Jelena Darijević – our Croatia specialist and chief translator Jelena is the power behind the scenes of The Dubrovnik Times. Born and bred in Dubrovnik, Jelena has always had a keen interest in all things British, she must be the only local resident to have every edition ever published by Bill Bryson. With a long-term history of translating sorts of publications and books Jelena brings her unique eye for all Croatian news.
The American President, Donald Trump, recently signed a decision about the introduction of new tariffs on steel and aluminium imports.
Trump said that a 25 percent tax would apply to steel imports, whilst 10 percent would be added to aluminium brought to the United States.
It is quite clear now which countries will be most affected by this decision. First, it will be a huge blow to Canada, which exports 17 percent of steel to the US, then to Brazil (14%) and to South Korea (10%).
However, the countries in the Balkan region will also be hit by new tariffs. According to data from the U.S. Department of Commerce, last year the United States imported 36,000 tonnes of steel from Serbia, 32,000 tonnes from Slovenia, 12,000 tonnes from Macedonia and 2,000 tonnes from Croatia.
Even though the quantities of steel are small in comparison to other countries in the region, Trump’s decision will surely affect the already weakened Croatian economy.
Despite the fact that Croatia is one of the few world countries that is rich in water supplies, the country’s imports of water are growing year after year.
It seems that not all the Croatian rivers, creeks and springs are enough to quench the thirst of the Croatian people but the country has to import water in amount of $10,5 million.
As far as the neighbouring countries are concerned, data are even more surprising. For example, Montenegro’s water imports amount $9,63 million, Serbia’s $2,65 million, whilst Bosnia and Herzegovina imports water in amount of soaring $12 million.
On the other hand, Serbia’s water exports amount $16 million, whilst Croats export water in amount of $14 million.
Considering the fact that cloudy water is becoming more common situation in Croatia, an additional increase of water imports is expected to rise this year.
After successfully organizing the Croatian ‘’Christmas story’’, the Salaj family continues to create lighting attractions on their farm.
The Salaj family from Grabovnica near Čazma in the Bjelovar-Bilogora County began to decorate their yard with Christmas lights 16 years ago. Thanks to the great effort and enthusiasm of the family, over the time it has become the most significant event of the continental part of Croatia.
However, in 2012, the family decided to expand their offer and started to organize the ‘’Easter story of the Salaj family’’.
For the seventh year in a row, this year the Salaj family will organize the 11-day Easter event on their farm starting on the 23rd of March to the 2nd of April.
Everyone who decides to pay a visit to this beautiful Croatian ‘’Easter story’’ will have an opportunity to enjoy numerous lighting Easter eggs and other Easter installations such as bunnies, hens and chickens.
Several state institutions, the Ministry of Tourism, the Ministry of Entrepreneurship and Crafts, the Croatian National Tourist Board, the Tourist Board of the Bjelovar-Bilogora County and the local self-government have also recognized the importance and the role of this project and in accordance with development plans, they have supported the organization of every Salaj family ‘Christmas’ and ‘Easter’story.
When it comes to natural beauty and tourism, Croatia tops almost all world lists. However, when it comes to some other things related to everyday life of its citizens, the country regularly hits the bottom.
The latest subject is related to online shopping and package delivery. The internet shopping market of the European Union is regulated illogically and unfairly. For example, the cross-border delivery to smaller member countries such as Croatia is generally at least twice as expensive as delivery to larger EU member countries.
However, every cloud has a silver lining. The European Parliament recently held the final discussion about the Regulation on cross-border package delivery.
One of the Croatian MEPs Biljana Borzan who worked as a negotiator on behalf of the European Parliament explained, ‘’Around 11 million packages are delivered daily in the European Union. The new Regulation will bring transparency to the market by giving more power to regulatory agencies, in our case to HAKOM (Croatian Regulatory Authority for Network Industries). All prices that do not comply with the actual delivery costs will be reported to the European Commission, which will lead to cheaper delivery’’.
Borzan also added that almost 70 percent of EU citizens complain that delivery costs are too expensive, whilst more than 50 percent of them do not know what to do in case of delivery problems.
‘’That is why I have introduced the obligation for traders to inform consumers about all the forms of delivery with a price comparison while they purchase online. In addition, before the purchase, traders must inform consumers what to do in case of any problems’’, explained Borzan.
According to the latest news from the Russian tourist market, it seems that Croatia can expect a significant increase of Russian tourists in 2018.
The Croatian Tourist Board (HTZ) is currently participating at the Moscow International Travel & Tourism Exhibition (MITT), which is being held at Expocentre in Moscow from the 13th to the 15th of March 2018.
Apart from the HTZ as the main exhibitor, five more co-exhibitors are representing their offer at the fair such as the Zagreb Tourist Board, the National Park Plitvice Lakes, Lošinj Hotels & Villas, LifeClass Sv.Martin and Atlantis Travel.
Held annually, MITT is one of the top five travel exhibitions in the world and is highly valued by the international tourism community. The fair attracts more than 23,000 visitors and more than 1,900 companies from 187 countries and regions.
Rajko Ružička, the director of the HTZ branch office in Russia, emphasized that based on the first information and held meetings, it can be concluded that there is a great interest for Croatia, which is why the continuation of positive trends and the growth of tourist traffic is expected.
‘’The results of the early booking are very good and we expect the continuation of good arrangement sales that include Croatia. Earlier announced investments in Croatian tourism have great importance for the growth of tourist traffic especially in the segment of hotel accommodation which is highly sought after on the Russian market’’, concluded Ružička.
Considering the fact that airline connections are the key factor in the continuation of positive trends, air carriers such as S7, Aeroflot, Red Wings and the Croatian air carrier Croatia Airlines have already announced the introduction of new flights and confirmed operations on the existing ones between Russia and Croatia.
Last year, Russian tourists realized 133,000 arrivals and 955,000 overnight stays in Croatia or 12 percent more in arrivals and 10 percent more in overnight stays compared to 2016.
The year 2016 was a milestone for Croatia in terms of stopping the negative trends from the Russian market. The tourist growth, which was recorded last year, is expected to continue this year.
An interesting event full of light effects is on the horizon in the Croatian capital of Zagreb.
For the second year in a row, in organization of the Zagreb Tourist Board and with the support of the City of Zagreb, the Festival of Lights will be held from the 15th to the 18th of March in Zagreb. This festival will present the state-of-the-art lighting solutions based on lighting technologies in the historic core of the city.
The theme of the festival is the spring that symbolizes the awakening, growth and renaissance, therefore each of the locations will try to evoke the springtime through light performances that will be held from 6 to 11 pm every day during the festival.
The first Festival of Lights Zagreb was held last year on seven locations and attracted more than 100,000 visitors. From the previous seven locations in Upper Town, this year’s festival has expanded to 19 locations such as the Grič tunnel, Art Park, Tomićeva Street, the Lotršćak Tower, Grič Park, Gradec plateau, Jesuite Square, Klovićevi Dvori Gallery, Opatička Street, the Croatian History Institute etc.
With the four-day festival, Zagreb will join the other world cities such as Prague, Lyon, Amsterdam, St. Petersburg, Helsinki and Berlin which already have a tradition of organizing such festivals.
It is interesting to note that last year the Festival of Lights Zagreb was included in the international organization Festival of Lights International.
The British musician Bryan Ferry is to perform in September in the Croatian coastal city of Šibenik.
The founder of the legendary Roxy Music band will come to Šibenik to perform at the magnificent St.Michael’s Fortress on the 5th of September accompanied by a seven-member band.
The organizers of the Šibenik concert have announced an unforgettable two-hour top-class spectacle with Ferry singing his greatest hits such as ‘’Slave to Love’’, ‘’Don’t Stop the Dance’’, ‘’Avalon’’ and ‘’Jealous Guy’’.
The 72-year old English singer and songwriter is known as a vocalist with an elegant, seductive croon. Ferry also established a distinctive image and sartorial style; according to The Independent, Ferry and his contemporary David Bowie influenced a generation with both their music and their appearance.
After the re-release of the Roxy Music debut album, which was sold out last December, Bryan Ferry and his band are starting the tour across the United Kingdom and Europe at the St.David’s Hall in Cardiff on the 9th of April 2018.
Valamar Lanterna Premium Camping Resort is one of the best campsites in Europe. Apart from acknowledgements of leading European auto clubs, the Croatian campsite was also awarded by the first internet portal dedicated to camping customers reviews all over Europe ‘’Camping2Be’’.
This award is rewarded only to camps of the highest quality standards with the average ratings between 7 and 10, which are awarded by guests who book their campsite accommodation via the internet portal Camping2Be. Guests rate ten different categories such as the reception, the price and quality ratio, the comfort and cleanliness, the quality of accommodation, the general impression and other facilities in the camp.
‘’We are proud of another acknowledgement that is even more valuable to us because it comes from our guests. We are very pleased that our guests recognize the efforts of all our employees who year after year give their best in order to provide a true dream holiday and unforgettable memories to our guests’’, commented the director of Valamar Lanterna Premium Camping Resort Bruno Radoš.
The internet portal Camping2Be gathers more than 4,000 campsites in Europe, out of which 49 are from Croatia (Istria, Kvarner and Zadar), and most of them are in France.