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.
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.
The legendary American actor Chuck Norris has come to Croatia.
On celebrating his 78th birthday on the 10th of March, a monument of the popular Texas Ranger was revealed in the southern part of Zagreb called Sloboština.
The monument designed by the academic artist Gordan Perković was presented in front of numerous Chuck Norris fans at midnight on the 10th of March after great fireworks and organized birthday party in honour of the famous actor.
‘’This is the first monument of Chuck Norris in Croatia. Our country is just one of many European countries to have such a monument. Chuck Norris now has his sculptural materialization in Croatia’’, commented Kruno Lokotar, the head of the birthday ceremony in Zagreb.
Lokotar also added that Zagreb would become a safer city under the firm hand of Chuck Norris and pointed out to other cities in the neighbouring countries to have monuments dedicated to film fighters for justice.
‘’Mostar has Bruce Lee and now Zagreb has Chuck Norris. However, we will not compete as if we were in ‘’Way of the Dragon’’, said Lokotar.
The celebration of Norris’s birthday took place in cafe bar ‘’Norris’’ in Zagreb. The spectacular presentation of the actor’s monument was followed by a karaoke contest in the dark-eyed look of Chuck Norris as well as a contest in consummation of hot spicy food.
A huge wave of price increases is on the horizon in Croatia this year.
Food, waste removal and petroleum products are just some of the things that will face a price increase in 2018.
‘’The banana price has already jumped by almost 50 percent, and a price increase for other fruit will follow’’, claim fruit growers.
‘’We expect a price increase by over 50 percent until the summer months. That is why there is no fruit in Europe or in Croatia’’, commented Frane Ivković from the Croatian Association of Fruit Growers.
However, the price of other food products will continue to grow this year, economists point out.
‘’There are some elements of food products that have stable prices such as bread and fish, however, all other components such as meat have recorded a continuous price increase’’, explained Zvonimir Savić from the Croatian Chamber of Commerce (HGK).
Furthermore, due to a new waste management policy, sorting and recycling, Croatian citizens can expect increased figures on their waste removal bills.
The Ministry of Environment and Energy says that there will be no increase in household gas prices for another three years because the state will protect its citizens. Unlike last year, this year the electricity price should not go up.
This summer we can expect a seasonal toll price increase that will, like last year, increase by 10 percent during the tourist season.
Economic analysts expect crude oil prices to rise by an additional 30 percent over last year. However, the Association of Croatian Road Carriers claims that for the time being they do not intend to increase prices of their services and continue this wave of price increases.
A Croatian island is one the best sustainable or ‘’green’’ destinations in the world.
At the largest travel trade show ITB Berlin, which is taking place from the 7th to the 11th of March 2018 in Berlin, Germany, the Best of Top 100 Awards Ceremony was held in the Awards Hall of ITB Berlin on the 7th of March.
From the Top 100 sustainable destinations, a Jury representing 12 international organizations selected 32 finalists.
In the category ‘’Best of the Planet – Best of Mediterranean’’ the Croatian island of Lošinj placed as the second right behind the Maltese island Gozo.
After the awarding ceremony for the Top 100 sustainable world destinations was successfully held in Portugal last September, the organizers Green Destinations, Travel Mole’s Vision on Sustainable Tourism and ITB Berlin offered an opportunity to all the Top 100 destinations in 2017 to show their sustainability and best practices to the world and to the media within the world’s largest tourist fair in Berlin.
‘’Sustainability has for years been a key advantage of Lošinj - the island of vitality, which has been implementing destination brand management since 2006. Quality cooperation with locals, numerous projects in the domain of sustainable cultural and health tourism as well as numerous investments were the preconditions for the development of year-round tourism in the destination. We also wanted to advance and to use European standards, thus, we were among the first in Croatia to join the European Commission project ETIS (European Tourism Indicators System) for sustainable destinations. Thanks to the quality communication of all partners in the destination, Lošinj can brag about even bigger recognition in the world as a sustainable tourism destination!’’, commented Dalibor Cvitković, the director of the Tourist Board of the Town of Mali Lošinj congratulating all the winners.
To enter the Top 100 Sustainable World Destinations it was necessary to meet the 15 major criteria that make a destination responsible and ‘green’ such as nature and landscape, climate and environment, culture and tradition, people and hospitality as well as sustainable destination management.
It is interesting to note that last month the specialized Food, Wine & Travel (FWT) magazine declared Lošinj the second best travel destination for 2018.
As the President’s Office reported, the Croatian President, Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović, will soon visit the diaspora in South America.
After the official visit of the first and former Croatian President, Franjo Tudjman, to South America, Grabar-Kitarović is the first Croatian President to visit members of the Croatian diaspora in Argentina, Chile and Brazil.
The Presidential tour will start on the 11th and last to the 20th of March 2018. Apart from meeting with the representatives of Croatian communities in these three South American countries, the President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović will also meet with the Presidents of Argentina and Chile, the Governor of Sao Paulo as well as with businesspersons in these countries.
It is estimated that there are 400,000 Croatians living in Chile, around 250,000 living in Argentina and 45,000 in Brazil. In fact Chile has the second largest population of Croatian diaspora after the USA.