PHILADELPHIA, PA, June 6, 2019. – Starting this Thursday, there will be a multi-day celebration to honor a new and historic connection between the city of Philadelphia and the city of Dubrovnik, Croatia, otherwise known as “the pearl of the Adriatic”. Frano Matušić, State Secretary at the Ministry of Tourism of the Republic of Croatia, who was born in Dubrovnik, says “that history is alive in every part of Dubrovnik.” He specifically notes that “Dubrovnik is recognized as one of the flagships of Croatian tourism. It’s rich and mysterious history is a representation of Croatia, a destination with diverse natural and cultural heritage, various offers in which everyone can find their travel goals met and surpassed.”
Croatia’s other State Secretary at the Ministry of Tourism, Tonči Glavina, perfectly echoes the warmth of the Croatian people when he encourages Americans to come and tour Croatia: “Croatia today is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Europe, and we are very proud of that. After 28 years, the United States and Croatia are directly connected via Philadelphia and Dubrovnik which represents a great opportunity to share our experiences, our bonds and our culture. Beautiful stories and personal experiences are the best recommendation for all who have not yet discovered the beauties of our country, so I would like to take this opportunity to invite you all to Croatia.”
This celebration centers around the new non-stop American Airlines inaugural flight, which will depart Philadelphia’s International Airport on the evening of June 7, and touch down on Croatia’s beautiful Adriatic coast in the City of Dubrovnik the next day. This venture is part of American Airlines’ seasonal service, as the company is adding four new international routes from Philadelphia’s Airport this summer; other European destinations as part of this service include Berlin, Bologna, and Edinburgh.
To commemorate the occasion, many Croatian and American dignitaries and officials have come together to create a series of historic events over the course of three days throughout the city of Philadelphia. Starting on 9:00 am on Thursday, June 6th, “Philadelphia and Dubrovnik Friendship Day” will be marked at the famous Betsy Ross House—the birthplace of the American flag—by a proclamation read byPennsylvania State RepresentativeJared Solomon. Other speakers will includeLisa Acker,Executive Director of the Betsy Ross House, Steve Rukavina, co-host of this multi-day event, Pjer Šimunović, Ambassador of Croatia to the United States, and Frano Matušić.
In the evening of June 6that 6:00 pm, officials and honorary guests from both countries will gather for a Gala reception at the National Constitution Center.Ari Mittleman and Steve Rukavina are co-chairing this event, and prominent American and Croatian guestsin attendance will include: Jim Kenney, Philadelphia’s Mayor,Pjer Šimunović, Ambassador of Croatia to the United States, and Tonči Glavina and Frano Matušić, the Republic of Croatia’s Ministry of Tourism State Secretaries.This Croatian National Tourist Board sponsored event will feature Croatian wine and music with a wonderful mix of over 200 VIPs from both nations, as officials, dignitaries, honorary guests, and many of Philadelphia’s own activists will be in attendance. In addition to speeches by the event’s co-hosts, Croatian Ambassador and State Secretary, Jim Moses, Chellie Cameron, and Harold Yaffe from American Airlines, PHL Airport, and Global Philadelphia/World Heritage, respectively, will all be speaking as well.
After a night of rest from the previous night’s celebration, the event continues on Friday, June 7th, when at 10:00 am the Croatian Flag will be raised over Philadelphia’s City Hall. The ceremony will be held at City Hall in the North Apron Area, specifically at the junction of JFK parkway and Broad Street. During the flag raising, Philadelphia city officials will be delivering speeches regarding this historic bilateral connection between the City of Philadelphia and Dubrovnik. Sheila Hess, a City of Philadelphia Representative, will start the speeches off after a short introduction by Steve Rukavina and Ari Mittleman. Accordingly, both Croatian and United States anthems will be played as officials from both countries will be in attendance.
As the first flight from Philadelphia to Dubrovnik prepares to depart, there will be an official press conference for American media personnel at Philadelphia’s International Airport at 4:00 pm to celebrate the exciting maiden flight to Dubrovnik. Mayor Jim Kenney will join American Airlines and PHL airport executives and guests at this “media gate” event.Then, this sold out redeye flight will transport many leading Croatian dignitaries and American tourists, as well as honorary guests to Dubrovnik, with the plane landing at 9:30 am on Saturday, June 8th at the Dubrovnik Airport. This three-day event will conclude with a 10:30 am press conference for the Croatian media in Dubrovnik, where television reporters and newspaper journalists will get the chance to interview those just arriving from the maiden American Airlines flight.