Wednesday, 20 March 2019

In Dubrovnik, Sibenik and the capital Zagreb protests were held on Saturday against domestic violence with the slogan “Croatia needs zero tolerance for violence.” Thousands of protestors gathered in King Tomislav Square in Zagreb carrying banners and messages against domestic violence.

The organisers of Saturday’s #SaveMe protest demand the immediate enforcement of all measures necessary to reduce violence, notably in the family, to improve the work of institutions and the legal framework, and to raise public awareness.

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Protesters said 91 women were killed in Croatia over the past five years, which accounts for 47% of all murders. In 70% of the cases, the murderer was a person close to the victim and in over half they were their partners. They called on authorities to take a more serious approach to domestic violence, to improve regulations and to stop treating victims and perpetrators equally. They demand better cooperation between prosecutors, the police and welfare centres, as well as protecting the dignity and safety of victims during legal proceedings.

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Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic also took part in the protest, saying violence should be treated as a crime and that punishment should be stricter as that was the only way "to reduce this phenomenon, which is really big in society."

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The Croatian National Rugby Team will play an important match of the European Nations Cup against Malta in April, and as the best possible preparation will play a friendly match against the famous Oxford University team in Dubrovnik.

Organized by the Croatian Rugby Association and the youngest member of the Croatian rugby scene, Invictus rugby club from Dubrovnik, the friendly match will be held on the 6th of April at the Lapad Stadium of 15 o'clock.

Invictus rugby club has been active in the Dubrovnik area for two years and has already gathered some 100 members. And the Oxford players will also attend several primary schools on their visit as well as training with the children before the game.

The match with Oxford University will also have a charitable character and will help raise funds for a little in Dubrovnik suffering from cerebral palsy.

It has been revealed that the main suspect in the terrorist attack in Christchurch, New Zealand, which saw 49 people lose their lives, had visited Croatia in last 2016 and early 2017.

The Australian national, Brenton Tarrant (28), attacked two mosques in Christchurch on Friday and killed 49 worshippers, injuring a further 48 people. And it now appears that Tarrant had spent time in Croatia at the end of 2016, on what appears until now to be a vacation, according to a report on N1. He spent two weeks on holiday in Croatia and visited the capital Zagreb as well as many cities along the Adriatic coastline, including Dubrovnik.

It is reported that security forces are investigating this trip to Croatia, as well as visits he made to Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina, after there were signs of influences from the Balkan region around the terrorist attack.

Tarrant published a video of the attack live on social media and in the background, as he was driving to the mosque, a Serb nationalist song can be heard playing. Also it appears that Tarrant wrote the names of Serbian and Montenegrin historical figures and places on his weapons.

Secondary school students from the Dubrovnik High School (Gimnazija) were joined in a clean-up action of plastic bottles from the Dubrovnik shoreline today by the Mayor of Dubrovnik, Mato Franković and the MEP Dubravka Šuica, today.

The cleaning action took place within a stone’s throw of the Old City of Dubrovnik and plenty of rubbish bags were filled with plastic waste.

“We are collect plastic waste and jogging in action called “Plastic + jogging” which is an action organised by the European People's Party and is happening through the whole of the European Union. Today it is also in Dubrovnik. I'm glad we've included young people because we want to share the way that this city and the whole world should be kept and cleaned. We want to remove plastics from our environment,” said the MEP Dubravka Šuica.

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She also commented on the problem that the city has with plastic waste coming from Albania, as was unfortunately seen again on the eve of the St. Blaise Festival. “That's a big problem I have spoken in public many times about this. I have written a letter to all environmental ministers in our environment. We hope that Albania opens negotiations on the problem of environmental protection and we will be very firm that we will not allow this chapter to be closed until they comply with international conventions.”

The Mayor of Dubrovnik also made a point on the waste that arrives from Albania “They come mainly from Albania, but the employees of our public cleaning company always successfully clean up the problem correctly. The Ministry of Environmental Protection has already taken a number of measures. Our ministries visited areas in Albania, found out what the problems are and where most of the waste comes from. Projects are now being worked out how and in what way to ensure that it does not come to our region in the future.”

Due to mining work that will take place on Monday the 18th of March as part of the new border crossing being constructed between Dubrovnik and Ivanica the road will be closed from 20 to 30 minute periods from midday to 5.00pm.

The new border, which is located a few hundred metres in front of the old border, will be considerably larger than the former one and will have more room and more lanes for vehicles wishing to cross from Croatia into Bosnia and Herzegovina.

However, the opening of the new border will also coincide with Croatia becoming a full member of the Schengen region and therefore the border checks will be stricter and this could certainly have an effect on the speed of the flow of traffic.

Every sun must set. Yes, all good things come to an end, it probably isn’t the end, far from it, more like a rebalance. And it isn’t a bump in the road more like an inevitability. If you have a half litre beer glass you can’t pour a litre into it. After more than a decade of ring the crest of wave of the tourism industry Croatia could well hit the beaches this year.

Croatia, and especially Dubrovnik which is the jewel in the tourism crown, is facing a challenging year in the tourism industry. Bookings are slowly down, and the predictions are for a minimal increase in tourist arrivals. It may not be a case of, from boom to bust, more a case of from boom to balance.

And just why is the tourism market looking less promising, well it is a perfect storm (or maybe imperfect storm) of many factors that have all come together this year. In short it’s the three B’s – Bodrum, Brexit and Berlin. With the rise of Turkey and Greece back to the levels they were some years ago, as well as destinations in North Africa, which until now have been “off limits” for tourists slowly coming back the new/old competition will mean challenging times. Whilst the Turks are dumping prices, and the Greeks aren’t far behind, Croatian hotels and tourism agencies have been slow to respond and are now seeing large holes in the reservations for this year.

I am being bombarded with owners of private accommodation who are worried that their apartments will remain empty through the summer months. Clearly this will prove a huge financial problem for renters who have buried themselves in huge loans to finance either building, buying or adapting rooms for tourists.

As one economic expert explained to me just last week, “Tourism is a sensitive and fluid business, whereas history shows us that investing into tourist accommodation makes commercial sense, the future could show that this was a false hope.”

And throw Brexit into the mix and the chaos reaches new heights. Although the British tourists who have already booked their fortnight in the Dubrovnik sunshine through an agency will certainly arrive, in fact hotels in the city are reporting that agency UK bookings are around the same as last year, there has certainly been a slowdown with individual British tourists. If Brexit brings a fall in the value of the pound then this will also obviously effect the spending power of Brits on holiday here. “We’re seeing interesting booking numbers this year. Tiny numbers from England, usual Irish and lots of US bookings filling the gaps. As Dubrovnik normally has such a large percentage of UK visitors, is this a result of Brexit?” said one apartment owner in Dubrovnik to me. Yes, it is a result of Brexit is the short answer. Instability breeds uncertainty.

And Berlin, the third B, is news from the biggest tourism exhibition in Europe, ITB, which has just been held and again opened some painful questions, such as TUI saying that hotel prices need to be dropped. And obviously the knock-on effect of this will be a required drop in private rental prices. Although this news is concerning for many it hasn’t really come as a shock for me. In fact, I would have been more surprised if double-digit growth was achieved again. There are only so many records you can break before you hit the wall. Expansion is of course limited by possibilities.

And this “correction” of prices and tourist numbers was not only to be expected by is completely normal. For years we have been living the high-life and now it’s time to expect more of a move towards value for money. Trying to sell a Fiat for the price of a Ferrari might bring short-term gains but in the long-term you are going to be left with plenty of unsold Fiats. Dubrovnik is a “Ferrari” destination and should be marketed as such. 2019 will be a healthy breath of common sense into the tourism industry, a much needed “wake up and smell the coffee” moment. I’m not being pessimistic, just realistic.   

The capital of Croatia, Zagreb, will once again welcome spring with the Festival of Lights!

From 20 to 24 March this event will enchant everybody with romance that will mark the life of Upper town squares, streets and facades.

The Festival will take place in the historical centre of the city, in the romantic Upper Town. Thanks to modern lighting solutions enabled by top notch lighting technology, the arrival of spring but also symbolical awakening, growth and renaissance will be shown every day from 6 to 11 PM by imaginative light shows, audio visual installations and projections.

Light art is a new discipline that has escaped the confines of museum walls, its artists using as their canvas the city, its buildings, its monuments, the night sky itself. Part art, part design, architecture and entertainment spectacle, the festival both brings you something beautiful to look at and something to make you see your world differently.
Festivals of Light are bringing an exciting new dimension to ever more cities around the world, enrobing their famous monuments in vivid hues or using them as an integral part of creative works.

In 2017 Zagreb’s very first Festival of Lights was a four-day celebration of spring that included experiencing a light harp and challenged visitors to win a prize in a unique laser maze.

Festival of Lights Zagreb is one of the first events heralding the new tourist season, enticing us outside to enjoy a spring night in the city and to witness innovative art and the joy of light. Just one more reason to visit Zagreb!

For more information visit the official page of the Festival.

Reception to celebrate the introduction of the direct flights of American Airlines from Philadelphia (USA) to Dubrovnik was held at the residence of the US Ambassador W. Robert Kohorst for about 70 representatives of the tourism sector.

The US ambassador, Mr. Kohorst, welcomed and thanked the Minister of Tourism, Garri Cappelli, the director of the Dubrovnik Airport, Franko Luetic, and the director of the Dubrovnik Tourist Board, Romana Vlasic. The ambassador emphasized many links between the United States and Croatia, and especially Dubrovnik, which is a very strong Croatian tourist brand on the American market.

Director of American Airlines for the EMEA area, Tom Lattig, expressed satisfaction with the business decision of the company to introduce a direct flight from Philadelphia to Dubrovnik, pointing out that American Airlines is the largest US airline company and that Philadelphia is the base, where more than four hundred aircrafts land daily and it is an excellent hub for this flight.

After many years of negotiations by the Dubrovnik Airport, this important line for Dubrovnik and Croatian tourism was confirmed.

The first flight is scheduled for June 7th 2019, and the rotation will take place three times a week by the end of September.

The Dubrovnik Tourist Board has started with a marketing campaign in the USA, in cooperation with American Airlines, and the duration of the campaign is from March to August. In the very end, in August, Dubrovnik will be on the cover of the American Way magazine. It was also agreed to record video that will be the main video during the month of August on all screens and social networks of the airline, after which it will remain in the video system on aircrafts for the next twelve months. The representatives of American Airlines discussed the organization of a joint announcement for the most significant US media and the organization of the arrival of the inaugural flight.

This seasonal line is just the beginning of excellent long-term cooperation.

In 2018, a total of 137 783 tourists from the United States visited Dubrovnik, or 24 percent more than in 2017, with 383 801 overnight stays, an increase of 20 percent compared to the previous year.

The promotion of Dubrovnik in the second largest city of Ireland and the prestigious River Lee Hotel on Thursday, March 14th, was organized by the Croatian Tourist Board representative office in London, the Dubrovnik Tourist Board, the Irish national airline Aer Lingus and Cork Airport. The event was attended by more than 80 tourist agents.

On the occasion of the launch of the new direct line Aer Lingus on the Cork-Dubrovnik route twice a week, which will start on May 4th, representatives of the Aer Lingus and Cork Airways, Jenny Rafter and Brian Gallagher, highlighted that they have great expectations when it comes to filling the new airline.

-This event has proven to be an excellent example of exchange of experiences and ideas of tourism and industry of Croatia and Ireland. We have exceptionally high expectations regarding the availability of direct flights and are awaiting their launch in May with great impatience. Huge response from agents is an additional confirmation of how much Dubrovnik is an exciting destination in Ireland and we expect that interest will be reflected throughout Croatia – Brian Gallagher commented.

Jenny Rafter explained that they expected about 40 agents and media and the number was doubled, which is a proof of the incredible appetite of the Irish tourism market for Dubrovnik.

-Ireland is ready for something new and different, and Dubrovnik meets all the conditions to become the main favorite of Irish tourists – Rafter concluded.

Ivana Shiell, PR and Marketing Consultant of the Croatian Tourist Board Representative Office of Great Britain also emphasized the success of the event.

-Interactive-educational event confirmed that Dubrovnik as a destination goes hand in hand with trends dominated by cultural-entertaining contents and authentic eno-gastro experiences. If we add to the fact that the Irish economy is on the uphill path, and Irish tourists are steadfast and big consumers looking for new and inspirational destinations, Dubrovnik has the potential to become this year's hit destination on the Irish market.

Sandra Milovcevic, Head of Communications Department of the Dubrovnik Tourist Board, held a presentation and revealed to the attending agents the comprehensive potential of the destination from rich historical and cultural heritage to tourist capacities and numerous events throughout the year. Presentation and promotional videos of Dubrovnik Tourist Board stimulated and educated the participants in new ways of presenting Dubrovnik to future clients, while agents with dynamic interaction further confirmed the perception of Dubrovnik as one of the most desirable destinations for the Irish.

The record-breaking visit of the presentation is a proof of exceptional interest from the Irish market, which justified the excellent forecast of Aer Lingus by choosing just Dubrovnik as one of the new direct air routes this year. The Irish tourism market has significant potential and is ranked in Dubrovnik in the 12th place when it comes to the number of tourist arrivals. In 2018 Dubrovnik was visited by 22,374 Irish tourists ( five percent more than in 2017), and 97,840 overnight stays were realized, also five percent more than in 2017. The statistics point to the extraordinary prospect of the Irish market.


After the presentation, a prize draw was held in which two Aer Lingus return flights connecting Cork and Dubrovnik and two overnight stays at the Valamar Lacroma Dubrovnik Hotel were won by Travel Agent agency representative Paul Sexton.

In addition to getting acquainted with Dubrovnik as a destination, a successful evening had the aim of convincing agents in the quality and authenticity of eno-gastronomic offerings along with the Dubrovnik specialties of Croatian chef and Croatian wines with the sounds of the klapa (vocal group) song.

If you are into active holidays and want to spend your Saturday in Dubrovnik on fresh air, discovering some of the best views of the City, ESN Dubrovnik offers you a solution! Hike on the mountain of Srd, placed just above the Old City of Dubrovnik, is organized this Saturday, March 16th for foreign students and anybody else that would like to join them.

-We truly believe that BALANCE is one of the most important things in life, so let's balance our lives with some nature and sports – organizes wrote on the Facebook event.

The hike takes about an hour and a half of walking and you don’t have to be in the best shape of your life to get to the top – it will be challenging, but not too challenging.

The meeting point is near the bus station of bus 3- Magistrala 1, or location: Staza prema utvrdi Imperial- Jadranska cesta 4, 20000, Dubrovnik, which you can see on the map https://maps.app.goo.gl/8a5wF.

The hike starts at 3pm, which is the perfect time if you want to enjoy the sunset from the top.

- Please don't forget your good shoes, 1 L of water at least and some snacks – organizes concluded.

The Voice of Dubrovnik

THE VOICE OF DUBROVNIK


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