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Partial travel warning because of COVID-19 for Sibenik and Split: A German journalist reports why the travel warning is justified

Travel warning Croatia: holiday crowded at the Krka waterfalls
Also at the Krka Waterfalls: Holidaymakers stand crowded together, also here no masks, no mouthguards.

The partial travel warning that Germany issued for the Croatian regions of Sibenik and Split ultimately falls unjustly back on the whole country in public perception. While in Istria and in the Kvarner region both locals and tourists, with a few exceptions, adhere to the usual corona rules, the situation in Dalmatia seems to have got out of hand in many places. The SeaHelp editorial staff received two situation reports by e-mail from a German media representative, which we do not want to withhold from our readers.

Longtime Croatia expert

However, we would like to point out at this point that we pass on the contributions in the form of a letter to the editor, which reflects the author’s descriptions. In a conversation, however, we could convince ourselves of the seriousness of the person. The author, Axel Klawuhn from Filmwerk Medienproduktion in Kulmbach, writes that he has “produced many films in this beautiful country, brought the original Winnetou back to the place of its greatest successes for a documentary or coproduced the dream ship sequel “Cruise to Happiness – Croatia” for Wolfgang Rademann as a location scout. What we’re experiencing here right now is a change that we don’t really wish for this country.

Little epidemiological danger in the north of Croatia

Nevertheless, Croatia does not deserve that other regions are lumped together with the Dalmatian hotspots. As can be seen from many holidaymakers’ reports, there is also a certain “north-south divide” with regard to compliance with the corona rules. In the north, i.e. Istria and Kvarner, with the exception of the party stronghold Zrce, the situation is similar to that in most German and Austrian regions. In Dalmatia, especially in the regions Sibenik and Split, a completely different picture emerges.

Here part 1 of his contribution:

“We shot on the MY Vranjak, or underwater, until last Saturday. After that I had a few days off and am now privately in Petrcane near Zadar.

Here I had an interesting conversation this morning with Goran Sremec, the manager of the Falkensteiner Iadera Hotel. He confirmed to me that after the closure of two nightclubs in Zadar, due to failure to comply with the required Covid-19 measures, the operators switched to party boats. This seems to be a way for these people to circumvent the rules in force in order to continue to create opportunities for the party people. Certainly also in their own financial interest.

Croatian authorities largely inactive in Sibenik and Split

One of my cameramen is currently on holiday in Novalja and has informed me that the party continues on the Zrce beach. The mostly young visitors may not care if we have a worldwide pandemic or not. Stupidly these few unintelligent people torpedo a whole country and cause negative headlines. On the other hand, the Croatian authorities are not really or consistently taking action. Because, as is well known, good money can be earned with parties on the beach (Ischgl sends its regards). Boris Suljic, once owner of one of the open air discotheques on Zrce beach, today a serious winemaker and operator of the hotel, restaurant and winery Boskinac, knows the conditions only too well and would like to turn back the clock. I have known him since the beginning in 2000 and he owes his prosperity to the Novalja party scene.

When I walked through the village late in the evening a few years ago, I could see how young, half or partly completely naked young people danced on the balconies in the middle of the village, I experienced what kind of rubbish these people leave behind on the beach. This is a development that is thought-provoking, but which is accepted by the Croatian officials.

Then came from Germany travel warning for Sibenik and Split

The next day, but not in connection with the mail to SeaHelp, Germany issued a partial travel warning for the Split and Sibenik regions. And Axel Klawuhn, a long-time Croatia expert, spoke up again:

Part 2 of the contribution:

“Here’s some new information: It’s not surprising that the Šibenik region has been declared a risk area. Yesterday we went to the Krka waterfalls, but we did without the boat transfer, because nobody here wears a mask except the helpers at the piers. Minimum distances on the boats are hardly possible, because the number of people might be at the limit.


Travel warning Croatia: People crowded together on excursion boats at the Kraka Falls
Excursion boats in the area of the Krka waterfalls: After boarding in an orderly fashion, the ship will forget all Corona rules.


We have decided to go there and back by bike. But when we arrived at the waterfalls we decided to turn back immediately. The masses of people, almost without exception without a mask, seemed too risky to us (cover picture). At the food stalls the staff does not wear masks or they wear them under the chin, in the Konoba Mate, directly at the harbour they also quite generously do without the mouth and nose protection.

Police only control the traffic

The pictures from Pakoštane last night speak for themselves. The authorities are not reacting at all. The only presence is shown by police forces during traffic checks and speed measurements.


Travel warning Croatia: Celebrate in the cities without inhibitions
Celebrate in the narrow Dalmatian alleys of the old town without keeping your distance or wearing a face mask, as if Corona had never existed.


Main sufferers: Small hotel and pension operators

It is frustrating to see all this, as it means that the number of people infected will continue to rise and the surrounding European countries will issue further travel warnings. The people who suffer are those who try to keep the rules, the small hotel and pension operators who have no lobby behind them. The big hotels, such as the Falkensteiner Iadera, where we are currently staying, will survive, the rest will have a more than lousy year. Here the management has now decided to offer free PCR tests for those guests who have booked more than three days.

It is our turn tomorrow afternoon, as we plan to return home very early on Sunday. We’ll get the results by e-mail on Saturday later today.”

Travel warning no travel ban

When reading these lines and looking at the pictures sent with them, one must inevitably come to the conclusion that the two regions had literally “begged” for the travel warning. But even here it is true: Those who stay away from party tourism and gatherings of people, as probably all boat owners in the region, can still spend their holidays relatively safe. This also applies to guests in the apartments and on campsites who are looking for peace and quiet away from mass tourism and can say “no” to certain offers. One thing should not be forgotten with all the media hysteria at the moment: A travel warning does not represent a travel ban, in the end everyone can decide for himself how he assesses the situation for himself and his family.

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