Ivana Smilović – a senior journalist at The Dubrovnik Times. Born and raised in Dubrovnik, Ivana (or Smile as she is known to all) graduated Media Studies from the University of Dubrovnik. A book worm, coffee addict and want-to-be world traveller Ivana brings her unique local insight, connections and general optimistic and well smiley feel to the Times.
Croatia is a safe country and one of the few to have a tourist season this year, Deputy Prime Minister and Interior Minister Davor Bozinovic said on Wednesday, adding that more than 350 thousand tourists had registered their arrival via the EnterCroatia system – the official website of the Croatian Government reports.
- Croatia is perceived as a country where it is desirable to come on vacation, and at the moment we may be the only country that has announcements of foreign tourists and crowds at border crossings - said Bozinovic in Zadar at the opening of the Headquarters for Security Measures during the 2020 tourist season.
Minister reminded that last year Croatia had 20 million tourists and more than 90 million overnight stays.
- We will probably not reach those figures this year, but according to today's reports, we can say that the entire security system has shown exceptional efficiency in resolving crises, regardless of whether it is epidemics, crimes or fires - Bozinovic emphasized and noted that there were twice as many fires this year than last year at this time, but they went unnoticed because of Covid-19.
- Despite that, the system worked. Our unique homeland security system sends a message not only to Croatian citizens but also to foreigners that Croatia is a safe country and that foreign tourists can feel safe here this year as well. We work according to the model we established at the very beginning of work of this Government, and the very fact that we have connected everyone who has something to do, say and analyze when it comes to the security situation speaks of the fact that we are achieving good results – Bozinovic said.
Journalists were interested in Bozinovic's opinion on wearing protective masks because tourists are confused since most people in Croatia do not wear masks.
-It is always better to have a mask than not, but it is not mandatory. If we introduced it as an obligation, it would mean that our epidemiological situation is much worse than it is. What is good is that the mask is worn indoors and perhaps most important of all - masks protect! Especially if an infected person has a mask, the chance of infecting someone is certainly much lower. If an infected and healthy person has masks, they reduce the chance of infection by up to 90 percent - Bozinovic said.
He added that the epidemic is under control in our country.
-Our numbers are small, but we must keep in mind that the situation in neighboring countries and in Europe and at the global level speaks in favor of the presence of the virus - said Minister Bozinovic.
Croatia ready to react in case of outbreaks
Bozinovic stressed that Croatia is ready to react to the possible emergence of certain outbreaks caused by the coronavirus epidemic.
-We have shown that we know how to deal with such challenges, that first and foremost - we have people, but also a technique and experience that guarantees safety to everyone - he said.
As part of the meeting with members of the Headquarters for the implementation of security measures during the upcoming tourist season, an introductory presentation was held on general security indicators and the functioning of the Headquarters for the implementation of security measures during the tourist season, followed by a presentation of the National Maritime Data Collection Center Zadar.
-For the third year in a row, we are opening and starting to work through the Safe Tourist Season project, which has proven to be very effective when it comes to protecting citizens, property and tourists visiting our country at this time of year. We can state that the security situation is favorable. However, this year's season is specific, so for the first time the health profession is an integral part of the Headquarters for a safe tourist season headed by epidemiologist Alan Medic - said Minister Bozinovic.
Minister reminded that last year there was a record number of 95 foreign police officers from 19 countries in Croatia, and at the moment there are 36 police officers from nine countries who will join their Croatian colleagues in creating a safe season in Croatia.
Swedish Ministry of Foreign Affairs has made a press release bringing some news to travelers!
-There have been developments recently in the EU, the EEA and the Schengen area that have led to the easing of restrictions that had previously represented obstacles and risks to Swedish travellers. Therefore, as of 30 June, the MFA will remove the advice against non-essential travel to the following countries: Belgium, Croatia, France, Greece, Iceland, Italy, Luxembourg, Portugal, Spain and Switzerland – it's written in the press release.
The reason that the advice against travel is being removed for these countries is that they have decided to open up for travellers from Sweden and the rest of the EU, which means that the uncertainty factors for Swedes are minimised. The decision to remove the advice against travel to these countries will apply as of 30 June 2020 until further notice.
For other countries in the EU, the EEA and the Schengen area, the advice against travel remains in place until 15 July.
As the press release explains, the great uncertainty concerning global travel remains. Closed borders or far-reaching restrictions on possibilities to enter and leave countries, quarantine provisions and curfews remain a reality in large parts of the world. The disruption of international passenger traffic continues.
For travel to countries outside the EU, the EEA and the Schengen area, the advice against non-essential travel for Swedish travelers is being extended to 31 August 2020.
In good time before this date, the MFA will provide information about whether the advice against travel will be changed, extended or removed.
-The fact that the advice against travel is now being removed for certain European countries does not mean that the situation is back to normal. The situation remains uncertain and changeable, even in Europe. Individuals carry a great level of responsibility – the Swedish Ministry of Foreign Affairs explains, adding that every traveller should carefully consider their journey, prepare thoroughly, stay informed and follow the advice and instructions of local authorities when abroad.
Another strong earthquake was felt in Zagreb at 5:51 pm. As seismologist Kresimir Kuk confirmed for N1, the quake had a magnitude of 3.1 on the Richter scale with its epicenter in Markusevac.
The first information said that the earthquake had a magnitude of 2.9 on the Richter scale, and the epicenter of the earthquake was 4 kilometers east of the city center. The tremor lasted for a few seconds.
After two strong earthquakes of magnitude 5.5 and 4.8 on the Richter scale, which hit Zagreb in the early on March 22th and left terrible damage, the city had about thousand following trembles.
At the beginning of April, activities began on arranging, rehabilitating and equipping public beaches and bathing areas in the Dubrovnik area. So far, works have been completed on the following beaches: Buza, Porporela, Pile-Sulic, Dance, Boninovo, Kalamota (Donje celo and Bezdan) and Veliki zali, Gjivovici, as well as the beaches in Mokosica, Zaton, Belvedere and Solitudo.
On the beaches in Zaton (Bunica, Bat, Ankora, Orsan Gverovic, Soline, Ponta mala), Moksšica (Ponta Sjekavica, near the Gostiona, Vapor, near the ex Ambulance), Solitudo (Mandrac beach) and on Veliki zali, the approaches to the beaches were cleaned, on which filling the rocks and leveling the beach was done. Also, showers were set up, as well as stairs, cabins and locker rooms needed for the upcoming season.
On Buza, Boninovo, Porporela, Sulic, Dance, Kalamota (Donje celo and Bezdan), Belvedere and Gjivovici, landscaping works were also completed, which included repairing fences, steps and handrails, concreting damaged platforms, walls and steps, and repairing and installing showers.
The contractor Frendy d.o.o has the remaining works on equipping and arranging public baths in Elafiti, Vrbica, Stikovica, Titova Vila, Trsteno and Orasac, the completion of which is planned for the end of June, and the funds provided in the Budget for arranging and maintaining beaches before the summer season are 1,717,000 kuna.
Mayor Mato Frankovic participated in the first UNESCO webinar on world heritage called "Re-thinking Urban Heritage for Resilience and Recovery", in the context of the impact of the COVID-19 virus on cities and the resumption of their activities after the global pandemic.
In the difficult time of the global crisis, both health and financial, the City of Dubrovnik was completely left without the main economic branch, Mayor Frankovic emphasized in his address at the first panel.
- At this moment, we are slowly starting with the renewal of tourism, two days ago Dubrovnik Airport established international flights and this season we expect the realization of about 30 percent of last year's tourist traffic. It should be noted that Dubrovnik is a city that is extremely financially dependent on tourism, more than 80 percent of our economy is strongly associated with tourism, and the rest are various other areas that are also indirectly related to tourism - said Mayor Frankovic.
Despite the difficult financial situation, the city administration has not lost sight of the set goals and the need of the city for further development in the right direction, was one of today's messages from Mayor Frankovic.
-You know the history of Dubrovnik in 1991 when the city was bombed, and even then UNESCO observers in their records mentioned the reconstruction and future of Dubrovnik, which should think about how to introduce sustainability in its tourism. Despite the fact that we live from tourism and it is our main economic activity, we do not want to make the same mistake, so this difficult period is also a great opportunity for change and we will certainly use it – Mayor Frankovic said.
Speaking about the renewal of the activities of cities, Frankovic pointed out that the restoration and protection of heritage are dependent on each other, and especially referred to the challenges facing the Dubrovnik city administration.
-The cultural heritage of Dubrovnik is in excellent condition and we are continuously investing in its restoration. The richness of heritage will certainly be one of the comparative advantages of cities under UNESCO protection. I am deeply convinced that UNESCO cities will be rebuilt sooner than others. Heritage is always attractive, and cities will now be even more beautiful with less crowds. All these are challenges ahead of us, and I must point out that we are ready for the health crisis and have solved it well, and the financial crisis is just ahead of us, but I hope that we will face it just as successfully - concluded the Mayor.
In addition to the City of Dubrovnik, the first panel also presented the experiences of the cities of Tunisia, Jaipur, India and the Philippine city of Wigan. Experts Satya Tripathi from the UN Environment and Cherie Nursalim from the GITI Group also joined the panel with their perspective on the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on heritage and sustainable urban development.
Sales and Marketing Director of the largest Baltic regional airline Air Baltic for Lithuania Jevgenij Kozyrev reported that Air Baltic will open and maintain seasonal direct flights between Vilnius and Dubrovnik, starting on July 6th, 2020.
For years, there has been an extremely positive trend of increasing arrivals of Lithuanian tourists in Croatia and in record 2019 there were 47 thousand Lithuanian tourists (an increase of 10.5 percent compared to arrivals in 2018), with 186 thousand overnight stays (an increase of 7.2 percent compared to the number of overnight stays in 2018), although so far there have been no direct air passenger flights (except for a few charter flights).
According to the Croatian National Tourist Board, 516 Lithuanians visited Croatia in the first five months of this year (only 10.29 percent compared to the last year in the same period: 5,016), who realized 3,169 overnight stays (17.33 percent of the number of overnight stays in the same period 2019: 18,283).
On December 10 th 2019, Air Baltic in Vilnius officially presented to representatives of Lithuanian travel and travel agencies and the media new direct, seasonal flights from Vilnius to five new European destinations in 2020, including two destinations in Croatia: Rijeka and Dubrovnik (in cooperation with the Embassy), and the promotion of the announced flights was held at the largest Lithuanian and Baltic regional tourism fair Adventur 2020, on January 25, 2020 with the participation of the Embassy and the Tourist Board of Rijeka and Kvarner Tourist Board.
When well-known Croatian cellist Ana Rucner comes to Dubrovnik, everybody knows: summer is coming! For a tenth year in a row this talented cellist will hold her annual summer music festival 'Ana in the City'.
With the guest appearance of the versatile and charismatic Croatian pianist and composer Matej Mestrovic, Ana will start her concert at 5 am, June 21st, 2020, on the first day of summer and World Music Day in the beautiful amphitheater of Excelsa real estate at the top of Srd.
Welcoming summer in Dubrovnik, with sunrise and amazing music – it doesn't get better than this!
International Yoga Day is celebrated on Sunday, June 21st, and one of the best ways to mark it surely on the beach in Dubrovnik!
WE DU Yoga invites everybody to join them on the Copacabana beach this Sunday to celebrate this day together.
-The idea is simple, a bit of exercise, a bit of breathing, a bit of dipping in the sea and socializing. A light and relaxed morning in the company of positive and dear people – the organizers wrote.
The class will start at 8.30 am and last until 10 and then it's time for relaxation. The only thing you need to bring is a yoga mat or a beach towel.