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.
Tonight is the opening night of the 71st Dubrovnik Summer Festival and the Mayor of Dubrovnik, Mato Frankovic, has announced that all catering facilities, cafes and restaurants, in the city can stay open longer.
“Based on the decision of Mayor Mato Franković, and on the occasion of the ceremonial opening of the 71st Dubrovnik Summer Festival, the extension of the work of all catering facilities in the City of Dubrovnik is approved. Thus on the night of Friday the 10th to Saturday the 11th of July 2020, catering facilities are allowed to operate until 4 am,” sated the City of Dubrovnik.
All cafes and restaurants are obliged to ensure respect for public order and peace in their facilities and to prevent disturbances of public order and peace, and if it does occur, they must immediately inform the Dubrovnik Police Station, added the City of Dubrovnik in a statement.
The tourism industry in Croatia, as in the rest of the world, continues to struggle with the Covid-19 pandemic and its catastrophic consequences for travel. Figures just released show that so far in July the number of tourists in Croatia is around 52 percent when compared with the same period from last year. Croatia should, in any normal year, be in the middle of the tourist season. The beaches full, cafes and restaurants alive with languages from all over the world and the hotels fully booked. But 2020 is no normal tourist season.
The Croatian Minister of Tourism, Gari Cappelli, stated at a government session on Thursday that the highest concentration of tourists is currently in two Adriatic counties - Istria and Primorje-Gorski Kotar, where about half of the current number of tourists in the country are staying, or around 250,000 tourists. Cappelli also pointed out that so far not one tourist has been infected with Covid-19, or indeed has “imported” the virus into Croatia.
"There are practically no problems with Covid-19, safety is everywhere in the facilities and destinations, and it is important that we now have only 10 percent fewer tourists from Germany than at the same time last year," Cappelli said.
According to the results of the annual survey of the German car club ADAC "Routenplanner", one of the largest and most popular European car clubs, Croatia is in second place according to the number of most frequent inquiries of German motorists for travel during the summer holidays, immediately after Germany.
"We know that the German market is our most important travel market, and despite the current situation, interest in the arrival of Germans in Croatia is not decreasing. Compared to our competing countries in the Mediterranean, with safety and a good epidemiological situation, our comparative advantage is proximity and accessibility by car. Since the beginning of July, Croatia has been visited by 107,000 Germans who made 807,000 overnight stays, which is 90 percent of the results of overnight stays in the same period last year, "said Kristjan Stanicic, director of the Croatian National Tourist Board.
The survey covered 85,000 inquiries during May and June 2020, and with 14 percent of inquiries, compared to 9 percent from last year, Croatia came in at second place for the first time.
According to the survey, Germany ranks first with 37 percent of inquiries, while 11.5 percent of inquiries related to Turkey, which ranked third. Italy, after last year's second place, fell to fourth place this year, and Austria is in fifth place.
The index, released on Tuesday, based on data from the International Air Transport Association (IATA) provides data on what level of access each passport offers and what visas are required.
The Japanese passport provides access to most of the world's destinations without a visa, according to the passport index published by the British law firm Henley & Partners.
Persons holding a Japanese passport can enter 191 countries without a visa, or obtain it upon entry. The Singapore passport ranked second, offering visa-free entry into 190 countries. It is followed by Germany and South Korea, which allow entry into 189 countries. Having a Japanese passport has always been helpful, it used to be ranked in second place. And according to the Japanese government, this reflects the good international image of the country, the third largest economy and one of the safest countries in the world.
When ranking passports, current travel restrictions due to the coronavirus pandemic were not taken into account. While Japanese tourists are among those from 14 countries who can travel to the EU again from July 1, entry restrictions remain in place for, say, the United States, whose passport ranks seventh.
The Croatian passport is in 19th place and can be used to travel without a visa to 170 countries. According to this index, Croatia was in 20th place last year, that is, with a Croatian passport it was possible to travel to 169 countries without a visa.
In fact, it is noticeable that the passport of the Republic of Croatia has been gaining in "value" in recent years. In 2018, Croatia was the worst in the EU according to this index. It was possible to travel without a visa to 155 countries. In two years, the citizens of the Republic of Croatia have received 15 new countries of the world for which they do not need a visa if they have the money, time and will to travel.
Croatia has 53 new recorded cases of Covid-19 in the last 24 hours, the National Headquarters announced. Currently, the number of active cases is 934, and among them 91 patients are in hospital. Four patients are on a ventilator.
One person has passed away due to Covid-19. From the beginning of the epidemic until today a total of 3,325 people have been infected with coronavirus, of which 114 have died and 2,277 have recovered.
There are currently 4539 people in self-isolation across the country.
To date, a total of 88,235 people have been tested, of which 1,375 were tested in the last 24 hours.
First Rod Stewart and now a star of the MMA world, Alistair Cees Overeem, is taking a break in Dubrovnik. The 40-year-old Dutch veteran, with over 19-years as a kick boxer and MMA fighter is currently the sixth highest ranked MMA fighter in the world.
Overeem arrived in Dubrovnik with his fiancée, former Dutch model Danielle Toele. The pair enjoyed a stroll through the streets of the Old City of Dubrovnik and a coffee on the Stradun.
The renowned American newspaper, whose website is visited by over 400 million readers a month, The New York Times, has included Croatia on the list of open countries for American citizens, reports Ina Rodin, the director of the Croatian National Tourist Board Office in New York.
“Members of European Union countries can enter Croatia for any reason, but American tourists may visit only with proof of paid accommodation,” writes The New York Times on Croatia in the article.
In the article entitled "I am an American citizen, where in the world can I travel?", Croatia was highlighted as the only one of the few countries in the Mediterranean currently open to Americans, who can enter the country unhindered upon presentation of a reservation for accommodation.
“Any positive announcement coming from reputable and reliable sources like The New York Times increases the visibility of our country on the tourist map of the world. It is important that American travellers and all other guests from distant markets know that we are an open and safe destination in which tourist traffic takes place in compliance with all prescribed epidemiological measures and protocols," said the director of the Croatian Tourist Board Kristjan Stanicic.
Also, the American news portal The Daily Beast, which records over 35 million monthly visits, in an article highlights Croatia as a breath-taking Mediterranean hot spot, which is open to the arrival of American citizens.
However, with American Airlines announcing that direct flights between the US and Dubrovnik are cancelled for the foreseeable future it will be more challenging for US tourists to visit Croatia. In Dubrovnik for the past couple of years’ American tourists have been the second most numerous, directly behind UK tourists, and undoubtedly the American Airlines flights motivated more travellers to choose Dubrovnik and Croatia. The filming of the HBO serial, Game of Thrones, is also an added benefit to US fans as they flocked to see the set of King’s Landing, which was largely filmed in and around the historic Old City of Dubrovnik.
"We are thinking intensively and seriously about banning weddings in the Republic of Croatia, because the latest positive figures for Covid-19 clearly show that a large number of positive ones come from such family celebrations and gatherings. When Covid-19 started spreading in nightclubs, we did not close them, but we have strengthened the controls in them and that has brought good results," commented the Croatian Minister of Health, Vili Beros, to Slobodna Dalmacija.
This information announced by the Minister in the light of the latest figures and coronavirus infections coming from Split, which say that 12 people have been infected with coronavirus at a recent wedding in Split. The new cases of Covid-19 in Split directly connected to this wedding include bride, three musicians and one photographer.
The wedding party was held about ten days ago in Split, in a closed space of one of Split's restaurants. Also among the infected is an employee of the Teaching Institute for Public Health (Hygiene), who was also at the wedding and in contact with people who were already infected without even knowing it.