Friday, 13 December 2019

Spending on the Croatian armed forces is set to increase in 2017. The Ministry of Defence has announced that the total budget for this year is 4.28 billion Kuna, or around 581 million Euros, which is an increase of around 400 million Kuna over last year.

The increase in spending will mainly go towards improving the living and working conditions of the armed forces. According to a statement from the ministry 1.3 billion Kuna will be spent this year on the acquisition of combat equipment, overhaul of helicopters, military trucks and tanks.

The final day of casting for the upcoming Robin Hood movie in Dubrovnik is underway. Casting began on Monday and will continue today, the last day, until 8.00pm. According to reports in the local media 600 extras had been accepted for the roles in the Robin Hood: Origins film by Wednesday. A total of 1,300 extras are required for the filming and the producers hope that by the end of today that number will be reached.

It is believed that filming of Robin Hood in Dubrovnik will begin on the 20th of February and last until the 5th of March. So far two locations inside the Old City walls have been prepared, the old harbor area and on the main street through the Old City the Stradun.

The Mayor of Dubrovnik announced that another “two or three locations in Dubrovnik” will be used as a backdrop for filming. And these are believed to be the St. Dominic Street, near the Dubrovnik Cathedral and the Minceta Fortress. Interestingly most of these locations were already used by the HBO serial Game of Thrones.

The Mayor of Dubrovnik has also announced that this production will be the biggest so far in the city with an estimated $100 million to be spent on promotion.

Through the centuries Dubrovnik has been a destination for the rich and famous. Kings and Queens, movie stars, world renowned singers, authors, politicians and diplomats, at some point in history all of the leading lights have walked through the Old City of Dubrovnik.

One of the greatest romances of all time once shone its light on Dubrovnik. King Edward VIII and his true love Miss Wallace Simpson spent time cruising around the Adriatic Sea and Dubrovnik was their favourite destination. The couple drank their afternoon tea in the grounds of the Hotel Imperial, now the Hilton Imperial, and strolled on the Stradun.

In 1936 the yacht Nahlin was chartered by King Edward VIII and used by him and Mrs. Wallis Simpson during a cruise in the Adriatic Sea. The yacht was later sold to the Royal Family of Romania for £120,000 and renamed Libertatea. During their cruise of the Croatian Adriatic the Nahlin was accompanied by British Royal Navy destroyer HMS Grafton and HMS Gloworm.

The famous couple can also claim to have brought nudist tourism to Croatia. During their cruise they stopped at the island of Rab where King Edward VIII obtained a special permission from the local government to swim without clothes. The permission was granted and nudist tourism was born in Croatia, in fact the same beach was named by CNN as one of the top ten nudist beaches in the world.

Returning from the 1936 Adriatic cruise the King faced criticism when he announced he would marry Miss Simpson. Choosing not to end his relationship with Simpson, Edward abdicated, meaning that his reign of 326 days is one of the shortest of any British monarch.

edward and simpson



The city of Zagreb, the Holding company and the Zagreb Tourist Board recently launched a pilot program that enables free Wi-Fi access on Zagreb trams.

Three trams with the most frequent lines have been equipped with free Wi-Fi so passengers can freely surf the internet in the first phase of the pilot project.

According to the Zagreb Electric Company (ZET), since the beginning of the experimental phase, around 15,000 passengers have used the free service mostly to surf internet sites like Facebook, Viber and WhatsApp as well as news portals.

The experimental phase will be an indicator of commuters’ interest and response to this novelty. If the project proves successful, other city’s trams will also be equipped with free Wi-Fi.

Surveillance cameras have been installed on all five entrances into the historical centre of Dubrovnik and will soon be in the function. The cameras will both be used for surveillance and to count the number of visitors entering the city. This million Kuna project was presented today by the Mayor of Dubrovnik, Andro Vlahusic, under the title “Forget the crowds, respect the rules and information.”

A total of 116 surveillance cameras will be placed all around the city, at major traffic junctions and places with a high pedestrian footfall. The project, which will be run with the police, is aimed at increasing safety for traffic and people.

“It is estimated that more than eight thousand people in the Old City is too dangerous, and when that number of visitors is reached we will take measures to divert the traffic,” explained the mayor on the reason for installing a people counter on the cameras. Adding that visitors who have already announced that they would arrive, at least a day in advance, or who have purchased the Dubrovnik City Card, would have access to the Old City. But those visitors who arrived unannounced would be turned away until the number of guests falls below 8,000. It is believed that the fist results from the counters will be available in March. How this counting rule will function in practise is yet to be announced. Will security guards be placed on the five city entrances and when the number of tourists in the Old City reaches 8,000 pull up a barrier, this would seem inappropriate.

And whilst it must be acknowledged that in the height of the summer Dubrovnik has a problem with overcrowding this is mainly down to the cruise ship passengers. Surely limiting the number of cruise ships would be a better approach, rather than potentially turning away tourists.

The 166 security cameras will be placed at 37 different locations around the entire city and the Deputy Mayor, Tatjana Simac Bonacic, commented that a certain number will be placed in playgrounds as the city spends around 300,000 Kunas repairing and replacing damaged playground equipment.

security camera dubrovnik

Well hidden security cameras around Dubrovnik...can you spot it 

One of the most successful Chinese companies Alibaba owned by the Chinese billionaire Jack Ma has expressed an interest to make Zadar its commerce hotspot in this part of Europe.

The company would build a warehouse in the Croatian city of Zadar as a greenfield investment for distribution of goods of its internet store.

The biggest advantage of Zadar as a destination is a vicinity of a seaport, an airport, a highway and a railway.

Alibaba is the largest Chinese online store with an average daily income of a billion US dollars. The warehouse in Zadar would significantly reduce the time of delivery for ordered products to customers in this part of Europe.

In addition, Alibaba is also interested in building a film studio in Zadar. The company has already has several film studios in Hollywood, and is currently seeking for an ideal location in the region.

Even though Zadar has competition in Budapest and Serbia, allegedly one of the Chinese partners and investors has already fallen in love with Zadar.

One of the largest news organisations in Australia, The Australian, has published a fascinating video of Dubrovnik covered in snow on their official Facebook page.

With the headline “If you are a true TV nerd, you'll recognise this city,” in reference to Dubrovnik’s role in the HBO serial Game of Thrones, The Australian published an aerial video of the Old City of Dubrovnik in the recent snow storms.

The video soon went viral and has 29,000 views, and as The Australian has a grand total of 680,000 fans of their Facebook page, so we can expect even more views, great publicity for Dubrovnik.

Croatia, according to Bloomberg Innovation Index for 2017, is on 41st among the 50 most innovative economies in the world, dropping three places compared to last year, according to index published on Tuesday – reports

Bloomberg's Innovation Index measures how the economy uses innovation factors including investment in research and development and concentration of high-tech companies.

South Korea remains the world's best, as a last year, thanks to the best indicators in the field of investment in research and development, value-added manufacturing and patent activities, while it’s in the top five in the world in number of high-tech companies, higher education and the number of researchers.

The top five most innovative countries in the world after South Korea are Sweden, Germany, Switzerland and Finland. Sweden has improved its position compared to last year for one place, thanks to improvements in the value-added production, while Finland has moved up two places mainly due to the increase in the number of high-tech companies in the country.

The ‘’biggest loser’’ this year of Bloomberg Innovation Index is Russia, which went down by 14 places and is now at the 26th place. Pressed by the sanctions and the effects of low energy prices in recent years, last year's solid performance in the area of production and productivity this year significantly deteriorated, according to Bloomberg.

Japan recorded a significant drop on the list going from last year's fourth on this year's 7th place, followed by Croatia, which dropped for three positions, from last year's 38th to 41st.

Bloomberg started the ranking with more than 200 economies, but the states that haven’t reported data for at least six of the seven categories that are measured were eliminated, so the list included 78 countries worldwide. Ultimately Bloomberg created the index of 50 world's most innovative economies.

More good news for Croatia's industry! AD Plastik from Solin near Split continues to expand its business with the German multinational automotive manufacturing company Volkswagen.

The largest Croatian manufacturer of plastic parts for the automotive industry will produce sets of internal glass scrapers for Audi Q3 and a front fender coating for VW Tiguan.

According to a statement from AD Plastik, the company won the nominations for the production of interior glass scrapers sets for Audi Q3 which will be manufactured at the extrusion plant in Solin, and for the production of a front fender coating for VW Tiguan, which will be produced at the AD Plastik factory in Kaluga, Russia.

The production planned for 140,000 Audi vehicles a year is to start in September 2018, whilst the project is expected to last seven years.

On the other hand, the production for VW vehicles in Russia's city of Kaluga is announced for February 2018. This project is expected to last four years, whilst the planned production is for 22,000 VW vehicles annually.

It is estimated that the annual revenue from these activities at the level of the AD Plastik Group will amount to almost 750,000 Euros. Just to remind you, in November 2016 the AD Plastik company was nominated for a new deal with the Renault Group worth around 16.5 million Euros.

Air Serbia has announced that not only will it continue to operate flights to Dubrovnik it is also thinking of expanding flights to other airports in Croatia. The national airlines of Serbia will fly six times a week from Belgrade to Dubrovnik through the summer months as well as twice a day to Zagreb. And now there is the possibility that Air Serbia will also fly to Zadar and the island of Brac.

The General Manager of Brac Airport, Tonči Peović, commented, "We have been in talks with Air Serbia for a number of years. I met with the company's CEO recently. They are interested in flying to Brac. They are considering linking the flights with Zadar. Introducing services from Belgrade is a high priority for them with an ATR 72-500 aircraft".

Air Serbia already flies to Split and Pula so the additional of Brac and Zadar would mean that the airline operates to six Croatian destinations. If flights are introduced between Belgrade and the island of Brac this will be the first time ever that these two airports have had direct connections.

The Voice of Dubrovnik


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