Tuesday, 22 January 2019
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

Opening a company in Croatia has not only become relatively straightforward in recent years but also surprisingly cheap. With an initial investment of just 10 Kuna you can open a limited company but if you plan on closing that company it will hit you in the pocket considerably harder. From the beginning of this year a new law has come into force which means that closing a limited company will cost you at least 35,000 Kuna!

Since the beginning of 2019 the liquidation of a company in Croatia is considerably more expensive and the reason is the amendments to the Pension Insurance Act. This new law stipulates that liquidators of companies - which are, as a rule, the owners or directors - have to pay contributions.

Even if we do not take into account the usual costs of closing down a company, which are not small, experts' calculations show that these new costs from the Pension Insurance Act mean an extra 30,000 Kuna. One of the reasons for this extra cost if that actually closing a company in Croatia can take a long time, and for all that time the owner will be liable to pay contributions.

The normal costs of closing down a limited company range from 1,500 Kuna to 3,500 Kuna, depending on the size of the company. This would cover the cost of notaries, court fees for opening the liquidation process and the process of entering the court registry. But with this added new cost the whole process could cost in excess of 35,000 Kuna. Of course the longer the process of closing lasts the more it would cost.

Croatia is one of the more expensive European destinations to holiday in this summer according to a survey by the UK Post Office. The Post Office barometer monitors the price of eight tourist items – comprising dinner for two with a bottle of wine, a range of soft and alcoholic drinks, sun cream and insect repellent, and the Croatian destination of Porec was listed as eighth most expensive on the list.

The Post Office carries out this research every year and over recent years Croatia, or rather prices in Croatia, have grown considerably. According to the survey the cheapest destination in Europe is Bulgaria where the eight tourist items will cost around £36, followed by Turkey at £45 and Portugal at £50. The price of the eight items in Porec, Croatia comes in at twice the price of the cheapest European countries at £80. With the most expensive European destination on the Post Office survey being Sorrento, Italy at £119.

In general, the Post Office survey revealed that prices for popular resorts and cities have fallen this year. With 19 of the 42 destinations surveyed cheaper than in 2018. Andrew Brown of Post Office Travel Money commented that “It is good news that prices are down in many destinations this year, but it is still very important to be aware of the huge variation in costs we found across the 42 countries surveyed. For example, barometer costs in the six cheapest resorts and cities are less than half those in the 15 priciest destinations. That’s why we advise holidaymakers to draw up a destination shortlist and do their homework by comparing the prices for meals, drinks and other tourist items before booking. Forearmed is forewarned!”

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In an attempt to stop the flow of fake news across its platform the popular messaging application “WhatsApp” has brought in new stricter measures. Messages can now only be forwarded on by users a maximum of five times, as opposed to the 20 times until now, in a move the Facebook-owned app believes will cut down on the spreading of fake news.

Up to 256 people can be enrolled in a WhatsApp group so after this new move messages could theoretically be forwarded on to 1,280 other people. “The forward limit significantly reduced forwarded messages around the world," added a statement from the company.

The restriction comes at a time WhatsApp and Facebook's other services are under scrutiny for their role in the spread of propaganda and other untruths online. Last week, Facebook announced it had removed 500 pages and accounts allegedly involved in peddling fake news in Central Europe, Ukraine and other Eastern European nations.

While across the European Union every sixth pensioner continues to work after retirement in Croatia that number falls drastically to every thirteenth pensioner, according to new results from the European Commission.

Among EU members Sweden has the largest share of pensioners continuing to work, in fact every third retired citizen is active on the labour market. This trend is constant in two other northern European countries, Iceland and Norway, where almost two-fifths of older people remain on the labour market after retirement.

On the other hand, the smallest share of pensioners who, after retirement, continue to work is in Greece and Spain, only about two percent. In Belgium and Luxembourg, it is around seven percent, roughly the same percentage as it is in Croatia. These figures are well below the average across the European Union where around 16 percent of pensioners continue to work in some capacity after retirement.

Croatia can expect a change in this situation in the near future. After the amendments to the Pension Insurance Act, which came into effect on the 1st of January this year, retirees are able to receive retirement and work part-time at the same time. The shortage of labour force in Croatia, due to the demographic downturn, has been evident in recent years. Especially in activities like tourism and hospitality, trade, transportation, construction, shipbuilding and agriculture. Many of the holes in the job market could well be filled by Croatian pensioners. It is unrealistic to expect that pensioners can cover all the cracks in the Croatia labour market but with their experience they can certainly bring a new dimension and could be a valuable tool.

Croatia has the largest supply of drinking water in the European Union, however also the highest losses of water. In the drinking water system of Croatia up to 80 percent of the fresh water is lost due mainly to old pipes.

The vast majority of the water pipes throughout the fresh water system are older than 50 years old meaning a huge problem with leakages.

The solution to the chronic situation in the water supply network is seen by many in withdrawing funds from EU funds. Croatia has around 200 utility companies, and in order to increase the efficiency of the system, the solution is seen in their unification.

In spite of the rather chilly weather and the ever present danger of the heavens opening over the city the ancient Old City of Dubrovnik was a magnet for locals and tourists this morning.

The stone streets of the city certainly had a winter feel with plenty of space to explore and take an al fresco coffee, somewhat different from the summer crowds.

Check out the gallery from today by Branka Mumalo

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Uber saw a 30 percent increase in users over the Christmas and New Year period in Croatia in 2018 compared with the previous year according to a statement from the company.

The online transportation company have added that during the Advent festivals in Croatia they handled users from almost 80 different countries, with the majority of tourists coming from the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Austria and Belgium. Uber reported a higher interest in four Croatian cities, Zagreb, Rijeka, Split and Dubrovnik.

The most popular destinations for Uber in Dubrovnik were to the Old City Walls and to the Dubrovnik Airport. Whilst other the other major Croatian cities saw an increase in journeys to shopping centres.

The Mayor of Dubrovnik, Mato Franković, the Deputy Mayor, Jelka Tepšić and the Director of the Port of Dubrovnik, Blaž Pezo, participated in a meeting at the Ministry of Tourism on the topic of amendments to the Tourist Tax Act. The new proposal put forward aims at collecting tourist taxes from tourists on cruise ships, with a set fee of 2 Euros per passenger proposed.

The Minister of Tourism, Gari Cappelli, explained that this new tax was a dedicated resource that would be reinvested into the transport infrastructure to raise the standard of destinations. Local government units could decide whether to introduce this tax or not.

The new proposal was supported by Mayor Frankovic who pointed out that this fee will certainly not deter people from coming to Dubrovnik, and that the City and the citizens will certainly benefit. With a tax of 2 Euros per guest, or per cruise ship passenger, the City of Dubrovnik would benefit to the tune of around 12 million Kuna which the city would then reinvest back into the transport system of the city. The mayor pointed out that it was important to notify the cruise ship companies in time so that the new fee could be calculated into future prices. It was agreed that the implementation of this new tax should be in 2021.

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