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 share of the Croatian GDP connected to travel and tourism increased in 2017 on the previous year by 0.7 percent to 19.6 percent, according to data released by the Croatian National Bank.
“The tourism revenues in 2017 are the best indicator of how much Croatian tourism has progressed,” commented the Minister of Tourism, Gari Cappelli, on the news that the National Bank had stated that income from tourism reached 9.5 billion Euros in 2017.
Foreign tourist spent 9.5 billion Euros in Croatia in 2017, almost 860 million more than in 2016. In total 16.5 million tourists visited Croatia last year and achieved 90 million overnight stays.
"Tourism, along with a favourable external environment and the progress of structural reforms, is one of the main generators of the growth of the Croatian economy," added the minister.
In spite of new European Union regulations for fairer prices for delivering goods inside the EU it appears that Croatia would have benefited more with an agreement with China. At the region’s largest congress on online shopping “Ecommerce Day 2018” the Croatian MEP, Biljana Borzan, commented that “95 percent of all the packages delivered to Croatia come from China.”
According to figures from last year deliveries directly from China to Croatia reached a peak, up 17 percent on 2016. In the fourth quarter of 2017 570,000 packages were delivered, and data shows that 542,000 came from China.
"I have been demanding that it is legally regulated because EU traders are discriminated against. They have to provide everything that Chinese merchants do not need, as well as offering a higher level of protection and customer confidence," commented Borzan.
Easter, one of the most important religious holidays of the year, is almost upon us and Dubrovnik is getting into the festive spirit.
Apart from the ancient Old City of Dubrovnik Easter decorations have also been installed in the Bay of Lapad and quite clearly young and old are enjoying the opportunity to have a photo with a giant Easter Bunny or a cute chick.
Check out this photo gallery from Tonci Plazibat
Zagreb Airport will be closed for two months from the 4th of April, but before you start cancelling flights the airport will work normally during the day.
Due to works on the runways and landing paths the Franjo Tuđman Airport will be closed from midnight on the 4th of April. It is believed that these works will last for two months and will be carried out at night after all the regular traffic for the day has either landed and departed.
The airport has stated that these works will in no way affect the regular flow of planes and the works couldn't have been carried out during the slower winter months as the temperatures were too cold for the concrete and either materials to function correctly.
One of the most important dates on the calendar in Dubrovnik is Easter. It is a time to respect the traditions that have been handed down from generation to generation for centuries.
Easter is a time that symbolises the birth of nature, a time when plants start to bud, when trees show their blossom, and it is a time for new life. This new life brought the custom of giving eggs and in Dubrovnik this custom has kept its original roots. Hand painted eggs are still given to loved ones at this time of year. Care and attention is paid to every small detail. These eggs are like little masterpieces. Often the eggs carry messages such as “I give my heart to you” or “Bless you at Easter”.
On Palm Sunday it is traditional to take plaited palm leaves to church. This particular custom is specific to Dalmatia and you often see plaited palm leaves decorating houses. Still today families teach their children the art of weaving the palm leaves. A special cake is also prepared at this time the Pinca. This cake is a like a sweet bread and rather plain.
Guests to the city at Easter will be delighted with the ancient customs that are still alive today. The feeling of a birth of a new life can be sensed everywhere. Warmer days are on the way and the city awakes from the winter slumber. Easter Sunday morning in the old city is the time when you’ll see just how much this day means to Dubrovnik.
Easter in Dubrovnik – respecting customs and a new beginning
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.
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.