In the region of Istria, the tourism situation is currently much better than in the rest of Croatia due to the COVID-19 pandemic (Corona) caused by SARS-CoV-2. While, according to available reports, hardly any foreign tourists can be identified in the southern parts of the country, Istria has already reached 54% of the previous year’s figures. The reasons are obvious: among the almost 210,000 inhabitants of this northernmost part of Croatia there are currently (08.07.2020) only eight people suffering from corona. In addition, the proximity to Austria and Germany speaks for the popular holiday destination, which has done much different and also better since the corona outbreak.
SeaHelp asked the director of the Istrian tourist board, Denis Ivošević, why Istria has been largely spared from the corona headlines at present. By the way: He himself would also recommend a vacation in Istria to his family if they were living abroad. This was to be expected, but in the end he has good arguments for it.
Interview on the Corona situation in Istria:
SeaHelp: What is the situation regarding the impact of the corona pandemic on tourism in Istria?
Denis Ivošević: Like all countries and regions of the world, Istria is affected by the problem of Covid-19. As far as tourism is concerned, numerous tourist facilities were opened at the end of May, with the first results expected in June. June ended with 32% of sales compared to the same period last year, while the first days of July until yesterday, in the conditions in which we live, achieved extremely good results and the result was 54% compared to the same period last year.
SeaHelp: Are there currently infected people?
Denis Ivošević: Given the fact that we are very close to Italy and that a large number of people from Istria go to work in Italy every day, we have been monitoring the situation in Italy since the beginning of February and have prepared ourselves in good time for a possible spread of the infection. When the situation in Italy deteriorated, we immediately took appropriate measures, which ultimately determined the entire course of the successful fight against Covid-19.
Eight days before the national crisis management team introduced the known protective measures, we already restricted the freedom of travel and movement through Istria at the regional level, reduced the working hours of certain institutions and shops, thus preventing the full extent of this COVID-19 pandemic. In total, we had 98 people infected with Covid-19 in Istria, and by the end of April Istria had no more infected people.
Ten days ago, we published a test to detect new infections. We currently have 8 infected people in Istria, these people have returned from Bosnia and are isolated individual cases, which means that the situation is still under control.
SeaHelp: Do you benefit from the proximity to Germany and Austria?
Denis Ivošević: I think that the security of the target in terms of managing this crisis, as well as the action protocols that have been worked out in case an infection problem occurs, are crucial for communication with our guests. In Istria, cooperation between the private and public sectors works very well, dialogue is conducted on a daily basis and important decisions are taken. Therefore, this is first and foremost the most important fact. The proximity of Istria as a destination to Germany and Austria is the second important fact, as Istria is easily accessible by car.
SeaHelp: Hand on heart: Let’s face it, her family lives in Germany. Would you recommend a holiday in Istria to your wife and children?
Denis Ivošević: Absolutely yes, Istria is the nearest tourist destination, which you can easily reach by car in about 5-6 hours. At the same time Istria is the closest destination on the Adriatic Sea. But what is currently most important: Istria is a safe holiday destination in the sense of Covid-19.
SeaHelp: Thank you for talking to us.