"The vacation you deserve is closer than you think." This is the new slogan of the Croatian National Tourist Office, intended for European holidaymakers, to tell them that the country is ready to welcome them. With 2,244 Covid-19 contaminations and 101 deaths, Croatia has coped well with the coronavirus crisis and hopes to be able to end the pandemic soon. At a press conference on May 26, Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic said he was confident that his country "had defeated the coronavirus."
With a total of 20.7 million tourists registered in 2019, the sector represents almost 20% of Croatian GDP. In summer, millions of tourists, mainly Germans, Slovenes, Austrians and Italians, head to the Dalmatian coast, its picturesque islands and historic cities. Last year, 640,000 visitors from France went to the country.
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The first post-Covid tourists have already arrived in the country: it is estimated that some 20,000 holidaymakers are currently in Croatia, staying mainly with locals or in one of the 133 hotels and 65 campsites reopened. Since May 29, Croatian borders have been open without restriction for nationals of ten EU countries - not including France - while a full reopening is set for June 15. On the other hand, European tourists, whatever their nationality, are welcome on condition that they present proof of accommodation.
How is deconfinement organized?
The deconfinement started in late April. Since May 11, bars and restaurants can once again welcome customers. Restaurant owners are still required to maintain the distance between tables, limit the number of customers and disinfect the premises regularly. Museums, swimming pools, spas and tourist attractions (including national and natural parks) are also authorized to welcome the public, but subject to compliance with health measures and social distancing.
Since May 11, it is also possible to move freely around the country and to go to the islands. The national airline, Croatia Airlines, has reintroduced internal flights connecting Zagreb, the capital, and the cities of Split and Dubrovnik, on the coast. The number of flights from abroad is still reduced, but an almost normal recovery in air traffic is expected by the end of June or the beginning of July. For the moment, Zagreb can only be reached by direct flight from Frankfurt, Copenhagen, Amsterdam or Cologne.
Who can go to Croatia this summer?
In the south of Dalmatia, Dubrovnik, the "pearl of the Adriatic", welcomes many tourists every summer. Adobe stock / piboon
The Croatian Minister of Tourism, Gari Cappelli, already mentioned in mid-April the possibility of opening travel corridors in the air, on rail and on the road to transport tourists from the North to Croatian beaches. The Croatian borders are currently open without restriction for any foreign national on proof of a title of property of a real estate or a boat in Croatia, as well as for business reasons or family reasons (the need to surrender at a wedding or a funeral). European nationals and their families are allowed to enter Croatian territory for tourist reasons on simple presentation of proof of reservation of accommodation (apartment, hotel, homestay, motorhome, etc.).
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Since May 29, the borders are also open without restriction to nationals of ten countries of the European Union: Germany, Austria, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia, Czech Republic. A reopening for other European countries, therefore France, is planned from June 15.
Fortnight, isolation, mask ... Measures to be observed
For the moment, a COVID-19 test is not required in order to cross the border. Since May 15, the fortnight is no longer imposed on arrival in Croatia, but it is recommended that travelers limit the number of contacts and check their temperature daily.
The Croatian authorities are now banking on individual responsibility to reduce the risk of the virus spreading. Wearing a mask in the country is recommended but not compulsory. On the beach or in the sea, the distance between two people is 1.5 meters. The sun loungers are disinfected after each customer visit and the hotels will receive holidaymakers in small groups. Obviously, barrier gestures for the prevention of COVID-19, such as hand washing or social distancing, remain topical.