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.
FlyDubai, the low-cost company from the United Arab Emirates, FlyDubai, will not resume flights between Dubrovnik and Dubai this summer, and flights to Zagreb this summer have also been cancelled although they may resume in September.
FlyDubai had originally announced that they would resume traffic between Dubai and Zagreb in the summer flight schedule in 2021, as a replacement for Emirates, which has permanently withdrawn from the same route, reports Croatian Aviation. The company originally planned to resume traffic from the start of the year, and flights were then delayed from month to month.
But this latest announcement states that all flights are cancelled until September 1 this year, and all flights to Dubrovnik Airport have been cancelled. However, if the demand for tickets in September between Dubai and Zagreb is low there is a good chance that FlyDubai won’t fly to Croatia at all this year.
According to the eVisitor system, which contains tourist traffic generated in commercial and non-commercial facilities and nautical charter 36,000 tourists arrived in Croatia over the Easter holidays, from April 2 to April 5. In total around 140,000 overnight stays were realised in the country over the Easter break.
"Given the current circumstances and the epidemiological situation, which is still very unstable in our most important tourist markets, and the limits on travel, we are satisfied with the results achieved during the extended Easter weekend. Although these are not the numbers we are used to under normal circumstances, these results give some optimism for the main summer part of the season,” said the director of the Croatian Tourist Board Kristjan Staničić.
During Easter, most tourist nights were realized in Istria (about 57,000 nights), Kvarner (about 25,000 nights), Zadar (about 14,000 nights) and Split-Dalmatia County (about 12,000 nights), and looking at destinations, most nights were realized in Rovinj , Poreč, Zadar, Funtana, Medulin, Zagreb and Opatija.
In terms of markets, during the Easter holidays the largest number of overnight stays was realized by guests from Germany, the Czech Republic, Austria, Slovenia and Switzerland, and in terms of type of accommodation most overnight stays were in hotels (around 58,000 overnight stays), households (around 33,000 overnight stays) and camps (about 26,000 overnight stays).
In the period from January to the end of March, there were 352,000 tourist arrivals and 1.2 million overnight stays in Croatia (61 percent of the results from the same period last year). Most overnight stays were realized in Istria, Kvarner and Split-Dalmatia County, and looking at the markets, most overnight stays were realized by tourists from Germany, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Slovenia, Italy and the USA.
According to the eVisitor tourist check-in and check-out system, about a thousand guests stayed in Dubrovnik for Easter. The majority of the tourists were from Croatia, Germany, France, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Austria, the USA, Switzerland, Ukraine, Serbia and Spain.
In total 995 overnight stays were achieved over Easter, with 583 overnight stays realized by domestic guests and 412 by foreign tourists.
Currently, 12 hotels have been opened in the city and international air traffic to Dubrovnik has been re-established with flights twice a week - Iberia from Madrid and Lufthansa from Munich. The start of EasyJet flights from Geneva is also planned soon.
As part of the promotion of Dubrovnik for Easter, the Dubrovnik Tourist Board in cooperation with the popular Croatian influencer Dora Predojević from Dubrovnik held a contest in which the prize was an Easter weekend stay in Dubrovnik. Among the 700 applicants, the lucky winners were selected, two students from Zagreb, Valerija and Marija Tereza Mandir. The Dubrovnik Tourist Board, in cooperation with the Adriatic Luxury Hotels, provided the winners with three nights with breakfast at the Dubrovnik Palace Hotel, two three-day Dubrovnik Cards with which they visited the sights free of charge and used local transport. The director of the Dubrovnik Tourist Board, Ana Hrnić, congratulated the lucky winners on the award and wished them a warm welcome to Dubrovnik.
So, we’ve had numerous questions from potential tourist from all over the world about entry into Croatia for the upcoming tourist season. Until now it has been rather a complicated affair, but from April 1 (and no, it wasn’t an April Fool’s Day joke) the government have announced the new Covid-19 travel regulations for the Republic of Croatia. Now, we have an official answer to the thousands of questions we’ve received, and here they are in full directly from the Croatian National Tourist Board.
New rules for entry into the Republic of Croatia!
All passengers who, regardless of their citizenship, come to the Republic of Croatia from EU / EEA member states / regions, and which are currently not on the so-called green list of the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, entry into the Republic of Croatia will be allowed with -
1. Presentation of a certificate of negative PCR or rapid antigen test for SARS-CoV-2 listed on the Joint List of Rapid Antigen Tests Mutually Recognized by the Member States of the European Union, published by the European Commission, if the test result is not older than 48 hours testing until arrival at the border crossing. In the case of a rapid antigen test and a stay of more than 10 days in the Republic of Croatia, the test must be performed again by the tenth day from the date of issuance of that test.
2. Presentation of the vaccination certificate for persons 14 days after vaccination with the second dose of COVID-19 vaccine or since vaccination with a single dose, in the case of a single dose vaccine.
3. Presentation of a positive PCR or rapid antigen test, referred to in subparagraph 1 of this paragraph, confirming that the person has recovered from SARS-CoV-2 virus infection, where test was performed at the latest 180 days ago and is older than 11 days from on the day of arrival at the border crossing or upon presentation of a certificate of illness COVID-19, issued by a doctor
4. Certificate of self-isolation upon arrival in the Republic of Croatia with the possibility of PCR or rapid antigen testing for SARS-CoV-2, and in case of impossibility of testing self-isolation lasts 10 days.
All third country nationals will be allowed to entry in the Republic of Croatia if they adhere to one of the four above mentioned preconditions and if they have confirmation of paid accommodation in a hotel, camp, private renter or rented vessel and other form of tourist accommodation or are owners of houses or vessels in the Republic of Croatia.
The news that the largest low-cost airline in the world, Ryanair, will launchnew flights to Zadar and Zagreb this summer was certainly a boost for the country’s tourism industry. Ryanair will connect the Dalmatian city of Zadar with a whopping 37 destinations this year, and Zagreb will also be a major hub for the airline, reports EX-YU Aviation.
In fact, Ryanair plan to offer up to 40 new routes from the Croatian capital with the commercial director of Ryanair, Jason McGuinness, commenting that “We will grow exponentially in the years to come. We plan to operate thirty to forty routes and handle two to three million passengers.”
Twelve new routes from Zagreb have already been announced for this summer, but it appears that this is only the tip of the ice-berg as Ryanair aims to make Zagreb a hub in south-east Europe in years to come. To say that is welcome news to the capital’s tourism industry would be a massive understatement, a fact not lost on McGuinness who said that “This will transform Zagreb, transform tourism, accommodation, hotels, taxi operators, basically everything. We will become the largest airline in Zagreb and Croatia within a very short period of time.”
The line “largest airline in Croatia” will certainly be a wake-up call for Croatia’s national airline, Croatia Airlines, who have been stumbling financially for years and who depend on grants from the government to stay afloat. And one of the most lucrative lines for Croatia Airlines, the Zagreb to Dubrovnik route, could well have competition down the line from Ryanair. Although the CEO of Ryanair, Eddie Wilson, commented that “We have no plans just yet for domestic flights, however, it is something we will look at. Short flights enable us to have better utilisation of aircraft. But we will concentrate on international flights for now.”
And the long road of recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic for Zagreb Airport, and indeed Zadar Airport, could have been given a substantial kick-start with the Irish airlines arrival. As the general manager of Zagreb Airport, Huseyin Bahadir Bedir, said “We have worked on different business models and scenarios to overcome the coronavirus Covid-19 pandemic. We are more than happy to become the home of Europe’s number one airline. We will stimulate the number of tourists visiting this lovely city. The coast has been the driver of tourism in the country, but we think it is time for Zagreb to be a part of that as well.”
And here are the 12 new routes announced from Zagreb Airport
Gothenburg - staring September 3, three times a week
Podgorica - starting September 4, twice a week (this is the shortest route)
Milan - starting July 1, four times a week
Rome- starting September 3, three times a week
Frankfurt - starting September 3, three times a week
Karlsruhe - starting September 2, three times a week
Memmingem - starting September 2, twice times a week
Dortmund - starting September 3, twice a week
Paris - starting September 2, twice a week
London - starting September 1st, every day!
Rome - starting September 3, three times a week
Brussels - starting June 2
In the last 24 hours, 78 new cases of coronavirus infection were recorded in the Dubrovnik-Neretva County (27 determined by a rapid antigen test).
These are 33 people from Dubrovnik, 13 from Orebić, eight from Vela Luka, six from Konavle, five from Župa dubrovačka, three from Blato and Pojezerje, two from Metković and Ston, one from Dubrovacko Primorje, and Zažablje and one non-resident in the area of the county.
A total of 43 males and 35 females were infected, and 66 had an established epidemiological link.
Two males died; one from Ston (born 1940) and one from Orebic (1934).
68 people made a full recovery - 25 from Dubrovnik, ten from Župa dubrovačka, eight from Konavle and Metković, four from Korčula and Orebić, two from Ploče, and one from Blato, the Dubrovacko Primorje, Kula Norinska, Mljet, Opuzen, Pojezerje and Vela Luka.
In the last 24 hours, 283 samples were processed, and since the beginning of the pandemic, a total of 55,617 samples have been analysed.
61 people tested positive for coronavirus are currently hospitalized in the Dubrovnik General Hospital. Five patients require intensive care, of which three are on invasive and two on non-invasive ventilation.
There are 1,592 people in self-isolation, and in the last 24 hours there have been six violations of the self-isolation measure (all at the border).
In Viganj, on the south-western part of the Peljesac peninsula, the Hungarian windsurfing team is preparing for the Olympic Games in Tokyo. Fifteen members of the Hungarian national team are currently preparing for their Easter preparations, and the two of them will compete at the upcoming Olympic Games in Tokyo, reports the Orebic Tourist Board.
The national team member, Sara Cholnoky, first visited Viganj as a girl fifteen years ago, and head coach, Lorand Utassy, has been coming to Viganj since the 1980s. As they say the choice of Viganj for the preparations was simple, it is relatively close and given the geographical position it is certain that there will be wind. Despite the pandemic, they feel safe, there are no big crowds at the moment, so, they say, they can concentrate exclusively on preparations.
The Hungarian national team was also visited by a representative of the Tourist Board of the Municipality of Orebić, who wished them luck at the Olympics and presented them all with special products from the Pelješac region.
Although Viganj has only around three hundred inhabitants, it has long been known as a place for fans of adrenaline sports.
What a difference a day makes! Just yesterday we were bathing in temperatures in the low twenties and soaking up the early April sunshine and today it’s back to the long sleeves and umbrellas. And the forecast, unfortunately, for Easter Sunday looks just as grim with storms and more rain on the way.
And as if to show just how warm the weather was just yesterday a reader sent us these photos of a “brave” swimmer enjoying the Adriatic Sea in Cavtat. And as the sea temperature in Dubrovnik is a fresh 15 degrees this isn’t for the faint-hearted.