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.
It is the most watched music video on YouTube ever and now it has a Croatian touch. Despacito by Puerto Rican singer Luis Fonsi featuring Puerto Rican rapper Daddy Yankee has almost 5 billion views on online channels. And the popular 2Cellos have recorded their own take on this globally popular hit and their version had so far received over 6 million hits.
With its 3.3 million certified sales plus track-equivalent streams, "Despacito" is one of the best-selling Latin singles in the United States. On April 17, 2017, a remix version featuring Canadian singer Justin Bieber was released; this version helped to improve the song's chart performance in numerous countries, particularly in the English-speaking world.
According to data from the eVisitor system that contain tourist traffic realized in commercial and non-commercial facilities and nautical charter (eCrew system), tourist traffic in Croatia in the first six months of 2017 recorded a significant increase in comparison to the same period last year.
The data show that 5,7 million arrivals and 22,9 million overnight stays were achieved in the first half of this year, i.e. 22 percent more in arrivals and 23 percent more in overnight stays compared to the first six months of 2016.
Foreign tourists realized 4,8 million arrivals and 20 million overnight stays, up 24 percent in both categories, whilst domestic tourists also realized a significant increase in arrivals (14%) and overnight stays (20%).
Most overnight stays were achieved by tourists from Germany (4,9 million), Austria (2,2 million), Slovenia (almost 2 million), the UK (1,3 million) and Poland (1,1 million).
When it comes to tourist traffic by Croatian regions, the most successful was the Istria County with 6,8 million overnight stays, followed by Kvarner (3,9 million) and the Split-Dalmatia County (3,9 million).
As far as Croatian destinations are concerned, the highest number of overnight stays was realized in Dubrovnik, followed by Rovinj, Porec, Zagreb and Split.
When it comes to accommodation facilities, out of the total number of overnight stays achieved in the first half of this year, most of them were realized in hotels (8,72 million), household facilities (5,48 million) and camps (4,24 million), whilst over 890,000 overnight stays were recorded in the nautical charter.
''The results of tourist traffic in the first six months of this year only confirm that Croatia has become a year-round destination'', commented the Croatian Minister of Tourism Garri Cappelli.
Cappelli also added that apart from traditional tourist markets such as Germany, Austria and Slovenia, Croatia’s tourist industry also achieved excellent results on the markets of the United Kingdom, Poland and the US, with a growth of over 30 percent. ''Numerous new flights that have been introduced this year have significantly contributed to these great results'', said Cappelli.
Furthermore, high growth in physical tourism indicators Croatia also recorded in June, when 2,7 million arrivals and 13,5 million overnight stays were recorded by the eVisitor system i.e. 32 percent in arrivals and 33 percent in overnight stays more compared to the same period last year.
Out of the total number of arrivals and overnight stays in June 2017, foreign tourists realized 2,4 million arrivals and 13 million overnight stays, or 34 percent more on an annual level, whilst domestic tourists recorded a rise of 18 percent in arrivals and 28 percent in overnight stays.
Most overnight stays were realized by tourists from Germany (3,45 million), Austria (1,24 million), Slovenia (1,18 million), the Czech Republic (795,000) and Poland (789,000).
In June, the most successful Croatian region in terms of overnight stays was the Istria County with 4,26 million overnight stays followed by Kvarner (2,49 million) and the Split-Dalmatia County (2,39 million).
In addition, the Croatian Ministry of Tourism also published data from the Croatian National Bank (HNB) , according to which tourism revenues in the first three months of this year amounted 395,9 million Euros, or 2,3 percent more than in the same period last year.
Dubrovnik is the top-rated destinations in Eastern Mediterranean chosen by cruisers! That has been published by the Cruise Critic, the largest online cruise review website. This is their second 'Cruise Critic Cruisers' Choice Destination Awards' and Dubrovnik won. All rankings are based on member review ratings for cruises taken in the last year.
-Choosing a cruise line plan is not easy, especially because of the growing number of wonderful destinations available for cruises - explained Adam Coulter, UK editor of Cruise Critic and added that with analyzing first hand information from travelers and sharing them they try to inspre and guide their passengers to make it easier to choose a cruise plan with which they will be delighted.
You can see the whole list of top rated Eastern Mediterranean destinations here.
When it comes to Dubrovnik, during this year around 760 thousand passengers on round trips are expected. That is around 9 percent less than last year. The daily number of cruise visitors is limited to 8,000.
The Spanish low cost airline Vueling in the upcoming winter scedule, starting on October 29th will continue to fly on its Dubrovnik-Barcelona route – reports Avioradar.
That are two flights a week, on Thursdays and Sundays. The following schedule will be kept until mid-December, then during Christmas and New Year holidays, and after a month-long break in January and February will continue with flying from February 15th, 2018. Airbus A320 aircraft will fly on this line.
This is already the second winter line of Spanish Vueling to Dubrovnik, after it has already been announced that Vueling will continue to fly on the Dubrovnik - Rome line in winter.
It is a well known fact that Croatia has become one of the most attractive world destinations for tourists over the years; however, it has been luring many celebrities as well.
One of the latest visitors to the country is the famous American actor and director John Malkovich who came to Opatija, the Croatian ''Monte Carlo'', a few days ago to enjoy in his ''heaven on earth''.
''I have come here to relax, for a holiday. I need it. This is my heaven on earth'', commented the world popular actor.
This is Malkovich's first visit to Opatija. He commented that he arrived in Croatia after being in the Slovenian capital of Ljubljana for business last week. However, this is not his first visit to the country. He has been to Croatia a few times with his family for holidays. A few years ago he enjoyed sailing along the Croatian coast, which he is very fond of, and was enchanted with the island of Vis and Palmizana near the island of Hvar.
It is interesting to note that John Malkovich was born in Christopher, Illinois but his grandparents were Croatians from Ozalj near the city of Karlovac.
In addition, Malkovich will come back to Croatia again in October. He will perform as a narrator alongside the solo performance of the young pianist Anastasya Terenkova at the opening night of the 2017/2018 season at the Vatroslav Lisinski Concert Hall in Zagreb.
Lauren Powell Jobs, the widow of Steve Jobs, was spotted today having a break in Dubrovnik on the super yacht Venus.
In the company of her boyfriend, the former Mayor of the District of Columbia, Adrian Fenty, she enjoyed a trip to historic Old City of Dubrovnik. Powell Jobs has been spending the past few days cruising the Adriatic Sea in the striking €100 million yacht.
Powell Jobs resides in Palo Alto, California, with her three children. She is the widow of Steve Jobs, co-founder and former chief executive officer of Apple Inc.
Travel bloggers and other similar influencers on social media have become the best ambassadors of tourism. Their recommendations reach thousands and thousands of true travel enthusiasts that consequently led to an increase of the number of guests in certain destinations. Lately there are more and more of those who come to Croatia.
One of them currently enjoying Croatia is Andrea, best known for her EarthAndy profile on Instagram. She is touring the country with her family. More than 613,000 fans have followed this native born Canadian with a Hawaiian residence on Instagram.
Andrea loves vegan and a healthy lifestyle and she is thrilled with Croatia.
''If Italy and Bali had a baby, that would be Croatia'', wrote EarthAndy on her Instagram profile pointing out that the most enchanting are small cafe bars along the coast as well as a daily offer of fresh food in every village she visits and where she collects homemade recipes.
''We are currently sailing the Adriatic Sea and we stop at small villages, meet local people and their simple and wonderful lives'', is just one of Andrea's posts on Instagram.
Below photos of beautiful locations she posts on her profile, she also writes useful health tips. ''Garlic hangs everywhere in Croatia in order to preserve freshness of the fruit. When garlic is kept in the fridge, it loses its taste. I did not know that. Garlic is well known as an anti-inflammatory agent and is good against heart diseases, cold and inflammation. Consummation of garlic reduces the level of bad cholesterol and plaque deposits in the arteries''.
At the suggestion of internet users, EarthAndy visited the Plitvice Lakes National Park with which she was enthralled.
''The song ''10,000 Emerald Pools'' was undoubtedly inspired by Plitvice in Croatia. After seven hours of walking around the lakes, waterfalls and caves, I am convinced that I have seen all the shades of blue and turquoise. We live on such a beautiful and diverse planet. Thank you for recommending me this place!'', wrote EarthAndy.
The music and stage programme of the 68th Dubrovnik Summer Festival features the premiere of Georg Friedrich Handel opera Orlando subtitled Metamorphoses and directed by János Szikora, on Friday, 28 July, beginning at 9.30 pm. The opera, which will take place in the magical ambience of the Benedictine Monastery Cloister on the Island of Lokrum, has been announced today, at the press conference held in the performance venue. Under artistic directorship of the conductor David Bates, the ensemble consists of a superb team of soloists: the British countertenor Owen Willetts in the role of the knight Orlando, Ivana Lazar in the role of Angelica, Renata Pokupić in the role of Medoro, Marija Kuhar Šoša in the role of Dorinda, and David Oštrek in the role of Zoroastro. The music will be performed by the Orlando Award winning Croatian Baroque Ensemble led by its Concertmaster Laura Vadjon.
The opera's libretto was adapted from Carlo Capeci's 16th century text of Orlando furioso for the lost opera of Domenico Scarlatti of a similar name, based on an epic poem depicting the fight between Christians and Saracens. The story of both operas revolves around the invincible knight Orlando torn between his love for Princess Angelica and his military duty. Handel's version changed in many ways Capeci's original, including the adding of a new character, the magician Zoroastro. Although originally shown only ten times and warmly received by critics rather than by audience, the opera is nowadays considered a masterpiece. The original length of the opera score, which lasts around three hours, has been shortened for its Lokrum performance in several ways: a number of recitatives from all three acts and instrumental sections from the first and third acts have been left out, while some of the musical numbers have been only slightly shortened.
János Szikora explained his understanding and re-interpretation of Handel's Orlando in the following words: „They say that if you want to understand an opera, you should turn directly to the music. The best instructions are in the music. When I first heard this opera, it seemed very strange to me that in this story there were two men and two women but no masculine voices in the score! No tenor, no baritone, no bass. What is the secret of this opera? I have found the solution of this secret in metamorphosis. Human beings always like to change their forms and they like to play with them. I hear and see this opera as a story in which people play with their sexual characteristics. Our version completely detaches from the opera's original mythological story and focuses entirely on the relations between man and woman. Orlando is just a name for us. We don’t know all of his mythological relations, but know very well that life is - as is the case in our play - a labyrinth, which gives no straight directions and often confuses people who try to find their way“.
János Szikora is a highly influential person in the contemporary Hungarian theatre art and one of the most outstanding directors of his generation. His artistic oeuvre in the theatrical world has extended over three decades and is characterized by performances created with unique vision, breakthrough visualisation and in-depth analysis. He considers himself an artist who strives for “intellectual and sensual synthesis”. János Szikora has served as director of several major theatres. A graduate of the Royal Academy of Music in London, David Bates is considered one of the most exciting directors of Baroque music and as a figurehead for a new performing generation. In addition to numerous projects and engagements, Bates currently works in France as musical assistant and chorus master at the Festival d’Aix en Provence and Opera de Paris. The Croatian Baroque Ensemble is Croatia’s most distinguished ensemble specialized in the historically authentic interpretations of music from the Baroque and similar style periods on original instruments and their quality replicas. The ensemble has won a large number of prizes and accolades, including the Orlando Award for its performance at the Dubrovnik Summer Festival in 2014.
Boat transfer to and from the Island of Lokrum is included in the ticket price. Departures from the Old City harbour are at 8.30 pm and 8.45 pm. Tickets for the three opera shows on 28, 29 and 30 July are available online on the Dubrovnik Summer Festival web site www.dubrovnik-festival.hr and at box offices in the Festival Palace (Od Sigurate 1) and at the Luža. The Dubrovnik Summer Festival gratefully acknowledges the longstanding support of the Lokrum Nature Reserve in the realisation of this project.