Local tourism industry groups are calling for authorities to drop border entry requirements for minors up to 12 years of age this summer, allowing them to visit the country without a negative coronavirus test - currently required for all children older than 7, Jutarnji List daily said on Friday.
“The April decision of the national Covid-19 task force to allow all vaccinated persons to cross the border without mandatory quarantines or testing was very important for domestic tourism, but as the season approaches, the sector is aware that there are still many obstacles to achieving significant tourist turnover,” Jutarnji List said.
The “most significant obstacle,” Jutarnji List said, are children aged 7-16 entering the country. They still cannot be vaccinated in their home countries because vaccines approved in the EU have only been registered for use on people above 16 years of age, and they are not exempted from mandatory quarantines or PCR tests upon arrival.
Currently, all children up to the age of seven are exempted from the rule requiring incoming visitors to present a negative Covid test, or a certificate of recovery from Covid-19, or a certificate of vaccination when crossing the border – which makese it much more difficult or expensive for foreign families with older children to come to Croatia this summer.
Last year, according to data from the national tourist board, children aged 7-16 generated 890,000 arrivals and slightly over seven million overnight stays, which is 16 percent of the 43 million overnight stays generated by foreign tourists last year.
Several local tourism industry associations have formally asked national health authorities ten days ago to waive the rules for all children under the age of 12, Jutarnji List reported. Croatia’s state agency Hina, which carried the article, did not say if or when this request might be approved.
Children aged 7-16 account for one in six of all overnight stays generated by foreign tourists in Croatia, and taking into account that those children have two parents accompanying them, the implications for domestic tourism, if the conditions do not change, could be drastic, Jutarnji List said.