The floating office of one of the richest men in the world has been at anchor in front of Dubrovnik for the past few days. The superyacht Aviva, which at 100 metres long and with the capacity for 16 guests, is the property of UK businessman and owner of Tottenham Hotspur FC, Joseph C. "Joe" Lewis. With her vivid colours and striking lines the Aviva has certainly been grabbing people’s attention.
Joseph C. "Joe" Lewis (80) is a British businessman, investor, and art collector who currently lives in New Providence, Bahamas. His total wealth is estimated at $US5.3 billion, and he is listed as the 248th richest person on Forbes’ List of billionaires. Forbes reports that Lewis is the sixth wealthiest person in the UK. So far Lewis hasn’t been spotted in the city.
Among his vast business empire, which includes 200 companies in 50 countries, he also owns over 85 percent of the English Premier league club Tottenham Hotspur. In the past he has also owned stakes in other football clubs such as Rangers F.C., Slavia Prague, AEK Athens F.C., Vicenza and FC Basel.
Joe Lewis (left) with Daniel Levy at Tottenham Hotspur
Aviva acts as Lewis's personal mobile office, he has been known to live on Aviva for months at a time. Refitted on at least two occasions since her 2007 launch, the yacht houses Lewis's personal art collection. For tax reasons the luxury yacht is registered in the Cayman Islands.
Apart from rescuing lost and injured tourists, hikers, climbers and all of those who properly equipped or completely unequipped set sails (read, feet) on discovering Croatia's natural beauties, the Croatian Mountain Rescue Service (HGSS) has once more confirmed their title ''The Communicator of the Year''.
Whilst others pour their money, often state budget money, into hiring a whole army of PR experts, two of the HGSS members Christian Nikolic and Jadran Kapovic administrate the HGSS social media profiles by themselves.
The HGSS posts are informative but with an obvious dose of sharp cynicism. ''It is very simple – we are part of the people. This kind of communication common people understands much better than dull notices or technical announcements. People in Croatia are swamped with unclear messages every day, however, ambiguity in our work (search and rescue) leads to victims, both material and personal. Besides, we have succeeded in want we wanted; we attracted people's attention, provide them with a clear message and they took us seriously'', explained members of the Croatian Mountain Rescue Service (HGSS) last year.
Over the past few days HGSS tweeted several informative-humorous messages such as the sign with a crossed out flip flops with an additional message ''Dear tourists, NO means NO'', alluding to mountaineering amateurs who decide to explore mountain tops wearing inadequate clothes and beach shoes.
A month ago after a successful rescue of two tourists from the Czech Republic who climbed a medieval fortress while a strong northern wind ‘bura’ blew, HGSS posted ''Dear tourists, we told you. Google bura. It is not a joke!''
Considering the extreme heat over the past few days, they also advised tourists on their profile by writing, ''Dear tourists, it’ll be extremely hot in Cro next week, mainland especially. Hydrate! Drinking alcohol isn’t hydrating. It's getting drunk!''
Recently HGSS referred to the global bizarre trend known as Cheeky Exploits, which implies taking a photo of one's naked background. ''Dear tourists, before you set off on Cheeky Exploits, please check where you stand. You do not want us to find you with your pants down''.
The summer is well and truly sweltering in Dubrovnik this year. Over the past ten days the city has seen constant temperatures in the mid thirties and spotting a cloud in the sky has proved impossible.
Today the midday temperature in Dubrovnik reached a mercury-breaking 36 degrees and if you were looking to cool off in the Adriatic Sea think again.
The temperature of the Adriatic Sea in Dubrovnik reached an incredible 26.5 degrees! In other words the sea in Dubrovnik was warmer than the air temperature in London (21 degrees), Paris (21 degrees), Vienna (28 degrees) and Kyiv (26 degrees).
Mahmut Orhan might be young, but is already world known as a DJ and producer. His next stop is Dubrovnik, or more precisely – Revelin, where he will play as a part of DU-EL Fest on July 18th. Mahmut's had huge success with his recent releases including 'Save Me', achieving 10+ million YouTube plays and his soaring hit 'Feel' on Ultra Records with 200+ million YouTube views. He is looking forward to his gig in Revelin and has shared some of his thoughts about Dubrovnik, as well as some future plans exclusively for The Dubrovnik Times.
Your Dubrovnik concert is coming soon, are you getting excited? Do you have any expectations?
Yes, I am so excited for this event. I expect to see people that really know
how to enjoy themselves.
What have you prepared for the Dubrovnik audience?
I researched the people of Dubrovnik’s hit music and tried to prepare special
things for them. I hope they like it.
Why should we come to the concert?
You should come because I have special songs for you. I am sure that people will be dancing and jumping.
Will you have time to browse around Dubrovnik, what do you think about the city?
The city is historical and beautiful and has a beautiful sea and summer places.
Especially, the Old Town impressed me.
Is it hard to be a young DJ?
Of course yes, there are lots of challenges which I confront in my DJ life. However, my energy will never run out so I can handle these challenges.
Did your huge success surprise you and how are you dealing with it?
I believed in my tracks and we made the right decisions at the right time but, honestly, this huge success surprised me.
Is this your dream job? Why?
Absolutely, I am living my dream now. Because music is my life and every part of my life I want to live with music.
Is this the first time that you have performed in Croatia?
Not my first time in Croatia, but my first time in Dubrovnik.
Do you have any future plans for touring Croatia?
Yes, I will perform at big festivals in Croatia.
What is your next career step?
I want to perform at the biggest festivals in the world. And, reach much more people so they can listen to my music.
One of the hottest topics in Dubrovnik was again under the spotlight today as the Mayor of Dubrovnik, Mato Franković, visited the beach in the Bay of Lapad to meet with representatives of the investors.
During the tour the mayor was personally assured that the final works on preparing the beach facilities are under way and that the grand opening of the new beach area is imminent.
The representatives of the investor met with the mayor and explained the horticultural layout that is currently being implemented in one of the areas within the beach area. It was also announced that at the end of the main season tens of olive trees older than 30 years-old will be planted which will give a new dimension to the overall layout of the entire area.
Restaurant nearly ready for business
A technical inspection by the City of Dubrovnik was held on Tuesday, July 11th. The investor was ordered to complete the process of obtaining the necessary approvals and documentation that the investor is obliged to obtain as soon as possible. Then a technical review will be repeated and access to the usage permit will be made in order to make the beach accessible to citizens and tourists.
"The beach in the Lapad bay is three times bigger than the previous one and I am convinced that it will enrich the overall offer of bathing and recreational facilities and ensure the quality of Dubrovnik’s tourist product," said Mayor Mato Frankovic, adding that the new beach will be fully open to citizens and visitors. Entrance to the beach will be free of charge.
"I expect all concession holders to behave in accordance with the issued permits and concessions, and that they in no way obstruct the rights and freedoms of citizens of the City of Dubrovnik," the mayor said on this occasion.
Guests at the four-star Hotel Kompas in Dubrovnik had a rather rude awakening this morning as a fire broke out in a machine room meaning they had to be evacuated.
Three fire engines, with eleven fire-fighters were on the scene quickly as the fire was noticed at 7.55 in the engine room on the outside perimeter of the hotel.
Ten minutes after the alarm was raised the fire brigade was on the scene and the fire was extinguished within 15 minutes. Due to the large amount of smoke from the fire guests were evacuated for their safety. It is believed that the fire broke out in the electrical installations.
Tourist and hotel companies always compete to provide their guests with the best and quality service. Nowadays it means the use of advanced and innovative technological solutions.
Last year the Croatian hotel company Arena Hospitality Group introduced a unique ''digital key'' service, which, through specially developed mobile application, enables opening of electronic locks in hotel rooms and apartments with smart phones.
This year the company has launched a new ''handy'' service for guests. Upon arrival at one of the Arena Hospitality Group hotels, a mobile device on a special ''docking'' (charging) station will be at guests' disposal in their rooms and apartments. The mobile device offers several options free of charge such as unlimited international and local calls, internet access, destination tour guide, the phone number of the reception on a speed dial and information on emergency services.
The mobile device comes with a ''handy'' operating system as a custom version of Android that enables customizing of language settings in accordance to guests' preferences.
The Arena Hospitality Group company implemented this service with the Tink Labs Limited company from Hong Kong and their branch office in London. After the implementation of the new service in the hotels Park Plaza Arena and Park Plaza Histria in Pula, by the end of 2017, the same service is to be introduced in eight hotels of the Group in Germany and Hungary.
The 68th Dubrovnik Summer Festival hit the ground running last night with a spectacular performance of Carmina Burana. After the grand opening of the festival on Monday the Carla Orff piece Carmina Burana in front of the St. Blaise Church in the heart of the Old City of Dubrovnik.
The Zagreb Philharmonic Orchestra, the Dubrovnik Symphony Orchestra and the Academic Choir Ivan Goran Kovačić, all under the direction of conductor Ivan Josip Skender, lit up the Dubrovnik night sky with a moving and atmospheric performance that was completely sold out.
The international team of musicians consisted of Owen Willets, the Austrian coloratura soprano Nicola Proksch and baritone Nikola Mijailović.
The concert was also enjoyed by the executive director of the IMF, Christine Lagarde.
Among the many surprising facts about the natives of South Dalmatia, one particularly stands out: they don't go on vacation.
There are several reasons for this. First, summer holidays, which is the major vacation time for most of Europe, is the busiest working period for most Dalmatians, as nearly everyone is involved in tourism. Second, Dalmatians love their coast, their sea, their food, their culture - their everything, so even if they were free all summer, most of them would not leave home. I asked many locals about this and they all confirmed: why to undergo all the costs and hassle of travel only to realize that Dubrovnik is the best? And finally, Dalmatians have a mindset that often determines them to stay where they are - their attitude to life would be misunderstood in most other places of the Western world, so they stick to the best match. Home. Their windows overlooking a modest pebble beach, their fishing boats, grilled squid for dinner, half litre of red and the sound of their neighbour's ancient accordion. Life.
Back in Prague, people usually disapprove (of this explanation and my choice of Dubrovnik over Prague). They tell me, that Dalmatians are just like all southerners - cordial, lazy and relaxed, and that it is just not fair, because, well, in the end, somebody needs to make the wheels of world economy spin, and it is us, the northern inland city people! So I ask them: If someone asked you whether you preferred success over happiness, what would you say? Most people reply "happiness". First, they sense this is the right answer. Second, they recall what they have been taught since childhood: success implies happiness, or, in other words, you can't be happy without being successful first. So, whipped by ambition, you make it to a good school, get a good job, take a good loan, and have an occasional good feeling, waiting for the real happiness to occur sooner or later.
Way too often, though, happiness doesn't show up. We are disappointed, but we get used to it. Our lives are okay, after all. And, hey, we all go on vacations to beautiful places by the sea, to get legitimately lazy and relaxed for a week or two.
Perhaps this is the crucial thing I love about the Balkans, but particularly south Dalmatia: the rule of happiness over success. It took me some time to realize that, but local people don't really have any ambition, apart from the ambition of being home, relaxed and happy, to have enough time, to taste and enjoy life. People whose priority is success inevitably end up moving to Zagreb. Vienna. London. The distilled crowd that stays in their little southern bays is like the gold nuggets: it is composed of sea-loving patriots, who are in love with their town and their coast, people who are too lazy to work after lunch, but never too tired to join a spontaneous party at the neighbour’s house, to go squid fishing, to spend hours preparing proud home-cooked meals, to take a week off and go help their aunt with the vineyard or the olive harvest.
Most of them are not rich, the state of their housing and possessions is often several categories below an average city person from the north. They don't seem to notice, though. Because if you asked them, whether their purpose in life was to collect objects or great memories, guess what they'd tell you.
And one of the few remaining places in Europe where you can really live like this, get away with this conviction, is South Dalmatia. Therefore, if your holiday is now reaching its end, and you are sitting at the beach, wondering, how could you make this peace of mind survive at least the trip back home, be aware that it's most probably not going to work anywhere else. If you are serious about it, move here. Forget success. (It comes in package with the happiness anyway.)
Blanka Pavlovic a.k.a. the Adriatic Bride is a Czech writer. She studied law (Prague) and creative writing (Oxford). As a lawyer, she specialized in international human rights law, first working for the European Court of Human Rights, then for a peacekeeping mission in Kosovo. She wrote five books, among them Total Balkans, The Handbook of the Adriatic Bride or The Return of the Adriatic Bride. She now lives with her family between Dubrovnik and Donji Brgat. More information and English translations of her work are available through www.blankacechova.com
According to data from Eurostat, the most popular destination of EU citizens in 2015 was the Canaries with 94 million overnight stays, followed by the French region Île-de-France including Paris, with 76.8 million overnight stays.
Furthermore, the Spanish Catalonia placed as the third with 75.5 million overnights, whilst the Croatian coast was in the very high fourth place with 68.1 million overnight stays realized in 2015.
Croatia’s Adriatic left many attractive destinations behind such as the Spanish tourist pearl the Balearic islands, the Italian region Veneto including Venice, the land of corridas and flamenco-Andalusia, the French regions of Provence-Alps-Côte d'Azur and Rhone Alps as well as the British capital of London with its surroundings, Tuscany and many others.
However, Sanja Cizmar, the analyst from the HDCZ consultancy company warns that this comparison was not quite relevant because it compared regions that could not be compared in terms of tourist products and services.
‘’What are the points of interest of a summer resort on the Adriatic and let us say, Paris? Even a comparison with the Canaries is not relevant because there the tourist season last almost a year thanks to the favourable climate. Nevertheless, it is a positive thing that we positioned very high on this list. In addition, Europe is a large receptive market and it is better for us to be mentioned along the most successful tourist destinations in Europe. For example, we were side by side of Catalonia, with which we can compare and which is globally recognized as a successful tourist destination’’, commented Cizmar.
The Eurostat data also showed that EU citizens achieved almost 90 percent of all overnights in EU countries. As far as other world destinations are concerned, in 2015 the most desirable destinations to EU citizens were the US where they realized 14 percent overnight stays and Turkey with 10.4 overnights stays realized by EU citizens. However, this list would look quite different today because due to terrorism attacks, tourist interest in Turkey has declined heavily over the past few years.