Tuesday, 11 January 2022

Croatian Company Teams Provoke Interest from Global Giants in Las Vegas

January the 11th, 2022 - Croatian company teams have impressed some truly global giants in Las Vegas recently. From Amazon to Microsoft and Apple, huge names have shown interest in what these Croatian company teams have to offer.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Lucija Spiljak writes, the winners of Idea Knockout - Sportreact, Codelab, Iron Bull and Orqa - presented their innovationd at the world's largest Consumer Electronics Show (CES), which took place in Las Vegas for the 55th time from January the 5th to the 8th, 2022.

They were joined by the Croatian startup Zuluhood, which was among the ten most promising startups at this year's CES, highlighting a number of innovations for home security.

For the current winner of Idea Knockout, the startup Sportreact, going to Las Vegas was an opportunity to present itsself to international technology journalists, investors and distributors, and among the potential investors was no less than the global giant Amazon.

Croatian company teams presented their innovative products among 800 startups from around the world that exhibited at Eureka Park, for which more than 3,000 new companies applied. In doing so, they attracted the attention of representatives of technology giants such as Apple and Microsoft.

Croatian innovation in Las Vegas

Sportreact is an Internet-of-Things (IoT) device intended for the development of the motor and cognitive abilities of users, intended for both recreational and professional athletes. It is connected by a mobile application (app) that measures and analyses numerous parametres during the individual's physical training.

Codelab introduced the electronic board game Clockwork Briefcase in Vegas, in which the goal is to deactivate a fake explosive hidden in a suitcase.

Iron Bull is an indie-studio for developing highly-realistic robotic tank models with real-tank operational capabilities, including their launch, plastic missile firing capability, and a system for detecting received missiles and any incurred damage. The tank is equipped with a wide-angle camera and is controlled by two players.

The Osijek startup Orqa developed Orqa FPV, which are goggles for the management of drone races and other professional (industrial and civil) drone applications. They also presented a new model of drone goggles while in the USA, a 5G module and a learning controller on a simulator at CES.

The general sponsorship of Idea Knockout, the largest regional competition of technological ideas organised by the Bug magazine, is part of the long-term strategy of Hrvatski Telekom (Croatian Telecom), which is establishing itself as the largest startup accelerator in all of the Republic of Croatia.

In addition to these five startups and Croatian company teams, two more from the PISMO Business Incubator - Grow and Hiroma Design - exhibited their respective products.

Grow unveiled their smart glasses for the deaf that should make life easier for the 72 million people in the world who suffer with various types of hearing problems, while Hiroma Design developed the Moopies educational app in which children connect with characters and become teachers, not just students, while their time spent in front of the screen is controlled by their parents.

For more, check out Made in Croatia.

Thursday, 4 November 2021

Vodnjan Infobip's Taking Over of American Rival is Step Closer to Wall Street

November the 4th, 2021 - The Vodnjan Infobip company has gone from strength to strength over recent years, and now, with its most recent take over of an American rival, this remarkable Croatian company is edging ever closer to Wall Street.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Ana Blaskovic writes, the first, and so far the only Croatian ''unicorn'', the Vodnjan Infobip, is continuing with its ambitious expansion. After a financial injection of half a billion dollars last month, this company acquired the American Peerless Network, a global provider of VoIP (Voice over IP) services.

Although the value of the transaction remains a secret for now, it is on the trail of plans to go public in New York in late next year, or in early 2023. This latest acquisition comes after the Vodnjan Infobip company realised a 500 million US dollar loan last month with the main investors being credit funds managed by Ares Management Corporation and those managed by BlackRock, under the advisory baton of Morgan Stanley.

''This new financing places Infobip in an exclusive group of renowned high-growth and high-value technology companies, which have used a similar form of financing. This is Infobip's second round of external financing, after a significant strategic investment by the capital investment company One Equity Partners (OEP) in the total amount of 300 million euros from the second half of last year,'' the company said in a statement.

They don't want to talk too much about the details of the transaction, stating only that the payment was made with a combination of money and shares from Infobip, as well as the fact that the management of Peerless will invest parts of its ownership shares in the Vodnjan Infobip company. The conclusion itself depends on the green light of the regulator.

By stepping into the US market, Infobip is set to inherit a lucrative piece of cake of the ''voice over IT'' services market as Peerless is a leader in this segment covering over 93 percent of the US population. It has more than 4,500 interconnections in 49 (US) states and a turnover of nine billion minutes per month across more than 200 markets.

''By taking over the Peerless Network, we're accelerating our international strategy. This is a very positive thing for Infobip from a financial, strategic and operational point of view. It enables us to grow our business even more strongly over in the USA, which is in line with the strategy of the Peerless Network,'' said Silvio Kutic, the CEO and co-owner of Infobip.

“Together, we'll offer companies and people around the world our services through a truly global network supported by local teams. Of course, the goal is to provide the best user experience on the market. We have an exciting period ahead of us and big things are just starting to happen for Infobip,'' he added.

“We're very excited about all the possibilities that the combination of Infobip and Peerless will bring. It will allowsus to scalably expand our services, capabilities and offers to our customers. By combining our market-leading voice offering and Infobip's global messaging capabilities, we're creating a strong foundation to become a leader in the fast-growing cloud communications market,'' said John Barnicle, CEO of Peerless Network.

"This acquisition will, among other things, enable Peerless Network to provide comprehensive support to its customers who have business needs outside of the United States," he added.

The range of services boasted by the Vodnjan Infobip company enables companies to communicate with a large number of their customers via messages, e-mail or chatbots. Among their clients are massive world names such as Uber, LG, Sberbank, and their services are also used (among recreational athletes) by the very popular Strava application. Peerless, on the other hand, brings a narrower segment of communication, VoIP, under the umbrella of Infobip.

Thus, the joint solutions of the two companies would ultimately be able to process more than 30 billion monthly user interactions across a full range of communication channels in more than 190 countries around the world.

When asked whether the acquisition of Peerless completely exhausted the aforementioned financial injection, Infobip didn't want to specify. It is to be assumed that this is not the case since it was previously announced that they would consider several acquisitions before going public, and it was confirmed to Bloomberg that "the takeover cycle isn't over".

Plans for an initial public offering of shares on the New York Stock Exchange are in full swing, and if we briefly recall, the CEO and co-owner Silvio Kutic told Bloomberg back in May that after the completion of funding (the latest rounds) the company could be ready for an IPO in the next 18 to 20 months.

In the first quarter of the year, the Vodnjan Infobip company's revenue grew 57 percent compared to the same quarter last year thanks to the acquisition of OpenMarkets, after which the valuation exceeded 1 billion US dollars, seeing Infobip crowned with the prestigious status of a unicorn. This year, they also took over the Croatian Shift franchise and the world's leading SMS firewall service provider, Anam Technologies from Ireland.

Infobip's expected revenues this year should amount to 1.2 billion euros, repesenting very rapid growth compared to last year's level of about 720 million euros, or about 600 million euros achieved back in pre-pandemic 2019.

For more, check out our business section.

Wednesday, 13 October 2021

Tasks from Zagreb Kids Escape Room to be Solved in United States

October the 13th, 2021 - Tasks from the Zagreb kids Escape Room are set to be solved across the pond in the world's strongest economy, the United States of America.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Sergej Novosel Vuckovic writes, entering the United States of America, the world's strongest economy, is an unfulfilled dream for many Croatian citizens, let alone entrepreneurs and business owners, which will in some ways be much easier to achieve when the needs for visas is revoked on December the 1st, 2021.

Kruna Josimovic is from Zagreb, she's an author and the initiator of the Zagreb kids Escape Room, a playroom at the Zagreb Fair (Velesajam) for children aged 8 to 12. She's looking forward to heading across the pond, because she has managed to export her concept, the only one of its kind in Croatia and all of Europe. Her escape room will find a home in Chicago and Philadelphia.

Variations on the topic of solving tasks in space and time are part of the entertainment and tourism repertoire in many cities, including Zagreb, and this has been the case for years, but it's all mostly been for adults.

The peculiarity of this lies in the name - for children, from those who have just started school to the "preteen" generation, which is an increasingly lucrative category of consumers whose appetites, especially in America, are challenging to satisfy. Josimovic started this business, which will open franchises through the Bright Entertainment Group.

The first already exists in Podgorica, Montenegro.

"I accidentally discovered escape rooms in Zagreb, I did them all all and the concept delighted me. That sort of thing only appeared in this country five or six years ago and the target audience was adults, so the tasks, the elements, the "time limits" and the fact that you were left to work things out for yourself weren't adequate for younger children,'' says the entrepreneur, who has a wealth of experience with children to boast of. She therefore wanted to "translate" the model of decipherment through play, with an educational note, into the language of children, then came the proverbial birth of the Zagreb kids Escape Room.

"Researching the market, I saw that there's something similar in Slovenia, but they gave up with the idea, so everything was up to me. We started with 80 square metres of space in Maksimirska, in the first year, I created three new themed rooms and due to great interest I moved to the current larger space we have now,'' explained Josimovic.

Each room includes 10-15 tasks to be completed by a group of up to 9-10 children, which takes an hour, and the work is based on three things - the gamemasters (leaders) are with the children, they help guide them in solving the tasks, there are no limits and there is nothing intimidating in the rooms.

The current setup proves it - The Land of Sweets (on the theme of fairy tales, more specifically The Nutcracker), Aliens (exploring the planets and escaping from aliens) and Professor B. (a detective on the hunt for a miracle drink). A treasure hunt for 20 children will be introduced soon.

Unlike museums, theatres, exhibitions and the like where children have to be quiet, calm and not touch anything, here they have full freedom, everything is available to them and they can and must touch and open, view, explore, and use their brains,'' the creator of the first Zagreb kids Escape Room explained.

Such a description also attracted Americans, more specifically the Bright Entertainment Group, which is present here in the Republic of Croatia with the Museum of Illusions, also an original Zagreb product that has expanded globally through franchises.

“As franchise expansion partners, they were thrilled with the content, they got in touch with Lol Entertainment, which operates predominantly in Chicago and Philadelphia, and presented the concept to them. Negotiations lasted for three years, they were slowed down by the pandemic, and no matter how much explanations were provided by emails and Zoom, they had to physically see what it looked like and we finally met just now, back in September,'' Kruna explained, recalling the beginnings with the Americans.

They confirmed to her that they didn't have anything of the sort, and that in examining the market for children aged 8-12, they concluded that it would "fit" them. In her project, she says, they recognised originality, innovation, play and education. Money was, of course, also a very important factor in it all.

"The whole story is also profitable, the ratio of what's invested and what is returned is excellent. I can’t yet say how much they're willing to invest. We called the franchise project the Cluville Kids Escape Room and the plan is to have at least one of them in Chicago by the spring, maybe two, and then two more in Philadelphia,'' points out Josimovic.

Oman, Riyadh, Dubai, and Tel Aviv were all to follow, all on reconnaissance in Zagreb, but the coronavirus pandemic delayed the expansion of this Croatian product into the Middle East, so, what does Kruna actually expect from America?

"My expectations aren't small, it's a great success to be able to sell something at all, let alone to someone who invented the entertainment and edutainment industry, but it's very difficult to make something original and experience success like that here in Croatia," she said.

For more, check out Made in Croatia.

Tuesday, 12 October 2021

American-Croatian Entrepreneur Boris Miksic Makes €7 Million Investment

October the 12th, 2021 - American-Croatian entrepreneur Boris Miksic has made an enormous seven million euro investment, and although the Croatian public still thinks of him in a political light, there's much more to this businessman than many notice, unless you're from Slavonia...

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Sergej Novosel Vuckovic writes, a very long time has passed since businessman Boris Miksic was a rival to politicians Stjepan Mesic and Jadranka Kosor back in the 2005 presidential election, becoming a sensation in the number of votes won, behind these two the third of thirteen candidates, but even today this episode seems to be the first association with him the public has.

For many people, on the other hand, in Eastern Croatia, he was and remains above all, an entrepreneur, innovator, and an employer, which he became known as with the beginning of his business development in Croatia way back in the early 2000s.

In Beli Manastir, Boris Miksic has had a Ecocortec polymer processing plant for about fifteen years now, which boasts anti-corrosion protection technology, which he patented in 1977 over in the USA in the Cortec Group. At the end of the year, the construction of a new factory in the Business Zone of Beli Manastir is now set begin. Boris Miksic's own investment stands at more than seven million euros.

''As part of the new factory (which will stand on land covering 5,000 square metres, with the hall spanning 2000 square metres itself), there will be a modern line for recycling plastic packaging and a plastic processing plant for further extrusion in our existing factory and in the factories of our partners in Japan, Turkey, Italy, France, Germany and Spain. Another three-layer extrusion line will also be installed in the existing hall and a new line for making plastic bags intended for industrial packaging will be there,'' explained the businessman.

Raw materials from renewable sources

After the construction of the plant in the Ecocortec production and logistics complex, about a hundred people will work there. According to Boris Miksic, Beli Manastir will be the largest factory with such an assortment in all of Europe and the second in the entire world, after the American Cortecs. It should be operational by the end of 2022 if there are no major delays in the supply chain. So far, Miksic has invested more than 20 million euros in the Republic of Croatia.

The entire Cortec Group is, by the way, still the world's largest manufacturer of so-called VCI packaging (which protects against corrosion) sold in hundreds of countries worldwide, and among the clients are some major players in the automotive and electronics industry (such as Mercedes, Toyota, Ford, Bosch, IBM, GE, Airbus, ExxonMobil, and Croatia's very own Koncar).

"With a new range of patented products based on raw materials from renewable sources, such as PLA plastics, we're positioned as leaders in the circular economy," added Boris Miksic.

The need for anti-corrosion protection didn't abate even during the coronavirus pandemic, on the contrary, business results last year and so far in 2021 were, according to Miksic, solid, and "in Croatia, they were above expectations". Revenues in 2020, according to Poslovna Hrvatska (Business Croatia), amounted to close to 50 million kuna, with profits soaring to an impressive 5.78 million kuna.

"Ecocortec had sales growth of 25 percent, which is just proof that my investment in my homeland was well thought of and even better performed thanks to excellent management teams and the dedicated work of all employees," said Boris Miksic. 90 percent of everything done in Slavonia is exported - to the EU, USA, China, Indonesia, Turkey, and Russia. Due to the lockdowns of 2020, the supply was somewhat disrupted, but more than 98 percent of the deliveries to customers was still carried out properly and on time.

"Our competitive advantage is vertical integration, so we didn't really have any delays," added Boris Miksic.

Recently, he further strengthened his position, his company Cortecros took over the Crosca/INA logistics centre in Kastel Sucurac in Dalmatia. They have been using this facility since way back in 1998 but now it is completely theirs and they have some very ambitious plans for it.

"Over the past few years, we've started the production of ecological anti-corrosion products for the market of Southeastern Europe, which we're expanding to the EU, Russia and the Middle East, thus doubling our capacities,"  Miksic announced.

Although he has very much distanced himself from the often murky world of Croatian politics, at least actively, when asked about the assessment of the entrepreneurial climate in Croatia in relation to what he found upon arriving here, the owner of Ecocortec recalls the motto of his political activity: ''when the economy breathes, society flourishes''. He added that he'd like to see Croatia dragged up from being at the very bottom of the EU in many cases.

''I've always had a vision of Croatia as an ecological oasis in the heart of Europe,'' concluded Boris Miksic.

For more, follow our business section.

Thursday, 7 October 2021

American Lux Tourism Agencies Checking Out Beautiful Istria

October the 7th, 2021 - While Dalmatia and more recently the City of Zagreb have been attractive to American tourists, the gorgeous Istrian peninsula has been somewhat less visited by our friends from across the pond. That could all be about to change with the visit of several American lux tourism agencies to this stunning part of Croatia.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, five travel agents specialising in luxury tourism (American lux tourism agencies) arrived in beautiful Istria recently as part of a nine-day FAM trip (Familiarisation Trip) organised by RealCroatia. During their working visit, they will visit local accommodation and service providers, and check out what kind of experience they can offer to their clients.

These American lux tourism representatives have come to visit this part of the country because Istria, unlike Dalmatia and Zagreb, is not yet "on the radar" of the vast majority of guests visiting Croatia from America. In addition to Zagreb and Plitvice, they will be presented with offers in Opatija, Lovran, Motovun, Groznjan, Buzet, Rovinj, Pula, Savudrija, Brijuni and then further inland in Gorski kotar. Pascal Lee, a luxury tourism consultant at West Rock Travel Working, says she wants to see Croatia from a local perspective:

“Several of my clients, experienced world travellers, have recently returned from excellent trips to Croatia. I decided that I had to find out for myself what the secret of this beautiful country was.''

"We're encouraged by the excellent feedback and results of the April tour," stated RealCroatia director Petra Gracin, noting that North America is a market with better paying power than typical Western European guests visiting Istria and Dalmatia.

"The average consumption per passenger is often over 5,000 US dollars," said Gracin, and back in April this year, RealCroatia organised the first trip of travel agents from America to Europe since the global coronavirus pandemic began, when nine agents visited Zagreb, Plitvice Lakes National Park, Zadar, Trogir, Split, Hvar, Peljesac and Dubrovnik.

According to the data available from the Institute of Tourism, American tourists are the largest tourist consumers per capita in the Republic of Croatia, which likely isn't a surprise. In addition, as many as 83 percent of them claim that they will recommend visiting Croatia to their friends, which is something else putting them firmly in the lead. In comparison, this is 13 percentage points more than in the case of Germany and German tourists and as much as 23 percentage points more than in the case of neighbouring Italian guests.

It is expected that in 2022, about 400,000 North American guests will visit Croatia and that they will realise over 1.2 million overnight stays in total.

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

Saturday, 2 October 2021

Croatian Visa Free USA Travel Might Boost Trade, But Issues Remain

October the 2nd, 2021 - Croatian visa free USA travel has finally been announced after years and years of waiting. As of December the 1st this year, Croatian passport holders will no longer require visas to enter the USA, and this is more than likely to further boost trade between the two countries. That said, issues of course remain.

As Tomislav Pili/Poslovni Dnevnik writes, Croatian visa free USA travel, which, according to the US Administration, will begin in December, will improve Croatia's economic co-operation with the world's largest economy, but the main obstacle - double taxation - remains an enormous issue, as the USA is one of the few countries with which Croatia has a trade surplus.

Export growth by 13 percent

As Andrea Grubisic, a senior expert associate of the International Affairs Department of the Croatian Chamber of Commerce (HGK), explained, last year, the export of goods from Croatia to the USA amounted to a massive 521.6 million dollars, almost 13 percent more than back in pre-pandemic 2019.

Although imports from the US also increased by 5.3 percent, a surplus of 323 million US dollars was realised, which is 18.2 percent more than in the previous year. "The trend continued in the first six months of this year, so Croatian exports to the USA increased by 93.6 percent, and the surplus on the Croatian side increased by almost 53 percent," explained Grubisic. Nevertheless, the world's largest economy isn't really a particularly important trading partner for Croatia.

In the total trade of Croatia with the rest of the world, the USA ranks a mere 15th with a 1.67 percent share. In terms of exports, the United States ranks 8th with 3.06 percent, and in terms of imports, only 23rd with 0.77 percent.

When asked about the level of interest from Croatian companies in doing business "across the pond", Grubisic said that according to the Croatian Chamber of Commerce and contacts with members that are just opening over on the US market, there is interest in exporting consumer goods, including food.

"Certainly, in the last few years, the ICT sector has stood out, from which Croatian companies are increasingly showing interest in opening their subsidiaries or companies in the United States, and according to revenues from exports of services to the United States, this sector looks promising," said Grubisic.

Darinko Bago, President of Croatian Exporters, believes that the facilitation of Croatian visa free USA travel will greatly facilitate the ongoing work on this matter, and that it will also result in the conclusion of new business moves.

“This is especially true for industries that produce higher value-added goods because it eliminates administrative visa application procedures, especially if you need those documents for a larger number of employees. If we look at the experiences of other countries that have a visa free travel regime with the United States, it will undoubtedly raise economic cooperation between Croatia and the USA,'' said Bago.

''However, a much bigger obstacle to trade growth is the lack of a double taxation agreement, which is necessary if we're to achieve a higher form of co-operation with the US,'' Bago added.

Two important reasons...

"Such an agreement would be especially important for Croatia for two reasons: given that America is a technological power, it would provide easier access to technology as part of the digital transformation, and the other is that the United States is also a financial centre.

Croatia is currently ''invisible'' to American investors because they'd have to pay taxes twice on the realised profit from any of their investments, in Croatia and in the USA. That is the main reason why we have a trade surplus with the USA, because American companies are planning for the long term, and at the moment it just isn't worthwhile for them to open a branch in Croatia,'' Bago pointed out.

''It should be clarified that the announced abolition refers to B1/B2 visas that enable Croatian citizens to go to the US for travel and business,'' said Andrea Doko Jelusic, the executive director of the American Chamber of Commerce (AmCham) in Croatia.

"They're a separate category of business visas that every country, including the United States, has for occasional or longer work carried out on their territory," added Doko Jelusic.

She advised Croatian companies to focus on a specific geographical area, specific sectors, and even the size of the company they're targeting. “It's easier to do business with small and medium-sized enterprises than it is to focus on large corporations,'' concluded Doko Jelusic.

For more, check out our dedicated travel and business sections.

Wednesday, 29 September 2021

Foreign Minister Grlić Radman: Cancellation of Visa Regime For US is "New Recognition" of Croatia

ZAGREB, 29 Sept, 2021 - The cancellation of visa requirements for Croatian nationals travelling to the United States is "a new recognition" 30 years after the recognition of Croatia, and a law on avoiding double taxation is expected to be signed now, Foreign and European Affairs Minister Gordan Grlić Radman said on Tuesday.

Thirty years after the recognition of the Republic of Croatia this is "a new recognition", the minister said commenting on the announcement by the US Department of Homeland Security about Croatia joining the Visa Waiver Program.

Exactly a year has passed since the end of the fiscal year in the United States and that was the deadline for Croatia to submit a sufficient number of qualified applications, which means the visa refusal rate had to be below three percent, he recalled.

That qualified Croatia for the cancellation of visa requirements in addition to some other minor conditions, such as security in air traffic, he said.

The next step that both countries are expecting soon is signing an agreement on avoiding double taxation, which will facilitate business communication.

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

Tuesday, 21 September 2021

U.S. to Lift Pandemic Travel Restrictions, Easing Tension With Europe

September 21, 2021 - Travelers who provide proof of full vaccination against the coronavirus before boarding a flight will be able to enter the United States, ending an 18-month ban on travel from 33 countries includes members of the European Union as part of the U.S. pandemic travel restrictions.

The New York Times reports that the Biden administration will lift pandemic travel restrictions starting in November for foreigners who are fully vaccinated against the coronavirus, reopening the country to thousands of people, including those who have been separated from family in the United States during the pandemic, and easing a major source of tension with Europe.

The halt to the 18-month ban on travel from 33 countries, including members of the European Union, China, Iran, South Africa, Brazil, and India, could help rejuvenate a U.S. tourism industry that has been crippled by the pandemic travel restrictions. The industry suffered a $500 billion loss in travel expenditures in 2020, according to the U.S. Travel Association, a trade group that promotes travel to and within the United States.

In New York City alone, the lack of tourists wiped out 89,000 jobs and resulted in a loss of more than $60 billion in revenue, the state comptroller found.

“Everyone says New York is back, New York is back, but it’s not really back until tourists are back from all countries,” said Leyla Saleh, 28, a pastry chef whose father was forced to shut down his gift shop in Midtown Manhattan last year because he did not have enough business.

Foreign travelers will need to show proof of vaccination before boarding and a negative coronavirus test within three days of coming to the United States, Jeffrey D. Zients, the White House pandemic coordinator, said on Monday. Unvaccinated Americans who want to travel home from overseas will have to clear stricter testing requirements. They will need to test negative for the coronavirus one day before traveling to the United States and show proof that they have bought a test to take after arriving in the United States, Mr. Zients said.

“International travel is critical to connecting families and friends, to fueling small and large businesses, to promoting the open exchange of ideas and culture,” Mr. Zients said. “That’s why, with science and public health as our guide, we have developed a new international air travel system that both enhances the safety of Americans here at home and enhances the safety of international air travel.”

The changes announced on Monday apply only to air travel and do not affect pandemic travel restrictions along the land border, Mr. Zients said. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention considers people fully inoculated two weeks after they receive the second dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, or the single dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

Those who have received vaccines listed for emergency use by the World Health Organization, such as the AstraZeneca vaccine, would also be considered fully vaccinated, according to a statement from Thomas Skinner, a C.D.C. spokesman.

The C.D.C. will also issue an order directing airlines to collect phone numbers and email addresses of travelers for a new contact-tracing system. Authorities will then follow up with the travelers after arrival to ask whether they are experiencing symptoms of the virus.

Although the new rules open up travel for some, they shut it down for others.

Unvaccinated people will soon be broadly banned from visiting the United States even if they are coming from countries such as Japan, which have not faced restrictions on travel to America during the pandemic. The restrictions will create substantial complications for people who want to travel to the United States from countries where it is more difficult to get vaccinated, according to Willie Walsh, the director-general of the International Air Transport Association, a trade group of the world’s airlines.

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

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

Saturday, 11 September 2021

Plenković on 9/11: Croatia Stands in Solidarity With US

ZAGREB, 11 Sept, 2021 - Croatia remembers the victims of the 9/11 attacks, extending its condolences to the families and expressing solidarity with the United States and the American people, Prime Minister Andrej Plenković wrote on Twitter on Saturday. 

"The evil of terrorism is a global threat that we can eradicate through joint action and cooperation," Plenković said on the 20th anniversary of the attacks.

Three thousand people were killed in attacks by the Al-Qaeda terrorist group on 11 September 2001 after terrorists hijacked three aircraft and deliberately crashed them into the twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York and into the Pentagon. A fourth hijacked plane crashed into a field in Pennsylvania after passengers attempted to regain control of the aircraft from the hijackers.  

The 20th anniversary falls less than two weeks after the US withdrawal from Afghanistan, the longest US war in history, launched in retaliation against the al-Qaeda conspirators and leaders and the Taliban who gave them refuge.

For Croatia's latest news, CLICK HERE.

Friday, 10 September 2021

American Travel and Leisure Mag Praises Hvar and Dalmatian Islands

September the 10th, 2021 - It's no secret that Americans love the Dalmatian coast and the very many stunning Dalmatian islands. Hvar, known as Croatia's premier island, as well as the sunniest, has been having its praises sung by one popular American travel mag.

As Morski writes, throughout this challenging tourist year, when the Croatian tourism sector's goal was to promote Croatia as a safe destination in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic and the desire to achieve the best tourist results, the renowned American monthly Travel + Leisure magazine (which boasts a highly impressive 3,360,589 monthly readers) ranked the island of Hvar in the TOP 20 best European islands.

The truly gorgeous island of Hvar has earned a prominent position among the ranks of the islands of Mílos, Folegandros and Santorini (Greece), Madeira (Portugal), Sicily (Italy), and others.

The editorial board of Travel + Leisure magazine, which, along with National Geographic Traveler and Conde Nast Traveler, is one of the most influential travel magazines in the world, decided to compile this list of 20 islands, emphasising that Hvar has a rich history and culture, touching on Hvar wines and stays in the island's top accommodation.

There were almost as many Americans on Hvar this tourist season as there were back in in pre-pandemic, record 2019. Petar Razovic, the director of the Hvar Tourist Board, emphasised that once again Hvar has been recognised as a destination by the breadth of its offer and the highest tourist criteria it offers to its visitors.

He added that this recognition was greatly helped by the Safe stay in Croatia project launced by the Ministry of Tourism and Sport, and that tourists from the United States in July and August in the overall structure of arrivals and overnight stays recorded results similar to those seen back in 2019.

For more on Dalmatian islands, make sure to check out our dedicated travel section.

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