Logistics and field infrastructure is crucial.
The Safe Stay in Croatia label is a great form and promotional tool, which is very well done, both visually and promotionally, but we are weak on the field and that is the key to the success of the tourist season. That everything works operationally, not that there is "chaos" on the ground. Last year we had the experience of what tourism looks like in the Covid era, from which we have to learn lessons and arrange the system in the field to make it work.
It is necessary to provide additional test points throughout the Adriatic (we know how many tourists come to each destination), provide testing in airports, we have to strengthen health teams that they can withstand a lot of pressure i.e. a large number of requests for testing on a daily basis. As well as of course that the test results are ready as soon as possible.
Also, it is important to standardize the price of testing to be the same throughout Croatia, as well as to ensure the lowest possible price, in fact, to think and to subsidize testing, so that tourists who spend the night testing is free. Last, and also an element that will play a key role is that tourism workers get vaccinated.
Of course, the first and main precondition for the success of the season will be a clearly favorable epidemiological situation in Croatia, as well as in the emitting markets.
The government and the National Staff put more responsibility in the preparation of the season on the county headquarters, which must coordinate with the tourism sector
The Chief of the National Civil Protection Headquarters, Davor Božinović, published a new instruction to the local civil protection headquarters, specially made in order to prepare the tourist season as well as possible. Božinović pointed out that all civil protection headquarters are obliged to coordinate with the tourist boards operating in their area and in cooperation with them to consider what measures and activities need to be taken to make their area an epidemiologically safe destination for their citizens and tourists.
It is a bit frivolous for tourist testing points to be defined by tourist boards, because it is not their job or competence, but the county headquarters should make that decision. Of course in communication with the county tourist boards as well as other partners.
Bozinovic stressed that they want to ensure that everyone in the health and tourism system coordinates, considers the current situation and either independently or through a proposal of measures to the national headquarters try to stop the spread of the virus to enter the new season as ready as possible , especially in those counties that are in a favorable epidemiological situation.
"When we talk about the regional approach, I am pretty sure that it is justified. We have entered this phase of the epidemic with minimal numbers in some counties. We know how important tourism is to us. Countries will assess the situation in all our counties, therefore they will make travel decisions in them. This is a job that the profession will do engaged all summer, so we need the awareness of all institutions and citizens”Dans Božinović emphasized and added that Croatia will implement some things regarding covid passports even before they are brought to the EU. “Those who have either recovered or been vaccinated or have an EU-approved test will be able to enter Croatia"Bozinovic pointed out at today's press conference.
"The headquarters are invited to propose measures because they know best where the focus may have arisen. It is also a preparation for what will be an integral part of European policy related to the tourist season, and that is the regional approach.", said Božinović and added that last year they fought not to see Croatia as a whole.
Here I have to look at the Re-open.eu platform, where Croatia is still divided into two regions, not by counties, which is of course a big problem and does not give an accurate picture. The platform serves as a main reference point for anyone traveling to the EU because it provides centralized and up-to-date information.
On the other hand, there is an initiative to divide Croatia into four regions instead of counties. As was done on HUT Corona Region Tracker (North Coast (Istria and Kvarner), South Coast (Dalmatia), Central Croatia (Zagreb and surroundings) and Eastern Croatia.
However, without entering into the discussion of which model is better - by counties or four regions, the most important thing is that someone from Croatia reacts and that on the Re-open.eu platform we are not divided into only two regions. Again, we are our own worst enemies and react slowly.
In preparation for the season, the National Headquarters demands greater responsibility from the county headquarters, but logistics and infrastructure on the ground are crucial, and for that we need the synergy of all clear communications. No noise in communication and with clear protocols
Current all test centers in the Republic of Croatia
There are currently 28 test centers in the Republic of Croatia that perform RT-PCR analysis of collected samples on COVID-19. All processed samples are entered in the national platform at the Croatian Health Insurance Institute, which is available to all county public health institutes.
In some cities and counties in Croatia, an epidemiological measure of testing using rapid antigen tests is being implemented, and more information is available HERE.
I deliberately emphasized the current test centers, as they should be spread all over the coast so that they can test tourists returning to their country.
Eight test points in Split-Dalmatia County
At the recently held 6th Family Accommodation Forum of the Split-Dalmatia County, it was pointed out that there will be eight testing points in the County.
Director of the Teaching Institute for Public Health of the Split-Dalmatia County Prim. dr. sc. Željka Karin appealed to respect and adhere to all epidemiological measures.
"Testing points will be on Brač, Hvar, Vis, Makarska, Imotski, Trogir, Sinj and Split. A checkpoint of the Teaching Institute for Public Health is always open in Split, in a month we will have to move the checkpoint that is now in the ferry port due to the cruiser, and we are also talking about the checkpoint at Split Airport ''said Karin. On the same track, we are waiting for the moves of other counties to arrange the terrain and communicate tourist testing points.
As I have been saying since the beginning of the covid crisis, the perception of security and communication will play a key role. Although the tourist season depends on the epidemiological situation throughout Europe or our main emitting markets, as well as in our country, we ourselves must arrange everything and be absolutely ready to open the borders.