Monday, 01 June 2020

Looking to brush up on a language before the height of the summer tourist season in Dubrovnik. Well according to these latest figures from the largest private accommodation renter in the world Airbnb it is probably just better to concentrate on your English.

For the past five years’ tourists from the United Kingdom have been by far the most numerous in Dubrovnik and as the number of Americans has grown rapidly over the past two years on the back of the HBO serial Game of Thrones, so English absolutely dominates in Dubrovnik.

Airbnb have stated that a massive 61 percent of tourists who stay in their accommodation properties in Dubrovnik speak English. And the second most popular language, French with 13 percent. Spanish and German comes in joint third with a mere 5 percent. And Korean is in fifth with 4 percent.


Croatian travel agencies arranged trips with overnight stays in Croatia for 2.2 million foreign tourists, who realised 13.6 million tourist nights. Foreign tourists realised an average of six tourist nights in Croatia, according to the national statistical office (DZS). In 2017, the number of foreign tourists whose travels to Croatia were organised by Croatian travel agencies increased by 9.0% and the number of tourist nights by 7.0%, as compared to 2016.

Most tourists travelling through Croatian travel agencies came from Germany. When it comes to nights realised by foreign tourists in Croatia whose travels were organised by Croatian travel agencies, most of them were realised by tourists from Germany (27.4%).

They were followed by tourists from the United Kingdom (11.6%), Poland (6.6%), Austria (5.8%), Italy (5.7%), the Czech Republic (5.4%), the Netherlands (4.5%), Sweden (4.4%) and Slovenia (4.1%). In 2017, domestic tourists whose trips in Croatia were organised by Croatian travel agencies generated 1.2 overnight stays. Compared to 2016, the number of domestic tourists whose trips in Croatia were organised by Croatian travel agencies decreased by 4%.

In 2017, domestic tourists whose trips abroad were organised by Croatian travel agencies generated 1.1 million overnights. In 2017, domestic same-day visitors whose trips abroad were organised by Croatian travel agencies travelled the most to Austria (40.3%) and Italy (26.1%). In 2017, as compared to 2016, domestic same-day visitors whose trips in Croatia were organised by Croatian travel agencies increased by 2.2%, while those abroad increased by 12.7%.

The Old City of Dubrovnik today came alive to the sights and sounds of majorettes and a brass band. As the weekend started the city filled with tourists and the majorettes from Župa entertained the audience.

The Župa majorettes recently hosted the State Championships and today it was the turn of Dubrovnik to cheer on the girls. The performance was held on the occasion of the celebration of the Day of the Dubrovnik-Neretva County.

Check out the action from Tonci Plazibat

zupa majorettes in dubrovnik

dancing in the old city of dubrovnik 2091

brass band playing in dubrovnik 2018

zupa dubrovacka majorettes 2018

“I must be getting old because I really don’t understand what I have just watched,” said my good friend as we left the cinema. I laughed. Although my friend is older than me I was in the same boat as him, “I guess I must be old too,” I replied.
We had just spent, or should I say lost, three hours of my life experiencing the latest superhero blockbuster. It is a movie, and the name is not so important, swimming in superlatives – explosions, more explosions, the most explosions. And to make matters even worse it was in 3D. I am old school. Give me a black and white 2D classic every time.

Of course on the drive home we started to reminisce. “I can’t remember the last time Hollywood delivered a good movie,” my friend commented. “Casablanca, Gone with the Wind, Breakfast at Tiffany’s…now they were real movies,” he continued. Strangely enough even though all of these movies were made before I was born I agreed with him. The days that movies actually have plots are behind us. The plot for the movie we had just seen could have been written on the back of a matchbox and you would have room to write the names of all the actors. It’s probably a generational question.

Whereas people used to spend time reading actual newspapers, magazines and books now they only have enough time to read the comment under an Instagram photo.

I am old enough to remember the time when it was predicted that modern technology would mean that we would have more time to enjoy life. Robots will do our household chores, cars will drive automatically, the internet will mean instant communication with the whole world and travel will be quicker and easier than even before, (these have all come true) all of this will mean more time to go fishing, play football or walk the dog. In reality the situation is completely the opposite.

You will bank online or over the phone. Yes, but now we have our banks phoning us and nobody actually working in branches, meaning we wait longer and get harassed more. “Hello it’s the bank but before I can talk to you I just need to ask you some security questions,” said the monotonous voice down the phone to me a few weeks ago. “Security questions!!! You phoned me!!” I answered abruptly. Adding “I didn’t ask you to phone me…you can’t ring me if you don’t think it’s me.” Needless to say my answer fell on deaf ears, quite clearly English sarcasm was lost of this bank clerk. And while I am on the subject of dealing with institutions over the phone I feel the need to mention T-Com. So this is a phone company, a communications company. So how ironic that every time I call I am greeted by the same message, “All of our agents are busy at the moment we are doing all we can to answer your call.” Doing all you can?!? Here is one thing you haven’t tried, picking up the phone? “All of our agents are busy as soon as an agent is free we will answer your call,” bleeps the digital voice down the phone. When you say all of your agents do you really mean both of your agents!

Why is it that when I want to fix a problem with my MAX-TV I have to call a dozen times and wait for what seems like a millennium but when I owe the bank 6 Lipa they find the time to call me. I guess we will be banking over Instagram soon.

The world is slowly going mad. Facebook have opened an online dating agency, a President is only communicating over Twitter and I am measuring how far I walk everyday with an app. I saw a headline the other day that summed it up perfectly “Your smartphone is making you stupid, antisocial and unhealthy. So why can't you put it down⁉️” Its true. If we were being honest with ourselves then we would agree that the smartphone in our pocket is making us dumb and boring, but it is more addictive than heroin. So when I leave a cinema with a friend and he starts to think back to the good old days my mind starts to wander.

Of course we are thinking of our childhoods with rose-tinted glasses but I have to say I’m glad I am not a child today. The pressures today of being online must be immense. Getting just the right selfie, the best profile photo or writing the “wittiest” comment is crucial for this generation. And I, for one, feel sorry for them. “Your story is the greatest legacy that you will leave to your friends. It’s the longest-lasting legacy you will leave to your heirs,” once wrote Steve Saint, (but for the younger generation he wasn’t talking about leaving a story of Instagram).

One of the greatest problems that Croatia faces today is the negative net migration. And according to new statistics from the Central Intelligence Agency Croatia is among the top seven European countries with the highest migration rate.

Compared to even its neighbours Croatia has the unenvious honour of having the highest negative migration rate. Bosnia and Herzegovina with -0.4, Serbia and Macedonia have -0.5 and Croatia is at -1.7. Of course one of the reasons that Croatia has a higher negative trend is the fact that it is a member of the European Union and therefore citizens find it easier to legally find work and move to other members.

Slovenia has a positive migration rate at 0.4 and Hungary at 1.3 along with Austria. However at the other end of the scale Moldova with -9.4 and Lativa with -6.1 have even larger troubles than Croatia.

The level of unemployment in Croatia is at its lowest level since 2003. There was a total of 159,695 unemployed people registered at the end of April this year, which is a decrease of over 10 percent compared to the same month from 2017.

According to details from the Croatian Employment Service there are currently 24,859 job vacancies in the country. In April alone almost 23,000 people found employment through the employment service.

The highest rate of unemployment was recorded in the Split – Dalmatia County, with 26,672 people looking for work.

Even though these new figures look impressive it also has to be taken into account that large numbers of young, professional people are leaving the country. It is estimated that 300,000 have left for other European Union countries over the past few years, with Germany, Sweden and Ireland the most popular destinations.

The Euro could well be the official currency of Croatia in the next five years. This week the government accepted the strategy for the introduction of the Euro, and the Deputy Prime Minister, Martina Dalic, commented that this could happen within the next five to seven years.

“Our euro zone membership is one of the commitments we have taken on under the Treaty of Accession to the EU, but the Treaty does not determine the specific date by which Croatia should introduce the euro as its currency. That was left for the member states to decide,” commented Dalic to the press.

Before Croatia actually moves from the Kuna to the Euro there are a number of financial measures and regulations that need to be adopted. Criteria including public debt, exchange rate stability and interest rates all need to be brought in line with the EU, however according to Dalic these strict measures have already been achieved. But closing the gap between the average income in Croatia and the rest of the EU could prove a tougher task.

“Croatia is, in economic terms, a very good candidate for the conversion to the euro, and a suitable candidate to participate in the euro area. One of the benefits of the introduction is the elimination of exchange rate risks in the economy,” concluded the Deputy Prime Minister.

Another record tourist year could well be on the cards for Croatia as foreign visitors have flooded into the country at the start of the year. In the first quarter of this year Croatian hotels recorded 870,000 arrivals with Zagreb the most popular destination followed by Dubrovnik.

The figures for the first quarter are considerably higher than the same period from last year and in the first three months’ tourist arrivals were up a massive 19 percent, and overnight stays up 22 percent.

In total 581,000 foreign tourists visited Croatian in January, February and March, with most of the tourists coming from Germany, followed by Austria, Slovenia and Italy. Just in March there were 440,000 tourist arrivals and around one million overnight stays.

The number of taxi drivers has exploded over the past ten years in Croatia. According to new statistics from 2007 to 2016 the number of registered taxi drivers increased by a massive twenty times. In 2007 there were only 44 people employed as taxi drivers, but in 2016 that number jumped to 886. Whilst the number of taxi firms in the country went from only 18 in 2007 to 260 in 2016. And to make these numbers even more incredible they don’t include Uber drivers.

And of course the income of these taxi firms goes hand in hand with the increase of drivers, in 2007 the revenue was 12.1 million Kuna, and then in 2016 these figure had grown to 138.5 million Kuna, or around 18.6 million Euros.

The largest taxi company in Croatia is the Cammeo group, who many operate in Zagreb, who recorded a revenue in 2016 of 28.9 million Kuna.

Croatia is out of competition for the best Eurovision song this year, but that doesn't mean we can't be included in Eurovision drama! 

Salvador Sobral, last year's winner, has given an interview to Portugese paper Publico, saying that the song of Israel's representative Netta Barzilai is horrible. However, many of the Eurovision fans consider it to be a favourite.

Sobral also added that he hopes to stop being regarded as the winner of the festival and to return to just being Salvador Sobral of music, saying that this instant fame doesn't suit him at all. However, he admits that Eurovision also has brought many good things, so it's love-hate relationship.

Sobral's words made Jacques Houdek, Croatian representative at the Eurovision Song Contest 2017, really furious. It seems that Houdek decided to say all that he's kept bottled up for a year. This is what he wrote:

- SHAME ON YOU, Salvador Sobral!!! SHAME ON YOU!!! Is this how a winner of the Eurovision Song Contest is supposed to speak out? You tried so hard to portray yourself as a humble man, as a true artist, and you may have tricked the entire Europe, but you did not fool me! Let me tell you something Salvador Sobral - last year, when you missed out on ALL of the ESC rehearsals, and your sister did them for you - the European Broadcasting Union - EBU should have disqualified you! It was unprofessional and extremely unfair to all of us who were there, doing all the hard work! It was also very sad and unfortunate that you were sick, I have to say, but if you are having health issues - YOU DON‘T TAKE ON such a huge project like Eurosong! Even in your own victory speech you were unpleasant to all of us, your fellow Eurosong contestants - but NOW, you are being far more rude by picking on Israel‘s representative Netta Barzilai and her song, it is just outrageous! So patronising and completely inappropriate, not gentleman-like of you to do this! You should apologize ASAP!!! You are not just a winner of Esc, you are a host now, as Esc is held in your own country, so this behavior of yours is even worse! If you hate the concept of Eurovision so much, you never should have competed! Now, you even say you want to get as far away from the fact you won the Esc... Come on... The fact that you had to struggle to listen to last year songs and now you are so happy that you don‘t have to listen to any of this year‘s „horrible“ ESC songs just tells us all that you are a very small person! All of these young artists have dreams and they are under enormous pressure at this moment, so who are you to put shade on any of them? You may think you are a true artist, that is your right, but to me you just seem like a poser. Do you really think you are cool by acting so non-interested and distant? Not! Do you really believe that this kind of behaviour makes you a bigger artist in the public eye? It does not! It just shows us all that you are fake, just like you were a year ago when you won the ESC 2017. You may have won the ESC, but to me you are not a winner! I wish all the best of luck to all the contestants in this year‘s competition. Kisses and hugs from sunny Croatia!

The Voice of Dubrovnik


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