Additional Precautions on the Table for Vaccinated Russian and British Tourists in Croatia?

Daniela Rogulj

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After Croatia was upgraded to the UK green list of countries late Wednesday night and announced that the first British tourists would arrive in the Adriatic on July 19, the tourism sector was flooded with concerns.

The United Kingdom is one of the countries with the highest growth in the number of newly reported cases of the Delta Variant, and tourism workers justifiably feared that it could close the season. Thus, the National Headquarters is considering introducing some additional restrictions for the arrival of British tourists.

As Jutarnji List unofficially learned, the possibility of introducing mandatory antigen testing for all vaccinated British tourists is being discussed, while those who have not been vaccinated before crossing the border must be tested anyway, but it is not yet known whether and when this decision will be made.

Arguments for introducing a rapid antigen test are to preserve the season and open borders despite the spread of the Delta Variant that has already ruined the season in some Mediterranean countries, such as Spain, Portugal, Cyprus, and Greece.

Namely, the Headquarters believes that 100 kuna for a rapid antigen test would not be a more significant financial burden for our guests, but on the other hand, it would still increase security and reduce the number of imported cases.

“It is to be expected that at a time when the virus is spreading in many countries, someone who will develop the virus will cross the border, but by introducing additional measures, we want to reduce this to a minimum,” said a source close to the Headquarters.

Apart from the Brits, the same is being considered for visitors from Russia.

This year, Croatia has recorded extremely high interest of Russian tourists for holidays on the Adriatic, mainly as a result of the fact that in April this year, we restarted tourist visas for Russian citizens, and the CNTB confirms that the Russian Federation has received a large number of first applications since April.

This is already reflected in tourist traffic: in the first 14 days of July, Russians in Croatia recorded an increase in the number of arrivals of 348 percent and overnight stays of 404 percent. The data are similar at the annual level.

“That the demand for Croatia as a tourist destination is expressed on the Russian market is confirmed by Aeroflot Airlines, the Russian national airline which connects Moscow with Pula, Zagreb, Dubrovnik and Split with daily flights from the beginning of June to the end of September this year. Among the flights are S7 from Moscow to Pula, Split, and Zadar and Nordwind to Zagreb, Pula, and Dubrovnik,” confirmed CNTB.

Given that it is the arrival of tourists from outside the EU, i.e., from third countries, Russian citizens who are not vaccinated will have to be tested before arrival. Still, the introduction of mandatory antigen tests for vaccinated Russians would also establish additional security measures, especially given that the number of newly reported cases is continuously growing in Russia. The country also has a minimal share of vaccinated adult citizens. Only 13.1 percent of the total population is vaccinated with both doses.

Jutarnji also learned from the Headquarters that the introduction of testing for vaccinated visitors would be adapted to the epidemiological situation in our key markets, which means that the list of countries that will require such a condition may be further expanded.

Such an attitude is welcomed in the tourism sector as well.

“Given the situation and what is happening in Spain, Portugal, Cyprus, and Greece, additional precautions are needed, and it is up to epidemiologists to decide what those measures will be. But, instructed by last year’s experience when we closed the season on August 15, I can only say – better to prevent than to treat,” says the director of the Croatian Tourism Association, Veljko Ostojić.

Recall, the tourism sector yesterday appealed to lobby for a change in the criteria by which countries are declared epidemiologically unsafe, that is, instead of the number of newly infected, deaths and hospitalizations are preferred, given the fact that almost half of the European adult population has been vaccinated with both doses. However, this will likely not happen for the time being.

For all you need to know about coronavirus specific to Croatia, including vaccination points and testing sites, make sure to bookmark our dedicated COVID-19 section and select your preferred language.


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