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.
After 11 new cases of coronavirus were recorded in Croatia yesterday, in the last 24 hours, 12 new cases of coronavirus infection were recorded, so far a total of 2,281 people across Croatia have contracted Covid-19.
Today’s new cases of Covid-19 in Croatia are from the City of Zagreb, the Zagreb County, and the Split-Dalmatia County.
The Director of the Clinic for Infectious Diseases Dr. Fran Mihaljević, Alemka Markotić, told Večernji list that citizens have relaxed a little too much and that it was necessary to remain responsible.
“Distance is important, more and more people are not keeping their distance, even in stores, face masks have to be worn and hand hygiene. We want to be well, to rest, to have tourism. If we spoil it all, we will have to impose restrictions," Markotic said.
There are no new cases of coronavirus infection in the Dubrovnik-Neretva County over the past 24-hour period, and the remaining samples sent to Zagreb for testing on Thursday are all negative.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, 3,341 samples have been sent for analysis to Zagreb.
There is not a single person in self-isolation in the area of the county, and there isn’t one Covid-19 patient in the Dubrovnik general Hospital.
The last case of Covid-19 in the Dubrovnik – Neretva County was back on the 8th of May this year.
The president of the National Civil Protection Headquarters and Interior Minister, Davor Bozinovic, said on Thursday that currently, despite 11 new coronavirus infections, there are no indications that some measures should be tightened. However, the possibility always remains that some restrictions could be brought back in.
"We will see in which direction this new virus centre we have goes," Bozinovic told Nova TV, noting that the headquarters always said that they were balancing measures between economic activities and protection of life.
He noted that they are constantly discussing and analysing the situation and will, depending on that, decide on some measures and recommendations and inform the public about it, but, as he said, they are not at that stage yet.
"If you travel to Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia and other countries in the region, there really must be a reason for going, and not go for something you can do without," Bozinovic said, adding that they had long ago stated that cross-border movement carries risks with it.
As for tourism, he said that the Headquarters were clearly attempting to save this tourist season as much as possible, adding that Croatia has a favourable epidemiological situation. However, he added that tourist arrivals of citizens from third countries will not be allowed to arrive any time soon. "We will certainly not go into full liberalization in the foreseeable future. The European Commission has issued recommendations, we will see the epidemiological situation", concluded Božinović.
British Airways have announced the return of flights to Croatia from this July. Three Croatian destinations will receive flights from British Airways, Zagreb, Split and Dubrovnik. According to an article on Croatian Aviation British Airways had planned flights to Croatia at one point even for June, this did not happen, mainly due to restrictions imposed by the UK government.
At the moment, 14 days of self-isolation after arrival in the UK is still mandatory, but companies based in this country are putting pressure on the authorities to lift this restriction, which would greatly facilitate the re-establishment of air traffic. The UK government have already stated that they will review the self-isolation regulation on the 29th of June.
According to current information, British Airways intends to launch three routes to Croatia from July, to Zagreb, Split and Dubrovnik, with flights from Heathrow and Gatwick.
This will be a much needed shot in the arm for Croatia’s tourism industry, not least for Dubrovnik where traditionally UK tourists are the most numerous. BA have announced that they will fly to Dubrovnik from the 16th of July, three times a week, on Mondays, Thursdays and Saturdays, from London Gatwick. This is much less than they flew last year, when the airline operated 11 flights a week to Dubrovnik, but nevertheless these flights will still open up Dubrovnik to UK tourists.
BA have announced a similar flight schedule for the capital, Zagreb, with three flights a week, from the 9th of July, on Mondays, Thursdays and Saturdays. And from London Heathrow to Split, from the 9th of July, on Mondays, Thursdays, Fridays and Sundays.
And BA isn’t the only UK airline to restart flights to Europe and Croatian destinations, EasyJet, Jet2.com and others all look set to restart flights in July. Of course a lot will depend on the future decision of the UK government and whether they decided to lift the 14-day self-isolation regulation. This regulation was introduced on the 8th of June and was heavily opposed by the UK travel industry. The regulation means that all those arriving in the UK, including British citizens, have to declare an address where they will self-isolate for two weeks, with those who fail to do so facing a fine.
According to the eVisitor tourist check-in and check-out system, there were 4,253 overnight stays in Dubrovnik last weekend, from 12 to 15 June, and as of 13 June, 1,303 tourists stayed in Dubrovnik, mostly from Croatia and Germany.
During the mentioned period, 2,070 overnight stays were realized in hotel accommodation, 1,426 in private accommodation, while a smaller number of overnight stays were realized in other forms of accommodation. Currently, 14 hotels and a little more than fifty restaurants are open in the city, and yesterday, with the landing of the first flight of Air Baltic, with 96 passengers on a flight from Riga, international air traffic to Dubrovnik was re-established.
A special promotional campaign of the City of Dubrovnik and the Tourist Board of the City of Dubrovnik began on June 15, which includes numerous discounts and benefits for all visitors to the city of Dubrovnik, and lasts until the end of June. With a big discounts on ticket prices for the iconic City Walls and the Lokrum Reserve, many hotels, private renters, travel agencies and restaurants offer their services at reduced prices.
Free entrance for all visitors is offered by the Trsteno Arboretum, Lazareti, the Homeland War Museum and the Dubrovnik Museums (Cultural and Historical Museum in the Rector's Palace, Maritime Museum in St. John's Fortress, Ethnographic Museum in the Rupa granary, exhibitions of the Archaeological Museum in the Revelin Fortress), the Home of Marin Drzic and the Dubrovnik Art Gallery. Dubrovnik museums have new opening hours and the institutions will be open from 10:00 to 18:00 from Tuesday to Sunday.
The 71st Dubrovnik Summer Festival will be held this year from 10 July to 25 August as previously announced, but in a reduced form due to epidemiological measures against COVID-19 currently in force in Croatia and worldwide as well as to financial consequences of the pandemic. The festival audiences of all generations will be presented with nearly fifty theatre, music, dance, folklore and other performances on more than ten site-specific locations and stages in Dubrovnik.
The 71st Dubrovnik Summer Festival opening ceremony, directed by Marina Pejnović, will take place at the Old City Port on Friday, 10 July. On this occasion, the Dubrovnik Symphony Orchestra will be conducted by Tomislav Fačini and they will be joined by the Croatian Radio and Television Jazz Orchestra which will be conducted by Miron Hauser and pianist Aljoša Jurinić, mezzo-soprano Dubravka Šeparović Mušović and saxophonist Ivan Bonačić, with participation of the Festival Drama Ensemble and Linđo Folklore Ensemble.
Theatre programme of the 71st Dubrovnik Summer Festival brings the premiere of Marin Držić’s Grižula directed by Saša Božić and Petra Hrašćanec and performed by the Festival Drama Ensemble in collaboration with the Zagreb Academy of Dramatic Art as part of the Future Epics project co-funded by the EU Creative Europe programme. The play will be performed in Gradac Park. Dubrovnik Mirrors is a peripatetic play based on the poetry of Dubrovnik’s past and present poets and its main scenes will be performed on three different locations. It is directed by Dora Ruždjak Podolski in collaboration with Marina Pejnović, while Hrvoje Ivanković is the dramaturge and author of the text, bringing together a number of artists that have shaped the history of the festival throughout the years as well as young independent artists supported and promoted by the festival. Mara and Kata is the title of a project inspired by Radio Dubrovnik’s legendary show At Home With the Gossipmongers. The play is written and directed by Saša Božić and performed by Doris Šarić Kukuljica and Nataša Dangubić. After last year’s success of productions for children, this year the youngest festival audiences can look forward to the musical stage play The Golden Book which will present fairy tales from the Dubrovnik area on the playground of Collegium Ragusinum. Co-produced by the Dubrovnik Summer Festival and Marin Držić Theatre with the support of the Caboga Stiftung Foundation, the play is directed by Helena Petković and Ivan Končić is the author of music, which will be performed under the baton of Franko Klisović.
The Festival also brings two productions of the City Puppet Theatre Split, Home Dwellers by Ana Marija Veselčić, co-produced with the Split Art Academy, and Goga the Millipede based on Adrijana Grgičević’s text, co-produced with the Poco Loco Theatre. Both plays will be performed in the atrium of the Inter-University Centre Dubrovnik. European project Future Epics brings visiting performances of the dance production Embrace choreographed by Meleat Fredriksson and produced by the Vytlicke Centre for Performing Arts from Sweden, in which dancers explore ‘black’ or ‘African view’ as a way of questioning dominant values within the western society, and the play Intimacy, authored by Biljana Srbljanović and Andrej Nosov, produced by the Heartefact Fund from Belgrade. The Festival audiences will also have the opportunity to enjoy another two visiting hit productions in Gradac Park: Bobo Jelčić’s Three Sisters based on Chekhov, performed by the Croatian National Theatre of Zagreb, and produced by Ulysses Theatre and Belgrade Drama Theatre and directed by Lenka Udovički with Rade Šerbedžija in the leading role. A performance Marta and Seven Fears by the KunstTeatar from Zagreb will be held in cooperation with the Split Summer Festival, as well as the performance Up and Up by Dance Ensemble Company from Zagreb in cooperation with the Croatian Dance Network.
Who is Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
The staples of the 71st Dubrovnik Summer Festival’s music programme are distinguished Croatian musicians, winners of prestigious international awards and contests, and the programme opens on 11 July with Aljoša Jurinić’s piano recital in the Rector’s Palace Atrium. Apart from being one of Croatia’s most promising young musicians and the winner of the Vladimir Nazor Award in 2015 and Milka Trnina Award in 2017, Aljoša Jurinić is also the winner of the prestigious Robert Schumann Competition for Pianists, finalist of the 17th International Chopin Piano Competition in Warsaw and laureate of the Queen Elisabeth Competition in 2016, while last year he won the Orlando Award for his performance with cellist Luka Šulić at the 70th Dubrovnik Summer Festival. Trio Eusebius, the winner of the 16th Ferdo Livadić Competition for Young Musicians, composed of violinist Eva Šulić, cellist Tonka Javorović and pianist David Vuković, will also perform at the Festival, while Dalibor Cikojević and Zrinka Ivančić piano duo will perform Papandopulo’s dance suite Horoscope at the Rector’s Palace accompanied by percussionists Karmen Pervitić and Fran Krsto Šercar with participation of young dancers Viktorija Bubalo and Šimun Stankov. Members of the Papandopulo Quartet, saxophonists Nikola Fabijanić, Goran Tudor, Goran Jurković and Tomislav Žužak, are dedicated to promoting contemporary music, especially young Croatian and international composers and their concert will be held on St John’s Fort this summer. The concert of the Dubrovnik Symphony Orchestra and pianist Marijan Đuzel in Gradac Park under the baton of young Italian-Turkish conductor Nil Venditti will be a true musical treat as the programme includes Beethoven’s Emperor Concerto and Symphony No. 1.
This year’s music programme also includes an evening of chamber music dedicated to Dubrovnik’s musicians entitled Dubrovnik on a Rock of Music, created in collaboration between the Festival and Caboga Stiftung Foundation. Renowned musicians, mezzo-soprano Janja Vuletić and guitarist Maroje Brčić will premiere a piece by Zoran Juranić in the Rector’s Palace Atrium, while the 71st Dubrovnik Summer Festival will be closed with a spectacular concert of the Croatian Radio and Television Symphony Orchestra, conducted by maestro Ivo Lipanović, and world-renowned opera stars, soprano Lana Kos and baritone Željko Lučić. The closing concert is supported by Mastercard and it will take place in front of the Cathedral on 25 August.
Rich Croatian folk dance and music heritage will be presented by the Linđo Folklore Ensemble in Gradac Park and FA Linđo traditional female vocal group, who will be celebrating their twentieth anniversary with performance in the Rector’s Palace Atrium. Other Festival programmes include screening of the winner of the Pula Film Festival at Jadran Open-Air Cinema and film screenings and lectures entitled A Taste of Cinema at the Bunić-Kaboga Summer Villa, as well as exhibitions of Dubrovnik artists Ivana Selmani and Viktor Daldon in the Sponza Palace Atrium.
- Considering the fact that we created the programme of the 71st Dubrovnik Summer Festival in 2019 and that it was finished and presented to the public before the COVID-19 pandemic, we had to postpone most of the visiting performances and performances of foreign artists planned as part of the music, theatre and dance programme for 2021 and modify the programme to accommodate domestic artists, both musicians and theatre artists, at the same time taking into account employment of socially disadvantaged groups, including young unemployed artists, students of music academies, independent artists – Artistic Director Dora Ruždjak Podolski pointed out presenting this year’s new, modified programme of Croatia’s greatest and most significant festival.
- Budget plan for the 71st Dubrovnik Summer Festival is reduced by almost 70% compared to last year’s budget and amounts to barely over 6 million kuna. As expected, the festival will have to be held this year without the financial support of tourist boards, without programme funds from the budget of the City of Dubrovnik and with considerably reduced funds from sponsors, donors and ticket income, thus we especially thank to the Ministry of Culture, Caboga Stiftung and to Mastercard, because without their support realization of this year’s Festival wouldn’t be possible. Reduced budget affects both the programme and organisational aspects of the festival, but the fact that the festival will take place at all is a big success. In a globally insecure situation due to which numerous festivals were cancelled all over Europe, it is important to be able to send the world a message of perseverance, optimism and confidence in a better future from Dubrovnik this summer – Executive Director Ivana Medo Bogdanović pointed out.
Dubrovnik Summer Festival will comply with all recommendations for preventing the spread of COVID-19 disease during all festival events, and the public will be informed on all details on time. The online ticket sales are expected to start on June 24, and the box office in the Festival Palace (Od Sigurate 1) will open on July 1.
Once again the Civil Protection Headquarters of the Dubrovnik-Neretva County have announced that there are no new cases of Covid-19 in the county.
The remaining samples sent to Zagreb on Sunday have all come back negative, and 16 samples were sent for analysis on Monday, of which 3 were negative and the rest are being processed.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, 3,304 samples have been sent to Zagreb for analysis.
There is not a single person in self-isolation across the county.
The headquarters of the Civil Protection Headquarters continues to appeal to citizens to adhere to all prescribed measures by the Croatian Institute of Public Health and the Civil Protection Headquarters of the Republic of Croatia.
And so it begins! The first international airplane to land at Dubrovnik Airport since the Covid-19 pandemic began touched down yesterday. With the internal EU borders easing some restrictions yesterday, the 15th of June, the first regular international flights landed at Dubrovnik Airport, an Air Baltic flight from Riga carrying on board 96 passengers, or in other words 96 potential tourists.
“This is a good signal for the start-up of touristic season in the Dubrovnik region,” commented the director of the Dubrovnik Airport, Frano Luetic, on his social media account along with a video of the landing.
Dubrovnik Airport resumed operations on May 11 after it was closed to civil air traffic since March 19 due to the Covid-19 outbreak. However, since that opening it has only been receiving flights from Zagreb from Croatia Airlines, so yesterday was a historic day.
Air Baltic also announced the Riga - Dubrovnik route, twice a week, every Monday and Thursday.