Friday, 24 September 2021
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.


The tourist season in Dubrovnik doens't look like slowing down anytime soon as almost 100 international flights will land at Croatia's southernmost airport this weekend.

Exactly 99 international and domestic flights will land at Dubrovnik this weekend. These flights include direct transatlantic flights from New York.

In September 2020 only 40,952 passengers passed through Dubrovnik Airport, which compared to pre-pandemic 2019 was a massive drop when 405,924 passengers used the airport. This September could well see figures much closer to 2019 than last year.

The trend of tourists returning to Dubrovnik was seen in August this year when 291,207 passengers passed through Dubrovnik Airport, whilst in the same month last year that figure was 119,838.

And with the news that the UK government has relaxed Covid-19 travel restrictions this should boost passenger numbers in the post-season, in October.


In what will certainly be a boost for Croatian tourism the UK government has drastically simplified Covid-19 travel restrictions. On Friday the rules for international travel were changed by the British government and the new proposals end the traffic light system for ranking countries. Croatia was ranked by the UK government in the “green waiting list” but now as the traffic light system will come to an end it will be ranked as a low risk country. Instead of red, amber and green the UK government will introduce a low and high risk ranking.

And the relaxations don’t end there. All passengers who are fully vaccinated will no longer need to take the expensive PCR test, at least when returning to the UK from low risk countries. From the 4th of October fully vaccinated passengers arriving from low-risk countries will be permitted to take a cheaper lateral flow test, rather than the privately administered PCR lab tests now required. The insistence on PCR tests has meant that travel from the UK has been expensive, with PCR tests costing up to 80 Euros. This has meant that the UK travel industry has been one of the slowest to recover from the pandemic.

Sajid Javid Health and Social Care Secretary said, “Today we have simplified the travel rules to make them easier to understand and follow, opening up tourism and reducing the costs to go abroad. As global vaccination efforts continue to accelerate and more people gain protection from this dreadful disease, it is right that our rules and regulations keep pace.”

UK travel industry lagging behind Europe

Data shows that Britain's travel recovery is lagging. UK flights were down 39 percent compared with pre-pandemic levels for the two weeks to early Sept. 6, while France, Spain and Italy were down between 24 percent and 28 percent, according to Eurocontrol, reports Reuters.

"Today's changes mean a simpler, more straightforward system. One with less testing and lower costs, allowing more people to travel, see loved ones or conduct business around the world while providing a boost for the travel industry," Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said in a statement.

Boost for tourism in Dubrovnik

And as Brits are the most numerous tourists in Dubrovnik this news could be a shot in the arm for the tourism industry. July and August, and indeed the first weeks of September, have been positive with tourism levels back up around 2019 figures. And with Brits now in the position to travel both cheaper and with less complications the post-season in the city should be better than expected. UK airlines have announced a number of flights to Dubrovnik in October and this easing of the restrictions could well help to fill seats.

No ease of travel for unvaccinated travellers

However, unvaccinated travellers won’t be in the same position for the ease of travel. All unvaccinated tourists returning from low-risk countries will be required to take a pre-departure test, plus PCR tests on day two and day eight, and to self-isolate for 10 days on arrival, the government said.

EasyJet chief executive Johan Lundgren said “Removing the pre-departure test coupled with the disbanding of the traffic light system will inject some much needed confidence into travel once again.” Although he has a word of caution “However, vaccinated travellers and those from low risk countries will still have to do an unnecessary test after arriving in the UK, making travel less affordable for all.”

How are the UK travel rules changing?

End of the traffic light system – amber and green lists will be merged to make “low risk” ranking. Red ranking will become “high risk.”

From Monday 4 October, the amber and green lists will be merged into one list.

Anyone who's fully vaccinated (with a vaccine recognised by the UK government) will no longer have to take a PCR test before travelling back to England from one of these countries.

However, on day two of arrival in the UK a Covid-19 test must be made, a PCR test will be replaced with a cheaper and easier lateral flow test.

Travellers coming to the UK from the so called “high risk” countries will have to spend 11 night in quarantine in an airport hotel at a cost of £2,285 per person.

All passengers will still need to fill in a passenger locator form ahead of travel.

The Earth, Sea & Fire – Dubrovnik International Triathlon 2021 will take place on a new date – Saturday, 2nd Oct – limited number of participants- Sprint distance only.

The Dubrovnik Team has been working hard to resolve the ever changing complexities that COVID has produced.

The continued evolving health and safety regulations in different countries is also becoming more and more challenging. There is also continued airline uncertainty regarding flights to Dubrovnik in mid-October.

Therefore, in the light of all global happenings the organisation team have decided to deliver a special edition of the Earth, Sea & Fire Dubrovnik Triathlon, numbers will be limited to 100 participants. There will be only one distance this year – SPRINT distance.

"We have to respect the local and national health and safety protocols in Croatia. The race will be allowed to held in the very safe and well secured Dubrovnik Port area," stated the organisers. 

The 750m, 2 lap swim will remain in the Port of Dubrovnik as usual. Two laps also delivers a safer control area. The bike 20km, the favourite part of every ESF bike leg lover is two laps along the flat roads by the Dubrovnik River. The run 5km will be also two laps and will take place inside the Port area. The run is very flat.

Croatian health protocol at the moment required a safe zone between spectators and the participants for the international events. 

The new date for the special 2021 edition of the Earth, Sea & Fire Dubrovnik Triathlon event is 2pm October 2, 2021. – Saturday, with preliminary start of the race 14:00 – local time.

"Hopefully 2022 will bring us normal conditions globally and we will return to the standard multi distance event at the Earth, Sea & Fire Dubrovnik International Triathlon event. Thank you for supporting triathlon in all these difficult times and we hope to see you in Dubrovnik on the 2nd of October, 2021," concluded the organisers. 


Friday, October 01

08:30 Morning swim with coffee and giant donuts @ Banje Beach (included for athletes)

17:00 DUBROVNIK CHARITY 5K @ Dubrovnik (included for athletes)

18:00 – 21:00 Bib numbers pick up @ Urban & Veggie

18:00 – 21:00 Welcome Reception @ Urban & Veggie (included for athletes)

Saturday, October 02

11:00 – 13:00 Bib numbers pick up @ Port of Dubrovnik

14:00 Race Start DUBROVNIK SPRINT 2021 @ Port of Dubrovnik

19:30 Tri Party @ Banje Beach (included for athletes)

Sunday, October 03

10:00 Choice of optional tours @ Dubrovnik (included for athletes)

Today we there were 1,394 new cases of Covid-19 virus infection and the number of active cases in Croatia today is a total of 7,991. Among them, 651 people are in hospital, of which 77 are on ventilators.

Unfortunately, a further 9 people passed away in Croatia from the virus.

And Krunoslav Capak, head of the Croatian National Health Institute, said that in the first 5 days of this week we had an increase of 39.7 percent of new cases. "Of the newly infected, 83 percent have not been vaccinated, and of the 9 deceased, 8 had not been vaccinated. In terms of incidence rate, we are in 23rd place among EU countries. The death rate per million inhabitants is 2,087.6, which puts us in 20th place.”


The Polish national airline, LOT Airlines, plans to operate six flights a week on a regular route between Warsaw and Zagreb in the upcoming winter flight schedule. This is great news for the Croatian capital and it's winter tourism offer.

In the winter flight schedule last year, LOT operated four times a week between the two cities, but from mid-January to early March the company was forced to cancel regular operations on this route due to passenger restrictions and low demand, reports Croatian Aviation

From the beginning of November, LOT will continue to operate regularly on this line six times a week, every day except Saturday, and from December 15, the company plans to operate daily to Zagreb!

In the last 24 hours in the Dubrovnik-Neretva County, 40 new cases of coronavirus infection have been recorded.

These are 16 males and 24 females: 21 from Dubrovnik, nine from Župa dubrovačka, four from Ploče and one from Dubrovačko primorje, Konavle, Korčula, Metković, Trpanj and Vela Luka.

21 people made a full recovery: 13 from Dubrovnik, two from Konavle, Ston and Župa dubrovačka, and one from Korčula and Mljet.

In the last 24 hours, 563 samples were processed, and since the beginning of the pandemic, a total of 132,916 samples have been analyzed.

24 people tested positive for coronavirus were hospitalized in the Dubrovnik General Hospital. Four patients require intensive care and are on ventilators. 

There are 1,056 people in self-isolation, and in the last 24 hours, three cases of violation of the self-isolation measure have been recorded. 


After a two-year break caused by the pandemic, Du Motion - Runners Days Dubrovnik has announced the long-awaited 6th edition for spring 2022!

The Dubrovnik Half Marathon, the Wall Race and the 5K Citizens' Humanitarian Race will be run on April 30 and May 1, 2022, and applications are accepted through Du Motion's official website.

“This is the moment that we and our runners have been looking forward to. The races for 2020 were almost full, but the coronavirus stopped the whole world, including sports. Months full of uncertainty followed, but interest in Du Motion did not abate. The runners stayed with us and gave us incredible support. We thank them all from the bottom of our hearts once again and look forward to a new gathering in Dubrovnik,” said the director of Du Motion, Alen Bošković.

But that's not the end of the news. Du Motion will open applications these days for another racing event - Lapad Run which will take place on October 24, 2021 at Babin Kuk. The 10 and 5 km races are organized in cooperation with the Public Health Institute of the Dubrovnik-Neretva County as part of the Month of the Fight Against Breast Cancer.

The current epidemiological measures of the Civil Protection Headquarters of the Republic of Croatia in order to prevent the spread of coronavirus infection apply to both events.

All runners over the age of 14 must meet at least one of the conditions for participation: possession of a valid EU digital COVID certificate, a negative PCR test or rapid antigen test, a COVID-19 disease certificate or a vaccination certificate (for third countries).


Despite their age difference, Kylian Mbappé and Cristiano Ronaldo’s blistering pace highlights the perennial need for speed in top tier football. With this in mind, was curious to find out which European country produces the fastest footballers, by analysing the average speed of players in each squad.




Average top speed (km/h)











Czech Republic




















Austria is first out of the gate as the European nation with the fastest footballers at an average top speed of 30.40 km/h. 73% of Austria's players beat the average mean (29.26 km/h) of all footballers and countries considered. The global superstar David Alaba comes in 6th in the Austrian ranking - Martin Hinteregger and Konrad Laimer claim joint first place, both clocking 32.4 km/h.

Belgium races into second place with an average speed of 30.25 km/h. 60% of Belgian players trump the collective average, with Jan Vertonghen (32.6 km/h) coming out on top, followed by the irrepressible goal machine Romelu Lukaku (5th place with 31.3 km/h).

In third place is Croatia, hitting an average top speed of 30.07 km/h. Like the Belgians, 60% of their team managed a speed above the collective average of all players and countries. Joško Gvardiol’s average speed (33.3 km/h) makes him the fastest Croatian footballer, ahead of other talents such as Chelsea midfielder Mateo Kovačić (29.7 km/h).

Hungary makes the top ten

Just a few decimals behind Germany, who came in at 9th (29.61 km/h), is Hungary who secured tenth spot, with a comparative 29.58 km/h. 46.6% of the Hungarian squad were above the collective average - significantly lower when compared to countries such as France (66.6%) and England (86.6%).

The most common nationalities per position

When looking at the player with the fastest average speed from each country, we find that remarkably 54.2% of these individuals are defenders, 25% are midfielders, and the remaining 20.8% consists of attackers.

To build a dream team based solely on average speed capabilities, you would be best advised to select Hungarian defenders, English midfielders, and Czech attackers. Between the sticks, choose Czech Tomáš Vaclík, clocking the fastest average speed of all the goalkeepers considered with 27.7 km/h.


The Voice of Dubrovnik


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