Saturday, 22 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.


Love International is back in Tisno this summer, following on from last year’s sold out edition.

And for the very first time, as part of the 5th anniversary celebrations, the Adriatic odyssey will feature a series of back-to-back sets from some of the world’s most revered taste-making artists, a mix of both familiar faces and new names.

Taking place a little later in the season across Wed 15th – Tues 21st July 2020, Love International returns to the stunning Dalmatian coast. There’s no better blend of holiday and festival as one, where bouncing boat parties, wild open-air sets at Barbarella’s, beach-side Beach Bar action, Olive Grove escapism and the pulsating Garden Stage create a truly unique experience. From dawn the sublime Sunrise Sessions ease everyone through beautifully lit mornings, and on the final day the unique Secret Island Party rounds the adventure off.

There’s a wonderfully wide range of music to be immersed in running 24-hours across 6 of the 7 programmed days, during which several key artists will play back-to-back sets across the festival’s intimate settings. First up, the newly announced Call Super b2b Objekt are two of most versatile and adventurous selectors around. Vladimir Ivkovic is also added where he will join Ivan Smagghe for another evening of wondrous weirdness, and they join a world’s first with Antal b2b Hunee b2b Palms Trax. There are further inspired combinations from Shanti Celeste b2b Saoirse b2b Moxie b2b Peach, Ben UFO b2b Craig Richards, Eris Drew b2b Octo Octa, Bruce b2b Hodge, Heidi Lawden b2b Lovefingers and Axel Boman b2b Kornél Kovács b2b Pedrodollar in a series of tantalising sets unlike anything the region has ever seen.

Next up, brand new solo artist additions include Red Axes, Dan Shake, Artwork, Nicolas Lutz, CC:Disco! and Prosumer, who join Khruangbin (DJ Set), Ross From Friends (DJ set), Andrew Weatherall, Crazy P Soundsystem, Horse Meat Disco, Job Jobse, Midland, Paranoid London, Roman Flügel, Optimo, Orpheu The Wizard, Avalon Emerson, Chaos In The CBD, DJ Tennis, Gerd Janson, Carista and Powder.


The festival continues to support up and coming talent from across the globe while always giving a nod to local artists from Croatia, too. These names include Adam Curtain, Body Hammer, Danielle, Darwin, Dr Banana, Elena Colombi, Elias Mazian, Juan Ramos, Luca Lozano, Mad Miran, Manami, Nosedrip, Phuong Dan, Project Pablo, Roza Terenzi and Yu Su.

There’s an eclectic mix of newcomers to Love International for the very first time, returning old friends and a range of performers who weave across a dizzying array of sounds, adding further depth and range to the festival’s pulsating sonic sphere. Listed A-Z, these include 5IVE, Adriatic Social Club, Alison Swing, Apiento, Bakula, Beepolar, Begin, Bill Brewster, Bobby, Budino, Carnero, Carlos, Charlie Beck, Chris Bowen, Christophe, Craig Christon, Dave Harvey, Dave O, Desert Sound Colony, Disco Mums aka The Chemical Mothers, DJ Absolutely Shit, Ellie Stokes, Eric Duncan, Feel The Real, Felix Dickinson, Frank Broughton, Franklin De Costa, Homeboy, Hugo, il Bosco, Ilija Rudman (Live), Jackin Patz, Jake Manders & Wayne Holland, James Dyer, Jenny Jen & Nadia, Jessica, Jonny Rock, Justin Van Der Volgen, Kid Manchine, Kit Seymour, Krywald & Farrer, Ladybeige, Lauer, Lawrence Klein, Leewok, Legalize Lambada, Liv Ayers, Lloydski, Lucas Wigflex, Lucija, Maja Pa, Man Power, Manfredas, Metrodome, MIMI, Mozhgan, Nick Jelly, Nick The Record, Not An Animal, Oli Silva, Paramida, PBR Streetgang, Peak & Swift, Pedrodollar, Peter Leung, Pharaoh Brunson, Piers Harrison, Polanco, Pure Respect, Rastanils & Olof Uhlin, Raw Silk, Rubin, Rupes, Shane One, Sonofapizzaman, Starion, TamTam, Tender T, Test Pressing Soundsystem, Tommy Walker 3, Tonko, Tristan da Cunha, Victor Rodriguez, Viscera, Warehouse Preservation Society and Will Tramp.


Tom Paine, Love International’s co-founder with Dave Harvey, explains: “For our 5th anniversary we have decided to change things, and shape our programme around a series of back to back sets. As many DJ friends performing stay for the duration of the festival it feels like the perfect time to do something different in Tisno. Some of our programmed b2bs are long time DJ partners and others are world firsts coming together, and all will play across different stages and different times of the day through our 24-hour timetable, bringing completely new and unexpected journeys across the musical spectrum. To have the opportunity to put Antal b2b Hunee b2b Palms Trax in our favourite open-air club is something we are very excited to see happen, along with all of the back to backs taking place across the week.”


Croatia ranks as the 24th best country in the world to raise a family, according to a new report from U.S. News & World Report and the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.

The 2020 report on the best countries to raise children has been published and sees Scandinavia dominating the top three positions.

The ranking report draws from a global perceptions-based survey and ranks countries based on scores from a compilation of eight country attributes: caring about human rights, being considered family friendly, its environment for gender equality, being seen as happy, having income equality, being safe, and having well-developed public education and well-developed health care systems.

Croatia finished in 24th position, between the Czech Republic in 23rd place and Brazil in 25th position, and climbed one position from 2019.

“Croatia has found itself at the crossroads of major historical movements, both East and West. These political shifts have uniquely shaped its present-day borders, which curve around Bosnia and Herzegovina in central Europe and stretch along the Adriatic Sea opposite Italy,” writes the article.

Denmark tops the rankings list, followed by Sweden and Norway. Canada in fourth place, New Zealand in eighth position and Australia in ninth place are the only countries in the top ten outside of Europe. The United Kingdom comes in at eleventh place and the USA at 18th position.


“In the last ten years, from 2008 to 2018, Croatia has lost 500,000 workers,” said Davorko Vidović, from the Croatian Chamber of Economy.

According to Vidovic, out of a total of half a million workers, as many as 200,000 employees left work through natural causes, either through aging or retirement, whilst a further 300,000 left Croatia in the wave of migration to other EU countries in search of a brighter future.

The private sector has also been warning that the situation has been alarming for some time, and the biggest problem arises precisely during the tourist season. To stop this negative trend, the Croatian Chamber of Commerce has announced the abolition of quotas for foreign workers.

Around 40,000 foreigners worked in Croatia last year, while a total of 65,000 permits were issued.


To mark Croatia’s presidency of the Council of the European Union 2020, the Croatian National Bank released yesterday, the 15th of January, a special commemorative coin to the value of 25 Kuna.

The author of the conceptual and artistic design of the new commemorative 25 Kuna coin is academic sculptor Damir Mataušić, and the authors of the official logo "Typographical chessboard" used on the face of the new coin are Iva Primorac, Stipe Brčić and Marija Juza.

Only 30,000 25 Kuna coins have been minted and the new commemorative coin was forged at the Croatian Monetary Institute.

If you are interested in purchasing the new 25 Kuna coin the sales opened yesterday through the website of the Croatia National Bank.


The letter issuing invitation to tender for multi-purpose combat aircraft for the Croatian Air Force, signed by the commission in charge of procuring the jets, was delivered to seven countries on Wednesday, the government said in a press release.

The invitation to tender for new aircraft was delivered to the United States of America for F-16, and Sweden for JAS Gripen, while the invitation for used aircraft was delivered to France for Rafale, Italy for Eurofigher, and Norway, Greece, and Israel for F-16 jets.

The new invitation comes after the previous decision to purchase twelve F-16 C/D Barak fighter jets from Israel, agreed in March 2018 and worth some 3.1 billion kuna ($477 million), had fallen through in January last year. The contract on the delivery was never signed and the sale was blocked by the United States, which, as the original manufacturer of the jets, had to sign off on the deal before the aircraft were to be passed on to a third party.

However, the Israeli government failed to obtain permission from the US because the aircraft were upgraded with modern, Israeli-made technology.

The Croatian Air Force currently has only eight fighter jets, the outdated Soviet-made MiG-21s, only half of which are operational.

The initial offers for the new tender are expected in May, and the process of evaluating the offers should be finished by August 2020, when the commission will give its recommendations to the government, the press release said.


Numbeo, a global leader in comparing cost of living worldwide, released its Cost of Living Index 2020. According to Numbeo, the most expensive city at the beginning of 2020 is Zurich in Switzerland. Other cities in Switzerland get spots no. 2-5 of the most expensive cities in Numbeo's list: Basel, Lausanne, Geneva, Bern.

But where do Croatian cities place on the lust of the most expensive cities to live in on the planet? According to the data the Croatian capital, Zagreb, is the most expensive city to live in the country, although it ranks only 233rd in the world, between Malaga in Spain in 232nd position and another Croatian city, Split, in 234th place.

The data shows that Zagreb has an overall cost of living index of 50.13, which when compared with the most expensive city in the world, Zurich, at 128.29 is quite a difference.

According to data from the Numbeo website the figures are calculated as follows - These indices are relative to New York City (NYC). Which means that for New York City, each index should be 100(%). If another city has, for example, rent index of 120, it means that on an average in that city rents are 20% more expensive than in New York City. If a city has rent index of 70, that means on an average in that city rents are 30% less expensive than in New York City.

Numbeo uses the following factors to work out their list - Cost of Living Index (Excl. Rent) is a relative indicator of consumer goods prices, including groceries, restaurants, transportation and utilities. Cost of Living Index doesn't include accommodation expenses such as rent or mortgage. If a city has a Cost of Living Index of 120, it means Numbeo estimates it is 20% more expensive than New York (excluding rent). Rent Index is an estimation of prices of renting apartments in the city compared to New York City. If Rent index is 80, Numbeo estimates that price of rents in that city is on an average 20% less than the price in New York. Groceries Index is an estimation of grocery prices in the city compared to New York City. To calculate this section, Numbeo uses weights of items in the "Markets" section for each city. Restaurants Index is a comparison of prices of meals and drinks in restaurants and bars compared to NYC.

Cost of Living Plus Rent Index is an estimation of consumer goods prices including rent comparing to New York City. Local Purchasing Power shows relative purchasing power in buying goods and services in a given city for the average wage in that city. If domestic purchasing power is 40, this means that the inhabitants of that city with the average salary can afford to buy on an average 60% less goods and services than New York City residents with an average salary.

Tokyo, ranked globally 18th (out of 440 cities), is the most expensive city in Asia. Cities in Africa are all in the bottom half of the list, with the most expensive ranked city being Pretoria in South Africa on the spot no. 252.

Zagreb, Split, Rijeka and Osijek are the four Croatian cities that are used on the Numbeo list and Zagreb is the most expensive of all these cities. Dubrovnik however does not feature on the list and might well have been the most expensive city in Croatia if data had been collected.

This semi-annual publication is released twice per year - in January and in July.


A new tourist resort with five-star hotels and all the luxury amenities associated with the good-life were expected, instead a haven for graffiti artists has been created. The Kupari resort, the former military holiday resort, has stood as a memorial to the Homeland War and its horrors since the early 1990’s. Once a busy vacation sport for officers of the army it is now a collection of bomb blasted buildings, shrapnel holes everywhere and overgrown with vegetation.

new graffitti kupari 2020 1

Art and the destruction of war side by side 

The large concrete shells of the five hotels, a tribute to the 1970’s style of construction, have become a blank canvas for street artists. And this latest one, thought to have been created a few days ago, caught the attention of a reader of The Dubrovnik Times. “I just wanted to know if any of your readers recognise the silhouette of this man, he seems familiar but I just can’t place him,” asked our reader who sent these four photos.


Does he look familiar?

And as Kupari continues to stand empty, whilst the whole resort waits patiently for politicians and investors to untangle the inevitable labyrinth of paperwork and red-tape that always haunts projects of this size the former complex will continue to be a magnet for graffiti artists and tourists curious as to the effects of the last war in Europe.

And if you really do recognise the man in the graffiti them please drop us a line, via social media, email or snail mail.

And in the meantime read our report on the history of the Kupari resort


January is traditionally the time of the year that the Brits start planning and reserving their place in the sun for the summer and this year Croatia is in their headlights. The popular British publication, The Daily Mail, has published an article entitled “We reveal where Britons should head this summer for a bargain,” and Croatia finished in second position, right behind Spain.

“Spain, Croatia and the Canary Islands feature highly in the destinations that Britons are expected to jet off to this year,” states the article and adds that all-inclusive holidays are becoming increasing popular with a 28 percent rise in the number of internet searches.

The UK is one of the most important markets for Croatia, in fact Brits have been the most numerous tourists in Dubrovnik for the past decade. The flight connections between UK cities and Croatia has been improving for years and many now offer a daily, or twice daily, service to the major tourist destinations. British Airways has recently announced an expansion into the Croatian market, and this summer season will fly to the Croatian capital 11 times a week.

A survey of the most popular internet searches by the Brits from the 18th of November to the 23rd of December by TravelSupermarket revealed that Croatia, and indeed all-inclusive holidays, were popular. Speaking to the Daily Mail, Emma Coulthurst, from Travelsupermarket, said that “Holidays are important to Britons but keeping within a budget is really important to them. Volatile euro exchange rates over the last few years have also been drawing people to all-inclusive.”

brela beach 2020

One of the many beaches around Brela 

And the newspapers recommendation for Brits was central Dalmatia, or more precisely Brela, near to Split. “Visitors can wander around Saint Domnius Cathedral, Diocletian's Palace and Klis Fortress. Between its idyllic islands and charming medieval towns, this pretty chunk of Croatian coastline has plenty to keep you busy,” commented the Daily Mail article.


The Voice of Dubrovnik


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