Monday, 14 October 2019

According to data just released by the Zupa Tourist Board the region was visited by 25, 953 tourists in July and achieved 123, 801 overnight stays, which is an increase of 4 percent compared to the same month from 2016.

The most numerous guests in the Zupa region, which is some 10 kilometres south of Dubrovnik, were British. In fact in July there were 3, 756 British guests in Zupa and they achieved 25, 435 overnight stays, a massive 27 percent increase over July 2016. After British guests the second most numerous were French, and in third place were Germans.

Since the beginning of the year 69, 018 tourists have visited Zupa and achieved 250, 067 overnight stays, again an increase over 2016 this time by 16 percent.

The weather is just about perfect today in Dubrovnik. A northerly breeze has kept temperatures a little fresher than normal and the levels of humidity are well below the past ten days.

The historic Old City of Dubrovnik was a hive of activity this morning with a mixture of locals and tourists enjoying the bright weather.

Check out our photo gallery from today

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When you add Dubrovnik to any photo you enhance it, the city of art can also be art itself. This latest photo shoot taken by the Dubrovnik based photographer Dario Bandur features the New York based model Evyenia Karapolous.

High above the historic Old City of Dubrovnik with the sun setting in the background the photo featured the text “Sunset above King’s Landing,” when published on Bandur’s social media accounts. It is certainly a photo that caught our eyes.

“Fly me to the moon and let me swing among the stars,” sung the great Frank Sinatra. No thanks Frank I am afraid of heights.

And I can remember to the exact day that I found out I suffered from acrophobia. I was around seven years old and we went on a school trip to a lighthouse. It wasn’t even really that high, but the problem started with the endless spiral staircase and when I got to the top whilst everyone else was admiring the view I was clinging on “white knuckle” style to the rail not looking at anything but my feet. From that fateful day I have tried to keep my feet as close to terra firma as possible.

Don’t get me wrong I have been to the top of the Eiffel Tower and the Empire State building, but I always keep a good respectable distance between myself and the rail guarding the edge. But at some time you have to face your fears and conquer them. “Let’s try parasailing,” I heard from over my shoulder last week. Parasailing…doesn’t that involve dangling high in the sky with only a parachute stopping you from crashing to certain death? “Yes, why not,” I answered, thinking that it would be a long way in the future and I could think of a relevant excuse to avoid going. “Great I have booked this morning in Cavtat, we have to leave in 30 minutes,” answered my wife!

“Jump onto the boat and we will explain everything when we get going,” smiled the friendly parasail instructor as we skimmed like a pebble across the Adriatic. My first thoughts were, why are there so many ropes, harnesses and clips. I was soon to find out why.

“OK, I am going to strap you into this device which will hold your weight on the parachute,” added the instructor. Hold my weight! What if it doesn’t hold my weight? The ropes and straps wrapped around me like a spider’s web, some of them in rather sensitive parts of my body. It was like having a permanent wedgie.

“I will go first,” why did I say that. The instructor and his assistant grappled with another pile of ropes and then a huge parachute unveiled into the sky. “Lie down and we will strap you in,” was the next instruction. It sounded like an order Mr. Grey would give. Now fixed to the billowing chute there was only one way to go…up. The engine of the speed boat roared, the parachute filled and like a sack of potatoes I lifted off the boat and was left hanging over the sea. “Ah, this isn’t so bad if I fall or something breaks I will land in the sea,” I shouted down to my wife. She put her hand to her ear in a cupping shape as if to indicate that she couldn’t hear. I was up. And I was climbing. 10 metres, 20 metres, 30 metres, 40 metres...if I fell now the Adriatic would be like landing on concrete. I was still climbing. The speed boat below me was now just a white stain on a turquoise sea.

Would I stop going up? “That’s enough,” I yelled. But silence. In fact that was the first thing that hit me, it was completely silent up there, I mean dead silent. The only thing I could hear was the occasional rustle of the chute behind me and nothing else. A seagull flapped by me. “And you thought we couldn’t fly,” I started chatting with him. I was hanging over the Adriatic with only a few millimetres of nylon in the chute to save me from a tumbling freefall.

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Somewhere down there is my speed boat 

And yes a first it was a little scary but I got over it. I had faced my fears and was high in the sky. Then from nowhere I heard a noise like a car engine, only a deeper sound. What the hell is that? It was getting louder and louder. I couldn’t hear myself think. It was behind me. I carefully flipped my weight and looked over my shoulder. Thundering towards me was a plane!

OK, maybe not exactly towards me but it sure felt like it. I imagined the passengers looking out the window and seeing me hanging off a parachute. I raised a thumb and jerked it backwards in the motion that a hitchhiker would do on the side of a dusty road. I was hitchhiking a plane, a Norwegian Airlines jet; I hoped that the passengers could see me. Then a jerk on my harness and the rope was being winched in and me with it. With the grace of a sack of potatoes I came to land back on the boat. “You guys are bloody mad...where is the toilet?” I joked with the instructor. “You did well, we took you to 100 metres,” he answered. I had a feeling that if he had had more rope I would have got even higher. “No wonder I hitchhiked a plane then,” came my reply.

Rough overnight and early morning seas brought a rude awakening for the staff of the Banje Beach in Dubrovnik today.

Once again man lost another battle against the sea, as the Adriatic picked up dozens of sunbeds and washed them out towards the island of Lokrum. Some sunbeds were left scattered across the beach whilst others were floating in the turquoise sea.

Weather forecasters had predicted a change from the recent baking hot sunshine and overnight the wind direction changed, clouds rolled in and the sea crashed over the beaches. It is rather ironic that this should happen on the Banje Beach as this very beach was the scene of a protest by locals on the number of sunbeds covering the shoreline.

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No those aren't kayaks 

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Scattered sunbeds 

The warm summer evenings in Dubrovnik are often the nicest time of the day to wander the cobbled streets of the Old City. But last night, in the height of the tourist season, the crowds of tourists trying to enter, and exit, the city centre proved too much.

Police attempted to control the traffic of people on the Pile Gate entrance to the city, however according to eyewitness accounts they were more of a hindrance than a help. “I can’t believe that the police are stopping me from entering my own city, I have never seen this in my life,” explained a resident of the city to The Dubrovnik Times.

These scenes of human traffic jams aren’t uncommon through the day when the cruise ship crush is at its peak. However these photos were taken at 10.00 at night!

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Photos - Zeljko Tutnjevic 

One of the best football players of all time and the most talented Portuguese football player has visited Croatia.

The popular football star Luis Figo arrived with his wife on their sailing boat in the Marina Dalmacija near the city of Zadar ten days ago. He enjoyed his holiday on the Croatian coast so much that he shared his enthusiasm by posting photos almost every day on his Instagram profile.

''Life spoils me. Croatia, it was so nice to meet you'', Figo wrote below the last posted photograph on his summer vacation in Croatia.

During his active career, Figo was one of the best players in the world. He played as a midfielder for Sporting CP, Barcelona, Real Madrid and Internazionale before retiring in May 2009.

Renowned for his creativity and ability to get past defenders as a winger, Figo is regarded as one of the greatest players of his generation.

Figo had a successful career highlighted by several trophy wins, including the Portuguese Cup, four La Liga titles, two Spanish Cups, three Spanish Super Cups, one UEFA Champions League title, one UEFA Cup Winners' Cup, two UEFA Super Cups, one Intercontinental Cup, four Serie A titles, one Italian Cup and three Italian Super Cups.

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A young psychologist from Argentina Leandro Javier Lorusso volunteered in Dubrovnik Caritas, and with this selfless, human act, he conquered the hearts of many people in Dubrovnik. He arrived to Dubrovnik last week, and during those couple of days he took the time to volunteer. He explained his act to the Dubrovnik Bishop Office.

-I wanted to do what I did not do in my daily life, to give a part of my free time by doing good to my neighbor. And as my mother, Maria del Pilar, volunteered in Caritas at the Cathedral del los Santos Pedro and Cecilia, in the city of Mar del Plato, it was logical for me to look for Caritas in Dubrovnik. And so I found myself here - said Leandro, who worked hard during his visit. He got a task to arrange food packages for the ''Ruke dobrote'' project, which is funded by the European Fund for Needs Assistance Funds.

Also, the young psychologist expressed the desire to see the activities and programs of the Family Counseling  Center of the Dubrovnik Bishop Office. He was introduced to the work by headmaster Kristina Rozic.

Not so long ago, the British writer Philip Kerr described Croatia as ''a small and irrelevant country that nobody is interested in''. However, great tourist results, many celebrities visiting the country as well as major film productions that find perfect filming locations here, are constantly proving that Croatia is everything but irrelevant.

Due to its natural beauty and thanks to the practice of realization the rights to money refund, Croatia has become real Mecca for international filmmakers.

Over the past five years, 34 foreign productions filmed on various locations throughout the country. One of the most popular among them is surely the HBO TV series ''Game of Thrones'' filmed in Dubrovnik.

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Game of Thrones filming in Dubrovnik

The Institute of Economics in Zagreb recently published a survey according to which the filming of the mega popular HBO TV series increased tourism spending by 126 million Euros and brought 1.5 million more overnight stays.

Therefore, in the period from 2012 to 2015, on the average 60,000 more tourists per month visited the Dubrovnik-Neretva County every year. In total, 244,415 more tourists visited the county due to ''Game of Thrones'' and realized 1,441,395 overnight stays.

Earlier this year Dubrovnik also hosted the new film adaptation of ''Robin Hood'' with Jamie Dornan and the famous Jamie Fox in the main roles. According to information in the British newspaper, The Mirror, the 25th and latest James Bond movie will be also filmed in Dubrovnik. Last year the most popular Croatian film location also hosted the film crew of a new sequel of the Star Wars series ‘’Star Wars: The Last Jedi’’.

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The set of The Last Jedi in Dubrovnik 

In addition, Netflix filmed the futuristic series ''Kiss me first'' in Croatia this year, whilst the Oscar winner Meryl Streep is to play the leading role in the sequel of the famous hit-musical ''Mamma Mia!'' on the island of Vis this September.

Since 2012, international productions have generated 400 million Kunas in local consumption in Croatia, whilst the amount of 73 million Kunas was paid back through incentive measures.

The Croatian Audiovisual Centre (HAVC) reported that in the first half of this year six international film productions filed a claim for the grant of incentive rights. This year HAVC hopes foreign filmmakers in Croatia to leave more than the record 155,7 million Kunas generated in 2015.

The Mayor of Dubrovnik, Mato Frankovic, has spoken out about one of the hottest topics in city, the cruise ship industry. Dubrovnik has been facing the challenges that hundreds of cruise ships and millions of passengers bring with them for the past decade. This year almost 750,000 cruise ship passengers will arrive on 538 mega ships. The drastic level of overcrowding in the summer months is primarily down to the sheer weight of cruise ships. This situation has clearly come to a head for the mayor and speaking to the British newspaper The Telegraph he commented that he would lower the cap of 8,000 visitors to the Old City to 4,000.

The three main entrances into the Old City of Dubrovnik have surveillance cameras installed that work as people counters. This pilot project was started by the former mayor of Dubrovnik, Andro Vlahusic, and was aimed at easing the crowds inside the historic UNESCO protected core. Whereas citizens feared that a barrier would stop them entering the city when the “magic number” was reached this isn’t the case. Instead when the cap is reached the coaches that are due to transport cruise ship passengers to the Old City would be asked to wait until the level of the crowds subsided. In reality this could potentially have thousands of cruise ship passengers waiting in sun baked coaches for hours before their turn to visit. “We don’t want to go with the maximum, we want to go lower than that,” commented Frankovic to The Telegraph.

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And Frankovic is looking to go even further to limit the crowds “I am not here to make people happy but to make the quality of life better,” he said. “Some of the cruise lines will disagree with what I’m saying but my main goal is to ensure quality for tourists and I cannot do it by keeping the situation as it is.”

This latest move isn’t the first time that the city government have attempted to combat the cruise crush. A plan entitled 2 plus 1 was floated a decade ago that would limit the number of cruise ships allowed to dock. The plan was a maximum of two cruise ships in the Port of Dubrovnik and one in front of the Old City, therefore limiting the number to a maximum of three a day. Although this plan seemed to have the support of the Port of Dubrovnik at the time it was never implanted. Whether the new mayor will be more successful with his plan is a matter of time. He seems however resolute “We will lose money in the next two years - a million Euros maybe by cutting the number of tourists - but in the future we will gain much more. We deserve to be a top quality destination,” he concluded in his interview with the British newspaper.

The Voice of Dubrovnik


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