Tuesday, 04 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.

Email: mark.thomas@dubrovnik-times.com

If you want to witness interesting discussions about the newest achievements and trends in the international, regional and local TV industries, you have already secured your badge in order to mix business with pleasure by the sea at the unique New Europe Market, the largest regional event devoted to the TV industry in the CEE region which is being held for the sixth year in a row in Dubrovnik between the 11th and 14th of June.

New Europe Market, which brings together the most prominent experts in television and the media, has revealed the topic of the first panel discussion titled "Chasing the audience: Can local production make the difference?" The main question facing the panellists is whether it is possible to increase public television viewer ratings with locally produced content.

Is content the secret ingredient that will keep the viewers watching FTA channels?

Although FTA channels remain the most popular and most viewed, they are faced with a challenge where they need to keep their viewers by providing quality content and programming. On the other hand, those who prefer Pay-Tv think that VOD is the only way to keep viewers that is in keeping with trends, regardless of the share of local and publicly available production. Strengthened with new technologies, the position of the largest FTA channels in the CEE region have never been more secure… Or?

The first panel discussion in Dubrovnik will be moderated by Gün Akyuz, Research Editor from C21 Media, the renowned international publication devoted to the television industry.

Keeping the discussion intriguing and dynamic will be Matthias Settele, Director General of TV Markiza from Slovakia; Jan Maxa, Director for Development of Programs and Formats of Czech Television; Henning Tewes, CEO of RTL Croatia; Kazimir Bačić, Director General of Croatian Radiotelevision; Gabriella Vidus, CEO of RTL Hungary and Pete Smith, the Managing Director of Antenna International.

nem audience 2018

One of the more esteemed panellists, Pete Smith, Managing Director of Antenna International, who also heads Antenna's European network, has focussed his work over the past several years on rapid media growth in East Europe as well as on investment into content and digital companies: "Since new platforms are appearing and including unique and autochthonous content, I truly believe that we are entering the golden age of local content production", said Pete Smith with respect to the topic of the first panel discussion at this year's NEM.

Pete was charged with film and television distribution, television production and Channels. He would frequently present strategic and financial problems to the Managing Board as well as all M&A transactions. Pete brought about a 44% growth during three years and completed acquisitions in Japan, South-East Asia and East Europe. He also increased the number of channels from 12 to 70 and developed a deal with Pay-Tv channels worth 500 million dollars. His production successes include Downton Abbey, Whitechapel and Law and Order: UK (three of ITV's five best drama series).

Forget an active holiday, what guests to Dubrovnik really want is just to roll out their towels on the beach and soak up the Mediterranean sun. According to a new survey just released by the Croatian Institute for Tourism a massive 69 percent of tourists in the Dubrovnik – Neretva County come to the region for a “passive, relaxing holiday.”

Dubrovnik, its ancient city dripping with history and culture, and its UNESCO status isn’t one of the main motivations for tourists to visit, only 15 percent commented that “cultural heritage and events” were a reason for coming.

Almost 6,000 tourists to Croatia were surveyed in 2017 by the Institute of Tourism in 67 different destinations, including 6 in the Dubrovnik region – Mlini, Cavtat, Dubrovnik, Orebić, Ston and Korčula – in the tenth annual research.

The average ago of a tourist in Dubrovnik in 2017 was 42.5, which is slightly older than a tourist in Croatia at 41.5. And the majority of tourists were couples travelling without children or friends, in fact over half (54 percent) of tourists were couples in 2017. And for the vast majority of tourists in 2017 this was their first visit to the city, 43 percent came for the first time, but interestingly 6 percent came for the sixth time or more.

And when it comes to informing guests the internet and the media and by far the most important sources. If you want to get your message across to potential tourists you can pretty much forget tourist agencies, travel fairs and recommendations, the internet and the media are the two keys. Even though tourist boards spend huge sums financing worldwide trips to travel fairs only 3 percent of people asked in the survey said they were a good source of information. This brings into question the feasibility of tourist boards travelling to way flung destinations when their own figures, direct from tourists, show that this money would be better spent on the media and internet promotions.

Whilst visitors to the Dubrovnik – Neretva County were very satisfied with the natural beauty, the quality of their accommodation, the friendliness of the staff and personal safety they weren’t so impressed with the traffic infrastructure, the bicycle tracks and things to do in case of bad weather.

Croatia Airlines, the national carrier of Croatia, is planning to increase the number of flights to London Heathrow this summer.

The airline currently will increase the number of flights to London’s busiest airport from three to four operations this summer with an extra flight from Split. The Croatian capital and Heathrow will continue to have three flights a week and the extra flight to Heathrow from Split will operate Saturdays from the 14th of May until the 22nd of September.

Even though this is an increase in operations with one of the most important hub airports in the world it is still half the number of flights that Croatia Airlines operated before. After selling their flight slots at Heathrow the airline dropped from eight flights a week to the planned four.

Simple Minds are going to perform in Croatia this May. The Scottish rock band will perform a free concert in Split in the beginning of May on the beach Žnjan.

It appears that the concert will be held on the 5th of May, two days before the Day of the City of Split, and would give the city a boost at the beginning of the tourist season. The free concert would also mark the opening of the beach Žnjan.

The Mayor of Split, Andro Krstulović Opara, commented on his Facebook profile, along with a video link to a live performance of Alive and Kicking in Edinburgh in 2015.

Eight years ago, the same band held a big concert in the Split and this free concert is sure to be a massive hit.

After Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic announced on Monday that due to the case of the poisoning of a Russian double agent in the UK he would expel a Russian diplomat from the country it brings into question as to whether the Russian President will visit Croatia.

Vladimir Putin was expected to visit Croatia on the invitation of President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović, however this state visit is now hanging in the balance.

The president's office said on Monday that despite the expulsion of a Russian diplomat her invitation to the Russian president remains open. The Russian Embassy in Zagreb however had a different story, speaking to Croatian Television the embassy said that “Given the hostile step that Croatia has taken with respect to Russia, there are likely to be some corrections on President Vladimir Putin's arrival in Croatia.”

In January 2018, the average monthly net earnings per person in employment in the Republic of Croatia amounted to 6,189 Kuna, which represents an increase of 3.8%, as compared to December 2017, according to new data from the Central Statistics Bureau.

The highest average monthly net earnings per person in paid employment in for January were in the air transport sector and amounted to 11,077 Kuna. While the lowest earnings were paid off in the manufacture of leather and related products and amounted to 4,001 Kuna.

And the Croatian Chamber of Commerce believe that this positive trend will continue this year. “We expect the growth in wages to continue this year under the influence of continued economic growth, raised minimum wage levels and the effect of increased wages in state and public services" commented a spokesperson from the chamber.

Croatia has stood behind the UK and will expel a Russian diplomat. It what is the largest expulsion of diplomats ever, with Trump announcing 60 will be expelled, Croatian Prime Minister, Andrej Plenković, has announced that he will expel one diplomat.

21 countries have announced that they will expel Russian diplomats and diplomat staff, with 16 European Union members, as well as Canada, Norway, Ukraine, Albania and the United States. The UK acted first, sending home 23 diplomatic staff, and now the rest of the world has followed. 

This is all in reaction to Russia's alleged use of a nerve agent to poison a former Russian spy living in the United Kingdom.

Prime Minster Teresa May commented that "President Putin's regime is carrying out acts of aggression against our shared values and interests within our continent and beyond. And as a sovereign European democracy, the United Kingdom will stand shoulder to shoulder with the EU and with NATO to face down these threats together."

TUI UK’s first programme launch after last year’s re-brand reveals ambitious growth plans with an additional aircraft positioned out of Cardiff Airport and new flights to Croatia for 2019.

With a dynamic regional aviation plan focussed on mid and short haul destinations, new holiday opportunities will be opened up for passengers flying from Cardiff Airport with flights and holidays to three new and exciting destinations going on sale, complementing a wealth of existing routes on offer. Cardiff Airport will see a 10% share of TUI’s overall passenger growth for summer 2019.

According to the company’s website they are reacting to the “soaring popularity of Croatia.”

Flights and holidays to Dubrovnik, Hurghada and Naples have all been added to the programme from Cardiff Airport for next summer.

TUI UK’s Commercial Director Richard Sofer said: “Summer 2019 is the most ambitious programme we have ever introduced. We are focusing firmly on expanding access to our amazing range of holidays through an extended regional flying programming concentrated on the core destinations holidaymakers want to travel to, while offering the flexibility of holiday duration they want. We’ve increased our capacity by basing an additional aircraft in Cardiff, adding 100,000 additional seats and three new routes from Cardiff Airport for summer 2019. We are also giving customers even more opportunity when booking their summer holidays with more 10 and 11 night holidays.”

The Voice of Dubrovnik


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