Saturday, 25 September 2021
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.


At the leading travel exhibition in the world, the World Travel Market in London, the Dubrovnik Tourist Board, as one of the co-exhibitors at the booth of the Croatian National Tourist Board, presents the tourist offer of the city in which the British market has been at the forefront of tourism for years.

In addition to this presentation, the Dubrovnik Tourist Board held a series of meetings with WTM with British tour operators, airlines and representatives of significant media. One of the highlights of the meeting with the popular British airline, Jet2com, was that the airline announced a 6 percent increase in the number of direct flights to Dubrovnik for next season from nine UK airports. Jet2com will start flying to the southernmost airport in early April, and have significantly increased flights in the pre-season with a 17 percent increase in April. The Dubrovnik Tourist Board has agreed with Jet2com a joint online campaign for February and March to place particular emphasis on pre-season events.


Romana Vlasic, Director of the Dubrovnik Tourist Board, meeting with UK travel agents

There was also a meeting with British Airways regarding the winter flight schedule and a joint marketing campaign to promote Dubrovnik in the winter. For the next summer season Britain’s flagship airline will increase the number of weekly flights to Dubrovnik by two, from the current ten flights a week to twelve flights a week. During this winter British Airways will fly three times a week from Dubrovnik to London, on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. British Airways representatives expressed their satisfaction with the cooperation with the Dubrovnik Tourist Board over the past few years and emphasized that this cooperation was a key basis for the development of the program and the further planning of the flight from London to Dubrovnik.


During the first ten months of 2019, there were 196,331 visitors from the United Kingdom, 6 percent more than last year, with 911,413 overnight stays or 3 percent more.

The Dubrovnik Tourist Board added that according to the information from British partners, Brexit is not expected to influence bookings for Dubrovnik and Croatia, and as for Dubrovnik itself, they expect a moderate increase in tourist traffic in 2020.


Even though the tides in the Adriatic are relatively small during these autumn days they can be higher than normal, and that was the case yesterday in Dubrovnik.

The sea almost spilled over onto the roads along the Bay of Lapad yesterday as the strong south winds brought not only wet and grey weather bit also high tides. These same tides are traditionally a problem for Venice where they have introduced a number of measures to stop flooding.

So far the water level isn’t over the roads, but with more wet and rainy weather to come this week it might be time to break out the wellies if you live on the seafront.



The first step to live in the UK rightfully is to pass the Life in the UK test. While that seems pretty easy in the first go, it can be a tough nut to crack. You may have all the resources at your disposal, and still, the results won't show. There can be as many reasons as the number of test-takers, but a common issue it failing to memorize the concepts.

To help you with the same, here are ten learning habits that can help you to pass the British Citizenship Test

1. Get to Know What the Test is Like

Smart planning begins with knowing the demons you need to deal with. Browse through the official website of Life in the UK test and get yourself updated on the test pattern, the type of questions, the timing, etc. Last but not least, get yourself all the resources that you will need to prepare for Life in the UK Test.

2. Begin With a Great Plan in Hand

"A goal without a plan is just a wish."
Once you have a clear idea of the test and its pattern, you are all set to understand which topics take the longest to prepare and which one can be sorted out in the least time. Know your strengths and break the entire curriculum into bits and parts. Know the time you have in hand and then cut the preparation time into small chunks. Identify the time of the day when your mind is most active and can efficiently grab the information. Prepare a schedule for yourself. And make sure you implement targets for yourself.

3. Break Big Tasks into Chunks

Preparing for Life in the UK test is intimidating. Plenty of questions on this test will be based on the country's political and royal history. Since their history stretches as far back as the Middle Ages (even beyond), you have a lot to study. It will help you greatly if you divide your lessons into segments and focus on exploring one portion of history at a time. The names of kings and queens can get very confusing as well, so colour code for periods and families while studying as visual prompts help a lot in memorizing.

4. Keep Moving Around Once In A While

Changing surroundings every once in a while helps your brain get active and remember the information you are trying to memorize. Consider the arrangement where you feel most productive and can effectively retain the information.
For example, most of the students preparing for exams prefer libraries to do so. In most cases, the reason is the quiet and studious atmosphere where they can easily absorb the information.

aerial view of london 2019

5. Don't Stick to One Topic

Your brain will turn itself off if you keep on looking at the same topic, same names, and facts for a long time. So, switch over to something else when you feel like your brain is shutting down. If you can't look at another ruler's name in the 1700s, move on to learn about the last British Prime Ministers who made some significant changes in the country.

6. Say No to Any Distractions

Whatever keeps you away from achieving your goals is always something you should avoid, no matter how alluring it appears. There is no specific list of things that you should be avoiding. Count in everything that you define as a distraction to yourself. If you can't stop from checking your notifications or are tempted to play some online games, it's time you need to figure out how you can stay away from these as you prepare for Life in the UK test.



7. Group Studies

Group studies are a fantastic way to learn and explore the things you wish to nail. Among the most useful ways to study efficiently is to collaborate with your friends. Identify the people in your community who are taking Life in the UK test. Figure out the best time to work and learn. Try to maintain a target. Maybe you need to memorize a few particular concepts and then take chapter and simulation tests based on the same.

8. Put Yourself to the Test For Each Chapter

Once you are done preparing one of the chapters, make sure you put yourself to the test. Try identifying the strong as well as the weak areas. Recognize the topics within these chapters that need your attention and plan their preparation accordingly. A chapter test is the best way to do so.

9. Take Simulation Tests

Just knowing how the test scene will look like is not enough. You may be underestimating certain significant things. And to know that, taking simulation tests is the best way. The test is tailored to meet the latest guidelines set by the authorities organizing Life in the UK test. It will enable you to experience the exact test format and timing and get accustomed to them.

10. Reviews

Don't miss the reports provided at the end of the Chapter and Simulation tests. These are going to guide you on how to prepare for the Life in the UK test, helping you to identify the weak and strong topics. Watch where you went wrong while answering some questions, and how you concluded and reached the right answer.

UKCitizenshipSupport- Your Ultimate Online Preparation Program

UKCitizenshipSupport is one of the renowned names that provides you with a Complete Online Training Program, focusing on each vital aspect. With online guidance on each and everything, leverage the power of E-learning and boost your performance.

According to the Financial Agency (FINA), at the end of September this year, there were 242,827 citizens with blocked bank accounts. The total debt of these nearly quarter of a million citizen’s amounts to 16.76 billion Kuna.

These new figures show that at the end of September this year almost 10 percent of the working-age population in Zagreb had their bank accounts blocked. Indeed, the Croatian capital has the highest amount of citizens in debt, in total 50,724 citizens are in the red and are unable to work with their bank accounts.

In the Split-Dalmatia County, 21,419 citizens were blocked with a total debt of more than 1.45 billion Kuna.

The Dubrovnik-Neretva County Tourist Board is currently taking part in one of the world's largest travel fairs, the World Travel Market in London, which is held from the 4th to the 6th of November in the ExCel London showroom.

The Dubrovnik-Neretva County Tourist Board is a co-exhibitor at the booth of the Croatian National Tourist Board. A number of British journalists are expected to visit and a number of business meetings have been agreed in advance.

On the first day of the fair at the Croatian booth a "Cheese & Wine Meetup" was held organized by the Croatian National Tourist Board and the Croatian Chamber of Economy. On this occasion, all partners of the co-exhibitors were able to taste top Croatian wines and cheeses.


The WTM London is being held for the 40th time this year, with over 50,000 tourism professionals visiting it each year.

In the first ten months, over 303,131 Britons visited the Dubrovnik-Neretva County with 1,571,115 overnight stays, which is 6 percent more in arrivals or 3 percent more in overnight stays than in 2018, which is why the British are in the top spot of visitors to the Dubrovnik-Neretva County for many years.


Not even the bad weather at the start of the season, the fear that Greece and Turkey would dump prices or the negative publicity seemed to have had any effect on the tourism season in Dubrovnik. Fears of this summer being a disaster have been proved to be unfounded. It has been a year to remember.

Figures just released by the Dubrovnik Tourist Board show that from the beginning of 2019 until the end of October the number of international tourists visiting the city rose by 13 percent on last year. And last year was a record breaking year.

In total 1.372 million tourists choose Dubrovnik as their vacation destination in 2019 and achieved 4.24 million overnight stays. As has been the case for the past decade British tourists were by far the most numerous this year, followed by Americans, Germans and French. 196,331 Brits holidayed in Dubrovnik this year, followed by 155,655 Americans and 99,148 Germans.

Croatia Airlines' losses in the first nine months of 2019 stood at 48.4 million kuna (€6.5m). Although net profits in Q3 2019 alone totalled 41 million kuna (€5.5m) the profits generated in Q2 and Q3 did not cover the losses generated in the winter months of Q1 2019, with total operating loss over the first nine months of 2019 amounting to 30.4 million kuna (€4m).

Operating revenues in said period were up 1.4% on the year, while the passenger turnover was the same as in the first nine months of 2018.

In the first nine months of this year, Croatia Airlines transported 1,701,571 passengers, with 2% more passengers flown internationally. Domestically, the number of passengers decreased from the first nine months of 2018.

During this year's summer season, the airline's planes flew to eight Croatian and 30 international destinations in 24 countries. The company operated direct flights between Zagreb and 24 destinations in 22 European countries.


“I don’t even think we have a word for that in Croatian,” said my wife as she racked her brain, “no, I’m sure there isn’t a word, and in fact I’ve never heard of that word in English before,” are you sure that actually exists. It is not a fictional word; it was born in the mid 1800’s. Yes, for the past two weeks I have been a househusband. I have had cleaning duties, ironing, washing clothes, cooking, basically all the household chores, running the home.

As the tourist season has come to an end, even though the sunshine just didn’t seem to want to stop shining, my workload has dropped considerably. It actually feels strange, I had got used to waking at 5.30 every day and immediately start typing, before ending my day at 9-ish as the sun set. And just as the tourist season ended as it always does, like a light switch being flicked off, so my alarm stopped ringing at the crack of the day. Leaving me spinning without a direction. In fact, it was a much needed break, I only wish that I could have more gently transitioned from on to off.

I learned household jobs from a very early age. And who insisted I did so, my mother. This saying that women control three corners of the home is completely true. And the mother also makes it very easy for their son’s future wives, or very challenging indeed.



In the UK, which is a considerably more liberal society than Croatia, these jobs in the home aren’t dealt out depending on your sex. There is much more of a culture of self-sufficiency. You basically reach the age of adulthood and are expected to now get on with your life. This really forces you to think for yourself, look after yourself and of course manage all the household chores for yourself.

University life means freedom, an entry into being an adult and on the path of finding a career. You are developing as your own person, and are proving that you can look after yourself. But that’s the UK, that’s not the life in Croatia. You have, pretty much through the middle of Europe, this “butter/olive oil” divide. The north/south divide. The Anglo Saxon/Catholic divide. And this divide is strong. It is a cultural divide as wide as the Grand Canyon.

The butter spreaders in the north scratch their heads when they see the olive oil sprinklers in the south living together as one family under one roof. Whereas the olive oil bread dippers around the Mediterranean think it horrific that offspring would be forced to find their own path in the world without the constant guidance of the heads of the family. Europe might have an east/west divide but the north/south one is considerably more pronounced.

People may shout in the south that “it’s a financial question” that our sons and daughters stay at home. Not true. In the more affluent olive oil countries you’ll see the same metal reinforcement bars jutting up from buildings. Those four metal bars in each corner of the house that are a hope that a male child will be born and another level will be added to the top of the house. And on the flip side you can go to a poorer butter eating country and you see freshly hatched adults being kicked out of the family nest. To be living with your parents over the age of 21 is seen as failure, and you’ll hear people mention it in whisper, “oh no, poor Jack, he still lives in his parent’s house.” It is almost seen as bringing shame on the family. Whilst the exact opposite is down south. I remember when we first arrived to live in Dubrovnik and decided to stay with my mother-in-law for a few months before we could find an apartment. When we finally found one and left my wife’s family home I was greeted with comments like “What happened, did you have an argument?”

No, I had just learned life in a butter loving country. Mr front door, my freedom. After so long living in an olive oil country I understand the whole living under one roof policy, but I still don’t agree with it. So I am off to finish the housework and finish dinner before my wife comes home.                 

The Voice of Dubrovnik


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