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.
Conventa, a specialized fair of congress and incentive offers, was held in Ljubljana from the 18th to the 19th of January for Central and South-East Europe and there were 145 exhibitors and more than 300 organizers of business trips, of which 178 foreign organizers, from the European and American markets, and the rest were organizers of business travel in the region.
On Wednesday, the 18th of January there was an award ceremony for the best congress destinations, according to a survey by the professional congress magazine "Congress", in Cankarjev dom in Ljubljana. Dubrovnik was declared the best in the category of Top 10 regional congress centres, and overall, the best congress destinations were Prague, Istanbul and Budapest, while Dubrovnik, although a much smaller destination than its competitors, was positioned in fourth place.
The Marketing Director and Founder of the specialized fair Conventa, Gorazd Chad, said that this year the congress and incentive fair Conventa in Ljubljana gathered a record number of exhibitors and organizers of business travels, and that it is estimated that at the fair over 4,000 business meetings were held . Mr. Chad is sure that the Conventa fair will greatly affect the course of the upcoming conference season.
Congress mystery shoppers used various criteria in order to rate destinations, from natural factors, then transport infrastructure and also the tourist infrastructure as well as conference facilities. Subjective rates of the destinations were also important, as well as the marketing score. An important factor in evaluating was the quality of life index, and also the global peace index, which increasingly affects the overall assessment.
Dubrovnik has once again proved a successful world tourist destination, ranking in the top of the in the congress industry in Europe, and as the best in the region.
The final day of casting for the upcoming Robin Hood movie in Dubrovnik is underway. Casting began on Monday and will continue today, the last day, until 8.00pm. According to reports in the local media 600 extras had been accepted for the roles in the Robin Hood: Origins film by Wednesday. A total of 1,300 extras are required for the filming and the producers hope that by the end of today that number will be reached.
It is believed that filming of Robin Hood in Dubrovnik will begin on the 20th of February and last until the 5th of March. So far two locations inside the Old City walls have been prepared, the old harbor area and on the main street through the Old City the Stradun.
The Mayor of Dubrovnik announced that another “two or three locations in Dubrovnik” will be used as a backdrop for filming. And these are believed to be the St. Dominic Street, near the Dubrovnik Cathedral and the Minceta Fortress. Interestingly most of these locations were already used by the HBO serial Game of Thrones.
The Mayor of Dubrovnik has also announced that this production will be the biggest so far in the city with an estimated $100 million to be spent on promotion.
The city of Zagreb, the Holding company and the Zagreb Tourist Board recently launched a pilot program that enables free Wi-Fi access on Zagreb trams.
Three trams with the most frequent lines have been equipped with free Wi-Fi so passengers can freely surf the internet in the first phase of the pilot project.
According to the Zagreb Electric Company (ZET), since the beginning of the experimental phase, around 15,000 passengers have used the free service mostly to surf internet sites like Facebook, Viber and WhatsApp as well as news portals.
The experimental phase will be an indicator of commuters’ interest and response to this novelty. If the project proves successful, other city’s trams will also be equipped with free Wi-Fi.
One of the most successful Chinese companies Alibaba owned by the Chinese billionaire Jack Ma has expressed an interest to make Zadar its commerce hotspot in this part of Europe.
The company would build a warehouse in the Croatian city of Zadar as a greenfield investment for distribution of goods of its internet store.
The biggest advantage of Zadar as a destination is a vicinity of a seaport, an airport, a highway and a railway.
Alibaba is the largest Chinese online store with an average daily income of a billion US dollars. The warehouse in Zadar would significantly reduce the time of delivery for ordered products to customers in this part of Europe.
In addition, Alibaba is also interested in building a film studio in Zadar. The company has already has several film studios in Hollywood, and is currently seeking for an ideal location in the region.
Even though Zadar has competition in Budapest and Serbia, allegedly one of the Chinese partners and investors has already fallen in love with Zadar.
Croatia, according to Bloomberg Innovation Index for 2017, is on 41st among the 50 most innovative economies in the world, dropping three places compared to last year, according to index published on Tuesday – reports Poslovni.hr.
Bloomberg's Innovation Index measures how the economy uses innovation factors including investment in research and development and concentration of high-tech companies.
South Korea remains the world's best, as a last year, thanks to the best indicators in the field of investment in research and development, value-added manufacturing and patent activities, while it’s in the top five in the world in number of high-tech companies, higher education and the number of researchers.
The top five most innovative countries in the world after South Korea are Sweden, Germany, Switzerland and Finland. Sweden has improved its position compared to last year for one place, thanks to improvements in the value-added production, while Finland has moved up two places mainly due to the increase in the number of high-tech companies in the country.
The ‘’biggest loser’’ this year of Bloomberg Innovation Index is Russia, which went down by 14 places and is now at the 26th place. Pressed by the sanctions and the effects of low energy prices in recent years, last year's solid performance in the area of production and productivity this year significantly deteriorated, according to Bloomberg.
Japan recorded a significant drop on the list going from last year's fourth on this year's 7th place, followed by Croatia, which dropped for three positions, from last year's 38th to 41st.
Bloomberg started the ranking with more than 200 economies, but the states that haven’t reported data for at least six of the seven categories that are measured were eliminated, so the list included 78 countries worldwide. Ultimately Bloomberg created the index of 50 world's most innovative economies.
More good news for Croatia's industry! AD Plastik from Solin near Split continues to expand its business with the German multinational automotive manufacturing company Volkswagen.
The largest Croatian manufacturer of plastic parts for the automotive industry will produce sets of internal glass scrapers for Audi Q3 and a front fender coating for VW Tiguan.
According to a statement from AD Plastik, the company won the nominations for the production of interior glass scrapers sets for Audi Q3 which will be manufactured at the extrusion plant in Solin, and for the production of a front fender coating for VW Tiguan, which will be produced at the AD Plastik factory in Kaluga, Russia.
The production planned for 140,000 Audi vehicles a year is to start in September 2018, whilst the project is expected to last seven years.
On the other hand, the production for VW vehicles in Russia's city of Kaluga is announced for February 2018. This project is expected to last four years, whilst the planned production is for 22,000 VW vehicles annually.
It is estimated that the annual revenue from these activities at the level of the AD Plastik Group will amount to almost 750,000 Euros. Just to remind you, in November 2016 the AD Plastik company was nominated for a new deal with the Renault Group worth around 16.5 million Euros.
According to information from the latest tourism fairs held in Europe, the tourist markets in Germany and Denmark have showed great interest in Croatia for the upcoming summer season.
The CTM tourist fair which is being held from the 14th to the 22nd of January in Stuttgart and the Vakantiebeur tourism and leisure fair which was held in Utrecht from the 11th to the 15th of January bring good news for Croatia in terms of bookings for the summer season 2017.
Romeo Draghicchio, the head of the Croatian Tourism Board in Germany commented that the CTM fair in Stuttgart confirmed the upward trend among Germans in making bookings in January for their summer vacation. He explained that "the most popular Google search term in tourism in Germany in the last quarter of 2016 regarding travel in 2017 was Croatia’’.
According to the eVisitor and eCrew systems, around 2.3 million Germans visited Croatia in 2016 and realized 18.2 million overnight stays.
On the other hand, around 200,000 Dutch tourists visited Croatia last year and realized 2.7 million overnight stays, according to data from the eVisitor and eCrew systems.
The Tourist Board of Dubrovnik-Neretva County participated in the FITUR fair in Madrid as a co-exhibitor at the stand of the Croatian Tourist Board. This important trade and travel fair is held from the 18th to 21st of January in the exhibition hall Fiera de Madrid.
The first day of the fair was intended exclusively for professionals in the tourism industry, while the other two days the fair was open to professionals and the general public. This was the tourist board’s third consecutive appearance at the show. The Dubrovnik-Neretva County has seen a steady increase in arrivals and overnight stays of tourists from Spain, and according to information from the tourist board a large number of visitors came to their stand during the fair.