Monday, 03 August 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 Tour of Croatia international cycling race will be held for the fourth consecutive year, from the 17th to the 22nd of April, through six stages, on a route of over 1,000 kilometres across almost the entire territory of the Republic of Croatia.

This is one of the most significant sporting events of the year and the interest of numerous world cycling teams is bigger than ever before as well as the foreign media who will broadcast images of Croatia to six continents.

The organizers of the race, Top Sport Events, said that this year the race will be even more demanding and will host 20 teams, including those from the highest ranked World UCI (World Bike Organization) classification: Bahrain Merida Pro Cycling Team, Astana Pro Team and Trek Segafredo.

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"This year's edition of the Tour of Croatia will be more exciting and more attractive than the previous ones. On behalf of the entire organizing team I would like to thank all partners and sponsors for support and understanding because without them this project would not have been. Organizationally, we always strive to be even better and we are so particularly happy that the transfer stages will be minimal and bicycle teams will have enough time for quality regeneration and preparation for the next stages. The race runs through numerous parks of nature and national parks and we are proud to present these gems to the contestants and to the whole world, "said Vladimir Miholjević, the director of the race.

The race will be broadcast daily by the Croatian Radio Television with 11 hours of live TV broadcasting and through a total of three hours of highlights. Direct transmission will also be broadcast on Eurosport, and TV stations in Europe, North and South America, Asia, Africa and Australia - of which on some the Tour of Croatia will be broadcast live.

“Looking for a creative marketing expert who thinks outside the box? Do not hesitate to contact me!” was the message plastered over a giant billboard in the Croatian capital. A young marketing professional, born in Dubrovnik, was looking for a new job and she decided to get creative.

Tina Šmanjak, a 31-year-old born in Dubrovnik but raised in Slovenia, graduated from two universities in Zagreb and has been working in marketing for more than five years. “The idea came to me year ago when I decided to leave my job. I remember talking with my friend on how employers often invest in banners, ads and everything else, but rarely invest in good workers.”

Šmanjak decided to take matters into her own hands and made a huge billboard advert in Zagreb offering her services. And it appears that the brave move has paid off. In less than a week she has had four job interviews.

And how much did she invest into her future career? Given that the billboard location she chose was a “simple” location, without lighting, it would have cost her around 1,500 Kuna for two weeks. Not a bad invest into her future career.

One of the most prestigious car brands in the world has chosen Croatia as the destination for the premiere of their latest model this April. Daimler AG will present the new Mercedes-Benz A Class in Croatia. In the atmospheric and picturesque Barone Fortress in Šibenik journalists and car experts from all over the world will gather to witness the launch of the latest Mercedes. Then opening will also include a test drive along the Adriatic coast which is sure to offer stunning photo opportunities for the media.

"We are honoured by the fact that our fortress has been selected by a major international company such as Daimler Mercedes as a representative place to present the results of their long-term work. We are delighted that they have recognized Šibenik fortress not only as a tourist attraction but as an excellent location for business events like this,” commented Goran Barišić - Bačelić, head of the Šibenik Public Cultural Institute.

Through sixteen days the fortress, and Sibenik, will see more than 400 journalists from around the world.

Yes, the weather is getting warmer and the sun is beginning to shine in Croatia but wearing a “Borat” swimming costume in a packed supermarket is probably going a bit too far, reports Regional Express.

This young man was spotted in a supermarket in Istria and the photo was uploaded onto Facebook, and quite clearly from the look on his face when a camera was pulled on him he wasn’t so happy for instant fame. However, dressed, or hardly dressed, in a skimpy swimsuit is hardly what to wear if you want to avoid attention.

It would appear from the numerous comments on Facebook that this young man was a tourist, but we can’t help feeling that this figure hugging swimsuit would be to skimpy even for the beach.

“It is certainly a unique and classic city but I must say it is rather expensive,” commented the elegantly dressed lady next to me in Gradska Kavana. “I had a perception that Croatian was much cheaper,” she added sipping at her expresso. I smiled gently, carefully preparing an answer that I have given many times before.

Working in the media is truly an extremely privileged position, and I sometimes have to pinch myself to make sure I am not dreaming. I often find myself in places and positions that give me the feeling that I have no right to be there. But experience counts and over the years I have learned to make the most of the opportunities presented.

I am often contacted by foreign journalists, almost on a weekly basis, looking for quotes for their latest travel article about the Pearl of the Adriatic. I know how difficult it can be to find a quote so I am always willing to help these foreign colleagues. And one such contact was sitting opposite me in Gradska Kavana.

“I am writing a lengthy article for Swiss Air magazine,” wrote the lady to me a few weeks ago. Basically that’s how we managed to be sipping coffee together in the spring sunshine. “You can’t compare Dubrovnik’s prices to the rest of Croatia, of course the city is the most expensive in the country,” I replied to my Swiss colleague. “I just thought that 20 Kunas for a coffee was a little pricey,” she looked off into the distance. “Really, you are sitting on the Stradun, in the Mediterranean sunshine, in one of the most popular destinations in Europe and you think that 20 Kunas is expensive for a coffee. The last time I was in Switzerland I paid 4 Swiss Francs for a coffee in a petrol station,” I added.

If you think 20 Kunas for a coffee on the Stradun is expensive then please, please don’t come to Dubrovnik this year. Don’t book your flights. Don’t think about reserving a hotel. Don’t pack your suitcase. Please don’t come to Dubrovnik! You’ll only be disappointed and really nobody is interested in seeing your social media photo of your “overpriced” bill from a Dubrovnik café bar.

If you want to see Croatia, then please just go to Makarska. I am not saying that Dubrovnik is cheap, but it is certainly not expensive. If you think Dubrovnik is expensive then you really need to travel more.

Don’t compare this ancient unique city dripping in history to some manmade concrete monstrosity on the Spanish coast. This is a Ferrari destination, not a Fiat destination. And we all know that not everyone can afford a Ferrari. In fact, if less people come it might be better for all of us. The constant year-on-year rise of tourists is unsustainable. Dubrovnik isn’t getting any bigger.

I am often told “At some point the bubble will burst and less tourists will come every year.” My answer is always the same THANK GOD! That is exactly, exactly what we need. Tourism is an industry and not a number collecting game. Who cares if we had 2 million tourists last year and 3 million tourists this year. As one well-placed director in Dubrovnik once told me “Show me the bank that accepts these figures as money.” In a Ferrari destination we need the bubble to burst and less tourists to arrive. And sooner rather than later it will burst. And once again I say THANK GOD!

With all due respect I hope the bubble will burst, and I am even willing to lend someone a needle to pop it. Many people say that Dubrovnik is a victim of its own success. Wrong! Don’t blame this on the beauty of the city. Dubrovnik is a victim of moronic organisation and complete short-sightedness and most importantly greed. All human characteristics. There are way too many tourists through the peak season and any negative media that leads to a drop in these numbers can only be a positive step. You can only squeeze so many sardines into a can. We have brought the can to breaking limit. In recent times we’ve had international articles such as “The Death of Dubrovnik,” but for me these are in fact the kind of promotion we need. We are at saturation point and need to find a way to reorganise the city.

Let’s be honest in August neither the tourists nor the locals are happy, it is the unhappiest month of the year by far. Let’s cut back on the greed. It seems fitting that the late Stephen Hawking have the last word, “We are in danger of destroying ourselves by our greed and stupidity. We cannot remain looking inwards at ourselves on a small and increasingly polluted and overcrowded planet.”

After so many overcast and rainy days the sun has started to pour down on Dubrovnik over the past few days.

This weekend opened with rising temperatures and al fresco coffees. With temperatures up to 22 degrees and clear blue skies it is a great day to enjoy a stroll and quite clearly the Bay of Lapad was a magnet for locals and tourists. And the forecast for the coming week looks just as positive with summer seemingly waiting in the wings. 

Check out the photo gallery from Niksa Duper

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It has been an impressive start to the year for the Croatian capital’s airport with an increase in passenger numbers in March.

In fact, the airport registered its best ever March and first quarter months on record. 223,642 passengers travelled through Zagreb Airport in March, meaning an increase of a whopping 16 percent over march from 2017.

In the first three months of 2018 the airport handled 585,576 passengers, again a growth and this time by 13 percent. With many new flights and carriers expected this year at Zagreb Airport, including flight to Dublin, Athens and Toronto the positive start to 2018 will only get better.

Kill your speed as cameras are watching you. Eight speed cameras are due to be installed in the Dubrovnik – Neretva County on speeding hotspots. From Gruda in Konavle to Metkovic in the north of the county eight cameras will be installed, in fact eight camera housings will be installed, to check on driver’s speeds.

In the whole of Croatia there are 59 camera housings, but only 28 cameras. The Ministry of the Interior confirmed that the cameras are being constantly moved around the various housings, meaning that drivers never know if they are being filmed or not. And there are plans to purchase a further 21 cameras and 60 housings.

The eight locations in the Dubrovnik – Nerevta County have been selected by the Dubrovnik Police as areas that are especially notorious for crashes due to excessive speeds. It is not clear whether the same process of moving cameras around from housing to housing will also be carried out in Dubrovnik.

Drivers who exceed the speed limit by up to 10 km/h will face a 300 Kuna fine, whilst drivers who sped past at more than 10 km/h over the limit will have to pay 500 Kuna. It is expected that the cameras will be installed at the beginning of June.

The Voice of Dubrovnik


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