Monday, 19 April 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

For the upcoming Easter holidays, the City of Dubrovnik from April 3 to 12 is offering special discounts and benefits for domestic and foreign visitors, in cooperation with the Dubrovnik Tourist Board and cultural institutions of the city.

The Dubrovnik Museums, the Marin Držić House, the Natural History Museum, the Homeland War Museum and the Dubrovnik Art Gallery will open their doors free of charge to all interested parties, and a visit to the Lazareti during the same period will be completely free for all.

Also, by purchasing two or more Dubrovnik cards, you will get one Dubrovnik card for free.

Tickets for the Trsteno Arboretum will cost 30 Kuna, which is also a special discounted price.

For the Easter weekend, the Dubrovnik Tourist Board is giving visitors a free tour of the City in Croatian and English, on Saturday, April 3, at 10 am, in front of the Pile Tourist Information Centre. Due to epidemiological measures, the number of participants is limited, so the arrival must be confirmed by Friday, April 2, by 5 pm, by e-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or phone number: +38520312011.

“The aim of these benefits is to attract tourists, especially domestic ones, to spend the Easter holidays in Dubrovnik. Despite the epidemiological measures, which have prevented major traditional events and gatherings, the appropriately decorated City will provide unique experiences to all visitors this Easter as well,” commented the City of Dubrovnik.

 

Croatia, as a desirable tourist destination, graces the cover of the April issue of the renowned New York travel magazine Condé Nast Traveller, reported the director of the Croatian National Tourist Board in the USA, Ina Rodin.

A photo of Lake Mir and the surrounding cliffs of Telašćica Bay is on the cover, while the same issue of the magazine published a large article entitled Time and Tide, which describes the beauties of the North Dalmatian coast and islands. Croatia is described in the article as "a country of extreme beauty and resilience, where sun-bleached islands smell of sage and salt, and limestone-paved cities proudly carry their history." Special emphasis is placed on the charm of sailing through the Kornati archipelago, but also on the beauty and historical significance of Zadar and Šibenik, which are located in the immediate vicinity.

 

"Americans eagerly await new trips to Croatia, which is confirmed by numerous direct inquiries and reservations through travel agents and numerous articles in leading American media such as Condé Nast Traveller, Forbes, USA Today, The Washington Post, CNN Travel, Travel + Leisure, Departures, Lonely Planet et al. We need to continue to build the image of a safe and responsible destination and clearly communicate information about the epidemiological situation, protocols in the country and the conditions for travel to Croatia, "concluded Rodin.

In the Dubrovnik-Neretva County, 111 new cases of coronavirus infection were recorded in the last 24 hours (48 determined by a rapid antigen test).

These new cases are 39 people from Dubrovnik, 27 from Metković, eight from Ploče and Župa dubrovačka, seven from Kula Norinska, five from Korčula, four from Orebić, three from Opuzen, two each from Pojezerje and Zažablje, one each from Dubrovacko Primorje, Slivno and Vela Luka and three people who do not reside in the county.

A total of 66 males and 45 females were infected, and 69 had an established epidemiological link.

Two people from Dubrovnik died, one male (born in 1938) and one female (born in 1949).

77 people made a full recovery - 31 from Dubrovnik, 16 from Metković, 11 from Ploče, eight from Konavle, four from Župa dubrovačka, two from Orebić, one each from Kula Norinska, from Mljet, from Slivno and Zažablje, and one person who does not reside in area of the county.

In the last 24 hours, 385 samples were processed, and since the beginning of the pandemic, a total of 54,517 samples have been analysed.

60 people tested positive for coronavirus are currently hospitalized in the Dubrovnik General Hospital. Six patients require intensive care, of which four are on invasive and two on non-invasive ventilation.

There are 1,561 people in self-isolation, and in the last 24 hours there have been three violations of the self-isolation measure (two at the border).

 

As of today, Thursday April 1, the Croatian government have introduced a new system for crossing international borders in line with the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Croatian Minister of the Interior, Davor Bozinovic, announced the new border crossing regulations for all Croatian borders. “You be able to enter Croatia with a vaccination certificate or a certificate that you have recovered from, which will be valid for 180 days, instead of 90 as before. Crossing the border for tourism is regulated, exceptions for crossing the border include digital nomads and children up to seven years of age if they are with parents or guardians who have a negative test or certificate of vaccination or illness, and will not have to have a negative test to cross the border."

He added that “Rapid antigen tests will be recognized for entry into Croatia.” And Croatia has also taken the step to recognise vaccination certificates including the Russian and Chinese vaccines, both of which are still waiting for full European Union confirmation. “We have made a decision that we will recognize the certificate for those vaccines that are not registered in the EU and this is valid from April 1,” commented Krunoslav Capak, the director of the Croatian Institute of Public Health.

NEW COVID-19 TRAVEL REGULATIONS FOR CROATIA FROM 01.01.2021

According to a decision of the Civil Protection Headquarters of the Republic of Croatia, from April 1, 2021, tourists from the European Union and third countries who have been vaccinated or who have recovered from Covid-19 or who have a negative PCR or antigen test from the EU test list can enter the Republic of Croatia.

This decision by the National Staff is welcome news for the Croatian tourism sector, which is preparing for the upcoming season.

The new decision of the Civil Protection Headquarters of the Republic of Croatia from March 31, 2021 stipulates that persons who have recovered from Covid-19 are exempt from the obligation to obtain a negative PCR or quarantine. To prove that they have recovered from the virus they should have a PCR or antigen test that was taken inside the last 6 months (180 days) and is older than 11 days, or a certificate of illness issued by a doctor.

Persons who have received a second dose of a Covid-19 vaccine administered by an EU Member State more than 14 days ago (for Johnson & Johnson first and only dose) are also exempted from the obligation to obtain a negative PCR or BAT test and quarantine.

Children under the age of seven are exempted from the obligation to present a negative test and self-isolation if their parents/guardians have a negative PCR, or they have a vaccination certificate or proof of illness.

The same conditions apply to third countries with proof of reservation/payment of accommodation in a hotel, camp, private renter or rented vessel and other form of tourist accommodation or owners of houses and vessels in the Republic of Croatia.

 

"Game of Thrones" is moving to the stage and the authors of the adaptation expect it to become a theatre hit in London's West End and on New York's Broadway.

The task of the theatrical adaptation was taken over by the British, playwright Duncan MacMillan and director Dominic Cooke, and the first plays are expected in 2023.

In the adaptation, they collaborate with the father of the literary saga, the American writer George R. R. Martin, after whose literary series "Songs of Ice and Fire" the cult television series was filmed.

The plot of the play will be a tournament in Harrenhal, some 17 years before the first season of the HBO television series.

“There are few who knew that bloodshed followed when noble families and the regiment gathered at Harrenhal to accompany the kingdom’s best knights in a grand tournament,” explains George R. R. Martin.

In the theatrical play "many of the most famous characters will appear" from the literary saga and the successful TV series that was filmed for eight seasons, including locations in Croatia, and broadcast from 2011 to 2019. Dubrovnik played the key role in the series as it was the location for King’s Landing.

Playwright Duncan Macmillan has already tried his hand at adapting George Orwell's 1984 novel and Paul Auster's Glass City for the theatre.

"Our dream is to set up Westeros (an imaginary venue for the Game of Thrones) on Broadway (New York) and the West End (London's theatre district), but also in Australia," said George RR Martin, who began work on that project before the coronavirus pandemic.

 

In the last 24 hours, 2,623 new cases of Covid-19 virus infection were recorded across Croatia, the highest number of new cases since December 23 2020. The increase in new cases is a massive 47 percent higher than last week.

There are currently 1.337 people in hospital in Croatia, with 144 people on ventilators.

Clearly, the snail-paced rollout of the Covid-19 vaccine across Croatia is part of the reason for the high numbers of new cases, although other factors such as irresponsible behaviour from citizens as well as a liberal approach from government should also be taken into account.

Croatia is lagging well behind the rest of Europe with its distribution of the Covid-19 vaccine. In fact, according to figures from Our World in Data, only Bulgaria has administered fewer doses of the vaccine inside the European Union.

As of March 29 only 10.4 percent of the population had been vaccinated, and this figure is calculated on a single dose. According to information from the National Civil Protection Headquarters as of March 30 a total of 374,399 people had been vaccinated, with 287,228 people receiving the first dose and 87,171 people both doses.

Compare this with other countries around the Mediterranean first, Spain 16.5 percent of the population has been vaccinated, Italy with 16.4 percent, Greece with 16 percent and France with 15.7 percent.

 

 

Whilst the absolute leader in terms of distributing the vaccine in Europe is the UK with a whopping 50.85 percent of the population vaccinated as of March 29. “The government might well have dropped the ball during the initial outbreak of the virus, which undoubtedly cost lives, but this vaccination process has been the opposite story,” commented Mary Williams from southwest England. Adding that she has already received both doses of the Covid-19 vaccine and now feels much safer.

The distribution of the vaccine between the EU and the UK has once again set off a battle of words over the channel. And Croatia has found itself as a small pawn in the vaccine game. The Croatian Prime Minister, Andrej Plenković, has put the blame firmly on the doorstep of AstraZeneca, stating that Croatia had only received 17 percent of the doses it ordered. “We are in a bad position because the doses that were ordered did not come,” he commented at a press conference last week. Adding that “What Pfizer promised in the first quarter, has been fulfilled, as has Moderna. AstraZeneca has not and that is why the problem arose.”

To say that the EU is lagging behind the US in rolling out the vaccine would be a massive understatement. Both the US and Britain have administered three times as many vaccines than France and Germany, when the figures are adjusted for population. A recent comment article in The New York Times from Paul Krugman stated that “Europe’s vaccination debacle will almost surely end up causing thousands of unnecessary deaths. And the thing is, the continent’s policy bungles don’t look like isolated instances, a few bad decisions made by a few bad leaders. Instead, the failures seem to reflect fundamental flaws in the continent’s institutions and attitudes — including the same bureaucratic and intellectual rigidity that made the euro crisis a decade ago far worse than it should have been.”

This “bureaucratic and intellectual rigidity” is not only one that Croatia supports, but would probably be at the head of the queue to wave the blue and gold star flag of the union. Whilst some European leaders have taken their own course on acquiring the vaccine, most significantly Hungary, Croatia has only flirted with the idea of dealing with Russia and their Sputnik V. Clearly until the heads of the grand table of the EU give the green light Croatia won’t take the flirting any further, even though the Russians are more than willing to play ball. And with the Zagreb government subservient to Brussels the number of new cases continue to rise. Obviously, the vaccine is only one piece of the puzzle to solve the pandemic, however it is at the same time a significant piece.

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Ryanair in Zadar is reopening its summer base and will connect the city with 37 destinations, 17 of which are new, all with an investment of $200 million, the leaders of the low-cost airline and Zadar Airport announced at a virtual press conference on Tuesday.

The conference was held just after the one with the representatives of Zagreb Airport, which the airline is coming to for the first time this year with the announcement of the opening of 12 international routes, while at Zadar Airport it has been operating seasonally for years.

This was confirmed at the conference by the director of Zadar Airport Josip Klišmanić, who, like the President of the Management Board of Ryanair, Eddie Wilson, emphasized that this year, despite the pandemic and travel restrictions, they hope for good flights.

"The opening of new lines in this challenging season is good news and a confirmation of our excellent cooperation with Ryanair in the last 14 years, which we hope will continue in the future," said Klišmanić.

Wilson pointed out that he will have two planes based in Zadar, and that he will have 78 weekly flights to many European destinations with that airport, and he is convinced that this will start tourism in the Zadar area, especially if Europe opens in the summer months with regard to the continuing vaccination process.

He also said that they are investing a total of $400 million in Croatia, for Zadar and Zagreb airports, and that customers in Croatia can already book summer flights, so with the possibility of postponing travel and exchanging tickets without any additional surcharges.

The Minister of Tourism and Sports, Nikolina Brnjac, also expressed her satisfaction with Ryanair's announcements by attending the conference. She said that in preparation for the tourist season, Croatia is taking systematic care of all epidemiological segments in order to meet all safety and health conditions for the stay and arrival of tourists.

 

 

"The possibility of crossing the state border with the presentation of a negative PCR test or antigen tests approved in the EU, a certificate of Covid-19 recovery or vaccination certificate, are new steps towards creating all the necessary preconditions for Croatia to achieve a more successful tourist season and more welcome tourists," said the Minister.

She also assessed that Rynair's announcements for Croatia this year are a continuation of many years of successful cooperation with that carrier, whose planes will fly not only to Zagreb and Split, but also to Split, Dubrovnik and Pula.

She also mentioned the project "Safe stay in Croatia.” And also said that the Republic of Croatia "has defined clear criteria for crossing the state border that are in line with the thinking about the digital green certificate at the EU level" and that tourists will enter Croatia in April with a certificate of recovery, vaccination certificate or a negative PCR or antigen test that is on the list of tests approved by the EU.

"In cooperation with the county tourist boards and the Croatian Institute of Public Health, we are preparing a number of PCR testing points for tourists and rapid antigen tests in tourist centres and airports, so that tourists on arrival and return from Croatia can be tested,” she concluded.

 

The Voice of Dubrovnik

THE VOICE OF DUBROVNIK


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