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.


With its quaint geographical location, Croatia can quickly become one of the best places to enjoy esports gaming. The country is waking up to this potential.

Croatia and Esports: A New Facet of the Country's Tourism

Croatia is a touristic gem, and other than a misunderstanding between cruise liners and the city of Dubrovnik, the country is really shaping up as a great location. But one niche driver of tourism can be none other than video gaming. Competitive gaming, known for short esports, is taking the world by storm. In fact, the esports industry is worth $1 billion in 2021, an impressive figure all by itself. Next time you are looking for a great 免 存 奖励 casino, you may want to remind yourself that there are so many different forms of gaming to try.

But how can Croatia truly benefit from its burgeoning esports industry? According to Tony Sloterman, product owner at Casino Bonuses Finder, you don't need a massive offering to excite interest in any gaming product. However, esports has the advantage of being watched by 700 million people in the world. At least 100 million of these fans are based in Europe, and their numbers are growing. So here is how Croatia can make the most out of it.

Pulling in Crowds for Big Events

Croatia has the potential to not just be seen as a cruise line destination. In fact, the country itself is a little fed up with all the cruises and tourists that descend upon the city and cause a bit of chaos. So, there is a much smarter way to go about this by hosting the event. But what event has enough fans in Europe to actually merit hosting?

You have guessed correctly – esports! Esports is followed by some 100 million people on the continent, and if we had to bet on it, we would argue that they would be very happy to travel and see some big event. To put it this way, esports is a huge business, and fans DO care about esports events.

Not least, Croatia has an immense advantage – its geographical position. You can fly from Bulgaria to Portugal in roughly two hours, thus having crossed the entirety of the European continent. The destinations may look big, but the continent has been inter-connected so well that distances are no longer an issue for anyone.

And yes, if Croatia is to start hosting esports events, people will respond by turning up to watch and this is a fact. So, why is the country not exploring this potential?

Esports Is Slowly Making Its Way through Europe

With the PGL Major hosted in Sweden and the Dota 2 International hosted in Romania, esports are moving quickly. Previously, you would have to travel far to get in on the action, but these days, it's all easy as players will have access to everything they want to see within a short distance.

Admittedly, the Dota 2 International wasn't originally planned for Romania, but the fact that Valve has chosen Europe as their destination once again, after rescheduling, is indicative of how important this region is to game developers and esports fans. Croatia has arguably no worse conditions to host a major event and adds a lot of charm to any such tournament because of its quaint geographical position. Croatia is a top-notch option if you are looking to really make your mark on esports, and organizers know that. Now, does Croatia realize its full potential?


The sea water on the 120 beaches of the Dubrovnik-Neretva County are crystal, clear according to a new official survey. Every summer the sea water on all the beaches of the county is tested to make sure that it meets the requirements of the regulation on the quality of sea water.

From the 6th the 16th of September the 120 beaches were checked in the ninth regular sea survey for 2021 by the Public Health Institute of Dubrovnik-Neretva County.

The sea samples on all the 120 beaches complied with the requirements of the regulation. The sea on 116 beaches was rated as a sea of ​​excellent quality, while on four beaches the sea was rated as good.

And as the current sea temperature is around 23 degrees the Adriatic is just as inviting as ever.

On Sunday, the sixth edition of the Zagreb Burger Festival ended at Zagreb's Franjo Tuđman Square. This event is known not only for gourmet burgers and burger masters from other cities, for whom this is a great opportunity to present, but also for ranking in the burger world.

This year, out of nine caterers, three came from Dubrovnik, Šibenik and Varaždin. Dubrovnik's Guloso premiered to the people of Zagreb with their excellent burgers.


Marko Bautović, caterer and owner of Guloso, said that this award is very valuable to him, because the Zagreb Burger Festival has positioned itself very high among Croatian gastro festivals and is very proud to have been given the opportunity to participate and win.

The second place was won by Reshetka International from Varaždin, a multiple winner of awards at the Zagreb Burger Festival, and in third place is The Burger Bar from Zagreb.


Demand for new cars in the EU fell sharply in August, for the second month in a row, while in Croatia the spring recovery extended to the summer, data from the ACEA manufacturer's association showed on Thursday.

In August, only 622,993 new cars were registered in 26 EU countries (excluding Malta), 19.1 percent less than in the same month last year.

Leading European markets recorded double-digit declines in August, with the largest in Spain, where 28.9 percent fewer new cars were registered than in the same month last year.

A similar percentage drop was recorded in Italy, by 27.3 percent, and Germany is in the group with a drop in the number of registered new cars by 23 percent.

Croatia recorded the opposite trend, with 2,815 new cars registered in August, 8.3 percent more than in the same month last year. The number of registered cars rose for the sixth month in a row, after a 9.2 percent jump in July, according to the ACEA.

September is known in Dubrovnik for its long end of summer shadows, temperate seas and cooler evenings. It, however, be a month that the weather takes a change for the worse, and today looks like being of those days.

Black skies and echoing thunder greeted the city this morning as the summer sunshine was put on hold. And the forecast for today and the start of the week look like being wet and wild, with thunder storms and rain. Highs today will be between 23 and 25 degrees.

A yellow weather warning for storms was issued by the Croatian Meteorological Service, “Strong thundershowers are possible, lightning risk 60 percent chance of heavy thunderstorms. Be especially careful in exposed areas such as mountains, forests, meadows and open grounds.”

But whilst the next two days will be changeable the rest of the week will be more settled and with more sunshine, summer hasn’t finished yet in Dubrovnik.

The City of Dubrovnik, in cooperation with the Lokrum Reserve, organized a "Green Purge" on the island of Lokrum. Members of the Diving Club Dubrovnik, employees of the Lokrum Reserve, the Natural History Museum in Dubrovnik, the University of Dubrovnik, the DUNEA Regional Agency, and members of the association " Lovers of Croatian traditions and natural beauties" all took part in the action.

Green Cleanup is a national campaign aimed at raising citizens' awareness of their role in waste generation and disposal. Cleaning actions in Croatia were held for the tenth year in a row. This year, as part of the World CleanUp Day, Croatia joined the volunteers of 150 countries with the aim of removing waste from the environment and educating the public about the problem of waste and the importance of proper waste management.

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Diving club Dubrovnik removed over 56 kilograms of waste from the sea, of which the largest share was plastic waste, and on the mainland part of the reserve approximately 26 kilograms of various waste was collected.

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“In relation to the amount of waste removed from the sea in 2020 (84 kilograms), it is important that the amount of waste in Portoč Bay has decreased from year to year, and that we can proudly say that this year Portoč Bay was completely cleaned despite that which is most exposed to sea currents from the south of the Adriatic Sea,” stated the Lokrum Reserve.

And added “We thank all those who participated in this action today and see you again at the next action for the preservation of nature and the environment.”

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I have always joked, well at least since I’ve been living here, that Župa dubrovačka is the centre of the world. But could I actually be right? This is a weird story to say the least, so make yourself comfortable.

So a few days ago, and quite by chance, I was trying to watch the match between Brazil and Argentina from Sao Paulo. It was a qualification for the Qatar World Cup. Now I say trying because after five minutes the pitch was invaded by men in suits who stopped the game. “What are those suits doing on the pitch and why is everyone arguing?” said my wife as the infield fights had caught her eye.

Now I am not going into this part in much depth but basically this super derby of the South American qualifiers was interrupted because of quarantine rules had been violated.

Some players for Argentina had come direct from the UK meaning that the Brazilians prescribed 14 days of quarantine on everyone coming from the United Kingdom due to the delta strain. Of course, there is a lot of politicking involved in this pandemic. As soon as the UK put a 14-day quarantine on any Brazilians arriving in the UK, the Brazilians reciprocated and put a 14-day quarantine on anyone coming from the UK.

The Argentinian players who came from the Premier League were actually deported.

A few days later and I met the most famous sports journalist in the south of Croatia, quite by chance again. “Three Tottenham players, Lo Celso, Romero and Sanchez, are all training in Župa, he said with a broad smile. OMG! WTF!

The distance between Sao Paulo and Čibača is exactly 9,897 kilometres. Meaning that these same players that we had been watching on TV a few days before were now 9,895 kilometres closer to me!

So how did an estimated 100 million Euros of Premier League talent end up training on the pitches of a county team in Čibača? Why Croatia? If the UK based footballers had returned directly to the UK they would have had to spend 14 days in quarantine. So to cut short their quarantine by ten days they decided to come to Croatia and train in the sunshine. And as Croatia is on the UK’s green travel list they only have to spend 10 days in quarantine. One thing is for certain, this strange case highlights the overwhelming amount of politics involved in this global pandemic.

Just how a Premier League team got in contact with a small club in the far south of Croatia is unsure, but it appears from sources that Tottenham have rented the whole stadium and pitches from NK Čibača.

One theory is that the owner of Tottenham FC, Joe Lewis, was recently in Dubrovnik on his mega yacht Aviva, and maybe he could have been scouting for possible training grounds. Although it seems highly unlikely that a billionaire would be scouting and also much more likely that he would have chosen the pitches inside Dubrovnik rather than a small county level team.

The second theory is that the club was recommended to Tottenham from the Croatian first division club Hajduk Split. But why would they recommend a club that barely has a stadium. The answer could well be that the current President of Hajduk, Lukša Jakobušić, actually lives relatively close to the Čibača stadium.

But why wouldn’t the Tottenham stars just train at the Hajduk stadium. Again, this could well be due to the fact that South American players are in fact already training there and carrying out their ten-days quarantine. Two Argentinians, Aston Villa goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez and the club’s £40million record signing Emiliano Buendia are both currently training in Split. From a high-profile derby between Brazil and Argentina in Sao Paulo to a county level club in the far south of Croatia in a stadium that barely holds a 100 spectators.

I joked that Župa was the centre of the world, but for a few media filled days it actually was. “Three Tottenham players trained NK Zupa Dubrovacka, an amateur club from the county leagues in a village near Dubrovnik,” and that’s how Čibača ended up in The Daily Mail. Pretty soon Dubrovnik will be known as “a small town near Čibača!”

Read more Englishman in Dubrovnik…well, if you really want to      


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.


The Voice of Dubrovnik


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