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.
Due to the further development of the ever favourable epidemiological situation across Croatia, the Civil Protection Headquarters of the Republic of Croatia is continuing to relax the strict measures that were put in place and today they issued three more new decisions.
The first new relaxation measure concerns the banning on restricting social gatherings, sporting and cultural events, work in trade and service activities. The ban on public events and gatherings with more than 40 people is lifted, and from today the number of people who can be present at certain public events and gatherings will be determined by the recommendations and instructions of the Croatian Institute of Public Health, together with other anti-epidemic measures. And sporting competitions will be able to be held, without the presence of spectators, from May 30 in the open air and from June 13 indoors.
The second easing of Covid-19 restrictions refers to amending the decision on the manner of holding funerals. As of May 29, the restriction that only family members and a representative of the religious community may attend funerals will be lifted, as well as the ban on publishing the place and time of the last farewell. Funerals, last farewells and urn laying are still held in compliance with general anti-epidemic measures and recommendations and instructions of the Croatian Institute of Public Health.
And the last decision released by the Civil Protection Directorate today concerns an amendment to the decision on measures for marriage and life partnership contracts. From May 29, marriage ceremonies and life partnerships can be attended by other persons, not only family and witnesses, and the ban on holding wedding ceremonies will be lifted. Marriage and life partnership ceremonies, as well as wedding ceremonies will be held in compliance with general anti-epidemic measures and recommendations and instructions of the Croatian Institute of Public Health.
Dubrovnik will have a new flight connection for this summer, direct flights between the Slovenia capital and the pearl of the Adriatic. On Wednesday, the Mayor of Dubrovnik, Mato Franković, announced on a show on Radio Dubrovnik, that special charter flights would connect Dubrovnik with the Slovenian metropolis, Ljubljana, twice a week.
“We are currently arranging charter flights between Ljubljana and Dubrovnik with a Slovenian agency, which should start by the end of June at the latest. We have very good relations with Ljubljana, especially with Mayor Zoran Janković, and we have no doubt that there will be a response, but there is still a lot of work to be done. Therefore, we will launch a promotional campaign on the Slovenian market,” announced Franković.
The Mayor also pointed out that in spite of the Covid-19 pandemic and the troubled economic situation that the City of Dubrovnik is still financially stable.
“Considering that we predicted that this year the budget will be at a loss of about 60 million Kuna, we opened an overdraft with our business bank for that amount. We calculated that we would enter into that overdraft on the 1st of May, but today we are still in a slight plus,” concluded Franković.
In the last 90 days, and especially in the last two weeks, Germans have been searching for Croatia on Google, much more so than Spain, Italy or Greece with keywords such as holiday homes, camps or vacations, according to a new survey by Arbona.
When searching for holiday destinations on Google, Germans have been searching for Croatia the most in the last 90 days, and even more in the past few days, which makes its index in searches for these keywords (vacation) higher than 75 percent, and even goes to 100 percent, which means that potential German tourists are often only searching for Croatia, in terms of a holiday destination, on Google.
"This index is much higher than, for example, Spain, Italy and Greece, which are known to be the top destinations for German tourists. Such search results also mean that Croatia is in the lead position as a destination where many tourists would like to spend their holidays. The opening of the Croatian borders in combination with the good handling and results around the epidemiological situation, means that guests can feel safe there," pointed out Arbona, a certified Croatian partner of Google for the so-called AdWords.
The results are similar for the keywords "holiday homes" and "campsites/camping" which Germans are also searching Croatia more than the other three Mediterranean countries, according to Google.
Croatia’s national airline, Croatia Airlines, has announced that they are to resume flights to the Danish capital from early June. From the 1st of June Croatia Airlines will connect Zagreb with Copenhagen. The airline will at first run these flights five times a week, and then upgrade the connection to a daily one.
On the 11th of May Croatia Airlines restarted internal flights across Croatia, including Zagreb to Dubrovnik and Split, and is now starting to increase its international offer.
Croatia Airlines will now connect Zagreb to Copenhagen, Amsterdam and Frankfurt as the skies over the country slowly start to reopen.
Monday, June 15, is Europe's 'D Day' for tourism ahead of the summer season, Italian Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio commented on Tuesday on the announced date for the reopening of EU countries after three months of isolation due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Tourism is an important, if not the largest source of income for most Mediterranean countries such as Italy, Spain, Croatia, Portugal and Greece. “We’re working to get everyone back together in Europe on June 15: June 15 is a bit like a European‘ D-Day ’for tourism,” Di Maio told public television RAI.
Germany plans to allow tourists to plan trips to 31 European countries from June 15, ending an unprecedented directive against all international travel.
Travel restrictions should be lifted not only within the EU but also for the United Kingdom and the four members of the Schengen area - Iceland, Norway, Switzerland and Liechtenstein.
Italy is negotiating with Austria, which has refused to open their common border, Di Maio said, but is confident German tourists will be able to cross the border.
Croatia, Slovenia and Greece have already lifted some travel restrictions and announced plans for a larger opening based on bilateral agreements and the epidemiological situation in some countries.
Slovenia on Tuesday lifted a ban on tourists from the EU and the Schengen area, allowing anyone who has booked hotel accommodation to enter the country freely, the STA news agency reported. On May 15, Slovenia became the first European country to declare an end to the coronavirus epidemic.
Greece, with the continued recovery of its fragile tourism-dependent economy, has already released a list of countries, including non-EU countries whose citizens will be able to enter the country from June 1. They will not have to be tested for coronavirus or go into isolation.
Croatia also announced that it would start opening its borders to tourists from several EU member states on Friday.
For the second day in a row, there are no new cases of Covid19 throughout the whole of Croatia, although unfortunately one more patent has passed away.
There are 42 people in hospital, and from that number 5 patients are on a ventilator.
The National Headquarters published new data on the coronavirus situation in Croatia, the number of new cases in the Republic of Croatia in the 24-hour period is zero, which means that the total number of people who have been infected since the Covid-19 pandemic began is 2,244.
So far, 63682 people have been tested, of which 1260 in the last 24 hours. And the number of people who have made a full recovery is 2,046.
The total number of deaths is 101.
According to currently available data, no new cases of coronavirus infection have been recorded in the Dubrovnik-Neretva County in the last 24 hours.
Samples sent on Sunday, for which the results had not arrived are all negative, as are the 36 samples sent yesterday, while the results for the remaining samples sent yesterday are still pending.
One more patient has made a full recovery.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, 2,991 samples have been sent to Zagreb for analysis.
As of today, 2 positive patients are hospitalized in the Infectious Diseases Department of the Dubrovnik General Hospital.
There are still 5 people in self-isolation, no violation of the self-isolation measure has been established in the last 24 hours.
Adriatic Luxury Hotels (ALH) are starting to open some hotels and hotel facilities in Dubrovnik after closing their doors due to the Covid-19 pandemic. ALH is the owner and operator of some of the most iconic hotels in the wider Dubrovnik region, from the instantly recognisable Hotel Excelsior with its Old City views, to the spacious Hotel Croatia in Cavtat.
“Adriatic Luxury Hotels has made the decision to open part of its capacity in Dubrovnik. The outdoor terrace of the Hotel Kompas will open tomorrow, May 26, and the first hotel to open its doors on May 30 will be the Hotel Dubrovnik Palace. Hotel Odisej on Mljet opens on June 6, while Hotel Excelsior will open in mid-June,” said the company in a statement yesterday.
Adding that “Other hotel capacities of ALH are also being prepared, and we will coordinate their opening with the establishment of connections with the UK market, which is extremely important to us. The operating procedures in the hotels have been fully adjusted to comply with all prescribed measures and recommendations for the operation of hotels during the COVID-19 epidemic submitted by the Croatian Institute of Public Health with maximum effort to maintain the expected level of luxury hotel.”
Whereas Istria and to a certain extent northern Dalmatia will receive a healthy number of tourists arriving by car this year, Dubrovnik is more than likely to be the destination most affected by the travel chaos that Covid-19 has caused. Being essentially an air-travel destination is the first problem, but a far bigger one if that the makeup of tourists by nationality to Dubrovnik is completely different to the rest of Croatia. The two most numerous, and most important, markets are the UK and the USA, two countries that don’t have a settled Covid-19 situation. Then Dubrovnik is popular with tourists from Australia and South Korea, tourists that will have to spend many hours in a plane to actually get here.
2020 will be a year of challenges for Dubrovnik’s hotel industry and tourism businesses. It is a shot in the arm for Dubrovnik’s tourism industry that the biggest hotel chain in the city is reopening its doors, what actually lies ahead for them is still somewhat of a mystery.