Wednesday, 20 November 2019

The Adriatic Health and Tourism Investment Forum 2017, which is to be held from the 12th to the 13th of October at the Sheraton Hotel in Zagreb, has attracted the attention of numerous foreign entrepreneurs interested in expanding their business empires to Croatia.

Organizers of the Forum will present the current projects and existing offer of health tourism, health infrastructure, and tourist facilities and open the possibility of expanding the content by implementing medical elements in order to extend the season.

The Forum will gather local and foreign investors, developers, tour operators, agencies, medical and finance companies. Among them is a famous American investor, entrepreneur and developer Jeff Blackard who has once again expressed his interest in Croatia as a destination for his business.

Besides his business achievements, his rich career and numerous investments, Blackard is also known for his unique project called ‘’Adriatica’’.

Thrilled with Croatia and a way of life at Supetar on the island of Brač, Blackard made a replica of the whole village in the American city of McKinney in Texas trying to reproduce the look and feel of a southern Croatian village.

Apart from Blackard, Dr John Raffetto, the founder and the president of Ambassador Care from Washington, the company intended to providing services to the silver generation will also attend the forum. Raffetto is also a co-founder of the American-Adriatic Health company, in which, together with partners from Croatia, wants to position health tourism as a core business.

Among many others, the Forum partners are Croatian and regional clusters of health tourism, the Association of Croatian-American experts from the US, the Chinese Southeast European Business Association (CSEBA) and a renowned international hospital building group Total Alliance Health Partners International (TAHPI).

The British comedian and a professional poker player of Chinese origin Ken Cheng recently posted his ‘’description’’ of all flags of the world, one at a time.

In September 2017, Cheng started his Twitter thread insulting the national flags of every country in the world and received national media coverage.

‘’The US flag: god it’s shite’’, was his description of the famous Stars and Stripes.
‘’Sierra Leone really??? It's like Hungary and Luxembourg decided to split the difference. You're such a new flag too (1961) it's like discovering a millennial named Ethel’’, was his comment on the flag of the African country.

Cheng was not scarce in vocabulary when insulted the national flag of Vietnam, ‘’C'mon Vietnam if I wanted to see this crap I would've just zoomed in on the Chinese flag’’.

Out of 195 world countries, Croatia placed as the 148th of the Cheng’s list. ‘’Croatia, errrr, it’s an oven mitt’’, wrote Cheng on his Twitter profile.

Situated to the east entrance to the Old City of Dubrovnik the Lazareti complex, or Lazaretto Complex, in Dubrovnik played an extremely important role in the history and development of the city.

It is a series of interconnection buildings that overlooks the old harbour of Dubrovnik; these buildings once housed Dubrovnik’s quarantine facility. Constructed in 1377 the complex was built to the east of the city as this was where travellers and traders would arrive with their goods, they were redesigned and took on their final design in the 17th century.

lazartei croatia 1

 To protect the city from the spread of infectious diseases the Great Council of the Dubrovnik Republic ordered the building of this quarantine. It consists of eight buildings and five interconnecting courtyards. Today the complex houses workshops and galleries and act as a cultural and event centre for the city.

lazareti aerial

I'm getting older. There's no escaping this realisation. I feel it in my bones after a long day. It aches in my stomach if I eat a couple of hot dogs. It's the years. It’s that dreadful realisation that whatever ails you is not a result of a stressful week at work or a weekend of outdoor activities... it's your body slowly, but surely, starting to give up.

Before anyone posts a comment wherein they're scolding me for being only 36 and talking about my body giving up, I am perfectly aware I am nowhere near death by natural causes. I'm not saying I am one month away from not being able to get up without assistance. I’m just noticing the wear and tear that comes with growing older. This is after all typically the age at which people usually start to notice these things. Go out with your friends in your mid 30's and get drunk, have some fun, get home in the wee hours of the morning. Next week meet those same friends for coffee. I'll bet you all the money in the world not 15 minutes will pass before one of you starts talking about how recuperating after a night of partying used to be much quicker and less painful. I don't go out partying much anymore, but on the rare occasions I do, this is the conversation I often end up having.

Ageing is like riding a train. You don't really know you’re moving until you look out the window. Only when you take a look at the world passing by do you realise how fast you’re going. Scenery changes in front of your eyes, smeared and colourful. Different vistas, opening up in front of you and disappearing quickly. If you are not paying attention, you miss them. I find myself looking out the window less and less, concerned mostly by what's directly in front of me: daily chores, perpetual financial uncertainty, my own business threatened on all sides by instabilities and fluctuations of the modern economy. This is probably why, when I finally allow myself to take a break and look up from my mobile phone planner, I find the views so different than I remember them to be. I find some beautiful sights have passed me by while the train I'm on has eaten yet another part of the track hurling to its final destination.

passenger on station

Only when you take a look at the world passing by do you realise how fast you’re going

“People born in the year 2000 will be allowed to vote next year” – said on one of the memes being forwarded on Facebook the other day. That's incredible.

I remember the year 2000. We were just getting over the millennium Y2K bug hype and Prince’s “Party Like It’s 1999” finally stopped playing on the radio stations. Dubrovnik was starting a new chapter with war wounds still visible, but healing rapidly. I was in college and in a band with the latter often times being more time consuming. Darkness of the nineties which left our city so broken and desolate was still palpable, but we have just entered a new millennium and we were young and untouchable. It was a great time.

Yes, I am probably jealous of the kids turning 18 in a few months’ time, but they will never know the joy of partying your way into the new millennium. Hopefully, they will never know the joy of a war ending in your hometown either.

The whole idea of this text is not to bring people down or complain about the fact I feel I’m getting older. The point is not even to tell you all to enjoy life while you can. The point is to remind myself to try and look out the window of this speeding train more often because I’m missing some great parts of my journey.


Bozidar Jukic, AKA The Restless Native, is a Dubrovnik local with too many interests to name them all, with writing being at the very top of the list. He is a lover of good food, music and film, and a firm believer in the healing power of laughter. His professional orientation is towards tourism and travel so it comes as no surprise he spends most of his time alongside Mrs. Jukic running their own local tour company. Their goal is helping travellers from all over the world get a more intimate experience of Dubrovnik and what it has to offer. To find out more about their work, visit their website or Facebook page.

The recent warm and sunny weather that has felt like summer had returned to Dubrovnik could soon take a turn for the worse. Weather forecasters predict that the next four days in Dubrovnik will be filled with showers, clouds and quite possibly thunder storms.

Temperatures, which have been in the mid twenties over the past week, will drop significantly as autumn takes a grip of the region. Although according to the mid-term weather forecast the situation should improve by around Tuesday of next week. In the meantime expect a wet and dull weekend with temperatures reaching a maximum of 18 degrees, not a weekend to be without an umbrella.

One of the most favourite festivals in Dubrovnik, Good Food Festival is back for the fourth time and will be held from 19th to 22th of October.

This year’s festival was presented today at the press conference organized by Dubrovnik Tourist Board. Director Romana Vlasic explained the core of the Good Food Festival.
-It’s not only gastronomic and enological, but also of educational and humanitarian – said Vlasic and added that dates were carefully picked for the end of summer flight schedule.

Over 30 restaurants are part of this year’s festival, as well as four wine bars, 4 hotels and various pastry shops.  


There will be workshops for all the healthy food lovers , where they will able to learn about traditional food, as well as the new, healthy culinary trends. During the four days of the festival a Fair of healthy food and domestic products will be held on Pile.
The festival is not only for foodies, but also for those who appreciate a good drink or two. There will be organized wine tastings, presentation of the wine from the island of Krk and this year’s special: beer tasting in the first and only Dubrovnik Brewery.

-Three beers will be offered to all the beer lovers, presenting different styles and tastes – explained the Dubrovnik Brewery director Dario Sevelj, who also expressed a wish that more breweries are opened in Dubrovnik and Croatia in general, even though we are a ‘’wine drinking nation’’.


This year special events are surely two dinners with famous chefs – one with Priska Thuring with a musical performance of famous Croatian singer Zorica Kondza in the Katenari restaurant on the Sunset Beach and the other with Ivan Pazanin in restaurant Porat.


Rich programme of this year’s Good Food Festival will also offer workshops of Dubrovnik delicacies by Humanitarian Association DESA.
-This is really a praiseworthy manifestation and we are part of it for four years now – said Jany Hansal, president of DESA.

One of the most favourite parts of this festival to the locals, as well to the visitors, are the special menus in Dubrovnik restaurants. Around 30 restaurants this year will offer a three-course meal for only 100 Kuna. You can see full of the list of restaurants that are participating, as well as their menus and detailed programme here.


This year will also offer ‘Sights & Bites’ tour and you will also get a chance to try food from the other parts of Croatia, or more precisely from Vukovar.

The peak of the last day of the Good Festival will be famous Dubrovnik Table, which will take place across Stradun, presenting many meals from Dubrovnik hotels and restaurants. It was mentioned by Marko Miljanic, the Head of the City of Dubrovnik's Office for Tourism, Entrepreneurship and Sea, who had only words of praise for the Dubrovnik Tourist Board and this event.


Grand finish of Good Festival will happen in Rixos Libertas with gala dinner, lottery and entertainment.

-This year we will bring Swiss spirit in Dubrovnik – said Sandra Plavinic, Head of Events department of the Rixos Libertas. Their chef Ozgur Donertas prepared a special menu, inspired by the opening of the new hotel in Switzerland – Rixos Davos. All the money collected will go to ‘Dva skalina’ association.

So what are you waiting for? Pack your bags (with comfortable pants!) and head to Dubrovnik. The only problem will be – what to choose from this rich and yummy programme.

A delegation of the Advisory Assembly of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has paid a visit to the Republic of Croatia and expressed their interest in better economic and cultural relations between the two countries.

The Croatian-Saudi Arabian Friendship Group headed by Predrag Matic, the Croatian MP, organized the visit of the delegation from the Middle East.

During the program of their visit to Croatia, the delegation visited the Croatian capital of Zagreb, the Plitvice Lakes, as well as Rijeka and Vukovar.

While in the Slavonian city of Vukovar, the delegation visited the City Museum. The head of the delegation Dr Abdullah Humud Al Harbey commented that they want to build the world’s largest Islamic museum thus he found Croatian experiences of restoring the Vukovar Museum very useful considering the fact that this museum is the best in Europe.

‘’We are glad to be here in Vukovar, we think of Croatia as our second country, i.e. our homeland. We are a group of members of the Advisory Assembly who came to visit Croatia. One of the vision projects ‘’20-30’’ is the construction of the World Museum of Islam, thus we find Croatian experience of restoration of the Vukovar Museum very useful. As Croatia is rich in water resources, we are also interested in importing drinkable water from Croatia’’, said Abdullah Humud Al Harbey.

On this occasion, Predrag Matic commented, ‘’During these four days, we tried to show the delegation the very best of Croatia. We paid a visit to the Plitvice Lakes National Park, the city of Rijeka and Opatija, and now we are in Vukovar. They know a little about us as we do about them, however, after this visit, we hope for a better cooperation. First, we refer to economic cooperation due to our huge potentials, however, we also know that they can offer a lot to us, too’’.

According to the words of Hani Abdullah Mominah, the Ambassador of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to Croatia, this visit will be a significant impetus in economic relations between the two countries.

I am a clumsy driver. You know all those stereotypes about women drivers and blondes? They should have my face firmly attached to them.

In my defence, just around half a year ago I didn’t even know which pedals are beneath the driver’s seat and I certainly had no clue what they actually did. I decided to start driving quite late in my life, since many Croatians start their driving lessons when they are 18 and I am 26. Don’t get mad, I’m not saying that I’m old, but it’s funny what a difference eight years makes. During my theory driving lessons, I felt like those youngsters (ok, now I’m talking like a granny) were fearless. They dreamed about ending classes as soon as possible so they could drive into the sunset, probably speeding along at a carefree 100 km/h.

Well, hell no! I was over-thinking it even before I sat in the car. My first practical driving classes were mostly about trying to hide how stressed I was – and not so successfully. The most common word that my instructor has used was ‘’relax’’. Got to admit it – he had nerves of steel. This all sounds too negative, but over time, I actually began to adore driving and started having fun instead of panicking.

As you know, Dubrovnik can be pretty hectic and maybe it’s not so smart to take driving lessons during the summer. Depends on how you see it – I really had a fair share of challenges while I was driving, but at least I have some idea on how to act when the traffic was mad. Drivers in Dubrovnik can be nervous, just like anywhere in the world, they usually rush and sometimes swear when they see driving school cars in front of them because they know they will have to slow down. However, they know that there is a learner in front of them and act accordingly.

Which brings me to my problem – after I passed my driving exam (to be honest, I managed to do it the second time around), I couldn’t wait to start driving. I found a sweet little car and it all seemed perfect because I realized that I actually have to drive it. Alone. Without double pedals and a big car school sign. Hello stress, my old friend! I was thinking about putting some sort of ‘’do it yourself’’ sign that will indicate that I’m a learner, since in Croatia we don’t have that kind of stuff, but eventually gave it up.

Everyone were so caring and full of advice – drive slowly (like I could drive fast), watch out for taxi drivers (apparently they are the worst), if you stalls just breathe deeply (ok, I won’t faint), try to ignore other people (I don’t think that is how traffic works), etc, etc.
So I collected all my courage, sat in my car and twisted the key. Took one deep breath and – heard knocking on my window. I turned around and saw my neighbour laughing and adjusting my rear view mirror. Well, it’s a start!

I’ve been pushing myself to drive almost every day and had a lot of adventures. I will not tell them all because there is a great chance that none of my friends will sit in the passenger seat after they read this.

For example, just the other day I stopped at traffic lights. When the green light blinked on I tried to go, but instead my car went ‘boom’ and stayed where it was. And again. And again. Until the red light shone! I went as red as a lobster, panicking, dripping in sweat, when I saw a guy getting out of the car behind me. Honestly – I expected him to be rude since I blocked the traffic, but he calmly approached me, checked where the problem and explained me how to fix it. Don’t know if he laughed at me later, but at least he didn’t do it to my face and I highly appreciated it. Especially when I understand how funny it must have been when I wound down my window and yelled desperately: ‘’I just got my driving license!’’.

Also, nobody said what complete and utter hell parking would be. Finding a parking spot in Dubrovnik is like winning the lottery, apparently. And finding a parking spot where I know how to park is like winning 10 lotteries in a row whilst riding a unicorn.

Another anecdote – I managed to squeeze in the last parking spot at one parking and was overjoyed not to mention pretty chuffed with myself. But of course, what’s my driving without a few problems – later in I couldn’t get out of that parking spot. I tried my best and got stuck even harder, again huffing and puffing. Can you guess what happened? I saw a guy coming jumping out of his car and approaching my window. ‘’I just got my driving license!’’ – I yelled (apparently I do that a lot, maybe I need to tattoo it on my forehead). He smiled and explained me how to free myself from the prison of the parking spot.

I could tell a couple more, but I better stop now. What I have learned is that there are really a lot of good people out there. People that will stop their car just to ask you whether you need help, instead of honking and making you even more nervous. People that will laugh with you, instead of laughing at you. That makes my Dubrovnik driving experience much more manageable. Oh and by the way “I just got my driving license.”

Ivana Smilovic


Ivana Smilovic or "Smile" is a senior journalist at The Dubrovnik Times, passionate book lover and a self-confessed coffee addict. As a local, she loves to bring news and stories from Dubrovnik...

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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 Voice of Dubrovnik


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