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 72nd Dubrovnik Summer Festival came to a finale last night in front of the Dubrovnik Cathedral. The final performance was a concert by the Croatian Radio and Television Symphony Orchestra conducted by Ivan Repušić with performances by German soprano Diana Damrau, French bass Nicolas Testé and young Croatian tenor Roko Radovan.
In 47 festival days from July 10 to August 25, 76 drama, music, dance, folklore and other programs were performed at 16 stage and ambient locations around the City. Due to more relaxed measures, ticket sales rose to 820 thousand Kuna, which is 60 percent more than last year. With the traditional support of sponsors, the Ministry of Culture and Media, the City of Dubrovnik, the Dubrovnik-Neretva County and Creative Europe, the budget of the 72nd Games ultimately amounted to 8.2 million Kuna.
The UK government is expected to update their traffic light travel regime tomorrow and there are rumours that Croatia could find itself degraded from the green watch list to the amber list.
Ever since Croatia found itself on the UK’s green list the number of British tourists has increased immensely, with Dubrovnik seeing a real boom and in fact the most numerous tourist in the city at the moment are from the UK.
However, there is a chance that Croatia will see itself removed from the current status on the green watch list to the amber list. To be allowed entry into Croatia, all travellers from the UK regardless of their vaccination status must present either a negative COVID-19 antigen test, which must not be older than 48 hours, or a negative PCR test, no older than 72 hours on arrival. People travelling to Croatia from the UK are not permitted to do these tests on arrival in Croatia.
The traffic system works like this - green - you don't have to quarantine, amber - take a Covid-19 test three days before arriving to the UK, and red - you must quarantine and take tests. For the fully vaccinated there is now little practical difference between the green and amber lists in terms of travel restrictions (both require a pre-departure test and a PCR test within two days of arrival). So clearly avoiding the UK red list is crucial for Croatian tourism.
So what are the chances that Croatia will be moved to the amber list?
Speaking to Sky News the date expert Tim White thinks it’s likely that Croatia will go amber, “I think, the only person who predicted Croatia would be moved to green a while back, and now many are writing that it's likely to move back to amber. I can agree with that.”
White also questioned the move from green to amber saying that “Let's compare (Croatia) with Germany which is on solid green. Croatia does around 75 percent more testing than Germany yet its infection rate is less than 20 percent higher. Germany has done much better with administering vaccines, so that comes into play and maybe explains why it will stay green while Croatia may go on the amber list.”
And White used the example of Bulgaria to compare to Croatia’s standing, “But what about Bulgaria? It also has the 'full' green traffic light rating and yet COVID-19 rates are 70 percent above Croatia's and vaccines and testing are both lower. So it would be crazy for Croatia to receive a lower classification than Bulgaria.”
The UK’s new travel list is expected tomorrow, and Croatia’s fate as to whether it will remain in the green watch list on go amber.
British EasyJet will have 19 active international routes to three Croatian airports in September. Namely, at the beginning of next month, the company will stop operating on numerous seasonal routes to Croatian airports, including all currently active routes to Zadar Airport, reports Croatian Aviation.
EasyJet is already drastically reducing the number of international flights to Croatian airports in September this year. In the first days of September, the company will suspend traffic on as many as 17 international routes to Croatia, which is a kind of disappointment considering that this well-known British low-cost airline to Croatia had a number of routes in October 2019, before the global pandemic.
It is clear that the company does not want to take risks, so for that reason it has left active only those lines that it can almost certainly count on, on which occupancy is excellent even at this uncertain time. EasyJet will have active lines to Pula, Split and Dubrovnik throughout September.
In September, EasyJet will have seven active routes to Dubrovnik Airport, with a daily route to London - from Amsterdam, twice a week, on Thursdays and Sundays, from Berlin, three times a week, on Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays, from Bristol, twice a week, on Wednesdays and Sundays, from Edinburgh, twice a week, on Tuesdays and Saturdays, from Geneva, twice a week, on Tuesdays and Saturdays, from London (Gatwick), daily, from Manchester, twice a week, on Wednesdays and Saturdays.
And EasyJet will stop flights to Dubrovnik from these destinations - from Basel, last flight 05.09., from Lyon, last flight 04.09., from Nantes, last flight 03.09., from Paris, last flight 05.09.
In the last 24 hours, 677 new cases of Covid-19 infection were recorded, and the number of active cases in Croatia today is a total of 2,951.
Among them, 356 people are in hospital, of which 46 patients are on ventilators.
Unfortunately, a further 4 people died in the past 24 hours.
Since February 25, 2020, when the first case of infection was recorded in Croatia, a total of 370,985 people have been infected with the new coronavirus, of which 8,310 have died, a total of 359,724 people have recovered, of which 282 in the last 24 hours.
There are currently 6,585 people in self-isolation.
To date, a total of 2,490,899 people have been tested, of which 10,453 in the last 24 hours.
As of August 24, 3,227,814 doses of vaccine had been consumed, and 41.99 percent of the total population and 50.45 percent of the adult population had been vaccinated.
Back in Spring this year, with the height of the pandemic, black clouds of doom were floating over Croatia’s tourism industry. However, with the summer sunshine blazing down on the Adriatic so the clouds slowly disappeared. And figures just released highlight just how successful Croatia has been, against the odds.
From the beginning of the year until yesterday, 74 percent of overnight stays in the same period in 2019 were realized in Croatia, while the value of fiscalized bills in activities directly related to tourism is 79 percent, commented Minister of Tourism and Sports, Nikolina Brnjac.
Presenting data on tourist traffic from the eVisitor system, the Minister points out that since the beginning of this year, 9.8 million tourists have come to Croatia, and have realized 61.3 million overnight stays, which is 64 percent of arrivals and 74 percent of overnight stays in 2019.
In August alone, 3.4 million tourists arrived so far and 24.1 million overnight stays have been recorded, which is a level of 87 and 92 percent, respectively, compared to the same days in August 2019.
“When it comes to July and the current part of August this year compared to the results from the same period in 2019, we are seeing 85 percent in tourist arrivals and 87 percent of overnight stays,” said Brnjac.
The Bay of Lapad is one of the most frequented suburbs of the whole of Dubrovnik, and for good reason. With tree-lined avenues, an abundance of hotels and some of the best beaches you could ever wish to roll out your towel on, it’s a magnet for all generations. And no doubt all that sea air, swimming and family fun has got you more than a little peckish. There is a solution to those hunger pangs in the shape of one of the most popular restaurants Tutto Bene.
It’s one of those restaurants that has that urban feel as apart from the main terrace of the restaurant there is a fast food take-away section, meaning that there is a constant flow of people. And that very flow gives it both a homely and a funky feel. Some guests will grab a slice of pizza on their way to the beach, whilst others are sitting down for a full family evening meal. And it has to be said that Tutto Bene in Lapad is eatery high on the list for locals, always a good sign.
So one of the first things that caught my eye as I entered the restaurant was the Covid safety signs. And it turns out they were there for a reason, as this restaurant was the very first in Dubrovnik to have a 100 percent vaccinated staff. And in recognition of this you’ll see the waiters all wearing green polo shirts.
The menu is wide and varied and prices are generally very reasonable. From spicy chicken wings, all shapes and sizes of pasta, burgers, pizzas, tortilla, I could go on and on. I plumped for pasta, and it turned out to be a great choice. Now this was the first time I’d actually seen pasta prepared in this way and it certainly caught my eye. One chef has this huge (and I mean huge) ball of parmesan cheese cut in half, and inside the half a bowl-shaped circle is cut out. He basically cooked the pasta next to this ball and then to finish it off placed the pasta into the cheese hole and mixed it around. This way the pasta had a truly unique and great taste, plus it was also fascinating to watch.
I can’t recommend it highly enough, but beware the portions are generous, so bring a big appetite with you. I combined my pasta with a fresh and appealing Caesar salad (again huge portions) and a glass of Croatian wine.
Looking around me I felt like I was in the canteen of the United Nations, tourists from all corners of the world have discovered Tutto Bene in Lapad and their smiles reflected the positive vibrations in the restaurant.
Whether it’s a fruit salad to recharge those batteries, a crepe to take to your sunbed or a full-blown meal you’ll find a dish to suit you.
Address – Šetalište kralja Zvonimira 29
Telephone - +385 20 641726
Website - tuttobene-dubrovnik.com
In the Dubrovnik-Neretva County, 17 new cases of coronavirus infection have been recorded in the last 24 hours.
These are seven males and ten females: seven from Dubrovnik, three from Vela Luka and Župa dubrovačka and one from Dubrovačko primorje, Korčula, Metković and Ploče.
16 people made a full recovery: five from Dubrovnik, four from Metković, three from Župa dubrovačka, two from Konavle and one from Opuzen and Ploče.
In the last 24 hours, 1,044 samples were processed, and since the beginning of the pandemic, a total of 118,674 samples have been analyzed.
31 people tested positive for coronavirus were hospitalized in the Dubrovnik General Hospital.
There are 532 people in self-isolation, and in the last 24 hours, one case of violation of the self-isolation measure was recorded.
The salt harvest at the Ston salt pans is well underway and it’s all hands to the pumps to collect the salt. 50 tons of quality salt intended for mass consumption was extracted from a pool yesterday.
Harvesting salt, especially when August temperatures are up in the mid-thirties, is backbreaking work and thankfully a whole range of volunteers have come forward to help. Yesterday, members of the Dubrovnik Handball Club throw their muscle behind collecting the salt.
Today, due to the announced rain, no salt will be extracted, and the continuation of the salt harvest is expected after the weather improves and the sunny weather resumes.
In the first salt extraction at the Ston pans this August over three days 186 tons of salt was collected.