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.
Despite the general belief that foreign tourists who visit the Adriatic coast bring along all the food they intend to eat while on a holiday, an analysis of the Croatian Chamber of Commerce (HGK) has shown that foreigners spend 2.4 times more on food and drinks than Croatian tourists during their stay on the Adriatic coast.
Each foreign tourist spends on average 91 Kunas (around 12 Euros) per day on food and drinks in Croatian stores and restaurants, whilst domestic guests spend around 40 Kuna (or around 5.5 Euro). However, from HGK explain that foreign tourists spend more than 91 Kunas because this amount does not include food they pay at accommodation facilities.
The total average daily consumption of each foreign tourist during the summer months amounts to 66 Euros out of which they spend 36 Euros on accommodation, around 12 Euros on food and beverages, whilst the rest of the money or 18 Euros they spend on other purchases, sports, entertainment, excursions and culture.
The biggest consumers are tourists from Russia with a total amount of around 125 Euros, followed by the British who are slightly behind them, whilst Germans, Austrians and the Dutch spend on average 65 Euros while holidaying in Croatia.
It is interesting to note that the vast majority of Russian tourists visit the Adriatic coast using their own cars; they have it transported by train to Budapest and then drive it to their final destination on the Croatian coast. They usually stay longer in the country, from ten to fifteen days, and are not afraid of spending their money.
In the upcoming August, the Split-Dalmatia County expects an increase of its population by 38 percent in comparison to the off-season period, as well as tripled consumption of food and beverages. On the other hand, the population of the Istria County will double, whilst the consumption of food and beverages is expected to go up five times, emphasises the Croatian Chamber of Commerce.
''The average monthly turnover in the segment of food and beverages in the three most important tourist counties of Istria, Split-Dalmatia and Primorje-Gorje, is higher by 70 to 130 percent in comparison to the average annual monthly turnover in these counties. Considering that the framework estimate of a daily consumption of a domestic buyer in the food and beverages segment is below 40 Kunas, the purchasing power i.e. the consumption of foreign tourists compared to domestic buyers (local residents and domestic tourists) is around 2,4 times higher'', stated the HGK.
Where did the Dubrovnik pigeons go? For the past two days the corn that is given to the pigeons of the historic Old City of Dubrovnik has gone uneaten. In the market in Gundelic Square in the heart of the city corn is thrown for the pigeons every day at midday.
Normally there is a huge flock of pigeons who circle the square at least fifteen minutes before the birdseed is thrown but for the last two days the corn has remained intact and the pigeons are nowhere to be seen.
“Where have all the pigeons gone?” is the question that people in the city are asking. Is nature trying to tell us something and have all the pigeons go into hiding in the face of a impending natural disaster...or are they just all full?
Want to ask the waiter for those drinks in Croatian? Having problems meeting and greeting the receptionist? Looking to pick up some Croatian whilst in Dubrovnik, well here is your chance. Europe House Dubrovnik is currently running blitz Croatian courses to help you navigate the language. Europe House Dubrovnik (EHD) was founded in March 1995 as a non-profit, non-party and non-governmental association. We caught up with the Adriana Kremenjaš Daničić, the President of the Society, to find out more.
Why did your organization decide to run courses in Croatian for tourists?
Most of the inhabitants of this part of Croatia live from tourism and therefore through our formal educational system we try to teach our children and young people as many foreign languages as possible. On the other hand, many stakeholders from the tourism sector are trying to create some special offers to make tourists feel as comfortable as possible during their stay in our country. This is often contributed by non-profit organizations such as the Europe House Dubrovnik Association, founded in 1995. As we work hard with young people throughout the Dubrovnik-Neretva County, in the past years in the municipality of Župa Dubrovnik we gathered young people in the Wandering Librarians group. They borrowed books for free in foreign languages near several beaches. They had to talk to tourists from many countries, not just from Europe. During this communication we noticed that many tourists were interested in learning basic terms in Croatian, such as "good day", "thank you", "goodbye". That is why in the summer of 2015, our Croatian youth club program included free mini-courses in Croatian language, during which all tourists who like to learn foreign languages can learn the basics of Croatian language. Local young people have made it possible to develop foreign languages and introduce people from all over the world in informal ways. The course participants' reactions were great and we also held the courses in the summer of 2016.
Then a young German polyglot and travel writer learned about them and asked us to organize a course for him in December when he was staying in Dubrovnik. He was obviously pleased because he came back to us recently because of the continuation of Croatian language learning, in mid-June.
How long do the courses last and what knowledge will the students get by the end of the course?
The courses last for two hours - either at a time or split in two days. The content depends in part on the interests and the number of participants. Some more interested in learning vocabulary and expression, and other grammar. In any case, after our course you can greet and introduce, buy bread or order coffee - all in Croatian. We can also organize additional classes.
Suri from Mexico and Chris from Australia learning Croatian
What feedback have you received from your students?
We were particularly pleased that many of those who attended the seminars said that in all of the countries they had visited they hadn’t come across a similar possibility of learning the language of the country in question. That is why we have decided to organize the courses this summer. I must say thanks to the support of the Dubrovnik Tourist Board, who recognized the courses as a contribution to enriching the local tourist offer.
Are these courses open to everyone?
Yes, all visitors to Dubrovnik are welcome, no matter where they come from.
How much do the courses cost?
The courses are free, and if someone wants more lessons, we can offer them at very reasonable prices. With this revenue, we fund our youth activities. Europe Home Dubrovnik is a non-profit organization that finances its activities mostly from donations.
I understand that a member of a crew from a cruise ship attended one course. How did this occur and how satisfied was he with the outcome?
Yes, a cruise crew member from distant Mauritius recently walked into our classes. His attention was drawn to the colourful cabinets of small libraries in Croatian and a few foreign languages, which we set for a couple of years on the wall beside our space. He came in with us and said that his ship came to Croatian ports often and that he had already learned the basic terms of the Croatian language online. During the course we practiced grammar, and he learned a few more words in Croatian.
Learn the Croatian basics in a few hours
Why would you recommend a couple of words and sentences in Croatian?
Croatia is a small country and in comparison with the world's largest languages, the very few people speak Croatian. That is why we do not expect our visitors to know our language. But everywhere in the world, even in Croatia, people are delighted when foreigners try and speak their language. In addition, Croatian is one of the official languages of the European Union. So why not learn Croatian? Believe me, the saying "Your value is in the number of languages you speak" is true!
Who teaches the Croatian course and is it difficult to teach tourists from all different countries?
The Croatian language courses are held in our offices at Nikola Tesla Street 9. And the courses are taught mainly by young people who are not only able to communicate in English or any other language but also to introduce visitors from all over the world to Croatian language, culture and customs.
Two million overnight stay in Dubrovnik happened on July 25th, thirteen days earlier than 2016, confirming the success of pre-season as well as the main season.
Currently our city has 23,701 guests in all types of accommodation. Between January and July 25th, there was 607 862 arrivals, which is an increase of 18 percent compared to last year and 2 000 546 overnight stays, which is 16 percent more. In the mentioned period most of the guests were from the following 10 countries: United Kingdom, USA, France, Germany, Croatia, Sweden, Spain, Australia, Finland and Norway.
The largest number of overnight stays were made in hotels with 1 133 403 nights, which makes up 56% of the total number of overnight stays followed by private accommodation where 654 995 nights or 33% .
After twenty years the world popular English musician, singer, songwriter and actor held a concert in Croatia.
Sting performed in front of several thousands of his fans at the Pula Arena as part of his 57th &9th Tour on the 26th of July. He introduced his new songs and well known older hits and absolutely thrilled the audience. Sting's son Joe Summer, a versatile musician, also joined his father on the stage.
The concert in Pula was Sting's only concert in the region. His highly anticipated rock/pop album ''57th&9th'' is his first rock album in 13 years released on the 11th of November 2016.
The stunning Pula Arena - Goran Sebelic / CROPIX
After the European part of his tour, Sting will perform in Central and South America and Asia and then he will return to Europe to hold concerts at several summer festivals. Considering the great success and attendance of the concerts so far and due to excellent reviews, the management of the tour decided to add another three dates in early September in North America.
It is interesting to note that before the beginning of the concert in Pula, Sting was awarded the Porin Special Merit Award i.e. the Croatian music award Porin for his special achievements in music.
Sting lights up Croatian night sky - Goran Sebelic / CROPIX
If you were thinking of renting a jet ski whilst in Dubrovnik on holiday then please don’t behave like this! Yesterday a rented jet ski buzzed around the Belvedere beach just a few metres from swimmers.
The arrogant rider was showing off his “skills” within a few metres of swimmers who shouted at him to move away. Swimmers quickly made their way out of the sea trying to avoid the mad rider. Finally he responded to the shouts of the people on the beach and moved away. According to the law jet skis can only be used at a distance of 300 metres from the shoreline, which in this example of bad driving clearly wasn’t the case.
The Lapad beach unofficially opened yesterday as the security fences were moved away and swimmer rolled out their towels for the first time since the construction works began. Even though the beach hasn’t yet been officially opened guests can use four hospitality objects - a pastry shop, a cafe bar, an a la carte restaurant and a cocktail bar on the beach.
There are around 200 loungers on the beach, so plenty of room to finds a spare one, and two showers, and there is a new playground for children. The fence has been removed and the four entrances to the beach are open.
Works on the beach project began in mid-July last year and the total investment is around 90 million Kunas.
The Croatian Mountain Rescue has once again come up with a fantastic message on their social media channels.
Known for the dry wit and poignant messages the latest photo and message is sure to hit the mark again. This photo was posted on the official Twitter channel of the rescue service along with the message - #deartourists we wish you great time in Croatia. Have fun, stay safe. Call #112 in the event of an emergency. #HGSS #flipflopstyle