Wednesday, 20 October 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.


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 number of brands competing for the more significant stake of the target market is on the rise. The growing rivalry has made businesses dwell on other forms of promotion, and the practice of using famous online personalities to endorse a company attracts the most attention. 


Although the venture yields favourable results, the practice is by no means a walk in the park. According to the influencer marketing benchmark report, 22% of marketers found it extremely difficult to discover suitable influencers. The campaigns need to be monitored and optimized at every step of the way - this is where a genuine and trustworthy influencer marketing company takes the spotlight. They analyse the business objectives whether it is awareness, leads or sales and map the target audience of the brand with the target audience of the right influencer by executing marketing campaigns on platforms like TikTok, YouTube, and Instagram.

Every business has specific goals which they want to be fulfilled at the end of the campaign - some of them include brand awareness, sales, reach, leads, etc. According to Cure Media, 85% of marketers consider brand awareness their top objective. To that end, an agency can establish a profitable collaboration between a brand and Influencers. The people who fill important roles at this organization have years of experience running profitable campaigns. They use data to select the best social media celebrities for the job. 


An influencer agency also ensures that the campaign execution happens on schedule without hurdles and is obliged to prepare a detailed report at the end. In contrast to a software algorithm, the company uses expert analysis to select influencers whose expertise coincides with the business's needs.


Why Choose the Best Influencer Marketing Platform?



Grynow is a reliable influencer marketing platform in India that helps marketers utilize the popularity of social media influencers to promote their products/ services to new consumers. The professionals at the firm have successfully worked with 50,000 + artists, bloggers, content creators, and online influencers on 100 + successful projects. These numbers speak volumes for a company that has only existed for a little more than five years. 


Analyze brand goals


Every business has a goal that compels them to invest in a campaign - generate more sales, bring more traffic to their website or increase brand awareness, to name a few. Keep this in mind the in-house strategists at the firm make sure to analyze and understand their client's marketing goals before proceeding to the campaign design phase.


Understanding the target audience


A brand's marketing goals are interlinked with its target audience. Hence, the company's next order of business is to analyze the potential consumers of a brand, i.e. knowing the needs and wants of these people. This step is crucial because it aids an influencer marketing platform, design quality content that effectively reaches the target audience and prompts them to act.


Gain insights on a brands product or services


Before getting to the designing part of the campaign, an agency has to understand all attributes of a brand - this includes understanding the product and services offered by the business. This helps marketing firms design original content that efficiently communicates the benefits and features of the products made available to the target consumers.


Selecting the right influencers for the job


After analyzing the brand's audience, product, and goals, it is now time to select influencers suitable for the campaign. A top influencer marketing platform has a substantial network of creators and social media personalities for the job. 


The process starts by scrutinizing the demographic, behavioural, and characteristics attributes of the influencers following – this includes engagement rate on the creator's posts/videos. 


Influencers come in all shapes and sizes - mega, macro, micro, or nano. Now, adhering to a brand's objective and marketing goals, India's top platform selects the type of Influencers that are right for the campaign. Fun fact, according to Cure Media, 61% of customers prefer recommendations of Nano and Micro-influencers, compared to their macro and mega counterparts – this can be mainly because the former caters to a more niche audience.


Designing and undertaking campaign


After successfully understanding the brand's marketing goals, products features, target audience and discovering the right influencers for the campaign, the professionals at this influencer marketing agency work together with the selected social media celebrities and marketers. They create engaging content that incorporates client’s values, objectives and highlights the benefits of the brand's offerings to their target customer. 


Achieving target goal and ROI


Widely recognized influencer networks share content on their social media handles (Tik Tok, YouTube, Instagram) for the audience to see. 


The subscribers and followers of our Influencers are the brand target consumers. Through their post, these people familiarize themselves with the business offerings. With the help of a trustworthy, top influencer marketing platform, a business can get more leads, boost their sales and get a better return on their investment.


Audiences have immense faith in their online idols. Hence, what an influencer says has a lot of weight amongst their subscribers and followers. By utilizing word-of-mouth marketing, the firm delivers desirable campaign results like higher conversion rates, more leads, attractive ROI, better brand awareness. Brand's benefit from this venture because, as per a report by MediaKix, 78% of advertisers found it challenging to get a substantial return on their investment.


What makes Grynow the best influencer marketing agency?


Influencer network


The agency has an influencer network of more than 50000 content creators, bloggers, vloggers, Instagrammers, and YouTubers from multiple categories - varying from mega, macro, micro, and nano influencers. 


Campaign customization


The professionals understand the sentiments behind a brand's messaging and design effective marketing campaigns adhering to their client's marketing goals.


Effective positioning


The expert strategists at this influencer marketing agency strive for higher returns on a business's investment. They do this by efficiently positioning the brand on the right social media platform with the help of top influencers.


Engaging content


The creative minds at the company work closely with selected influencers and marketing professionals to produce highly engaging content. The post or videos are designed to provide details needed by customers to make informed buying decisions – ultimately achieving the campaign's end goal.


Expert strategy


Owned and managed by IIT and IIM alumnus and staffed by some of the industry's best minds, The organization is the best influencer marketing agency in the world. The company provides complete 360-degree marketing campaign solutions with the help of prominent influencers on social media platforms like Instagram, YouTube, and Tiktok. According to Variety, 60% of millennials are inclined to heed the advice of YouTube creators than listen to something coming from celebrities.

The agency uses a data-driven approach and prioritizes optimum utilization of brand and influencers resources to attain higher gains for their client.


To sum up


Influencer marketing is making strides in the digital world; there is increased demand for agencies to undertake marketing campaigns on behalf of a brand. In fact, as per MediaKix, 71% of marketers believe that traffic brought in by influencers are better than other sources.

An influencer marketing agency helps facilitate communication between a brand and its influencers. They are also responsible for overseeing tasks associated with the campaign. 


A good firm connects with their client's values and messaging, understands their products, familiarize themselves with their target consumers, and selects influencers accordingly – the agency which is our topic of discussion exhibits all these traits and more.

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.


In what will certainly be a boost for Croatian tourism the UK government has drastically simplified Covid-19 travel restrictions. On Friday the rules for international travel were changed by the British government and the new proposals end the traffic light system for ranking countries. Croatia was ranked by the UK government in the “green waiting list” but now as the traffic light system will come to an end it will be ranked as a low risk country. Instead of red, amber and green the UK government will introduce a low and high risk ranking.

And the relaxations don’t end there. All passengers who are fully vaccinated will no longer need to take the expensive PCR test, at least when returning to the UK from low risk countries. From the 4th of October fully vaccinated passengers arriving from low-risk countries will be permitted to take a cheaper lateral flow test, rather than the privately administered PCR lab tests now required. The insistence on PCR tests has meant that travel from the UK has been expensive, with PCR tests costing up to 80 Euros. This has meant that the UK travel industry has been one of the slowest to recover from the pandemic.

Sajid Javid Health and Social Care Secretary said, “Today we have simplified the travel rules to make them easier to understand and follow, opening up tourism and reducing the costs to go abroad. As global vaccination efforts continue to accelerate and more people gain protection from this dreadful disease, it is right that our rules and regulations keep pace.”

UK travel industry lagging behind Europe

Data shows that Britain's travel recovery is lagging. UK flights were down 39 percent compared with pre-pandemic levels for the two weeks to early Sept. 6, while France, Spain and Italy were down between 24 percent and 28 percent, according to Eurocontrol, reports Reuters.

"Today's changes mean a simpler, more straightforward system. One with less testing and lower costs, allowing more people to travel, see loved ones or conduct business around the world while providing a boost for the travel industry," Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said in a statement.

Boost for tourism in Dubrovnik

And as Brits are the most numerous tourists in Dubrovnik this news could be a shot in the arm for the tourism industry. July and August, and indeed the first weeks of September, have been positive with tourism levels back up around 2019 figures. And with Brits now in the position to travel both cheaper and with less complications the post-season in the city should be better than expected. UK airlines have announced a number of flights to Dubrovnik in October and this easing of the restrictions could well help to fill seats.

No ease of travel for unvaccinated travellers

However, unvaccinated travellers won’t be in the same position for the ease of travel. All unvaccinated tourists returning from low-risk countries will be required to take a pre-departure test, plus PCR tests on day two and day eight, and to self-isolate for 10 days on arrival, the government said.

EasyJet chief executive Johan Lundgren said “Removing the pre-departure test coupled with the disbanding of the traffic light system will inject some much needed confidence into travel once again.” Although he has a word of caution “However, vaccinated travellers and those from low risk countries will still have to do an unnecessary test after arriving in the UK, making travel less affordable for all.”

How are the UK travel rules changing?

End of the traffic light system – amber and green lists will be merged to make “low risk” ranking. Red ranking will become “high risk.”

From Monday 4 October, the amber and green lists will be merged into one list.

Anyone who's fully vaccinated (with a vaccine recognised by the UK government) will no longer have to take a PCR test before travelling back to England from one of these countries.

However, on day two of arrival in the UK a Covid-19 test must be made, a PCR test will be replaced with a cheaper and easier lateral flow test.

Travellers coming to the UK from the so called “high risk” countries will have to spend 11 night in quarantine in an airport hotel at a cost of £2,285 per person.

All passengers will still need to fill in a passenger locator form ahead of travel.

The Earth, Sea & Fire – Dubrovnik International Triathlon 2021 will take place on a new date – Saturday, 2nd Oct – limited number of participants- Sprint distance only.

The Dubrovnik Team has been working hard to resolve the ever changing complexities that COVID has produced.

The continued evolving health and safety regulations in different countries is also becoming more and more challenging. There is also continued airline uncertainty regarding flights to Dubrovnik in mid-October.

Therefore, in the light of all global happenings the organisation team have decided to deliver a special edition of the Earth, Sea & Fire Dubrovnik Triathlon, numbers will be limited to 100 participants. There will be only one distance this year – SPRINT distance.

"We have to respect the local and national health and safety protocols in Croatia. The race will be allowed to held in the very safe and well secured Dubrovnik Port area," stated the organisers. 

The 750m, 2 lap swim will remain in the Port of Dubrovnik as usual. Two laps also delivers a safer control area. The bike 20km, the favourite part of every ESF bike leg lover is two laps along the flat roads by the Dubrovnik River. The run 5km will be also two laps and will take place inside the Port area. The run is very flat.

Croatian health protocol at the moment required a safe zone between spectators and the participants for the international events. 

The new date for the special 2021 edition of the Earth, Sea & Fire Dubrovnik Triathlon event is 2pm October 2, 2021. – Saturday, with preliminary start of the race 14:00 – local time.

"Hopefully 2022 will bring us normal conditions globally and we will return to the standard multi distance event at the Earth, Sea & Fire Dubrovnik International Triathlon event. Thank you for supporting triathlon in all these difficult times and we hope to see you in Dubrovnik on the 2nd of October, 2021," concluded the organisers. 


Friday, October 01

08:30 Morning swim with coffee and giant donuts @ Banje Beach (included for athletes)

17:00 DUBROVNIK CHARITY 5K @ Dubrovnik (included for athletes)

18:00 – 21:00 Bib numbers pick up @ Urban & Veggie

18:00 – 21:00 Welcome Reception @ Urban & Veggie (included for athletes)

Saturday, October 02

11:00 – 13:00 Bib numbers pick up @ Port of Dubrovnik

14:00 Race Start DUBROVNIK SPRINT 2021 @ Port of Dubrovnik

19:30 Tri Party @ Banje Beach (included for athletes)

Sunday, October 03

10:00 Choice of optional tours @ Dubrovnik (included for athletes)

Today we there were 1,394 new cases of Covid-19 virus infection and the number of active cases in Croatia today is a total of 7,991. Among them, 651 people are in hospital, of which 77 are on ventilators.

Unfortunately, a further 9 people passed away in Croatia from the virus.

And Krunoslav Capak, head of the Croatian National Health Institute, said that in the first 5 days of this week we had an increase of 39.7 percent of new cases. "Of the newly infected, 83 percent have not been vaccinated, and of the 9 deceased, 8 had not been vaccinated. In terms of incidence rate, we are in 23rd place among EU countries. The death rate per million inhabitants is 2,087.6, which puts us in 20th place.”


The Polish national airline, LOT Airlines, plans to operate six flights a week on a regular route between Warsaw and Zagreb in the upcoming winter flight schedule. This is great news for the Croatian capital and it's winter tourism offer.

In the winter flight schedule last year, LOT operated four times a week between the two cities, but from mid-January to early March the company was forced to cancel regular operations on this route due to passenger restrictions and low demand, reports Croatian Aviation

From the beginning of November, LOT will continue to operate regularly on this line six times a week, every day except Saturday, and from December 15, the company plans to operate daily to Zagreb!

The Voice of Dubrovnik


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