Sunday, 19 August 2018

The popular American NBC morning program “Today Show” has featured a video of the tourism problems in Dubrovnik this morning. The show which reaches millions of US viewers certainly highlights the challenges Dubrovnik faces.

“Many U.S. travelers are planning European escapes this summer — but Kelly Cobiella reports those who live year-round in those popular tourist spots are not always thrilled about it,” writes the Today Show, which apart from Dubrovnik featured Venice and Barcelona.

The Mayor of Dubrovnik, Mato Frankovic, comments on the show that work is underway to combat the rise in tourism and says, “When you have satisfied citizens then you have satisfied tourists.”

Check out the video and let us know your feelings

All in the line of duty. There is a new attraction in Dubrovnik that will take you to places you have never been before. And in the spirit of adventure and, well, sheer curiosity The Dubrovnik Times took a ride 50 metres above sea-level, and a rocky beach.

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The Dubrovnik Times team in training - Photo Zipline Dubrovnik 

Zipline Dubrovnik is the latest adventure ride in Dubrovnik. If you are an adrenaline junkie, an adventure hunter or just want to have a whole new experience then Zipline Dubrovnik has it all in bundles. You’ll “fly” high over one of the most picturesque beaches in the region and have unbelievable views over the twinkling turquoise Adriatic and the green islands on the horizon.

I think it would be fair to say that at The Dubrovnik Times we normally like to keep our feet as close to terra firma as possible. But it isn’t every day that you can get top try such a unique experience in Dubrovnik, and as these guys were the first we jumped in, well feet first.

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The point of no return - Photo Mark Thomas 

At 250 metres in length and roughly 60 metres above the shoreline it certainly is an impressive sight as you stand ready to speed over the beach. Trepidation was probably the overriding feeling. However once lift off begins there is no looking back (or looking down) and the ride is simply stupendous.

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A Zipline with a view - Photo Mark Thomas  

The whoosh as the warm Adriatic air whizzes by, it is about as close as you’ll get to becoming a bird. The whole experience started with an extensive training and safety course. With Zipline Dubrovnik safety always comes first. The team are friendly and always on hand to answer questions, of which we had many. “Can I get a parachute,” was one of the first things that popped into my head.

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If you want to spend a few hours with a totally new look and experience in Dubrovnik then this is certainly for you.

Fact File

Location – Vrbica – Tri Brata beach

Cost - Price of a zipline tour is 300 Kuna (40€) per person (cash only)

Price includes – Equipment, water, training course, 2 guides and a ride on the Zipline

Contact details - Mob/SMS/Whatsapp: +385 95 797 0843 - email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Facebook/Messenger: @ziplinedubrovnik

Booking details – groups are from 2 – 8 people if you want to bring a larger group please contact in advance – you’ll need to book at least two days in advance

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Is it a bird...is it a plane...no it is a flying editor - Photo Ivana Smilovic 

The last weekend of July is upon us and the roads of Croatia are expected to be extremely busy with tourists looking to find their spot on the Adriatic. And over the past few days’ drivers in Dubrovnik have become more and more frustrated with the horrendous traffic jams on the main coastal road from Dubrovnik heading towards Zupa.

The tailbacks start kilometres back from the centre of Zupa and have meant drivers taking at least three times as long to get to their destinations. One of the problems that has caused these jams is the fact that new traffic lights have been turned on at the junction to the industrial centre. These new lights were installed to control the flow of traffic towards a new cemetery that is currently being constructed.

The thinking behind slowing traffic on a busy road just to allow people to visit a cemetery could certainly be challenged, but as this cemetery isn’t actually open then the decision to turn them on is, to say the least, questionable.

There appears to be a new tower, or fortress, in Dubrovnik. And no it wasn’t built in the 16th century, or even uses stone or even looks particularly stable. Residents of the Ploce of Dubrovnik are becoming more and more frustrated with the amount of traffic, parking problems and garbage on the streets of their suburb.

And this latest example, a pallet skyscraper, which has been growing over recent days is sure to upset them even more. And as this suburb is one of the most frequented by tourists as they make their way into the historic centre it seems that more inspections are ned to be back a certain level of control.

 

Croatia will look to import more foreign workers next year to cover the shortfall in the tourism industry. It is expected that one of the most important businesses in the country will miss around 15,000 employees in 2019. The Croatian Minister of Tourism, Gari Cappelli, commented that next year the government will aim to re-train people who are currently unemployed as well as increasing the quota of foreign workers.

"We have to be aware that next year Croatia's tourist industry will need about 15,000 people, and it will not be possible to re-train those people within a single year," Cappelli added.

This year's quota for foreign workers in the tourist sector is 8,660. However, there will still be a shortage of between 5,000 and 7,000 workers.

And the Minister concluded that businesses in the tourism industry would be forced to increase the wages of workers in order to keep them in the country. One of the main problems of modern day Croatia is the exodus of young, professional citizens to other European Union countries in search of better pay and conditions.

"We must not allow it to bring the whole tourist season into jeopardy. If necessary, we will resort to (increasing) the quota as a solution, but in the long term the solution is in centres of competence," Cappelli said, adding that tenders for training would be issued in October.

At around 9.30 last night the lunar eclipse begun over the night sky of Dubrovnik. The perfectly clear evening sky meant that the views of the eclipse were stunning. The "totality" period, where light from the Moon was totally obscured, lasted for one hour and 43 minutes.

The moon’s colour was replaced from its normal silvery white to a blood red. This was the longest “blood moon” eclipse of the 21st century and the next one won’t be until 2123.

In Dubrovnik there was a special “moon eclipse watch” from the St. John fortress.

dubrovniki lunar eclipse

lunar eclipse on adriatic sea

I mean what real purpose do they serve? When God was creating all the creatures why, oh why, did he think to create mosquitoes? When Noah took the animals onto the ark, one by one, I am pretty sure that he didn’t take two bloody mosquitoes with him. But knowing these extremely annoying beasts they probably flew on by themselves anyway!

Without doubt one of the banes of my life in the Dubrovnik summer heat are these buzzing pests. However well I protect myself, or maybe I should have said “try to protect myself”, these flying insects find a way to attack me. They are the ninjas of the animal kingdom. Kamikazes raining down, and I am their Pearl Harbour.

Did you know that there are over 3,500 species of mosquitoes? And I am pretty sure they all have my address in their GPS. They awake me from my sleep. Terrorise me at my laptop (yes, I have a couple on the hunt around me now) and use me as a human pincushion whilst I stand at the BBQ. I must have a big neon sign on my forehead “Bite Me” or maybe “Here is lunch.” I have a drawer in my house dedicated to anti-mosquito measures. Sprays, tablets and coils that you burn. They all have very limited effect. The smoking coil which is supposed to protect me whilst I grill another dozen cevapi seems to act like a smoke signal to attract even more of their friends.

So this year we went a step further and bought one of those see-through screens that you fix over the windows. I spent hours fixing it correctly. Managed to glue it to my fingers twice. And when it was up spent another few hours watching the cats bounce off the unexpected new barrier. It was like watching balls hit the net at Wimbledon. For a few days it kind of worked. I would sit on my laptop watching the pesky flying insects whacking their heads on the net. I felt like sticking a middle finger up to them, “Where are you now!” However, the joy was short lived. It would appear that the mosquitoes in Zupa have an IQ similar to Einstein. They saw the new net as a challenge and not as a barrier. For they knew that if they could break in they would have my sweet skin to plough their noses into.

And break in they did. Had they dug a tunnel? Pretty soon the new barrier was having the opposite effect. It was actually keeping the beasts inside. Should I go outside now?

Did you know that only female mosquitoes bite? Why am I not surprised? Yes, as you have already guessed I have been doing a lot of mosquito research over the past weeks. However, all this reading has yet to reveal what purpose these pests serve. I suspect none. I also suspect that without the various tablets and electronic devices that light up my bedroom at night that I would be in fear of losing vast amounts of blood to these suckers.

Why do they always find me first? I seem to act as a decoy for the rest of my family. Whilst they snore away I am left scratching like a dog with fleas. If you think you are too small to be effective you have never been in a dark room with a mosquito. And they always seem to bite me in the most awkward of positions. From big toes to the middle of my back. Once my wife caught me in the middle of a darkened kitchen with a wooden spoon scratching my back. My silhouette in the full moon probably looked like I was doing something else!?!

We have bought some crazy online devices to counter the attacks. None have worked. Although to be fair most of our online shopping has been, well, less than successful. Just last week my wife bought two “cold dog rugs.” You are probably scratching your head in disbelief now, as I am scratching my back from yet another mosquito bite. They are supposed to keep dogs cool in the summer heat, however both our dogs turned their noses up to these refrigerated rugs. Sorry, I digress.

If Mohamed Ali has said “I float like a butterfly and sting like a mosquito,” rather than like a bee he would have been much more dangerous, at least in my eyes. So with the heat of August almost upon us I can almost hear and feel the sound of a swarm of mosquitoes blocking out the sun in our neighbourhood. Winter cannot come soon enough.

For the first time ever Chinese police officers arrived to Dubrovnik, to monitor the City with their Croatian colleagues. We were more than happy to walk with Lili Long and Chuande Zhang across the Old City and discover why they came here and what their impressions are. During our walk, they were constantly stopped by Chinese tourists, who wanted to take photos with them or just talk and see what it’s like to patrol in Dubrovnik. We’ve got all answers here!

Why did you come to Dubrovnik?

LL: Our main purpose is to help ensure the safety of Chinese tourists who come to Croatia. By this joint patrol program, we can enhance the collaboration between the Croatian and Chinese police forces. I think this is a positive start of the collaboration between the two countries.

CZ: I think that Chinese and Croatian police have a high degree of mutual trust. Through this joint police patrol, we can enhance the security and the confidence and feelings between our two countries.

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On the beat on the Stradun with Croatian Police - Photo Mark Thomas 

You’ve been here for almost two weeks. What are your experiences in Dubrovnik? Do you consider it a safe city?

LL: I think that Dubrovnik is a very safe city. It has beautiful scenery and they preserved the Old City very well. This is a different experience for us, Chinese police officers, to come here and to join this program. Chinese tourists were surprised, they felt that they have a stronger sense of security. 

We’ve seen that you get many reactions from the tourists, does that happen often?

LL: Every day! We ask them how long are they planning to stay here and whether they need any help, have they came across anything bad. Fortunately, no bad things have happened since we arrived.

How do you see Dubrovnik in general? Not as a police officer, but as a regular person visiting the city?

CZ: Dubrovnik Old City is really special. There is no similar place in China. I enjoyed all the scenery here. I walked around the City Walls and it’s really different, makes me feel good. Dubrovnik Old City is marked by success and prosperity and a high level of civilization. I like this city!

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Happy to help (and pose for photos) with Chinese tourists - Photo Mark Thomas 

Do you feel welcome here? How were you greeted?

LL: The police officers here helped us a lot with our daily life. Tourists, not only Chinese, but from all over the world are also very kind to us. They are surprised and happy to see us. We feel very welcome; everybody has been so friendly.

You haven’t had reactions only from the tourists but also from the locals?

CZ: Yes, just this morning an old man from Dubrovnik talked to me. He saw that I’m Chinese so he told me that his mother and father lived in China around 20 years ago. He felt some emotions when he saw me, being Chinese and felt close to me. That kind of situations happen often.

Did you learn any Croatian?

LL: Yes, of course! Dobro jutro (good morning), dobar dan (good day), hvala (thank you) and ukusan (tasty). Because I like to eat delicious food so I had to learn ‘’ukusan’’.

CZ: I know - hvala (thank you), bok (hello), adio (goodbye) and kenova (what’s up – a common word for Dubrovnik).

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Learning from their Croatian colleagues - Photo Mark Thomas 

What are differences in food, culture and other things between Croatia and China?

LL: There are many differences. When it comes to food, Chinese people like all kinds of food, for example very spicy. In China, you can taste food from all over the world, but here it’s mostly focused on Croatian and maybe Italian food. I think there’s no Chinese restaurant here, but hope that in the very near future there will be one. Because more and more Chinese tourists come here and we feel a little bit homesick, we miss our food.

CZ: People here are more open, I think. In China, we are a little shy. People here are very kind, even if they didn’t know you, they will smile to you. I think that’s interesting.

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Officer Chuande Zhang in Dubrovnik - Photo Mark Thomas 

Can you compare your job in China with this here, in Croatia?

CZ: Maybe in China it’s a bit busier. Here we’re mostly focused on communication and sharing experiences with the Croatian Police, while in China we have every day work that has to be done.

We lead a different lifestyle, this is maybe a bit slower to you? You may have noticed that we like to drink our coffee for a long time?

CZ: In China, people like to have tea instead of coffee, but we also have time to rest every day.

Out of the million police officers in China, how did they chose you to come to Dubrovnik?

LL: First of all, I was lucky! Also, the language was a priority, as well as experience.

CZ: I was really honored to take part in the joint patrol here. I was in charge with China and European countries, so I’m familiar with this area and that was the key for picking me.

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We walked the beat with the Chinese Police - Photo Mark Thomas 

When they said that you’re going to Dubrovnik, what was the first thing that came to your mind?

LL: King’s Landing.

CZ: Lucky! But also King’s Landing. Game of Thrones is really popular in China and I have seen all the seven seasons.

What do you miss the most?

CZ: My daughter. And food! (laughs)

LL: My son. And food too!

Would you like to come back?

LL: Sure I would like to come back with my family. Before I came here, my colleagues were jealous, because they wanted to come here too. After I go back to China, I think I will introduce Croatia to them and maybe in the near future, some of them will choose to come too.

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Yes, of course we had to try the police hat on for size - Photo Mark Thomas 

The Croatian Auto Club (HAK) expects a significant boost in traffic for the last weekend in July, starting today. The peak of the traffic chaos is expected during Saturday from the earliest morning.

The largest number of tourists will come from Western European countries and besides them, many citizens of the Republic of Croatia as well as neighbouring countries (Slovenia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia) will start their summer vacation. Like the previous weekends, everybody are advised to avoid the trip during Saturdays and Sundays.

HAK expects Saturday to be very chaotic in the direction of the sea on all road routes, as well as the border crossings.

- Saturday traffic crowds in the sea direction begin in the early morning hours and last until late afternoon hours (from 4am to 5pm) and around noon, the traffic in the direction Zagreb and interior increases – HAK explains.

During Sunday, the strongest traffic is expected during the afternoon in the direction of the interior.

HAK advices everybody to schedule their journey according to the crowds – if you are going to the sea, the best time is Friday morning or Saturday afternoon/night, while it's best to return on the Sunday morning.

Unemployment in Croatia has dropped to an all-time low of only 8.8 percent. In June this year there were a total of 1.43 million employed people, a rise of 1.7 percent over May from this year, commented the Croatian National Statistic office.

At the end of last month there were just over 138,000 people registered at the Employment Service, which was down by 2.5 percent when compared with May.

One of the main factors for the drop in rate in unemployment is the amount of seasonal positions open during the main tourist season. Many citizens from the hinterland of Croatia make their way to the Adriatic coast to work in restaurants, hotels and travel agencies. However, the migration of Croatians to other European Union countries in search of work also has to be taken into account.

Mostly cloudy

32°C

Dubrovnik

Mostly cloudy
Humidity: 39%
Wind: SW at 22.53 km/h
Monday
Thunderstorms
23°C / 31°C
Tuesday
Thunderstorms
26°C / 31°C
Wednesday
Thunderstorms
26°C / 31°C
Thursday
Partly cloudy
26°C / 30°C

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