Asked by reporters ahead of an inner cabinet meeting what she thinks of the measures by the national COVID response team and how the deteriorated epidemiological situation is being reflected on tourism and bookings, Minister Brnjac said that as soon as the European Commission released its draft recommendations on travel restrictions, Croatia immediately started working on clear criteria for entry into Croatia.
The Commission recently proposed a regulation on creating a Digital Green Certificate which should enable safe travel within the European Union during the pandemic. The certificate should be proof that a person has been vaccinated against COVID-19, has received a negative test result or recovered from COVID-19.
Brnjac added that this requires technical preparations which are already being worked on in the Interior Ministry and the Croatian Institute for Public Health so that, as soon as the regulation enters into force, it can be integrated in the system.
That is important because of the epidemiological situation, which is why at the end of 2020 we launched safe protocols and the “Safe stay in Croatia” label, she said.
“We have previously warned that the most important thing is for Croatia to be in the ‘green’ zone and we asked local tourist boards to recommend testing stations for tourists… We need to achieve flow of both tourists and tests,” said Brnjac.
Asked how the current situation is being reflected on bookings, Brnjac said that she is in constant contact with partners on the markets and that there has been an increase in enquiries, mostly about whether Croatia is in the “green” and about the vaccination of tourism workers which, she added, could be conducted in May and June as “vaccines are coming.”
“There are fewer bookings than in previous years, even for Easter, but more are expected… from the end of May and in June, for which there is more interest by tourists, and that is why we should have the best epidemiological situation possible,” she said.
Asked about aid for travel agencies which are required to refund deposits for cancelled travel arrangements, yet don’t have the funds to do so, Brnjac said “they can get loans and return what they owe, with state guarantees for up to 100 per cent of the loans that are earmarked for SMEs and 90% for (those earmarked for) large companies.”
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