Saturday, 22 September 2018

According to the latest ‘’Global Competitiveness Report 2017-2018’’ from the World Economic Forum (WEF), Croatia has remained in the same position from last year.

In the period from 2017 to 2018, Croatia was placed as the 74th among 137 world economies on the list of global competitiveness, as it did last year.

Rated 4,19 the country stagnates at the global level, according to a statement by the National Competitiveness Council (NVK) of Croatia, a partner of WEF in the Global Competitiveness Program.

As far as other countries in the region are concerned, Slovenia recorded the biggest progress; the country moved from the 56th to the 48th place. Slovakia changed its position from the 65th last year to the 59th this year, Bulgaria (50th to 49th), Serbia (90th to 78th), Hungary (69th to 60th), whilst Montenegro placed as the 77th on this year’s list unlike last year’s 82nd.

As stated, reasons for limited growth and competitiveness stagnation are slow implementation of reforms in key areas of education, infrastructure and innovation financing as well as inefficient administration, tax rates and regulations, political instability and corruption – crucial in improving business climate.

The Global Competitiveness Index 2017-2018 Rankings show that Switzerland remained its last year’s position as the most competitive world economy. It is followed by the United States, Singapore, the Netherlands and Germany.

The results of the report are based on a survey of businesspersons in 14,000 companies worldwide, out of which 84 of them were surveyed in Croatia earlier this year, statistical data from 2016 and 2017 and data from international organizations.

The methodology is based on an analysis of 12 competitiveness factors including institutions, infrastructure, macroeconomic environment, health and education, labour market and commodity efficiency, technological readiness, innovation, amongst others.

Dubrovnik Airport has recorded a record month in September with 348.749 passengers travelling through the airport. The airport has recently reached the two millionth passenger mark as 2017 proves to be the busiest year ever for the most southern airport in Croatia.

In the first three quarters of 2017 Dubrovnik Airport has seen 2.04 million passengers travelling through which is an impressive 17 percent increase over 2016. This means that Dubrovnik has already overtaken its passenger traffic total from 2016 when 1.99 million passengers were handled. By the end of the year it is anticipated that 2.3 million passengers will have been handled.

Since the beginning of the year only one month, March, saw a decrease in passenger numbers compared to last year. April saw the most impressive increase, 52 percent, and in total 143,920 passengers passed through in the fourth month.

In spite of the impressive figures and undoubtedly great final results there is still work to do on attracting airlines to the airport out of the main tourist season. January this year recorded a miserly 19,329 passengers whilst July saw 442,122. This seasonality will hold the airport, and Dubrovnik as a destination, back from further record breaking years.

The famous Hollywood star Amanda Seyfried, who is currently working on the project ‘’Mamma Mia 2’’ on the island of Vis, is obviously thrilled with the beauty of the Croatian island.

Ten days ago the popular actress arrived in Croatia to play in the new sequel of ‘’Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again’’ together with Meryl Streep, Colin Firth, Pierce Brosnan and Andy Garcia.

Seyfried’s husband, an actor Thomas Sadoski and her six-month old daughter, whose name Seyfried has not revealed to her fans yet, accompany her.


During the filming, Seyfried seizes every spare moment to walk around the island and enjoy its beauty. After her daily engagement on the set, beautiful actress spends most of her time with her family; however, she was also spotted walking around the island exploring it.

Paparazzi ‘’caught’’ Seyfried on several occasions enjoying here time on the island, however, she looked like she did not mind at all and with a smile on her face, she waved to them and went on.

Seyfried will be staying for some time on Vis until all the planned scenes are filmed.

This imposing and spectacularly ornate Jesuit Church is located in the Ruđer Bošković Square at the top of the famous baroque staircase that was modelled on the Spanish Steps in Rome.

church jesuit church


Constructed between 1667 and 1725 by the Italian architect Andrea Pozzo is takes its appearance from the mother church of the Society of Jesuit in Rome, the Church of the Gesù.

Dominating the skyline the St. Ignatius Church was completed in 1725 and was partially funded by Jesuits from a noble Dubrovnik family. Significant pieces of art that decorate this sacral building were created by Gaetano Garcia, an Italian Baroque painter originally from Spain.

st ign dubrovnik


The actual church is a single-nave construction with side chapels and a soaring ceiling. The walls are decorated with Baroque frescoes and show the life of St. Ignatius de Loyola. Interestingly the church bell towers holds the oldest bell in the whole city, it was cast in 1355.

Irish national airline Aer Lingus released its summer flight schedule for 2018, in which it will reinforce all three of its lines to destinations in Croatia – reports Avioradar.

The line Dubrovnik - Dublin, begins two days earlier before the start of the summer schedule that is dated March 23rd  next year, with four flights a week, every Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday. From May 31st 2018, the line will be upgraded to the daily frequency, which, compared with last year, is one flight per week more in the heart of the season.

The line Pula - Dublin will have an addition to the existing three flights a week, which fly every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. The line will also operate on Fridays from July 6th 2018. Line Split - Dublin will start two weeks earlier, or more precisely from May 15th 2018 will have one flight a week more in addition to Tuesdays and Saturdays – line will operate every Thursday too.

“I am going scuba diving for wine in Dubrovnik,” had me poking my finger in my ear to make sure I had heard her correctly. “Yes, that’s the message on my answer phone back in Canada – going diving for wine in Dubrovnik,” she smiled.

I was sitting on a flight back to Dubrovnik from London and the passenger next to me used that as her opening introduction line. Well it makes a refreshing difference from “Hello!” And indeed she was telling the truth. She was on a two-day break in Dubrovnik to go diving for wine in amphora off the Pelješac coastline. “Yes, that is rather a unique message to leave on an answer phone,” I agreed with her.

It turned out that this young Canadian lawyer quite enjoyed a tipple or two of the Bacchus juice. The conversation flowed from politics to current affairs and back to Game of Thrones (of which she wasn’t a fan) to social issues and history. “So what do people do in Dubrovnik if they don’t work in tourism?” she concluded. “Move somewhere else,” was the best answer I could think of. She smiled. “In a town where 40,000 people live and 2 million tourists visit everybody works directly or indirectly in tourism whether they want to or not,” I expanded. “So up-selling is a key factor in your economy,” was her first response.

Now that phrase “up-selling” got me thinking. I had just spent a week in the UK where at every, and I mean every, opportunity someone was trying to up-sell to me, but does this happen in Dubrovnik...well no.

For those of you who don’t know the tactic of up-selling is basically trying to persuade a customer to buy something additional or more expensive. I rolled my mind back through the last seven days. At the cafe bar – “Would you like a cake or biscuit with your coffee?” At the restaurant – “Can I interest you in a fresh salad with your meal?” At the hotel – “Would your wife be interested in a massage after her swim?” At the jewellery shop – “Would you like a special gift wrapping for only 5 pounds?” At the bakery (yes seriously at the bakery) – “Can I interest you in a homemade cookie with your bread this morning?” At the supermarket – “If you buy another bottle of ketchup you get the third one for free.”

Basically everyone is trying to sell something/anything to you to increase the size of your bill. But it isn’t done in an annoying or obtrusive manner, far from it. It always comes with a free smile.

And I have to be honest the tactic worked more than once, especially with my wife who had assumed that the cookie with her coffee in Starbucks was free. And then the finale was when we arrived at Gatwick Airport for the flight home and was met by a smiling face at the check in who offered an upgrade to a seat with more leg room. “We have a special two for the price of one offer today on extra sized seats to Dubrovnik,” she beamed. That isn’t a sentence you hear every day. Even on the plane the air hostesses were banging the up-sell drum. “Can I just get a white coffee,” I asked. “Of course sir, but can I just inform you if you take a sandwich as well you would get a Twix or Mars for free,” came the up-sell answer.

This constant stream of selling soon disappeared when we touched down. The very first coffee I ordered was met with “OK” and only “OK.” No mention of any other products, cookies, cakes or bars of chocolate...just “OK.” Are we missing something? Could we be earning more from tourists who are quite used to the up-sell tactic? Almost certainly. It is estimated that up-selling accounts from around 20 percent of a company’s business in the UK. So at a rough estimate we can safely say that we are around 20 percent worse off because we don’t up-sell. If you own a cafe bar or restaurant in Dubrovnik try telling your waiters to change “OK” to “would you like a cookie or cake” and see how that goes. If it works, and there is no reason to suggest it won’t, then I will gladly accept a small commission.

I dug deep through my memory banks and couldn’t think of one occasion that I had even been sold anything extra on top of what I had already bought. As Yoda from Star Wars would say “much to learn we have.”

The latest data from Eurostat show that Croatia has recorded the biggest decline in the unemployment rate in the European Union at the annual level.

Among all EU member countries, only Spain ‘’scored’’ better than Croatia; it achieved the biggest drop in the unemployment rate on an annual basis with 17,1 percent in comparison to almost 20 percent in June last year.

The unemployment rate in Croatia decreased to 10,9 percent in August 2017 from 13,1 percent a year earlier. The number of unemployed persons fell to 171.351,00 from 213.340,00. In July, the unemployment rate was recorded at 10,8 percent.

In the period from 1996 to 2017, the unemployment rate in Croatia averaged 17,86 percent, reaching an all time high of 23,60 percent in January 2002 and a record low of 10,80 percent in June 2017.

According to the Eurostat’s report, the decline in unemployment rates is recorded by all EU member states, except for Estonia, where it increased to 6,9 percent in May 2017 from 6,5 percent in May last year.

The lowest unemployment rates were recorded in the Czech Republic (2,9 %), Germany (3,8%) and Malta (4,1%).

The Dubrovnik Symphony Orchestra (DSO) invites citizens and their guests to the humanitarian concert of the DSO String Trio and pianist Naira Asatrian. The concert will be held on Thursday, October 5th, at the atrium of the Rector's Palace at 9 pm, and collected money is intended for the purchase of an ultrasound apparatus for the Intensive Treatment Unit of the Dubrovnik General Hospital.

Tickets at prices of 50, 70 and 100 kuna can be purchased at the cash register Dubrovnik Symphony Orchestra (St. Dominic 9), in the Perla Adriatica agency at Ploče, at Luza, in the Gift Shop Dubravka at Pile, and one hour before the concert in front of the Rector's Palace. Tickets can also be booked at phone number 417 110.

The string trio of DSO will be: Azusa Yamauchi, a violin; Alena Shapachka, viola and Martina Peric, cello. The concerts program is as follows: W. Mozart Sonata in C major, op. 330 L. van Beethoven Sonata in F minor, op. 57 "Passionate" W. Mozart Piano Quartet in g minor, op. 478.

Over the last few years, the Dubrovnik Symphony Orchestra and pianist Naira Asatrian have organized several humanitarian concerts. Thus, two years ago, a Naira concert was held for the distrofiers, and the proceeds from the last year's concert were intended to purchase a fibroscan apparatus for the Dubrovnik General Hospital.

One of the greatest names in the world of music is coming to Zagreb next year.

The British rock singer and songwriter Sir Rod Stewart will hold a concert in the Croatian capital on the 2nd of February 2018. His Croatian fans will have a unique opportunity to hear many of his greatest hits such as ''Sailing'', ‘’Forever Young’’, ''The First Cut Is The Deepest'', ''Rhythm Of My Heart'', ''Maggie May'' and many more.

Stewart is one of the best-selling music artists of all time. During his more than 50-year long career, he has sold over 100 million records worldwide. Also known as ‘’Rod the Mod’’, Stewart has had six consecutive number one albums in the UK, whilst out of his 62 UK hit singles 31 of them reached the top ten, six of which gained the #1 position. Stewart has had 16 top ten singles in the US, with four reaching #1 on the Billboard Hot 100.

At the Queen’s Birthday Honours 2016 Stewart was knighted for his services to music and charity. On that occasion he said, "I've led a wonderful life and have had a tremendous career thanks to the generous support of the great British public. This monumental honour has topped it off and I couldn't ask for anything more. I thank Her Majesty and promise to 'wear it well'."

As a solo artist, Stewart was included in the US Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1994, the UK Music Hall of Fame in 2006, and was included a second time in the US Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2012 as a member of Faces.

European Best Destinations (EBD) has recently published a list of Most Beautiful Landscapes in Europe. This European organization promotes culture and tourism in Europe and has 4 million visitors and thousands of followers on Facebook, Twitter, Google+Pinterest, therefore, only the best of the best enter their lists.

The latest list features the 34 most beautiful places across the Old Continent and three of them are located in Croatia – Omiš, the Plitvice Lakes and the small island of Galešnjak.

 omis fro the air

''Welcome to the island of love. A few kilometres from Zadar, the Galesnjak Island, also known as Cupid Island is the only island in the world with a heart shape. That shape was discovered by a cartographer in the late 19th century. The island is very small within an area of 130 square metres. It does not house any hotel or restaurant.'', EBD describes the small Croatian island.

''There is a reason why the two or three weeks you are going to spend on the Adriatic are called holidays. Rest and relaxation on the beach or in other words swimming and sunbathing, are the favourite activities of most tourists on summer vacation. Luckily, Omiš offers almost endless possibilities in this aspect, too. From big sandy beaches to small secluded pebble coves, from long shallows ideal for kids to the deep big blue opening up before you just metres from the shore – Omiš truly has something to offer to everyone'', writes European Best Destinations about a small Croatian town near Split.

The popular European organization also describes one of the most beautiful Croatian national parks, ''The Plitvice Lakes National Park is ranked at the top of the most beautiful parks in Europe. These 16 large lakes, connected by nearly 100 waterfalls, are dazzlingly blue. Here, nature reigns. It offers you the most beautiful shows in this park that has been part of the UNESCO World Heritage for more than 35 years. You will fall in love with this incredible place''.

Here is the entire EBD's list of the most beautiful landscapes in Europe:

The Azores, Portugal

Galešnjak Island, Croatia

Hallstatt, Austria

Bonifacio, France

The Mont Saint-Michel, France

Tuscany, Italy

Rhine waterfalls, Switzerland

The Svartissen Glacier, Norway

The Dordogne Valley, France

Mullerthal Region, Luxembourg

The Douro Valley, Portugal

The Faroe Islands, Denmark

Meteora, Greece

Positano, Italy

The Hallerbos Forest, Belgium

Bled, Slovenia

Oludeniz, Turkey

The Lofoten Islands, Norway

Kjerag, Norway

Blagaj, Bosnia and Herzegovina

St Kilda, Scotland

Omiš, Croatia

Algarve, Portugal

The Plitvice Lakes, Croatia

Trolltunga, Norway

Aix-en-Provence, France

Ischia, Italy

Dark Hedges, UK

Isola Bella, Taormina, Italy

Madeira, Portugal

Zaanse Schans, the Netherlands

Mount Etna, Catania, Sicily

Godafoss, Iceland

Capri, Italy




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The Voice of Dubrovnik


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