Diary of a Split Tour Guide in the Age of Corona – Part 3

Total Croatia News

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April 5, 2020 – Part 3 of Ivica Profaca’s Diary of a Split Tour Guide in the Age of Corona – and some good news!

This is an easy job to do. I can just start every part of this series with something announced, or predicted in the previous one. Last time I was hoping that my application for financial aid through the Government’s program aiming to help industries affected by COVID-19 would be accepted. And it was. It was great to get an e-mail with a PDF document attached saying “your request has been accepted”, or something like that. Sure, it’s nothing even close to those notes, now almost forgotten, with sentences from another world: “Are you available on that-and-that day for a tour?”. From time to time, I read some of those still sitting in my inbox, just as a reminder.

Anyway, me and a whole bunch of fellow guides (and thousands of others) will get State aid, and with the second package that the government prepared, now things look a little better. Or, if you want, as well as can be expected, because I guess nobody is too excited at being on State aid. With the second package, the monthly payment will go up to 4,000 kuna, with paid tax, health and pension insurance, for a wider population affected by these measures. It means that the government finally accepted the demands coming from people in the business world. Problems are probably yet to come, because the national budget masters will have to find that money somewhere. We’ll think about it tomorrow, Scarlett O’Hara would say, hopefully someone is making plans.

Speaking of plans, everything really depends on how long the pandemic will last. That’s a zillion dollar question, and only a few dare to give any prognosis. I mean those who might really know something. There is a whole army of those others, much louder, making it difficult to differentiate what is worth listening to. Will it be June, or we can’t expect any good news before September, with prospects of a second wave next autumn and winter? The phrase “anything is possible” these days has a special meaning. Besides, with the death toll rising minute by minute, what’s the point of looking for anything else, but how to stop this horrible chain of events? 

When it’s done, other things should come back, including tourism. easyJet, an extremely important airline for tourism in Split and Dalmatia, is already advertising Summer 2021 Holidays. Just a little bit more optimistic is their Winter 2020/2021 advertising. Unfortunately, still no sign of an extension of seasonal flights to Split by any airline. Maybe when that priceless question gets some more firm answers there will be someone who will come up with the idea of turning November into the new April, just like Zoran Pejović suggested in his Total Croatia News article. There are still no ideas how to do it by  the Croatian tourism authorities, but maybe they could take this idea into consideration. In previous parts of this series I have already mentioned that I still have more postponements than cancellations, and that trend is still the same. Maybe it will change sooner than I want, but so far it’s like that. Some of those bookings still don’t have a new date, but are waiting to see how the situation develops, but they are still active. The last one I got of that kind is a group of hikers from Taiwan who wanted to hike Kozjak mountain mid-June. The date is cancelled, but with a note “they will definitely come when crisis calms down”. It’s a thin hope, but what else do we have?

Speaking of easyJet, like all other airlines, they have their planes grounded (except for emergency flights). However, you can still book a flight from London to Split from May 1. All those before that date are marked as “sold out”, it’s probably some IT solution for not to delete flights. I can only try to imagine the level of lack of information with someone who would really book a flight as early as the beginning of May. Or perhaps they know something we don’t know. But seriously, who can even remotely believe anyone would travel in just a few weeks from now? Not only by air, but by any means of transportation. It would be fun to make that booking, just for the sake of imagining the faces of those who would receive a notification that someone wants to fly. I would offer a free tour.

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Of course, this little anecdote about easyJet is not something that should be taken as a strategy foundation. When I get first queries for availability, or at least some info request, that will be something to build on. Everything else is still in “one day it will pass” domain. For example, recently I saw an article on Travel Pulse, US-based website specialized in travel news. Pledging that “all is not lost”, they found five destinations as “beacons of hope”. Guess what? Croatia is one of them, and main photo of the article is the one from Split. Or, what about predictions made by Luxury Travel Advisor?

It worked twice so far; I mentioned something in these articles, and it happened before the next part of this series. Maybe the same will happen with those two. Stay posted, and if you know someone who would need a tour this summer, let me know. Until then, #StayHome.

We will be following Ivica Profaca’s journey through the rocky weeks ahead.

If you find yourself in Split, or are planning a post-corona visit, check out his range of tours on his website – families, look out for the kids tour of Diocletian Palace. It will not only entertain your kids while allowing you to absorb this unique UNESCO World Heritage Site, but it will bring out the inner child in you too. Learn more about it here

You can read other parts of Ivica’s Split Tour Guide in the Age of Corona series here.


(To be continued)


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