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 national airline of Croatia has announced an opening up of flights to European destinations coinciding with the EU travel ban lifting of the 15th of June. Croatia airlines have released a new flight schedule that includes London, Rome and Brussels, reports Croatian Aviation.
On the 15th of June the European union travel restrictions will be lifted and so the skies over Europe will slowly start to get busy again. Croatia Airlines has already announced international flights to Frankfurt, Zurich, Amsterdam and Copenhagen and Zurich, and from the 15th of June this will considerably increase. Zagreb will see the vast majority of the new lines, but with internal flights already operating since the 11th of May there is the possibility of connecting flights from the capital to Split and Dubrovnik.
Firstly, Croatia Airlines will launch flights to on the 15th of June to Brussels, four times a week, and to Munich three times a week, to Sarajevo three times a week, to London twice a week and then a connection from Rome to Zagreb and then onto Split three times a week.
And then a day later, on the 16th of June Croatia Airlines will start flights to Dublin three times a week, on the 18th of June to Vienna twice a week.
Over the past 24 hours there has been one new case of Covid-19 in Croatia, meaning that the total number of cases since the pandemic began is now 2,247. In fact this is the first new case after three clear days.
The new patient is from Koprivnica-Križevci County, states a press release from the National Crisis Staff.
So far, 67,997 people have been tested, and 183 were tested in the last 24 hours.
There are currently 15 people in hospital in the country. And out of that number 3 patients are on a ventilator.
The total number of people who have made a full recovery is 2,105, which is 10 more than yesterday.
The total number of people in Croatia who have unfortunately passed away due to Covid-19 is 103.
Once again there are no new cases of Covid-19 in the entire Dubrovnik – Neretva County. The last time a new case was detected in the county was on the 8th of May, meaning almost a month has passed since the last case.
Of the 15 samples taken yesterday, 6 are negative, and 9 are still awaiting results. The two samples sent for analysis the day before yesterday have also come back negative. And on another positive note another patient has made a full recovery.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, 3,140 samples have been sent to Zagreb for analysis.
In the Dubrovnik General Hospital, the number of hospitalized patients positive for Covid-19 hasn’t changed and 2 people are in the Infectious Diseases Department.
As of today, there are no more people in self-isolation in the Dubrovnik-Neretva County.
Croatia is in the top ten wish list of holiday destinations for UK travellers, however there is a huge catch. According to a survey by one of the world’s leading travel companies, TUI, Croatia finished sixth in the top ten list reflecting the company’s search and booking trends, with Spain, Greece and Italy heading the list. This latest travel survey was carried out on 2,000 UK travellers and two thirds of people stated that their “attitude towards travelling has changed and the majority of us will be much more appreciative of being able to go on holiday in the future.”
However, and it is a big elephant in the room, this TUI survey was carried out before the UK government announced the 14-day quarantine for people entering the UK after Monday 8th June. This move has certainly changed the attitudes of potential tourists and will be another blow for the tourism industry, and will have a massive knock-on effect for Dubrovnik’s tourism businesses. For the past decade UK tourists have been the most numerous in Dubrovnik and therefore many travel agencies, hotels and restaurants have based their offer around British guests. In fact, EasyJet carried the second most numbers of passengers to Dubrovnik last year, after Croatia Airlines. Not to mention the fact that several other UK airlines also operates flights to Dubrovnik, such as British Airways and Jet2.com.
How many Brits will actually travel abroad this year?
TUI stated that over half of the people questioned said that they would delay their summer holidays until 2021. With TUI adding that ““Forty-five per cent of us are hoping to take a holiday before summer 2021.” In other words, 55 percent are not planning on going on summer holidays outside of the UK this year. And bearing in mind that this survey was carried out in the middle of lockdown in the UK, between the 23 and 27 April 2020, before the UK government announced the 14-day quarantine for all people arriving at UK borders the actual number of Brits willing to travel this year could be considerably less. As The Independent stated “On 22 May, the home secretary, Priti Patel, announced that almost all arrivals at UK airports, ferry ports and international rail terminals from 8 June will be required to self-isolate for two weeks.”
And although a handful of European countries have empathised their willingness to welcome UK tourists this summer, the majority still have the UK in their high risk category.
Croatia Long Distance Love
A recent press release by the Croatian National Tourist Board was telling, once you read between the lines. The tourist board has created a promo video to attract tourists this summer, but this video, entitled “The Vacation You Deserve Is Closer Than You Think,” was only released in seven countries, Slovenia, Austria, Germany, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Poland. All these countries have a relatively satisfactory situation with Covid-19 and are clearly the markets that Croatia is interested in attracting at the moment. On the other hand, the same video wasn’t broadcast in the UK, in fact the tourist board rather diplomatically added that guests from the UK can watch another video, entitled “Enjoy the View From Croatia.” This campaign promotes Croatia Long Distance Love and is a virtual tour of Croatia.
And although lobbying is underway, with UK airlines pushing for so called “air bridges” to 45 different countries, of which Croatia is one, there is clearly a lot or work still to be done. After the 14-day quarantine regulations comes into effect the UK government has stated that they will review the situation on June 29. And if indeed an air bridge between the UK and Croatia is possible there is still the question as to whether Croatia would actually accept British tourists and under what conditions.
The tourist and travel industry are very much at the front line of the businesses to be negatively influenced by the Covid-19 pandemic. The national airline of Croatia, Croatia Airlines, has just announced their financial results for the first quarter of 2020 and they don’t make for pleasant reading. A drop in passenger numbers and a loss of 14.6 million Euro in the first three months of this year.
The first quarter is generally a tough one for Croatia Airlines, in 2019 they made a 13.3 million Euro loss, and the effect of Covid-19 in March only added to the poor results. The second quarter is also expected to be financially down on last year with the airline warning that the full effect of Covid-19 on business will be clear.
Speaking to the website EX-YU Aviation Croatia Airlines stated that “Revenue from tourism makes up a significant share of Croatia’s GDP, while the tourism and transport sectors have been hit hardest by the coronavirus pandemic. It is now obvious that the pre-season has been lost, and the main tourist season will be impacted as well. European countries, most notably Germany, Slovenia, Italy and Austria, as the main markets for Croatian tourism, have had their economies severely affected.”
The $200 million mega yacht, Faith, dropped anchor in the Bay of Zupa this morning and it could well be the floating base of one of the up and coming stars of Formula 1. Faith is owned by one of the richest Canadians, Lawrence Stroll, believed to be worth $2.6 billion. Stroll made his fortune in the fashion industry, investing in such brands as Tommy Hilfiger and Michael Kors, and is now the co-owner of a Formula 1 racing team, Racing Point F1 Team.
And this is where the Dubrovnik and Formula 1 driver connect. From photos taken this morning by the website zupcica.hr it would appear that Lance Stroll is on-board. Dressed in a wetsuit Lance, if indeed it was Lance, spent a morning diving in Cavtat.
Green Sail, a Croatian non-profit organisation that deals with sustainable tourism within the nautical sector, has launched a virtual clean-up campaign, Green Sail Takes 5! to honour this year’s World Oceans Day which is globally celebrated on 8 June.
Green Sail has called for a global movement to help protect our seas and oceans in no more than 5 minutes. The campaign is encouraging everyone to take a short break on 8 June, no matter where a person lives in the world, collect 5 pieces of waste and post a photo of their clean-up on social media using the hashtag #GreenSailTakes5.
Every year, on 8 June, people from all over the world get together to celebrate our seas and oceans. By celebrating World Oceans Day, we are reminded of the major part our seas and oceans play in our everyday lives, the important resources they provide us with and our personal connection to them. It is a day reserved for raising awareness around the integral role our waterways play in the story of sustainable development.
Considering that 90% of the waste found in our seas and oceans comes directly from land-based sources, every piece of waste from the mainland, regardless of its size, can have a huge effect on the health of our waterways. Whether it is thrown directly into the sea, blown from landfill into drains and rivers, or transferred through sewer pipes from everyday household items, it is precisely our seas and oceans that become the final destination for trash. By removing land-based waste for just 5 minutes during this campaign, any participant can indirectly make a great contribution to the cleanliness of our waterways and help our seas and oceans stay healthy.
With the recent global pandemic at the forefront of campaign planning, Green Sail wanted to initiate a joint eco-action, mobilising the international community and tourism industry to work together. Although Green Sail as an organisation has been organising several local clean-ups in the past, this is its first worldwide virtual movement, making it easy for anyone to get involved regardless of their location. The #GreenSailTakes5 campaign connects like-minded participants in an online community which facilitates the movement’s virtual and international elements, allowing local communities and individuals all over the world to participate whilst respecting their countries safety regulations.
Participants are encouraged to make this year’s World Oceans Day as simple or as large as they are able to! This is a great opportunity to get together with family, friends, neighbours, colleagues or even get involved as an individual to collect at least 5 pieces of rubbish from a local area. For each person that Takes 5, there will be five less pieces of trash that could end up in our seas and oceans.
Anyone can get involved by joining Green Sail’s Facebook Group, where useful information on how to participate in the clean-up is shared regularly and participants can communicate prior to the event. The group has already been joined by like-minded people from Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, the United Kingdom, the United States, Australia, New Zealand, Mexico, Spain, Germany, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Romania, Bulgaria, Greece, Hungary, Estonia, Cambodia, etc. who are committed to participate in the challenge to help protect our seas and oceans!
At almost 100 metres long the mega yacht “Faith” certainly caught the eye this morning as she dropped anchor in the Bay of Zupa, near Dubrovnik.
The impressive yacht is owned by Canadian billionaire, Lawrence Stroll, who has a reported wealth of $2.6 billion, and made his fortune leading the fashion brand Michael Kors. And Stroll also has interests in Formula 1 as a part-owner of the team SportPesa.
With accommodation for 18 guests and a crew of 32 this seems like a rather elegant way to self-isolate and according to some reports it dented Stroll’s bank balance to the tune of $200 million.