Monday, 17 June 2019
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

Summer has finally arrived in Dubrovnik with temperatures this weekend expected to dip over thirty degrees and the Adriatic Sea is slowly warming up. It certainly should be a weekend to rinse out the swimming costumes and head for the beaches.

And the City of Dubrovnik is hard at work preparing the beaches for the summer bonanza. A total of 28 beaches in Dubrovnik have had floating protective barriers installed for swimmers, in a new maintenance of public beaches project.

The administration department for tourism, the economy and the sea in February launched a procurement procedure for the purchase of protective fences and related material. The procurement value was 123,503.13 Kunas, and the execution of service that included the installation, maintenance and removal of the fences was 94,000 Kuna.

The current sea temperature in Dubrovnik is around 20 degrees in the morning, rising to 22.5 degrees in the afternoon hours, perfect for swimming.

 

The Borough of Konavle has embarked on a project of horticultural planning at several locations around Cavtat.

The new intersection into Cavtat from the main coastal road from the airport to Dubrovnik has given Cavtat a much safer and more effective arrival into Cavtat and now this is one of the sites that is in need of some greenery. In fact, this is only one of the many sites around Cavtat that will receive a new horticultural face-lift. The park area in Cavtat, the path between the hotels Albatros and Epidaurus and existing green areas will all get a new greener look in this project from the borough.

Cavtat and the Borough of Konavle are participating in this year's International “Golden Flower” project and Cavtat is this year's Croatian representative in this selection.

 

“Don’t spend what you haven’t got, cash is the king,” was a phrase my father basically lives his life by, I know because I must have heard it a million times when I was growing up. Meaning my credit card is pretty much untouched, I have no payment device on my mobile phone and I have never had an American Express or Diners card.

Of course being a cash only person can have its drawbacks, apart from the obvious one of not having any cash to be a cash only person.

The last time I went to the UK to visit my family we all went to a mammoth shopping centre. Of course being a man a day in shopping centre is about as interesting as a day at the dentists. My sister was flashing cards around faster than a poker dealer in a Las Vegas casino, from a new bra to a large cappuccino, everything was on plastic, she literally didn’t have any notes in her purse.

Wanting to join in the shopping spree I decided to treat myself to a new shirt, but realising that I had a shortfall in my wallet I asked the shop assistant where the nearest ATM was. “Errr, I think there are some near the blue entrance,” she said unconvincingly. Yes, firstly this shopping centre was so large it had coloured entrances so you could remember where you actually came it, there was even a little train that would take you to the entrance. And secondly she looked completely bewildered that someone had asked her for the cash machines. It would appear that my sister was part of a much larger “plastic only” club. When I finally found the ATMs they were almost hidden under the stairs by the toilets. There was no queue at all, and quite possibly dust on the keys of the machines. And yes just three ATMs for a shopping centre the size of Šipan.

When I put my card in there was even a slightly delay whilst presumably the machine woke from its slumber. And to my horror many, many businesses in the UK don’t accept cash anymore. One example is the new football stadium that Tottenham Hotspur FC have recently opened. It proudly boasts that it is a “cash free” stadium. You want a beer, a scarf or even a £1 Mars bar then you pay by credit card or some form of electronic payment.

All of this of course begs the question why, oh why do we need a forest of flashing, brightly coloured ATMs through the Old City. If our most frequent tourists are from the UK, and they are, and Americans who have a similar if not worse love for plastic, are the second mot numerous who in God’s name is using these machines. Clearly somebody is. I mean if the banks and the money exchange office weren’t making money then they certainly wouldn’t install them. And especially when they are handing over up to €2,000 for the privilege of having your machine on the Stradun.

Of course it naturally raises another question. How much bloody money do banks and money exchanges earn from each transaction if they can afford to pay such sky-high amounts? Every time we slip our cards into an ATM it’s like the bank sees the wheels spinning on a one-arm bandit.

Yes, of course the Stradun looks an absolute disaster with so many electronic ATMs, that goes without saying. And yes something should have been done to solve the situation long before it got this bad. I remember, all those years ago, just two ATMs on the Stradun, Dubrovacka Banka and Zagrebacka Banka. But with just two machines I can never really remember having to queue for a long time. Yes, there were less tourists then, but still an explosion from 2 to almost 40 seems a little extreme.

Is there any way to stop the growth? Probably not. But I am also pretty sure that this wave of ATMs will soon hit the shores and die anyway. Cash is, unfortunately, an analogue form of payment and we now live in a digital world. It will be similar to all of these other phases that come and go. Just like the moon, we all go through phases. And now we are going through the ugly ATM phase. As the British would say “Keep calm and carry on!” 

   

The European Commission President, Jean Claude Juncker, arrived in Dubrovnik yesterday on the first part of official visit to Croatia. The leaning man of the European Commission met with Croatian Prime Minister, Andrej Plenkovic, as well as the Mayor of Dubrovnik and the County Prefect and together they started their meetings with a stroll along the main street through the historic Old City of Dubrovnik, the Stradun.

juncker dubrovnik

 

Juncker, who has been the President of the European Commission since 2014, saw for first-hand the landmarks of the city and then the group sat in a Dubrovnik restaurant where they discussed the important topics related to the future of the European Union and Croatia’s role in a new union without the UK.

Plenkovic also explained the ongoing development of the Dubrovnik Airport, where EU funds are being used to seriously expand the airport, and Plenkovic added that Croatia will continue to invest in infrastructure projects directly from European funds.

Today Juncker is in the Croatian capital where he will meet with Croatian President, Kolinda Grabar Kitarovic.

jean clause junkcer dubrovnik

 

The first nonstop flight from the US to Croatia in 28 years will land this Saturday at Dubrovnik Airport as an American Airlines flight from Philadelphia start a new chapter in Dubrovnik’s tourism industry. And the Croatian Minister of Tourism, Gari Cappelli, is hopeful that the direct connections won’t stop there. He commented that he is hopeful that the Croatian capital Zagreb will received direct flights from New York next summer.

Talking to the Croatian Radio Television the Minister said that negotiations are underway with airlines to launch new flights for the summer of 2020.

This possible second direct flight from the US would certainly open a whole new market for Zagreb’s tourism industry which has seen a recent boom in tourist numbers and great interest especially throughout the winter months with the Advent in Zagreb proving a huge hit.

The American Airlines flights from Philadelphia to Dubrovnik are already extremely popular with the airline having to add an extra weekly flight in September due to the demand. American Airlines will connect Dubrovnik to this important US hub three times a week from this Saturday and all indications are that tickets sales are going very well.

 

Some people are just so impatient to catch the ferry that they will do absolutely anything to get to the front of the queue.
This unfortunate driver took his car for a dip in the Adriatic this morning whilst waiting for the ferry between the island of Korcula and Orebic on the Peljesac Peninsular.

The photo of the sinking car was uploaded onto the Facebook page of Radio Korcula and immediately brought a wave of comments, from “It must be that the ferry tickets are too expensive for him,” to “That’s how you deep clean a car.”

Whether the driver simply forgot to pull the handbrake and if there was a fault with the car is still unclear. Whatever the case the driver won’t forget this incident in a hurry.

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Croatian business turned a net loss into a net profit according to new figures just released showing that in 2018 Croatian businesses earned 28.3 billion Kuna. If you take into that in 2017 Croatian businesses made a net loss of almost 3.1 billion Kuna this is quite an impressive turnaround.

The figures from the state Financial Agency show that there are 131,117 businesses across the country that are in the taxation on profit bracket and in 2018 they earned revenues of 751.2 billion Kuna, with their expenses around 715 billion Kuna. It must be pointed out that the real figure on profits would be higher if banks, insurance companies and financial institutions were also calculated. However, the profit and these three large organisations are separate from the rest of business.

Compared to 2017, the profit earned by businesses rose by 15.2 percent while the loss dropped by 57.4 percent. This all resulted in a net profit of more than 28.2 billion Kuna. In 2017, a net loss of slightly below 3.1 billion Kuna was incurred.

The Croatian company with the highest revenue was the petrol and oil giant INA, in 2018 they reported revenues of 18.4 billion Kuna, which also gave them the largest profit in 2018 at 1.3 billion Kuna.

 

Croatia Airlines has shown an ecological-friendly face by banning plastic cups on all of its flights. The national airline of Croatia stated that “In line with current trends and legal requirements in the area of environmental protection, Croatia Airlines is discontinuing the use of plastic cups on all flights."

And for the flights between the Croatian capital and Dubrovnik the plastic cups have been replaced by rather snazzy paper cups featuring an image of Dubrovnik as well as the slogan of the Dubrovnik Tourist Board – Dubrovnik, A City for All Seasons.

By switching from plastic cups to paper cups Croatia Airlines will remove some 26 tonnes of plastic waste per year. A great example of green thinking by Croatia Airlines.

 

The Voice of Dubrovnik

THE VOICE OF DUBROVNIK


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