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.
As the tourist season ended so the rate of unemployment across Croatia grew. Latest figures show that at the end of December 2019 the unemployment rate in Croatia was 7.9 percent, up from November when it was 7.7 percent.
The tourist season always greatly lowers the unemployment rate as a large percentage of people find jobs along the coastline in hotels, restaurants, travel agencies and shops. The vast majority of these people are employed on a temporary basis, usually on a six-month contract, and therefore as the season ends they are left without a job.
At the end of December 131,753 people in Croatia were unemployed, whilst 1,540,084 people were employed.
According to the Croatian Motor Vehicle Centre, 64,349 new cars were registered in Croatia for the first time in 2019, an increase of 4.2 percent compared to 2018, and 84,913 or seven percent more used cars were registered.
38,487, or 60 percent of the total, were registered for new petrol cars. The number of new petrol registrations increased by 16.9 percent compared to 2018, and the number of new diesels fell by 13.9 percent to 23,515 units.
The number of new electric cars and hybrids also increased - in 2018, 144 electric vehicles were registered, while in 2019 the number increased to 198 and the number of hybrids increased from 781 to 1,560.
Data from the Croatian Vehicle Centre show that the most popular car brand in Croatia is Volkswagen, which also leads new and used passenger cars at the first registration, followed by Renault.
If you were desperate to swim in one of the most unique national parks in Croatia, the Krka national park with its stunning waterfalls, you’ll have to book your tickets this year as swimming will be banned in one of the most-visited tourist attractions in the country from the 1st of January 2021.
Krka national park is an absolute magnet for tourists during the summer months with a great deal stripping down and plunging into the icy cold rivers and waterfalls. A quick check of social media will show you just how popular this national park is for swimmers.
“The overall viability of the Krka River basin and its wildlife rests on the development of travertine barriers, so preserving the travertine deposition process is a fundamental goal of Krka National Park. For this reason, there will be a swimming ban in Krka National Park from 1 January 2021. Due to the centuries-old cohabitation of people with the river, swimming is allowed to the local population in the following locations: Stinice, Remetić – Pisak and downstream of Roški Waterfall,” commented the Krka national park.
This swimming ban is clearly a message that over tourism is endangering one of the most beautiful national parks in south-east Europe.
Croatians just love sport, from football to water polo and everything in between, and the latest exploits of the Croatian national handball team has seen them blued to the screens in incredible numbers.
According to the first unofficial results, the sensational handball match between Croatia and Germany was the most watched format broadcast on national televisions on Saturday in the country. A thrilling match that saw Croatia beat Germany by a single goal and move into the semi-finals of the European Handball Championship.
The nerve gangling game was watched on average by 936,508 viewers of the total population, while the viewership share was 49.24 percent. The most watched moment was when the game became close and Croatia led by one goal when there were 1,221,822 viewers in front of the screens.
Breaking down the figures the Croatia – Germany match was mostly watched by people in the 18 to 49 years-old group.
Whilst most of the rest of Croatia is freezing with snow and tumbling temperatures Dubrovnik is caught in its own micro-climate that has brought clear blue skies and plenty of sunshine. In fact, January has been unusually warm and sunny so far in the wider Dubrovnik region with even a few brave tourists dipping their toes in the Adriatic.
This week will also be relatively warm and sunny with plenty of blue skies, although temperatures will be cooler than of late. The beginning of the week, Monday and Tuesday, will see a mixture of blue skies and scattered sunshine with highs to reach 12 degrees. A northerly wind will keep temperatures lower of both days. But if you find a spot out of the wind and in the sunshine it will feel more like April.
There is zero chance of rain all week.
Wednesday and Thursday will see similar weather conditions as the beginning of the week, however the northerly wind will have eased off making it feel slightly warmer, highs of between 13 and 14 degrees are expected.
And the end of the week, Friday, will be another calm and sunny day with only one or two clouds to spoil an otherwise blue sky. Highs on Friday will reach 14 degrees.
In 2019, 56 new hotels, camps and marinas were categorized in Croatia, and the Ministry of Tourism has announced new investments in Croatian tourism.
Of the total of 56 new hotels, camps and marinas categorized during 2019, the largest number of new facilities, as many as 30, were categorized as high category, that is, four and five stars, the Ministry of Tourism announced on Sunday.
“The Croatian Government has recognized the importance of tourism for the advancement, demographic sustainability and raising the standard of living in local communities. That is why, since the beginning of our mandate, we have been emphasizing on enhancing the quality of the tourist offer and extending activities throughout the year. In the past few years, we have achieved remarkable results in the form of tourist traffic, but more importantly, we are constantly increasing our tourism revenues and attracting more and more investments, "said Tourism Minister Gari Cappelli.
In 2019, the Ministry of Tourism categorized 43 new hotels with 3,948 beds while 26 hotels increased capacity and/or their category. Most new hotels are categorized in the Split-Dalmatia County (13), the County of Primorje-Gorski kotar (6), the City of Zagreb (6) and the County of Istria (5).
Croatia’s national airline will launch a new service between Zagreb and Tirana this summer season. Croatia Airlines have announced that after a decades long break the Croatian and Albanian capital will once again be connected.
Over the past few years, an average of 24.000 Albanian citizens have visited Croatia on a yearly basis. According to a report on the website Ex-Yu Aviation the CEO of Croatia Airlines, Jasmin Bajic, and the Albanian Ambassador to Croatia recently met to discuss the new flight connection.
“Both parties agreed for talks between Croatia Airlines and relevant authorities in Albania to commence immediately in order for this important project to be realised as soon as possible,” stated the article.
the Albanian Embassy in Zagreb said in a statement. Earlier this week, Croatia Airlines confirmed it plans to expand its network and fleet in 2020, as well as increase capacity on some existing routes.
Dubrovnik might well be gripped in the hands of winter but that hasn’t stopped the number of photos on Instagram.
Check out our top five Dubrovnik Instagram photos from this week and keep sending us your own photos of the region.