Thursday, 27 February 2020
Mark Thomas

Mark Thomas

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.


Dubrovnik might well be gripped in the hands of winter but that hasn’t stopped the number of photos on Instagram.

Check out our top five Dubrovnik Instagram photos from this week and keep sending us your own photos of the region.


After ten days of unusually warm and sunny weather in Dubrovnik the mercury dropped in thermometers today as the weekend started with bright but chilly weather. Whereas highs all week were in the balmy twenties the weekends opened with a fresh January chill in the air.

And as the sunset the weather provided a show with a magnificent sunset combined with a handful of small twisters. It was quite a natural show.

Tomorrow the forecast for Dubrovnik predicts overcast weather with a forty percent chance of rain.

sunset zupa dubrovacka 2020

strange sunset dubrovnik 2020

beginnings of a twister in zupa dubrovnik


Croatia has become the first country in the European Union to introduce screening for early lung cancer. All smokers across the country, aged between 50 and 70 years-old, as well as those smokers who quit at least 15 years ago will have the opportunity to receive a screening.

The Croatian Ministry of Health is carrying out this new and innovative program with the Croatian Thoracic Association and the aim is to reduce the mortality of lung cancer by 20 percent in the next decade. If this project reaches its goals it will save around 500 lives a year.

Lung cancer is the leading cause of malignant disease deaths worldwide, and some 3,000 people are diagnosed in Croatia every year, with smoking being the primary cause. According to research, nearly a third of Croatians are smokers – 35.3 percent of men and 27.1 percent of women, with the prevalence of cancer stagnating in men and rising in women. In 2018, nearly 900 women and more than 2,100 men were diagnosed with lung cancer, and almost 2,800 of them lost the battle with the disease.

Health facilities across Croatia, in the city of Zagreb, the Adriatic cities of Split, Dubrovnik, and Zadar, the Istrian city of Pula, northern cities of Varazdin and Krapinske Toplice, and eastern cities of Osijek, Virovitica, and Slavonski Brod, are now equipped with 16 such scanners.


Microsoft has promised to become "carbon negative" by 2030 and to leverage its technology, power and impact to reduce carbon footprint throughout the economy.

With the Microsoft initiative unveiled this week, the tech giant has set itself the goal of eliminating more carbon dioxide from the environment by 2030 than it emits each year.

Microsoft claims that by 2050 it will remove carbon equivalent to the total amount of Microsoft emissions since its inception 45 years ago.

Microsoft has announced that it will pressure suppliers, customers and politicians to reduce their carbon footprint, and will invest $1 billion over the next four years to accelerate the development of technology that can remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, a "technology that does not exist today". said Microsoft President Brad Smith at a presentation of the plan at Microsoft's campus in Redmond.

With this, as Smith said, a "fantastic" project, Microsoft is becoming the technology company that does the most to combat climate change. Microsoft's rival Amazon, for example, has promised to become "carbon neutral" by 2040.


Roll up, roll up! Another test of your Dubrovnik knowledge. Take our short Dubrovnik quiz and discover how much you really know about the pearl of the Adriatic.

Good luck with the Dubrovnik quiz and there will be another quiz coming soon. By the way don’t forget to let us know how you go on via on social media channels.

Now it’s quiz time!


The most read newspaper in the UK has recommended to its readers that April is the ideal time of the year to visit Dubrovnik. In an article entitled “From Rome in March to Prague in July, here are the best places to go for warm weather & cheap prices in 2020,” the UK publication The Sun has listed Dubrovnik on their 2020 calendar.

“Which? research highlights Dubrovnik and Berlin as “a steal” if you travel in during this month. Although Dubrovnik’s flights come in at a pricey £153, they get much more expensive in later months,” states The Sun in the article.

Brits have been the most numerous tourists in Dubrovnik for the past decade, although American tourists are hot on their heels. And an article on the most popular newspaper in the UK will once again raise interest. And as Dubrovnik is aiming to extend the tourist season outside of the normal summer months the fact that The Sun mentions April as a good month to visit Dubrovnik will bring a smile to the faces of tourism professionals in the city.

The article also mentions the fact that the pound is up against the Euro giving Brits slightly deeper pockets. “And with Sterling six per cent stronger than the euro compared to a year ago, you will have £28 more to spend when you exchange £500.”



Ssshh, can’t you see that Dubrovnik is sleeping. “It felt a little depressing to be honest, just me and a small group of South Koreans on the Stradun and literally nobody else,” explained a tour guide to me the other day as she came face to face with the reality of Dubrovnik in the winter. “I guess they though that they had entered a museum, maybe even thought they had to pay for entry, but it was all a little sad,” she continued.

I am not surprised. Every year we see the same picture. Nobody was found a solution because either a) they don’t want to find one or b) they don’t know where to look. Of course the city is empty, especially the old City. The waiters have gone back to Donji Miholjac or Trebinje, the cooks have gone to work for two months in Zagreb, the shop assistants are back at university in Mostar and the restaurant owners are sipping Martinis in a Jacuzzi on the slopes of Madonna di Campiglio.

There are more people who migrate to work in the historic core than live inside it, so take these people away and you are left with a handful. There might be 800 citizens registered but the real number is probably less than 500, when you take away the people who registered for free parking. Ssshh, Dubrovnik is sleeping!

The Old City is a summer attraction, has been for years and years. I can remember when it was a living and breathing city, but, and it is painful to say, those days are far behind us. Years of mismanagement, mediocre political decisions and greed have brought us where we are today. Rome wasn’t built in one day, and Dubrovnik wasn’t made silent in one day either. For as the city empties over the winter period the only thing that can resuscitate it is tourists. From the time that the last firework echoes over the stone walls at New Year until the blast of musket fire for St. Vlaho the city is a ghost town. And then from day of the patron saint almost up to Easter it is next to empty. Ssshh, Dubrovnik is sleeping!

dubrovnik in the einwter is empty

Ssshhh...Dubrovnik is sleeping!


For years and years, the discussion on how to bring tourists to the city has been rolling on, with no answer. And we still haven’t realised that we aren’t in control of our own destiny, we are slaves to foreign masters, we have been all these years. For it isn’t anyone in Dubrovnik who makes our tourism plan, no it is directors in London, Berlin, Madrid and quite possibly Dublin. International airlines decide when we will earn, how much we will earn and how long we will earn, we are all simply pawns in a larger game of chess. And until we find someone with a spine, or a pair of balls, nothing will change.

I have probably written about this theme a hundred times before, but it is one that annoys me, it’s as annoying as toothache. All these major airlines fill their bank accounts with packed flights to Dubrovnik in the summer and then wave goodbye as the darker nights draw in, patting their wallets in satisfaction. Naively we welcome each new flight connection as if we’re receiving a blood transfusion. And incredibly we still don’t realise our strength, our position on the market. “Yes, of course you can fly every day to Dubrovnik in the summer, but you must fly twice a week in the winter as well,” is what we should be saying to three of four of the airlines that frequently land in the summer. But that takes a) balls and b) a clear winter tourism plan. Both of these are missing. And it also takes a change of mentality. Too many people in positions of power believe wrongly that Dubrovnik is a summer only destination, either that or they are lazy and want winter at home. Sshh, Dubrovnik is sleeping.

If some bright spark ever breaks the winter hibernation and brings tourists then he or she shall be king or indeed queen. If an agency brings 100 tourists to Dubrovnik in the winter then that agency are heroes, if they bring 100 tourists in the summer then they are a pain in the backside. So we will continue to watch the city through our windows, thinking that we are in control and that nothing can be changed. Image an emu with his head firmly buried in the sand and you get the picture. Sshhh, Dubrovnik is sleeping!   



Advent in Zagreb has once again proved a huge hit and has attracted more international tourists to the Croatian capital over the Christmas and New Year period. According to figures from the Zagreb Tourist Board there were 12 percent more guests than in 2018 and 11 percent more overnight stays.

These increases are the result of the arrival of 161,000 tourists and 309,000 overnight stays, realized from 29 November to 7 January.

There were 107.3 thousand foreign tourists, or 10 percent more than in 2018. The most numerous were tourists from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Italy, Austria, Slovenia and Germany.

“Advent in Zagreb is Zagreb's most successful tourist event and I am extremely pleased with the excellent results. It is especially pleasing that some markets, such as Germany, Austria, Slovenia and Serbia, where we conducted targeted online and offline marketing campaigns, have increased more than 15 percent,” said the director of the Zagreb Tourist Board, Martina Bienenfeld.


The Voice of Dubrovnik


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