Why TCN is Helping Americans with Travel Information to Croatia

By 10 July 2020
Why TCN is Helping Americans with Travel Information to Croatia
Romulic & Stojcic

July 10, 2020 - The travel information provided by this website and the Total Croatia Travel INFO Viber community is helping Americans travel to Croatia. And not everyone is happy. 

I had a phone call from CBS News a couple of days ago. They were researching a follow-up to the New York Times story on where Americans could travel freely to this summer. Croatia was the only country in the EU which was on the list, and one of the few in all Europe where Americans could visit at all and also without  any testing/quarantine requirements.

I smiled to myself when I took the call, just as I smiled when I saw the New York Times story. For while many saw this as breaking news, Americans have actually been free to enter Croatia as tourists since May 11, as has anyone else on the planet who could get to a Croatian border and have proof of paid accommodation (official statistics show that 1,853 Americans entered Croatia in June). Without any requirement for testing or self-isolation in Croatia (the quarantine rules on returning to the home country after Croatia are obviously varied - and subject to change).

Croatia relies on tourism for 20% of its GDP, and for the world to realise after two months via one of the biggest global media that Croatia was open to Americans says a lot about the way Croatia has communicated its message. 

To say nothing of the many Americans who were refused boarding at American airports during that time because airlines said that they could not go to Croatia. 

I have had a LOT of criticism for publishing clear, transparent and accurate travel advice about how Americans can come to Croatia currently, as well as (but far less) positive communications from people who have found the advice in TCN articles and the community feedback in the Total Croatia Travel INFO Viber community invaluable. Several have stated that they would have cancelled the trip without the guidance and feedback from the community, while others have said that they felt bold enough to try after reading the advice and testimonials.

But why is TCN helping Americans to come to Croatia during a pandemic, given the epidemiological situation in the United States?

One thing I have learned over the years is that there are certain things that it is better not to take public sides on as a portal. Brexit, Tito, was Tesla a Croat or a Serb,that kind of thing. 

And so too with corona, and the delicate subject of health v tourism and the economy. I have my private view, just as other TCN writers do (and I have no idea what those are), but as a portal, I decided very early on that we would report the news as factually and accurately as possible, keeping comment and opinion to a minimum. 

Regarding providing information to help Americans come to Croatia and perhaps bring more cases of corona, my position is this. 

I don't make the decisions on who can, and who cannot enter Croatia, or whether tourism is more important than fighting the pandemic, in the same way that I don't decide if we should wear masks on public transport or limit gatherings to a certain number of people. 

But I do report on those things, putting them out there as simply and transparently as possible, so that people can be informed. 

If people are informed, they can make better decisions and perhaps not invest in a plane ticket and holiday, only to be denied boarding. 

If people are informed and they don't like or agree with the policies, they can address that concern to the authorities. 

Here is the situation today (and it has been this way since May 11, effectively).

Anyone who can make it to a Croatian border with proof of paid accommodation will be allowed to enter Croatia, with no test or self-isolation requirement - EU/EEA countries can just come. 

Although Croatia is in the EU, it is not in the Schengen zone. This means that you CAN TRANSIT through a Schengen airport if you are flying straight through from the USA and anywhere else. (Please note that this applies to ONE transit only, we have had several reports of two transits through Schengen airports not being allowed). This is how you do it

The message is clear - Croatia wants tourists as a priority. They have just done an incredibly bad job at communicating this simple message. The fact that CBS News is contacting me after joining the Viber community and concluded our chat with a hearty thanks that everything is finally very clear, is one proof of that. 

Croatia's strategy is very different from other neighbouring countries, who also want tourism, but not at any cost, it seems. 

Americans and many others cannot currently visit Montenegro, for example. Montenegro has made a decision that it wants tourism, but it wants to put restrictions on tourists, depending on their country of origin and its epidemiological situation. Tourists from most countries can come, some require proof of a recent negative test, others are refused entry or must undergo 14 days of self-isolation. The list is constantly updated according to the situation in other countries

Montenegro is not in the EU, of course, but Slovenia is. Slovenia also wants tourism, but not at any cost, and the Slovenians too have introduced a traffic light system of entry, with Croatia currently on amber (see the Total Slovenia News report - What Do the Green, Yellow & Red Lists Mean for Entering Slovenia During the Corona Crisis?).

So Croatia clearly has a different policy than its neighbours and tourism competitors. Whether that is right or wrong is not for me to say or have an opinion on. This has been an INCREDIBLY confusing time for tourists who want to have a summer holiday. Should they be even travelling at all during a pandemic? Again, that is not for me to say or have an opinion on. 

Transparency is what I think is required so that people can completely understand the situation, and transparency is what TCN is trying to deliver, albeit in very challenging circumstances. For those who don't agree with the decisions being taken, take it up with the decision-makers. 

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The Netherlands - as of July 21, Croatia is placed on the "Orange" list by the Dutch government, which means that both the Croatian nationals and the Dutch nationals returning to the Netherlands from Croatia are strongly advised to self-quarantine for 14 days.