Sunday, 20 May 2018
Mark Thomas

Mark Thomas

Mark Thomas - The editor and big chief of The Dubrovnik Times. Born in the UK he has been living and working in Dubrovnik since 1998, yes he is one of the rare “old hands.” A unique insight into both British and Croatian life and culture, Mark is often known as just “Englez” or Englishman. He is a traveller, a current affairs freak and a huge AFC Wimbledon fan.

Email: mark.thomas@dubrovnik-times.com

The gross domestic product of the European Union in 2017 amounted to a healthy 15,300 billion Euros, and three members generated over half.

Germany, the United Kingdom and France absolutely dominate the financial standing of the European Union and generated over half of the total GDP in 2017. Germany is out in front with a whopping 3,300 billion Euros, or 21 percent of the total GDP, followed by the United Kingdom with 15.2 percent and France with 14.9 percent. Italy, Spain and the Netherlands then followed on the list, but where did Croatia finish?

With a mere 0.3 percent of the total European GDP it is clear to see that Croatia has plenty of work to do to improve its financial position. In fact, Croatia isn’t alone, there were eleven countries that produced less than one percent of the GDP, Malta, Cyprus, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Slovenia, Croatia, Bulgaria, Luxembourg, Slovakia and Hungary.

eu gdp share 2017

One of the most popular UK airlines, Jet2.com, has announced more new flights to Croatia for 2019.

The low-cost airline will operate between Birmingham and Pula starting in May 2019. They have stated that the flights will operate once a week, on Sunday, and will the inaugural flight will be on the 12th of May and will continue until the 13th of October.

Jet2.com already flies from numerous UK airports to Dubrovnik and this early announcement of new flights for next year is an indication of the interest for Croatia on the UK market.

The popular photo and video processing application Instagram currently has 970,000 users in Croatia, or almost every fourth person in Croatia is uploading photos.

Instagram is currently the world's most popular photo and video processing application that lets users across the globe capture their experiences - from weekend getaway and sports recreation to photography of pets, and then share them with friends.

It was designed in 2010 and is currently owned by Facebook with which it is linked. For a long time, it was one of those mobile apps that few people used until 2017, when in just four months, the number of Instagram users doubled.

"The number of Instagram users in Croatia is growing tremendously, with more than 190,000 users in Croatia in 2015, to over 390,000 in January 2017. Additionally, in May last year, Instagram users grew to 730,000, according to our research, there are active 970,000 Instagram users, "said the director of Arbone, a digital marketing company, Sandro Lazarić.

The biggest fans of Instagram are women, those in all age groups, and make up 53 percent of the total number of users.

Namely, out of 970,000 users, 520,000 are women, while the most common age group is between 18 and 24, which has 340,000 users and applications. The age group of 25 to 34 years has 300,000 users and applications, and from 35 to 44 years 160,000.

Looking to brush up on a language before the height of the summer tourist season in Dubrovnik. Well according to these latest figures from the largest private accommodation renter in the world Airbnb it is probably just better to concentrate on your English.

For the past five years’ tourists from the United Kingdom have been by far the most numerous in Dubrovnik and as the number of Americans has grown rapidly over the past two years on the back of the HBO serial Game of Thrones, so English absolutely dominates in Dubrovnik.

Airbnb have stated that a massive 61 percent of tourists who stay in their accommodation properties in Dubrovnik speak English. And the second most popular language, French with 13 percent. Spanish and German comes in joint third with a mere 5 percent. And Korean is in fifth with 4 percent.

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Croatian travel agencies arranged trips with overnight stays in Croatia for 2.2 million foreign tourists, who realised 13.6 million tourist nights. Foreign tourists realised an average of six tourist nights in Croatia, according to the national statistical office (DZS). In 2017, the number of foreign tourists whose travels to Croatia were organised by Croatian travel agencies increased by 9.0% and the number of tourist nights by 7.0%, as compared to 2016.

Most tourists travelling through Croatian travel agencies came from Germany. When it comes to nights realised by foreign tourists in Croatia whose travels were organised by Croatian travel agencies, most of them were realised by tourists from Germany (27.4%).

They were followed by tourists from the United Kingdom (11.6%), Poland (6.6%), Austria (5.8%), Italy (5.7%), the Czech Republic (5.4%), the Netherlands (4.5%), Sweden (4.4%) and Slovenia (4.1%). In 2017, domestic tourists whose trips in Croatia were organised by Croatian travel agencies generated 1.2 overnight stays. Compared to 2016, the number of domestic tourists whose trips in Croatia were organised by Croatian travel agencies decreased by 4%.

In 2017, domestic tourists whose trips abroad were organised by Croatian travel agencies generated 1.1 million overnights. In 2017, domestic same-day visitors whose trips abroad were organised by Croatian travel agencies travelled the most to Austria (40.3%) and Italy (26.1%). In 2017, as compared to 2016, domestic same-day visitors whose trips in Croatia were organised by Croatian travel agencies increased by 2.2%, while those abroad increased by 12.7%.

The Old City of Dubrovnik today came alive to the sights and sounds of majorettes and a brass band. As the weekend started the city filled with tourists and the majorettes from Župa entertained the audience.

The Župa majorettes recently hosted the State Championships and today it was the turn of Dubrovnik to cheer on the girls. The performance was held on the occasion of the celebration of the Day of the Dubrovnik-Neretva County.

Check out the action from Tonci Plazibat

zupa majorettes in dubrovnik

dancing in the old city of dubrovnik 2091

brass band playing in dubrovnik 2018

zupa dubrovacka majorettes 2018

“I must be getting old because I really don’t understand what I have just watched,” said my good friend as we left the cinema. I laughed. Although my friend is older than me I was in the same boat as him, “I guess I must be old too,” I replied.
We had just spent, or should I say lost, three hours of my life experiencing the latest superhero blockbuster. It is a movie, and the name is not so important, swimming in superlatives – explosions, more explosions, the most explosions. And to make matters even worse it was in 3D. I am old school. Give me a black and white 2D classic every time.

Of course on the drive home we started to reminisce. “I can’t remember the last time Hollywood delivered a good movie,” my friend commented. “Casablanca, Gone with the Wind, Breakfast at Tiffany’s…now they were real movies,” he continued. Strangely enough even though all of these movies were made before I was born I agreed with him. The days that movies actually have plots are behind us. The plot for the movie we had just seen could have been written on the back of a matchbox and you would have room to write the names of all the actors. It’s probably a generational question.

Whereas people used to spend time reading actual newspapers, magazines and books now they only have enough time to read the comment under an Instagram photo.

I am old enough to remember the time when it was predicted that modern technology would mean that we would have more time to enjoy life. Robots will do our household chores, cars will drive automatically, the internet will mean instant communication with the whole world and travel will be quicker and easier than even before, (these have all come true) all of this will mean more time to go fishing, play football or walk the dog. In reality the situation is completely the opposite.

You will bank online or over the phone. Yes, but now we have our banks phoning us and nobody actually working in branches, meaning we wait longer and get harassed more. “Hello it’s the bank but before I can talk to you I just need to ask you some security questions,” said the monotonous voice down the phone to me a few weeks ago. “Security questions!!! You phoned me!!” I answered abruptly. Adding “I didn’t ask you to phone me…you can’t ring me if you don’t think it’s me.” Needless to say my answer fell on deaf ears, quite clearly English sarcasm was lost of this bank clerk. And while I am on the subject of dealing with institutions over the phone I feel the need to mention T-Com. So this is a phone company, a communications company. So how ironic that every time I call I am greeted by the same message, “All of our agents are busy at the moment we are doing all we can to answer your call.” Doing all you can?!? Here is one thing you haven’t tried, picking up the phone? “All of our agents are busy as soon as an agent is free we will answer your call,” bleeps the digital voice down the phone. When you say all of your agents do you really mean both of your agents!

Why is it that when I want to fix a problem with my MAX-TV I have to call a dozen times and wait for what seems like a millennium but when I owe the bank 6 Lipa they find the time to call me. I guess we will be banking over Instagram soon.

The world is slowly going mad. Facebook have opened an online dating agency, a President is only communicating over Twitter and I am measuring how far I walk everyday with an app. I saw a headline the other day that summed it up perfectly “Your smartphone is making you stupid, antisocial and unhealthy. So why can't you put it down⁉️” Its true. If we were being honest with ourselves then we would agree that the smartphone in our pocket is making us dumb and boring, but it is more addictive than heroin. So when I leave a cinema with a friend and he starts to think back to the good old days my mind starts to wander.

Of course we are thinking of our childhoods with rose-tinted glasses but I have to say I’m glad I am not a child today. The pressures today of being online must be immense. Getting just the right selfie, the best profile photo or writing the “wittiest” comment is crucial for this generation. And I, for one, feel sorry for them. “Your story is the greatest legacy that you will leave to your friends. It’s the longest-lasting legacy you will leave to your heirs,” once wrote Steve Saint, (but for the younger generation he wasn’t talking about leaving a story of Instagram).

One of the greatest problems that Croatia faces today is the negative net migration. And according to new statistics from the Central Intelligence Agency Croatia is among the top seven European countries with the highest migration rate.

Compared to even its neighbours Croatia has the unenvious honour of having the highest negative migration rate. Bosnia and Herzegovina with -0.4, Serbia and Macedonia have -0.5 and Croatia is at -1.7. Of course one of the reasons that Croatia has a higher negative trend is the fact that it is a member of the European Union and therefore citizens find it easier to legally find work and move to other members.

Slovenia has a positive migration rate at 0.4 and Hungary at 1.3 along with Austria. However at the other end of the scale Moldova with -9.4 and Lativa with -6.1 have even larger troubles than Croatia.

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