stakeholders of certain destinations know what the capacity limits are.''

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Click here for the original article/interview by Barbara Ban for Novac/Jutarnji