Research undertaken by ForwardKeys has illustrated a measure of pent-up demand for travel between Hong Kong and Singapore. The two cities outlined plans for a ‘travel bubble’ in the middle of last month, raising hopes for a limited reopening of borders. – Advertisement – When it comes to tickets, travel has been booked throughout December, with the 18th-25th being the peak travel dates. Unsurprisingly, the vast majority of people, over 80 per cent, will be travelling for leisure or to visit friends and relatives. Deeper analysis by ForwardKeys suggests that tourism-dependent retailers based in Hong Kong are likely to be significantly happier than their counterparts in Singapore, because the immediate uplift in flight bookings from Singapore to Hong Kong is more than three times higher than in the opposite direction.- Advertisement – The in-principle agreement to establish a bilateral air travel corridor this month caused an uptick in interest in the potential route.In the week that followed, flight searches for travel from Singapore to Hong Kong, which had been flat since the beginning of the Covid-19 crisis, soared to 50 per cent of 2019 levels, while bookings jumped to 30 per cent.The main focus of travellers’ interest is the Christmas holiday period, with the peak dates for flight searches to Hong Kong covering the weeks of December 10th, 17th and 24th.- Advertisement – On March 23rd, Singapore and Hong Kong announced that their borders would be closed to all foreign travellers. Since then, it has been almost impossible to fly between the two places (or anywhere else) and hardly anybody has been searching or booking travel.Jameson Wong, APAC director, ForwardKeys commented: “This bilateral air travel bubble is a milestone arrangement as it will be the first moment international leisure travel is permitted again in our region. “The immediate rush of bookings is significant because it proves that people want to travel and they will travel, as soon as the right safety protocols are put in place and government-imposed travel restrictions are lifted. “Our findings will provide a much-needed breath of fresh air and hope to the multitude of businesses and individuals that rely on travellers for income. “We can expect material gains in travel demand, certainly more than what we are tracking right now, when the policy is implemented and when the precise details of the Singapore-Hong Kong travel bubble are announced. “I am confident that other countries in the region will see this as a case study to guide their own travel facilitation initiatives in the near future.” OlderIATA data reveals slowdown in aviation recovery – Advertisement –
Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney and elections officials held a press conference to answer questions about the remaining ballots and Biden’s widening lead in the Keystone State. Kenney was blunt in his assessment, saying it was time for Donald Trump to “put his big-boy pants on and acknowledge he lost.” Mayor Kenney pulling no punches:- Advertisement – – Advertisement –
– Advertisement – ISRO has put up a live feed of the launch on Twitter. The space organisation also tweeted that all nine customer satellites separated successfully and has been injected into their planned orbit.EOS-01 is intended for applications in agriculture, forestry and disaster management support, ISRO said. The customer satellites are from Lithuania (1), Luxembourg (4) and the US (4). ISRO said that the customer satellites are being launched under a commercial agreement with NewSpace India Limited (NSIL), Department of Space.Due to COVID-19, the launch viewing gallery remained closed during the launch.- Advertisement – For the latest tech news and reviews, follow Gadgets 360 on Twitter, Facebook, and Google News. For the latest videos on gadgets and tech, subscribe to our YouTube channel.Related Stories India’s PSLV-C49 carrying its latest earth observation satellite EOS-01 and nine customer satellites lifted off from the spaceport here on Saturday. The Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV-C49/EOS-01) blasted off from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota at 3:12pm at the end of a 26-hour countdown.The lift off was originally scheduled for 3:02pm but was delayed by 10 minutes due to debris on the path of the vehicle, ISRO said. This is the first mission by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) this year.- Advertisement –
A selection of EA titles available on Xbox Game PassPhoto Credit: EA/Microsoft With Xbox Series S/X launching Tuesday globally, EA Play — the subscription offering previously known as EA Access / Origin Access — will join Xbox Game Pass on the same day. That will give Xbox owners, be it those on Xbox One or Series S/X, access to dozens of titles from the EA Play vault, including FIFA 20, Need for Speed Heat, Battlefield V, and new entrant Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order, available Tuesday on EA Play. Some titles will also be on Android via cloud gaming. Alongside, Microsoft has announced an exact launch date for EA Play on Xbox Game Pass for PC: it’s coming December 15.EA Play is a complimentary offering for all Xbox Game Pass members. That means you don’t have to fork over anything more than what you are already paying for Xbox Game Pass, which costs Rs. 489 / $10 per month on both PC and console. These are separate subscriptions. Xbox Game Pass Ultimate, which includes both Xbox Game Pass for PC and Xbox Game Pass for Console, in addition to free perks, Xbox Live Gold, and cloud gaming (in select markets) costs Rs. 699 / $15 per month. By itself, EA Play costs Rs. 315 / $5 per month, or Rs. 1,990 / $30 per year.- Advertisement – – Advertisement – As for those who enjoy the benefits of Xbox Game Pass on Android — cloud gaming is available in 22 countries, including the likes of Canada, France, Germany, Ireland, Korea, Spain, the UK, and the US — EA Play will come with seven titles on Tuesday, November 10. Dragon Age: Inquisition, Madden NFL 20, Mass Effect: Andromeda, Mirror’s Edge Catalyst, Plants vs. Zombies Garden Warfare 2, The Sims 4, and Unravel 2 are on the list.“We want players to access the games and in-game benefits they want, in the easiest way possible,” EA content strategy and partnerships senior director Autumn Brown said in a prepared statement. “This partnership with Xbox makes an impressive library of great Xbox and EA content more readily accessible. Our goal is to give players more choice to get more of what they love, and this is a way to do that.”EA Play goes live Tuesday on Xbox Game Pass for console and Android, and will be available December 15 on Xbox Game Pass for PC.- Advertisement – For Xbox Game Pass for PC members, EA Play titles will be available via the EA Desktop app — currently in beta — on Windows 10. Over 60 EA titles can be downloaded and played, from franchises such as The Sims, Mass Effect, Mirror’s Edge, Skate, Titanfall, Battlefield, Need for Speed, and FIFA.EA titles available via cloud gaming on Xbox Game Pass UltimatePhoto Credit: EA/Microsoft- Advertisement –
VaxGen Inc., Brisbane, Calif., won the contract to produce and deliver the new vaccine within 3 years, Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Tommy Thompson announced in a teleconference this afternoon. Nov 4 HHS news releasehttp://archive.hhs.gov/news/press/2004pres/20041104a.html Russell said development of the vaccine began more than a decade ago at the US Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases in Maryland. “We have a lot of faith in this vaccine,” he said. “It’s the right way to protect the country from anthrax.” Thompson said the vaccine contract is the first to be issued under the new Project Bioshield, enacted by Congress last July to provide incentives for the production of medical countermeasures against bioterrorism. The law authorizes the government to guarantee it will buy promising vaccines, drugs, and diagnostics for biodefense. The NIAID began funding the development of rPA vaccine in September 2002, the HHS statement said. VaxGen and Avecia, based in Manchester, England, initially won contracts to develop the vaccine. In October 2003 each company won a contract to produce 3 million doses. Referring to the production of the new vaccine, Fauci said, “We’re just getting recombinant DNA technology to spit out a bunch of purified protein that’s identical to the protein the microbe itself would make.” Mar 12, 2004, CIDRAP News story, “HHS to buy up to 75 million doses of new anthrax vaccine” The vaccine consists of a purified form of recombinant protective antigen (rPA), one of three components of the toxin produced by anthrax, HHS said in a news release. The substance triggers antibodies that neutralize anthrax toxin. Lance Gordon, VaxGen president and CEO, said the contract requires the company to deliver the first 25 million doses within 2 years and all 75 million doses within 3 years. The company hopes to begin delivering the first doses early in 2006, according to a news release. The company said vaccine delivered before FDA licensing could be used in an emergency with HHS approval. The contract requires VaxGen to secure an FDA license for use of the vaccine in preexposure and postexposure contexts, HHS reported. Editor’s note: A correction was made in this story Nov 9 to note that the existing licensed anthrax vaccine contains the natural rather than recombinant form of anthrax protective antigen. “Evidence from laboratory and animal research has shown that the rPA vaccine is effective in providing protection against aerosol exposure to deadly anthrax spores,” the HHS statement said. “In addition, clinical testing has shown the rPA vaccine to be safe in humans.” Anthony S. Fauci, MD, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), said the new vaccine is a more purified product than the existing licensed vaccine, called anthrax vaccine adsorbed (AVA), in that it contains “just the most immunogenic component.” AVA also has anthrax protective antigen, but the vaccine is derived from whole anthrax microbes and therefore contains a mixture of other things as well, he said. The hope is that the vaccine will provide protection with three doses, so that 75 million doses would be enough for 25 million people. The existing vaccine used by the Department of Defense (DoD) requires six doses over 18 months, followed by annual boosters. Last March HHS announced its intention to award a contract for production of 75 million doses and called for submission of proposals by Apr 16. Today’s announcement did not mention Avecia. DoD has been requiring personnel serving in the Middle East to be vaccinated, but the vaccination program was suspended Oct 27 because of a federal court ruling. A judge ruled that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) did not follow proper procedures in licensing the vaccine for inhalational anthrax. Hundreds of troops have resisted the vaccination because of concerns about possible side effects. In the teleconference, officials declined to say whether DoD will use the new vaccine for its personnel. “As far as I know, the military will make its own decision,” said Phillip Russell, a medical advisor to Thompson. The vaccine will go into the Strategic National Stockpile and be reserved for emergency use, Thompson said. Nov 4, 2004 (CIDRAP News) Federal health officials today announced the award of an $877 million contract for 75 million doses of a new anthrax vaccine to protect the public and improve on the existing vaccine used by the military. See also:
Apr 5, 2007 (CIDRAP News) – CSL Biotherapies, the US branch of an Australian vaccine producer, announced this week it has applied for Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval to market a seasonal influenza vaccine in the United States.The company, with US headquarters in King of Prussia, Pa., has requested an expedited review from the FDA, with the intention of having the vaccine ready for distribution for the 2007-08 flu season, company spokeswoman Sheila Burke told CIDRAP News by e-mail. The number of doses to be made available is yet to be determined and will depend on the FDA approval and antigen yields from various virus strains.”By extending our influenza vaccine franchise into more geographies, including the U.S., our goal is to help address a large and growing critical public health need,” said Paul Perreault, executive vice president of CSL Biotherapies worldwide commercial operations, in a press release.The flu vaccine, which is intended for people 18 years and older, is a purified, inactivated, trivalent vaccine made in embryonated eggs. It will be available in both single-dose, thimerosal-free, prefilled syringes and in multi-dose vials.A clinical trial sponsored by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and involving 1,359 adults at nine sites began last June to test the vaccine’s safety and immunogenicity. Results of the phase 3 study have not yet been published, Burke said.There have been 26 clinical trials of the vaccine in various countries, according to a June 2006 CSL press release. The company already supplies the vaccine in 16 other countries, including the United Kingdom.The vaccine will be manufactured in Melbourne, Australia, at the facilities of CSL Limited, the parent company. It will then be finished in Marburg, Germany and distributed out of Kankakee, Ill., Burke reported.CSL Limited plans to invest $60 million to double the capacity of the Melbourne facility to about 40 million doses per season, according to a company statement released in February. After the expansion project, the company plans to supply up to 20 million doses per season to the US market, the statement said.With FDA approval, CSL Biotherapies would become the fifth provider of seasonal flu vaccines in the United States, joining Sanofi Pasteur, GlaxoSmithKline, Novartis, and MedImmune. The four companies distributed more than 100 million doses of vaccine for the 2006-07 season, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.See also:April 3 CSL news releaseCSL Biotherapies Submits BLA to Introduce Flu Vaccine to U.S. MarketFeb 7 CSL news releaseCSL to Seek Approval for US Flu Vaccine June 5, 2006, CSL news releaseFlu Vaccine Trial Begins
Aug 18, 2009 (CIDRAP News) – Half a century ago, scientists reported evidence of some curious behavior by the immune system in humans and animals: If a host was exposed to an influenza virus and later encountered a variant strain of the same virus, the immune system responded to the second attack largely with the same weapons it used against the first one.Like an army still fighting by the tactics of the last war, the host immune system mostly produced antibodies matched to the first virus instead of the second, resulting in a less effective defense. With a nod to theology, this phenomenon was labeled “original antigenic sin.”Today, in the face of the pandemic H1N1 flu virus, many countries are preparing to launch H1N1 vaccination campaigns this fall. Millions of people are in groups recommended to receive both seasonal flu immunizations and H1N1 vaccinations. Seasonal flu vaccine—which contains an H1N1 component, distantly related to the novel H1N1 virus—will be available sooner in most places.This timing has caused some observers to wonder: If a person gets a seasonal flu shot and then an H1N1 dose a few weeks later, will original antigenic sin come into play and cause a poor response to the H1N1 vaccine?Nobody knows the answer for sure, but leading flu and immunization experts say they aren’t especially worried at this point. At the same time, they suggest the possibility bears watching.”For the time being there is no cause for worry especially for vaccines because the influenza vaccines are really . . . very well known in terms of the seasonal use of these,” said Dr. Marie-Paule Kieny, director of the World Health Organization’s Initiative for Vaccine Research, in a recent news briefing.But there is enough concern so that the H1N1 vaccine clinical trials recently announced by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) will look into the question. Two of the trials will examine whether giving an H1N1 vaccine and seasonal flu vaccine sequentially or simultaneously affects the immune response to either vaccine, according to the NIAID’s descriptions of the trials.Study raises issue anewA study published recently by the Journal of Immunology raised anew the question of original antigenic sin. Saying that some recent studies have raised doubts about the existence of the phenomenon, scientists at the Emory University Vaccine Center in Atlanta used three different approaches to look for evidence of original antigenic sin in mice. They found evidence of it under certain conditions.The scientists used two human H1N1 viruses, labeled PR8 and FM1, that emerged in the 1930s and 1940s. They sequentially immunized mice with conventional vaccines using inactivated viruses, and they immunized other mice with DNA vaccines that encoded the hemagglutinin proteins from the two strains. In a third experiment, they sequentially exposed mice to the live viruses. The interval between the two inoculations in most cases was 1 month.In the mice sequentially immunized with conventional vaccines, the team found minimal differences in antibody responses to the two strains. However, when the mice were then challenged with a high dose of the FM1 virus, the virus multiplied in their lungs far more than it did in the lungs of control mice that had received only the FM1 vaccine.When mice were sequentially immunized with the DNA vaccines, the team found that the antibody response to the FM1 vaccine was oriented to the PR8 (original) vaccine, and antibodies to the FM1 strain were reduced, according to the report.However, the original antigenic sin effect was much stronger in the mice that were infected with the two live viruses. “Sequential infection with live viruses generated severely reduced neutralization Ab [antibody] responses and compromised memory responses to the second virus,” the report states. The authors suggest that this phenomenon helps explain the success and prevalence of flu viruses: when they mutate, the host immune system is fooled into responding to the predecessor strain instead of the mutated one.Antigenic distance is keyOn the other hand, original antigenic sin occurs only when the new strain is closely related to one the host has seen before, the scientists write. It is not known exactly how much antigenic similarity (likeness in the amino acid sequences of the hemagglutinin protein of the two strains) between the two strains is necessary to fool the immune system, but past studies have shown that antigenically distant or dissimilar strains fail to trigger original antigenic sin.That finding seems to suggest that original antigenic sin would not be induced by a novel H1N1 immunization soon after getting a seasonal flu vaccine, as the new virus is not considered a close relative of the H1N1 strain in the seasonal vaccine.In fact, that’s the view of Robert G. Webster, PhD, a highly respected virologist and flu expert who did some of the original research on original antigenic sin decades ago. He is based at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis.”The antigenic distance between the seasonal H1N1 and swine flu is very large, so I don’t think original antigenic sin is going to be a problem,” Webster said in a recent interview.He said that even if the phenomenon did arise, it might be possible to overcome it by using one of the newer vaccine adjuvants or by increasing the dose of vaccine. “With a larger dose, you can negate the original sin by sort of flooding the receptors with sufficient antigen to negate it,” he said.Jin H. Kim, PhD, a postdoctoral research associate at Emory and the lead author of the recent study, said the type of vaccine is important. He noted his finding that original antigenic sin was minimal when inactivated virus vaccines were used. Similarly, he said by e-mail, two recent studies found little evidence of original antigenic sin when humans received an inactivated vaccine against one seasonal flu strain and later were vaccinated against a drifted variant of that strain.What about live-virus vaccines?However, the finding that sequential exposure to live viruses invoked a greatly reduced response to the second virus raises the question whether the use of live attenuated vaccines for seasonal flu and the novel virus could lead to a similar response, Kim noted by e-mail. MedImmune, maker of the live attenuated seasonal vaccine FluMist, is also making a live version of novel H1N1 vaccine.”It is [an] intriguing question whether the live attenuated vaccines would induce original antigenic sin,” Kim said. “Our data show that sequential infection with related H1N1 viruses causes significant original antigenic sin and dampens the development of protective immunity. Therefore, it is possible that live attenuated swine origin H1N1 virus vaccine may behave similarly. However, it is important to note that we have not tested this in humans, thus this would be an immature conclusion at this point.” What if seasonal flu and novel H1N1 immunizations are given at the same time? John Treanor, MD, a vaccine researcher at the University of Rochester, said interference between the two vaccines is not likely to be a problem.He noted that the seasonal vaccine itself normally contains three different strains of flu virus, and interference isn’t a big concern. “In the absence of data, it’s hard to be completely confident about the potential for interference when the seasonal vaccine is given at the same time as the H1N1 vaccine, but I think the hypothesis is that there will not be interference between components,” he said.Treanor commented that when two vaccines must be given in sequence rather than simultaneously, his view is that they should be separated by at least 2 weeks, mainly to prevent any confusion about attributing side effects. Cautioning that he is not an expert on original antigenic sin, he added, “I do not know if there is really any data that would suggest that such a schedule would or would not result in a decrease in the response to the novel H1N1 (or who knows, maybe an increase),” he said.For Webster, original antigenic sin is only a minor concern in the current situation with regard to H1N1 vaccination.”At the moment it’s not a big issue, in my opinion,” he said. “It’s something we have at the back of our minds that we’ll watch for. The new H1N1 is antigenically stable, vastly different from the seasonal H1N1, and we need to have vaccine for it wiki-wiki [very fast].”See also: Kim JH, Skountzou I, Compans R, et al. Original antigenic sin responses to influenza viruses. J Immunol 2009 (early online publication Jul 31) [Abstract]Transcript of Aug 6 WHO news briefinghttp://www.who.int/mediacentre/pandemic_h1n1_presstranscript_2009_08_06.pdfDescription of NIAID-sponsored trial examining sequential and simultaneous immunization of adults with seasonal and H1N1 vaccines from Sanofi Pasteurhttp://clinicaltrials.gov/show/NCT00943878Description of NIAID-sponsored trial examining sequential and simultaneous immunization of children with seasonal and H1N1 vaccines from Sanofi Pasteurhttp://clinicaltrials.gov/show/NCT00943202
Eurowings is expanding its winter flight schedule for 2017/2018. year and for the first time includes the Cologne-Rijeka route.Flights are scheduled from November on Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays, on Airbus A319 aircraft, and can be booked now.Eurowings now connects Rijeka with its hub in Cologne throughout the year, and as part of the current summer flight schedule, flights are scheduled twice a week, and an additional flight is introduced for the holiday season. In addition to Rijeka, the airline is flying to other Croatian cities such as Dubrovnik, Osijek, Pula, Split, Zadar and Zagreb this summer.By the way, Eurowings currently has almost 100 flights a week (one way) to Croatia.
Croatia is so small, and yet so big and rich. We all know that, but unfortunately we do not respect ourselves enough or valorize all these potentials. Also, we have always been a wine region, and slowly from year to year we are discovered by others. Every year our wines receive various awards from around the world, which is just proof of quality and great potential, and despite the fact that the entire wine market is developing from year to year, we still have not managed to brand and position ourselves as a wine region with excellent and authentic wines.Especially when we talk about tourism because the very meaning of tourism is for people to get to know and experience a new culture and way of life, through culture, gastronomy, identity, history, and even through wines. Personally, I have a feeling that figuratively we sell French wines to the French, which is crazy, because guests want to try local and authentic wines, that’s why they travel, and we have something to be proud of and something to offer.In the global market, everyone is fighting for their place under the sun. The market is relentless, no one will help us, in fact, the competition is years ahead, but that does not mean that we have nothing to be proud of and nothing to offer. The richness of indigenous varieties and the great diversity of climatic conditions gives us an advantage over many, we have everything and it is up to us, whether we want strategic development or the status quo.I talked to the current situation in winemaking, the market, branding, challenges and potentials of wine in Croatia with Sašo Špiranec, a leading Croatian wine expert who is, in my opinion, one of the key ambassadors of the development of the wine scene in Croatia.Croatia is undoubtedly a wine region, but domestic consumption and consumption of wine is relatively weak, we lack the habit of drinking wine, especially when we talk about quality and premium wines, and the perception is that wine is expensive. How to increase domestic consumption of wine consumption?The truth is actually different. Consumption of wine in Croatia per capita is one of the world’s top. In the last few years, I have read several statistical surveys on the topic of global wine consumption and we are regularly in the top 15 countries in the world, and our highest ranking was 3rd place, behind the Vatican and Luxembourg. Consumption per capita is significantly raised by hobby production for own needs and probably makes a major difference compared to other countries. By the way, the total domestic consumption of wine has not been growing for a long time, but the ratio of table and quality wines is changing greatly in favor of quality ones. So, more and more people are spending more money on wine and drinking better quality wine than before. This tells us that our wine culture, and consequently food, is on the rise. I think we are on the right track, and we could speed it up primarily through education about the benefits of wine and the need for moderate consumption, because today wine consumption is increasingly becoming a lifestyle that involves moderation and reflection on what we take into the body. One of the solutions is certainly education, and you are doing this through various events such as the Wine City in Varaždin and Vinkovci and the Grand Tasting, which will be held for the third time. Wines are not black and white, and education is a long and difficult journey, but how do you see the changes in the past three years and today on the market? How is the market developing and what are the problems?I am witnessing a kind of boom in interest in wine. Fifteen years ago, we could not find a dozen people interested in a lecture on wines and wine workshops, which we organized then, and today it is completely different. In addition to our events, there are courses, schools and education, and the interest is not waning. The problems at this point are sweet in nature. Hyperproduction of wine fairs and festivals, wine schools and various other wine events has been created, but this market and the law of supply and demand should be resolved in a relatively short time. Some fairs have already failed, and in the case of courses and schools, a few good ones have stood out, so I think things are moving in the right direction.Wines are not expensive, at least that is the perception, but when we come to the restaurant the price of wine is much higher than expected, caterers have a large profit, even much higher than the producer, which again negatively reflects on the above problems. Why is this so, how do wine prices move in restaurants in other countries and how to solve this problem?This is a typical stereotype. By no means can we put all the caterers in the same basket. Catering margins vary dramatically from case to case, both here and around the world. In larger cities in the west you pay a glass of wine in a restaurant as much as in our country a whole bottle of wine in more modest restaurants. The restaurant business is one of the hardest ways to earn a crust of bread. It is extremely complex and full of different challenges, financial, organizational, qualitative and human. Winemakers should not look at their plate and estimate how much they are earning because it could resonate in the same way and vice versa. Winemakers ’margins also oscillate from 50% to hundreds of percent, as in caterers. Everyone is the master of their own destiny and is responsible for their own margin policy by risking bankruptcy. It is the market that makes the final judgment of the value of the restaurant offer or the value of the wine. If you have customers who are willing to pay for your service or your wine as much as you ask for, I don’t see a problem here. There are caterers who build their success on low margins and low investment and rental costs, as well as those others who open restaurants in expensive locations with sky-high rents and millions in equipment investments. Customers decide in which restaurant they will leave their money and which wine they will order. To promote and increase the consumption of wine sales, there is certainly tourism. But regardless of the growth, tourist consumption is still relatively low, and most importantly, all that earnings are not dispersed to the local economy, and thus not to the sale of domestic wines, not foreign ones. Somehow I get the impression that we are still figuratively selling French wine to the French, not our own. Why is this so and what is missing?Tourism is one of the strongest engines for selling domestic wines. Namely, Dalmatia and Istria sell a lot of wine at the doors of their wineries directly to tourists, and in restaurants the consumption of domestic and imported wines is 80/20 or 85/15 in favor of domestic wines. Not so much because of the awareness of the retailer or restaurateur about the need to offer their own, original product, but because of the expectations of tourists who want to taste local food and local wines in the host country, if any, so mostly looking for local. I recently spoke with the chief sommelier of a chain of exclusive hotels on the Adriatic known for its extremely large wine list who said that imported wines on the wine list sell poorly because foreigners want to try something new, local. The Vinistra Association, which brings together Istrian winemakers, has done a lot through the association of all winemakers, is this the right way through regional cooperatives, associations (name is not important) with the aim of raising quality, education, branding, promotion, etc. (Yes, that’s the only way. Organize local winemakers in 4 large associations, Slavonia, Dalmatia, Istria and Kvarner and Hilly Croatia. These four areas are very different from each other, and within each region the wines are very similar in style. In that way, communication with the rest of the world can be much simpler than when, as now, the subregion with foreigners with unspeakable names is as much as 12. This is more understandable, but more importantly, it is organizationally and logistically profitable. Countless small associations without a serious budget do not make sense, as no large one that can equally represent or promote the interests of all, because each of the 4 regions is at a different stage of development, and has a completely different assortment and style of wine. We have quality, authenticity and diversity, which is certainly specific and unique, and all this has been confirmed through various years on the world stage with various awards and recognitions of our wines, but somehow the Croatian wine brand is still poorly presented and recognized on the world stage. How can we accelerate these processes, positioning and creating the image / brand of Croatia as a country of quality and top wines?The process of international affirmation of domestic wines is slow because there are about 40 to 50 winemakers seriously interested in exporting wine, with quantities, price and quality in total throughout the country, so they cannot organize themselves, but need state help. Australians or New Zealanders do not need government intervention, many of them have enough money themselves. If the state helps a lot, if not, I can do it myself. For exports, you need to have a strategy that attacks markets in a targeted and organized way as a wine region, focused, with marketing activities throughout the year. It can be only two to three markets in the first wave, in five to six years you can attack two to three more, but again organized as a group. For that, you need professionals who will lead the process and who should be paid solidly, and at the same time you should not burden them with petty political or interest games, because they will not want to do the job for you. More developed foreign wine regions have several hundred wineries with export potential, so their budgets for promotion are much higher, and political pressures for the particular interest of one or a group of winemakers are much lower. The biggest brakeman is the so-called wine profession, which has found its way into institutes and committees, whose salaries are covered by winemakers through the payment of stamps and marketing fees, and who on the other hand write wine laws in a way to justify the purpose of their existence. They hamper every entrepreneurial project of a serious organization of wine associations, then the promotion, education and marketing of wine in the organization of which they are not involved. It is logical that every minister, because he is their employer, seeks their opinion when drafting a new law on wine, but the opinion and proposals they give are not in favor of the economy and producers, in favor of promoting the country and affirming wine regions, care how to introduce as much regulation which of course they will implement. The more wine controls and mandatory levies are introduced, the better for them. Wine quality control should be fully liberalized and market competition possible, as this will reduce costs for winemakers, so they can redirect these funds to promotion, and this promotion and export organization should be handed over directly to winemakers organized in four major wine regions, without state interference. . That’s the way. THIRD VINART GRAND TASTING on Friday and Saturday in Zagreb For the third year in a row, the inviting Vinart Grand Tasting festival will host 120 selected winemakers from Croatia, the region and the world. Completely dedicated to quality, Vinart Grand Tasting is a festival where winemakers exhibit exclusively by invitation of the organizers.Selected winemakers will present themselves on Friday 2 and Saturday 3 March in Lauba, Prilaz baruna Filipovića 23, and visitors will have the opportunity to taste wines that are leaders in their quality in their price range on the Croatian market.Vinart Grand Tasting is a unique event, based on quality, with multiple goals of promoting winemakers and the world of wine, but also encouraging the development of wine culture in Croatia. It is intended primarily for professionals, caterers and sommelier, but all other visitors, enthusiasts and wine lovers are also welcome. In recent years, the festival has confirmed its place and profiled itself with the professional public.See more about Vinart Grand Tasting HERE
In cooperation with the Knowledge in Action Foundation and the Association of Directors of Hospitality and Tourism Schools, Valamar implemented a large strategic project “Knowledge to Excellence” within the company’s socially responsible business, which was a significant step forward in the promotion of tourism and hospitality professions.Valamar opened in Poreč, Rabac and Krk, and in cooperation with project partners doors for 27 schools from all parts of Croatia and for over 500 students, parents, principals and teachers organized a stay in their facilities where through two-day interactive and educational workshops they learned about trends and careers in tourism.Students participated in thematic workshops such as Sommelier, cocktail making, Masterchef workshops and career development workshops where they have experienced mentors – Valamar employees, shared their experiences of working in tourism and acquired knowledge.”Valamar Riviera and its partners have implemented a unique open door project at the same time for all users of the vocational education system for tourism professions – for schools, students, parents, mentors and professionals in tourism and guests from relevant ministries, agencies and associations. The participation of as many as 27 schools in the workshops certainly gave motivation to the young generations to choose the hospitality and tourism professions in their future careers.” said Nevena Tolanov, head of human resources development at Valamar Riviera.In addition to educational workshops, students also participated in various competitions, quizzes, games and a film evening. It was also organized for students an educational trip where the employees of Valamar’s hotels introduced them to the challenge of working in the hotel industry and gladly took them on a tour of the facilities. “The activities and programs of the Knowledge in Action Foundation are aimed at connecting all levels of education with the economy, which is why the cooperation with Valamar has begun. Three years ago, we set off for Poreč to Valamar’s facilities with one bus full of students and teachers, and this year we have quadrupled the number of participants. What makes us especially happy is the fact that this year we also included parents in the educational visit which are an important link between the school and the choice of the future profession of these young people” pointed out Daška Domljan, a member of the Management Board of the Knowledge in Action Foundation.With almost 3.000 hours of training and introduction to working at Valamar, the participants in this project gained practical knowledge that will surely help them in further career development in tourism, and Valamar gained insight and a base on the future workforce in the long run.