Aug 24, 2006 (CIDRAP News) – Avian flu experts in two of the countries with the most human H5N1 avian influenza cases to date—Vietnam and Thailand—are warning that the antiviral drug oseltamivir may mask the infection and complicate laboratory detection.Menno de Jong, a virologist at an Oxford University clinical research unit in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, told Bloomberg News this week that avian influenza may go undetected in patients who take the drug days before testing. An incorrect diagnosis is problematic because it may hamper early detection of disease spread.Some countries are responding to local human H5N1 avian influenza outbreaks by distributing oseltamivir to local citizens. For example, the Jakarta Post reported this week that Indonesia’s health ministry had distributed the drug to 2,100 villagers in Garut, a district in West Java, Indonesia, where three recent cases have been documented and authorities are investigating the possibility of human-to-human transmission.Antiviral drugs such as oseltamivir are designed to reduce the duration of viral replication and should be taken within 48 hours of symptom onset, according to World Health Organization (WHO) recommendations. However, De Jong’s team, which observed 18 cases in Vietnam, found that analysis of nasal and throat swabs taken from patients 48 to 72 hours after beginning oseltamivir treatment was unable to detect the virus.A study of Vietnamese H5N1 cases in a September 2005 issue of The New England Journal of Medicine found that genetic evidence of the H5N1 virus could not be detected in throat swab samples until between 2 and 15 days (median 5.5 days) after illness onset.”If a patient is on oseltamivir for 3 days before the first swab is taken for diagnostic testing, it’s possible the result will be negative, but the patient could be infected,” he told Bloomberg News.To prevent the drug from masking a possible H5N1 virus infection, he advises that patients undergo testing before or soon after taking oseltamivir. Obtaining a swab sample from the patient takes only seconds and should not delay the patient’s treatment, de Jong said.Meanwhile, a public health official in Thailand expressed the same concerns about possible false-negative testing results for the H5N1 virus in patients who take oseltamivir. In an article that appeared in The Nation, a Thai daily newspaper, Paijit Warachit, director-general of the Department of Medical Sciences, said that initial laboratory tests did not detect the H5N1 virus in the country’s two most recent cases.Warachit said the disease progression may be becoming more complicated in humans, or the use of oseltamivir could be complicating the patients’ lab results. He noted that the drug is able only to prevent the virus from replicating, not destroy it, and that little of the virus was in the patients’ respiratory tract for testing.With the last two Thai cases, the avian influenza virus was found to be deeper in the respiratory tract than is typically found with other influenza viruses. Warachit said the medical staff has been told to probe deeper to obtain a complete testing specimen.Since 2004 Thailand’s health ministry has tested more than 4,000 people for the H5N1 avian influenza virus, with a 3% failure rate. However, Warachit said the failure rate has risen to 20% this year. “We need to continue our studies to see whether the virus will become more and more difficult [to detect] in the future,” he noted.See also:Sep 29, 2005, New England Journal of Medicine article on avian influenza in humanshttp://content.nejm.org/cgi/content/full/353/13/1374
(CIDRAP Source) – Whenever my commitment to pandemic preparedness starts to flag, I read something wrongheaded by an opponent of preparedness. Here’s my take on an example from a major medical journal.Controversies breed extremists.We’ve got some on our side. Certain blogs, for example, assert knowingly that an H5N1 pandemic has already started and that the news is being suppressed by corporate lackeys at the World Health Organization and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Blogs by “flu survivalists” debate not just how much food, water, and toilet paper they’ll need to be self-sufficient for a year or more, but also how much ammunition they should stock.As a more moderate advocate of pandemic preparedness, I often find it discouraging to read what the extremists on my side have to say. Their errors, exaggerations, lapses in logic, and occasional paranoia make me want to protest.Reading the other side’s extremists, on the other hand, helps rekindle my commitment to pandemic preparedness. For this purpose I have long recommended the work of Marc Siegel (a New York City internist), Michael Fumento (a syndicated columnist), and Sherri Tenpenny (an Ohio osteopath and alternative medicine advocate). Theirerrors, exaggerations, lapses in logic, and occasional paranoia give me energy.Now I can add Tony Delamothe, deputy editor of BMJ (formerly British Medical Journal). His editorial in the Jun 30 issue, titled “FAFfing About,” certainly got my blood going again and may do the same for you. It begins this way:”Somewhere, I imagine, there’s a small group of people proud to be counted among the Friends of Avian Flu, or FAF for short. I suspect they have a catchy mission statement, such as ‘Keeping the nightmare alive,’ and lapel badges of vaguely bird-likeshape.””Faff,” by the way, is a British colloquial verb meaning dither, futz, diddle, potter about uselessly. “I spent the day faffing about in my room.” That’s pretty much what Delamothe thinks we’re doing.Here are some “highlights” of Delamothe’s six-paragraph editorial.Taking the short viewThe piece presents an insupportable claim that since the H5N1 virus hasn’t yet hit on a mutation that lets it transmit easily from human to human, it obviously hasn’t got what it takes:”Their challenge is to keep bird flu forever in the public eye. This should be getting harder, as influenza H5N1 is proving particularly resistant to undergoing the killer mutation that would allow efficient human to human transmission of the virus.”Keeping people’s attention is getting harder, but not because H5N1 has proved a dud. It’s getting harder in large measure because so many people share Delamothe’s impatient assumption that a disaster that takes its time isn’t coming. The truth is we’ve never before watched a potentially prepandemic flu virus in action. We simply don’t know how many years previous pandemic viruses spent faffing about before they went pandemic.Waiting till it’s too lateThe editorial absurdly implies that it’s unwise to worry about a risk until it materializes full-scale:”Ten years after the strain first appeared in humans, it has killed just 191 people. . . . Although these deaths are a tragedy for the victims and their families, it’s as well toremember that a similar number of people die on the roads world wide every 84 minutes.”As those with firsthand experience with 9/11, Katrina, HIV, or even seatbelts keep trying to tell us, the time for preparedness is before it’s too late. Perplexingly, Delamothe himself makes this point about HIV:”For AIDS, however, it really is apocalypse now. [Skeptics] used to point out that there were more papers on AIDS than people with the condition, but that was a very long time ago. Sixty million people have now been infected with HIV and another [14,000] are acquiring the infection every day.”Without a doubt, AIDS has infected far more people than H5N1; H5N1 is still in the “more papers than cases” stage. There’s also little doubt that if H5N1 does launch a pandemic, the virus will infect a lot more than 60 million people. (One third of the world’s population is a generally accepted rule of thumb, and that means more than 2 billion people would be infected.) And there’s no doubt at all that much more early action on HIV/AIDS, back when there were more AIDS papers than cases, would have been a wise investment.Importantly, it would have been a wise investment even if the AIDS pandemic had never materialized and the investment had been wasted. Preparedness is always about hedging. You prepare for a pandemic the way you buy a fire insurance policy, hoping you won’t ever need it and thinking you probably won’t need it this year. You buy it anyway.Missing the pointThe editorial accuses preparedness proponents of committing a bait-and-switch fraud by oscillating between an obsession with H5N1 and the more general warning that sooner or later some flu strain will launch a pandemic:”H5N1 had been groomed for stardom, but now it can be any influenza strain that becomes pandemic, further details unknown. As influenza pandemics occurred in 1918, 1957, and 1968, another one is likely. But why should we be any more worried in 2007 than in 1997 or 2017?”Four things are all true:H5N1 still looks especially scary to most experts. It is unprecentedly widespread in the bird population; it is unprecedentedly deadly to both birds and humans; it has already proved capable of occasional bird-to-human and human-to-human transmission.Even if H5N1 fizzles, history says one or another flu strain goes pandemic at a rate of roughly three per century.The emergence of H5N1 has provided a teachable moment, a chance to inspire more pandemic preparedness than was feasible in 1997, and perhaps more than will be feasible in 2017.Preparedness for an H5N1 pandemic is also in large measure preparedness for any influenza pandemic (not to mention other emergencies).If it were possible, it would be cost-efficient to wait to prepare until shortly before the next pandemic. But since nobody knows when that will be, the choice is to prepare prematurely or to be unprepared when the need is greatest. The only sort of “pandemic timing” that’s feasible is to focus your preparedness efforts when there’s a novel influenza strain like H5N1 that both experts and the public are eyeing worriedly.A call for less transparencyThe editorial advances the dangerous suggestion that pandemic preparedness should be undertaken secretly:”Couldn’t those responsible for planning for the next pandemic do their planning less publicly and put the frighteners on the rest of us at the appropriate time?”The suggestion is grounded in two fundamental risk communication flaws. First, the assumption that we Friends of Avian Flu are scaring the stuffing out of people is false—false in that most people are barely aware of the pandemic threat, and false in that most people are capable of absorbing new fears, integrating them into their list of fears, acting on them, and then relegating them to a secondary role, all without breaking a sweat, much less going berserk. (See “Scaring people is scary” and “Get your slice of the ‘fearfulness’ pie.”)The second flaw is the wrongheaded notion that it’s possible to prepare for a pandemic without bringing the public along with you. Some aspects of this claim are patently absurd. How can you secretly get stockpiles into people’s homes? How can you secretly prepare employees for their pandemic “emergency duty station”? But even the sorts of pandemic preparedness that corporate and government leaders might imagine they could undertake on their own are profoundly unlikely to work unless the people you’re hoping to help know what you’re up to and have had some input. And in a democracy it’s hard to sustain momentum on an expensive project unless you have built a constituency. (See “Why talk now? The case for communicating with employees before the pandemic arrives.”)Turmoil over terminologyThe editorial carries a weird charge that calling pandemic flu “pandemic flu” is less honest than calling it “avian flu”:”Some of the observations [at a recent conference] were familiar: the inevitability ofthe pandemic and the possibility of drug resistance. But others were relatively new: the terminological mutation from ‘avian flu’ to ‘pandemic flu,’ in recognition of H5N1’s failure to mutate genetically.”Letting the label “avian flu” (or “bird flu”) get applied to the future pandemic virus was a monumental mistake. It has led people to expect that a pandemic will arrive, if it does, on the wings of sick birds—and thus to feel safe as long as local birds are healthy. We haven’t made much progress in correcting that mistake and helping people see the distinctions among the following:Bird flu in birds (a big, current veterinary problem)Bird flu in humans (a small, current public health problem)Pandemic flu in humans (a big, potential public health problem).Teaching people the phrase “pandemic flu” would be a major step forward. (See “The 4 faces of bird flu.”)Lamenting the limelightThe editorial reveals its author’s extraordinary perception that we Friends of Avian Flu are actually winning the war of words:”FAF knows that the best way to generate column inches is high profile scientific conferences with well oiled media machines . . .”At the moment, newspaper column inches and television minutes on pandemic preparedness are, frankly, in the toilet. We FAFfers are either doggedly plugging along or dejectedly waiting for the next teachable moment. Those of us in the public sector are having a hard time hanging on to politicians’ attention. Those of us in the private sector are having a hard time hanging on to top management’s interest. Entrancing the media and the general public is pretty much beyond us right now.The upsideIf you need your pandemic preparedness engines recharged, read “FAFfing About.” Then read the appended “Rapid Responses,” nearly all of them from pandemic preparedness supporters who were wonderfully revved up by Delamothe’s editorial. Thanks. We needed that.An internationally renowned expert in risk communication and crisis communication, Peter Sandman speaks and consults widely on communication aspects of pandemic preparedness. As Deputy Editor of CIDRAP Source, Dr. Sandman contributes original and timely articles on topics of importance to business continuity planners. Most of his risk communication writing is available without charge at the Peter Sandman Risk Communication Web Site, which includes an index of pandemic-related writing on the site.
Feb 22, 2008 (CIDRAP News) – With many of the influenza viruses now infecting people not matched well by this year’s flu vaccine, a US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) advisory committee recommended yesterday that producers use three new flu strains in next season’s vaccine, replacing all three components of this year’s version.FDA officials reported that the agency’s Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee voted unanimously to follow the lead of the World Health Organization (WHO), which recommended last week that all three strains of this year’s vaccine for the northern hemisphere be replaced for next season.”FDA will now take the recommendation and make a final decision quickly,” FDA spokeswoman Peper Long told CIDRAP News.Changing one or two strains in the vaccine is not unusual, but Dr. Nancy Cox, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) influenza division, said changing all three is unprecedented.”This sounds like a major change, because this really hasn’t occurred before,” Cox said at a news briefing this afternoon. She said the change may not be as difficult for vaccine manufacturers as it might seem, because they have already had some experience with two of the strains, but how well the strains will grow is unpredictable.The flu vaccine is reformulated each year to try to keep pace with the fast-evolving viruses. The WHO and FDA recommend the strains for the vaccine in February to give manufacturers time to grow the viruses in chicken eggs and process them into vaccine doses. The choice of strains is an annual gamble, since the predominant viruses may differ from those in the vaccine, but most years the vaccine is reasonably on target.The three flu virus varieties in the vaccine include a type A/H1N1, type A/H3N2, and a type B. Last week the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said that most of the H3N2 and B viruses it has analyzed this winter differed from the corresponding strains in the vaccine, but most of the H1N1 viruses tested so far continue to match up well with the vaccine.However, the WHO recommended replacing all three strains for next year’s vaccine, saying that the majority of recent H1N1 isolates differ from the H1N1 strain in the vaccine. At today’s briefing, Cox explained that in Europe, where H1N1 viruses are predominant this winter, they are “not so well matched with the vaccine.”The three strains recommended by the WHO and now by the FDA committee are:For the H1N1 component, a strain similar to A/Brisbane/59/2007, replacing A/Solomon Islands/3/2006For H3N2, an A/Brisbane/10/2007-like strain, replacing A/Wisconsin/67/2005For the B component, a B/Florida/4/2006-like strain, replacing B/Malaysia 2506/2004The Brisbane strains of H1N1 and H3N2 will be used in this year’s vaccine for the southern hemisphere, where the flu season runs from May through October, according to the WHO.Cox said that because the Brisbane H1N1 and H3N2 strains were picked for this year’s southern hemisphere vaccine, vaccine manufacturers already have had a chance to obtain and work with them, which should help them produce the new northern hemisphere vaccine.Experts were concerned about the Brisbane H3N2 strain a year ago, but it was not possible to add it to the vaccine at that point, Cox said. “Unfortunately, we did not have a viable egg isolate that could be used by the manufacturers, so it was necessary to continue to use the Wisconsin/67 strain in the vaccine,” she said.An Associated Press (AP) report published yesterday said producers of the southern hemisphere vaccine have found that the Brisbane H3N2 strain doesn’t grow very quickly in the laboratory. Cox said scientists are working on possible solutions to the problem of growing the strain, such as using a very similar virus found in Uruguay, the story said.At today’s briefing, Cox said, “One of the great limiting factors [in vaccine production] is how well the virus strains grow, and of course when you change strains, the growth properties are inherently unpredictable.”Of the flu viruses analyzed by the CDC so far this season, about 83% have been type A and about 16% have been type B, which tends to cause milder illness than type A, Cox said.Of the type A viruses, 63% have been H3N2 and 37% have been H1N1, she reported. H1N1 viruses—which in the United States have been well matched by the vaccine—predominated until early January, but since then the situation has reversed. Seasons in which H3N2 viruses are predominant tend to be more severe than those in which H1N1 strains predominate, experts say.See also: Feb 14 CIDRAP News story “WHO advises total makeover for 2008-09 flu vaccine”CDC’s weekly flu surveillance reporthttp://www.cdc.gov/flu/weekly/index.htm
They calculated a place-based vulnerability index (PVI), which includes measures of social and built-in vulnerabilities, as well as a community’s experience in responding to extreme events. Mar 11, 2008 (CIDRAP News) Researchers who specialize in geography and environmental risk recently assessed the vulnerability of the nation’s major urban areas to terrorism events and found that the highest risk areas were broadly located across the eastern and southern seaboards. The researchers, led by Walter Piegorsch, PhD, an environmental risk expert from the University of Arizona, based their benchmark risk assessment on data from past terrorist incidents and several environmental factors. For example, when considering infrastructure vulnerability, they considered bridges, tunnels, and water and sewer systems, along with the robustness of buildings and skyscrapers to sudden shocks. They also factored the age of roads and housing into their risk analysis, according to the report. Piegorsch WW, Cutter SL, Hardisty F. Benchmark analysis for quantifying urban vulnerability. Risk Analysis 2007;27(6):1411-25 [Abstract] The findings of the study contain useful information for cities that seek to lower their risk of a terrorist attack, the authors said. They also said the results may help officials prioritize national and regional funding for homeland security preparedness and response. Cities that were assessed as having the highest terrorist attack risks exceeded the authors’ statistical benchmarks for casualties and incidence. Locations that were ranked as moderate risks exceeded only the incidence benchmark. Those that scored lowest on the risk assessment did not exceed either benchmark. Locations with the greatest risks had PVIs higher than 0.917, and 19 cities exceeded that measure. Some of the cities that scored highest include New Orleans, Baton Rouge, La., New York City/Newark, Charleston, S.C, Norfolk, Va., and Washington, D.C. The authors pointed out that the cities with the highest risk are port cities. A national map showing the color-coded risk assessment for each of the 132 towns is available on a press release link on the University of Arizona’s Web site. See also: The study, published in the December issue of Risk Analysis, was funded by the US Department of Homeland Security, according to a Mar 3 press release from the University of Arizona. Researchers focused on 132 cities that the US government believes are at highest risk to terrorism incidents, ranging from Albany, N.Y., to Youngstown, Ohio. “Our capacity to adequately prepare for and respond to these vulnerabilities varies widely across the country, especially in urban areas,” they wrote. “We see that ‘place matters,’ and so anyone-size-fits-all strategy of resource allocation and training will ignore the reality of geographic differences.” Mar 3 University of Arizona press releasehttp://uanews.org/node/18586
Sep 15, 2009 (CIDRAP News) – The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) today announced approval of four of the five different versions of the pandemic H1N1 vaccine ordered by the US government, helping to pave the way for a vaccination campaign expected to start in October.The FDA approved injectable vaccines made by CSL Limited, Novartis, and Sanofi Pasteur, and the nasal-spray vaccine made by MedImmune. The government also has ordered an H1N1 vaccine from GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), but today’s announcement did not include the GSK vaccine.The announcement comes a few days after the first preliminary clinical trial results indicated that one 15-microgram dose of the injectable vaccine generates a strong immune response in adults. Initial findings in children are still awaited.The Novartis, Sanofi, and MedImmune vaccines are approved for both adults and children, while the CSL vaccine is indicated only for adults, FDA spokeswoman Peper Long told CIDRAP News today.Long said the approvals call for two doses of vaccine given about a month apart for children younger than 9 or 10 years, depending on the manufacturer. One dose is indicated for older children and adults for all the vaccines, she said. The dosing recommendations for children will be updated if warranted by the results of the clinical trials, an FDA news release stated.In the news release, FDA Commissioner Margaret A. Hamburg hailed the vaccine approvals as “good news for our nation’s response to the 2009 H1N1 influenza virus,” adding, “This vaccine will help protect individuals from serious illness and death from influenza.”In approving the vaccines, the FDA used the same process it uses in approving strain changes in seasonal flu vaccines.”The H1N1 vaccines approved today undergo the same rigorous FDA manufacturing oversight, product quality testing and lot release procedures that apply to seasonal influenza vaccines,” Jesse Goodman, MD, the FDA’s acting chief scientist, said in the FDA release.Long indicated that the vaccines approved today do not contain adjuvants (chemical additives to boost immune response). “Generally if there is a vaccine that is adjuvanted, that can’t be licensed as a strain change supplement,” she said.Novartis and GSK are both testing H1N1 vaccines with and without adjuvants. No adjuvanted flu vaccines have been approved or used in the United States, and hence such products are expected to require additional safety review.Long said she couldn’t comment specifically on why GSK’s vaccine was not included in today’s approval, because the application is still under review.MedImmune, unlike the other companies, has not yet reported any clinical trial results concerning immunogenicity for its vaccine, which uses a live but weakened virus. MedImmune spokeswoman Karen Lancaster said the company has preliminary findings indicating the vaccine has a safety profile like that of the company’s licensed seasonal vaccine, FluMist, but the immunogenicity data are still awaited.The FDA said the approved vaccines are being produced in formulations both with and without thimerosal, a mercury-containing preservative.”In the ongoing clinical studies, the vaccines have been well tolerated,” the agency said. “Potential side effects of the vaccines are expected to be similar to those of seasonal flu vaccines.” People with severe allergies to chicken eggs should not be vaccinated, since the vaccines are grown in eggs, the FDA noted.Regarding the dosing indications by age-group, Long said the approvals recommend the following, which are the same as for the companies’ seasonal flu vaccines:For the Novartis vaccine, 2 doses for children aged 4 through 8 years, and one dose for older children and adultsFor the Sanofi vaccine, two doses for children aged 6 months through 8 years; one dose for older children and adultsFor the MedImmune vaccine, two doses for children 2 through 9 years old; one dose for older children and for adults through age 49For the CSL vaccine, one dose for adults (18 and older)The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has ordered about 195 million doses of H1N1 vaccine. According to a recent federal report, Novartis is expected to contribute 45.7% of that, Sanofi 26.4%, CSL 18.7%, MedImmune 5.8%, and GSK 3.4%.HHS officials have been predicting that the first 45 million doses will become available in mid October. Today HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius repeated that prediction, but told Congress that limited supplies should start trickling out in the first week of October, according to an Associated Press report.Lancaster said MedImmune could make doses available before the end of this month, pending FDA lot releases and related instructions.See also: Sep 15 FDA announcementhttp://www.fda.gov/NewsEvents/Newsroom/PressAnnouncements/ucm182399.htmSep 15 Sanofi releasehttp://www.vaccineplace.com/docs/FDA_licensure_H1N1_vaccine.pdfSep 10 CIDRAP News story “Early results suggest 1 dose of H1N1 vaccine may be protective”
At the end of June, we announced the start of the first UNWTO competition for tourism startups, and now we bring good news for all participants in this unique project.Applications for the project, which was realized in cooperation World Tourism Organization i More globally, otherwise a leading tourism association with over 15.000 employees in over 20 countries, started on June 26 and lasts until September 3. The UNWTO reports that during the official celebration World Tourism Day, Sept. 27, to announce the semifinalists of the project. Namely, this initiative, the first and largest of its kind undertaken in the world, is dedicated to recognizing new companies that are transforming the tourism sector through their activities. The competition was conducted in 164 countries with the aim of finding the best innovative solutions and projects of high transformative potential. The project opens the possibility for start-up entrepreneurs in the sector to implement new and revolutionary technologies in tourism and to highlight those startups that operate on the basis of new business models, such as the circular economy.The mentioned business models refer to one of the four main areas: the future of travel, quality of tourist experience, ecology or community development, and the received applications were evaluated by an expert jury according to the criteria of uniqueness and sustainability of the solution. , business model, growth ability and profile of the team implementing it.In September, we will find out the names of the most successful of them on a rather symbolic date.World Tourism Day is celebrated around the world every September 27, and it aims to uniquely portray and raise public awareness of the current and potential contribution of tourism in terms of the concept of sustainable development. This year’s UNWTO is being held in Budapest, Hungary, focusing on the importance of digital technologies in tourism, creating space for revolutionary innovation and preparing the sector for future work.”The introduction of innovation and the digital heritage, among other goals within the broader philosophy of sustainable development, opens up opportunities for tourism to become more involved in community life, to strengthen the local community and to manage resources efficiently.”Said UNWTO Secretary-General Zur Pololikashvili.Therefore, at the World Tourism Day commemoration, efforts will be made to define how new technologies such as artificial intelligence and digital platforms can help tourism achieve sustainable development. The World Tourism Organization considers digital progress and innovation as part of a solution that will successfully tackle the challenges of today and continuous development in a sustainable and responsible way.Although the memorial is celebrated all over the world, the official celebration is in Budapest, because Hungary has in recent years become a country that enjoys the continuous development of tourism, and which is persistently supported by politics and trust in modern digital technologies.Related news:UNWTO RELEASES SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT PLATFORM THROUGH TOURISM
This is certainly another top sporting event that will encourage a large arrival of fans in destinations, and which, as always, will generate significant tourist spending in January 2025. “We are very happy to have won this championship. This is the first time in history that it has been jointly organized by three countries. Every country, in addition to being a strong handball nation, also has extremely extensive experience in organizing the biggest competitions. I have no doubt that Croatia will once again be a great host as it was in 2003 and 2009 when we organized first the women’s and then the men’s championship. The guiding thought, which we offered and promoted during the campaign, is to bring children back to the halls, to enable them to play sports, and especially handball. The IHF recognized this and gave us credit for the idea. We will work on it a lot in the coming years. ” said Tomislav Grahovac, president of the Croatian Handball Federation. Zagreb, Split, Varazdin, Porec i Dubrovnik on the one hand, Copenhagen and Herning, on the other, and Trondheim, Stavanger or Dramen, or Oslo on the third, will host the competition. He will participate in the championship 32 national teams, and according to the plan of the competition itself, four groups of pre-competitions would be held in Croatia, and two each in Denmark and Norway. In the second round of the competition there are four main groups and the President Cup. Croatia did the best here as well, winning two main groups and the President’s Cup, and Denmark and Norway one each. Consequently, two quarterfinals and one semifinal would be played in our country, hopefully with Croatia in the lead role. The other two quarterfinals and one semifinal belong to Denmark (one quarterfinal) and the rest to Norway. The city of Oslo would host the final weekend. The Board of Directors of the World Handball Federation (IHF) accepted the candidacy of Croatia, Denmark and Norway and awarded them the organization of the World Men’s Handball Championship in 2025.
The coronavirus pandemic causes great damage to all segments of the Croatian economy on a daily basis, with the tourism sector among the most affected. This year will be especially demanding for tourist shipping companies. According to the information coming from the shipowners, the works on the ships that are in the new construction have been stopped and everything has been in a complete standstill for the last month. “At the moment, in the situation caused by the coronavirus, Dalmatian shipowners are struggling to keep their current reservations by postponing them for some time and by applying to government measures and agreements with banks, regarding extremely large loans that are a condition for building, renovating and preparing ships for the season. to get through this difficult and uncertain period,” navodi predsjednik HGK – Županijske komore Split Joze Tomaš, which is the seat of the National Association of Tourist Shipping Companies HGK. This growth was expected this year as well, when it is estimated that about 15 new tourist ships were to set sail in the Split-Dalmatia County and five more from other coastal counties. Therefore, the shipowners hope that they will be met and that the banks will have understanding and approve a moratorium on loans for a minimum of one year. Even shipowners who are not in credit obligations this situation will force them to take out loans to cover current liabilities and retain the workforce. In proportion to the number of new ships on the market, the number of passengers in tourist shipping grew from year to year, and according to the Port of Split, the third largest in the Mediterranean, last year the number of passengers increased by 20%. Mali brodari traže moratorij na kredite na godinu dana – At the moment, the stalemate is still complete, and how much the current loss is confirmed by one of the leading travel agencies in Croatia, Katarina line, known for cruising the Adriatic in luxury ships, which in normal circumstances in this period would be about 15 days had part of the ships outside the home ports, with the first guests and groups. President of the Association of Tourist Shipping Companies of the Croatian Chamber of Commerce Ante Rakuljić emphasizes that these ships are a real Croatian product, from construction and equipment to servicing in Croatian shipyards, employment of almost exclusively Croatian seafarers and the offer of domestic food and Croatian products. A difficult business year is certain, and a complete absence of the season for shipowners is possible. If it is not possible to fully return to the old, shipowners believe that they will be able to adapt to new business conditions in terms of maintaining distance and hygiene, but this will require additional modifications and investments, which means new responsibilities and reduced capacity and number of passengers.
“In our restaurants and accommodation we invest great effort to ensure that our guests have a top holiday experience in Croatia, our food, culture and natural beauty. We and our employees do our best to serve our guests with maximum quality and safety, while respecting all disinfection and distancing measures and the use of prescribed protective equipment. Croatia must be open, but it must also be safe, we take care of that every day.”Said Gordana Fabijanić, owner of the famous tavern Didova Kuća on Pag, which has been one of the recommended restaurants in the famous Gault & Millau guide for years. Gordana is also a member of the UGP’s Catering and Tourism Committee ASSOCIATION VOICE OF ENTREPRENEURS: HOLIDAYS IN CROATIA ARE SAFE! Croatian tourism workers, caterers and entrepreneurs have decided to react in an affirmative way and send a positive message to the world: Holidays in Croatia are safe! #CroatiaIsSafe This year, too, the tourist season on the Adriatic is filling newspaper columns, but not for good. Failures in the organization of the tennis tournament in Zadar without adherence to the prescribed protection measures and inadequate reaction after the first news about the infected competitors endangered the little tourist season we had hoped for. The UGP is still optimistic and believes that # CroatiaMay save the season, protect the health of its citizens and guests, provide hospitality to all and move forward. Holidays in Croatia are safe because caterers and tourism workers are responsible, and we want the whole world to see it with the slogan #CroatiaIsSafe, emphasize from UGP. Unfortunately, after the news about coronavirus-positive tennis players ravaged all world media and caused very negative reactions about the epidemiological situation in Croatia, there was no timely reaction from the Ministry of Tourism and CNTB, as well as any form of communication with potential guests from abroad. extinguishing the media fire, they point out from the Association of Voices of Entrepreneurs and add that they demand full focus of the Government and readiness to manage the crisis situation. Numerous tourists, over 200.000 of them, have been able to see the top professionalism of Croatian tourist workers and caterers on the Adriatic in recent days. Because of all this, UGP members, tourism workers and caterers, decided to send a message to domestic and foreign tourists: “Croatia is safe, and we are professional and we follow safety recommendations!” “We want to convey the message to all media in the world and in Croatia that Croatian tourism workers and caterers adhere to recommendations and regulations related to preventing the spread of coronavirus and we urge all tourists to come to Croatia and EU countries not to close borders with Croatia. We are serious and professionaland.” said Vedran Jakominić, a member of the Committee for Hospitality and Tourism of UGP. “We have repeatedly warned that the elections were called at the wrong time and every day this statement is becoming more and more accurate. The Voice of Entrepreneurs Association brings together numerous entrepreneurs engaged in tourism, catering and related activities. We will do everything in our power to save the tourist season and the livelihood of our employees. Some EU countries, such as Slovenia and Austria, have already announced the possibility of re-closing their borders with Croatia, and many reservations that tourism workers have been fighting for in recent months have been literally canceled overnight. The damage done to tourism and the economy is great. ” stand out from UGP. Photo: Split-Dalmatia County Tourist Board
Photo: Casanova Tour, Istra Inspirit Vir, Rovinj and Medulin they are the leading destinations during July and August, according to the total turnover measured by overnight stays. Porec, Rovinj and Dubrovnik they recorded the most hotel nights. Crikvenica is a leading destination family accommodation, in front of Rab and Medulin camping, leading her Rovinj, in front of Funtana and Tara. In July and August, we realized 5.2 million arrivals or 54% of turnover at the level of 2019, while 39.8 million overnight stays or 62 percent of overnight stays were realized in July and August compared to 2019. See the entire presentation in the attachment. Today, the Ministry of Tourism and Sports presented the results of the current part of the tourist year and announced plans and activities for the coming period. During the first eight months of 2020, most overnight stays were realized in Istria (11,9 million), in the Primorje-Gorski Kotar County (9,7 million), while in Zadar County 8,6 million overnight stays were realized. They are followed by Split-Dalmatia County with 8,3 million overnight stays and Šibenik-Knin County with 3,6 million overnight stays. Dubrovnik-Neretva County realized 2,5 million overnight stays, Lika-Senj County 1,7 million overnight stays, while Zagreb realized 550.000 overnight stays and other continental counties 835.000 overnight stays. At the national level, during the first eight months, most overnight stays were realized from the markets of Germany (11,2 million), Slovenia (7,6 million), Poland (4 million), the Czech Republic (3,1 million), Austria (2,3 million) , Italy (1,4 million), Hungary (1,3 million) and Slovakia (1,1 million), and looking at the accommodation segment, most overnight stays were realized in household facilities (20,3 million) and campsites million) and hotels (7,9 million). The top destinations in the first eight months according to the criteria of realized overnight stays are Vir, Rovinj, Medulin, Poreč, Crikvenica and Mali Lošinj. When looking at the results from the beginning of the year to the end of August (January – August) compared to the same period in 2019, there were 6,8 million arrivals (41% at the 2019 level) and 47,5 million overnight stays (53%). Of that, foreign tourists realized 5,5 million arrivals and 38,3 million overnight stays, while domestic tourists realized 1,3 million arrivals and 9,2 million overnight stays. So far this year, 53 percent of last year’s result in the same period In the period July-August, the most successful index of tourist traffic, compared to 2019, was recorded local market, and then Poland, Slovenia, Germany and the Czech Republic. Side dish: Analysis of tourist traffic and review of activities carried out during July and August 2020 When looking at the types of accommodation, hotels are at 40% of traffic compared to last year, campsites at 57%, facilities in households and family farms at 66% and nautical charter at the level of 70%. Nikolina Brnjac, Minister of Tourism and Sports: Behind us, given the circumstances, is a very successful eight months of the tourist year The current results of tourist traffic in Croatia have exceeded the initial forecasts of the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) on the realization of 30 percent of last year’s tourist traffic, she emphasized in the introduction. Minister of Tourism and Sports Nikolina Brnjac and added that behind us, given the circumstances, is a very successful eight months of the tourist year in which our tourism workers and those working in tourism-related activities have once again shown that they are extremely adaptable and innovative. “This Government recognizes tourism and all the measures taken so far, from the very beginning of the pandemic, before the summer and now for the rest of the year, in which we have worked with many stakeholders inside and outside the sector, have laid the groundwork for these results. We are now facing the realization of the rest of the tourist year and preparation for next year, the development of a new strategic document and a series of activities aimed at maintaining the stability of the tourist system, strengthening its resilience and accelerating the recovery process. Our wish is for tourism to be an instrument and a model as it has been so far, for the development of the economy and the encouragement of other industries.” Brnjac points out. In the main summer part of the tourist year, we achieved an excellent result, which ranks Croatia at the top of the Mediterranean in terms of tourist traffic, said the director of the CNTB Kristjan Staničić and added: “Final preparations are underway for the implementation of activities aimed at promoting the post-season, during which we will focus on nautical, continental offer, eno-gastronomy and the offer of Croatian national parks and nature parks. Also, through September, we will conduct a campaign in our most important markets, as part of which we will express our gratitude to all tourists for their trust in choosing Croatian destinations for their destinations this year. We are also working very intensively on preparations for 2021, in which we will position Croatia even more strongly as a safe tourist destination with a focus on the markets that reacted best to promotional activities this year, such as Germany, Slovenia, Austria, Poland, Czech Republic, Italy, Slovakia and Hungary” Istria County leads, followed by Primorje-Gorski Kotar and Split-Dalmatia County in the number of arrivals and overnight stays, and in July and August the Zadar and Kvarner clusters lead the most in terms of clusters, while the lowest rates are recorded in Zagreb and Dubrovnik, which are related to air traffic.