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News: Croatian Tax Webinar Online to View
Izvor:  Croatia Business Report
Utorak, 02 Lipanj 2020 14:23

The 1 June Webinar on the Croatian tax system held by the Centre for the Renewal of Culture and Crodiaspora is online for viewing. For those with an interest in Croatia – relocating, property, working etc – should take a look.
The webinar was highly informative, and explained topics such as double taxation and inheritance tax. There is a very short introduction in Croatian, and then it switches to English for the rest of it. It can be seen here via their Facebook link (No need to join Facebook).


Zero day again, no new Covid cases in Croatia on Tuesday 
Izvor:  Croatia Week
Utorak, 02 Lipanj 2020 14:04

ZAGREB, 2 JUNE, 2020 – There have been zero new COVID-19 cases again reported in Croatia in the last 24 hours,...

Ton�i Glavina from Ministry of Tourism: We're seeing Increased Numbers of Tourists!
Izvor:  Total Croatia News
Utorak, 02 Lipanj 2020 14:02

Ton�i Glavina from Ministry of Tourism: We're seeing Increased Numbers of Tourists!

June 2, 2020 - Ton�i Glavina, a State Secretary in the Ministry of Tourism, gave an interview to Slobodna Dalmacija about the hottest topic in Croatia these days: tourist season 2020.

Hrvoje Prnjak talked to Mr. Glavina, who has personally, both face to face and on social media, kept in contact with everyone who wanted to know more about Croatian tourism. He has welcomed questions posted by the renters and anyone else participating in this vital sector of the Croatian economy, which is taking a hit because of the pandemic.

Slobodna first asked Mr. Glavina about the fact that only three months ago, it seemed that we would have another record-breaking season, and just a month after that, the season appeared to be lost entirely. Where are we now, which segments can be expected to produce some positive numbers? 

Mr. Glavina explains that the Ministry is aware that the results in 2020 will be far from the results from 2019, which has set many records for Croatian tourism. He adds that they are making arrangements for the guests to arrive from some of the most important markets, and they believe that, if the epidemiological situation continues to be favorable, Croatian tourism will be able to achieve around 30 percent of last year's results. 

Because of the COVID-19 epidemic, the entire world is facing the "new normal" which, among other things, includes strict social distancing, which will encourage guests to seek out tourist offers providing some isolation, such as vacation houses or boat rentals. As the epidemiological situation changes, hopefully for the better, I believe that the other forms of the tourist offer will be able to achieve satisfying results. 

Next, the journalist asked Mr. Glavina about the gradual "opening" of the Croatian borders to foreign nationals, where Croatia was among the countries that re-opened first. What countries can we expect to see in the next wave of re-opening? 

In 2020 we've seen 400,000 arrivals by the foreign tourists, and they've had 1.4 million overnight stays. That's an 80% reduction compared to last year, which was expected. However, since May, when we've started the re-opening, we see the increased arrivals of tourists to Croatia, and around 20 thousand overnight stays each day. As can be expected, most of them are arriving from the countries in our region: Slovenia, Austria, Germany. Croatia has relieved restrictions for foreign guests arriving from 10 countries that find themselves in a similar epidemiological situation. We wanted to be able to control the arrival of tourists, which is why we decided to open gradually. Our first priority is to prevent the creation of some type of hot-spot, which would take us a few steps back, and we definitely don't want that. 

We want to make sure our guests, everyone working in tourism and everyone else in Croatia is as safe as possible. In addition to that, we want our guests to be able to enter Croatia without problems, that's why we decided to go down the digital and innovative route (which is our goal all the time) and create an online application which is meant to allow for a faster border crossing and reduction of waiting periods. 

Tourist companies saw their entire business grind to a halt literally overnight. What have you done to help those companies survive, as it is unclear how many of them will be able to recover in this year? 

To help the various companies deal with the special circumstances, the Ministry of Tourism has reduced the amounts for the tourist memberships, which saved those companies 26 million kunas. Also, all of the private renters and family farms that also provide accommodation were released from paying the tourist taxes in the first six months of this year, which saved them 154 million kunas. The variable portion of the concessions for camps, around hotels, and in tourist villages has been reduced to one kuna, which saved another 15 million kunas. 

It was vital for us to help keep tourist companies liquid, so we invested 25 million kunas in helping them pay for interest for loans taken with the HBOR (Croatian Bank for Reconstruction and Development). That allowed businesses with problems to get more than 600 million kunas of loans. 

It is evident that this year's results will depend on the re-establishment of international flights. When do you expect the situation to get normalized?  

Some of the destinations in Croatia depend on the flights. However, it is important to highlight that we are quite close to some of our principal markets, which makes it easier for them to drive to Croatia, which gives us an advantage when compared to our Mediterranean competition. The air traffic is beginning to normalize, although everyone understands that the flights will be quite different than what we're used to. In Split Airport, they expect things to normalize partially after mid-June. It's realistic to expect 180 lines to be operating then, and it's crucial to maintain good relations with the national company, Croatia Airlines, which has connected us to Europe almost without a break with their Zagreb-Frankfurt flight, and flights from Zagreb to Split and Dubrovnik. 

The journalist touched upon some of the changes to the laws in the area of tourism, which happened during this government term. He asked Mr. TonÄ�i Glavina which of those changes he considered to be the most important, and which of them will stay in the future. 

The packet of the tourism laws which have been implemented this year will allow for the almost complete transformation of the tourist system. The activities of the tourist boards will follow the modern trends of how tourist boards function elsewhere. We've modernized the system according to the circumstances, as the destination management has become the guiding principle for tourism management in the modern world. We are adjusting and directing the system to improve the competitiveness of the Croatian system in the next ten years. 

The introduction of the new Fund for the Joint Tourist Boards is especially important, as it will encourage the formation of tourist boards for several local administration units, which will reduce costs. We're very proud that the system of tourist boards already recognized that, and they've started joining each other, and I believe we can reduce their number by about 20-30 percent, or 60 to 80 tourist boards in total. 

In addition to the changes in the tourism laws, I need to highlight another decision by this government, which is to reduce the VAT in the hospitality sector to 13 percent, which included food deliveries for the first time. I believe that in our next term, we'll create the conditions to reduce the VAT in tourism further, and create other savings in the tourism sector - and our tax policies and breaks already helped them save a billion kuna.

EU has various funds and financial mechanisms - but no Fund for Tourism Recovery. What would that mean for everyone in the tourism business in Croatia, and who could count on it?

Tourism accounts for 10 percent of the EU GDP, employs almost 12 percent of the total number of people working in the EU, and generates over 400 billion euros of income. It's clear that we need to find joint European solutions for stopping the crisis in the tourism sector, but also to create programs and plans to halt similar threats in the future. Croatian Ministry of Tourism has, two years ago, way before the corona-crisis, started the initiative to establish the Fund for Tourism on the EU level, financed for years and used in crises like this, or in times of natural disasters, terrorism or in similar circumstances. We weren't really understood then, but when the crisis hit during the Croatian presidency of the EU, we were able to achieve a high level of consensus within the EU. I find that to be a great victory for Croatia, showing how to manage the tourist policies both nationally, but also on the European level as well. The recently-presented EU plan for the economic recovery has 10 billion euros earmarked for Croatia, which shows the importance of Croatian membership in the EU and how much the EU can help us recover. 

The Ministry of Tourism has gotten the money needed to fund the Competence Centres from the EU funds. What are those Centres?

The financing of the regional competence centers in the tourism and hospitality sector, in the amount of 500 million kunas for the infrastructure, curriculum, and other activities, is undoubtedly one of the most significant investments in the future of Croatian tourism. It is a solution for the future, which will help us deal with the problem of not enough workers in tourism in the next several years. I believe this project starts the new age for human resources in tourism, benefiting the employees who will be educated at the highest level, following the modern trends, but also helping the employers, who will get highly trained people with practical experience working for them.

The interview concluded with Mr. TonÄ�i Glavina explaining that the six regional centers have been established, and the tourism and hospitality school in Split has received 74 million kunas, which is the most significant individual amount awarded. 


Croatia's Best Road Trip: Swap the Motorway for the Magistrala
Izvor:  Total Croatia News
Utorak, 02 Lipanj 2020 13:50

What's that old trope about the 'road less traveled'?

June 1, 2020 — Croatia adjusted expectations for the 2020 tourist season to match the coronavirus era. Planes are mostly out, cars are in. Yet its advertising campaigns and promo videos never mention the two-lane, 818 kilometer asphalt gem running along the spine of its coast.

My Renault Clio struggled at the 80 km/h threshold as it puttered along the 20 kilometer stretch of asphalt connecting Rudelici and Karlobag. The driver-side window framed a glamor shot of Pag’s Bura-swept barren surface, looking as if a chunk of the moon fell into the Adriatic Sea. I spun my steering wheel left, hugging a turn as the crappy little heap leaned right and gave a false sense speed. My inner 12-year-old giggled. 

In less than an hour, a lifetime’s-worth of gorgeous vistas scrolled by my window while I traversed bending roads that can make any vehicle feel like a sports car. How I was the only person driving along this bewitching artery called the Jadranska Magistrala?

Road tripping guests are the Goldilocks of visitors: low-maintenance big-spenders on food, fuel, snacks, experiences and accommodation, dispersing cash across several locations. An unfortunate few even spend on mechanical repairs. They pack light, value lesser-known locations and often stay longer. Serendipity is their guide, and a unique experience their reward. The few who dash down the Croatian coastline experience a side of the country not offered in any travel brochure.

“Driving roadsâ€� make up small but potent niche in the travel world, offering a weird marriage of the automotive and travel industries. The internet abounds with lists of the “Top Roads,â€� listing father-flung corners of Romania to bucolic English countrysides and scenic Tuscan plains. Croatia’s coastal road could be a magnet for guests wary of long, boring slogs along highways, and petrol heads looking for legal fun. 

I first discovered the Jadranksa Magistrala, or state road D8, five years ago, driving from Zadar to Dubrovnik to meet friends. I picked them up, spent a night in the Pearl of the Adriatic then boomeranged back along the same route — a well-worn path.

The Magistrala formally opened to taffic 55 years ago. Previous roads were perilous or non-existent. The best way to get from one end of the coast to the other was often boat — or not bothering to make the trip at all. Even neighboring villages were isolated. This fed many of the micro-societies dotting the coast, a chain of unique dialects, food and customs separated sometimes by a few kilometers. Countless generations of Dalmatian residents were born, lived, and died hearing of Split, Dubrovnik and Zadar, without ever seeing them. How could they before the Magistrala?

With few exceptions, the Dalmatian coast’s topography challenges civil engineers. Mountains and seaside cliffs make flat stretches rare. A mule or perhaps a tractor could navigate the jagged karst hillsides between settlements.

Engineers designed the Magistrala well before gigantic machines bore holes through hills and mountains. They instead built a road using the existing terrain, building a long terraces onto undulating cliff sides zigging and zagging at the lip of steep drops (most locals of a certain age and driving experience can tell an “Once I almost fell off the Magistrala� story).

TKPHOTO

The resulting road feels like anachronistic. No modern infrastructure would so blatantly disregard safety codes, weaving along such steep drops into water. Even today, a few square stones stand between drivers and oblivion at some stretches. That nobody in the texting-and-driving, #hasthtagging age has flown over the edge may testify to the attention-grabbing peril the Magistrala presents — or how few people actually use it.

I felt this sense of wreckless abandonment years ago, plowing ahead through the lowlands of the Neretva Valley, then peering at the Peljesac Peninsula to my left as I drove with my friends on an itinerary that included Hvar, Split and Zadar. Our golden rule: if it looks interesting, we stop. That’s when I learned the Magistrala’s magic.

We passed a constellation of larger cities and humble villages, tucked-away beaches. Places I’d heard of but never saw: Igrane, Primošten, Sukošan and Rogoznica, unfurled before me. Even better were the spots that Google couldn’t name.

I would not have found many of these places had I swung up to the new-ish A1 motorway, hurtling in a straight line through mountains.

I kept asking myself why on earth I needed a whim to discover my home country has such a gem of a road. Why didn’t anyone tell me?

The “best drives� category of tourism is a mainstay for other countries. Scotland, Norway, Australia, and the U.S., among many others, laud their scenic routes and offer road trip suggestions and maps. Croatia’s page by comparison offers little to actual road-trippers, merely redirecting to other parts of the Tourism Board’s site.

I was not surprised the locals neglected to tell me. Croats abandoned the coastal roads after an infrastructure boom in 2000 created speedier, duller highways connecting the country from corner to corner. This had the dual effect of shortening travel tines while also shifting bulkier, slower trucks away from the Magistrala, making it even more of a driver’s paradise.

Croatia’s A1 motorway, by comparison, is an express ride past worthwhile stops. By comparison, the Magistrala’s dips and sharp turns satiate the petrol head at the steering wheel while passengers can enjoy a slideshow of Dalmatia’s greatest hits outside their window. Best of all, no tolls.

And perhaps that’s why the Magistrala remains an off-the-radar destination for driving fanatics. Croatia’s government rakes in HRK 3 billion a year on tolls, as tourists flock like sheep to the pulsating dots on their GPS screens instead of following the low road to paradise. If one-tenth of that traffic shifted to the toll-free coastal roads, the government would lose millions.

I ended my drive up the southern half of the Magistrala starving for more. 

Within a year, my now-wife and I took a similar road trip along the coast, this time bound north for Istria along what locals call the “stara cestaâ€� or “Old Highwayâ€� — the previous best route to get to Zagreb. 

Same Renault Clio (always on the verge of dying) and the same principle of stopping at whatever looks interesting. The cliffsides and bucolic vistas revealed a world completely unrelated to the southern half of the coast. Small settlements of a few houses are tucked into inlets and bays, naturally shielded from a direct hit by the infamous Bura winds that sweeps down the Velebit Mountains. There were fewer beaches, but more personality in the tough mentality required to survive in these rocky outcrops year round.

TKPHOTO

I saw new towns I didn’t know existed. The Magistrala’s arrival brought about a boom for many towns, such as Sveti Juraj and Senj. These small municipalities used the new road to connect and trade, specialize and distribute what they’d been making for years. Tourists bound for magnets like Split stumbled upon new locations — Kaštel, Primošten and Pirovac, among others, and benefited from the connection.

The arrival of airplanes and then the A1 motorway’s opening decades later undid much of that progress. Tourists started taking the faster routes to the big hubs: Split, Dubrovnik, Zadar. Biograd Na Moru, Šibenik, Primošten, Sveti Juraj and many others fell by the wayside.

But perhaps Croatia ignores its coastal highways for what it represents. Over 10,000 workers built the Magistrala in the former Yugoslavia, going well beyond Dubrovnik and into Montenegro. That state and its accomplishments are now stain as oppressive eras, its few accomplishments best-ignored. But the post-Yugoslavia answer — the A1 motorway — was a boondoggle of mismanagement, missed deadlines and graft. In other words, an apt metaphor for the country which created it.

The nation’s second attempt at a megalith infrastructure project, the Peljesac Bridge, was mythologized, started then dropped then started, promised, then killed again. The country wasted three decades before the European Union finally provided the funds needed to pay for China’s bargain-bin offer.

Perhaps Croats and their tourism apparatus ignore the Magistrala because it truly is a slower, more dangerous way to get around. Or maybe, it reminds them of everything Croatia used to be, but isn’t anymore.

Petrol heads in neighboring countries and car-bound visiters can find the charming asphalt snake running up the nation’s coast any time. Just hid “avoid tolls� in your GPS settings, and leave the rest to luck.


Forestland to be First Festival held in Croatia this Summer
Izvor:  Total Croatia News
Utorak, 02 Lipanj 2020 13:39

Forestland to be First Festival held in Croatia this Summer

June 2, 2020 - Forestland Electronic Music Festival will be officially held this summer in Međimurje, from July 17 to 19, in the idyllic Brezje. For the eighth time, Forestland becomes the center of summer in the northernmost part of Croatia.

It has been almost ten years since the idea came to fruition, and even the most difficult circumstances cannot stop the Forestland team, who have spent many sleepless nights and thousands of working hours to hold 48 hours of electronic music in the woods.

Forestland_nickhavsen.jpg

"We have been fighting for months and went through dozens of options just to decide - Forestland will take place!" said festival spokesman Krešimir Biškup. "Forestland is an idea, a rebellion, a desire and a dream in one, and this year we will maintain it and do it in the best possible way in this difficult situation. We respect all the measures prescribed by the CNIPH, we have disinfection points, running drinking water in several places, and more than 4m2 of space will be provided for each visitor."

Forestland has been held for several years in Brezje, in an idyllic field surrounded by oak, beech, and hornbeam forests, a lake and streams, with over four hectares of festival space.

There have been some changes in the list of performers, but all those announced will play at the festival either this year or next: "We have been planning and watching for months, but in the end, we agreed that due to the Covid-19 situation we were forced to postpone foreign contractors for the winter of 2020, or the summer of 2021," said BiÅ¡kup and added: "Kiril Djaikovski, Mark Sixma and Moguai have been moved to future dates due to long travel, but 2020 will still be remembered by the biggest regional names."

Forestland_chill_beer.jpg

Forestland is convinced that the festival will attract a large number of local and Slovenian audiences:

"We have had a close relationship with our neighbors for years, a large number of Slovenian DJs perform at the festival, this summer we are doing hip-hop and graffiti jam, we are building an entire small town at the festival site. Due to the destination itself, we are extremely pleased to attract that number of tourists and work on the promotion of Međimurje as a party center of continental Croatia. Our goal in the next period is to connect even more with various musicians, DJs and bands in Croatia and Slovenia and unite them all at the festival, to become a kind of meeting point for electronic music," concludes Biškup and adds:" We will always give the advantage to local and regional artists, and the announcements of this year's artists will show that."

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Tickets for Forestland can be purchased exclusively online through the start-up ticketing system www.ticket2go.hr at a price of 100 kuna for a festival ticket, or 160 for a camping ticket.

To read more about lifestyle in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.


Colour Me Croatian: The “Learn About the Homeland” colouring book released 
Izvor:  Croatia Week
Utorak, 02 Lipanj 2020 12:36

Souvenirs for adults are easy to come by, but few think of how kids relate to and remember destinations.  With Colour...

Ambassador Says Serbia's Accession To EU Is In Croatia's Interest
Izvor:  Total Croatia News
Utorak, 02 Lipanj 2020 12:04

Ambassador Says Serbia's Accession To EU Is In Croatia's Interest

ZAGREB, June 2, 2020 - Croatia's Ambassador to Serbia, Hidajet Biscevic, said in Subotica on Monday that Serbia's progress on the journey to the European Union was in Croatia's interest.

During his visit to the city of Subotica in Vojvodina where a sizeable Croatian community lives, the ambassador said that Serbia's accession to the EU was in Croatia's interest and therefore the two countries "are supposed to make sure that their outstanding issues are not an obstacle."

Some of the issues about the status of the ethnic Croat minority can be in the foreseeable future be connected with the negotiating process between Serbia and the EU, the diplomat said after his talks with representatives of the local Croat community.

"We do not want to find ourselves in a situation when the unresolved issues concerning the exercise of (ethnic Croats') rights can make Serbia's EU membership talks harder or slower, Biscevic said, promising that he would work on making the bilateral relations more dynamic.

The Croatian National Council (HNV) leader, Jasna Vojnic, said that Croatia's diplomatic effort could help ethnic Croats in Serbia to solve the problems which adversely affect their status. In this context, she mentioned the problems with textbooks and schoolbooks, education for Serbian Croats, and efforts to provide adequate facilities for the Croats' societies in the Serbian capital city of Belgrade. 

 During his visit to Subotica, the ambassador was also received by Mayor Bogdan Laban.


Czechs To Travel To And From 19 Countries, Including Croatia, Without Restrictions
Izvor:  Total Croatia News
Utorak, 02 Lipanj 2020 12:02

Czechs To Travel To And From 19 Countries, Including Croatia, Without Restrictions

ZAGREB, June 2, 2020 - The Czech authorities said on Monday the country would open up foreign travel from June 15 after introducing a system to classify other countries according to their coronavirus risk, Reuters reported.

Prague will place 19 European states, mostly central, eastern, and southeastern nations, in the least-risky category under its new colour-coded system, and one of those 19 countries is Croatia.

According to this classification, travel to and from Britain and Sweden is in its riskiest category.

"Czechs have undone most restrictions, with restaurants and hotels fully reopened on May 25. But tourism suffered as lockdown measures hit the economy, and only short-term businesss travelers from the European Union, people in transit or students were allowed into the country," Reuters recalls.

"Czechs will be able to travel without restrictions to immediate neighbors Germany, Austria, Poland, and Slovakia, along with Hungary, Romania or Bulgaria as part of its green tier. Other safe countries include Croatia, Greece, Cyprus, Switzerland, the Baltic states, and Finland, Norway, and Iceland.

Citizens from those countries will be allowed in without having to present a negative COVID-19 test, Health Minister Adam Vojtech said on Twitter.

The government placed France, Spain, Portugal, Italy, as well as Ireland, Denmark, the Netherlands, and Belgium in its orange tier, allowing Czechs to travel to those countries without restrictions. However, those countries' citizens will need to present a COVID-19 test.


33,000 tourists currently in Croatia
Izvor:  Croatia Week
Utorak, 02 Lipanj 2020 11:36

ZAGREB, June 2 (Hina) – Currently, there are 33,000 tourists in Croatia, according to the data collected by the e-Visitor, which...

Island of Lošinj launches free ferry September to attract tourists
Izvor:  Croatia Week
Utorak, 02 Lipanj 2020 11:27

2 JUNE, 2020 – The tourist board of the northern Adriatic Croatian island of LoÅ¡inj has launched a special offer...

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