Wednesday, 21 August 2019

Passengers desperate to get to Dubrovnik Airport this morning turned to the UberBOAT service to avoid the crowds. The main coastal road to the airport was blocked as Dubrovnik taxi drivers protested at what they see as unfair competition from Uber taxis and the protest caused miles and miles of traffic jams. The protest caused another protest, this time from the public.

According to reports around 30 passengers missed a flight to Rome as the traffic jams built up. Some drivers needed 2 hours to drive to the airport, a journey that would normally take 30 minutes. As the public turned against the protest there was a rise in the interest of Uber across social media channels.

When asked by The Dubrovnik Times about the possible increase of downloads of the Uber app in the Dubrovnik region the Communications Assistant at Uber, Matija Mesic, commented that “We generally don't communicate these numbers as they are business critical.” He did however add that “What I can say is that we wanted to make sure that everyone looking to get to the airport in Dubrovnik today had the option of taking UberBOAT at the same rate as a car. The aim was to make sure that traffic and mobility was available to everyone regardless of the taxi protest which is really negative publicity for Uber and Croatia in general.”

The first two letters of protest are PR and there is no doubt that today's taxi protest was a PR disaster. Whatever sympathy the public had with the battle between the analogue taxi and the digital online service Uber has just swung massively to the side of the new upstart. In the cowboy like showdown on the main road the taxi drivers well and truly managed to shoot themselves in the foot.

Passengers were late for planes, pensioners sat for two hours in the boiling heat, children cried, bus loads of tourists will have memories of Dubrovnik and Uber drivers rubbed their hands in glee as the public pressure built up. A grand total of nobody gave their support for the drivers protest. The mayor, the director of the airport even the Minister of Transport popped his head above the parapet and criticised the protest. The Dubrovnik taxi drivers did manage to unite the public, but not in the way they had imagined.

In one warm morning they managed to bring the matter to the forefront and to convert normal analogue passengers to download the Uber app and convert to the digital side. The key to PR is judging the public mode and making the most of a positive swell. This was a classic example of PR flushed down the toilet. In car terms this was an absolute backfire!

The argument that analogue taxi drivers have to pay taxes, concessions and licenses is true and that the Uber “colleagues” are exempt of these extra charges is also true (to an extent). “Uber has brought unfair competition,” is the charge often heard. Again I could have had some sympathy with this statement, but the answer is not to go to war, for the only people you are really hurting are the very people who pay your mortgages – your customers – the general public.

Learning to cope with the added pressures of these so called “profit sharing community” services such as Airbnb and Uber is battle than should be fought in a more cunning way. However it is a delicate issue because your employers, the public, are likely to get caught in the crossfire, as they did today. For years these same taxi drivers have been living large from a mafia style closed market. That empire has been shaken to its core by a handful of Uber drivers. The Roman Empire lived for a 1,000 years but collapsed in a matter of days. The start of the fall of the Dubrovnik taxi empire began today.

Dubrovnik taxi drivers blocked one lane of the main road from the city to the airport today in protest at UBER. The blockade of the road started at around 9.30 this morning and caused massive tailbacks towards the city.

According to the latest information the road has been reopened after a brief incident in which four taxi drivers were attacked by what appears to be Uber drivers, although this is still yet to be confirmed. Ambulances are on the scene and the injured taxi drivers are believed to be on their way to Dubrovnik General Hospital.

The Dubrovnik taxi drivers had been protesting against UBER as they believe that the online service is illegal. The President of the Association of Dubrovnik taxi drivers, Bozo Miletic, commented that “I'm not the organizer of the protest. I came personally, stopped the vehicle and probably will get a misdemeanour fine. I will pay like everyone else. The organizer of this protest is just Uber and the unlawful way that they work, as well as the bad functioning of the legal state.” Around 170 taxis are believed to be involved in the protest.

As this road is the main road to the airport the protest caused many people to be late for their planes. There are reports that 30 passengers missed a flight to Rome this morning. The director of the airport, Roko Tolic, angrily reacted to the protest, “If such a situation persists, Dubrovnik Airport will make decisions that will regulate transportation more in the long run in this area." And the Mayor of Dubrovnik, Mato Frankovic, was also just as scathing, “The City of Dubrovnik has so far been a partner with the taxi drivers from the City of Dubrovnik and we have repeatedly emphasized that we do not support the way in which Uber works and that their work is considered unlawful. However, the partnership that we have developed so far has been interrupted because our fellow citizens and guests of our City cannot get an adequate service through the taxis of the association.”

Dubrovnik taxi drivers protested this morning against the online service UBER by blocking the main coastal road to the airport from Dubrovnik. The taxis of Dubrovnik gathered on the main road and parked causing huge delays that lasted for most of the morning and are still causing problems. 

They stated that the protest was against the bad legal system of the Republic of Croatia that does not protect them. Adding that UBER drivers don’t pay taxes to the City of Dubrovnik and drive at much lower prices in the summer season. Taxi drivers commented that they have to pay concessions, standing fees, professional exams, and take part in a tender system before they can start working.

The delays caused by this impromptu protest stretched almost back to the Old City of Dubrovnik and police were called in to regulate the traffic flow and traffic lights.

The president of the Dubrovnik Taxi Association, Bozo Miletic, commented that - We are not looking for a special law for us, but an honest relationship -

taxi dubrovnik

Dubrovnik will play host to a rather special concert tonight in the gardens of a summer residence. The Renaissance Garden program was premiered in August 2016 as part of the Garden of Music project and is realized in partnership with the Caboga Stiftung Foundation and the support of the City of Dubrovnik.

The aim of the project is to present cultural material and intangible heritage in an attractive way and innovative art practices aimed at bringing together rich cultural heritage and the history of culture in Dubrovnik summer villas. The music is inspired by the spirits of the past and the story is about the villas built by the rich Dubrovnik nobility on the territory of the former Republic of Dubrovnik.

Apart from serving as places for holidays, musical and literary academies were organized in the summer villas, and their gardens were visited by poets, philosophers and writers. At the source and the banks of the river Ombla, where sweet and salted water is combined, there are thirty summer historical villas. Some are renovated and some are still waiting for their renaissance. Entrance to the concert is free of charge and a special bus transfer leaves from the Pile Gate station to the Villa at 7:30 pm.

Who, what, when, where and how! We have the answers to all your questions about Dubrovnik from one of the leading tour guides in the city – Ivan Vukovic.

If you have ever had a guided tour of Dubrovnik there is a good chance that you have bumped into Ivan Vukovic. For the past decade Ivan has been leading visitors around Dubrovnik, thousands and thousands of guests have been captivated by his local insight and wealth of knowledge. From Game of Thrones to walking tours and even Star Wars tours Vukovic is always thinking ahead of the game. You can find more information on Ivan Vukovic and his tours at his website - dubrovnik-tourist-guides.com

Send your questions to Ivan and “Ask the Guide” at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or through the social media accounts of The Dubrovnik Times...if you don’t ask you will never know. 

Can you recommend some good places to go hiking?

We have a great hiking trail which starts at the Adriatic coastal road and goes up to the top of Srd hill where it finally reaches the Imperial Fortress. It will take you around thirty minutes to make the walk and I would certainly suggest taking a hat, good walking shoes and a bottle, or two, of water. The views from the top are great so maybe a camera is also a good idea.

What are the two forts are outside of the city walls of Dubrovnik?

Yes, there are two fortresses that are part of the Dubrovnik defensive system but are outside of the city walls complex. The first is the Lovrjenac fort which stands on a 37 metres high rock to the west of the city and the other is the Revelin fort which is located to the east on the Ploce gate, this fort is now used as a night club.

For whom the bell tolled in Dubrovnik?

There is a death bell which tolled during the funeral ceremonies in the times of the Republic of Dubrovnik. The square in the part of the city by the convent of St. Mary is named after this very bell.

What currency was used in the Republic of Dubrovnik?

The government of Republic never allowed goldsmiths to mint any money with a low purity of silver and gold inside. The coins were as valuable as the Swiss Franck is today. They controlled the purity of these coins very strictly; every coin produced by the mint went through a rigorous process. The currency of the Republic had various names, such as Libertina, perper, and dinar.

How did Dubrovnik become such a rich city state?

The foundation of the power of the Republic of Dubrovnik was based in its merchant trade and maritime power. It was a very small state but had one of the largest maritime fleets in Europe at the time. It also had great craftsmen, some of the most renowned in the world, and powerful diplomacy. The Republic had consulates all over Europe.

karaka dubrovnik

Can you tell me a few interesting facts about the former Rector of Dubrovnik?

The Rector of the Republic of Dubrovnik was the head of state, the most important person in the city. However this was an unpaid job, he didn’t receive any salary for doing his job, it was an honour to be the Rector and seen as a great honour to be chosen. The Rector rules for a month and he had to be at least 50 years old, as he was considered much wiser at that age. The Rectors wasn’t allowed the leave the Rectors Palace without his guards, it was a very important role. Also the Rector had to come from a noble family from Dubrovnik; you could say that he was the first amongst equals.

It is no secret that Croatia, and especially its coast, has been in the focus of large automotive manufacturers for some time now. It seems that all those enormous praise from international media have resulted with great success, thus it is no wonder that first official shootings of some car models were filmed in domestic surroundings.

The title of the most popular location among automotive manufacturers definitely goes to the island of Pag, however, the popular island of Hvar or ''Croatian Saint-Tropez'' is seriously tailing Pag and is heading for the title.

One of the world's largest automotive manufacturers Mercedes has recently released a new promo material for its new extreme model. The video was filmed on Hvar and represents beauty of the island and the new Mercedes Benz E-Class All-Terrain vehicle.

Therefore, the ''newly discovered'' Croatian island might have a chance of becoming the Number One destination for marketing experts of famous global automotive brands.

For the past two nights Dubrovnik has had thunderous storms. Rain, lightning and thunder have all filed the night sky over the city. This spectacular photo by Boris Bašić, a member of the Dubrovnik Storm Chasers, was caught last night as the storm raged overhead.

With the Dubrovnik Bridge highlighted in the evening sky the flash of lightning is certainly impressive. The weather forecasters predict that the unstable evenings in Dubrovnik are a thing of the past, at least for the next ten days, and we are in for another spell of extremely warm weather with temperatures reaching the mid thirties.

Despite the general belief that foreign tourists who visit the Adriatic coast bring along all the food they intend to eat while on a holiday, an analysis of the Croatian Chamber of Commerce (HGK) has shown that foreigners spend 2.4 times more on food and drinks than Croatian tourists during their stay on the Adriatic coast.

Each foreign tourist spends on average 91 Kunas (around 12 Euros) per day on food and drinks in Croatian stores and restaurants, whilst domestic guests spend around 40 Kuna (or around 5.5 Euro). However, from HGK explain that foreign tourists spend more than 91 Kunas because this amount does not include food they pay at accommodation facilities.

The total average daily consumption of each foreign tourist during the summer months amounts to 66 Euros out of which they spend 36 Euros on accommodation, around 12 Euros on food and beverages, whilst the rest of the money or 18 Euros they spend on other purchases, sports, entertainment, excursions and culture.

The biggest consumers are tourists from Russia with a total amount of around 125 Euros, followed by the British who are slightly behind them, whilst Germans, Austrians and the Dutch spend on average 65 Euros while holidaying in Croatia.

It is interesting to note that the vast majority of Russian tourists visit the Adriatic coast using their own cars; they have it transported by train to Budapest and then drive it to their final destination on the Croatian coast. They usually stay longer in the country, from ten to fifteen days, and are not afraid of spending their money.

In the upcoming August, the Split-Dalmatia County expects an increase of its population by 38 percent in comparison to the off-season period, as well as tripled consumption of food and beverages. On the other hand, the population of the Istria County will double, whilst the consumption of food and beverages is expected to go up five times, emphasises the Croatian Chamber of Commerce.

''The average monthly turnover in the segment of food and beverages in the three most important tourist counties of Istria, Split-Dalmatia and Primorje-Gorje, is higher by 70 to 130 percent in comparison to the average annual monthly turnover in these counties. Considering that the framework estimate of a daily consumption of a domestic buyer in the food and beverages segment is below 40 Kunas, the purchasing power i.e. the consumption of foreign tourists compared to domestic buyers (local residents and domestic tourists) is around 2,4 times higher'', stated the HGK.

Where did the Dubrovnik pigeons go? For the past two days the corn that is given to the pigeons of the historic Old City of Dubrovnik has gone uneaten. In the market in Gundelic Square in the heart of the city corn is thrown for the pigeons every day at midday.

Normally there is a huge flock of pigeons who circle the square at least fifteen minutes before the birdseed is thrown but for the last two days the corn has remained intact and the pigeons are nowhere to be seen.

“Where have all the pigeons gone?” is the question that people in the city are asking. Is nature trying to tell us something and have all the pigeons go into hiding in the face of a impending natural disaster...or are they just all full?

rerere

The Voice of Dubrovnik

THE VOICE OF DUBROVNIK


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