WHO confirms 5 Vietnam H5N1 cases, lists lab test criteria

first_imgAug 31, 2007 (CIDRAP News) – The World Health Organization (WHO) today recognized five human H5N1 influenza cases from Vietnam dating back to late May, after publishing formal criteria for accepting positive test results for H5 flu viruses from national laboratories.The five cases include four fatal ones, which pushes Vietnam’s H5N1 toll to 100 cases with 46 deaths. The country has the second highest number of avian flu cases, after Indonesia.The five cases now confirmed by the WHO had been reported earlier by Vietnamese authorities. The WHO apparently now has confirmed all the cases announced by Vietnamese authorities this year.So far this year Vietnam has had seven H5N1 cases with four deaths, and the resurgence in human infections appears to have coincided with fresh poultry outbreaks, mainly in the northern and Mekong delta areas. Previously the country was widely hailed for keeping poultry infections at bay with strict control efforts, including an aggressive vaccination program, but many of the outbreaks this year have occurred in unvaccinated flocks.In a statement yesterday about new criteria for accepting positive H5N1 findings, the WHO said it will now accept positive polymerase chain reaction (PCR) results from national reference laboratories that (1) have participated successfully in the WHO’s new External Quality Assessment (EQA) project and (2) have accurately identified H5 flu viruses in at least three previous cases.Tiffany Domingo, a technical officer in the WHO’s outbreak and pandemic communications department, told CIDRAP News today that the WHO will now confirm positive H5N1 results from Vietnamese labs—as it did today for the latest five H5N1 case patients—so long as the labs meet the new testing criteria.The WHO did not say which labs in Vietnam fulfilled the requirements, but in a Jun 29 statement on Vietnam’s 93rd and 94th cases, the agency said the H5N1 infections were confirmed by the National Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology (NIHE) in Hanoi, as well as the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).Most countries that have had human H5N1 cases have had to send specimens to WHO reference labs elsewhere for testing and confirmation. However, the WHO has accepted positive H5N1 results from a few countries, such as China and, in recent months, Indonesia. In May the agency said it had formally assessed the Indonesian national laboratory’s capacity to diagnose H5 viruses and would begin recognizing cases confirmed there.Established in July, the EQA project is conducted by the WHO Global Influenza Programme at WHO headquarters in Geneva and the WHO reference laboratory at the National Influenza Centre in Hong Kong, according to a WHO statement issued in July. The program is designed to build the capacity of labs to use PCR to diagnose both seasonal and avian influenza and to support good laboratory practices. National influenza centers and laboratories are eligible to participate.To participate in the EQA project, laboratories must test a simulated panel of RNA specimens twice a year and fill out a “Good Laboratory Practice” questionnaire. The RNA specimens include H1, H3, and H5 virus subtypes. The WHO analyzes the test results and reports on the performance of each laboratory.In yesterday’s statement, the WHO spelled out the two main requirements for accepting positive H5 test results from national laboratories:The lab must participate in the EQA project and must have correctly detected all H5 viruses in the most recent set of samples, without reporting any false-positive H5 findings.Since 2004, the lab must have tested for human H5 infections and must have made at least three positive diagnoses that were later confirmed by a WHO H5 reference lab.Countries that don’t have a national influenza reference lab, or have a national lab that has not met the WHO criteria, must have their positive H5 test results confirmed by a WHO reference lab or by another WHO-approved national reference lab.See also:Aug 31 WHO statement on Vietnam casesJuly WHO statement on EQA projectWHO H5N1 avian flu case countMay 16 CIDRAP News story “WHO confirms backlog of 15 Indonesian H5N1 cases”last_img read more

ACLU sees coercive theme in federal pandemic plans

first_imgJan 18, 2008 (CIDRAP News) – The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) this week charged that federal pandemic planning efforts rely too heavily on law enforcement and national security approaches, in effect making people, not disease, the enemy.The ACLU aired its concerns in a report authored by three prominent public health law attorneys and released Jan 14 at a press conference in Washington, DC. The authors are George Annas and Wendy K. Mariner from the Boston University School of Public Health and Wendy E. Parmet of Northeastern Law School.The report discusses a wide range of privacy protections and other civil liberties that the ACLU believes might be threatened in a pandemic setting. The authors include a list of recommendations intended to focus pandemic planning efforts more toward community engagement, as well as an appendix that covers a number of constitutional issues that could surface during a pandemic.”A law enforcement approach is just the wrong tool for the job when it comes to fighting disease,” said Barry Steinhardt, director of the ACLU’s technology and liberty program, in a Jan 14 press release. He said history shows that a coercive approach to pandemic that treats sick people as enemies is ineffective from a public health perspective.But a spokesman for the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) says the group has mischaracterized the government’s efforts. Also, other critics with expertise in public health and the law say the ACLU report is marred by a misunderstanding of government response plans.In the past, President George W. Bush has suggested that federal officials may need to quarantine regions of the country if localized outbreaks of pandemic flu occur, according to previous reports. In October 2005, he suggested expanding presidential power over state-run National Guard operations to implement quarantines during a pandemic.Bush said that such executive power during a pandemic was an important topic for Congress to debate, according to a previous CIDRAP News report. “Congress needs to take a look at circumstances that may need to vest the capacity of the president to move beyond that debate. And one such catastrophe, or one such challenge, could be an avian flu outbreak,” he said at an Oct 4, 2005, press conference.In April 2005, Bush signed an executive order that authorized adding pandemic influenza to a federal list of diseases that can lead to quarantine.All-hazards approach critiquedThe ACLU authors assert that an all-hazards approach to disaster planning—one based on the assumption that the same preparedness model can be applied to any kind of disaster, whether biological, chemical, explosive, natural, or nuclear—has steered federal officials into assuming worst-case scenarios. “All of the plans rely heavily on a punitive approach and emphasize extreme measures such as quarantine and forced treatment,” they wrote.As a recent example, the attorneys pointed to the events of last spring when the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued its first domestic isolation order in 40 years for Atlanta attorney Andrew Speaker, who was traveling abroad when tests suggested he had extensively drug-resistant tuberculosis (XDR TB). They wrote that the CDC’s order prompted Speaker to take evasive actions that could have exposed other travelers. “In the case of an epidemic, the same evasive behavior seen here in one man would likely be replicated on a mass scale that would undermine the goal of stopping the disease,” the ACLU report states.The report also raises concerns over the October 2007 presidential directive on public health and medical preparedness, which establishes a prominent role for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in public health disaster management, incorporates Department of Defense expertise and resources into disaster management, and calls for a national biosurveillance system. The ACLU argues that a biosurveillance system that is too broad could erode the privacy of all patients.”More ominously, the participation of military and homeland security officials in this public health venture raises questions about how the information will be used,” the authors wrote.HHS says report is off targetHowever, HHS spokesman Bill Hall told CIDRAP News that the ACLU experts have misunderstood the federal government’s pandemic plans. They have focused too much on containment efforts that the government may or may not use to stamp out the virus in a local area at the earliest stage of a pandemic, he said. Some pandemic flu experts have said containment shouldn’t even be attempted at the early stage, because they doubt such an effort would work, Hall said.Government officials solidly support voluntary quarantine as an effective community mitigation strategy, he said. “SARS [severe acute respiratory syndrome] was a public health success story,” Hall said. “But the word ‘quarantine’ conjures up images of soldiers and a police state that are hard images to get out of people’s minds.”Michael T. Osterholm, PhD, MPH, said he doesn’t think health officials will be able to contain an emerging pandemic and that the ACLU report misses the mark because it doesn’t seem to consider aspects of the federal plan outside of initial containment. “Is this a law enforcement based approach? It’s not, no way,” said Osterholm, who is director of the University of Minnesota Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy, publisher of CIDRAP News.However, Osterholm said he agrees with the ACLU’s criticism of the government’s emphasis on an all-hazards approach to disaster preparedness. Planning for a pandemic presents many unique challenges, he said. For example, the long duration of a severe pandemic, unlike a disaster such as the 9/11 terrorist attacks, would lead to a collapse of the nation’s just-in-time economy, Osterholm said.Steven Gravely, a public health law expert who is a partner and head of the healthcare practice group at Troutman Sanders, a law firm in Richmond, Va., said he doesn’t think the ACLU report is a fair assessment of the nation’s pandemic planning efforts. “It focuses too much on the federal level and doesn’t recognize that disaster response—pandemics, particularly—is handled by several governments: local, state, tribal, federal, and international,” Gravely told CIDRAP News.”What jumped out at me is their discussion of quarantine and isolation,” he said. “Though they characterize the federal plan as militaristic, 95% of isolation and quarantine is done at the state level. Federal involvement in quarantine is extremely limited.”Even in the Andrew Speaker case, the federal isolation order was in force for just a few days, and then the state of Colorado took over, Gravely said.State emergency powers cause concernThe ACLU report raises concern about CDC support for a Model State Emergency Powers Act, drafted after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, describing it as a tool for states to broaden isolation and quarantine powers in a public health emergency. “The Act used fear to justify methods better suited to quelling public riots than protecting public health,” the experts wrote.Gravely commented in response, “I think what the ACLU report misses is that every state in the union had quarantine laws before 9/11. Some older laws were exceptionally broad or ineffective. But some changes have actually put limits on the laws.” For example, he said Virginia amended its quarantine law to incorporate some of the concerns raised by the ACLU experts, such as by providing that quarantine powers take effect only when other measures fail and that patients have a right to legal counsel.”Most states, as they updated their laws, incorporated due process,” Gravely said.Gravely said he applauded the ACLU report, “but it would have been more useful if it reflected the reality.” For example, the report implies that an all-hazards approach to federal disaster planning has side-stepped pandemic-specific needs, he said. However, he observed that the community mitigation guidance HHS issued for states adjusts nonpharmaceutical interventions according to pandemic severity.Medical privacy issues raised by the ACLU experts are important, Gravely said. “They have captured that we need to be vigilant in balancing privacy in broad-based surveillance.”Gravely said a major overhaul of medical privacy legislation in 1996 that produced the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) contains a number of exceptions to privacy protections, one of which is public health reporting. Concern about how states will use medical surveillance information is a valid policy issue, but there is no evidence that states are misusing such information, he said.Hall said the ACLU’s recommendations include several items the federal government is already working on. One example is the pandemic vaccine prioritization draft plan, on which federal officials have held town hall forums and sought extensive public feedback.Some of the ACLU’s other pandemic preparedness recommendations include:Developing rapid, accurate diagnostic tests to reduce errors in identifying people who have infectious diseasesFocusing on community engagement for pandemic preparations rather than individual responsibilityProviding food, medicine, and supplies to people who stay home during a pandemicDetaining individuals, when absolutely necessary, in medical facilities rather than correctional facilitiesEnsuring due process and the right to legal counsel for individuals who are proposed for isolation or restricted from travel.See also:Jan 14 ACLU press releaseJan 14 ACLU report on pandemic preparednessOct 4, 2005, CIDRAP News story “Bush suggests military-enforced quarantines for avian flu”Oct 22, 2007, CIDRAP News story “White House aims to transform public health preparedness”Feb 1, 2007, CIDRAP News story “HHS ties pandemic mitigation advice to severity”last_img read more

The combination of “Blue” and “Green” Croatia – does it sound familiar to you?

first_imgCompound Blue and Green Croatia – sounds familiar?As if it is an illusion, and to be honest with you, it is already funny to me when this name is mentioned by tourist institutions and others. Namely, it has only been talked about for years, and nothing concrete is being done to connect Blue and Green Croatian. Many years have passed since the initial idea, everyone is referring to various strategies and strategic documents, various essays have been written on the subject, but on the ground the situation is totally different. It’s reminiscent of the Lock Ness monster story, everyone knows about it, but no one has seen it.Unfortunately, we missed a great opportunity, due to the lack of a meaningful strategy of development and integration, while the State, on the other hand, encouraged imports at the expense of our production, ie agricultural development. Today, after 20 or more years, the price difference between the production price of domestic family farms and imports is simply too great. Solutions and successful models exist, we have all the resources, from knowledge to money, but unfortunately on the ground, honoring the exceptions and individuals, the story doesn’t work at all.But it’s never too late for quality stories and projects. It is still possible today to start entire processes and connect blue and green Croatia through tourism. Rather, it should be imperative. It’s all up to the people, and it’s through this article that we bring you, at least as far as I know, the only real example of connecting Blue and Green Croatia through the hotel segment, ie Jadranka Group from Mali Lošinj. Their guests are offered indigenous food from as many as sixty family farms from all over Croatia, primarily from Cres and Lošinj, as well as from Istria, Slavonia and Baranja and Međimurje.I talked to Goran Filipović, a member of the Management Board of Jadranka Grupa dd, about the very idea of ​​offering local, autochthonous and organic (DAE) food to guests. for many years and succeeded. “Lošinj Hotels & Villas have always paid special attention to the quality of gastronomic offer, so that non-board and hotel restaurants were always one to two categories above the expected standards, and the guiding thread was to offer guests different, indigenous, local and organic food. “Thus, we started cooperating with domestic family farms with the aim of gathering domestic products of the highest quality and implementing them in the offer of the Jadranka Group, thus enabling guests to taste the best that Croatia has to offer. For us, this form of cooperation is important, because in addition to offering our guests quality and home-made food, we also help the local economy. “”Goran Filipović, a member of the Management Board of Jadranka Group, points out and adds that due to the recognizable connection Zelene and Pwashed In Croatia, as part of its entire offer, the Jadranka Group is today the largest purchaser of products from domestic family farms.Currently, Jadranka Group cooperates with over 60 family farms throughout Croatia – from the islands of Cres and Lošinj, Istria and Kvarner, Međimurje, Slavonia and Baranja, and because of the recognizable connection Green and Blue As part of its entire offer in Croatia, the Jadranka Group is thus the largest purchaser of family products. “For us, this form of cooperation is important because, in addition to providing guests with quality and home-made food, on the other hand we help the local economy ” Filipovic points out. Everything is said in this statement – the whole paradigm of connection Blue and Green Croatian. From this example we see that merging is possible, and Jadranka Grupa is, at least as far as I know, the only real example that rounded off the whole story and connected Blue and Green Croatia.The meaning of tourism is the maximum use of local resources and offers, ie telling an authentic story, both through various tourist facilities and gastronomy, because the motivation for travel is to get to know a new culture and way of life. If we connect everything into one complete tourist story, tourist consumption is dispersed to various industries in the tourist destination, because the greatest power of tourism is that it is not one industry, but connects, vertically and horizontally, all other industries and activities.When we talk about tourism, authenticity is the key word, and guests can experience and try it through every breakfast, composed of as many as 218 different authentic foods. “Domestic and foreign guests during their stay in LH&V hotels and villas have the opportunity to get acquainted with autochthonous Croatian products throughout the year, of course depending on the season and offer. There are cheeses with truffles, olive oil, various sheep and goat cheeses, Cres lamb and Boškarin meat, the well-known Drniš prosciutto and cured meat products from Slavonia and Baranja. Thanks to this truly unique system of purchasing fresh and varied food, breakfast is a favorite meal for guests, as it consists of 218 different foods.. ”Adds Filipović.Of course, it is necessary to link the whole story with seasonal foods, so that the food offer is always fresh. It is not easy to start, but the example of Jadranka Group is just an indicator of how possible and sustainable this project is and that it has a calculation. “The basis of the gastronomic offer is primarily fresh and seasonal foods, and the emphasis is on their originality, local origin and availability depending on the season, harvest or catch. They are tested every day MAYBE TASTING BETTER? new products and create new menus, which aim to improve the existing service and raise it to a higher level, so that guests always return to the quality, and yet new and surprising “Are the words of Mr. Filipovic. He adds that guests respond well to home-made food and seasonal ingredients and often look for them themselves because over time they have become a recognizable symbol of their offer.Istrian boškarin / Source: FB Lošinj Hotels & Villas Wine & DIneGuests are looking for quality and authenticity and are willing to pay more for authentic, organic and organic and fresh food. By raising the price and bridging the gap between imports and domestic food, everyone benefits. Hoteliers because they offer authentic, fresh and healthy food and ultimately create a competitive advantage and added value in the market, as well as guests who want to taste different and authentic dishes, not to mention what it means for the local economy. It is tourism – a complete tourist product.”One of the most important values ​​of this project is cooperation, ie providing support to small Croatian businessmen. They can compete with their products in terms of quality, but not in terms of price, compared to those in industrial production. For example, when we started using boškarin meat from the Union, only five heads were raised, and now there are about 40. The fact is that the local producer has greatly changed its position by cooperating with us. This also means that there is enough potential for further development of production in Croatia, because family farms produce as much as they can sell. I believe that if others followed our example of cooperation, there would certainly be more such products on offer in hotel houses throughout Croatia. Apart from guaranteeing guests the highest level of quality, they can also get to know traditional production first hand, which is certainly an added value, considering that in this way Croatian tourism is also promoted.Said Filipovic.From today’s position, where imports are much cheaper, production through family farms is not sufficiently developed, ie there are no clusters, synergies or sufficient quantities of products. In addition, the production price is much higher than the import import, there is also the problem of logistics and warehousing. With all the above, it is much harder and more challenging to go in that direction, but it is certainly not too late, in fact, it should be an imperative.Of course, the logical question is where in this whole story is the State, the various ministries, the county and city departments of tourism and agriculture. Their task should be to lay the foundations and development platform and to “support” the whole paradigm of connection. The farmer or producer must be what it is to pay attention to quality and quantity, the hotelier must be a hotelier, and all this must be connected by the system, platform, intermediaries, strategy… is who still has so many resources that he does it himself as Jadranka Group.Everything needs to be put into one connected chain and everyone has to do what is their primary activity. If we strategically deal with the development of agriculture and tourism, as well as this issue, today this story would be completely different, and Jadranka Group would not be the only positive example. “Of course, such ventures are not at all easy and bring with them some challenges, such as logistics costs or finding an adequate mode of transport. Cooperation with local family farms in logistics is easier, because the vast majority of them deliver their products every day in accordance with the needs of our hotels, restaurants and shops, while cooperation with family farms outside the islands of Cres and Lošinj is somewhat more complex. We strive, wherever possible, to reduce transport costs with a lower ordering frequency and a larger volume of orders, while any possible food surplus is redirected to the existing stores of the Jadranka Group. The biggest challenges in cooperation with family farms from other parts of Croatia are the transport and storage of goods with a certain temperature regime. The situation would be greatly facilitated by state assistance in the context of some kind of subsidies, which would allow family farms to sell their own products in more remote parts of Croatia. Given that this is a relatively small amount of food produced, which have eco-certificates, and are of higher quality compared to imported goods, and therefore a much shorter shelf life, we ultimately come to much higher purchase prices. But this cost is not a burden for us, because the quality of these products is incomparable with industrial production. ”Filipović points out.Let me repeat and emphasize once again the important statement “This cost is not a burden for us, because the quality of these products is incomparable with industrial production”Source: FB Lošinj Hotels & Villas Wine & DIneLet me repeat and emphasize once again the important statement “This cost is not a burden for us, because the quality of these products is incomparable with industrial production”.Certainly how Jadranka Group has its account and how they are not in the red, right? Why are they the only ones, at least as far as I know of the larger hotel houses, that connect Blue and Green Croatia? A question that the captains of our tourist ship must ask themselves.Of course, Jadranka Group has its own account and does not operate in the red, right? Why they are the only ones, at least as far as I know from the larger hotel houses, that connect Blue and Green Croatia? This is a question that the captains of our tourist ship should ask themselves.Also, another phenomenon and fact can be seen from that statement. An Excel spreadsheet in an office in London does not recognize emotions and experiences, but only instant earnings. Sometimes a kuna more tomorrow brings five kuna more, but this algorithm obviously does not exist. They are not even kuna in question, but literally linden in an excel spreadsheet. Are hoteliers to blame? They carry their own burden and are there to use their interests, and the fact that we as a state allowed all that is exclusively our fault. Not every investor and investment is always good under the slogan just to build. It is necessary to recognize the quality, sustainability and long-term impact of the investment both on the local economy and in the global sense. That is why our tourism is developing in the wrong direction. It is not the most important to count arrivals and overnight stays (of course it is necessary to know the profile of tourists and other parameters) but to monitor how much tourist spending is and whether it is dispersed to the local economy. And that’s where we fall the most.Instead of selling authenticity and dispelling tourist spending to the local economy and as many links in that chain as possible, we turn into one resort where only money is run that only one or only a few hoteliers earn. And we know the implications of various closed resorts. Thus the local population does not participate in the tourism product, nor can they make a living from tourism. It turns into cheap labor or modern slaves, and the earnings go abroad instead of remaining in the local economy. To repeat, the meaning and the greatest power of tourism is precisely the authenticity and dispersion of tourist spending on the local economy.Do you know how many eggs a hen lays per day?One hen lays one egg a day, ie an average of about 300 eggs a year.Now, I ask the question, what is the daily need of hoteliers, regionally and globally, for eggs? Believe me, the number of eggs needed by hoteliers every day is measured in the tens of thousands. And we talk about the same amount and need of eggs every day. How many hens, family farms, cooperatives or clusters, employed families living solely from egg production for the tourism sector, would be included in this story? And here we are talking only about egg production. Logically, if you have a family farm, you also have some other domestic animals, so you also produce other products. You may also be involved in wine production or rural tourism. Maybe someone will open a “zoo” with domestic animals, to show and prove that the cow is not purple as in the commercials, but brown. The chain is only expanding, and the implications are far-reaching.Only with a complete tourist product, strategic and sustainable development and quality and primarily authentic content can we develop tourism in the long run and with quality. When we turn the table and arrange all the pieces of the Croatian tourist mosaic, only then can we rightly say that some of our destinations or Croatia live tourism. Until then, we will still only get the top of the whipped cream from the tourist cake, and most of the earnings will end up in foreign accounts.And finally, the story does not stop there, in fact, it is spreading despite the system and Jadranka Group is still looking for new partners from all over Croatia. “We are in constant contact with all our current partners, with whom we have signed multi-year contracts. We meet at the end of the season, do a summary and determine the investments for next year. By the way, at the beginning of the calendar year, the representatives of the Jadranka Group conduct interviews with all interested family farms in Croatia. In doing so, products are selected and approximate quantities of products are agreed to be distributed to shops, hotels and restaurants within the group. The purchasing services in the stores and hotels of the Jadranka Group are directly looking for certain products or family farms. Mostly it is at fairs or meetings that we organize ourselves or with the help of county chambers of commerce. We are also looking for new entrepreneurs, and it is increasingly common for family farms to contact us and offer their products, sometimes even complete crops. Although such a cooperation project is still a precedent in hotel groups in Croatia, we do not give up in opening space for further development and further expansion of business cooperation, with a stronger emphasis on the promotion of each family farm with which it cooperates.”Concludes Filipović.With a targeted development and integration strategy and funds or subsidies from the state, as well as the synergy of various ministries, the story of integration can certainly be started. Blue and Green Croatian. If the Jadranka Group can do that with its own resources and funds, certainly as the State can. Of course, it is necessary to systematically and strategically deal with the problem, ie the concrete solution. All the challenges to connect Blue and Green In today’s business and in the 21st century, Croatia is bridging and achievable, of course not tomorrow, but through a long-term plan and strategy and the synergy of all.There is knowledge, resources, technology, in the end there is enough money, it is just wrongly distributed, because we have everything, we just lack the will and desire.It’s up to the people, be that change. It’s possible.last_img read more

Three offers for the construction of the Peljesac Bridge have arrived, the deadline for construction is 2022

first_imgThree bids were received for the construction of the Peljesac Bridge, Italian Astaldi and Turkish IC Ictas offered to build the bridge for 2,5 billion kuna, Austrian Strabag offered 2,6 billion kuna, and a Chinese consortium led by China Road and Bridge Corporation two billion kuna without VAT, he writes Vecernji list.The Croatian Roads Commission has 120 days to select a contractor for the construction of the Peljesac Bridge from among the three bids received. According to the announcements of the members of the commission, the selection will be completed long before that deadline. And then comes the appeal deadline. If there are complaints, which is certain, their resolution may take two to three months, so it is realistic to expect that the contract with the contractor will be signed at the end or beginning of next year. This means that the two parts of Croatia could finally be connected by a bridge by 2022, as the construction deadline is 3,5 years from the signing of the contract.For the Chinese, the Peljesac Bridge is strategically important for entering the EUPowerful Chinese construction companies now want to enter Croatia through the big door. And not, as they usually like, by direct agreement with the state. China Road and Bridges Corporation wants to come to Croatia through a public tender that was conducted according to strict EU rules, because the construction of the Peljesac Bridge is co-financed from Union funds. And the tender rules for the construction of the bridge were very strict and that is why some of those who were interested in the job gave up. Therefore, only three final bids arrived in the end, although initially 12 companies and consortia showed interest in building the bridge. Some of them gave up when they saw that the Chinese were also going into the battle for the Pelješac Bridge because they knew very well that it was not so much how much the project was worthwhile to them, but how strategically important it was to them. And the Chinese would enter the EU, not Croatia, via the Peljesac Bridge.We hope that this agony over the construction of the Pelješac Bridge will finally come to an end, and that according to the final plan, the two parts of Croatia will finally be connected by 2022.last_img read more

Booking.com’s research reveals where travelers from Croatia will stay during the holidays next year

first_imgBooking.com, the world’s leading passenger connection company with the largest selection of amazing places to stay, conducted a survey among 19.000 travelers from 26 countries, including Croatia, to find out what travelers expect most from their second home during their vacation in 2018. The survey was conducted to find out where travelers from Croatia are most likely to stay next year during the holidays?Research has shown that more than half of the respondents from Croatia (61%) plan to go on more trips in 2018 compared to 2017. The popularity of cottages will increase next year – more than half of travelers from Croatia (49%) will prefer to stay in private accommodation such as cottages or apartments, rather than in hotels, and a little more than a quarter (27%) will consider adds your object to the accommodation reservation page.Given that a quarter of passengers from Croatia (26%) believe that flights to long-distance destinations are becoming more affordable, it is not surprising that the desire to travel in 2018 will only grow. 16% of passengers from Croatia believe that it has become easier to find and book more exotic destinations, and almost half of passengers from Croatia (49%) say that in 2018 they will travel to a further destination compared to 2017. Moreover, the desire of travelers to visit even more destinations will be stronger in 2018, with as many as 70% of travelers from Croatia want to visit as many destinations as possible, and 34% want to be more adventurous, point out Booking.com.Photo: Dubrovnik Cable CarWhile travel to distant destinations will continue to grow, in 2018 a large number of passengers will choose destinations closer to home, with half of passengers from Croatia (50%) planning more trips within the country in the coming year. This enthusiasm for a holiday in their own country is based on the fact that a large number of passengers (36%) think that traveling within the country is cheaper, and more than half of travelers from Croatia (60%) are aware that there are so many beautiful destinations in their own country. I can visit. Another important factor is the possibility of going on more trips, considering that one in three passengers from Croatia (37%) thinks that two or three shorter trips are better than one longer one to a more distant destination. More passengers go from Croatia (63%) intend to go on more weekend trips in 2018 compared to 2017.The purpose of a vacation in 2018 will not only be sightseeing but also creating an experience when discovering a destination like a local resident, which will be a key factor in attracting travelers. Independent accommodations are becoming increasingly popular as they give travelers more flexibility and freedom to get out and experience their destination in a more authentic way.Research also shows the following:In addition to independent holiday homes and apartments, bed and breakfasts, all-inclusive resorts and hotels are among the top four types of accommodation that travelers are likely to stay in 2018.Passengers are becoming increasingly environmentally conscious; almost half of the respondents from Croatia (45%) plan to choose more environmentally friendly options than they did in 2017.Four out of ten passengers from Croatia (43%) plan to stay in the type of accommodation facility in which they have not stayed so farWhen it comes to what travelers especially appreciate in the accommodation facility, 40% of travelers from Croatia stated free WiFi, 38% want to have a beautiful view from the accommodation, and given that travelers are increasingly focusing on food, almost a third of passengers (30 %) will look for quality local food, 29% of travelers from Croatia like a varied choice of food, and a quarter (25%) like free parking.<br />
<a href=”https://bs.serving-sys.com/Serving/adServer.bs?cn=brd&pli=1074171063&Page=&Pos=-1477388646″ target=”_blank”><br />
<img src=”https://bs.serving-sys.com/Serving/adServer.bs?c=8&cn=display&pli=1074171063&Page=&Pos=-1477388646″ border=0 width=1280 height=200></a><br />
last_img read more

Conference “Tourism Worker – Challenges and Opportunities”

first_imgThe objectives of the conference are to determine the situation on the labor market in the tourism and hospitality sector in conversation with key stakeholders and using available statistics, to harmonize the needs of employers and the labor market in employment and (further) education of current and future workers in tourism. centers of competence in the tourism and hospitality sector, present and analyze the occupations of the future in tourism and present the efforts of EU funds for employment and education in the tourism and hospitality sector. The conference is organized by the Ministry of Tourism of the Republic of Croatia, and the partners are the Croatian Chamber of Commerce, the Croatian Employers’ Association, the Croatian Tourism Association and the Croatian Employment Service. You can find the entire program and other information HERE. The program will include two panel discussions on “How to attract and retain a tourism worker” and “Human Resources Management – Education for Tourism” with the participation of numerous experts. The conference entitled “Tourist Worker – Challenges and Opportunities” will be held on February 12 at the Westin Hotel in Zagreb.last_img read more

Chinese agencies have expressed a desire to include Varaždin in their tourist offers

first_imgThe Tourist Board of the city of Varaždin participated in one of the largest Chinese fairs, which is a platform for tourism development, “16th Shanghai World Travel Fair”, held from 18 to 21 April in Shanghai. The fair was attended by tourist representatives from around the world, from representatives of travel agencies, institutions to hotels. This year, 750 exhibitors from 53 countries presented their products and services at the fair, which was visited by over 55 visitors. Photo: Varaždin Tourist Board Participation in the fair in Shanghai is a continuation of the Varaždin-China cooperation that began last year when a six-member delegation from Shanghai visited Varaždin and expressed a desire to intensify cooperation, among other things, in the field of tourism. During their stay in Shanghai, the Croatian delegation, which included the director of the Tourist Board, the directors of the Zagreb and Sisak-Moslavina County Tourist Board and St. Ivan Zelina, held working meetings on tourism with representatives of Chinese travel agencies. the needs of Chinese tourists, what interests and attracts them and how to attract and encourage them to visit a particular destination. Photo: Varaždin Tourist Boardcenter_img The Chinese travel all year round, in organized groups, and when they travel to Europe they mostly visit multiple destinations. They therefore stay in destinations for a short time and change their place of residence several times. In Croatia, they most often visit Zagreb, Dubrovnik, Plitvice, Split and Zadar, and sightseeing and gastronomy are their most important travel motives. “In Shanghai, we held working meetings with representatives of major Chinese travel agencies, CITS and Shanghai Sage, who expressed a desire in the coming period to include Varaždin in the program offered to Chinese tourists. Croatia is an attractive destination for the Chinese, but most Chinese travel agencies offer destinations on the Adriatic in their programs, so the representatives of these two large agencies have expressed a desire to be different from others and offer their tourists some new experiences from the interior of Croatia. very interesting. Chinese tourists are specific, for them tourism is not swimming in the sea, they are interested in historical locations and attractions, cultural sights and traditional food, and here we see our opportunity because Varaždin and Varaždin County can offer them all that. Thanks to good cooperation and intensive work since last year, an organized group of Chinese tourists will arrive in Varaždin in a few days, who come on our recommendation, and I hope that soon organized Chinese groups in Varaždin and Varaždin County will be on a weekly basis.”, Said Jelena Toth, director of the Tourist Office of the Tourist Board of Varaždin. By the way, according to the Croatian Tourist Board, the number of Chinese tourists coming to Croatia is constantly increasing. Last year, 45% more Chinese tourists came to Croatia than the year before, and this year about 300 Chinese tourists are expected in Croatia. The trend of increasing Chinese tourists is also visible in the area of ​​the city of Varaždin and Varaždin County. In Varaždin, 1.630 overnight stays of Chinese tourists were realized last year, which is 400 percent more than the year before. The increase in overnight stays was, among other things, due to the excellent sports cooperation, so the young Chinese football players stayed in Varaždin at the sports camp last year. The trend of increasing Chinese tourists in Varaždin continued this year as well, so in the first 4 months of this year, according to data from eVisitor, three times more overnight stays were realized in the city than in the same period last year.last_img read more

The Green Sail organization became a semi-finalist of the 2019 European Social Innovation Competition

first_imgGREEN SAIL: WHERE ARE THE PROHIBITION ZONES OF DISCHARGING FECAL WATER FROM VESSELS? In addition to the Academy, the semi-finalists receive the personal support of a local mentor with whose help they prepare for the next phase of the competition where they submit their extensive development plans to an independent committee. The commission will then select ten finalists and only three winners, each of whom will receive 50.000 euros. Green Sail was one of 30 projects from 19 countries selected for the next round of competition out of a total of 543 ideas submitted from across Europe, which encourage the solution to the growing problem of plastic waste. The reported projects cover a wide range of solutions, from improving supply chains to changing the behavior of consumers themselves. The Green Sail organization from Split, an initiative that encourages environmental practices within the nautical sector, has become one of the 30 semi-finalists of the 2019 European Social Innovation Competition, selected from over 500 registered candidates from across Europe.  The innovative idea of ​​the Green Sail organization includes an educational program to reduce the amount of plastic waste within the nautical industry in other European countries, according to the model that the organization is already successfully implementing in Croatia. The idea of ​​the Green Sail project is to gradually develop plastic waste reduction and recycling programs in charter companies and marinas in other European countries with developed nautical industries: Italy, Greece, Montenegro, Slovenia, Spain, Portugal and France. center_img The theme of this year’s competition solving the problem of plastic waste, and ideas and projects are sought in which plastic waste is reduced by introducing systematic changes at the local, national and European level. The purpose of the 2019 European Social Innovation Call is to support ideas and projects that reduce plastic waste and waste by changing or improving existing processes or introducing entirely new products and launching new initiatives.  The introduction of the Green Sail program in international charters and marinas will try to solve this problem in countries other than Croatia. What Green Sail expects as a semifinalist is attending a reputable one Academy of Social Innovation in Turin – an intensive three-day event where participants are trained by experienced social innovators and given the opportunity to develop their ideas into sustainable business projects.  RELATED NEWS:last_img read more

VAT on food in catering reduced to 13%: The tourism profession welcomes tax relief

first_imgAs part of the fourth round of tax reform, the Government of the Republic of Croatia announced a reduction of VAT on food preparation and serving in catering to 13%. HUT welcomes the Government’s decision to reduce VAT in tourism “This will partially reduce the pressure of labor shortages, but ultimately lead to better filling of the state budget. I hope that part of this financial relief will be aimed at strengthening the cooperation of caterers with domestic producers, in order to get an additional multiplier effect and strengthen the economy.”, Burilovic emphasized. The Croatian Tourism Association (HUT), the umbrella association of the Croatian tourism sector that unites the largest tourism companies and the professional associations of the Croatian Hotel Employers Association (UPUHH) and the Croatian Camping Association (KUH), also welcomes the Government’s decision on tax relief the fourth package of tax changes.  “We are pleased that the Government has recognized the importance of tourism for the Croatian economy and the need to respond, given that most countries in the region further encourage the competitiveness of their tourism sectors. Complete equalization of the VAT rate with that of our competing countries is our medium-term goal and we hope to achieve it in cooperation with the Government of the Republic of Croatia. Most of the funds released by these moves of the Government will be directed to investments in raising the quality of facilities and the overall offer, and in increasing the salaries of employees, which can only stabilize the supply of labor in tourism. In the increasingly complex market competition in the Mediterranean, the tourism sector must increase investments in the quality of the tourist offer, because we can compete with the surrounding countries only in quality. Given that the consolidated net profit of the tourism sector in Croatia is below 6 percent of total revenue, only tax relief can free up the necessary funds to increase investment and raise wages. Ostojic concludes. However, in order for Croatia’s tourist offer to continue to successfully position itself on the competitive international market, reduced VAT rates are crucial. “Therefore, we warmly welcome the efforts of the Ministry of Tourism and the Government of the Republic of Croatia, and we consider the reduction of VAT in tourism to be necessary for the bright future of Croatian tourism.“Concludes Fain. The President of the Association of Travel Agencies of the Croatian Chamber of Commerce also believes that this measure of the Government is a step in the right direction Boris Žgomba. “We are satisfied with this move, primarily because it goes in the direction of raising the competitiveness of the tourism sector in relation to the competition, but this is only the first step and there is still a lot of work ahead of us.”, Said Žgomba.  HUP – Association of Hospitality and Tourism, also welcomes the decision of the Government of the Republic of Croatia to include in the current tax changes a reduction in the VAT rate on catering services for food preparation and serving. The Croatian Chamber of Commerce supports the government’s decision to reduce the VAT rate for caterers from 25 to 13 percent, as this will open up space for raising wages for workers and make the entire tourism sector more competitive.   President of the Association of Catering Activities of the Croatian Chamber of Commerce Ivan Bogović emphasizes that the reduction of VAT is a great relief for the industry, which will have multiple good effects.  Luka Burilović, HGK: VAT reduction wind in the sails of the entire tourism sector The impact of the VAT rate has a significant impact on the competitiveness of accommodation and catering, so the vast majority of EU countries use the possibility of lowering the VAT rate for certain goods and services as an instrument to stimulate consumption of certain products and services, thus achieving a more competitive framework for tourism development. .center_img The fact is that tourism is one of the most promising economic activities in Croatia, but the tourism profession must continue to work on enriching the existing offer by investing in the development of new, innovative and quality tourism products that follow global trends and demand, as well as increasing salaries and working conditions for employees. , points out Tomislav Fain, President of UHPA, and adds: “The Croatian Government has recognized the importance of tourism, so we welcome the reduction of VAT rates in tourism, which will give us a better position for business, and thus for new investments and better status of employees in tourism.” At HUT, we are convinced that this reduction of the tax burden on tourism will result in an increase in investments, employment and salaries, and consequently in the revenues of the state budget and local and regional self-government. Reduction of VAT for the tourism sector is the most efficient measure in the function of increasing salaries and new investments in higher quality tourist facilities and services, and consequently will increase state budget revenues, point out the HUP and point out: “But for us, the goal remains to equalize the VAT rate on all catering services and define for tourism a VAT of 10% as it is in our competing Mediterranean countries, which would achieve even greater effects on increasing investment, employment and salaries for tourists. In order to improve working conditions and retain workers for employers in tourism, an important measure is the introduction of a tax-free hot meal for all workers, which we advocated together with the unions to harmonize the treatment of seasonal and permanent workers. This is a continuation of the measures of the Government of the Republic of Croatia which, through the increase of non-taxable compensations to workers, achieve more competitive working conditions and greater safety and satisfaction of workers. This has already been shown in the effects of the introduction of a new non-taxable amount of 5 thousand, and the same can be expected from the analysis of financial effects conducted by HUP for the introduction of non-taxable hot meals for all workers. from the tourism sector, the same measure will result in HRK 16,5 million of possible savings, ie possible direct investments in increasing the salaries of tourism workers ” conclude from HUP. HUP – Hospitality and Tourism Associations: This tax relief is additionally important for Croatian tourism due to the strengthening of competitors and increasingly demanding market challenges.  Finally, it should be noted that a lower VAT rate in the hospitality industry will not automatically mean lower prices, but only a relief for entrepreneurs who should feel more about better working conditions and salaries for employees as well as increased investment. “We welcome this decision because Croatia has so far had the highest VAT rate on food preparation and serving in the Mediterranean and one of the highest rates in the EU. With the return of competitors like Greece and Turkey, we have increasingly lost pace and the situation has become unsustainable, so it is good that the Government has reacted. This is a wind in the sails not only for caterers, but also for the entire tourism sector. “pointed out the president of the Croatian Chamber of Commerce Luka Burilović, adding that he is convinced that the reduction of the VAT rate will open space for businessmen to raise salaries and make new investments.  Reduction of the VAT rate on food preparation and serving in catering facilities, exemption from taxation of accommodation and food costs for all employees and introduction of the so-called CRO cards represent a significant step forward in the necessary raising of the competitiveness of Croatian tourism. Competitive business environment in the increasingly complex market competition in the Mediterranean is becoming a key determinant of the success of the coming tourist seasons, says Veljko Ostojic, director of the Croatian Tourism Association and adds: The lower VAT rate on food in the hospitality industry will ensure a better competitive position of Croatia on the world tourism market, the entire tourism profession agrees and welcomes the decision to reduce VAT in tourism. “This is a sign that the Government is still listening to the voice of the economy and realizing how difficult it is for us to do business. Tax relief will make room for hospitality and tourism to become desirable for investment again. This will lead to better conditions for workers, which will make it easier to find labor”, Concludes Bogović.   The new VAT rate in the hospitality industry should enter into force on January 1, 2020, although it was announced at the press conference that some measures could take effect earlier. last_img read more

At the end of this week, the CNTB’s campaign towards key markets will start

first_img“We have prepared a direct call communication for them – The Vacation You Deserve Is Closer Than You Think. An intensive communication campaign in these markets starts at the end of this week, ie at the beginning of June”Conclude the CNTB. Namely, it is a concept Enjoy The Viewfrom Croatia which was launched last week. Campaign for key markets: The Vacation You Deserve Is Closer Than You Think Measures are being relaxed, borders are open, some tourists are already on the Adriatic, and the tourism sector has awakened and the tourist market has been activated. As they point out from the CNTB, they are currently, after the concept #CroatiaLongDistanceLove and a series of communication activities on social networks prepared two new communication directions.  CNTB: At the end of this week, the CNTB’s campaign towards key markets will start As the CNTB and MINT communicated that they have campaigns ready and that they are waiting for the moment when the borders will open, in order to launch campaigns, we asked the CNTB at what stage the preparation of campaigns in emitting markets is. The finalization of media plans for the campaign related to markets whose citizens are likely to be able to visit Croatia when the borders open in those countries is underway, according to the CNTB, and these are our loyal tourists from neighboring countries who want to come to Croatia (such as Austria, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovenia, Slovakia, Germany, Italy, Poland). To summarize. CNTB will have three active campaigns: #CroatiaLongDistanceLove, #EnjoyTheViewfromCroatia and #The Vacation You Deserve Is Closer Than You Think, which starts at the end of this and the beginning of the second week. / / / CNTB INVITES HOSTS TO PARTICIPATE IN THE ENJOY THE VIEW FROM CROATIA CAMPAIGN There are currently 133 hotels and 65 campsites open, and most hotels are expected to open in June. Just 15.06. is the date for which most borders are expected to open as well as the easing of measures in the EU. A date that marks the real awakening of tourism in Europe. “One campaign refers to our important markets which, due to the general situation caused by the pandemic, will unfortunately not be able to reach us so quickly, such as the UK, Scandinavia, France, Italy, etc., but also distant markets such as China, USA -a, South Korea. There is a special online communication platform that will serve not only the Croatian Tourist Board as a kind of communication “window”, but also all other stakeholders in the tourism sector in Croatia who will be able to easily use it for their own promotion.”Point out the CNTB. Note: All information for foreign tourists related to covid19 is available in several foreign languages HERElast_img read more