Friday, 22 November 2019

The Croatian Chamber of Commerce and the Croatian National Tourist Board are presenting for the first time the Croatian economic and tourism offer at China's most important international import fair China International Import Expo (CIIE), held in Shanghai from November 5th to 10th. 

-With an appearance at the ITB China fair, which we participated in in May this year and won the Croatian Tourism Award, this is our second major launch in 2019 at the extremely important Chinese market. In the past year, 24 percent more arrivals and overnight stays have been made from this market compared to the same period last year, making China the second largest distant market with the highest tourist turnover in Croatia. According to the Chinese National Tourism Administration, Chinese travel abroad is expected to reach 200 million in 2020, and accordingly we expect growth in demand for Europe and Croatia by many Chinese travel lovers - said Croatian Tourist Board Director Kristjan Stanicic, adding that 483 Chinese travel agents have successfully completed on-line training on Croatian cultural, natural, gastronomic and adventurous tourist offerings this year.

At this year's CIIE fair, attended by over 150 thousand Chinese and foreign buyers with exhibitors from more than hundred countries and regions of the world, today the "Croatia day" was held as part of the Croatian National Pavilion, a meeting of Croatian companies with numerous Chinese partners. Croatian Ambassador to China Dario Mihelin and State Secretary at the Ministry of Tourism Frano Matusic attended the fair.

-The Chinese market is no longer reserved for the bravest only, the door of the Chinese market is open to the whole world, and this is an opportunity we shouldn't miss. And this fair is proof that the Chinese are turning to imports and reducing their trade surplus, and it is important that we are constantly present here. Our exports to China grew 25 percent last year, which is proof that we can compete in such a large market. On the wings of these good indicators, as well as good political relations, it is time for even more concrete results - said Luka Burilovic, President of the Croatian Chamber of Commerce, which yesterday also organized the Croatian-Chinese Economic Forum in the joint premises of the Croatian Chamber of Economy and the Croatian Chamber of Commerce. From now on, they will be available to Croatian companies interested in trying out the Chinese market. -Last year's CIIE fair exceeded expectations, contracted jobs reached 50.8 billion dollars, so we hope that our companies will fight for their share of the cake too - Burilovic added.

Stanicic used the presentation at the fair to meet with important Chinese partners such as the Shendi Group and Ctrip to discuss future joint cooperation.

Ctrip is China's largest online travel agency, or the second largest travel agency in the world, which is the largest advertiser of hotels and accommodation in China, serving more than 300 million people in over 220 countries. The Shendi Group is best known for building and operating the Shangai Disney Resort and operates as a company for the design of entertainment projects and events. Representatives of the Chinese group, on the initiative of the CNTB Representative Office in China, visited Zagreb, Rijeka and Opatija in September.

Burilovic visited Croatian companies that exhibited at the fair: Degenija, Intereuropa, Megajoule, AMP Net.

- China is one of the most attractive markets with a great future potential for Podravka. So far, we are present here, but we have a lot of room for progress. Podravka has always supported economic diplomacy initiatives of this form. The presence at CIIE is an opportunity to maintain and deepen existing business contacts in this large market. In the last two years, Podravka has changed its business model of processing the Chinese market, and we are recently back in Shanghai through cooperation with our distribution partner, and we are working on cooperation development projects in the future - said Vedran Kelek, Podravka's Director of New Markets.

It's good to know that this year's edition of the CIIE is the second in a row, and its launch and first edition last year is a significant move by the Chinese government to liberalize and open the market, which is second in the world in terms of imports and leading in consumption. China's largest import fair is held at the National Exhibition and Convention Center in Shanghai, covering an area of nearly 300 thousand square meters. Considering that China is the most populous country in the world and stands side by side with the United States as a world economic giant, the Chinese government is making an extraordinary effort to make CIIE a must-see in the calendar of events at the international level. The particular value of the CIIE Fair lies in the numerous business meetings, meetings at high political and diplomatic levels, the presentation of the economic and tourism potentials of different countries, as well as the mutual exchange of experience and knowledge.

Talk of a spin-off of Game of Thrones has been buzzing ever since the final episode of the most popular TV series ever came to a fiery conclusion. Would it be a prequel, a sequel or something completely different?

The franchise looked to be on rocky ground after a planned show The Long Night starring Naomi Watts was cancelled before it was even off the ground. But a prequel series, entitled House of the Dragon, has been given the green light by HBO and a 10-episode series will be produced.

House of the Dragon is based on George R.R Martin’s novel Fire and Blood.

house of dragons coming to croatia

Cast of Game of Thrones on location in Dubrovnik - Photo Tonci Plazibat

And now that the show has been commissioned the rumours as to the locations are spreading like wildfire through social media. Dubrovnik was without doubt one of the most iconic locations for Game of Thrones. The ancient city was the centre of the whole series as King’s Landing and a variety of other locations around the city were used. From season two until the finale and season eight Dubrovnik was seen by millions and millions of fans worldwide and this has led to a whole industry of travel tours and souvenir shops in Dubrovnik.




HBO have yet to reveal a release date for the new show but it is expected at the end of 2020 or in 2021. And similarly no cast names have been released, understandingly the production details are being kept top secret. The HBO President of Programming, Casey Bloys, stated on Twitter that “"The Game of Thrones universe is so rich with stories. We look forward to exploring the origins of House Targaryen and the earlier days of Westeros.”


Game of Thrones filming in Dubrovnik - Photo Niksa Duper 

It has however been confirmed that Ryan Condal will oversee the whole House of the Dragon’s project and that director Miguel Sapochnik will work with Condal. Sapochnik will also direct the pilot. And it is also believed that House of Dragon will be based some three hundred years before the Game of Thrones storyline.

And as Dubrovnik, and indeed the whole of Croatia, were so popular with the whole Game of Thrones cast and crew it would seem that there is a good chance that we will once again see a major production. Speaking to Jutarnji List Mia Pećina Draskovic from the Zagreb Film Office stated that “We have no information on where and when the series will be shot. We believe that they are very likely to be able to come to Croatia again because they have been here for many years and are very happy with their cooperation and locations. However, we do not have any additional information at this time.”

Property prices across Croatia are continuing to grow with latest figures showing that this year they have risen by 6.5 percent. The popular website, Njuskalo, have carried out a survey on the 163,000 properties on offer on their website and the results show that prices aren’t slowing down, with the most expensive real estate in Croatia in Dubrovnik. According to the survey apartment prices across Croatia have risen by 8 percent his year, and house prices by just over four percent.

And even though prices are on the increase it would seem that interest is still extremely high, as the website have reported that just last month nearly 12.5 million visitors clicked on the site.



Zagreb is one of the hottest locations in Croatia at the moment with the average price per metre squared over 2,000 Euros for the first time ever. In October the average asking price for apartments was 2,080 Euros per metre squared, which represents a rise of almost 8 percent over the year.

All major cities in Croatia have seen property prices increase, especially along the coastline, with Dubrovnik once again having the highest prices in the whole country. In October the average asking price for an apartment was a huge 3,926 Euros per metre squared, or almost double the price of the capital, whilst the asking price for a house in Dubrovnik was 4,711 Euros.

Dubrovnik Airport had an incredible end to the summer season with a massive 22 percent increase in passenger numbers through October. Croatia’s southernmost airport had by far the biggest increase in passenger numbers of any of the airport’s in the country.

A grand total of 299,532 passengers passed through the airport last month meaning a 22.7 percent increase over the same month from last year. In comparison Zagreb Airport handled 330,000 passengers, which was a 4 percent increase over last year, and Split Airport saw a 9.7 percent increase with 247,000 passengers.

From the beginning of this year until the end of October Dubrovnik Airport handled 2.8 million passengers, which represents a 12.6 percent increase over 2018, and is on course to handle 3 million passengers for the first time ever. Already this year an extra 315,000 passengers have used the airport compared to 2018.

Ryanair could once again open flights to Osijek after terminating them in 2017. The low-cost airline closed flights to this Slavonian airport in 2017 due to the inability of the airport to pay the subsidies, but it would appear from an article in Vecernji List that these important flights could reopen in 2020.

According to the newspaper the Minister of Tourism, Gari Cappelli, has held talks with representatives of the Ryanair at the World Tourism Market in London and has expressed his belief that a solution could be found.


According to the daily Vecernji List, the Ministry of Tourism and the Croatian National Tourist Board are in talks with Ryanair to establish a direct line with Osijek from several European cities next year, namely from June to September.

The Minister of Tourism, Gary Cappelli, said that the agreements with the Osijek Airport and the counties of the five Slavonian counties were following, which should also financially assist in the realization of the return of Ryanair to Osijek, which would certainly assist tourism in the whole region. So far Ryanair have yet to issue a statement.

CNN has published an article about Dubrovnik, saying that it may ban the opening of new restaurants in the Old City as a part of the fight with overtourism. 

-Dubrovnik's council will vote in December on the restaurant proposal, which would see a moratorium on any new outdoor chairs and tables in the Old Town for the next five years – CNN writes, adding that doesn't seem like much to most of us -- but since most restaurants in Dubrovnik's Old Town are built into the city walls, indoor seating is extremely limited.

CNN contacted the Mayor of Dubrovnik, Mato Frankovic, who said:

-Anyone wanting to open a restaurant in the Old Town cannot put down new tables and chairs for the next five years.

Frankovic explained that they can open inside, but knowing the Old City it's very hard to find a place where you can work inside. He added that ninety nine percent of restaurants work mainly with outside tables.

-The city council owns all the public space in Dubrovnik, and can therefore decide whether or not a restaurant can be allocated space outside for tables. If a restaurant closes, Frankovic said, it would be considered as fully closed -- meaning other businesses would not be able to take over the space – CNN writes, adding that when asked if that would effectively mean a five-year ban on new restaurants, Frankovic said: "Correct."

You can see the full article here.

Dubrovnik Winter Festival will be presented in Zagreb this Saturday, November 9th from 11 am to 1 pm at the Flower Square. The event is organized by the Dubrovnik Tourist Board and it has the aim to present this year’s Festival with the performance of the vocal group Kase, traditional Dubrovnik carols, all accompanied by Dubrovnik sweets and of course, prikle. 

The City of Dubrovnik, the Dubrovnik Tourist Board and the Dubrovnik Summer Festival have prepared a rich cultural, entertaining, gastronomic and music program for the sixth edition of the Dubrovnik Winter Festival, which begins on November 30th, by lighting the first Advent candle and decorative holiday lighting, and it's ending on January 1st, 2020.

The calm winter period is ideal for exploring all the beauties that Dubrovnik has to offer, the Dubrovnik Tourist Board emphasized.

The Diabetes Society of Dubrovnik is involved in the project of the Croatian Diabetes Association and plans its activities with the World Diabetes Day - November 14th, as well as for the Diabetes Awareness Month.

This year's theme is again - Family and Diabetes – and it applies to all those who have people with diabetes in their family, but also to everyone else. The goal is to identify diabetes, live with diabetes and know its dangers.

The Society, in collaboration with the Health Center Patronage - organizes a public blood glucose measurement - on Thursday, November 7th in Gruz - in front of the Srđ Department Store from 8 to 9 am.

At the leading travel exhibition in the world, the World Travel Market in London, the Dubrovnik Tourist Board, as one of the co-exhibitors at the booth of the Croatian National Tourist Board, presents the tourist offer of the city in which the British market has been at the forefront of tourism for years.

In addition to this presentation, the Dubrovnik Tourist Board held a series of meetings with WTM with British tour operators, airlines and representatives of significant media. One of the highlights of the meeting with the popular British airline, Jet2com, was that the airline announced a 6 percent increase in the number of direct flights to Dubrovnik for next season from nine UK airports. Jet2com will start flying to the southernmost airport in early April, and have significantly increased flights in the pre-season with a 17 percent increase in April. The Dubrovnik Tourist Board has agreed with Jet2com a joint online campaign for February and March to place particular emphasis on pre-season events.


Romana Vlasic, Director of the Dubrovnik Tourist Board, meeting with UK travel agents

There was also a meeting with British Airways regarding the winter flight schedule and a joint marketing campaign to promote Dubrovnik in the winter. For the next summer season Britain’s flagship airline will increase the number of weekly flights to Dubrovnik by two, from the current ten flights a week to twelve flights a week. During this winter British Airways will fly three times a week from Dubrovnik to London, on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. British Airways representatives expressed their satisfaction with the cooperation with the Dubrovnik Tourist Board over the past few years and emphasized that this cooperation was a key basis for the development of the program and the further planning of the flight from London to Dubrovnik.


During the first ten months of 2019, there were 196,331 visitors from the United Kingdom, 6 percent more than last year, with 911,413 overnight stays or 3 percent more.

The Dubrovnik Tourist Board added that according to the information from British partners, Brexit is not expected to influence bookings for Dubrovnik and Croatia, and as for Dubrovnik itself, they expect a moderate increase in tourist traffic in 2020.


Even though the tides in the Adriatic are relatively small during these autumn days they can be higher than normal, and that was the case yesterday in Dubrovnik.

The sea almost spilled over onto the roads along the Bay of Lapad yesterday as the strong south winds brought not only wet and grey weather bit also high tides. These same tides are traditionally a problem for Venice where they have introduced a number of measures to stop flooding.

So far the water level isn’t over the roads, but with more wet and rainy weather to come this week it might be time to break out the wellies if you live on the seafront.



The Voice of Dubrovnik


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