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.
This year the skies over Croatia have been pretty busy. Almost 1.5 million passengers passed through six Croatian airports in July – Dubrovnik, Split, Zadar, Pula, Zagreb and Osijek, which was a significant increase in comparison to last year's 1.23 million passengers.
More than half a million passengers passed through Split Airport in July alone. The number of 543,952 passengers was an absolute record-breaking month in the history of all Croatia’s airports. An impressive increase of 25 percent over the same period last year, with the airport handling up to 150 aircraft a day is a significant indicator that this year Split is going after 2 million passengers for the first time in its history.
The busiest day at Split airport was on the 16th of July when almost 28,000 passengers passed through the airport, whilst Dubrovnik airport's busiest day was on the 30th of July with 18,608 recorded passengers.
It is expected that 7.6 million passengers will pass through seven Croatian airports in 2016, which is half a million passengers more compared to 2015. Split will probably record 2 million passengers; Dubrovnik is approaching 2 million, whilst Zagreb is going after 3 million passengers in 2016.
The Croatian carrier Croatia Airlines carried 235,936 passengers on its flights in July, which was an increase of 7 percent compared to July 2015. In the first seven months the national airline carried 1,060,454 passengers or 3 percent more passengers than in the same period from last year. The airline’s busiest day was on the 29th of July when the airline recorded 9,000 passengers on its flights.
Croatia Airlines is expecting to carry 1.97 million passengers till the end of 2016 which would be an increase of 6 percent in comparison to 2015.
The Airspace Organisation Croatia Control (HKZP) carried out 67,537 operations in July this year which was the largest number of operations in a single month in its history.
Is that a bird, is it a plane, no it’s a drone! It was only a matter of time before the Croatian authorities clamped down on the use of drones, that time has come. At their last session the Croatian government decided to introduce new regulations for filming from the air, namely with a drone. Now the government controlled “Geodetic Administration” will authorise drone licenses, and some new rules have been introduced.
Aerial photography, i.e. with a drone, of an “unplanned event” now needs prior permission according to the new regulations. Regardless of whether the material is video or photos special permission is required before shooting with a drone. All material must then be delivered to the authorities for review before it is allowed to be published. This new law will certainly upset a few media organisations in Croatia, as it seems to prevent the work of journalists from acting to an unfolding story.
Also the recording of protected natural areas, which includes national parks, nature parks and nature reserves, is now only possible with a permit from the “Geodetic Administration.” Also drone fliers will be charged “special fees” for recording in these regions.
When it comes to recording industrial, commercial, agricultural sites and buildings for the needs of the owner or user of the site then this is possible without prior permission or payment, at least for the time being. However the regulations state that the drones must stay inside the boundaries of the named location. How this new regulations will effect tourists, or in fact hobby drone users, is yet to be defined.
There is no doubt about it Dubrovnik is having a booming tourist year and on course for one of the best years on record. On the 6th of August Dubrovnik recorded its two-millionth overnight stat, a full four days ahead on 2015. According to news from the Dubrovnik Tourist Board the city received 586,221 tourists from the 1st of January to the 6th of August, not including cruise ship passengers, which is a healthy 10 percent increase over the same period from last year.
The most numerous tourists, in terms of nationality, over that period were from the United Kingdom, the United States, France, Germany, Croatia, Sweden, Norway and Finland. Interestingly although American tourists are the second most numerous in the city there are no direct flight between the US and Croatia. The popular HBO serial Game of Thrones is often the reason for the large influx of American guests who come to experience the filming locations in and around Dubrovnik.
On the 6th of August Dubrovnik reached the landmark of 2 million overnight stays, 2,003,433 to be precise, which is a 12 percent increase over the same period from last year. And the tourist board states that indicators show that the 3 million mark will be reached ahead of 2015. There are currently 23,571 tourists staying in Dubrovnik in all forms of accommodation.
While in some European countries it is legally forbidden to feed the pigeons, in Dubrovnik it is a way of life. Ivo Miletic and Hussein Odobasic serve brunch every day to their guests, no they aren’t waiters, they don’t even carry any trays or plates with them, but they do have a very regular clientele.
At exactly noon every day, when the bell strikes, hundreds of pigeons land on the runway known as the Gundulic Square where they wait for a lunch of corn.
Ivo and Hussein are on hand every day to make sure these Dubrovnik fliers do not have empty stomachs. “In the morning at half past five we set the tables for the market land and clean up if we need to. Then at noon it’s time for the pigeons. At one o’clock we collect the tables and umbrellas and clean up before the restaurants move their tables in, this is our schedule for every day of the year,” explains Ivo.
Whether the sun is shining, the rain is falling or it is a public holiday, the pigeons need their food. Every day you can see the pigeons collect fifteen minutes early, waiting patiently. Ivo and Hussien are a well oiled machine, they pick up the food on Ploce every month, bring it with carriages into the Old City and even damp it down before “serving” it so as not to cause to much dust and disturb the local restaurants.
How much the birds eat – “I counted once and one pigeon ate 90 pieces of corn before flying away,” explained Hussein. The pair have their own storage room where they keep all the market tables, umbrellas and of course the pigeon food. “Summer is here so we have more work, but we don’t mind, we love working with people, and there are plenty more people during the summer months,” joke the pair.
It seems that this typical Dubrovnik tradition will continue for a few more years, Bon Appetite Pigeons!
Dubrovnik's Green Market
The Green Market, as its known, is located in the Gundulic Square in the very heart of the Old City. It is a market that transforms throughout the day, from early in the morning when it sells locally produced fruit and vegetables up till midday, then authentic hand-crafted souvenirs in the afternoon. Pick up some great olive oil, lavender and brandy as an original souvenir.
According to data from Promocija plus, the Croatian research agency, around 3,580 new cars were sold in July or 7.6 percent more than in July 2015. In the first seven months of 2016 a total of 29,965 new vehicles were sold or 20.3 percent more than over the same period from last year.
The best selling brands in July in Croatia were Volkswagen, the German car manufacturer, which sold 511 vehicles, followed by Skoda with 360 sold vehicles and Opel which sold 303 new vehicles. In the so called premium segment the best selling brands were Audi which sold 157 new vehicles followed by its fellow country car manufacturers Mercedes (94) and BMW (89).
From January to the end of July 2016, the leading car manufacturer was Volkswagen which sold 4,172 new cars or 13.9 percent share of the total car sale in Croatia. The second place was reserved for another German car manufacturer Opel which sold 3,235 new cars (10.8 %), followed by Renault with 2,681 sold cars (8,9 %), Skoda 2,363 new cars (7,8 %) and Ford which sold 2,348 new cars (7,8 %).
More than 56.5 percent of all sold vehicles in Croatia this year were diesel powered cars, 42 per cent were gas powered cars, whilst the rest but negligible percentage accounted for electric, hybrid and LPG vehicles.
Dubrovnik is a superstar! Another great promotion comes from the Metro, free newspaper in the United Kingdom, which is distributed on many public-transport services in selected urban centres across the United Kingdom, and at other outlets such as cafes, workplaces, etc.
Todays number brings an interview with the gold medal winning Olympic cyclist Polly Humphris who fell in love with Dubrovnik. The interview also has a big photo of the Old Town with the caption ''Like a fairytale – Dubrovnik in Croatia''. We love it!
Famous Irish rock band U2 has published all over their social media pages a photo of Cavtat with a caption '' Night before Edges birthday ! Adam''. So, we know Adam Clayton (bass guitar), as well as Edge (guitar, keyboards, and vocals) are around here. We can only guess if Bono or Larry Mullen Jr. came with them!
The guys didn't even mention that they are in Cavtat, small town just 15 kilometers away from Dubrovnik, but their Croatian fans have recognized it. We wish they give us a treat of a photo featuring the whole band!
Anyway, we are sure that Edge will have an awesome birthday in Cavtat and maybe in Dubrovnik too. There is no better place for that. Happy birthday Edge!
Actor James Patrick "Jim" Caviezel, best know for potraying Jesus Christ in The Passion of the Christ in 2004, is having a vacation on the island of Korcula. He is really low-key, so we are sure that many people didn't even notice that there is a celebrity between them.
His other notable roles include Private Witt in The Thin Red Line (1998), Detective John Sullivan in Frequency (2000), Catch in Angel Eyes (2001), Edmond Dantès in The Count of Monte Cristo (2002), golfer Bobby Jones in Bobby Jones: Stroke of Genius (2004), and Carroll Oerstadt in Déjà Vu (2006). From 2011 until 2016, he starred as John Reese on the CBS science-fiction crime drama series Person of Interest.