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

Tuesday, 21 July 2020

Croatian IT Expert Returns from Ireland, Creates Booking Platform for Vir

As Kazimir Skrbic/Morski writes on the 20th of July, 2020, a young marketing and IT expert from Vir, Tomislav Lukic, and his wife Matea, launched a platform to offer free marketing for all businesses on the island of Vir.

In just a few days, this free web platform, the Island of Vir (otokvir.eu), managed to attract the attention of dozens of businesses located on Vir, primarily those who rent to tourists and those who own restaurants, in order to create a unique online place where users can make their own accounts and represent their businesses. In the same place, end users can also use the platform to find and select the best products and services from Vir, so their common denominator is actually already contained in the platform's subtitle: Find everything you need - top-notch accommodation, businesses and services, restaurants, beaches and popular events.

''Everything is completely free, because the initial idea of ​​this project was to create an online place where businesses affected by the pandemic can advertise their business. For now, we have about twenty new accounts, and our plan is to have at least a hundred registered business entities by the beginning of the summer season. In this way, we want to be part of the solution in the fight against the pandemic, and everyone can get involved,'' says Tomislav Lukic, a young IT expert and master of economics specialiding in website development and digital marketing, who quickly made the idea a reality along with his wife, Matea. On the platform, Lukic posted several video presentations for everyone using this kind of marketing for the first time, in which he explains to users, step by step, how to open an account and present their business.

''Everything is very simple, but still, I'm very happy to answer questions or explain any ambiguities to all those interested. This platform is one of the projects I’m working on because I’ve been thinking about this type of project for a while now. With the arrival of the pandemic, I realised that digitising business and online content would be a good solution, so the platform was conceived as a free place to add everything in one place,'' says Tomislav.

''Most importantly, everything placed on the site can be easily evaluated so that end users can be sure to choose what suits them best,'' says this young IT expert from Vir who is constantly on the road from Rijeka to Vir with his wife.

Before returning to Croatia, he lived and worked in Ireland in the IT sector for four years. Although the business situation in Ireland was not bad at all, Tomislav and Matea decided to return to Croatia and try their hand at business at home.

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Tuesday, 14 July 2020

Vir Island Becomes One of Adriatic's Most Thriving Holiday Destinations

July 14, 2020 - Hungarians visiting Croatia seem to be most interested in holidaying on the island of Vir, and after Slovenes and Germans, they are the most frequent guests there.

But in this pandemic, Vir has already become the most thriving tourist destination when compared to last year, reports RTL.

More than half a million overnight stays have been recorded there so far, which is almost 80 percent of last year's figures, and in the first 12 days of July, Vir is also in first place with 214,000 overnight stays, which is more than 70 percent of last year's result in the same period.

"In this corona situation, we have proven to be a tough nut to crack, and unlike many other areas in the Adriatic, we are still alive," Mayor Kristijan Kapovic told RTL Direkt.

From the new year to July, more than 33,000 guests came to Vir, and eVisitor currently has 27,000 registered guests on Vir.

"There are about 4,000 of us on Vir. Today, Vir has more than 30,000 inhabitants, both temporary and permanent," the mayor added.

He adds that this has nothing to do with weekenders who have houses on Vir.

"As for the tourists who come to the apartments and rooms, there are currently 9,000 of them. Most of the tourists are from the area - Slovaks, Hungarians, Slovenes, Germans, Czechs and Poles, BiH. The rest are 20,000 weekenders. They are also foreigners. The ownership structure has changed in the last 20 years. More than 50 percent of property owners are again from those countries. In these times of crisis, notorious destinations that rely on organized accommodation are now in a deficit position. Real estate tourism, in the case of Vir, owned by foreigners, has proven to be something that gives results," he explains.

Kapovic says that so far, they have not had a single case of the coronavirus, and considering the situation and a large number of tourists, he assumes that they could by the end of the season.

"So far, we are sailing well; that problem has not touched us. People feel comfortable and safe here," he says.

Tourism Minister Cappelli is urging Headquarters to tighten measures.

"We respect all decisions of the Headquarters. We are trying to instill new security in guests, who come from countries where epidemiological measures are stricter," said Kapovic.

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Monday, 15 June 2020

Vir Island Welcomed Most Guests in Croatia Last Month

June 15, 2020 - In May, the island of Vir boasted the most guests in Croatia, more than Rovinj, Medulin, Mali Losinj and Krk. Despite all the limiting factors, Vir recorded 13.4 percent fewer overnight stays and only 1.1 percent fewer tourist arrivals compared to last year!

Slobodna Dalmacija reports that according to the eVisitor system, a total of 49,566 overnight stays were recorded in Vir in May (57,208 last year) and 2,877 arrivals (2,909 last year), of which Croats achieved 37,252 overnight stays (75.1 percent) with an increase of 26.9 and foreign guests 12,314 (24.9 percent) with a drop of 55.8 percent. Most of them were Slovenes and Germans, Hungarians and Austrians.

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Now, you might be wondering... HOW?

"How's that? It's nice! We quarantined the guests," says Kristijan Kapović, the mayor of Vir municipality.

Kapović was in the company of an 'expert council', the director of the municipal tourist board Srđan Liverić, the head of the tourist agency Vir Turizam Mate Čulina, and his deputy Antonio Vučetić. The theme at the table was the tourist figures of this unusually popular island.

"From January 1 to June 1 this year, we have 53 percent in arrivals of foreign guests compared to the same period last year, or a decrease of 39 percent in overnight stays. In the same period, we have an increase of 15 percent in arrivals and as much as 39 percent in overnight stays of domestic guests compared to last year," said Kapović.

Of foreigners, mostly Slovenians came, only two percent less, followed by Germans (-54 percent), BiH (-52 percent), Hungarians (-60 percent), Austrians (-72 percent). I emphasize that these are the numbers while the lockdown for Austria, the Czech Republic, Slovakia was still ongoing," said Kapović. 

"At the time when we closed our borders and declared quarantine, there were about 700 guests in Vir, mostly Croats, Slovenes, and Hungarians. Some found themselves there, and some escaped the coronavirus here. These are mostly our weekenders, as we call them, who come to us all year round because they have their real estate here. But now they find themselves in a situation where they have to stay by force.

Their overnight stays were reflected in the statistics and hence ours, I would say a minimal drop in the number of arrivals and overnight stays for the first five months, given the general circumstances," the mayor explains.

Vir survived the pandemic without a single infection, which further convinced its regular guests that it is a safe holiday destination. 

Namely, out of almost twelve thousand registered facilities on the island, as many as ten thousand are intended for occasional housing. The owners of more than half of such facilities are foreign citizens, and most of them are from Slovenia, Hungary, Slovakia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Czech Republic, Germany, Austria, and Poland. 

"Vir had recorded 154,096 arrivals and 2,635,664 overnight stays last year, of which 110,258 were foreign tourists who made 1,159,908 overnight stays. We were the eighth destination in the country. We achieved these figures thanks to the arrivals of foreign and weekend visitors. Foreigners and weekenders come all year round and spend an average of fifteen days on the island, while domestic guests stay for almost forty days.

They say that we are a destination of apartments and non-commercial tourism. I claim to you, and this crisis has confirmed this, that our tourism is more resilient and sustainable long-term than the tourism of large hotel complexes that have been insisted on for years. This is due to the influence of certain lobbies, and not a well-designed development tourism policy," claims Kapović, who emphasized again that Vir was the eighth destination in the country.

"Out of the total number of overnight stays from last year, almost 1.2 million are foreign guests," said the director of the Tourist Board, Srđan Liverić.

"Our main season lasts from June 15 to September 15, and in that period, we achieve 80 percent of tourist numbers. The other 20 percent is equally divided into pre-season and post-season," he explains.

The head of the Vir Turizam agency Mate Čulina joined in: "In addition to these cottages and holiday homes owned by foreigners, there are 2,500 registered renters with fifteen thousand beds on offer. Landlords alone make about 800,000 overnight stays a year," says Čulina, adding that the municipal agency works with mostly Croatian landlords.

"Provisions for this year are about 30 percent weaker than last year. For example, some who had provisions worth 140,000 euros for the season in January has now dropped to 30,000. But not everything is so black; a lot is on hold. People have lowered prices from 20 to 30 and even more for all summer months. However, they hope that after the opening of the borders, which will surely happen by the end of June, they could achieve a positive season in July, August and September.

Of course, what worries them the most is what will happen with the pandemic, but also what will happen with the now traditional events on the island, which are a great magnet for guests and weekenders.

Guests and weekenders are mostly interested in whether there will be a Vir Summer," continues Čulina.

"Once a local event for the entertainment of domestic tourists, over the years has become the largest, most interesting and most spectacular summer program in Zadar County. When you compare only the number and quality of concerts and performers who parade through the Vir Summer, Vir seems like Las Vegas compared to Zadar.

But this is no accident. One million euros are allocated annually for the programs, organization and promotion of the Vir Summer program, and the number of entertainment and cultural events has risen from the former ten to more than seventy over the years. When sports programs that start in April and end in October are added to that, with numerous international activities, such as jet ski competitions, Vir brings guests practically all year round and fills its capacities," explains Čulina.

"So I say if the borders open, and they will right after Corpus Christi, we will get our weekenders, our regular foreign and domestic guests, the property owners on the island. If there are about 150 thousand of them this year, by all indications, we will have a good tourist season," points out Mayor Kapović.

You can read the full interview on Slobodna Dalmacija HERE.

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