Wednesday, 8 June 2022

Vir Tourism Records Being Broken Throughout First 5 Months of 2022

June the 8th, 2022 - Vir tourism records are being broken left right and centre with some outstanding results so far this year. The island is more than likely to surpass its figures from the record, pre-pandemic year of 2019 and we aren't even at the very height of the season yet.

As Kazimir Skrbic/Morski writes, excellenty arrival and overnight stay numbers during the first five months of 2022 have been a real boost for Vir. Overnight stays are 26.3 percent better, and arrivals are 21.7 percent better when compared to the record set three years ago.

If this extremely positive trend of recorded growth for Vir tourism traffic is maintained, it is very likely that at the end of 2022, we'll be able to talk about a new record season and better numbers than those recorded back during 2019. Here is a summary of the statistics of the Croatian National Tourist Board (HTZ):

With 111,362 overnight stays recorded from the beginning of this year to the end of May, Vir tourism numbers exceeded those recorded back during same period last year by as much as 113.8 percent (52,080 overnight stays), while with 6,698 arrivals of domestic and foreign guests, figures for the island are 85.2 percent better than they were back in 2021, when 3,616 arrivals were recorded.

Foreign tourists - mostly made up of Slovenes, Germans, Austrians, Bosnians and Herzegovinians and Hungarians - accounted for 55.1 percent of all overnight stays realised on Vir, and were even more pronounced in terms of tourist traffic measured by arrivals - 61.8 percent. Arrivals were also dominated by guests from neighbouring Slovenia with growth of 102.7 percent, Germans with a growth of 26.2 percent, Austrians with growth of 208.2 percent, Bosnians and Herzegovinians with growth of 148.9 percent and Hungarians with growth of 183.3 percent.

The Czechs, Slovaks and Swiss are still in the top ten in the current Vir tourism ''top 10 per night'', while for the first time, guests from Great Britain, as well as Ukrainians, were also among the top ten. In the first five months, Swedes (1,108 overnight stays) and Poles (1,003) were slightly more modest in terms of overnight stays than the leading nations, but they were ahead of the British and Swiss in terms of arrivals. Domestic guests also recorded a large increase, and during the first five months of 2022, Croats realised 49,908 overnight stays (as opposed to 25,694 a year earlier), which is growth of a very significant 94.2 percent. The situation is similar in terms of arrivals so far (2,557), which exceeded the number of arrivals from back in 2021 by 69.8 percent, when 1,506 tourist arrivals of Croatian guests were recorded.

Vir tourism's results for 2022 are also better than 2020, with 24.5 percent more overnight stays and 41.5 percent more arrivals. Here are the figures: three years ago, there were 88,194 overnight stays recorded in Vir, which means that 2022 is 26.3 percent better; In 2019, there were 5,503 arrivals of both domestic and foreign guests, meaning that this year's 6,698 arrivals represent impressive growth of 21.7 percent when compared to the record set three years ago.

Germans contributed the most with growth of 59.1 percent in terms of overnight stays and 23.7 percent in terms of arrivals, especially given the large numbers with which German tourists participate in tourist traffic on the island (14,576 overnight stays currently, 9,160 three years ago). The Slovenes are on approximately the same number of overnight stays and with 20.6 percent growth in arrivals this year, a significant shift was made by the Austrians with 91.6 percent growth in terms of overnight stays and 31.5 percent in terms of arrivals, the Hungarians with 65.9 percent growth in terms of overnight stays and 132.9 percent in terms of arrivals, and finally the Czechs with growth of 176.4 percent growth in terms of overnight stays and 284.9 percent growth in terms of arrivals.

British citizens have also been arriving en masse to the island of Vir. Last year during the same observed period, British tourists realised only 9 overnight stays, the year before, they realised 14, and the record year of 2019 is still very modest with a mere 131 nights, while this year they recorded as many as 1,203 nights. This is an increase of overnight stays compared to 2019 by as much as 818.3 percent.

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

Monday, 18 April 2022

Vir Tourism Figures Like Never Before in 2022's First 3 Months

April the 18th, 2022 - Vir tourism numbers have been reaching never-before-seen heights during the first three months of this year, much to the delight of the local economy which was, much like everything else, struck terribly by the coronavirus pandemic.

As Morski/Kazimir Skrbic writes, with a record number of tourist arrivals recorded from January the 1st to April the 15th this year, and significantly better numbers when it comes to overnight stays than last year, the island of Vir is rubbing its hands in hopes for another great summer tourist season that should surpass last year.

In less than four tourist months, 1,485 arrivals of both domestic and foreign guests and 23,181 overnight stays were recorded on the island of Vir, which is 109.1 percent better in terms of overnight stays and 58.9 percent better in terms of tourist arrivals when compared to last year.

''We're more than satisfied with the current numbers of Vir tourism arrivals and the number of overnight stays realised by guests. This is especially true when it comes to the arrivals of guests, which are the largest since we've been monitoring the statistics of tourist traffic. We also have better data on overnight stays on average than we did back during the record year of 2019, when we had 2.6 million overnight stays, which is a serious indicator of the success of the upcoming summer season,'' explained the director of the Vir Tourist Boardm Srdjan Liveric.

The highest Vir tourism numbers when it comes to arrivals from the first day of January to mid-April was recorded by the neighbouring Slovenes (26.4 percent of the total number of arrivals of foreigners), Germans (19.1 percent), Bosnians and Herzegovinians (14.9 percent), Austrians (9.71 percent), and Hungarians (9.61). These five nations accounted for approximately 80 percent of all arrivals and overnight stays on this Dalmatian island, representing a tourist ''big five'' of sorts, but by the end of the month they will be joined by Czechs and Slovaks who've been coming to that island in increasing numbers.

''We're only expecting their explosion at the end of April and at the beginning of May, because we've been recording dozens of transfers of ownership of holiday homes on Vir, and most of them are being purchased by Czechs, Slovaks and Hungarians,'' explained Liveric.

When it comes to the comparison of Vir tourism figures with last year's pre-season, the current number of 23,181 overnight stays and 1,485 tourist arrivals is stronger by 109.1 percent in terms of overnight stays and by 58.9 percent in terms of arrivals. At the same time, current overnight stays are around 80 percent of the record number of overnight stays in the pre-season of 2020, but current statistics also reveal a significantly higher share and number of foreign guests. As such, two years ago, foreigners realised 9,978 out of a total of 28,980 overnight stays (34.4 percent share) in three and a half months, while now, 13,848 overnight stays out of a total of 23,181 (as much as 59.7 percent share) have been recorded.

The difference was created by Slovenian visitors with a fantastic growth of overnight stays of 383.9 percent (now 3,843, where as the former number was a far smaller 816) compared to last year's pre-season, then with 110.8 percent growth compared to 2020 and 32.4 percent growth compared to 2019. Hungarians recorded 136.9 percent growth from last night, Slovaks 96.7 percent, Austrians 84.9 percent, Germans 68.5 percent and Bosnians and Herzegovinians 63.1 percent growth. With a slightly lower number of overnight stays, Poles, Swiss and Swedes still grew significantly.

If we statistically go back to pre-pandemic 2019, which was a record with the total annual numbers of overnight stays and arrivals, and the last one outside the context of the global coronavirus crisis, this quarter seems to announce spectacular numbers. Recorded overnight stays are 35.5 percent better than they were in 2019, when 17,105 tourist overnight stays were realised, while arrivals are 24.1 percent higher (1,197 three years ago).

For more on Vir tourism, check out our travel section.

Sunday, 3 April 2022

Two Retired Ukrainian Artists Choose Croatia Over UK, Make Vir Home

April the 3rd, 2022 - Two retired Ukrainian artists were living their normal lives in the Lviv region of their homeland until the Russian invasion, and in that short period everything changed from them, seeing them relocate from the climes of a grey Ukrainian winter to the mild and sunny Croatian island of Vir.

As Morski/Kazimir Skrbic writes, just several days ago, retired Ukrainian artists Lyudmila and Mikhail Rymik were living their normal lives in the familiar ambience of their home in the immediate vicinity of Stryi, a city of about sixty thousand inhabitants located in western Ukraine in the Lviv region.

It was life as normal until early March when the first smell of gunpowder from eastern Ukraine began to spread further out, reaching more western Ukrainian areas. 68-year-old Mihajlo, a retired builder, gardener and amateur painter, and his wife, Lyudmila, also an artist, made the difficult decision to leave. Mihajlo packed up his van with only some basic hygiene items and his trusty art supplies. They left their two cats and one dog in the care of their diligent neighbours and headed first to Poland, in anticipation of the greatest adventure of their lives.

''When we set off we didn’t really know where we were going. But we wanted to save our pictures and make it to Croatia, where we intended to get in touch with Marica and Mijat Barisic, whom I met in Ukraine three years ago. I only knew that they lived on the island of Vir, but I thought it was good to have someone to go to. Marica's mobile contact from the business card she left me, I called unsuccessfully because I overlooked the fact that you need to put in the area code for Croatia,'' stated Mihajlo. Their long trip through Poland, Slovakia and Hungary took them a full two weeks, and then Mihajlo and Lyudmila, after arriving in the City of Zagreb, managed to establish contact with some friends of Marica and Mijat from Vir.

''Mihajlo's friend asked me if Mihajlo and Lyudmila from Ukraine could come to us. I couldn't immediately remember who they were, because I hadn't actually met Lyudmila, but then I remembered Mihajlo, with whom we hung out when my husband and I were staying in Ukraine. Mihajlo played the guitar in a castle at a gathering organised by our Association of Ukrainian-Croatian Friendship. If you're ever in Croatia, I told him then, stop by Vir,'' said Marica, remembering how one informal invitation had become fateful.

Without thinking, the pair opened their hearts and provided accommodation to the Rymiks, and Mihajlo and Lyudmila have been Vir residents with an address in the Miljkovica settlement for two weeks now. The idyllic landscape of their Ukrainian village has quickly been replaced by being on the deeply desired first row to the sea.

''It's beautiful on the island,'' said Mihajlo, for whom the blue azure of the sea was the current inspiration for the first painting - the Vir motif. The two talented Ukrainian artists arranged the paintings they'd manage to bring with them, as well as their art and painting accessories, all of which can be found on the mezzanine stairs of the family house of their friends.

In addition to the Barisic family, other Vir locals also readily helped out, and their dilapidated and broken-down van, with which they barely reached Vir, was serviced and repaired free of charge by the well-known Vir car mechanic Zivko Vucetic, and now Mihajlo and Lyudmila can drive to Zadar to visit MUP and complete the formalities regarding their current status and stay in Croatia.

In the meantime, the pair of Ukrainian artists have been offering their paintings of larger and smaller dimensions - inspired by Crimea, the Ukrainian countryside, the natural environment, but also the French masters of Impressionism - to Zadar galleries and locals. In order to make some money, Mihajlo is ready, he says, to work doing building again as a master mason, and during the summer season, both of them will try to offer their painting skills to tourists on the beaches.

''I'm willing to do anything to make the situation we're in at least a little bit easier. We're immensely grateful to Marica and Mijat for their hospitality, but we'd like to earn our own money and be independent. I hope we'll be able to make a living from selling our paintings,'' said an optimistic Mihajlo.

Instead of living with family in England, they ended up on Vir

''I suffer with some thyroid problems, so the coastal environment will be pleasant for my slightly impaired health due to the iodine and salt. As we'll definitely stay here on Vir until the end of the summer, we'd like our British family to visit us. We have two daughters who live in England with their families,'' said Lyudmila, explaining why the Ukrainian artists didn't go to England to be with their daughters, sons-in-law and grandchildren, but instead chose to go on an adventure which saw them end up on a Croatian island.

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

Wednesday, 31 March 2021

Vir Island Strong Destination in January

March 31, 2021 - Last year's champion of tourism Vir Island is on its way to keeping first place.

After being last year's champion of tourism, the island of Vir is optimistic about having another great year.

As Večernji List daily newspaper reports, without having any organised events, Vir recorded 87% of last year's numbers in January alone. Speaking of last year's numbers, Vir was a well-deserved champion indeed with its 2.3 million overnights, over 100.000 tourist arrivals, and 87% of traffic from 2019. Vir Tourist Board director Srđan Liverić says he expects this year to be even better.

„We expect a good season, but we are aware this will depend on the situation in the world and travel possibilities. Due to the coronavirus crisis, we didn't show up on markets where we were present for more than 10 years and so we are waiting to see what will happen in spring", said Liverić for Večernji List.

He adds that one of the key advantages of Vir is that it is a real-estate tourism destination. In other words,  almost half of all estates on the island are owned by foreign citizens who reside on Vir year after year. They also invite their friends and families to join. The other half is owned by domestic, Croatian tourists who go there over weekends because the island is easily accessible by car

With good results in January, February also kept the island happy with a 16% increase. Mate Čulina, manager of the Vir Turizam tourist agency, told Večernji that while reservations remain in small numbers until the warmer months, Villa Lanterna already has 60 days fully booked in July, October, and September. Last year, Villa Lanterna had 100 days of filled capacities, and other luxury accommodations did similarly.

Vir Tourist Board also showed strong support for local renters, presenting them on their redesigned webpage.

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

Monday, 1 February 2021

VIDEO: Stunning Aerial Footage of Dolphin Family in Zadar Archipelago

February 1, 2021 – The Adriatic might be too cold for us right now, but conditions are perfect for this dolphin family, spectacularly captured gliding through glacial, undisturbed waters by an overhead drone

The Adriatic might be too cold for us right now, but conditions are perfect for this dolphin family, spectacularly captured gliding through glacial, undisturbed waters by an overhead drone

The footage of the dolphin family was captured spectacularly by keen amateur drone photographer Davor Miljkovic. Davor, who is from Zapresic, usually puts his eye for aesthetics into website design – he works as a PHP website developer for Virtus dizajn in Lanište, Zagreb and as a freelance website developer. But, he is currently taking advantage of working remotely and was able to catch footage of the dolphin family during his off time.

“I live in Zapresic but my grandmother is from island Rava, near Zadar,” Davor told TCN on 1st February 2021, two days after he posted the video of the dolphin family to his Youtube channel. “So, we have a house here by the sea. My fiance and I spend part of the winter here and we are here all summer too.”

The Zadar archipelago (in Croatian Zadarski arhipelag) is an incredibly picturesque group of islands off the coast of the city of Zadar. In addition to island Rava, off which Davor saw the dolphin family, the archipelago also consists of the islands Dugi Otok, Galešnjak, Iž, Lavdara, Ošljak, Pašman, Rivanj, Sestrunj, Tun Veli, Ugljan, Vir, Vrgada, Zečevo and Zverinac.

The beautiful stretch of islands is usually very popular with summertime visitors. It would seem that it's also popular in wintertime with visitors who live in the sea. And, of course, people like Davor who are lucky enough to catch sight of them.

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Wednesday, 2 December 2020

Island Vir Turned Image Around Within 15 Years - From "Black" to "Green"

December the 2nd, 2020 - Island Vir, which lies within Zadar County northwest of the mainland town of Nin, has found its name being publicised for both good and bad reasons throughout the years. From being the proverbial 'home' of illegal construction to being the most idyllic place one might think of for a Dalmatian island getaway, island Vir has had the full spectrum of publicity.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, Spomenka Djuric, State Secretary of the Ministry of Regional Development and EU Funds, spoke about the optimal use of the Fund for Recovery and Resilience in order to encourage reforms, accelerate investment and create the proper conditions for sustainable economic development in accordance with the Green Plan. MEP Romana Jerkovic additionally presented a new social model based on green and digital transition. E.ON Croatia Board Member Andreas Rörig spoke about the company's climate strategy. The mayor of island Vir, Kristijan Kapovic, made sure to present Vir's shining example of good practice.

"Vir has gone from being a ''black'' island to being ''green'' in about fifteen years as our independent political party runs the municipality," Kapovic said firmly.

The island's budget has grown from five million kuna to about 40 kuna, and the population has increased tenfold to 4,000 permanent residents, which, given the otherwise dire demographic picture across Croatia, is a real achievement indeed.

"We didn't invest in representative buildings and facilities, monuments and churches, but in what people actually need - infrastructure and decent living conditions. Almost all of our students attend school free of charge, their transportation and textbooks, all the way to their scholarships are generally free. We're a rarity in Europe as well because we have a constant influx of population who come here on all grounds.

Investments in our water supply and sewerage system have led to an increase in the number of renters to 2,000, who, as a result of that, offer more than 15,000 beds. We'd also like to point out that we have the longest beach in all of Croatia and on the islands, stretching for thirteen kilometres,'' said Kapovic.

Island Vir's dramatic turnaround in a relatively short time could see other islands attempt their own respective catch up missions, because of an island which has unfortunately had as much negative publicity (be that warranted or not) as it has positive, then anywhere in Croatia can also follow the same path.

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Saturday, 28 November 2020

Croatian Tourism Champion This Year is Island of Vir

November 28, 2020 – The island of Vir earned the title of this year's Croatian tourism champion due to the largest number of overnight stays in October, but also a total of more than 2 million overnight stays from 1 January to 31 October.

As Lokalni.hr reports, the island of Vir brings this tourist and championship season to an end without uncertainty about the outcome. During October, Vir again achieved the largest number of tourist overnight stays, as many as 137,649. It also significantly exceeded all other domestic tourist destinations from 1 January to 31 October with a total number of overnight stays of 2,237,229.

At the end of the turbulent 2020, Vir will be chasing the tourist laurel wreath as the only Croatian destination that has realized more than two million overnight stays and probably one of two or three domestic destinations that will have more than 1.5 million overnight stays in an unprecedented travel crisis.

This number, along with Vir and Rovinj (which counted 1,823,764 overnight stays), may be reached only by Medulin (1,441,472), while for Poreč, Mali Lošinj, Crikvenica, Umag, and Novalja it will be a difficult and almost impossible task. Krk and Zadar are also in the top 10 domestic tourist destinations, for which the success will be a million overnight stays at the end of the year.

As much as Vir seemed to unexpectedly sit on the domestic tourist throne, this fact is not a surprise. Vir has been in the 20 best tourist destinations in Croatia and the best in Zadar County for a whole decade, while this year it will record its fifth consecutive year in the top 10 domestic destinations.

Therefore, Vir is not a tourist surprise. The corona crisis only revealed the general weaknesses and shortcomings of most elite Croatian tourist destinations.

Based on the daily or so-called city break experience (three to four nights on average), or dependent on cruise traffic and major festival events, this summer these destinations signed a capitulation in July and August.

That is why 86.8 percent share in the record numbers of overnight stays from 2019, how much was achieved on Vir, is an impossible mission for all the best in Croatian tourism, except for classic but much smaller weekend destinations – Dobrinj (85.9 percent), Vodnjan (77.9 percent), and Rogoznica (66.4 percent). Their success, as well as Vir’s overall triumph, draws attention to a new fact.

"There is a large number of foreigners who own family houses, cottages, apartments, and suites on the island, so their arrival, despite the pandemic, was less uncertain than the arrival of tourists in any other destination. The moment opening the borders was uncertain, Vir quickly took the leading role in Croatian tourism with the first arrivals of foreigners on the Adriatic," Vir's local government explained, adding that Vir had about 700 thousand overnight stays in July and a record 770 thousand overnight stays in August, even though Croatia was marked in red on the corona map of Europe in the last week of August.

"September confirmed Vir's leadership with more than 300,000 overnight stays and cemented it in October when Vir had almost twice as many overnight stays as the closest companion Rovinj. The stamp for the whole year is imprinted with the decorative data that this year's 137.6 thousand overnight stays in October are even 8.9 percent better than last year's (126.4 thousand), which is a fact that only Pirovac, Sveti Filip i Jakov, and Funtana can boast of, but in the top 10 – no one else," says the Vir local government.

Mali Lošinj had only a 47.5 percent share of last year's traffic in October, and this is the second-best result of one destination within the Croatian top 10, after this year's Croatian tourism champion, the well-known island of record – Vir.

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Wednesday, 14 October 2020

First Hotel and Marina on Vir: Big Plans for This Season's Record Holder

October 14, 2020 – The biggest surprise of the Croatian tourist season 2020, the municipality of Vir on the island of the same name, is planning new large investments. The opening of the first hotel and marina on Vir is planned for 2023.

As Večernji.hr reports, Vir is this year's Croatian record holder in the number of tourist overnight stays, and only about 10 percent less revenue was recorded than last year. Vir's tourism was less affected by the coronavirus pandemic than in the rest of the Adriatic. However, there is still no hotel on Vir.

This tourist destination, which many remember by excavators and the demolition of illegally built houses, has two thousand private renters and about 9,000-holiday homes. Approximately half of them are owned by foreigners (from Budapest, Vienna, Bratislava, Ljubljana), who often come to Vir now, during October, on weekends.

On Vir, there is still more tourist traffic in October than in much more famous Adriatic places. However, this change did not happen in one season, but Vir has been patiently building its new tourist destiny for more than a decade.

The island of Vir has so far invested around 300 million kuna in water supply, sewerage, public lighting, roads, decoration of beaches, and green areas. So, all the long-term stake returns to Vir through the season.

"Not everyone here is still aware of the change that has taken place in Vir. But that's why Germans, Hungarians, Austrians, Poles, and Swiss know very well that Vir has become a great tourist destination," said Mayor Kristijan Kapović.

Seventy percent of Vir is covered with Mediterranean greenery, and only one-third of land can be used for building on Vir.

"We plan to build a hotel with about a hundred rooms, a marina, and a camp. All at the level of five stars, and it should be done in 2023. It is an investment of a total of 30 million euros, and we have the financial potential to do that," reveals Kapović, who believes that many 'weekend tourists' are a great advantage, not a lack of Vir tourism.

Vir has been the first in Zadar County in terms of the number of tourist nights, and during the last three seasons in the summer it is among the top three destinations in Croatia. By the end of September, there were just over 101,000 guests, and 2.1 million overnight stays were realized this year, which is a respectable 86 percent of last year's number.

 

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Wednesday, 26 August 2020

Vir, Croatia's Most Successful Destination, Yet No Love from Croatian Tourist Board

August 26, 2020 - The Mayor of Vir, Kristijan Kapovic, and the Director of the Vir Tourist Board, Srdjan Liveric, are dissatisfied with the Croatian Tourist Board's attitude towards the island of Vir, the most successful tourist destination in Croatia so far this season.

Namely, HRTurizam reports that in the last two August press releases of the Croatian National Tourist Board (CNTB) which list the most successful tourist destinations, Rovinj, Porec, Split, Medulin, Crikvenica, Dubrovnik, Umag, Zadar, Pula and Novalja were highlighted as the destinations with the most achieved tourist arrivals. Contrary to the practice of all previous years, the most successful destinations by realized tourist overnight stays are not mentioned, i.e., the total data of realized overnight stays in Croatia and the most successful counties are given.

The fact that the island of Vir has the most in Croatia until August 15 - about 1.5 million overnight stays with 80 percent of last year's record numbers - is somehow bypassed at the peak of the summer season when the impression of the most successful and best destinations this year is created. In addition, Vir is the best destination in terms of overnight stays so far in August (433 thousand). With more than 700 thousand overnight stays (the only one in Croatia), it was also the most successful tourist destination in July.

However, the island of Vir simply does not appear in the CNTB's press releases in August. It is this fact that raised the whole of Vir to its feet, and the Municipality of Vir and the tourist board are asking: Is the island of Vir fancy enough to be the best destination in Croatia?

Realized tourist overnight stays measure the success of each destination. This fact is covered up in the CNTB's August media reports, according to a joint statement from the Municipality of Vir and the Tourist Board of Vir.

"They favor destinations in which billions of kuna of public state money have been invested so far, in communal, tourist and media-marketing infrastructure, so they are obviously bothered by Vir's success, which has never gained anything from all this. However, when the CNTB's coffers are filled, one does not ask where the money comes from, and a significant amount of money comes from Vir," says the mayor of Vir, Kristijan Kapovic. Thus, millions from the island go directly to the CNTB, and hundreds of millions to the state budget, adding: “No one can deny that, but we can also ask ourselves whether the time has finally come for that money to start coming back to us. Vir certainly deserved it," said Mayor Kapovic. The director of the Vir Tourist Board, Srcjan Liveric, agrees with him and feels first hand the complete neglect of the most popular Croatian destination.

“Several million kuna go every year to the CNTB's coffers at the state and county level, and not a penny has been returned to some media and marketing campaign for Vir. We do not have the support of the system and the people within the CNTB who, among other things, are paid with real money and whose job it is to help us. We rely only on our own strength," says director Liveric and adds that it is finally time for state institutions, tourism, and others, to start doing their job finally. "If we talk about tax revenues, hundreds of millions of kunas went to the budget from Vir. We would be satisfied if we got them back if we could arrange Vir as a top tourist destination in every sense," adds the director of Vir Tourist Board.

In their joint statement, they point out that a significant phrase of the CNTB director Kristjan Stanicic, who, speaking about the most successful destinations so far, mentioned only some of them. Even then, the island of Vir was not mentioned in a single word, letter or thought. When the CNTB director was confronted with the fact that Vir was the destination with the most overnight stays in Croatia, he responded to the journalist's statement somewhat reluctantly: "Vir is a specific destination of non-commercial accommodation."

According to UNWTO, the umbrella organization of international tourism and the United Nations agency, a tourist is any person who stays or spends the night in a place where there is no residence address. Therefore, that person can have their own house, cottage, caravan, tent, or brothel in the destination if they want. Still, if they do not have a residence - it is a person who is statistically registered as a tourist. This is what is called non-commercial accommodation in the structure of tourist traffic, according to Vir.

Vir also emphasizes that for a local or foreign citizen to buy or build a house in Croatia where they do not reside, it is necessary to set aside at least about 700 thousand kuna for the minimum facility and then pay taxes and other receivables. In one move, a foreigner or a local person invests about 100 thousand euro to have a housing or tourism business facility, on which they pay taxes and all possible benefits, and further use the goods and services at the destination. Only one such owner of the facility, or a tourist in non-commercial accommodation, spends at least one million kuna at the start, and their further consumption at the destination takes place at least three or four times a year.

In the case of Vir, we are talking about foreigners who spend 16 nights on average in the previous part of the season and domestic guests with 26.7 nights on average. The so-called commercial tourists that the CNTB likes, spend 500 to 600 euro once for accommodation and maybe the same amount for goods and services at the destination where they stay for two to three days, or a maximum of one week. They do not spend more than ten or fifteen thousand kunas without a guarantee that they will be in Croatia again next year. In order to equalize the financial performance of a non-commercial guest in the future, commercial tourists would have to stay at the destination for 100 years or there would have to be 100 times more of them, Vir points out.

"All tourism professionals know that reports are made according to the realized overnight stays, because it is the practice of measuring tourist traffic. Now that Vir is the best, suddenly reports are made in arrivals, which is strange, to say the least," concludes Liveric.

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Sunday, 23 August 2020

PHOTOS: Secluded And Beautiful - Vir Island A Safe Choice For Late Summer

August 23, 2020 – Croatian Tourism minister Nikolina Brnjac's recent visit to Vir island highlighted it's safe epidemiological record. Pictures show what to expect from a peaceful and secluded Vir.

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Croatian Minister for Tourism, Mrs. Nikolina Brnjac, was welcomed on Vir island by the Mayor of Vir Kristijan Kapović, President of the Municipal Council of Vir, Rajko Radović, Deputy Mayor Antonio Vučetić, Director of the Vir Tourist Board Srđan Liverić, Director of the islanders' own tourism company Vir Turizam Kristina Perić, Head of Vir Turizam Mate Čulina, director of Tourist Board of the City of Zadar Mario Paleka © Virski List

Mrs. Nikolina Brnjac was not the first Croatian Tourism Minister to visit Vir island, located north-west of Zadar. Her three most-recent predecessors had also taken the short journey via bridge from Privlaka and Nin to reach the nevertheless peaceful and secluded island. However, Brnjac was the first to do so in August, at the peak of the tourist season. And, she had good reason for doing so.

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Though connected to the mainland by a short road bridge, Vir island manages to retain a peaceful seclusion

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Vir island has plenty of beaches to choose from and lots of space © Anton Unković / Tourist Board Municipality Vir

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Some of Vir island's beaches are remote, but easily accessible by boat © Zvonko Kucelin / Tourist Board Municipality Vir

As reported in TCN earlier this season, Vir island is one of 2020's success stories. In a challenging year for tourism, Vir island had bucked all trends and actually improved on last year's visitor numbers. It was the first Croatian destination of 2020 to reach one million overnight stays. The island is keenly observing epidemiological guidelines, has positioned itself as a safe place to visit and has reaped the rewards.

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Even on Vir island's more popular beaches, there's still lots of room for everyone © Vir Turizam

With over a month left to tour its beautiful, spacious beaches and clear, turquoise seas, these images give an idea of what you can expect from a visit to Vir.

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Venetian fortress Kaštelina is one of the island's most significant landmarks © Tourist Board Municipality Vir  

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Vir island is perfect for walking and exploring. Often, you'll find yourself alone on its many kilometres of shoreline © Tourist Board Municipality Vir  

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Boats in the harbour on Vir island at sunset © Zvonko Kucelin / Tourist Board Municipality Vir

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Sunset over the Adriatic, as seen from Vir island © Sanja Grgić Ćurić / Tourist Board Municipality Vir

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