Zagreb is known as a summer gateway to the Adriatic coast and home to one of Europe’s most popular Christmas markets. But in recent years, the Croatian capital has added a flurry of new events to its calendar with the aim of becoming a vibrant destination year-round. We take a look, season by season, at some of the ones worth making a note of.
Spring: heading outdoors
In late March, as the clocks move forward and parks are abloom with daffodils, outdoor life in the Croatian capital reawakens. Fittingly, the Festival of Lightstakes place right around this time: a celebration of colour and radiance, this evening event illuminates the city’s facades, streets and landmarks in myriad hues. Raising the country’s sporting profile is the FIA World Rally Championship, which takes place over four days in April. It sees motor racing drivers negotiate narrow, twisty roads in the undulating surrounding the capital, through rural villages, woodland, vineyards and meadows. Early June, meanwhile, heralds the six-day AnimaFest Zagreb, the second-oldest in the world — a favourite among cartoon buffs since 1972. Watch animated movies at the Tuškanac Summer Stage, an open-air cinema in a glade surrounded by towering oak trees, or take part in exhibitions, competitions, workshops and lectures.
A national strike across Britain’s railways will have a catastrophic effect on the live music and events industry if it goes ahead later this summer, trade bodies have warned.
More than 50,000 workers at Network Rail and 13 train companies, represented by the RMT union, are set to walk out on 21 June in a dispute over job cuts and pay freezes, with further strikes planned for 23 June and 25 June.
About 10,000 London Underground workers are also set to strike on 21 June in a separate dispute over pensions and job losses. The strikes are expected to cause severe disruption and come at the height of festival season, with Glastonbury taking place in Somerset from 22 June for the first time since the pandemic.
GWR, the train company serving Castle Cary, the station closest to Glastonbury, has said it hopes to maintain timetabled trains from London Paddington throughout the festival. But it said other parts of its network were likely to be “more affected” by the strike action and that customers “may need to consider alternative ways to travel to a station serving Castle Cary”.
National Express, which is providing coaches from 70 locations, said it had seen a “significant increase” in bookings for travel on the dates of the planned rail strikes and was “working hard to increase availability where possible”.
Other events, including a concert series with artists including Elton John at Hyde Park and the UK Athletics Championships in Manchester, are also scheduled for that week.
Michael Kill, from the Night Time Industries Association, which represents nightclubs, event venues and festival organisers said the proposed industrial action could have a “catastrophic” impact on the sector, which he said was “very fragile” following the pandemic and amid the cost of living crisis. “It just seems like at every corner there’s another barrier,” he said.
Jon Collins, chief executive of Live, an umbrella body for trade associations in the live music and entertainment business, said the action could be devastating for event operators already struggling to recover from the pandemic, with smaller businesses likely to be hardest hit.
“While our members are understanding of the RMT’s concerns, there’s a frustration that this has come at a time when we’re trying to rebuild the live music industry after almost two years of closure,” he said.
“It’s not just the Glastonburys of this world. It’s the smaller festivals and gigs, where people have paid £8 or £15 for a ticket, where customers may think, ‘I’m going to have to not go.’ That means the event may go ahead but you may not make the profit you were hoping for, which could be business-critical in this year of all years.”
Announcing the strike on 7 June, the RMT said railway workers had been treated “appallingly” and that despite its “best efforts” in negotiations, “the rail industry, with the support of the government, has failed to take their concerns seriously”.
General secretary Mick Lynch said: “Rail companies are making at least £500m a year in profits, while fat cat rail bosses have been paid millions during the Covid-19 pandemic. This unfairness is fuelling our members’ anger and their determination to win a fair settlement.
“RMT is open to meaningful negotiations with rail bosses and ministers, but they will need to come up with new proposals to prevent months of disruption on our railways.”
(Bloomberg) — Singapore’s Tourism Board is confident that the city-state will host a growing number of international conventions, exhibitions and other events now that borders have reopened and people are traveling freely again.
“The business community is eager for opportunities to meet and network in person,” Yap Chin Siang, the board’s deputy chief executive, said in a statement Wednesday. “This desire, as well as the recent easing of our border restrictions, puts the MICE industry in good stead to recover strongly.”
MICE refers to meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions, a sector that accounted for about 1% of Singapore’s gross domestic product before the Covid pandemic and 15% of international arrivals, according to the Tourism Board. In addition to industry conventions, MICE covers company gatherings such as off-site meetings, where staff from different locations join up for internal events.
In the first three months of 2022, Singapore hosted more than 150 local and international events attended by over 37,000 people, the Tourism Board said. They included the biennial Singapore Airshow in February, the largest of its kind in the region, and Asia Pacific Maritime in March. A full recovery for the MICE industry is expected in two to three years, according to the board.
Major events planned for later this year include the Shangri-La Dialogue, an annual meeting that draws top military officials and diplomats from around the world. The Global Health Security Conference is scheduled for the end of June and the Milken Institute Asia Summit will be held in September.
There is still a long way to go until Singapore gets back to bustling levels of business it was known for before the pandemic. While there’s been a strong uptick in passenger flow at Changi Airport since entry curbs were lifted for all vaccinated travelers in April, traffic is only about 50% of what it was in 2019. Terminal 2 was partially reopened earlier this week, but Terminal 4 remains closed after both were shuttered in 2020 as Covid wiped out travel.
Hong Kong Left Behind
As Singapore rolls out the red carpet and canapes, regional rival Hong Kong is missing out for now as it sticks to some of its harsher Covid restrictions, including mandatory seven-day hotel quarantines. Hong Kong has canceled popular annual highlights such as Art Basel, the Clockenflap music festival and its rugby sevens tournament during the pandemic, while anti-government protests also scuppered several events the year before Covid broke.
The lingering restrictions have made Singapore a much more attractive option. Jewellery & Gem World in September and November’s Cosmoprof and Cosmopack Asia, which focuses on cosmetics supply chains, are among the events relocating from Hong Kong to the small Southeast Asian country.
Sport also falls under the MICE umbrella. The Singapore Grand Prix is returning on Sept. 30-Oct. 2 following a two-year hiatus. The Formula One weekend has fast become a major feature on the national calendar, with thousands of spectators watching cars racing around Marina Bay at night. Three-day grandstand and hospitality packages for this year’s event sold out within six hours in April, though more may become available. Away from the track, the entertainment lineup includes performances by Westlife and Green Day.
Setting aside smaller, local events, there are at least 66 international conferences and exhibitions planned for the rest of the year, whereas Hong Kong has about 50, according to its Tourism Board, though not on the scale of the bigger ones in Singapore.
Singapore expects the events will help restore it as a prime business and tourist destination in Asia. The government has set aside almost S$500 million ($364 million) to support tourism and is planning new attractions, including a leisure park where people can skate, surf, ski and snowboard.
LAS VEGAS (AP) — Gambling in Nevada continued a 14-month hot streak in April and a return of international flights boosted travel nearly to levels seen before the coronavirus pandemic began more than two years ago, according to Las Vegas airport, tourism and state casino revenue reports.
The $1.13 billion that casinos statewide reported winning last month represented the best April ever for the state, Clark County and the Las Vegas Strip, the state Gaming Control Board said Thursday.
Nevada casinos have now reported winning at least $1 billion every month since March 2021.
“This month’s total win amount represents the highest April total gaming win recorded all-time for the state, Clark County and the Strip … aided by a very robust event calendar in addition to the continued return of international visitors,” said Michael Lawton, senior Gaming Control Board analyst.
Reid International Airport on Wednesday reported handling almost 4.26 million arriving and departing passengers last month. That was just below the 4.28 million travelers in April 2019.
The more than 200,000 international travelers counted at the airport last month compared with about 31,000 a year ago, with almost all flights from overseas suspended during the pandemic.
Lawton noted the airport ramped up nonstop service in April with flights to and from cities in Mexico, Canada, Panama, the Netherlands, Germany, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.
The nearly 3.4 million Southern Nevada tourists tallied by the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority was up more than 31% last month compared with April 2021, but down 4.5% from the same month in 2019.
Convention attendance was up dramatically from last year, but still down almost 29% compared with April 2019.
Las Vegas also hosted several big special entertainment events, Lawton said, including four sold-out nights at Allegiant Stadium by South Korean boy band BTS; the big National Association of Broadcasters show at the Las Vegas Convention Center; and the National Football League draft at several venues.
The Palms Casino Resort also reopened under its new owner, the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians.
The state collected almost $70 million in taxes based on April casino winnings, the Gaming Control Board said. The figure is important because casino taxes make up about 17% of state revenues, second only to sales taxes. Nevada has no personal income tax.
PAGE, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) – Page, Arizona, can be the headquarters for travelers who want to explore Lake Powell, Horseshoe Bend, and other landmarks.
It’s now home Adam Cranston, the owner of State 48 Tavern. “We ended up building a taproom next door, and it was basically going to be used as a waiting room for people,” he said. With tourism exploding before the COVID-19 pandemic, Cranston had to expand the restaurant.
Page is a small community with about 7,500 residents that relies heavily on international tourists. Before coronavirus, Gregg Martinez, the economic development coordinator for the city of Page, says they would see 5 million visitors a year. COVID-19 cut that number in half in 2020; he told Arizona’s Family on Wednesday.
As businesses like Cranston’s inch towards pre-pandemic crowds again, the city is introducing a series of new events and ways to welcome tourists. Martinez says they are focusing on the Valley to remind people to visit their mom-and-pop restaurants and bars. “A lot of times, I have family and friends that live in the Valley, and they’re like, ‘where’s Page?” Martinez said.
He says the city is rolling out a series of events this year that starts with the Page Fine Art Festival in April, which will be an annual event.“We are trying to be as innovative and as flexible as possible,” Martinez said. “We want to make sure that everyone knows that our small business community is the heart of our community.”
As Arizonans make summer plans, Cranston hopes everyone considers this: “We are open for business. We have a great community here. Everybody is ready for the season,” he said.
“There are so many things to do other than just the lake. We have all the slot tours, Horseshoe Bend, we have air tours,” said Judy Franz, the executive director of the Page-Lake Powell Chamber of Commerce. Franz says the Page-Lake Powell Hub is the visitor’s center for the area where you can get information on tours and restaurants. It is now also doing lottery tickets for the Wave.
Franz suggests making reservations in advance because tours book up quickly. You can also learn more by calling (928) 608 – 5749.