Tuesday, 25 June 2019
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.

Email: mark.thomas@dubrovnik-times.com

“Following the appointment of Slaven Bilic at our local club I decided to set up a Croatian supporter’s club and its hit 1,400 followers in 3 days!!” commented Daniel Butigan to The Dubrovnik Times.

Former West Ham and Croatian National Team manager Slaven Bilic was named as the new boss of English Championship side West Bromwich Albion last week, reportedly signing a two-year contract and he succeeds from Darren Moore who lost his job in March.

Daniel and his family are Croatians living in Birmingham and as he says “come and go between Birmingham and Dubrovnik several times a year.” Following the appointment of the Croatian born coach Slavan Bilic as the manager of their local club they decided to start a Croatian supporter’s club and interest has gone through the roof.

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Talking to the publication Express and Star Daniel Butigan and his close friend David Djalilian (both 26) have followed Bilic’s career ever since he was a player and travelled to both Euro 2008 and Euro 2012 when he was Croatia manager. At the start of this week they set up a Croatian supporters group and have already attracted more than 1,400 followers on Twitter. The response amazed them so much Dan offered a five-night stay in Dubrovnik at an apartment to one lucky fan who helped spread the word.

“I’m not doing it for any self-benefit, it’s to show off the country and celebrate the fact that Bilic has come. We want to create a bond between the fans and Croatia,” commented Daniel to the Express and Star.

Bilic is clearly big news in West Brom with Daniel adding that “The people of West Brom love Dubrovnik and Croatia!”

And these two Dubrovnik fans aren’t the only Croatians that love this Championship side, the former Wimbledon Champion, Goran Ivanisevic, is also a West Brom fan.

You can check out Croatian West Bromwich supporters club at their Twitter account here

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Luxury cruise specialists Cruise Croatia have launched a brand new Pride of Croatia Tour, in honour of LGBT Pride Month. The specialist Croatia cruise operators are also celebrating the launch of their new Pride of Croatia Tour with a £2,500 donation to Zagreb Pride, the biggest Pride event in Croatia.

The newly-launched Pride of Croatia Tour is a luxury cruise and land exploration of Croatia, exclusively designed for LGBTIQ+ vacationers. The deluxe 9-night tour begins in Zagreb before taking in the stunning beauty of the Plitvice National Park and island-hopping from Split to Dubrovnik via the idyllic paradise of Vis, Hvar and Korcula.

This exclusive, small-ship tour travels as a group of just 38 people, allowing for everyone to meet new people and build friendships. The luxury tour is suitable for couples, groups of friends and solo travellers, and has been exclusively created to provide a sociable travel experience for LGBTIQ+ people to travel in style and luxury as part of a friendly group.

The Pride of Croatia Tour begins in the bustling capital city of Zagreb – home to Croatia’s best LGBTIQ+ nightlife. Here, guests will stay in an extravagant 4* hotel with the opportunity to explore Zagreb’s rich cultural diversity, including art galleries, museums and independent cafés. The first night in Zagreb includes a welcome dinner and drinks, offering the opportunity for the group to get to know each other and socialise into the late evening among Zagreb’s vibrant nightlife.

From Zagreb the Pride of Croatia Tour continues on to UNESCO-listed Plitvice Lakes National Park, one of Croatia’s most magnificent natural sites, before heading on to the beautiful city of Split – the capital of Croatia’s Dalmatia region.

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In Split the cruise begins, starting with a Pride of Croatia Cocktail Party on-board. From Split the Pride of Croatia cruise sets sail to some of the country’s most paradisiacal islands, including the opportunity to swim next to the magical Skradinski Buk waterfall and a wine tasting experience in Vis, which is the island where Mamma Mia 2 was filmed.

Onwards through Hvar, Korcula, Mljet and Slano, the cruise continues to the walled city of Dubrovnik. Here you can soak in the history of the city, visit the locations made famous by Game of Thrones, and enjoy the city’s rooftop views and lively nightlife.

All of Cruise Croatia’s small ships provide first-class comfort and style, including a private balcony, open-aired Jacuzzi and fine dining cuisine options. Excursions on the Pride of Croatia tour include wine tasting, oyster farming, entry to national parks, private guided tours, and more.

In line with the launch of the new Pride of Croatia Tour, Cruise Croatia are donating £2,500 to Zagreb Pride which is the biggest Pride celebration in Croatia.

Graham Carter, Managing Director of Cruise Croatia says, “We are delighted to be launching our Pride of Croatia Tour in celebration of LGBT Pride Month and to be providing a fun, safe and luxurious Croatia travel experience exclusively designed for LGBTIQ+ holidaymakers.

It was also important to us to take this a step further, by offering support to Zagreb Pride via our donation. We know that LGBTIQ+ equality and awareness continues to be an important issue in Croatia and we are proud to do what we can to help support this.”

Zagreb Pride first took place in 2002 and has since become an annual event, celebrating LGBTIQ+ diversity and raising awareness for LGBTIQ+ acceptance and rights.

Homosexuality has been legal in Croatia since 1977 and discrimination based on sexual orientation is classed as a hate crime in Croatia. However, LGBTIQ+ people do still face some inequalities in Croatia – such as same-sex marriage not yet being legalised, and while homosexuality is accepted in Croatia it is not always celebrated to the same extent as other countries.

Organisations such as Zagreb Pride continue to increase acceptance and awareness of LGBTIQ+ equality and rights in Croatia, while specially created travel experiences such as the Pride of Croatia Tour provide LGBTIQ+ people the opportunity to travel to Croatia in a safe, secure and sociable group.

For the eighteenth time in a row a Blue Flag was raised over the beach of Hotel Valamar Collection yesterday. The Blue Flag is a prestigious international ecological acknowledgment for the purity and cleanliness of beaches, and the flag was raised over this Dubrovnik beach by one of the most loyal guests of this hotel.

Blue Flags in Croatia are awarded by the organisation “Lijepa naša” and the Hotel Valamar Collection Dubrovnik President's beach this year fulfilled the demanding criteria that are prerequisites for this honourable acknowledgment regarding the complete arrangement of the beach and the safety conditions at the beach. Since 2002 this Dubrovnik beach has proudly flown the Blue Flag and in fact it was the first hotel beach in Dubrovnik to be awarded this international recognition.

 

The Green Sail organization from Croatia filmed a video on the island of Brač in cooperation with Goran Čolak, a multiple freediving world champion and world record holder, and supported by the local Draulik Dive Center, discussing the problem of microplastics in the Adriatic Sea.

Goran Čolak is the most successful Croatian free-diver and one of the most successful free-divers in the history of diving in the world, who broke more than 30 national records in both Free Diving associations, AIDA and CMAS. Čolak is currently AIDA's most successful male athlete from AIDA World Championships with six gold, three silver and one bronze medal.

The objective of the video is to remind the local population and tourists on the importance of proper waste separation. Moreover, the video aims to familiarize the local population with the problem of microplastics, and overly-consumed and harmful plastic as one of the most critical problems of our time.

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Plastic that ends up in the sea from a variety of sources, mostly due to human negligence, never actually disintegrates and dissolves into small particles. These small harmful particles (less than five millimetres in length) that end up in our environment, are called microplastics. Microplastics are entering every aspect of our natural ecosystems from a variety of sources including cosmetics, clothing and industrial processes. Thanks to these harmful microplastics, the risk of polluted nature, water and food is increasing, and at an alarming rate.

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Microplastics have the ability to absorb toxic compounds from the environment and release parts of their plastic structure during the degradation process. Under the influence of the sun, the sea and the waves, microplastics eventually enter all parts of the environment. Moreover, toxic microplastics eventually enter the food chain and are consumed by humans.

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With his participation in the video, Goran Čolak wanted not only to draw attention to this problem, but also significantly highlight the essential personal accountability in waste management practices. It is imperative that the community starts to reduce the unnecessary use of plastic in everyday life and recycle properly to ensure the plastic problem doesn't grow any larger. By making conscious decisions and changing our habits, we can all play a huge role in the environment preservation.

ABOUT

Green Sail is an organization founded by British company Sail Croatia Adventures Ltd, that supports actions that lead to the development of sustainable tourism in Croatia and promotes environmentally responsible practices in relation to the recreational use of the Adriatic Sea. At the moment, the Green Sail initiative brings together over 60 charter companies and more than 1,200 sailing boats promoting environmentally-conscious practices to their guests during sailing holiday or stay in the marina.

For more information on Green Sail and its work, visit https://www.green-sail.com

 

Looking to escape the stone facades of Dubrovnik, why not head out into the country a little and explore the many hidden gems that pop up along the Adriatic. Whether you’re after a day on the beach, a trip through history, an island retreat or a picturesque seaside town we’ve got you covered.

Check out our six travel ideas for a day-trip within a short drive (or in fact boat ride) from Dubrovnik

 

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The Dubrovnik Cable Car could well be back in business from the 1st of July after closing on the 25th of April, according to the Mayor of Dubrovnik. At a press conference held today the Mayor of Dubrovnik, Mato Frankovic, stated that “The Gordian knot of relations between the City of Dubrovnik and Excelsa Real Estate has been cleared.”

Since the 25th of April the Dubrovnik Cable Car, the second most visited tourist attraction in Dubrovnik after the Dubrovnik City Walls, has remained closed due to non-payment of concession fees. And since that date the City of Dubrovnik and Excelsa Real Estate, the company that owns and runs the cable car, have been locked in a legal battle with both sides seemingly unwilling to back down. This loggerhead has now reached a conclusion, a conclusion that will allow the cable car to remain to passengers from the 1st of July.

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“Today, I have sent to the councillors the materials in which the agreement defined the payment of past debts. Excelsa Real Estate will pay a total of 46 million Kuna of debts from the past nine years, one part to the City of Dubrovnik, another part to the Republic of Croatia and the third to the Ministry of Finance, respectively the Customs Administration,” said Frankovic at the press conference.

“The city of Dubrovnik will receive 26 million Kuna in this agreement, which is a significant amount of money that will ultimately be spent on improving the infrastructure in Dubrovnik, starting with the sports objects,” added the mayor.

And in regard to the future payments of concession fees by Excelsa Real Estate to the City of Dubrovnik the Mayor pointed out that the city will annually receive around 10 million Kuna.

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“Our fellow citizens will be able to see this benefit of over 36 million Kuna this year in the city hall. I believe that after the decision of the City Council, city councillors will support the agreement and the new contract proposal and that the cable car will start working as early as the 1st of July,” emphasized Frankovic.

Regarding the future concession fees the Mayor pointed out that various expert institutions had been involved in attempting to set a realistic percentage, however not one organisation specifically indicated the amount that should be charged.

“The City Council has so far adopted a decision of 15 percent. The entire debt from the past was based on 15 percent and that is exactly why it will continue at the same amount in the future,” concluded the Mayor today.

 

As the first sun rose above Dubrovnik on the first day of summer the melodic sounds of Ana Rucner and her cello wafted high over Dubrovnik. In the traditional concert for the first day of summer, the Ana in the City Festival, brought a magical atmosphere to Dubrovnik high above the city in the amphitheatre on top of the Srd Mountain.

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This year Ana was joined by pianist Darko Domitrović, and the prominent soprano Sandra Bagaric. The concert started in front of a packed audience at 5.00 am, yes you had to get up early to enjoy the fist sunrise, and as the first summer sun of 2019 peaked over the mountains it was greeted in style.

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This was the ninth year in a row that Ana Rucner had held this concert and this year there will be an added bonus as Ana will wave goodbye to the first sun of 2019 with a sunset concert on the Sunset Beach Dubrovnik starting at 8:00 pm.

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The Dubrovnik Cable car could well open again to visitors from the 1st of July. The cable car, one of the most popular tourist attractions in the city, has hung silent with its doors firmly closed since the 25th of April this year, but now it seems that after almost 2 and a half months of lost business the cable could start operating again soon.

The cable car was forced to close on the 25th of April after the Customs Administration closed the cable car for non-payment of concession fees. However, it appears from exclusive news from RTL television that this legal and financial loggerhead has reached a successful conclusion. RTL reports that the case between the City of Dubrovnik and Excelsa Real Estate, the company that owns and operates the cable car, could be coming to an end.

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The owners have paid their financial obligations to the Republic of Croatia and an agreement with the City of Dubrovnik is almost complete. A part of the 45 million Kuna debt for unpaid concession fees has apparently now been settled by Excelsa Real Estate opening the door for future negotiations.

This means that the cable car could well be operational again at the beginning of July, although there is still no official statement. The next step is for the City of Dubrovnik and Excelsa Real Estate to agree a new future concession agreement, with the Mayor of Dubrovnik, Mato Frabkovic, commenting for RTL that an offer for a future concession for the cable car is ready and waiting.

The Voice of Dubrovnik

THE VOICE OF DUBROVNIK


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