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

The New York International Olive Oil Competition turned out to be a great success for Croatia! Croatians won 21 awards on world’s most important olive oil competition and earned a chance to give their olive oil the worldwide attention it deserves.

This year there were over 800 entries from 27 countries. Entries were placed into 24 categories including organic. non-organic, blends and monovarietals, Northern and Southern Hemispheres and by intensity.

Among the Croatian oils, the best results were achieved by Vergal Frantoio from Laguna Novigrad and M 'Olive Oil by OPG Makek from Rovinj. Vergal was proclaimed the finest in the class of delicate monosortal oils of the northern hemisphere, while M 'Olive Oil was proclaimed the finest in the class of delicate blends of northern hemisphere. Twelve oils won gold and seven silver medals – reports Kult Plave Kamenice.

Every country in the world has historic, natural, religious and tourist attractions worth visiting and seeing, but sometimes, due to the lack of time or perhaps money, it can be difficult to choose which one of them to pay a visit.

However, there is a solution thanks to the world's largest travel site TripAdvisor and Ivan Bengeri from Croatia who published a very interesting map on his popular website Bengeri.com – Idemo putovati, piti, jesti (Let's travel, drink and eat). You can see the big  map here.

The map shows the most popular tourist attractions in 196 world countries based on data from TripAdvisor's ''Things to Do'' in every country.

When it comes to countries such as Peru, India, China or Canada most people have already heard of their most popular attractions Machu Picchu, Taj Mahal, the Great Wall, and Niagara Falls, but you might be quite surprised by the selection of locations, for example, in the UK, France or Brazil.  
One way or the other, this map will give you at least 196 reasons to travel so here is the list of  just a few of the most popular attractions around the globe:

UK – Harry Potter Studio Tour
Ireland – Killarney National Park
Norway – Geiranger Fjord
Poland – Main Market Square
France- Musee d'Orsay
Luxembourg – American Cemetery Memorial
Denmark – Nyhavn
Andorra – Grandvalira Ski Resort
Croatia – Ancient City Walls
Brazil – Iguazu Falls
Mexico – National Museum of Anthropology
USA – Central Park
Australia – Sydney Harbour
New Zealand – Museum of New Zealand.

Dreaming of the last-minute holiday? This is the right time to book a flight to Dubrovnik! According to Condé Nast Traveller, our city is one of six best late Spring getaways, that should be visited in May and June, before everyone else.

- With ideal temperatures, smaller crowds, and a true locals’ scene, spring shoulder season is arguably the most underrated travel time of the year – it is explained in the article that recommends six destinations: Sveti Stefan, Montenegro, Surfside, Florida, Beverly Hills, California, Dominica, Caribbean, Barcelona, Spain and Dubrovnik, Croatia.

It’s beautiful to see Dubrovnik on this short, but sweet list. Condé Nast Traveller recommends visitors to spend four to five days in the city.

-Dubrovnik’s emerging status officially ended once Game of Thrones started filming in its medieval Old Town. But, truth be told, Dubrovnik’s now hyper-popular fortressed center is just the beginning of the Croatia fairytale, and the city is worth far more than a 36-hour stopover on a grand European tour – it’s explained in the article.

‘’US nationals crossing the Atlantic should require additional travel documents as long as citizens from five EU countries (Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Poland and Romania) are kept from entering America without a visa'', the European Parliament said after a mini plenary session held on the 2nd of March 2017.

However, things have improved significantly in the last two months. According to the latest press release from the European Commission, the Commission has decided not to suspend visa waivers for Canadians and the US citizens.

The EU Commission explained that due to the significant progress achieved during the last year and the positive momentum of ongoing work, they considered that the temporary suspension of visa waivers for nationals of Canada and the United States would be counterproductive. The Commission also emphasized that the suspension would not serve the main goal of achieving visa-free travel for all EU citizens to these two countries.

On this occasion, Dimitris Avramopoulos, the EU Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship commented, ‘’Our goal is and remains to obtain full visa reciprocity with both Canada and the US. Our continued engagement and patient diplomatic contacts over the past year have brought tangible results already with Canada, and we are committed to proceeding in the same way with the United States. Dialogue with our strategic partners is the right way forward and we are on the right track’’.

According to the data of E-visitor system, Dubrovnik has achieved record tourism results for the first months of this year! From January 1st to April 30th 2017, 147 096 tourists stayed in Dubrovnik, which is an increase of 21 percent compared to the same period last year. There were 425 287 overnight stays, or 28 percent more than last year. In the first four months the most numerous visitors were from Croatia, UK, USA, France, Austria, Germany, Korea, Spain, Finland and Japan.

In this period, the highest number of arrivals was generated at hotel facilities (113 695), which is an increase of 11 percent, but private accommodation also improved (23 387 arrivals) and that is a huge increase of 75 percent compared to the same period last year. There were 311 977 overnight stays in hotels (17 percent more) and in private accommodation 80 766 (67 percent more).

April 2017 was the best April ever in Dubrovnik! Only during this month there were 87 145 arrivals, which is 45 percent more than in April 2016. Also, there were 271 210 overnight stays, or 56 percent more than 2016. UK guests were the more numerous, followed by tourists from USA, Austria, France, Germany, Croatia, Spain, Finland, Korea and Ireland.

According to the traditional analysis of camping prices in Europe, published every year by ADAC from Germany, the price of camping in Croatian camps remains very competitive and amounts to 39,60 Euros on average (for one night, two adults+one child, including related expenses).

Therefore, on the ADAC list Croatia placed as the 6th in terms of camp expensiveness, following Switzerland and Italy (45,39 Euros) and Denmark, the Netherlands, and Spain (39,89 Euros) which are more expensive than camps in the Republic of Croatia.

''This analysis shows that camps in France are cheaper than our campsites with a camping price of 36,55 Euros. On the other hand, Germany as a country with more than 33 percent of German guests in our camps, is among the cheapest ones with a camping price of 28,54 Euros. Italy has risen its camping prices by 4,8 percent, Spain by 2,8 percent, whilst the prices of camping in France remained the same as in the previous year'', explained Croatian Camping Union (KUH).

In addition, an analysis for 2016 shows that a camping price in Croatian campsites was 38,16 percent, which indicates an increase by 3,8 percent in 2017.

A few days ago a world popular aircraft Douglas DC-6B from the Red Bull fleet landed at Dubrovnik Airport.

Manufactured in Douglas, Santa Monica, in 1958, the plane was sold to the state owned Yugoslavian airline JAT. The president of the former Yugoslavia Josip Broz Tito ordered a luxury model for himself and his celebrity guests. In 1975, Tito sold the plane to Zambia’s head of state Kenneth Kaunda who also used the DC-6B as a luxury airliner – until he left her abandoned outside Lusaka airport.

In 2000, Red Bull bought the plane in Africa and flew her to Austria to her new base in Salzburg. Restoration began the following year and after thousands of hours of work, the DC-6B plane left the workshop in all her glory three years later.

Nowadays Douglas DC-6B is part of the so-called ‘’Hangar 7’’ in Salzburg which is not a hangar in a traditional sense but a multifunctional building with a collection of 25 historical airplanes, helicopters and Formula One racing cars. It is open for visitors, whilst some of the aircraft regularly perform at various air shows around the world.

Croatia is a country well known for its maritime and tourism industry, and when these two combine, a result is an interesting tourist offer.

In 2013, Croatia got its first boat hotel or simply botel, which is one of its kind on the whole of the Mediterranean. This charming and unique boat hotel is situated in the centre of the largest Croatian port - Rijeka.

After more than 70 years of navigation, the moored boat ''Marina'' was moved from its homeport on the island of Losinj to the port of Rijeka and was redecorated into the botel. Apart from the unique accommodation onboard Marina with 35 cabins and 112 beds with private bathrooms, there is also a restaurant with traditional Croatian cuisine and Mediterranean specialties as well as a charming coffee & wine bar.

It is interesting to note that a memorial room on the bridge, the former space that was restored, is available for guests on sightseeing, as well as the exhibition of a large number of items such as various drafts, diaries, and similar documents from the last century used during Marina's voyages.   
The Marina Botel was built in Frederikshavn, Denmark in 1936. Her godmother at launching was the Swedish princess, after whom she got her first name Kronprinsessan Ingrid. She was a very modern boat at the time, and she used to sail between the ports in Scandinavia.

In 1955, the new owner had changed her name into Christofer Pohlem, whilst in 1963 her next owner named her Marina. In 1969, the boat was purchased by the Croatian maritime company Losinjska plovidba. Marina had regularly sailed in the Adriatic between Zadar and Venice until 2005, when she became an attraction in Mali Losinj. In 2013, she was renovated into a botel in Rijeka with an investment of 2 million Euros.



                  Photo by http://www.botel-marina.com

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