Tuesday, 07 December 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.

Email: mark.thomas@dubrovnik-times.com

The world famous confectioner Buddy Valastro, also known as the Cake Boss, is coming to Croatia!

The owner and head baker of the Carlo’s Bakery and the star of the culinary and family show ‘’Cake Boss’’ which is broadcast on the TLC reality TV show, will visit Croatia on the 17th and the 18th of October where he will take part in judging and selection of the best cake with Croatian motifs.

Buddy Valastro runs a successful Italian-American family-owned chain of pastry shops in the US, which he inherited from his father. In his father's pastry shop Buddy has worked from his young days and learned all the secrets about sweets and has become a master in making grandiose cakes of different shapes.

The TV show ''Cake Boss'' follows the operations of the Carlo's Bake Shop in Hoboken, New Jersey owned and operated by siblings Buddy Valastro, Lisa Valastro, Maddalena Castano, Grace Faugno and Mary Sciarrone. The show focuses on how they make their edible art cakes, and the interpersonal relationships among the various family members and other employees who work at the shop.

The Zagreb event will be held at the City Centre One West on the 17th of October at 6 pm. Visitors can also meet the famous chef in the evening.

This will be the first visit of the famous chef to Croatia and but we hope it will not be the last.

The popular fashion website “InStyle” has published an article entitled “5 Reasons to Have Your Destination Wedding and Honeymoon in Croatia.” This latest article about Croatia in the international media praises the gems of the Adriatic and highlights the advantages of having your big day in the country.

- Located across from Italy on the crystal clear waters of the Adriatic Sea, it has some of the most spectacular beaches you’ll ever see in your life. But what you won’t find a lot of in Croatia are the massive resort chains that have become so common in other parts of Europe and throughout the world. There’s still an authentic kind of grittiness that so perfectly juxtaposes the pristine waters that surround its 1,000-plus islands – opens the article.

The sunsets, the crystal clear blue water, the history, the food and the romance were listed as the top five reasons InStyle gives for making Croatia your dream wedding destination. - If you’re planning a destination wedding or celebrating your honeymoon, Croatia should be at the top of your list of possible locales – adds the article. And piece features stunning photos from the Dubrovnik based photography company Adriatic Images.

Check out the full article here.

People who know me, know I'm not one for public showing of emotions. In fact, I prefer not to show how I feel at all outside of my home or outside of a very select circle of friends. Plenty of times this reservation is tied to my job. When you are working in tourism, especially with guests directly you need to practise not letting your feelings show. Don’t get me wrong, I am usually perfectly honest with friendly disposition towards my guests. It’s just that sometimes you don’t feel so great because of whatever reason and you can’t let your guests know this. Being overly positive and friendly right from the start is also not the best way to go. Some people simply want the service and no personal engagement and I respect that.

When it comes to everyday life and displays of emotion, hugging seems to be the most common ritual for those around me who are not shy to show affection. I am not a fan of it and I’m clumsy with other touchy-feely interactions as well. My wife is very much different in this respect and she finds endless entertainment in seeing me squirm in social situations. Recently, she was able to put my personal service delivery philosophy to a real test. We were entertaining a very special group of guests last week, very friendly and relaxed. As it turns out, all of them are dedicated huggers much like she is and guess what happened when I was exposed for an emotional scrooge? Yes, they all rushed in to show me just how much fun you can have distributing signs of joy and affection to those around you.

One day I guided a historical tour for them and enjoyed doing so. Apparently, they liked it too, because they honoured me with a group hug in the middle of one of the busiest Dubrovnik squares as a reward. I’m a big, and generally angry looking guy, so group hugs make me look like a grizzly among Ewoks (Star Wars reference…I went there). My joy was compounded when I realised there are plenty of photos of this being taken that are bound to make their way to the wife. Of course, I was visibly uncomfortable which made the whole thing even funnier. For the remainder of the week I was a victim of unprovoked random hugs by virtually anyone from the group to the delight of my better half. Well played Mrs. Jukic. Well played.

In a way, it was a welcome break from being strictly professional, I have to admit. The hugging thing is still not my cup of tea, but by the end of this group’s stay, we’ve established a very nice relationship which perhaps wouldn’t be so friendly if it wasn’t for the ice breaking displays of emotion. One thing puzzles me though. I’ve guided two more city tours since then and both times there were guests at the end of the tours who felt compelled to give me a hug. This almost never happened before. Are hugs like bee stings that release pheromones and attract other huggers? A chilling thought, if ever there was one. One of the guests even commented: “You are such a good hugger.” What can I tell you, practice makes perfect.

Bozidar Jukic, AKA The Restless Native, is a Dubrovnik local with too many interests to name them all, with writing being at the very top of the list. He is a lover of good food, music and film, and a firm believer in the healing power of laughter. His professional orientation is towards tourism and travel so it comes as no surprise he spends most of his time alongside Mrs. Jukic running their own local tour company. Their goal is helping travellers from all over the world get a more intimate experience of Dubrovnik and what it has to offer. To find out more about their work, visit their website or Facebook page.

The official newspaper of the European Union reported that the European Commision approved the registration of two Croatian food products – olive oil from Korcula and lamb from Pag - as Protected Geographical Indications (PGI) and Protected Designations of Origin (PDO).

The European Union documents decribed the olive oil from the island of Korcula (Korculansko maslinovo ulje) as an extra-virgin olive oil obtained directly from olives by mechanical means. The basic raw material for the production of this oil are fruits of the olive autochthonous varieties Lastovka and Drobnica. Storage and bottling of the oil must also take place in the defined geographical area.

Paska janjetina or the lamb meat from the island of Pag was described as fresh meat obtained from the slaughter of young lambs of the autochthonous Croatian breed of sheep Paska ovca (Pag sheep) that were born and bred solely on the island of Pag.

Croatia is also known for its other food products protected at the EU level such as turkey from the Hrvatsko Zagorje region, Poljicki soparnik, prosciutto from Drnis, the island of Krk, Istria and Dalmatia, extra virgin oil from Cres, tangerines from the valley of Neretva, sour cabbage from Ogulin, kulen from Baranja and potatoes from Lika.

Mayor of Dubrovnik Andro Vlahusic and councilor for administration for the mayor's office Igor Deranja met today with the director and executive producer of the film "Robin Hood: Origins" Otto Bathurst and E. Bennett Walsh.

Director Bathurst told the mayor that Dubrovnik, which will play Nottingham in the movie, is a location they could never dream of.

- In the movie with the historical theme, the choice of location is just crucial. We looked at dozens of locations around the world, but Dubrovnik very quickly established itself as the only choice - said Bathurst and discovered that our city will be" the heart of the movie itself. "

The executive producer of the film, which will very likely turn into a trilogy, veteran E. Bennett Walsh closely acquainted the mayor with the project, presented a draft plan of shooting and expressed demands of the film crew. The producer, whose filmography includes such blockbusters like "Disturbia," "The Amazing Spider-Man" and both parts of Tarantino's "Kill Bill", is delighted with the openness and affection which by the City of Dubrovnik. He also said that Lionsgate is also in the final negotiations with the rest of the actors who will complement already impressive lineup and all the details will be known by the end of October when the much broader film crew will again visit Dubrovnik.

-The budget for marketing and promotion of the movie is very close to the amount of 100 million dollars, and Dubrovnik will be the basis of the total global marketing campaign - said Walsh.

When welcoming Bathurst and Walsh , the mayor Vlahusic said that in the city of Dubrovnik is the right partner to overcome the challenges that are inevitable when the recording takes place in the heart of the living city. The director and producer Barhurst Walsh readily accepted the mayor's proposal to flag the arrival of "Robin Hood" during the course of the Dubrovnik Winter Festival through a joint promotional campaign.

So far confirmed filming locations include a part of Stradun, City Port, the street of St. Dominic and the area under the bridge at Ploce. Setting the set design will begin in December, and the shooting will take place during three weeks in February and March.

By recording these big productions Dubrovnik will further confirm its status as the largest film studio in the open. Premiere of the film is planned for February 2018.

robin hood 4

At the conference MEETING G2.1 held last October in Zagreb, the Croatian president Kolinda Grabar Kitarovic emphasized that in 2014 Croats from the Diaspora invested 1.1 billion Euros in Croatia.

This year's conference MEETING G2.2 under the title ''Croats together in business'' will be held from the 10th to the 12th of October at the Congress Centre Forum in Zagreb. Many successful entrepreneurs who returned to Croatia, a group of influential Croatian businessmen who have lived in many countries as well as successful exporters from Croatia will attend the Zagreb conference.

The main goal of the conference is to connect Croats from abroad with people and business opportunities in Croatia via practical online and offline knowledge-sharing, matchmaking and networking forums in order to drive a new era of the economic development, growth and productivity of the homeland.

''We cannot wait for the whole situation in Croatia to improve in order to invest in the country. There are many young people in Croatia who managed to succeed in these difficult conditions. Also there is great interest in investing in Croatia and the Croatian Diaspora has an important role in the whole process. Croatian entrepreneurs should not be afraid, they must take advantage of our people around the world, just as the Mlinar company recently did when they opened a franchise in Australia'', said Don Markusic, the vice president of the Transparency International Croatia and the president of the Asia-Pacific Chamber of Commerce and also one of the participants of the upcoming business meeting.

At the closing of the last year's conference MEETING G2.1, Joseph Hrgetic, the G2 project director concluded, ''It is important that Croats outside Croatia stay connected with each other, and not only with Croats in Croatia. We want to strengthen our influence on the State Office for the Croats outside the Republic of Croatia and the Croatian Heritage Foundations all around the world as well as to connect strongly to the Emigration Congress and the Croatian World Congress in order to achieve synergy through cultural, ethnological and business cooperation''.

Statistical reports in 2015 refer to 222 museums and museum collections, 44 galleries and 93 collections in Croatia. During 2015, a total number of 210 museums and museum collections were opened to the public, which made 94.6% of the total number.

During 2015, as compared to 2012, the number of visitors to the permanent display in museums increased by 6.0% and amounted to 2.7 million, while galleries and collections were visited by the total of 1.2 million.

The total circulation of brochures, catalogues, expert publications etc. edited by museums and museum collections increased by 3.3%, as compared to 2012.

And the total number of persons employed in museums and museum collections increased by 6.0%, as compared to 2012. The share of women in the total number of persons in employment was 65.0%.

There is no end to praise for the Croatian tourism. Apart from this year's record breaking figures; it seems that 2016 is also a record breaking in winning tourism awards.

At the conference ''Global Green Destination Day'' which was held from 27th – 28th of September, 2016 in Ljubljana, Slovenia, the Croatian town Mali Losinj received the prestigious ''Top 100 Sustainable World Destinations in 2016'' certificate.

'Top 100 Sustainable Destinations in 2016’’ is a joint initiative of several organizations such as the Green Destinations, Travel Mole, the Destination Stewardship Centre, the Asian Ecotourism Network (AEN) and the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC).
To qualify in the Top 100 Sustainable World Destinations, it was necessary to meet 15 main criteria that are the essence of green destination standards such as nature and landscape, climate and environment, culture and tradition, people and hospitality, as well as sustainable destination management.

The world green destination community was founded in order to establish an exclusive network that will contribute to the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development in 2017 announced by the General Secretariat of the UN.

During the two-day conference as part of the Top 100 video stories, where each ambassador presented sustainability, identity, history and tradition of his/her destination, the town of Mali Losinj presented itself to the world audience with a video projection about a unique Museum of Apoxiomen. It also presented a project of research and preservation of the marine environment through public awareness and education – the Friendship of Losinj and dolphins presentation.

At the conference during which a number of workshops on sustainable tourism were held, also participated some big names from the tourism industry such as Luigi Cabrini, the Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) and the Advisor to the Secretary-General of the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), Albert Salman, a global leader in tourism sustainability, Cinzia De Marzo, an European expert on sustainable tourism indicators as well as Maja Pak, the manager of the Slovenian Tourist Board.

The Voice of Dubrovnik


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