Croatian Tourism: Dubrovnik Seeks Special Flight Arrangements

Croatia has advantages as a destination that is easy to reach by car, but what about places like Dubrovnik? Croatian tourism is seeking answers to possibly save some of the summer season this year, but they aren't coming quickly or very easily...

As Marija Crnjak/Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 4th of May, 2020, Dubrovnik is looking for a special status for flights from Great Britain and the rest of the EU, because the former city state a destination to which tourists mostly arrive by plane, and because of the geography of its location, very few of them arrive in Dubrovnik by road. With Peljesac bridge far from finished, it's impossible to just lump Dubrovnik in with the rest of the nation when it comes to ease of access by car.

This issue alone makes Croatia's southernmost city and touristic Mecca of Dubrovnik different from the rest of Croatia, most of which is easily accessible by car from surrounding countries. The Croatian tourism industry needs to find an answer that incorporates the rather awkwardly-placed Medieval walled city and the rest of the extreme south of Dalmatia.

While solutions are being sought at the European Union level to form a corridor for tourists to the Croatian Adriatic this summer, great uncertainty remains over guests from European countries which aren't in the EU. In this context, the United Kingdom, which is a former EU member and is currently in a transition period in which nothing changes, and neighbouring Bosnia and Herzegovina, which has never been an EU member, are particularly important for Croatia.

These are popular European markets from which there were a total of about 1.4 million arrivals in Croatia last year, slightly less than 900,000 from the United Kingdom, and about half a million arrivals from Bosnia and Herzegovina, realising total of about 7.5 million overnight stays, of which 4.6 million overnight stays made by the British. Guests from Bosnia and Herzegovina simply cross the Bosnian-Croatian border by car, which is extremely easy in Dubrovnik owing once again to its geography. What will happen with the United Kingdom, however, largely depends on air traffic throughout Europe.

The Ministry of Tourism doesn't have any concrete solutions yet, everything is still very much pending. They stated that all of the measures to re-activate the Croatian tourism industry and as such tourist activity are being adopted in accordance with the unfolding epidemiological situation. They say they are discussing common protocols at the EU level regarding the re-opening of borders, and that an agreement is expected during May.

"Croatia is also considering the possibilities and procedures for tourists from non-EU countries coming to Croatia," they say, but so far there are no details on that available. Both at the destination and company level, solutions are being sought, which will ultimately depend on the decisions of the epidemiologists.

Dubrovnik, as stated, is seeking a special status for flights from the UK and the rest of the EU, as they are a destination that is primarily reached by air, very few come to Dubrovnik by road.

Mayor Mato Frankovic believes that a solution will be found by the time the tourist season rolls around, and pointed out that the interest of guests for Dubrovnik still exists, especially since there were very few people suffering from COVID-19 in the city.

Jako Andabak, the owner of Sunce Hotels, which works closely with TUI to bring British guests to their hotels, hopes things could possibly be resolved by mid-July.

"Our plan is to start the season somehow at that time, which is another two months away, time during which the epidemiological situation could change for the better, and open opportunities for opening our borders. As things stand now with reservations, we could have a decent August,'' said Andabak.

Please note that this text regards the arrival of British and Bosnian tourists only. If you are a Bosnian or a British citizen and you live in Croatia with legal residence and a permit attesting to that fact, you are entitled to come to Croatia at any point. You must self-isolate for fourteen days upon arrival and you must have an address here (which is shown on your ID card), but you will be granted entry without issues.

Follow our travel page for more on Croatian tourism in the coronavirus era.