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.
The Croatian tourism industry has been short on good news for the past 18 months, but this week the positivity started. After the European Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (ECDC) last week removed the entire Croatian coast from the red epidemiological zone and placed it in the yellow zone, the German state epidemiological institute Robert Koch removed Croatia from the list of risky areas on Monday.
Moreover, the Split-Dalmatia County, the Dubrovnik-Neretva County, the Istria County, the Karlovac County, the Krapina-Zagorje County and the Požega-Slavonia County entered the green zone of this prestigious institute. On Tuesday, Switzerland removed the whole of Croatia from the list of epidemiologically risky countries.
Since the ECDC map, like the opinion of the German Robert Koch Institute, is considered the most relevant indicator of the safety in a destination for European tourists, the door to a successful season in Croatia in early June is wide open to all Europeans. This is the best confirmation of the fact that the epidemiological situation is the only criterion that will determine the success of the season and that the effort of reaching the "green" zone pays off.
“Given the current epidemiological situation as well as the forecasts for the coming weeks and if something unforeseen does not happen in the next period, the overall result of the season could be significantly better than last year, but still below record 2019. What is crucial is that we ensure a quality epidemiological situation for as long as possible, preferably to be "green" at least until October,” said Veljko Ostojic, the director of the Croatian Tourism Association.
But whilst the EU has placed Croatia on the green list and other countries have followed suit, the Americans still have Croatia officially listed as a high risk country. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Croatia is listed at level 4, or the highest level of risk. Level 4 – Covid-19 – Very High means that the CDC is still giving advice for travel to Croatia as “Avoid travel to Croatia. If you must travel to Croatia, make sure you are fully vaccinated before travel.” This is especially confusing as this week the CDC relaxed travel warnings for over a 100 countries, however Croatia wasn’t on the list.
“It has been great to see the number of cases decline to 34 per 100,000 as of yesterday according to Reuters. When the EU and our CDC reclassified and downgraded warnings yesterday for 110 countries, Croatia stayed at the red level for the CDC which is inconsistent with the measures of 500 or less per 100,000 used to reclassify,” commented an American reader. However, it is also clear that US travellers are ignoring the advice of the CDC as they are currently one of the most numerous nations in Dubrovnik.
The European Parliament today voted on digital Covid certificates that will be in official use across the European Union from 1 July. Croatia has already introduced this certificate in the system, and in a week more than 100,000 people created their certificate.
In addition to crossing borders, the plan is for this certificate, which gives evidence of proof of illness, vaccination or a negative test, is that it will be used for other purposes, such as entering into concerts.
The digital Covid certificate would be scanned at the doors of the events.
“The headquarters is currently considering the adoption of these national rules for the use of digital Covid certification and I assume that by the end of the week we will have a national solution for this and then we will be able to discuss where and how to organize concerts. I hope that we will know something more about it on Friday,” said the director of the Croatian Public Health Institute, Krunoslav Capak.
Berislav Marszalek, owner of a platform for ticket sales, said that the goal was to integrate tickets and the checking of Covid certificates so that the whole process would be quick and easy. "We do not want to slow down the process further at the entrance," Marszalek said.
State Secretary at the Ministry of Culture and Media Krešimir Partl said it was difficult to say where and what the first concert would look like.
In the last 24 hours, three new cases of coronavirus infection have been recorded in the Dubrovnik-Neretva County. These are two men and one woman - two from Opuzen and one from Dubrovnik.
Four people made a full recovery - two from Metković, one from Dubrovnik and one from Vela Luka.
In the last 24 hours, 248 samples were processed, and since the beginning of the pandemic, a total of 77,547 samples have been analysed.
Four people tested positive for coronavirus are hospitalized in the Dubrovnik General Hospital.
156 people are in self-isolation, and in the last 24 hours, three cases of violation of the self-isolation measure (at the border) have been recorded.
In the Dubrovnik-Neretva County, five new cases of coronavirus infection (one determined by an antigen test) were recorded in the last 24 hours. These are three men and two women: two from Metković and Ploče and one from Dubrovnik.
Six people made a full recovery in the past 24 hours - two people from Vela Luka, one from Opuzen and Ploče and two people who do not reside in the county.
In the last 24 hours, 501 samples were processed, and since the beginning of the pandemic, a total of 77,299 samples have been analysed.
Four people tested positive for coronavirus are hospitalized in the Dubrovnik General Hospital.
There are 176 people in self-isolation, and in the last 24 hours there have been four cases of violation of the self-isolation measure (at the border).
Bookmakers don’t fancy Croatia’s chances at the upcoming European Football Championships as the odds on them lifting the trophy are an outsider 33/1.
Croatia face England in their opening Group D match this Sunday at Wembley, and will also play Scotland and the Czech Republic.
Croatia Euro 2020 Group D stage fixtures
13 June 2021: England vs Croatia - 18 June 2021: Croatia vs Czech Republic - 22 June 2021: Croatia vs Scotland
Just three years ago Croatia finished second in the World Cup in Russia after losing 4-2 to France in the final. They also beat England in the semi-finals in extra time. However, Zlatko Dalic’s aging side have been looking far from convincing over the past year and the retirement from international football of a few key players has left the squad in need of young blood.
Inter Milan’s Ivan Perisic leads the way as their favourite to win the Golden Boot this summer. The Croatian forward is a massive 100/1 to earn the Golden Boot at the European Championships. He netted three times at the 2018 World Cup – including one in the semi-final and final itself.
The joint favourites, at least according to the bookmakers, to win this year’s tournament are France and England, both at 5/1. Followed by Belgium at 6/1 and Germany at 7/1 and Portugal and Spain both at 8/1.
On this day, the 8th of June 1936, one of the strangest and most tragic air accidents occurred in Dubrovnik. It was a sunny and clear morning, as most June days are in Dubrovnik, and at exactly 9:20am the residents of the historic Old City of Dubrovnik were awoken to the sounds of plane crashing into the heart of the city.
According to reports the military plane from the Air Force of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia was flying low over the city when its right wing caught the highest point on the Old City Walls, the Minceta Fortress. The wings broke completely off the plane sending it crashing into the city, directly onto one of the most populated areas. The sight of the crash is today a popular spot for cafés and restaurants, the intersection of Prijeko and Žudioska streets.
Smoke billowed into the morning air, the crash had started a huge fire in the residential area, black smoke and flames erupted, fire sirens echoed off the stone façades. Both the pilot and the navigator were killed, and seven residents of the city also passed away due to the ensuing fire.
So why was a military plane flying so low over the ancient Old City? The answer could well be love! According to legend, the cause of the accident was the pilot's desire to impress a young teacher who was staying in Hotel Gradac. Supposedly this young lady, who was a teacher, had met the handsome pilot at a dance a few days before in Dubrovnik.
It could well be that the pilot was flying low over the Old City to impress his love. It was even reported that he would sometimes fly low over the city and drop messages and even bouquets down to her. This flight, however, ended tragically.
The popular CNN show “Quest Means Business” will be broadcast from Dubrovnik this Thursday and the renowned journalist and precentor of the show, Richard Quest, is currently touring the city getting the lowdown on the state of the tourism industry.
The two and a half hour show about Croatia will heavily feature Dubrovnik, as the magnet for tourists in the country. Yesterday Richard Quest caught up with the director of the Dubrovnik Tourist Board, Ana Hrnic, to discuss the challenges in tourism ahead and how the city is looking to attract guests in the future.
Quest will also interview the Mayor of Dubrovnik, Mato Frankovic, and other leading figures in the tourism business in the city. Frankovic revealed that “Three years ago, when I was a guest on the CNN show Quest Means Business and talked about the sustainability of tourism and the Respect The City program, I considered it one of the biggest commercials for the City because Richard Quest is a world famous journalist and his show has millions viewers around the world.”
And coverage for Dubrovnik on America’s most watched news channel will certainly help to boost interest in the US market. This summer season both United Airlines and Delta Airlines will directly connect Croatia’s southernmost airport with New York.
Dubrovnik Heritage Ltd has received the “Simply the best” award, in the category new projects in tourism, for the successful realization of the exhibition "COVID-19 and the plague - the present in the past.”
This is an exhibition that opened in September 2020 in Dubrovnik Lazareti, as the first joint project realized in cooperation with the City of Dubrovnik, the Institute of Historical Sciences of the Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts in Dubrovnik and Dubrovnik Heritage Ltd. The exhibition shows how the Republic of Dubrovnik’s scientifically based measures and a disciplined approach in the prevention of infectious diseases successfully balanced the protection of the population from the plague and economic survival.
“Dubrovnik Heritage is extremely proud of this valuable recognition, which is a reward for the effort and work in the preparation and setting of the exhibition "COVID-19 and the plague - the present in the past", both the authors Vesna Miović and Zrinka Lucianović, and all employees of Dubrovnik heritage and the Institute of Historical Sciences of the Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts in Dubrovnik,” commented the Dubrovnik institution.
The Simply the Best award is an annual award for quality, inventiveness and creativity in tourism, founded in 2009, jointly awarded by UHPA - the Association of Croatian Travel Agencies and the specialized travel magazine Way to Croatia.