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.
Ties between America and Croatia could become even stronger after a meeting with the Croatia Minister of Foreign Affairs, Marija Pejčinović Burić, and US Secretary of State, Michael Pompe, in Washington this week.
"For Croatian citizens, two specific issues in relation to the United States are extremely important: the abolition of visas and double taxation. Both the Croatian and the American side have the will and the energy to finally find a solution and that Croatia gains the same status as other members of the European Union," commented Pejčinović Burić the Croatia Radio Television (HRT).
With Croatians still requiring a visa to enter the US the country is less attractive to both Croatian tourists and investors. The drawn-out and complicated process of obtaining a US visa means a trip to the US Embassy in Zagreb and this whole procedure can take several days.
With new direct flights between Dubrovnik and Philadelphia about to be introduced next year the timing of this meeting in Washington was important. After a 28-year break Croatia and the US will once again have a direct, or non-stop, flight connection with American Airlines opening the door through which many other airlines are sure to follow. The abolishment of a US visa for Croatian citizens would make these flights even more interesting.
We could well be in for an Indian Summer as the long-range weather forecast for south-eastern Europe shows a period of warm and settled weather. According to reports on the website Severe Weather Europe Croatia will once again find itself in the middle of a heat wave. “Mid-range model trends are pushing for a new heat wave across Europe: temperatures may be 8-10 °C higher than average for mid to late-September in central, western, eastern and south-eastern Europe. This means temperatures in the upper 20s and low 30s again!,” states the website.
Is September the new August?
They add that daytime temperatures in Croatia could well reach 30 degrees and higher and that regions such as France, Italy and the Pannonian basin could see rising temperatures.
This August was one of the warmest on record in Dubrovnik with temperatures in the mid-thirties all month and rainfall minimal. And with the sea a warm and pleasant 25 degrees in Dubrovnik’s Adriatic and the number of tourists dropping Late-September and October could be the ideal time to visit the city.
It isn’t only the citizens of the European Union who are in favour of stopping daylight saving time, according to a survey by the Croatian Chamber of Commerce 90 percent of companies in the country are also in favour of ending the altering of clocks in the spring and autumn. The vast majority of companies would prefer that Croatia adopts summer time all year-round.
Almost 600 businesses were questioned for their views on stopping daylight saving time, a practice that has been in place in the country since 1983. And similar to the EU survey in which over 4 million people took part, they answered that changing the clocks has a negative effect on people’s health, also on energy saving and that moving the clocks makes them out of line with other international partners.
Daylight saving was first adopted during the First World War in the UK to give factories extra daylight to work in. It was introduced by European governments at the beginning of the 1980s to save on energy costs. Research has shown that the time change negatively affects people’s sleep patterns, especially with the elderly.
The Dubrovnik-Neretva County Tourist Board has presented a new promotional film produced by Balduci Film from Zagreb, highlighting all that the county has to offer.
The four-minute film combines authentic gastronomy, magical beaches of our islands, natural beauty, sports and recreation, entertainment, cultural and historical heritage and all the benefits of the destinations recognized by many tourists of all generations.
The concept was jointly designed by Balduci Film and the Tourist Board of Dubrovnik-Neretva County. With this promotional film, the goal was to showcase the integrated tourist products and Dubrovnik Riviera encouraging guests to get acquainted with the traditions.
This promo video will be shown at all the tourist fairs and exhibitions that the Tourist Board of the Dubrovnik – Neretva County attends.
The popular low-cost airline, Transavia, will introduce new flight connections between Rotterdam and Eindhoven for the Dalmatian city of Zadar for 2019. The airline, which is a subsidiary of Air France – KLM will open flights to Zadar in April 2019 and tickets are already on sale on the airline’s website.
Transavia opened their connections to Croatia this year with flights from Rotterdam to Dubrovnik and Pula and both connections have proved successful. Zadar airport is now hoping these new low-cost connections will boost their passenger numbers for 2019.
One of the most drawn out tourism projects in Croatia, the redevelopment of the Kupari resort, could soon come to a conclusion. Councillors of the borough of Zupa held a meeting yesterday to adopt the decision for the urban planning of “Kupari I” which will see the former military resort developed into a luxury resort. Even though this decision had already been brought and passed it was necessary to re-issue the decision because there has been a two-year delay in the implementation of the previous decision.
“The investor has sent us the guidelines; the capacity will be reduced to less than five hundred beds. We have the guarantee of 'Four Seasons' that in Kupari they will build a complex that has not been seen in Croatia yet. We know that there will be a shortfall of potential workers for the new resort, but the capacities are not questionable. We are proud of this project and how much the local community will receive from it. We can be even happier because the total number of beds and the capacities have been reduced,” commented the Head of the Borough of Zupa Silvio Nardelli.
It was pointed out at the meeting that the borough of Zupa still today has less accommodation capacity than before the war.
When questioned by Councillor Antun Bašić on when the actual construction works will begin and when the former hotels will be demolished Nardelli answered that “The municipality has an obligation to create an Urban Plan, and in the meantime the investor can start with the demolition of the former hotels, apart from the Grand Hotel which is protected. It is difficult to say when the complex will open its doors to guests, but the deadlines for the investors begin when the Urban Plan is adopted.”
“The US has a huge amount of capital that is waiting for investment somewhere in the world where it is profitable. You cannot tell American companies to come to Croatia. They will come when there is a chance," commented the US Ambassador to Croatia, Robert Kohorst, on Wednesday at the seminar Advancing Entrepreneurship in Croatia at the Zagreb School of Economics.
For the development of the business climate in Croatia there are, according to the Ambassador, some key elements that need to be in place, improvement of the judiciary system, a reduction of bureaucracy, a simplification of the tax system and more predictability with government.
He added that a huge amount of US capital is awaiting investment somewhere in the world where it is profitable and hoped that many US entrepreneurs will find opportunities for business in Croatia but that the government must facilitate business. "The government needs to simplify its business to make capital feel more welcome," Kohorst said.
When asked about prior investment opportunities that failed he concluded "Do not let your failure discourage you, learn something out of it, and move on."
Tourist representatives from the Dubrovnik – Neretva County are present at one of the largest camping exhibitions in Europe. From the 8th to the 16th of September the camping fair "Il Salone del Camper" held in Palma attracts camping professionals from all over the world.
The Dubrovnik- Neretva Tourist Board, along with other tourist boards from the Dalmatian coastline are attending the fair and presenting the best campsites in their regions. More than 300 exhibitors are presenting at the fair and over the week around 130,000 visitors are expected. Camping in the Dubrovnik region is especially popular on the Peljesac Peninsular.