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.
“If things don’t change they stay the same.” I used to have a colleague in London who would use this particular phrase on a daily basis. I never really understood it at the time but now I think I have a better grasp on his sentiment. So I was browsing through the archives of Dubrovacki Vjesnik looking at old copies of the newspaper from the 1960’s. I was actually looking for a particular article, well more background on a topic, but I got completely side-tracked by the headlines I was reading.
For some unknown reason 1964 caught my eye. Firstly, it was rather strange looking at a total black and white newspaper, reminded of my youth, even though the newspaper I was reading was published four years before I was born. Back at that time the newspaper was only 8 pages long, there were virtually no adverts, no TV guides, no horoscopes and no sign of any columns. But the thing that caught my eye was the headlines.
Now you have to bear in mind that this was written over half a century ago. And if you think the problems and challenges we face today are something new…well you are wrong. First headline – “Almost 300 cruise ship arrivals until now” an article about cruise ships, yes a rather actual theme today. It claimed that by the end of the year (1964) a total of 321 cruise ships would dock in Dubrovnik carrying around 70,000 passengers. 321 cruise ships in 1964. And how many will arrive in 2018, a grand total of 440. So in 51 years the growth is 119, or just over 2 extra cruise ships every year.
I flicked forward. Headline number two – “How are the taxi drivers in Dubrovnik behaving?!?” Seem familiar? I quickly read through the article, which was basically about where taxi drivers were allowed to stop and how they should behave with clients, however I didn’t see any mention of Uber.
Headline three and the déjà vu continued – “The landscape of Lapad is changing.” I wonder what could be changing in Lapad. Surprise the Lapad Beach. You could say it was Sunset Beach beta version. An article about the beach was newly renovated and how they expected a bumper season with plenty of tourists.
Onwards and the next page revealed “Lokrum without light, drinking water and telephones.” Ok, those problems have been fixed but exchange Lokrum for another island and you could have exactly the same headline.
And the Lokrum story was right next to an article “More than ten hectares of forest burned down.” Another familiar story.
And the rest of that page was filled with a story that made me chuckle. “Why isn’t there any Dalmatian pršut in the restaurants.” Panic on the streets of Dubrovnik, no homemade local pršut for lunch. Another page another déjà vu – “Private accommodation at the centre of attention.” No this wasn’t an article about Booking.com or Airbnb but it did have a copy/paste feel. In 1964 there were 6,200 beds in private accommodation. It went on to say that more and more people were interested in renting their apartments to guests and then the fatal sentence “However, who will organise the sale of this private accommodation…” Just wait a few years and the answer will come. Looks like every generation found a second income from renting to tourists.
“New necessity for the development of tourism,” was the headline in the next issue with a text that really could have been written yesterday and I have a feeling will be written every year, at least once a year, until the end of time.
And another timeless classic was on the very next page “Are we ready for the extension of the tourist season?!” Yes, we are ready!?! We have been ready for the last fifty years and we will be ready in another fifty year’s time.
And the next issue “Dubrovnik is interesting for American tourist.” I wonder if they had some inside information of Game of Thrones back then. But I’ll leave you with my favourite, which came after the news that the coastal road was finally completed. The headline in 1964 read “What after the coastal road?” That one is easy to answer – fifty years of absolutely nothing just a whole lot of talking.
The Dubrovnik taxi scene will become even more crowded from next week when the popular Zagreb taxi company Cammeo starts operations for the first time in the city. Cammeo advertised on the website that “In order to mark our arrival in this beautiful city, we honour you free travel within the city (up to 30 kuna), starting from Tuesday (02.10) from 6 am until Friday (05.10) to 6 am.”
Cammeo has a very effective app, which is also available in English, and is renowned offering cheap fares, which will undoubtedly put more pressure on local taxi companies to lower their prices.
From the 15th to the 21st of October the Dubrovnik Good Food Festival will once again bring some gastronomic delights to the city. The Dubrovnik Tourist Board will organise various tasty events and one will include numerous restaurants throughout the city offering special menus highlighting local cuisines and all at promotional prices.
Festival Menus at Promotional Prices
During the festival, various workshops will be organised, such as a workshops on preparing traditional Dubrovnik desserts, traditional Croatian dishes, as well as a food styling workshop and a food photography workshop. The central event for all visitors of the festival will be dinner with a celebrity chef, which, apart from the gourmet program, will feature a music program that will add to the atmosphere.
The hardworking chefs of around thirty Dubrovnik restaurants have specially created festival menus for the Good Food Festival at special prices, which you will be able to try during all four days of the festival. Take advantage of this great opportunity to visit restaurants that you’ve never been to and let Dubrovnik restaurateurs present you their delicious, creative and tempting dishes.
The participating restaurants: Gradska kavana Arsenal, Banje Beach, Oyster & Sushi Bar Bota, Bistro 49, Restoran Buono, Chihuahua Cantina Mexicana, Kavana Bistro Dalmatino, Domino, Restoran Gusta Me, Klarisa, La Capella terrace & restaurant – The Pucić Palace Hotel, Hotel Lero Piano bar, Magellan, Moskar – Street Food, Orka, Orsan, Pantarul, Porat, Rhea Silvia wine & tapas bar, Rozario, Stara Loza, Sunset Beach Trattoria, Taj Mahal – Hotel Lero, Taj Mahal – Old City, Tavulin, Veranda and Zuzori.
Download the restaurants menus from the link above
The Croatian tourism industry has reached a landmark this week, from the beginning of this year until the 28th of September more than 100 million overnight stays were recorded. According to a statement from the Croatian National Tourist Board the country reached this figure a full month earlier than last year.
The data was collected by the eVisitor electronic registry system, which includes statistics about overnight stays in hotels, marinas, and other facilities.
The Croatian Minister of Tourism commented that this figure was reached thanks to work on attracting guests to the country outside of the usual tourist season, the shoulder seasons. However, whilst work has been done to increase the number of flights to Croatia outside of the main summer months it is also clear that much more work needs to be done on creating an all-year round product. It is also important to point out that the most important factor of the tourism industry should be income and work on this work also needs to be done.
Over 18 million tourists have visited the country this year, with the most numerous coming from Germany, Slovenia, Austria, Poland and the Czech Republic.
Is September the new August in Dubrovnik? Judging by the number of international tourists in the historic Old City of Dubrovnik yesterday it would seem that the season isn’t slowly down at all.
Thousands of guests crowded onto the stone streets of the city, a mixture of cruise ship passengers and tourists, and the café bars and restaurants were as busy as they have been through the height of the season.
With more flights this October expected than ever before at Dubrovnik Airport it seems safe to say that the tourist season will continue for at least another month, and with the warmer weather returning to the region October could well be a great time to visit.
Check out our video from yesterday
“It wasn’t what I really expected to see whilst walking my dog in a public park,” commented a reader of The Dubrovnik Times as she came across a “wild camper” this morning in Dubrovnik. These tourists had found a shady spot in the middle of the Gradac Park in Dubrovnik and were enjoying an early morning coffee.
Camping in a public park, in fact camping outside of regulated camps, is against the law in Croatia. But these happy campers seemed oblivious and enjoyed a free overnight stay in the city.
Europe House Dubrovnik, a Dubrovnik based association, is organizing the celebration of the European Day of Languages for the fifth year in a row. The program has been prepared in cooperation with a number of educational institutions, cultural associations and honorary consulates. Participants, mostly children and young people, will read, recite, sing and perform short plays - all in various languages. Tourists, no matter what country they come from, can join, and say some words or sing in their mother tongues, as well.
In the heart of the Old City of Dubrovnik, in front of the St. Blaise Church, a celebration of European languages will be held tomorrow starting at 10.30.
The celebration of European linguistic diversity is the first activity in this year's program of Europe House Dubrovnik within the Time to Move campaign, a Europe wide collection of events for young people, organized every October by the Eurodesk platform, aiming to inform young people about various mobility opportunities.
As the knowledge of foreign languages contributes enormously to professional opportunities of young people in tourism, which is the main local economy, Europe House Dubrovnik and its partners mark with the program Let's Celebrate European (Linguistic) Diversity also the World Tourism Day (September 27).
Europski dom Dubrovnik / Europe House Dubrovnik (EHD) was founded in March 1995 as a non-profit, non-party and non-governmental association. The founding goals were to affirm the concept of European unification, to inform Croatian citizens, especially young people, on the progress of European integration, to foster their understanding, tolerance and dialogue with the citizens of other states, and to promote Croatia through cooperation with foreign governmental and non-governmental organizations.
EHD organizes educational workshops, lectures, exhibitions, round tables, media campaigns, celebrations for Europe Day, international seminars and conferences. Besides releasing its own publications, EHD also collects and distributes publications on various aspects of European integration, in several European languages.
Association's activities are mostly youth-oriented. One of EHD's current programmes is therefore Regional Youth Info Centre. But the doors of Europe House Dubrovnik are open to foreign visitors of Dubrovnik, too, as the association organizes every summer free-of-charge mini courses of Croatian language. More information about the courses, which, after four seasons, became the landmark of the association situated in an easy-to-find environment of Nikole Tesle Street in Dubrovnik, you can find here.
Almost 80 percent of Croatians hold and use a credit card and the number of payment cards used by the end of last year was 8.9 million, according to data released at an international congress on credit cards.
Contactless cards are on the rise in the country with almost 24 percent of all payments cards now the “wave and pay” option.
Around 3.38 million Croatians - or 79 percent of all citizens - have at least one payment card. Around 52 percent of card-holders only have debit cards, and on average there are 2.5 cards per user issued.
The value of transactions paid for by cards also continues to grow. In 2017 there were more than 430 million card payments registered in the country, worth in total 148.4 billion kuna (€20 billion). The number of transactions rose by 8.4 percent compared to 2016, while their value rose 6.8 percent.
There were also close to 5,000 ATMs installed in the country in 2017, and around 120,000 card payment machines.