Tourism Minister Gari Cappelli Reveals When Croatian Borders Will Open

Lauren Simmonds

As Index writes on the 13th of May, 2020, today, the European Commission will make recommendations on the relative re-opening of national borders within the territory of the European Union. Tourism Minister Gari Cappelli in the A sada Vlada (And now the Government) segment on HRT said that all tourism ministers agreed that there should be a protocol at the EU level, but that one should be aware that not everyone is equal when it comes to respective epidemiological situations.

The border with Slovenia should be opened within a few days.

“We expect a good result to come of the bilateral talks we’ve been holding with Slovenia over recent days because our epidemiological pictures are similar. With this agreement, Slovenes will no longer have to be quarantined for 14 days when they return to the country,” Minister Gari Cappelli stated, adding that Croatia is talking to some other countries about opening borders back up, too.

A significant number of Slovenes are expected.

Minister Gari Cappelli also said that when the protocol with Slovenia is resolved, he expects a large number of Slovenian tourists to arrive in Croatia, especially because 110,000 of them have houses in Croatia.

“I’m sure, if the epidemiological situation is in order, that we’ll have the arrival of tourists from Germany on June the 15th, at least those coming by road,” the minister said.

He emphasised the fact that Croatia had provoked the EU to hurry up with their recommendations on the most important things, and that was, among other things, movement within the EU’s borders.

“At the EU level, we’ve agreed that borders for third countries will not be opened until June the 15th,” he said.
“By the end of the month, we’ll have a flow with two or three countries, and by June the 15th, we’re planning on having that with Germany and some other countries,” he said.

Minister Gari Cappelli said there will be discounts for domestic guests this season.

“In this respect, we’ve also reduced ticket prices for entry into national parks and many domestic tourists visited them. I hereby invite those who decide on the ticket price for the Dubrovnik walls to reduce those prices, because I think a ticket price of 200 kuna in this situation is just absurd,” he said, adding that this reduction in prices will spill over to accommodation capacities and further.

He emphasised that the Croatian Government has also started with the CRO card, which may not be in full function this year, but that it remains a long-term project.

“Over recent days, we’ve been talking about additional things we could put on the CRO card, so if we can agree on all of that with employers, hoteliers and agencies so that whoever has this card gets an extra discount, then it will bring the first results,” he said, adding that he hopes to there will be understanding for that.

On the topic of Croatia Airlines…

Minister Gari Cappelli pointed out that it had been agreed that Croatia would build air bridges using Croatia Airlines because the south of Croatia has now been completely cut off without air travel.

“We’ll use our own airline, and we can now see just how important it is to us because we can dictate the opening of certain routes ourselves,” he said, adding that Croatia Airlines would be “worth its weight in gold”.

The minister said that he is aware that the new measures have brought new investments and rules for those in hospitality, as well as hoteliers, but that this is something necessary and, as he says, this is a new normal and a new era has come for all of us.

“As for vouchers, Croatia was among the first in the EU to react to the idea. We gave vouchers for travel agencies that are valid for 180 days and can be used for another destination or if you want to go to the same destination but next year, the value of the vouchers is extended, or, if after 180 days you want a refund, then that refund must be completed within 14 days,” the minister stressed, adding that this is true for agencies, but work is being done to make this the case for hoteliers and for airlines as well.

Minister Gari Cappelli also said that about 10 percent of the usual workforce had been laid off in tourism. He stressed that this season, Croatia intends to work with the domestic workforce to the maximum.

”We’ll make a greater effort to retain domestic workers through various measures because they’re one of our greatest values,” Minister Cappelli concluded.

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