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 sixth annual Allianz Risk Barometer has identified the Top 10 Global Business Risks for 2017. The research carried out by the leading global insurance company Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty (AGCS) was based on the insight of 1,237 risk experts from 55 countries worldwide.
Business companies from all over the world are preparing themselves for a year full of uncertainty due to the major political, legal and regulatory developments around the globe. There are many corporate perils that concern them as well but what troubles world companies most are actual or anticipated losses from business interruption.
According to the Allianz Risk Barometer for 2017, business interruption is the top risk for the fifth year in a row. It is followed by market developments, cyber incidents, natural catastrophes, changes in legislation and regulation, macroeconomic developments, fire and explosion, political risks and violence, loss of reputation or brand value, and new technologies.
''The biggest risks that the corporate sector in Croatia recognizes are related to business conditions and maintenance of experience from previous years. Our companies emphasize frequent changes in legislation and regulation as one of the major problems in doing business on the Croatian market'', stated Kristijan Buk, a member of the Directorate of Finance at Allianz Zagreb.
It's interesting to note that German and British entrepreneurs are most afraid of cyber attacks, the Japanese worry about natural catastrophes, companies from Greece and China fear from macroeconomic developments, the Slovaks are afraid of fire, whilst Russians and Hungarians fear from changes in legislation and regulation.
One thing on everybody's mind in Dubrovnik this week is the weather. We are experiencing below freezing temperatures and snow fall which is quite unusual. Still, listening to some of our people going on about the weather you might think there is an end-of-days ice age upon us. Realistically, it's not that bad, but then again, I might be biased seeing how most of my work in January takes place in the confines of a warm office. It’s fair to say, I am enjoying winter. There is one thing on my mind that's putting a dent in my mood, though. It's too cold to ride my motorcycle. I kept postponing a short motorcycle trip to test my new travel gear during December and now it's too cold to even try. The rush of 7-day work week and insane pressure to make money will be upon me in no time and I might end up not finding the time to do so much as a weekend ride across the border before the summer season starts.
Taking a few days off to ride around for my own piece of mind is impossible for much of the year because of work. My best bet for travelling is a period of late autumn and beginning of winter. Unfortunately, in 2016 life got in the way and I ended the year on a very sour note having done no trips outside of Dubrovnik. Maybe I come off sounding like a seasoned motorcycle veteran, but I'm far from it. By the time I was 30 I have never ridden a proper motorcycle (maxi scooters don't count). Then I finally got one and planned on doing some travelling with it just to see if it's as fun as it looks. After a few years and couple of shorter trips I finally ventured out on a 5-day ride through several countries in late 2015. It was raining most of the time, there were mechanical problems along the way, even some minor health issues, but by the time it was done, I knew I was hooked.
There is something about simply hitting the road and driving away from my everyday life that always gets my heart racing. Venturing into the unknown, preferably alone, is just about the best feeling you can experience. When you find yourself in a place foreign to you, it’s easy to put things in perspective and reflect on your life with a clear mind. It’s therapeutic.
There was a moment of epiphany during my 2015 ride that I will probably never forget. It was Day 2 of the trip and I was crossing from Macedonia into Greece during a very rainy day. I was navigating using a map (trying to be old-school) and managed to take a wrong turn which lead me to a small town of Florina, outside of the planned route. Within Florina the rain started pouring down like crazy and it made navigation even more difficult. Soon, I was simply picking out where to go on a hunch, hoping to get back out to the main road. Being of particularly calm disposition, it didn’t take long for me to start shouting at myself and calling myself an idiot. You can do that when you have a helmet on, people around you usually don’t realise you are shouting. Strangely, that didn’t help my navigation skills and I ended up on an unknown road, riding through a small settlement somewhere outside of town feeling lost and stupid.
I calmed down enough to start thinking about it more clearly and it dawned on me the main reason for my frustration was simply moving slower than originally planned. The fact I was lost had nothing to do with it. In fact, after a while, I didn’t even feel lost. I knew where I was: on a road in Greece passing by some old guy’s garage. It was then I realised that “being lost” is a very strange concept. In the majority of situations, it’s simply not being able to describe where you are using terms someone else wrote down on a map. That, in itself is not a good or a bad thing. If you simply follow the road it will lead you somewhere. It’s up to you to figure out if that’s where you want to be or continue travelling.
When you are discovering new places, broadening your horizons, you can’t really get lost. You can only discover things different from those you originally planned. There’s nothing to be afraid of, because every road leads somewhere.
Bozidar Jukic, AKA The Restless Native, is a Dubrovnik local with too many interests to name them all, with writing being at the very top of the list. He is a lover of good food, music and film, and a firm believer in the healing power of laughter. His professional orientation is towards tourism and travel so it comes as no surprise he spends most of his time alongside Mrs. Jukic running their own local tour company. Their goal is helping travellers from all over the world get a more intimate experience of Dubrovnik and what it has to offer. To find out more about their work, visit their website or Facebook page.
The tourism industry in Croatia has always had the biggest impact on the recovery of the country's economy; however, this segment of the economy greatly depends on the economic health of Croatia's major trading partners. Therefore, it is interesting to note two opposing trends from Italy and Germany, the two biggest Croatian partners.
Germany has recorded highs in industrial production as well as a significant growth in manufacturing and construction. That could be a great opportunity for Croatia to boost export of raw materials and the production of spare parts to Germany, whilst the construction industry traditionally has positioned well on the German market thus domestic companies can expect new contracts.
In the first ten months of 2016 Croatia exported goods worth almost 9 billion Kunas to Germany and recorded an increase in export growth by 9 percent which is an indication of Germany's openness for Croatian products. The pace of export growth suggests that in 2017 Germany will be an even more important partner for the export business, much bigger than Slovenia which is the second largest export market for Croatia. However, the country imports from Germany twice as much as it exports to the German market.
As far as the other trading partners are concerned, Italy is still deeply affected by the crisis. The most recent data on unemployment in the European Union show that 11.4 percent of Italians are out of work, whilst 38.8 percent of young people are looking for a job.
However, the pessimism of Italian consumers hasn't affected Croatia so far. Data shows that the country's import on the Italian market in the first ten months of 2016 increased by 4 percent, i.e. Croatia exported goods worth 10 billion Kunas to Italy. However, if this crisis continues until the next summer season, the question is whether Croatia will still be able to count on 5.2 million overnight stays which Italian tourists achieved in Croatia in 2016.
The impact of the economy on the exports of Croatia is also shown by the rapid jump in exports to the market of the United States which increased by an incredible 60 percent in only a year. The base was low so the export value was only 2.6 billion Kunas, however, the United States is one of the few major countries to which Croatia exports more than it imports from. Due to the rapid growth of the US economy, it is time for Croatia to strengthen cooperation with one of the largest global players for international trade.
From Mlini to Kupari, Zupa brought some breathtaking snow views. This Dubrovnik muncipality is beautiful every day but with snow it really got a look of the 'winter wonderland'. Since snow is so rare in Dubrovnik it brought a great joy to people and inspiration to photographers.
Two years ago a beekeeper from Vinkovci came up with an idea to make an original souvenir of beeswax - a replica of the oldest European calendar. Recently he presented his new product to the public.
Goran Ferbezar, the beekeeper from Vinkovci in eastern Croatia made a vessel of beeswax, i.e. a replica of the Orion, the oldest Indo-European calendar. The thought that encouraged him to make this souvenir is an unused potential of the oldest settlement in Europe in the promotion of the Slavonian city. As he manufactures various beeswax products, he came up with an idea to create a replica of the Orion calendar.
Goran's friend who is a sculptor, helped him make a plaster model of the Orion vessel with engraved symbols which he used in making a rubber mould. ''I pour beeswax in this mould and create a beeswax replica. So far the reactions have been very positive; few companies from Vinkovci have already ordered my latest product. The Tourist Board of Vinkovci has also shown an interest in the beeswax replica as well as the City Museum which will include the replica in their offer of souvenirs'', explained Goran who has made 50 souvenirs in the last two months.
He also designed an attractive packaging for the replica with a short instructive explanation about Orion and the reason that makes this archaeological artefact such a remarkable finding.
The Orion vessel in Vinkovci was discovered by the archaeologist Aleksandar Durman at the site of the present-day Hotel Slavonia in 1978, however, he deciphered the meaning of the vessel symbols twenty years later.
After the examination of the vessel, Durman realized that engraved ornaments represented the constellations which dominated the night sky above Vinkovci.
The Orion vessel represents the oldest calendar in Europe which dates back to 2600 BC. The calendar is based on astral symbolism and was designed at the same time as the Sumerian and Egyptian calendars.
The Croatian national carrier Croatia Airlines has become the 54th member of the European Regions Airline Association (ERA), a non-profit trade association which represents almost 200 companies involved in European air transport, including airlines, airframe and engine manufacturers, airports, suppliers and service providers from all over Europe.
On this occasion Kresimir Kucko, the CEO of Croatia Airlines commented, ''We are pleased to become a member of ERA, such a reputable association. I believe that Croatia Airlines, as a regional leader in Southeast Europe, with its 28-year long experience will contribute to the successful operation of this organisation, which promotes healthy and safe European regional aviation market''. Kucko also added that membership in ERA would additionally improve the international reputation of the national carrier and open excellent opportunities to respond to the current business challenges.
''I'm looking forward to the future cooperation with all ERA members in our efforts to make air transport an even more important factor of the economic development and connection of the whole Europe”, said Kucko.
Simon McNamara, the ERA Director General expressed his satisfaction in welcoming Croatia Airlines as the newest ERA member. ''I’m very much looking forward to working with Croatia Airlines on many issues and challenges that affect European aviation. Croatia Airlines' decision to join ERA increases our influence on Europe’s regulatory bodies and adds further strength to our expanding airline membership'', commented McNamara.
Croatia Airlines is the second carrier from the former Yugoslavia to become a member of the association after Adria Airways. ERA assists with lobbying, campaign work and networking opportunities for its members.
Snow in Dubrovnik is something really unusual, even during the winter months. So today we got really carried away and caught up in this fairytale when we woke up with the snow falling down. Red roofs have turned white while the whole City got its winter coat on. Don't miss these magical photographs made by Tonci Plazibat.
The best way to capture the beauty of the snow in the historic Old City of Dubrovnik today was from a bird’s eye view. This amazing video was recorded today over the snow covered terracotta roof of the Old City by 2thesign and it truly is fantastic.
Check out this aerial view of Dubrovnik by 2thesign