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.
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.
The Dubrovnik Tourist Board organized free tours of the city in Croatian and English for all visitors to Dubrovnik this morning.
Despite the bad weather, the tours of Dubrovnik were attended by about sixty guests, mostly of Croatian nationality, who are spending this weekend in Dubrovnik and are accommodated in one of the twelve open Dubrovnik hotels.
Due to epidemiological measures, the city tours are organized with a limited number of participants in several groups. The tourist board presented the participants with a face-mask and wet wipe, as well as a traditional painted Easter egg. And the Dubrovnik guides introduced the guests of Dubrovnik to the special benefits offered during this period.
During the Easter holidays, the City of Dubrovnik and the Tourist Board of the City of Dubrovnik, in cooperation with the cultural institutions of the City of Dubrovnik, offer discounts and benefits for domestic and foreign visitors from April 3 to 12. The Dubrovnik Museums, the Marin Držić Home, the Natural History Museum, the Homeland War Museum, the Dubrovnik Art Gallery and the Lazareti are free.
Also, by purchasing two or more Dubrovnik cards, you get one Dubrovnik card for free. The ticket price for the Trsteno Arboretum has been dropped to 30 Kuna.
“The goal of these benefits is to attract tourists, especially domestic ones, to spend the spring holidays in Dubrovnik. Despite the epidemiological measures, Dubrovnik will certainly provide a unique experience to all visitors this Easter,” said the Dubrovnik Tourist Board.
Ten more days! Ten more f***ing days! Yes, for the second time the Covid-19 virus has darkened our doorstep. This time it has hit closer to home as Mrs. Thomas is positive! Now we are stuck at home like prisoners trying to remain positive whilst being positive. And yes, this is the second time, already twenty days in lockdown.
“Your eyes look like you have a temperature, how do you feel?” I asked my wife putting my hand on her forehead. My mother-in-law has these magic lips, she puts them on someone’s forehand and knows immediately their temperature, “Mmm, that’s 38.2 for sure.” Maybe we could employ her at Dubrovnik Airport this summer to check for potential Covid-19 positive travellers.
And yes, my wife did indeed have a fever, and a high one 39 degrees. Of course, as soon as someone has a temperature nowadays we always think the worst. What happened to the regular flu? Do people not get that anymore? Has Covid killed the flu?
“Let’s go and get you tested tomorrow morning,” I said to my wife as she lay in bed looking like she’d just been run over by the no.6 bus from Mokošica. As the only real symptom she had was a high temperature we had our fingers crossed that it wasn’t the “C” word.
“Oh, what’s the terrible smell?” she yelled as our new bouncy puppy looked as innocent as he could, hoping that we wouldn’t realise that he had just farted. “Ah, so you didn’t lose your smell then,” I joked as we pinched our noses.
Somehow I’ve managed to avoid catching the virus so far, and that’s a miracle as I seem to somehow catch every bug going round. Although, I do have a sneaky feeling that I’ve already had it, so as soon as we come out of self-isolation I’m going to have a blood check.
We arrived at the container in the middle of a carpark, or as it’s officially known the drive-in PCR and antigen testing centre. Expecting longer queues than the Ivanica border in the summer we arrived early. We were the only ones there! Well apart from a container full of “spacemen” administrating the test. Swab up the nose and home we went to await the results.
Fearing the worst we started about isolating from each other as much as possible. It was probably too late anyway. Luckily we have two bathrooms, so separate showers. My new bedroom was the lounge, which had the added bonus of a large TV, a marathon of football was on my menu. Later in the day and after we had divided our apartment into East and West Berlin.
The mobile rang, “You are positive for Covid-19,” was the first line. Then the general questions on health and what to do now. The one silver lining in the Covid cloud was that the only person my wife had seen 48 hours before contracting the virus was me. Well, not such great news for me, I guess.
“Does your husband have any symptoms,” asked the epidemiologist. The answer was no then, and no now. Nothing! Not even a bloody headache. “You’ll have to be in self-isolation for ten days from your first symptoms and your husband ten days from your test,” added the epidemiologist.
So there it was, I was living with corona! The next day after testing my wife had lost her temperature and was starting to feel much better.
By day-two she was as good as new, apart from feeling a little tired. And after that her road to full recovery was underway. Really she had bad symptoms for two days and after that felt better, and as I am writing this she is out in the garden pruning the lemon tree. Our dogs can’t understand why we aren’t going on walks twice a day, or in fact why we are home all day and sleeping in separate beds. Our self-isolation has probably affected them the worse. Although our puppy did have fun when the police turned up to check that we were at home as he jumped up on their car as if to say “please take me for a walk.”
Although apart from the daily dog walk my self-isolation is pretty much exactly the same as the last year and a bit. I am working from home, so nothing much has changed. However, I sincerely hope that this is the last time I’m locked down at home, there is only so much football you can watch before your eyes start to hurt!
Read more Englishman in Dubrovnik…well, if you really want to
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