Thursday, 16 September 2021
Mark Thomas

Mark Thomas

Mark Thomas - The editor and big chief of The Dubrovnik Times. Born in the UK he has been living and working in Dubrovnik since 1998, yes he is one of the rare “old hands.” A unique insight into both British and Croatian life and culture, Mark is often known as just “Englez” or Englishman. He is a traveller, a current affairs freak and a huge AFC Wimbledon fan.

Email: mark.thomas@dubrovnik-times.com

The Croatian Minister of Tourism and Sports, Nikolina Brnjac, said on Thursday that 76 million tourist overnight stays have been realized in Croatia since the beginning of the year, which is about 70 percent of tourist traffic from the same period in 2019, and that there were no cancellations for the rest of September and postseason.

Answering questions from journalists after the government session, Minister Brnjac said that there are currently 410,000 tourists in Croatia, roughly the same as in 2019.

She stated that there are no booking cancellations so far, which she attributes to standardized travel procedures with Covid-19 passports and vaccinations.

She also said that Croatia can be satisfied with the season, because the goal was to achieve about 60 percent of the total tourist traffic from 2019, and with today we have reached about 70 percent.

"The situation is even better when you look at the data on fiscalized accounts, the value of which for now, only in the first half of September, is 33 percent higher than at the same time in 2019," the minister stressed.

 

The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) released a new corona map on Thursday, recording the 14-day incidence of coronavirus infection across the European Union.

According to the latest data, Croatia is still marked in red.

Red means a 14-day incidence of 75 to 200 infected per 100,000 inhabitants with a positive share of more than 4 percent and areas where the 14-day incidence is infected from 200 to 500 per 100,000 people.

In the last 24 hours, 1,369 new cases of Covid-19 virus infection were recorded, and the number of active cases in Croatia today is a total of 7,643.

9 people died in the past 24 hours.

 

In the last 24 hours, 53 new cases of coronavirus infection were recorded in Dubrovnik-Neretva County.

These are 20 males and 33 females: 21 from Dubrovnik, 13 from Župa dubrovačka, 6 from Ston, four from Dubrovačko primorje, three from Metković, two from Konavle and Ploče, and one from Orebić and Trpanj.

49 people made a full recovery: 29 from Dubrovnik, five from Župa dubrovačka, four from Konavle and Metković, two from Mljet and Ston, and one from the Dubrovačko primorje, Opuzen and Vela Luka.

In the last 24 hours, 594 samples were processed, and since the beginning of the pandemic, a total of 132,353 samples have been analyzed.

24 people tested positive for coronavirus were hospitalized in the Dubrovnik General Hospiatl. Four patients require intensive care and are on ventilators. 

There are 976 people in self-isolation, and in the last 24 hours there have been no cases of violation of the self-isolation measure. 

 

About 900 guests are currently staying in the area of the Dubrovacko Primorje. During the first 15 days of September, a total of 13,969 overnight stays were realized, which is about twice as many as in 2020, and 91 percent compared to overnight stays in the same period in 2019.

Since the beginning of the year, a total of 119,583 overnight stays have been realized, which is 70 percent of the tourist turnover realized in 2019. 50,150 overnight stays were realized in hotel accommodation, while 56,293 overnight stays were realized in private accommodation, which is 61 percent of hotel nights and 75 percent of overnight stays in private accommodation compared to the same period in 2019.

In September, most guests in hotel accommodation came from Germany, Poland, France, Great Britain and Belgium, while in private accommodation most guests came from Germany, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Poland, the Czech Republic and Great Britain.

Today, the director of the Dubrovačko primorje Tourist Board visited guests Andre and Maria Menzel, who have been staying with Cvijeta and Antun Mozara for 20 years. With a plaque and special gifts, the director of the Tourist Board thanked the Menzel couple for their twenty years of spending their vacation in Slano and with the family of Cvijeta and Antun Mozara. The coupler thanked the director for the gifts and announced that they would continue to come to Slano and to the Mozara family.

Organized by the Dubrovnik Tourist Board, in cooperation with the Adriatic Luxury Hotels, the journalist Elizabeth Brownfield is in Dubrovnik from September 15 to 19, preparing a report on the best hotels on the Croatian coast for the digital edition of Forbes magazine, Forbes.com. During her stay in Dubrovnik, the journalist will visit the most important cultural and historical sights of the city, the island of Lokrum and its surroundings.

The American journalist was welcomed by the director of the Dubrovnik Tourist Board, Ana Hrnić, who welcomed her with a souvenir. Ana Hrnić and Elizabeth Brownfield talked about the importance of the American market for Dubrovnik and Croatia, the recovery of tourist traffic and the gastronomic offer offered by Dubrovnik and its surroundings. The journalist also expressed interest in the digital nomad program, because she is a nomad herself and spent a year and a half working from other countries before the pandemic.

In addition to the article about hotels, which will be published in the digital edition of Forbes.com, and which has about 27 million readers a month, the journalist will also write an article about Dubrovnik as a destination, given the great interest of American tourists.

Promotional campaigns in the American market conducted by the City Tourist Board since the beginning of 2021, in cooperation with American airlines, from promotional videos to reports and advertorials in their inflight magazines have proven to be an excellent assessment in ensuring great interest from the US market this year. The fact that the introduction of direct flights of the American airlines, United Airlines and Delta Airlines, with as many as eight weekly flights connecting the USA with Dubrovnik is a great success.

The American market is one of the most important emitting markets in Dubrovnik, whose tourists are currently in third place in the top list of the most numerous tourists in Dubrovnik. Currently, 1,548 tourists from the USA are staying in Dubrovnik, while in August there were 16,712 American guests.

 

In October, Turkish Airlines will continue to connect Istanbul with two Croatian airports - Zagreb and Dubrovnik. September has probably been one of the most successful tourism months in Croatia, with earnings reportedly up from the record breaking year of 2019. And the news that this major national airline will continue to fly to Croatia from Istanbul in October will be met with interest from the tourism industry.

The Turkish national airline, the airline that operated to most destinations in the world until the outbreak of the global pandemic, will continue to connect Zagreb and Dubrovnik with Istanbul in October, reports Croatian Aviation.

In October, the company will operate as many as 12 times a week between Istanbul and Zagreb, daily, while two flights a day are available on Mondays, Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.

The company plans to reduce the number of weekly flights between Zagreb and Istanbul in November, but the flight schedule has not yet been finalized, so additional cancellations of currently available flights are possible. The realization of the same will primarily depend on passenger demand.

Turkish Airlines plans to operate to Dubrovnik Airport throughout October. This is a massive boost for the tourism industry in the city and October looks like being another successful month. For some context in October last year 14,347 passengers passed through Dubrovnik Airport, whilst in the same month in 2019 close to 300,000 passengers used Croatia’s southernmost airport. This October should see figures much closer to those of 2019.

Flights between Istanbul and Dubrovnik will operate four times a week, on Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, and A321 aircraft have been announced on all flights.

On a total of 17 return flights in October, Turkish Airlines currently offers more than 6,300 seats between Dubrovnik and Istanbul, which will certainly affect the tourist result and the number of passengers at Dubrovnik Airport at the very end of the summer season.

Zagreb will be the only Turkish Airlines destination in Croatia in the upcoming winter flight schedule, given that flights to Dubrovnik are not announced in the period from November to the end of March next year.

 

Croatian citizens could be able to travel to the United States without visas by the end of this year, reports Hina, a US Department of Homeland Security official who is in Croatia this week is to make a final assessment of the readiness of Croatia to enter the visa-free regime.

Homeland Security Minister Alejandro Mayorkas will make the final decision on Croatia's readiness to join the Visa Waiver Program (VWP). A US ministry delegation is in Croatia this week to prepare a final report. Serena Hoy, the ministry's international affairs secretary, told Hina that Mayorkas would make the decision by the end of September.

"And then, if everything goes according to plan, we believe that Croatia will be in VWP by the end of the year," she said, adding that the delegation of the relevant ministry was "optimistic" that this would be the case.

After the abolition of visas for travel to the USA for tourist and business purposes, Croatian citizens will need to apply through the Electronic Travel Authorization System (ESTA). All passengers to the US would need to check into this system no later than 48 hours before the flight, and check-in will cost $14.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken officially nominated Croatia for VWP in early August. One of the main criteria to enter the visa-free program was that less than 3 percent of visa applications were rejected. And the US embassy in Zagreb announced in February that Croatia met less this condition, with at that time, 2.69 percent of visa applications rejected.

Hoy pointed out that this criterion is one of the most demanding and that there are many countries that want to join the visa-free regime, but it is difficult for them to overcome this obstacle.
There are currently 39 countries in the WWP - all EU members except Croatia, Bulgaria, Romania and Cyprus, Australia, Brunei, Chile, Iceland, Norway, the United Kingdom, Japan, South Korea, Monaco, New Zealand, Switzerland, Singapore and Taiwan.

Membership in the regime is assessed every two years, and exclusion is possible, which happened to Argentina in 2002, and Uruguay in 2003, according to the pages of the Congress.

A prerequisite for VWP is the strengthening of security cooperation and the mutual sharing of information between candidate countries and the United States.

The US delegation, among other things, assessed Croatia's security readiness by visiting airports and border crossings and ports, and this week it will visit a reception centre for migrants and have several meetings with representatives of the Croatian authorities.

In recent years, the Croatian side has also met with representatives of the US Attorney's Office, the Terrorist Investigation Centre and the FBI.

The tourist results in September in many Croatian coastal destinations are better than at the same time in 2019, and Croatia is still a desirable tourist destination in the Mediterranean and there are more and more reservations for October, according to the Croatian Tourism Association (HUT).

HUT presents data which shows that there are 400,000 tourists in Croatia, of which 361,000 are foreigners, and they also emphasize that significant tourist turnover is reflected in the financial results.

"In the first week of September, the value of fiscalized bills in the provision of accommodation and food preparation and service increased by 146 percent compared to last year, to 1.1 billion Kuna. Last week the results were 974.6 million Kuna, which is 11 percent more than in the same week in 2019," added HUT.

They also report that the German public health institute Robert Koch does not consider any Croatian a risky county and that there are no travel restrictions to Croatia or in returning from any part EU country.

"Capacities in the largest domestic hotel companies are recording excellent occupancy until the end of September, and every day the capacities for October are being filled more and more. According to the current situation in October more than 60 percent of domestic hotels will be open,” says HUT.

 

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