Monday, 20 August 2018
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.


Oprah Winfrey is currently cruising the Croatian Adriatic with the Italian businessman Giancarlo Giammetti. The talk show host, actress and producer appeared on a photo taken by Giammetti on a luxury yacht with the comment “An evening in Dubrovnik with a great woman I am proud to call a friend @oprah.”

Giancarlo Giammetti is the Honorary President of the fashion giant Valentino and is also the cofounder of Valentino Company.
It had been rumoured back in 2007 that Oprah planned to purchase real estate in Dubrovnik, however this proved to be only a rumour. At the time it was thought that Oprah was interested in a stone house in the heart of the historic Old City of Dubrovnik on the market for $5 million.

Oprah has yet to be spotted in the Old City of Dubrovnik on this trip, but it would appear that she is on-board a luxury yacht on anchor between the island of Lokrum and the Old City. Giammetti on the other hand has been more adventurous and has explored the stone streets of the city.

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Giancarlo Giammetti enjoys the sights of the Old City of Dubrovnik - Photo Instagram 


Giancarlo Giammetti on the Adriatic - Photo Instagram 


Your octopus salad whilst sitting with a view over the Adriatic could well cost you double in the future. Whether cut into slices as the Japanese like it, served in a salad or grilled on the BBQ octopus as a meal is becoming a victim of its own success. The global growth for this delicious seafood is at its highest ever and over the past two years the price of octopus has doubled. Octopus in Dubrovnik is a particularly sought after dish with the majority coming from the Adriatic Sea.

Unlike fish or some form of seafood it has proved very difficult to farm grow octopus so the global market relies on catching them in the open sea, however this year’s catch is proving weaker than normal and combined with the higher demand for this healthy seafood has led to a huge increase in prices.

The value of a normally large octopus caught by local fishermen increased from 7 euros to 14 euros per kilogram over the last two years. Typically, the price is higher in other countries, such as the US, which are not specialized in capturing octopus.

The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has announced that it expects prices to continue to grow with the rumour that demand is growing in virtually all major markets, including Japan, the US, China and Europe.

Scientists in Japan and Spain are working on oyster farming techniques that they hope to adopt to farming octopus but are not ready for work yet.

In June 2018, there were 2.6 million arrivals of tourists who realised 11.9 million tourist nights in commercial accommodation establishments. Compared to June 2017, there were 4.0 percent more arrivals and 1.5 percent less nights.

Domestic tourists realised 234 thousand arrivals and 781 thousand nights, which is an increase in tourist arrivals of 13.0 percent and in tourist nights of 14.4 percent, as compared to June 2017. Foreign tourists realised 2.4 million arrivals and 11.1 million nights, which is by 3.2 percent more arrivals and by 2.4 percent less nights than in June 2017.

The most foreign tourist nights in June 2018 were realised by tourists from Germany (21.8 percent), Austria (10.2 percent), Slovenia (8.9 percent), Czech Republic and Poland (7.8 percent each) and the United Kingdom (6.4 percent).


In June 2018, tourists aged 55 to 64 realised the most nights, nearly 2 million, which accounts for 16.8 percent of the total realised nights. They were followed by tourists aged up to 14 and tourists aged 45 to 54, who realised nearly 1.9 million nights each, i.e. 15.8 percent of the total realised nights for each age group.

Increase in tourist arrivals and nights in the first six months

In the first six months of 2018, tourists realised 6 million arrivals and 22 million nights in commercial accommodation establishments, which is an increase in tourist arrivals of 12percent and in tourist nights of 9percent compared to the same period of 2017.

In the period from January to June 2018, domestic tourists realised 889 thousand arrivals and 2.2 million nights, which is an increase of 11percent in arrivals and 10percent in nights, as compared to the same period of 2017.

The proportion of live births which occurred outside marriage in the EU stood at 43 percent in 2016. This is just over 15 percentage points above the value in 2000. From 2000 the share steadily increased by around 1 percentage point each year, signalling changing patterns of family formation, with births occurring in non-marital relationships, cohabiting couples and to lone parents.

In eight EU Member States in 2016 there were more live births registered outside marriage than within marriage: France (60 %), Bulgaria and Slovenia (both 59 %), Estonia (56 %), Sweden (55 %), Denmark (54 %), Portugal (53 %) and the Netherlands (50 %).

In contrast, more than 80 % of live births in Greece, Croatia and Cyprus were registered within marriage. Between 2015 and 2016, extramarital births increased in almost every EU Member State with the exception of Estonia, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Hungary and the United Kingdom. In Bulgaria and Ireland there was no variation. In the EFTA countries Switzerland and Liechtenstein, the proportion of births outside marriage in 2016 was below 25%, in contrast to Norway (56%) and Iceland (70%).

Births outside marriage Member States 2016

It’s a very special day on the Dubrovnik calendar today, the final of the Wild League. At 6.15 this afternoon Elite will take on Porporela to see who is the best amateur water polo team in Dubrovnik. The final will be held in the Old City harbour and it is sure to be a very colourful event.

The Dubrovnik Wild League is the largest amateur water polo championship in the world. Teams from local beaches from all over the region take part in a competition that begun back in 1950. Water polo is the traditional sport of Dubrovnik. The city’s water polo club “jug” which translates as “South” are very much the Barcelona of world water polo, winning countless national and international trophies.

Although the roots of the Wild League date back to 1950 it really took hold in 1983 when more teams and better organisation were added. Since then it has been played every year and almost every beach in Dubrovnik has a team. It is played for fun but there is also a keen competitive spirit. Nobody likes losing.

“Today the tourists have returned by now the city faces a new challenge, how to keep that magic alive under the footsteps of thousands of daily visitors?” – asks Greg Dickinson a travel writer for The Telegraph Travel in a video released today entitled “has Tourism Killed Dubrovnik?”

Dubrovnik, along with Barcelona and Venice, is struggling to cope with the interest from foreign tourists. They arrive on massive cruise ships, by plane and on day-trips and every day the Old City is a magnet for thousands upon thousands of visitors. Finding the correct balance, in a city that lives from the tourist dollar, has been challenging for the city’s authorities for years. Many would say that Dubrovnik is a victim of its own success, but the truth would be the it is a victim of terrible planning and short-sightedness. Short term gains have impacted the long term strategy.


“Within the city walls the population has decreased in recent years. It’s maybe due to the rising demand for tourist apartments, but also the lack of amenities for local people,” states Dickinson in the article.

However, this view is not echoed by all. The Dubrovnik Times spoke to a popular travel guide and local of the Old City of Dubrovnik, Ivan Vuković, who is in the front line of tourism in the city. When asked if tourism had killed Dubrovnik he replied “No. This year is better. Less tourists. The results from the last year will never happen again but it is about sustainable tourism, not about numbers.”

And in reality the numbers and statistics back him up. By the end of the years there will be less cruise ship passengers than in 2017 disembarking at the Port of Dubrovnik. The so called “red days” when the city faces more than five cruise ships in one day are considerably less than previous years.

Vuković added “Less cruise ships, less crowds, this year. Or just better control of it and more things to do around like in Lapad, Cavtat, etc. To be honest it is much more enjoyable for me to live inside the walls. The strategy works.”

So what is this new strategy? One of the biggest problems facing the new Mayor of Dubrovnik, Mato Franković, was the crowds and the mass of negative publicity Dubrovnik was receiving from the world’s press. His solution came in the form of a project called “Respect the City.” And even though this project is still in its infancy it seems to be working. One of the points was to alter the arrival and departure times of cruise ships with the aim to ease the collapse of the infrastructure. This is a measure that has largely worked and the Port of Dubrovnik have informed us that the real benefits of these moves will be felt next year.


Nikolina Farcic, a café bar owner in the Old City, added that “After the war everybody was happy to have tourists and we were letting the tourism happen to us. There was no strategy there was no vision on how to deal with it and there was no management. We can’t blame the tourist we have to blame ourselves. We have to make people understand that the Old City is not a museum, people live within the city walls.”

And the echo felt around the city is now a more sustainable approach is on the way. Along with the “Respect the City” regulation a movement to attract tourists all year round might also help to disperse the summer season crush. Speaking to The Telegraph the director of the Dubrovnik Tourist Board, Romana Vlasić, stated that “What I want for Dubrovnik in the future is to have an all year round season. And the reason is not to have more tourists but more for the local people and for their employment. People will be employed all year round and there will be no need to move somewhere else to look for a job. Tourists want to visit a real city with real people.”

So has tourism killed Dubrovnik? No. Has it been badly wounded and in need of treatment and care. Yes.

In 1434 the first orphanage was opened in Dubrovnik, making it one of the first ever institutions of its kind in the world. The government of the Republic of Dubrovnik was way ahead of its time in the care and treatment of children. The council decreed in 1432 that an orphanage be opened in the city with their decision reading “It is disgusting and inhuman to throw small human beings around the city as if they were animals.” This started the movement to open an orphanage to take care of the city’s children.

The first orphanage was located in the heart of the Old City opposite the Franciscan Monastery in Dominik Zaltarić street and the remnants of this can still be seen to this day. A blocked off doorway and window can clearly be seen with the inscription over the door of “My heart was hot within me, while I was musing the fire burned,” in Latin.

dubrovnik orphange 2018

During the time of the Republic children would stay in the orphanage until the age of six, after which they were given for adoption or sometimes their parents would take them back. As many of the children ended up in the orphanage due to the extreme poverty of their parents. And to avoid the shame of handing their children over to the orphanage a small entrance space was created in the front of the building on which parents would place their children and then by turning a wheel the plate would then swing inside carrying the baby.

Check out more from our series From the Archives

What’s in the name of Dubrovnik

Porporela stone with a story to tell

Complicated history of the theatre scene in Dubrovnik 

From the Archives – south wind stops Senate

The popular Brazilian social media blogger and fashion designer Beatriz Barhouch has been making quite a splash in Dubrovnik with her stunning photos on Instagram.

This 24-year-old model has almost 140,000 followers on Instagram and is listed as one of the most popular influencers on all forms of social media.

She was born and raised in Sao Paulo, Brazil and blogs about fashion, travel, beauty and lifestyle and her photos in Dubrovnik are causing quite a stir online.



Photos - Instagram @beatrizbarhouch 

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