Friday, 15 December 2017
The Dubrovnik Times

The Dubrovnik Times


The 2017 Dubrovnik Winter Festival officially opened last night with the lighting of the first Advent Candle in the heart of the Old City. The celebrations and prayers were attended by huge crowds and in spite of the terrible weather the Stradun looked very festive as the Christmas decorations were turned on for the first time.

xmas faries in dbk


The festive stands, selling a variety of traditional cuisines, also opened their doors for the first time this winter. The evening was completed with a concert by the popular singer Gibonni. During the Dubrovnik Winter Festival all buses from 5.00pm until the last departure will run free of charge.

The leading tourist group in Croatia has announced investments of 705 million Kunas in tourism in 2018.

After more than 4 billion Kunas of realized investments over the past period, Valamar Riviera, as the largest investor in the Croatian tourism industry, continues with completing of a three-year investment cycle worth between 1.5 and 2 billion Kunas by 2020.

In 2017, by investing 906 million Kunas, Valamar realized the largest annual investment cycle in Croatian tourism and opened up to 1,000 new jobs.

For 2018, Valamar has envisaged to complete the luxury resort Valamar Girandella Resort in Rabac, within which the first five-star Kinderhotel will be opened thus the repositioning of Rabac, as a leading holiday destination on the Adriatic will be completed.

Investments in camps in Istria and on the island of Krk will continue the strategy of intensive investment in the premium camping segment.

hotel president valamar dubrovnik

Valamar Dubrovnik President Hotel 

Furthermore, the repositioning of the Valamar Argosy Hotel in Dubrovnik is focused on guests of the higher purchasing power, whilst investments of 72 million Kunas on the island of Rab and the renovation of the Imperial Hotel will initiate a new development cycle.

Valamar Riviera is the leading tourist company in Croatia which can accommodate around 56,000 guests per day at its 30 hotels and resorts as well as at 15 camping resorts along the Adriatic coast – in Istria, on the islands of Krk and Rab, and in Dubrovnik.

The company employs 6,000 people and is among the top five employers in Croatia.

By the number of destinations and capacity, revenue and operating profit, as well as by the number of guests and employees, Valamar is the leading tourist company in Croatia, which accounts for 12 percent of the total categorized accommodation in the country.

One of the most significant tourist manifestations of the continental part of Croatia begins on the 1st of December.

More than 2,5 million Christmas lights will be lit on the Grabovnica farm near Čazma in the Bjelovar-Bilogora County and mark the beginning of the ‘Christmas story’ of the Salaj family.

After presenting this year’s attractions such as an ice-skating rink, a great bonfire, everyday fireworks, a widened promenade and the Advent village with various homemade products, the radio hosts Doris Pinčić Rogoznica and Nives Čanović will officially open the event.

xmas light show croatia 22

The Salaj family began to decorate their yard with Christmas lights 16 years ago. Thanks to the great effort and enthusiasm of the family, over the time it has become the most significant event of the continental part of Croatia.

Several state institutions, the Ministry of Tourism, the Ministry of Entrepreneurship and Crafts, the Croatian National Tourist Board, the Tourist Board of the Bjelovar-Bilogora County and the local self-government have also recognized the importance and the role of this project and in accordance with development plans, they have supported the organization of every Salaj family ‘Christmas story’.

This year the organizers expect more than 120,000 visitors, whilst the ‘Christmas story’ will remain open until the 14th of January 2018.

The official start of the Dubrovnik Winter Festival tomorrow also see the opening of the children's festive program.

On Saturday at 3.00pm the Mayor of Dubrovnik, Mato Frankovic, will open the Dubrovnik ice-rink in the tennis courts in Lapad. The mayor will start at the funfair on the Sunset Beach in the Bay of Lapad and then catch the special Advent train to arrive at the nearby tennis courts at 3.00pm.

Tomorrow sees the official opening of the 2017 Dubrovnik Winter Festival with the lighting of the first advent candle in the heart of the Old City of Dubrovnik at 7.30pm which will be followed by a concert by popular Croatian pop star Gibonni.

Flydubai, the low-cost airline from the United Arab Emirates, in its summer flight schedule for 2018 has introduced a new line to Croatia: flights to Dubrovnik – Avioradar reports.

That will be the first regular line from the Middle East to Dubrovnik. The new Dubrovnik-Dubai flights will start operating on the 10th of April next year with three flights a week, every Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday.

From the 13th of June there will be an additional flight per week that will operate on Wednesdays. Tickets for all the flights are available until the end of summer flight schedule or more precisely until October 25th. Prices start at around 350 Euros for a return ticket.

Last week the Croatian Ministry of Labour sent a proposal to employers and trade unions about an increase of the quota for employing foreigners in 2018.

Considering the situation in the country as a result of a massive migration wave of Croatians to other EU countries in search of a better life, the Ministry of Labour suggested to increase the number of working permits for foreigners to almost 29,000.
Out of the envisaged 29,000 working permits, the quota for new employment would be 17,810 permits (2.5 times more than in 2017), for the extension of already issued working permits 9,000, and for seasonal employment 1,940 working permits.

However, while employers welcome the ministry’s decision, trade unions say that this employment measure will prove a total failure.

According to data, the construction sector in Croatia has recorded the highest lack of workers. The most sought after professions are carpenters, masonry and bar benders. As far as tourism is concerned, the most needed are chefs (100), masseurs (100), tourist animators (50) as well as diving instructors (5) and experts for mindfulness meditation (5).

Around 1,600 new working permits are to be assigned to the shipbuilding industry, 1,100 to the metal industry, and 800 to the sector of agriculture and forestry, out of which 35 are envisaged for cattlemen and shepherds.

Furthermore, 770 working permits for foreigners will be assigned to the food industry, 765 to the transport sector (600 truck drivers), 580 to the manufacturing industry, 70 to healthcare (60 doctors and 10 dentists) and 22 working permits to culture (12 ballet artists).

Croatia has the lowest early school-leaving rate in the European Union, however, basic skills have declined and are below the EU average, reported the EU Commission.

The European Commission’s annual comparative report Education and Training Monitor 2017 encompasses 28 country reports about education system and training in EU member countries. The country reports explore investment in education and training and national policies to modernize school education, higher education, vocational education and adult learning.

‘’Croatia is one of the countries where the impact of the education system is relatively weak, and the situation has worsened over the past few years’’, emphasized Stefaan Hermans, the director of the EU Commission’s Directorate General for Education and Culture at the report presentation held at the House of Europe.

The report shows that Croatia has a very low early school leaving rate (2,8%), the lowest in the EU, which is among the main strengths of the country's education system.

However, basic skills have declined and are below the EU average. There are differences in performance linked to socioeconomic status, but the quality of curricula and teaching appear to be the main driver of Croatia’s poor performance.
Furthermore, participation rates in early childhood education and care and in adult education are among the lowest compared to other EU member countries.

The report also shows that despite recent robust economic growth and a more promising labour market situation, low skill levels need to be addressed. The same applies to the relevance of skills acquired in vocational and higher education.

Even though a number of reforms have been prepared in the context of the Strategy for Education, Science and Technology and the associated curricular reform, progress in 2017
has been limited.

In addition, Stefaan Hermans pointed out that education is a matter of the future, which is why it is important to improve the education system, thus Croatia, as well as other EU member countries, have the support of the European Union.

Knightfall, the series history drama filmed last year in Dubrovnik, will finally have a premiere in December.

This latest historical series from the History channel, deals with medieval politics and the conflicts of the Templars, the most powerful and richest military order in the Middle Ages. Their order was founded after the First Crusade, and they were committed to defending the paths that lead to Jerusalem.

Knightfall was directed by Don Handfield and Richard Rayner, and the main role was played by Tom Cullen, who appears as the Knight Landry. Jim Carter, Olivia Ross, Ed Stoppard, Julian Ovenden, Sabrina Bartlett, Pádraic Delaney, Bobby Schofield and Sarah-Sofie Boussnina also appear in the series too.

Knightfall was partly filmed in Dubrovnik in the summer of 2016. The bay of Pile directly in front of the Old City walls of Dubrovnik was chosen as a location for an all-action scene with Templar Knights fighting and escaping on waiting ships.

The premiere will be on Wednesday, December 6th. It will be fun to see Dubrovnik in its new role!

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