Wednesday, 28 October 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.


The popular low-cost airline, Transavia, will introduce new flight connections between Rotterdam and Eindhoven for the Dalmatian city of Zadar for 2019. The airline, which is a subsidiary of Air France – KLM will open flights to Zadar in April 2019 and tickets are already on sale on the airline’s website.

Transavia opened their connections to Croatia this year with flights from Rotterdam to Dubrovnik and Pula and both connections have proved successful. Zadar airport is now hoping these new low-cost connections will boost their passenger numbers for 2019.

One of the most drawn out tourism projects in Croatia, the redevelopment of the Kupari resort, could soon come to a conclusion. Councillors of the borough of Zupa held a meeting yesterday to adopt the decision for the urban planning of “Kupari I” which will see the former military resort developed into a luxury resort. Even though this decision had already been brought and passed it was necessary to re-issue the decision because there has been a two-year delay in the implementation of the previous decision.

“The investor has sent us the guidelines; the capacity will be reduced to less than five hundred beds. We have the guarantee of 'Four Seasons' that in Kupari they will build a complex that has not been seen in Croatia yet. We know that there will be a shortfall of potential workers for the new resort, but the capacities are not questionable. We are proud of this project and how much the local community will receive from it. We can be even happier because the total number of beds and the capacities have been reduced,” commented the Head of the Borough of Zupa Silvio Nardelli.

It was pointed out at the meeting that the borough of Zupa still today has less accommodation capacity than before the war.
When questioned by Councillor Antun Bašić on when the actual construction works will begin and when the former hotels will be demolished Nardelli answered that “The municipality has an obligation to create an Urban Plan, and in the meantime the investor can start with the demolition of the former hotels, apart from the Grand Hotel which is protected. It is difficult to say when the complex will open its doors to guests, but the deadlines for the investors begin when the Urban Plan is adopted.”

“The US has a huge amount of capital that is waiting for investment somewhere in the world where it is profitable. You cannot tell American companies to come to Croatia. They will come when there is a chance," commented the US Ambassador to Croatia, Robert Kohorst, on Wednesday at the seminar Advancing Entrepreneurship in Croatia at the Zagreb School of Economics.

For the development of the business climate in Croatia there are, according to the Ambassador, some key elements that need to be in place, improvement of the judiciary system, a reduction of bureaucracy, a simplification of the tax system and more predictability with government.

He added that a huge amount of US capital is awaiting investment somewhere in the world where it is profitable and hoped that many US entrepreneurs will find opportunities for business in Croatia but that the government must facilitate business. "The government needs to simplify its business to make capital feel more welcome," Kohorst said.

When asked about prior investment opportunities that failed he concluded "Do not let your failure discourage you, learn something out of it, and move on."

Tourist representatives from the Dubrovnik – Neretva County are present at one of the largest camping exhibitions in Europe. From the 8th to the 16th of September the camping fair "Il Salone del Camper" held in Palma attracts camping professionals from all over the world.

The Dubrovnik- Neretva Tourist Board, along with other tourist boards from the Dalmatian coastline are attending the fair and presenting the best campsites in their regions. More than 300 exhibitors are presenting at the fair and over the week around 130,000 visitors are expected. Camping in the Dubrovnik region is especially popular on the Peljesac Peninsular.

The days of moving your forward in the spring and an hour backwards in the autumn could well be over after the European Commission released the findings of a survey that revealed the vast majority of EU citizens are against it.

4.6 million people across Europe responded to the survey asking whether daylight saving time should be stopped and an overwhelming 84 percent said yes.

Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker commented that “The people want this; we will do this.”

Now the proposal will be debated by the EU commissioners and then the national governments of the member states.

Daylight saving was first adopted during the First World War in the UK to give factories extra daylight to work in. It was introduced by European governments at the beginning of the 1980s to save on energy costs. Research has shown that the time change negatively affects people’s sleep patterns, especially with the elderly.

Although the EU put forward a proposal that each member state decide whether to cancel daylight saving time this would seriously impact on the coordination of business.

If the EU decide to stop daylight saving time they won’t be the first to do so, already Russia, Iceland and Turkey have stopped the practice.

The laws on flying a drone in Croatia are relatively strict, however not everyone abides by the rules. This tourist was filmed yesterday flying his drone in the centre of the ancient Old City of Dubrovnik.

With thousands of tourists sightseeing in the city and a group gathered around him to watch take-off he flew his drone along the main street, Stradun, and then landed back by the Orlando Statue in possibly one of the busiest parts of the city.

Flying over the Old City is strictly forbidden due to the possible dangers to the large number of people in the streets, and near the airport is also prohibited. But this tourist seemed oblivious to the risks and happily flew the drone around over the heads of hundreds of tourists.

As a local drone owner explained to The Dubrovnik Times, “Clearly the rules for locals and tourists aren’t the same, whilst we are forced to follow extremely tough rules tourists are able to flout these without any punishment.”

If you unaware of the rules, as this tourist clearly was, then take the time to read this guide on Filming With A Drone In Croatia: Things You Should Know

Croatia is on track to make a record breaking 12 billion Euros from the tourism industry this year, commented the Minister of Tourism, Gari Cappelli.

The minister was speaking to the press after a meeting of the Tourist Council of the Croatian Tourist Board, which discussed the situation in the tourist industry and proposals and plans for next year.

"We estimate that revenues from domestic and foreign tourists this year will come close to €12 billion. We don't think that lowering prices during the summer will do any damage because total revenues for the first half of the year were already higher than (at the same time) last year,” commented the minister.

Cappelli said that there would be a lot of investments in the tourist industry next year as well, adding that the industry expected the government to resolve the problem of a labour shortage in the sector and to cut taxes.

Looking to rent long-term in Croatia, well you’re going to need to dig deeper in your pockets. According to a report by the publication Poslovni Dnevnik the price of long-term renting in Croatia has skyrocketed in recent years. Compared to last year rents are up to 30 percent more expensive, with all the cities along the coastline jumping the most. A combination of apartments being rented to tourists and real estate sold to foreign buyers has made simply finding a place to rent near impossible, and when you do be prepared to pay significantly more than before.

"Flats for year-round rent are very difficult to find, it's mostly only for the period from October to June, when owners start doing short-term rents to tourists. So only students can rent, as the off-season suits them, and families have huge problems as they get kicked out of their flats when the summer season starts," commented a real estate agent in Zadar for Poslovni Dnevnik. And it this same situation is happening in Dubrovnik. Apartment owners are seeking the obvious financial benefits of renting to tourists than the long-term security of renting. An average two-bedroom apartment in Dubrovnik will cost upwards of 600 Euros a month with larger ones starting at around 800 Euros.

Research assistant Marina Tkalec at Zagreb's Faculty of Economy pointed out that the rise in rent and real estate prices can have multiple economic and social effects, as not only these shoot up the price of living in cities, they also affect personal choices people make in terms of education and employment.

The Voice of Dubrovnik


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