Saturday, 20 October 2018

Croatia will soon have its first Novotel hotel. By the end of 2020 the first Novotel in Croatia will open in the capital, Zagreb, and will include 170 rooms, a wellness centre and business centre.

The company ROX from Zagreb have signed contracts with the hotel chain Orbis, the exclusive holder of the Novotel license for eastern Europe.

"Croatia has become one of the most attractive countries for hotel sector investors. We are very proud that the local partner has decided to cooperate with the Novotel brand and has chosen Orbis as the manager of this top project. Zagreb is one of the most important business centres in South East Europe - a very dynamic and creative city. Guests seeking relaxation and relaxation, as well as business users, will truly enjoy Novotel," commented Gilles Clavie, the CEO of the Orbis group.

The new brand name hotel will be located around 20 minutes from the city centre and 15 minutes from the airport.

Famous news service Bloomberg has published an interesting article, saying that Turkish billionaire Ferit Sahenk’s Dogus Holding AS is seeking buyers for luxury hotels across southern Europe, including Villa Dubrovnik.

According to the article, the news reportes have spoken to people with knowledge of the matter, who wanted to stay anonymus because the discussions are private. As it restructures its debt, the group also talking to prospective buyers for Capri Palace, Madrid’s Hotel Villa Magna and Rome’s Aldrovandi Villa Borghese Hotel.

It’s likely that these trophy properties, some of them formerly owned by wealthy families, will be sold individually rather than as a portfolio, one of the Bloomerge sources said. Potential buyers include high-net-worth individuals from Portugal, Spain, Italy, Asia and the Middle East, some of the people said for Bloomberg.

-On Tuesday, Standard & Poor’s cut Istanbul-based Dogus’s rating to B-, citing the firm’s inability to execute a planned refinancing -- 725 million euros for itself and 1.6 billion euros for its investee companies -- contrary to the agency’s expectations. If Dogus is unable to extend the maturity of its borrowings, S&P said it doesn’t expect the firm to meet its financial commitments over the coming year "without accelerating and executing asset sales.'' – Bloomberg reports, adding a statement by the S&P analysts, saying that they understand Dogus has a detailed plan to dispose of part of its real estate assets for a total of about 500 million euros in 2019 and that the most of the assets are outside Turkey.

It remains to be seen if this is true and if Villa Dubrovnik, described as a ''stylish retreat for guests in search of luxurious privacy and first-class hospitality'' will get a new owner. It's certainly a gem – if you can afford it.

IKEA Croatia has reported figures which show that Croatia was the third biggest growth market in Europe for the Swedish furniture chain. In its fourth year of trading in Croatia the company has seen a bumper year with turnover in their retail stores jumping by almost 15 percent and over the internet they had a massive 204 percent growth.

“Compared to other countries in which we operate, Croatia is third in Europe and eighth in the world for growth in sales which makes us extremely optimistic. What makes us especially happy is that in the last financial year we created 500 new jobs,” commented Stefan Vanoverbeke, the IKEA Croatia Director.

Over the past financial year IKEA Croatia had a total turnover of over 680 million Kuna and sold 13 million products with around 1.8 million customers visiting their store in Zagreb.

The United States government has approved the donation of two Black Hawk UH-60M helicopters to the Republic of Croatia - Jutarnji list reports.

he donation includes two new helicopters with equipment and spare parts worth around 50 million dollars. These completely new helicopters should come to Croatia in 2020.

As Jutarnji list writes, two US Black Hawk M series arrived on Thursday in Zagreb to be presented to the local public today.

The US government's decision to donate two new multi-purpose helicopters is yet another proof of a strong strategic partnership between the United States and Croatia.

The Black Hawk UH-60M is the newest version of this helicopter, featuring the most modern communication, navigation and sensory systems. Helicopters, as Defense Minister Damir Krsticevic announced a year ago, should be deployed to the Special Forces Command. This is a multipurpose version of the helicopter because it can be used for air strikes, evacuation of the wounded, tracing and rescue and the transfer of soldiers, but it can also be used in fire extinguishing, border control, etc.

The new two helicopters in the military system should enter in 2020, when the first F16 fighter aircraft from Israel should arrive in Croatia. In addition, the Air Force will also have the Kiowa Helicopters available. According to announcements, the UH-60 helicopters will be fully interoperable with the F16 and Kiowa helicopters, enabling rapid and effective joint action – Jutarnji list concludes.

The British Days in Dubrovnik continued today with a lecture on the legend of Richard the Lionheart’s connection to Dubrovnik and the island of Lokrum in particular.

A special ferry took the numerous visitors to the island and the lecture from Dr Judith Everard from Cambridge University was held in the courtyard of the monastery on the island, a truly spectacular venue which was completely packed for the event.

According to legend whilst returning from The Crusades Richard the Lionheart’s ship sunk in heavy storms and he vowed to build a monastery on the first place his feet touched solid ground. That place was the island of Lokrum just 600 metres from the Old City of Dubrovnik.



A mixed audience of tourist guides, students, locals and tourists attended the lecture and posed questions afterwards.

“We are extremely satisfied with the attendance, the boat to Lokrum was completely full and it was nice to see a mixture of ages and people from different professions,” commented a representative of the British Embassy in Croatia. Adding that several of the attendants had asked for Dr. Everard to produce a written copy of the lecture.

“To my delight the representatives of the local tourist guides and tourist board gave me a very positive feedback to the talk. I felt very humble talking to them about their own history, but I thought that I could give a British perspective on Richard and his career,” commented Dr Everard for The Dubrovnik Times.

So is it a legend or is there some truth behind it? Was the question that was asked at the end of the Lokrum lecture. “There is certainly some truth behind it. We can say that Richard the Lionheart certainly visited Dubrovnik in 1192. He might have given money to construct the Dubrovnik Cathedral but beyond circumstantial evidence we have no real proof.”


As the director of the Dubrovnik Tourist Board, Romana Vlašić, is truly in the front line of the city’s tourism industry. And as another successful summer season draws to an end we caught up for a coffee with Vlašić to find her conclusions for this season and suggestions for next year. We discovered what the international press is writing, where our next travel market is opening up and what is happening to winter tourism.

How would you best describe this past season?

This season, if we look at the statistics, was certainly better than last year. The total figures that we have show that the number of tourist arrivals in Dubrovnik was 7 percent more than last year. However, what I really have to emphasize, and what really makes us satisfied, is that we achieved great results in the pre-season. One of our main aims is the extension of the main tourist season from the summer months, which is why I think we can all be proud of the results from the beginning of the year. As far as the tourist market in the city is concerned there isn’t any real great changes, once again guests from the UK are the most numerous. However, it is interesting to note that in second place are tourists from the USA.

Yes, the fact that American tourists are the second most numerous is interesting. We don’t have any direct flights from the US to Croatia, at least not this year. How have we managed to attract so many American tourists?

We have been working intensively on the US market for years and it seems that this work is starting to bear fruit. There have been a whole series of promotional events that we have carried out in the US, from the New York Times Travel show to specialised travel fairs in Las Vegas. Secondly we are connected with a luxury tour operator in the US who have proved to be very professional and have brought many guests to Dubrovnik over the past few years. Then we have used a range of advertising possibilities, from classic to newsletters, and I have participated in a webinar in front of hundreds of American tour operators. Evidently all of this work has paid off. And now after 28 years we will finally have direct flights from the US again, with American Airlines announcing flights from Philadelphia.

I am sure that this “pilot” project from American Airlines will grow over the coming years to include more American cities as well as new airlines.

Is the Dubrovnik Tourist Board already in contact with American Airlines?

Of course, through our representative office in New York we have made contact with the airline and the travel company that represents them. We have already arranged joint marketing opportunities and co-operation. We are only too happy to help fill these flights and make sure that this new link is successful.



Has Dubrovnik as a destination found a solution for the overcrowding problem?

I think we can see from this season that the beginning of a solution and the beginning of our work on this problem has started to work. With the project “Respect the City” which has its long-term and short-term goals, we have started on the right foot and this year has seen a much better flow of tourists. One thing that has certainly helped this year is the changes made to coaches bringing cruise ship passengers to the Old City. By rescheduling their departure from the Port of Dubrovnik we have managed to ease the pressure slightly on the infrastructure. And this rescheduling of cruise ship passengers has helped with the number of people trying to enter the Old City. The City of Dubrovnik is in contact with Cruise Lines International Association, who have been co-operative with the plan to reschedule the arrival and departure times of cruise ships. This measure has also largely worked. The aim of the city isn’t to cram more and more tourists inside the Old City, quite the contrary, our goal is to make sure that the tourists who arrive have a pleasant and memorable stay. When a satisfied cruise passenger later returns to the city on a vacation then we have done our job.

The tourist board is in constant contact with international media outlets and I can say that this year we have seen a shift in their opinions about overcrowding in Dubrovnik. The positive vibration about Dubrovnik is slowly spreading across the globe again.

How will our winter season be? Are we working on further extending our main tourist season in to the winter months?

Dubrovnik has the longest season of any destination on the Adriatic. We are intensively working on extending the season even more, as you can see from the slogan of the tourist board “Dubrovnik – a city for all season.” We have been working closely with Dubrovnik Airport to ensure that we have more flights for this winter. In fact, this year we have never made more flights into Dubrovnik through the winter, we will be directly connected to seven major European cities, from Warsaw to Istanbul. We are also interested in having connections with European hubs that have connections to Asia and the US. One new market that has proved interesting is Australia. The Croatian National Tourist Board will, for the first time, carry out an educational presentation in Sydney next year as this new market continues to grow. Also this post season we can look forward to a number of events that should prove interesting for guests, such as the Good Food Festival and the Dubrovnik Winter Festival. In fact, we have joined with British Airways to market and promote the winter festival and Dubrovnik through the winter months.

What changes to the tourist season can we expect for next year?

Next year we can certainly expect an even better organisation and flow of cruise ship passengers through the city as our project kick in. Of course it takes time for such a project to work, but I’m sure that we will feel even more advantages for next year. We will see American Airlines coming, an increase in tourists from Asia, as well as more tourists deciding to come to the city in the pre and post seasons. And of course our main goal is to concentrate on sustainable tourism for the whole city.

The Croatian captain and Real Madrid midfield star has been nominated for this year’s Ballon d’Or and could make it a clean sweep of all the major football individual awards this year. In fact, Modić could become the first player since Kaka to break the dominance of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.

A total of 30 nominees have been selected for this prestigious award and the winner will be revealed on the 3rd of December in Paris. The votes are cast by a group of international journalists, with one vote coming from each country.

Modrić had an amazing season last year, and has already won the Golden Ball at the 2018 World Cup in Russia and well as the FIFA award as best man player in the 2017/2018 season. However, he will face stiff competition from Messi and Ronaldo who have won every Ballon d’Or since 2007.

In addition to the excellent results of tourist traffic realized during the year from the British market, from which 794,000 arrivals and over 4 million overnight stays have been achieved during the first nine months – an increase of 8 percent, Croatia's popularity is also confirmed by the numerous media releases in some of the most popular media. 
-British travel lovers are very responsive to our promotional activities, and the overall Croatian tourist offer is also very popular in this market. This is clear from the continuous growth of tourist traffic and the fact that this market takes on a stronger position among the top 10 markets from which we have the largest number of tourist arrivals – said the director of the Croatian Tourist Board Kristjan Staničić, adding that eVisitor data shows that Croatia is the most popular among young British tourists.

In a special attachment to the Financial Times, the weekend edition called "How To Spend It", there was a great story about Korcula and a Croatian eno-gastronomic offer, which was presented as high quality. Croatia is presented as a growing gastronomic destination with an authentic food & wine scene.

Also, as part of the story, the cultural scene was highlighted with the unquestioning strengthening of the British Croatian relations. ‘’How to spend it’’ is printed in almost 200,000 copies and has a reach of 2 million readers. The publication is available in print edition and in online version.

Alongside with this, the first set of shows were broadcasted on the ITV television, focusing on the promotion of luxury and authentic destinations of central Dalmatia, eno-gastronomic offerings and cultural heritage as part of their popular prize-winning games. The show had a reach that exceeded 14 million viewers.

When it comes to great British-Croatian relations, we must mention that currently in Dubrovnik the British Days are held. See the full program here.

A new sea-cleaning action organized by the Dubrovnik Diving Club with the support of Valamar Riviera was held last week in the Solitudo area, but there’s no stopping! Next weekend is reserved for the new action in Zaton.

This valuable sea-cleaning action was attended by members of the Dubrovnik Diving Club and employees of City firm Cistoca d.o.o. The leading Croatian tourism company Valamar Riviera supported the work of the Dubrovnik Diving Club within one of its nine cornerstones of socially responsible business, Green Valamar, which encompasses various initiatives aimed at protecting the environment.

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Breast cancer is the most common malignant disease of women. Every fourth or fifth day the disease is diagnosed to a woman in the Dubrovnik-Neretva County.

With the regular preventive check-ups breast cancer can be detected at an early stage. This means more successful treatment, better quality of life for a woman and her family and being cured.

October is the breast cancer awareness month.

In order to raise awareness of the importance of early detection of this disease, the Department of Public Health of the Dubrovnik-Neretva County organizes a public medical action called the Pink Saturday at the Stradun on October 13th from 10 am to noon in front of Sponza Palace.

The action will be joined and supported by health professionals, women who are under breast cancer treatment and the celebrities of Dubrovnik, with the sharing of various promotional materials.




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