Thursday, 02 April 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.

Email: mark.thomas@dubrovnik-times.com

As a sign of gratitude for their commitment, IKEA Group will pay more than 1,2 million Kunas to a special pension fund for its employees in Croatia, said IKEA Croatia recently.

Three years ago, IKEA Group introduced ‘’Tack!’’, a unique fidelity program within which the company pays an annual contribution to all its employees for future retirement (‘’tack’’ is a Swedish word for ‘’thank you’’).

‘’We believe in rewarding loyalty and expressing gratitude to colleagues who stay with us and continue to work for the success of the entire IKEA Group. Our colleagues need to know how much we appreciate their experience and commitment, and I am proud that IKEA Group in Croatia will allocate additional 4,176,38 Kunas per employee for pensions of our 295 colleagues this year’’, commented Stefan Vanoverbeke, the director of IKEA Croatia and the regional director of IKEA South East Europe (SEE).

As IKEA Group explained, the same amount is allocated to all those who have worked at least one full fiscal year in the company. After five years of working in the company, the accumulated money is paid to a special pension fund for employees, and then it is paid directly to the fund every year.

It is interesting to note that since the ‘’Tack!’’ fidelity program was introduced three years ago, IKEA Group has paid 509 million Euros to the fund for better pensions of IKEA employees.

The sweetest party of the year, the Cake Party is going to be held on Sunday instead of Saturday because of the weather conditions. The tenth edition of our favourite event is therefore going to happen on December 10th at 10 am in front of Saint Blase Church. 

The Cake party is organized by the Dubrovnik Tourist Board and it offers, as you could guess, a lot of cakes! The sweet delights are donated by the media houses, as well as the restaurants, hotels, etc.

This is one of the most visited events of the Dubrovnik Winter Festival, since everyone is invited to buy a piece (or two) of cake, all for good cause! Every year the Tourist Board picks an association and donates all the collected money.

Everyone can participate in the charitable action by buying a voucher for 15 kuna, showing their good will and helping the Association for Dystrophic Disorders, Cerebral and Children’s Palsy and Other Physical Disabilities of Dubrovnik Neretva County.
Don't miss this sweet event and a great chance to help to those who need it.

Croatian national air carrier Croatia Airlines has recorded the two-millionth passenger mark in one year for the first time in its history.

On the 6th of December, the jubilee passenger was welcomed on a regular international flight between Zagreb and Copenhagen.

Therefore, the two-millionth passenger in one year was recorded for the first time in the history of Croatia Airlines, i.e. since the beginning of its operations in May 1991.

So far this year, Croatia Airlines recorded an overall increase of 10 percent in passenger traffic, i.e. 11 percent more passengers in international traffic and 7 percent more passengers in domestic regular traffic in comparison to 2016.

The increase in passenger traffic, among other things, is a result of the introduction of four new seasonal flights in May this year – between Zagreb and Stockholm, Oslo, Helsinki and Bucharest as well as of the continuation of seasonal flights to Lisbon, Milan, Prague and Sankt Petersburg, which were introduced last year. Besides, due to the large passengers’ interest, seasonal flights to Barcelona and Lisbon are prolonged in the winter flight schedule 2017/2018 thus they will be operated for the first time in the off-season period.

The national carrier expects to end this year with 2,100,000 passengers, which will be a record-breaking number of passengers in one year in the history of Croatia Airlines.

According to research conducted by the Department of Economics and Business Economics of the University of Dubrovnik and the Economic Institute of Zagreb, from the third wealthiest country Croatia has become the second poorest new member of the European Union over the past decade.

The research results point to the prevailing trend of decreasing work-intensive activities within the manufacturing industry in all countries of Central and Eastern Europe over the past ten years.

However, in countries with active industrial policy, such as the Czech Republic and Poland, this process was accompanied by a technological advancement of the industry, an increase in sectoral competitiveness and the share of added value of the manufacturing industry in the overall economy, which is why these countries are an example of successful reindustrialization.

On the other hand, in countries such as Croatia, past decade was marked by the decline in industrial competitiveness, the increase in the share of low tech-intensive activities within the manufacturing industry and by the decrease of the industry’s share in the total added value.

In other words, whilst successful former transition countries reindustrialised the economy through their thought-out policies, the process of de-industrialization in Croatia continued and deepened.

The data shows that in 1990, the share of the manufacturing industry in GDP in Croatia was 24 percent, whilst in 2015 it was barely 12 percent. At the same time, the share of high-tech products in the overall industrial production slightly decreased, whilst in all other countries in the region, with the exception of Lithuania and Latvia, increased.

The research also pointed out to further deepening of the differences in the exports competitiveness of the manufacturing industry between the leading countries of Central and Eastern Europe and Croatia.

In countries such as the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Poland, there was an increase in the sophistication of export products in high-tech and knowledge-intensive activities as well as the transition from price competitiveness to the one based on quality.

On the other hand, the research results for Croatia reveal the loss of price competitiveness with the lack of improved quality-based competitiveness.

Therefore, it is not surprising that since the beginning of the transition process until today, from the third wealthiest country Croatia has become the second poorest new member country of the European Union.

The Association for Down Syndrome of Dubrovnik-Neretva County will mark the International Day of Persons with Disabilities with Doors Open Day. You can visit the association in their premises at the address Ivo Vojnovic 31 in Dubrovnik on Saturday, December 9th from 10 am to 4 pm.

Everybody interested will be able to buy ornaments created at the workshops, and support the further work of the Association.

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International Day of Persons with Disabilities is an international observance promoted by the United Nations since 1992. It has been celebrated with varying degrees of success around the planet. The observance of the Day aims to promote an understanding of disability issues and mobilize support for the dignity, rights and well-being of persons with disabilities. It also seeks to increase awareness of gains to be derived from the integration of persons with disabilities in every aspect of political, social, economic and cultural life.

The second weekend of the 4th Dubrovnik Winter Festival has a lot to offer to everybody! The second advent candle, the candle of peace, will be lit up, two concerts of famous Croatian musicians – Jacques Houdek and Massimo will be held, there will be humanitarian Cake Party, as well as many other events, with programs in the Bay of Lapad and Mokosica too. 

Let's start with the sweetest thing this weekend! The tenth edition of the humanitarian Cake Party organized by the Dubrovnik Tourist Board will be held on Saturday, starting at 11 am, in front of St.Blaise Church. This is a perfect opportunity to enjoy sweets and to confirm how sweet it is to help somebody in need. Cake Pary has a lot more to offer than just cakes – fun program with DJ and dance studios Lazareti and Step'n'Jazz.

A WEEKEND FULL OF MUSIC

On Saturday evening, in front of the Dubrovnik Cathedral, the second advent candle , the candle of peace will be lit. The word service will be led by don Stanko Lasic and it will be accompanied by the liturgical singing.

The musical part of the Dubrovnik Winter Festival this weekend will be marked with concerts of some of the strongest vocalists of Croatian music scene. Jacques Houdek will perform on Friday at 9pm at the center of all events – Stradun. On Saturday, Massimo will take his place at the same time. An unique concert of spiritual music will be held on Sunday at 8 pm also at Stradun with Alan Hrzica, Petar Buljan, Stijepo Gled-Markos and friends.

In Dubrovnik, there is no Christmas without traditional Christmas charol – Kolenda. Trio Lero will be in charge this weekend to bring a sound of Dubrovnik tradition to Brsalje, Gundulic Square and Prijeko from 7 pm to 9 pm. On Saturday, at the same time, vocal group Karaka will do the same, while Sunday morning is reserved for vocal group Maestral (from 10 am to noon). 

WHAT TO DO OUTSIDE THE CITY WALLS

Saturday will be vivid and cheerful at the Bay of Lapad, where the students from Ballet departament of Luka Sorkocevic Art School and dance association Cudesni koraci will perform. Since there is no real December feeling without Christmas songs, they will be joined by children choirs who will have a concert. That will all happen on the festival stage, next to the fountain from 2pm to 5 pm.

This week's Sunday morning at Nova Mokosica brings an interactive play for the children, made by Theater Society Osijek named ''Santa Claus Letter/Audition for Santa Claus00, which will be held at 3 pm, next to Caffe bar Kiss. Vocal group Subrenum will sing at the same place from 5:30 pm.

Also, it is worth reminding that this Sunday mums, dads, grandparents can bring their youngest to the Teddy Bear Park at Pile, where they can meet the most magical creatures every Sunday from 11am to noon.

For all the other reminders and interesting things about the Dubrovnik Winter Festival program, there is the Dubrovnik Winter Festival App that is available for download on Android at http://bit.ly/2zHQLLC and at http://apple.co/2j3CoOy for iOS devices.

The Croatian ferry company Jadrolinija marked the 70th anniversary at the ceremony held on the ferry Marko Polo in the port of Rijeka on the 5th of November.

On this occasion, Oleg Butković, the Minister of the Sea, Transport and Infrastructure, emphasized that Jadrolinija is among the ten world’s leading passenger liners and that Croatia should be proud of its brand.

Butković also added that Jadrolinija accounts for 87 percent in the total public transport of passengers and around 90 percent in the total vehicle transport, thus it carries great responsibility and challenges for the future.

‘’I expect from the new management to direct all its activities towards strengthening the company’s position and modernizing the fleet. It is the main task of the Management Board, the Supervisory Board and our Ministry’’, commented Butković.

Jadrolinija’s president David Sopta pointed out that since its foundation in 1947, the company has had an irreplaceable role in the lives of people living on Croatian islands and in coastal cities and towns.

‘’Jadrolinija’s ferries are our maritime highway which brings tourists and our guests from all over the world to see Croatia and our natural and cultural heritage. Our mission today, as it was 70 years ago, is to connect the Croatian coast with our thousand wonderful islands. All together, it is the infrastructure which connects us and makes Croatia a society and a state’’, commented Sopta.

Jadrolinija was founded in Rijeka in 1947 as a continuation of various smaller shipping companies, which had operated along the Croatian coast since 1872. As of 2015, it became Croatia’s largest passenger shipping company.

Jadrolinija currently operates a fleet of 55 vessels; it has three large ferries named Dubrovnik, Marko Polo, and Zadar, which sail on long range and international routes, 37 smaller ferries used for local passenger service, eight catamarans, one hydro bus and five conventional ships. The fleet's total carrying capacity is 3,600 vehicles and 27,540 passengers.

According to the latest eVisitor data for the previous month, Croatia has recorded an increase in the number of arrivals and overnight stays again thus continued great this year’s tourist results.

eVisitor system, which contains tourist traffic realized in commercial and non-commercial facilities as well as in nautical charter (eCrew system), shows that 312,000 arrivals (+8%) and 891,000 overnight stays (+13%) were realized in Croatia in November. In addition, in the period from January to November 2017, these figures were 18,2 million in arrivals (+13%) and 101,2 million in overnight stays (+12%).

Out of the total number of arrivals and overnight stays in November, foreign tourists accounted for 9 percent in arrivals (198,000) and 3 percent in overnight stays (531,000). Domestic tourists also recorded an increase of 8 percent in arrivals and 32 percent in overnight stays.

The largest number of overnight stays was recorded in the city of Zagreb (148,000), followed by the Zadar County (137,000), the Kvarner region (129,000), Istria (115,000), the Split-Dalmatia County (86,000), the Dubrovnik-Neretva County (80,000), the Sibenik-Knin County (51,000) and the Lika-Senj County with 18,000 overnight stays. When it comes to the continental part of Croatia, the largest number of overnight stays was recorded in the Krapina-Zagorje County (23,000), the Osijek-Baranja County (17,000) and the Vukovar-Srijem County (15,000).

By the number of realized overnight stays, the most numerous guests in November were from Slovenia (76,000), Austria (55,000), Germany (51,000), Bosnia and Herzegovina (50,000) and Italy (35,000) as well as from Korea (26,000), the US (23,000) and Japan with 11,000 overnight stays.

The Voice of Dubrovnik

THE VOICE OF DUBROVNIK


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