Saturday, 19 September 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.


Prince Harry Prince Harry and Meghan Markle will walk down the aisle in the much anticipated wedding of the year tomorrow. The ceremony starts at exactly midday in the St. George’s Chapel in Windsor Castle and an hour later the newlyweds will tour Windsor in a horse drawn carriage.

The new Royal couple will delay their honeymoon, quite possibly until the autumn of this year, as they both have a busy schedule of public engagements lined up directly after the wedding.

Details as to the exact location are of course still a secret, however Rwanda, Mexico and Turkey have been rumoured as possible destinations. But could Croatia also be in the bidding.

Prince Harry will remember his last visit to Croatia as an action-packed holiday, which included letting his hair down on the party island of Hvar. Aa a 26 year-old in 2011 the young Prince with a group of friends had a party in the open-air Veneranda club on Hvar and even managed to end up in the swimming pool fully dressed.

After tomorrow these wilder bachelor days will be behind him but for sure he will have fond memories of the Croatia.

The tallest building in Croatia is currently under construction in Split. The Westgate Tower Split will be, when finished, 110 metres high with 27 floors and will officially be the tallest building in the country.

The whole project consists of two new tower block, the smaller block has already been completed and with is 12 floors is the head office for a bank. The taller brother will have both office space and residential space and even a hotel, with six underground floors and 27 floors it will have a total floor space of 35,000 square metres.

The hotel part of the new building will include 189 rooms and a spa, witness centre, conference centre and various restaurants and bars. In fact, it will be managed by the world famous brand Marriott.

The future Peljesac Bridge could well be the motivation for more co-operation between Croatia and China. The Vice-Chairman of the National People’s Congress, Cao Jianming, visited Croatia today and met with the Croatian President, Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic.

“Your visit to the People’s Republic of China has put a great wind in the sails of our relations,” commented Jianming in reference to the Croatian President’s official visit to the Chinese President XI Jinping.

Both officials said that the construction of the Peljesac bridge, for which the China Road and Bridge Corporation (CRBC) consortium signed the construction contract in April this year, was an important step in fostering the Croatian-Chinese relations, and for the European Union, the President’s Office said in a press release.

Vice Chairman Cao Jianming said that there was a notable rise in trade and mutual capital investments between the countries, as well as the number of Chinese tourists visiting Croatia.

On Monday 27 November 2017 The Prince of Wales announced the engagement of his son Prince Harry to Ms. Meghan Markle and this weekend the big day will be broadcast all over the world. But where and when can you watch the wedding of the year if you are in Croatia.

On the 19th of May at the St. George Chapel in Windsor the eyes of the world will be glued to the Royal Wedding. At exactly midday (GMT) the wedding service will start and the Dean of Windsor, the Rt Revd. David Conner, will conduct the ceremony.
Directly after the ceremony at 1.00pm (GMT) the newlyweds will leave the chapel and parade around Windsor in a horse-drawn carriage, and the mass celebrations will begin.

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The whole ceremony and celebrations will be streamed around the world and a global audience of millions and millions will tune in.

If you are planning to tune in whilst in Croatia you have a few options.

If you have satellite TV, then the BBC will be dedicating a full-day to the wedding as well as a whole host of international channels. And in Croatia the terrestrial TV station Nova TV will also broadcast the wedding from 11.30am to 3.15pm, or a total of 225 minutes of the Royal Wedding. In fact, the channel will produce a special show around the event of the year. “As the wedding approaches, preparations are getting more intense. Every day we inform about news and follow each step of the future bride. We will have experts in the studio who will comment on the guests, dress combinations, the wedding dress we can all wait to see, the significance of the royal family through history and many other interesting things,” commented Valentine Baus, a journalist of the news program Nova TV. The wedding will also be streamed live online through various providers, so you could even watch it on your phone on the beach. 

And the Royal Wedding will not only fill the screens of bars and restaurants throughout the UK but also in Croatia. UK tourists looking to catch a glimpse of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle will be able to go into most eateries and watering holes in the country and see the action live. Just remember that the UK is one hour behind Croatia, so don’t be late or early.

The millionth passenger to travel through Zagreb Airport was greeted today, a full 13 days earlier than in 2017. Mrs. Višnja Mrazovac, who was travelling on a direct flight from Zagreb to Dubai with Emirates, became the millionth passenger through the capital’s airport.

"I did not really expect this, I'm really surprised. I just read yesterday that they were expecting the millionth passenger through the Frano Tuđman Airport, but I could not even imagine that I would be me. We often travel with Emirates, we can hardly wait to use these charters,” commented Mrazovac. She was presented with gifts by Huseyin Bahadir Bedir, a member of the Board of the Zagreb International Airport and Predrag Popovic, Emirates Sales Director for Croatia and Slovenia.

The millionth passenger revealed that she had travelled to Duabi with her husband because her son works there and as she received a return ticket with Emirates to Dubai she will have the opportunity to travel again soon.

Zagreb’s INmusic Festival has been recognised by the prestigious New Musical Express (NME) magazine as one of the twelve most popular festivals in the world. This British publication placed the Zagreb festival alongside the Isle of Wight Festival, the Coachella in California and Portugal’s NOS Alive as a leading event on the festival calendar.

“A quarter of UK festival prices and no scrimping on the bill. Plus, INMusic is set across three islands in the middle of Lake Jarun in Zagreb – one island for the festival, two for camping – so it’s like an island holiday, a city break and a mother-fluffing rock’n’roll monsterfest all in one,” writes NME about the INmusic festival.

At this year’s festival, which will be held from the 25th to the 27th of June, the leading artists are Queens Of The Stone Age, Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, David Byrne and Alice In Chains.

Established in 2006, INmusic traditionally takes place over the third weekend in June and largely presents internationally renowned performers of indie rock and electronic music.

Fourteen different embassies in Croatia have called for more support with the fight against homophobia, transphobia and biphobia. Today, the 17th of May, is International Day against these three phobias and the Canadian Embassy invited other embassies in Zagreb to mark the day, and including Chile who are the co-chairs of the Equal Rights Coalition, twelve other embassies arrived.

The main purpose of the May 17 mobilisations is to raise awareness of violence, discrimination, and repression of LGBT communities worldwide, which in turn provides an opportunity to take action and engage in dialogue with the media, policymakers, public opinion, and wider civil society. One of the stated goals of May 17 is to create an event that can be visible at a global level without needing to conform to a specific type of action. This decentralized approach is needed due to the diversity of social, religious, cultural, and political contexts in which rights violations occur.

This year’s global theme is Alliance for Solidarity, and will focus on the need for solidarity among various minorities, as one group cannot ensure their rights if another group’s rights are neglected or violated.

The embassies of Canada and Chile, co-chairs of the Equal Rights Coalition, called on the diplomatic community in Croatia to celebrate the Day, and 12 embassies in Croatia accepted the invitation, joining forces with Rainbow Families, a Croatian NGO which provides support for LGBTQ couples and individuals.

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The number of Chinese tourists visiting Croatia is increasing year-on-year and figures just released by the Croatian National Tourist Board there has been a 40 percent increase this year.

The Croatian National Tourist Board (HTZ) is currently representing Croatia's tourist offer at the ITB China business fair, which is being held in Shanghai from the 16th to the 18th of May.

The Croatian offer is part of the large European Travel Commission booth, where 19 European companies, including the Zagreb City Tourist Board, are presenting their offer. The Croatian Information Desk and ETC stand was visited by Croatian National Tourist Board Director, Kristjan Staničić, who met with representatives of the Chinese tourism sector, including representatives of the Global Tourism Economy Forum (GTEF). GTEF is a leading international platform aimed at promoting the sustainable development of the global tourism industry with an emphasis on China.

"China for Croatian tourism is a strategically important market where our country, because of its extremely rich cultural and historical heritage, gastronomy and preserved nature, is recognized as Europe's top tourist destination. With a view to attracting Chinese visitors more intensively, we have decided to strengthen the promotional presence in this large market through organizing business workshops, performing at fairs, and also through the opening of the HTZ representative office in Shanghai. Partner feedback is extremely positive, we expect further growth, especially in the pre and post season, when Chinese tourists usually make their trips to Dubrovnik, Zagreb and Split, "said Staničić, adding that it is necessary to simplify the visa regime in this market, and to introduce direct flights between Croatian and Chinese destinations.

Obtaining a visa to travel to Croatia can take up to one month for Chinese tourists. Therefore, most are bypassing this prolonged system and taking a Schengen visa from France or the United Kingdom which they can receive in 48 hours. This multi-entry visa means they need to stop in either Paris or London on their way to Croatia. This poor bureaucracy is costing Croatian much needed finance as well as being bad promotion for Croatian tourism. Wang Shuai, a Chinese travel expert told The Dubrovnik Times “It can take at least one month to get a visa for Croatia. This is why most Chinese tourists take Schengen visa from France or the UK as these visas are ready in only 48 hours. Of course this means that the tourist has to travel through Paris or London because of their visa. If Croatia could speed up this visa process it would be very helpful.”

The Voice of Dubrovnik


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