Mark Thomas - The editor and big chief of The Dubrovnik Times. Born in the UK he has been living and working in Dubrovnik since 1998, yes he is one of the rare “old hands.” A unique insight into both British and Croatian life and culture, Mark is often known as just “Englez” or Englishman. He is a traveller, a current affairs freak and a huge AFC Wimbledon fan.
American company Mercer has published annual quality of living ranking and Vienna is placed first for the 8th year in the row.When it comes to Croatian cities, Zagreb has found it's place on the 98th place on the list of 231 cities.
Vienna occupies first place for overall quality of living for the 8th year running, with the rest of the top-ten list mostly filled by European cities: Zurich is in second place, with Munich (4), Dusseldorf (6), Frankfurt (7), Geneva (8), Copenhagen (9), and Basel, a newcomer to the list, in 10th place. The only non-European cities in the top ten are Auckland (3) and Vancouver (5). The highest ranking cities in Asia and Latin America are Singapore (25) and Montevideo (79).
When it comes to our neighbours Ljubljana is placed 76th, Belgrade 138th and Sarajevo is 159th.
Check the detailed results here.
Gregor Balazic, the author of the project BeachRex, presents the web portal www.beachrex.com that currently covers over 1,000 Croatian and 20 Slovene beaches.
The establishment of the probably biggest database of beaches in the world has lasted 4 years.
After a few-years-long-call of beaches, Gregor Balazic decided to leave his job, bought a camper van, camera and started the exploration journey of the Mediterranean beaches with a thorough plan and a clear vision. Its result consists of a collection of over 50,000 photographs, 2,500 videos and 3D spherical shots, and more than 500,000 details about the beach type, infrastructure, facilities and services offered at a particular beach. An all of this date is available on the website - www.beachrex.com.
BeachRex introduces a new, high standard presentation of beaches. Each beach is presented with some high quality photographs, a video and 3D spherical shot enabling the viewer to see it from every perspective. There are also photographs and data about car parking facilities, the way to the beach, navigation and travel time form the starting point to the beach, current weather, water temperature, weather forecast and webcam available.
Every user can add their comment and rate the beach. It is also possible to book an accommodation at the beach.
On Google Maps, beach photographs by BeachRex have reached more than 1.5 million views in only 6 months. The website has mostly been used by Germans (25% of the users), followed by Poles, Czechs, Slovenes, Austrians, Hungarians, Croatians, Slovaks, Americans and Italians. Facebook of BeachRex has 38.000 followers.
''We are very interested in football, we are sponsors of Real Madrid and we certainly love Luka Modric. He may be one of the passengers on our first flight between Zagreb and Dubai on the 1st of June'', commented Thierry Antinori, the Emirates’ Executive Vice President and Chief Commercial Officer announcing year-round flights between these two cities.
Emirates is the largest international air carrier in the Middle East and one of the best in the world, as voted by passengers, which is connecting Dubai with 150 cities in 70 world countries with almost 4000 flights a week.
‘’We are very pleased that we will connect Zagreb with UAE, but also with the Middle East, Asia, Australia etc. Therefore, Croatia will be connected with 40 cities in this part of the world, and we expect seat occupancy rate to be around 70-80 percent on these flights. I am certain that this route will bring new tourists to Croatia and contribute to our economic cooperation’’, explained Antinori.
The flights between Dubai and Zagreb will be operated daily starting from the 1st of June 2017 by a 364-seat Boeing 777-300 aircraft, which includes 12 first class, 42 business and 310 economy class seats.
The Croatian Minister of Tourism Gari Cappelli is also pleased with the launching of the new flight, ‘’It is our opportunity to bring our country closer to Asia and to enter new markets thus prepare ourselves for the moment when our competitors, who are having problems now, return into the tourism arena’’, said Cappelli. Encouraged by the recent talks at the ITB tourism fair in Berlin, Cappelli forecasts up to 10 percent more tourists and larger income in 2017 in comparison to last year i.e. more than one million new tourists in 2017 and an increase of last year’s income of 8 billion Euros by 800,000 Euros.
‘’All news is very positive. And not only for the coastal region. The air carrier Eurowings is seriously considering to prolong its seasonal operations on the flight between Stuttgart and Osijek to a whole year period. For 2017 they have already increased the number of seats by 43 percent, and are already planning a new growth by 30 percent in 2018’’, commented Capelli.
The new IBM’s Client Innovation Centre in Croatia has become operational, confirmed the company, which is planning an opening ceremony.
Just to remind you, at the beginning of last May it was known that IBM intended to open a technical centre in one of the following countries – Slovenia, Slovakia and Croatia but it was quite uncertain whether IBM would choose Croatia or not.
IBM has opened its new technical centre in the former Hypo Centre in Zagreb, the present-day City Plaza and employed 500 people. The centre will operate 24 hours 365 days a year and will have the most advanced technologies and tools. It will provide support for users from all over the world. The Client Innovation Centre will also cooperate with Croatian universities through the mentoring programs.
Last year when the idea of opening a centre in Croatia got the green light, Damir Zec, the IBM director in Croatia, said that IBM has been present in Croatia for more than 20 years and that the company made this decision due to the location, business environment and the Croatian labour market. ''This is one of the best days of my career. Croatia left a very good impression and I think it is one of the important factors that influenced the selection of a location for the new centre'', explained Zec.
The USA representatives also supported this project through the American Chamber of Commerce.
In January this year 218 thousand passengers passed through Croatian airports, which is by 19 thousand passengers or 9.7 percent more compared to the numbers in the first month of 2016, as shown by data of Central Bureau for Statistics – writes Poslovni.hr.
So the beginning of this year continued the trend of growth in air traffic from last year, when the total passenger traffic through the seven airports in Croatia grew by 13 percent compared to 2015.
The largest number of passengers in January was recorded at the airport in Zagreb, with168,131 traveler, or 7.4 percent more than in the same month last year. However, the largest percentage increase, 24.9 percent or 19,103 passengers is recorded at the airport in Dubrovnik.
Official statistics show that more than a quarter of all travelers in January are those from German airport, 12 percent more than last year. The planes that have arrived or are traveling to French airports had 25.6 percent more travelers than last year and traffic from Dutch airports grew by 8.6 percent, while the traffic from British airports decreased by 5.9 percent. The most increased number of passengers is on flights from or to Qatar – around 72 percent.
The Unique Luxury Hotels Group established within the Croatian Chamber of Commerce (HGK) last year will operate under the new joint brand Stories, which was presented during the ILHA’s (International Luxury Hotel Association) European Summit held in Rovinj, Croatia from the 28th of February to the 2nd of March 2017.
HGK explained that the brand Stories combines the wishes of modern consumers with natural beauty, rich culture and history of Croatia and carefully selected hotels into unique experiences worth recounting. Therefore, they selected a slogan ‘’You are the writer’’ which invites guests to share their authentic experiences with others.
"Global trends show that luxury consumers prefer having special experiences than buying material goods and that is their main criterion for selection of a hotel. Following the global trends and the Croatian tourism development strategy, which promotes upgrading of the hotel accommodation quality and creating a content-rich tourism portfolio, it is my pleasure to announce that the HGK has built a platform for operating of the Unique Luxury Hotels Group, which encompasses all of the mentioned qualities, emphasized Leila Kresic-Juric, the HGK’s Tourism Sector Director.
Stories, the Croatian Unique Hotels has become the first brand of carefully selected unique luxury hotels which includes; the Kazbek Hotel, the Pucic Palace and Villa Dubrovnik in Dubrovnik, the Adriana Hotel on the island of Hvar, Adriatic Hotels, Meneghetti, San Rocco and Valamar Isabella in Istria, the Lesic Dimitri Palace on the island of Korcula, the Alhambra Hotel in Mali Losinj on the island of Losinj, Bevanda and Navis Hotels in Opatija, the Vestibul Palace Hotel in Split, the Life Palace Hotel in Sibenik, the Martinis Marchi castle on the island of Solta and the Bastion Hotel in Zadar.
“Currently, the Stories hotels include 16 hotels which had to meet strict standards in order to become members. Most of our hotels are winners of prestigious international awards, a few of them are members of the world-renowned hotel associations, whilst the Michelin guide has recommended two restaurants from our group. With this new brand and a common appearance on the market, our goal is to position Croatia as a special, luxury tourism destination and to achieve the strongest possible positioning of special Croatian hotels on the international luxury tourism market”, commented Nenad Nizic, the chairman of the Unique Luxury Hotels Group at the HGK.
The last Robin Hood: Origins set in Dubrovnik is being dismantled. Filming of the Leonardo DiCaprio version of Robin Hood finished in Dubrovnik on the 6th of March and moved onto Istria in northwest Croatia for three days before continuing filming in Hungary.
The last set to be taken down was in the old port area of the city, and in fact this was the last set to be used for filming with a dramatic fire scene filmed. Robin Hood has now officially left Dubrovnik and we await the première on the 23rd of March 2018.
Flos Olei 2017, a reputable Italian-English world guide for extra virgin olive oils was presented in Savudrija, Istria on the 9th of March.
Last year Flos Olei experts selected Istria as the best quality olive region in the world for the second time in a row and included it in its catalogue for 2017.
''A lot of work and a lot of investment paid off in the end. To be a part of such prestigious catalogue is a great success for Istria and the Istrian olive growers, thus I'd like to congratulate you all'', said Valter Flego, the Istria County prefect on the occasion of presenting the exceptional success of Istrian olive oil in this year's edition of Flos Olei.
For the seventh edition of the ''Flos Olei'' catalogue more than 2,000 olive oils from all around the globe were evaluated and only 500 of them made it to the second stage of selection. Istria was again the most represented world region with 60 olive oils or 12 percent, which is a great percentage in the global community of extra virgin olive oil makers.
It is interesting to note that the Croatian region was followed by the Italian region of Tuscany with 59 olive oils included in the catalogue, whilst the Spanish region of Andalusia placed as the third with 49 olive oils.
Ten olive oil makers from Istria won 95-100 points out of a maximum of 100 points and their olive oils made it to the "really excellent olive oils" category, whilst 17 oil makers won 90-94 points and their oils were categorized as "excellent olive oils".