The COVID-19 situation in Croatia and what this means for you

The COVID-19 situation in Croatia and what this means for you:

Updated Friday 29th May 2020

To our wonderful customers who are being so patient and understanding, we really appreciate your kindness at this difficult time.

Thanks for your email. We’re contacting clients individually in departure date order to check on your plans.

Please understand that all of our clients are in the same position regarding travel to Croatia. We will not be collecting final payments for any departures until we have further clarification.

Croatia relaxed internal restrictions from 11th May 2020 and people are now allowed to travel within the country. Their bars and restaurants are opening and life will go back to almost-normal, with some restrictions including increased hygiene measures, wearing face-masks, social distancing etc. By mid-June we should have a good idea of how Croatia is faring with open state borders.

The major problem at the moment is not with Croatia, it is with the Australian border still being closed. The latest timeline for international travel from the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI) is for December 2020. You can download their “Industry Proposed Restart Timetable” here:

https://www.australianchamber.com.au/our-policies/tourism/

Croatian borders should be open mid-June 2020 for Non-EU citizens and there will be no quarantine restrictions (unless you are ill upon arrival or take ill whilst in Croatia). All cruise ships, hotels, accommodation and restaurants are introducing new health and safety measures, we will send you details of these before you arrive to Croatia. 

There is a new Ministry of Tourism website that you can pre-fill to help speed up your arrival once you land in Croatia.

https://entercroatia.mup.hr/

Our official office hours are no longer standard as we have reduced staff due to the business downturn. We are regularly checking emails and voicemails and will get back to you when we can.

At this stage no departures for June or onwards have been cancelled.

Vendors are allowing transfers for all bookings (travel credit) to later in 2020 or even to 2021, depending on your departure date.

No vendors are offering refunds. (The ACCC and AFTA have stated that travel vouchers are an acceptable form of reimbursement if the vendor has cancelled a departure).

“If your travel is cancelled the ACCC expects that you will receive a refund or other remedy, such as a credit note or voucher, in most circumstances.” (This refers to travel cancelled by the vendor. If the vendor has not cancelled your departure, the regular T&C apply).

Download the AFTA fact sheet on cancellations here: the-facts-on-travel-agents-and-refunds-final-29-april-20

https://www.atas.com.au/covid19-update

There is no blanket policy for force majeure cancellations and vendors are responding to the situation as best they can. No refunds are being offered, only travel credits for later departures. The situation is being classed as a ‘force majeure’, which means that vendors are having to adapt their policies to the situation so that they can survive this event. Thank you again to our clients who have been so understanding that we are the agent only and can only pass on the decisions of the vendors.

All cruise and tour operators are allowing transfers to later in 2020 and some to 2021. At this stage no vendors are allowing transfers to 2022. If you know now that you would like to change your travel date to a later departure, please email us to let us know the approximate date and we can get that started for you.

The ACCC has also noted that “If you no longer wish to travel due to concerns about COVID-19, this may be treated as a ‘change of mind’.”

International travel consists of 2 parts. What is happening in the country you are departing from/arriving back to, and what is happening in the country you are visiting. The Croatian vendors have no legal obligation to offer you a refund if you cannot make your holiday.  Whilst it’s understandable that Australian clients are upset that it’s not their fault that Australia has locked its borders and their flights have been cancelled, it’s also understandable that the Croatian vendors also can only make their decisions based on what is happening in their own country and not be forced to take into account every other country in the world that their tourists arrive from. It’s a complicated situation and the vendors have tried to take this into account by allowing transfers from one calendar year to the next (which isn’t usually allowed) so that clients can re-arrange their holiday at a later date (ie when it’s likely you can get there). As the Croatian season is short and they already manage 6 months a year without tourist income from mid-October to mid-April, they have had to base their decisions on ensuring they make it to 2021 so that their country continues to function. They are heavily reliant upon tourism and to be 18 months without income would be really hard on their tourist industry and therefore the whole country. They need their big tour and cruise operators to survive for the sake of their economy.

Consumer advocate CHOICE has also issued advice to consumers, confirming that agents are within their rights to charge service fees for cancelled bookings.  This means that we can charge a fee for the time it has taken us to book and re-book or cancel bookings. We have the right to get paid for our time and to cover the expenses we have incurred in making these arrangements on your behalf.

We ask that you be patient as cancelling right now could still incur high penalties as the vendors are not allowing refunds, only travel credit.

We suggest that you transfer your booking date now if that works for you, so that you can have as much time as possible to re-arrange your travel plans. Popular dates for 2021 will fill up fast as more people transfer their bookings.

Please remember that the small Croatian cruise ships only hold a maximum of 40 passengers per ship, and are nothing like the large international cruise liners. Croatian cruises are domestic cruises (within Croatia) only and these ships do not leave Croatian waters at all.

When you contact us, please let us know your travel arrangements prior to your arrival to Croatia. As we sell land and sea content only, we are often unaware of our clients travel plans before or after their Croatia holiday.

Here is the Australian Government’s current advice for travel to Croatia.

https://www.smartraveller.gov.au/destinations/europe/croatia

With the fast pace of the changes around the world, we have no way to know right now what will be happening in a month or two.

Thank you for your patience.

Defer your holiday! #savetourism #weareinthistogether #covid19

Should you have any further questions or need clarification please do not hesitate to contact us.

Warmest regards,

Reservations

Discover Croatia | Croatia Cruising & Tours | Croatia Yacht Charter

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Tel: Australia +61 2 9212 1507 or WhatsApp +61 2 9212 1507

Business Hours: Midday-8pm Mon-Fri GMT+10   Varied, responses usually within 48hrs on weekdays.

Post: PO Box 462 | Belrose NSW 2085 | Sydney, Australia
Skype: DiscoverCroatia
Email: [email protected]
Web: www.DiscoverCroatia.com.au
Web: www.CroatiaYachtCharter.com.au
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