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.
Once again this summer the Croatian Prime Minister will visit Dubrovnik. On Saturday, Prime Minister Plenkovic will attend the premiere of Hamlet in the Dubrovnik Summer Festival, on the Lovrijenac Fortress in Dubrovnik.
And on Sunday he will participate at the final conference of the project "Lazareti - creative district of Dubrovnik", in the Lazareti complex. On Monday, he will visit the island of Korcula where he will visit the newly-built operational coastline at Dominče’s ferry port.
Then he will attend the signing of the contract for the project "reconstruction of the breakwater in Korcula harbour". At 11.00 am, he will attend the City Hall of the City of Korcula. After the session of the City Council of the City of Korcula, the Prime Minister will visit Vela Luka where he will participate in the signing of the contract for the project "Construction of the Passenger Terminal Vela Luka" at 1.00 pm.
The retail giant Spar recorded the largest financial growth of all the supermarket chains in 2018. Across the board revenues from the retail chains in Croatia increased by 2.5 billion Kuna in 2018 when compared with the previous year, and leading the pack was Spar and Lidl.
From the major supermarket chains, both home-grown and international, operating in Croatia, Spar saw the largest percentage growth increase last year, followed by the German Lidl, Konzum, Tommy and the bakery Mlinar. In total 34 food retail companies recorded an increase in profits in 2018.
Unsurprisingly revenue growth was the highest in Zagreb, slightly more than 500 million Kuna, followed by a rise of 97 million in Split, while in Osijek there was a growth of 31 million and 20 million in Rijeka.
In the City of Zagreb, revenues from the retail trade in 2018 amounted to 6.9 billion, whilst in 2017 the figure was 6.4 billion.
As far as market share is concerned Konzum still holds top position in the capital, followed by Spar and then Kaufland in third position.
The vast majority of Europe was baking in a heat wave yesterday with many cities seeing temperatures hitting the 40 degrees’ mark. And Dubrovnik is also in the middle of a warmer period, not as drastic as the rest of northern Europe, but weather forecasters are predicting a short, sharp break from the heat this weekend.
For both Saturday and Sunday the Croatian Meteorological Service are predicting flash storms with a fifty percent chance of some rain. Temperatures will also fall over the weekend, with highs on Saturday expected to reach 28 degrees and on Sunday 27 degrees. The popular weather website AccuWeather has stated for the Dubrovnik region on Sunday that "times of sun and clouds, a couple of showers and thunderstorms." But the wet spell won't last long and by the beginning of next week the baking temperatures will be back in full force.
In such roasting temperatures experts are warning people to drink at least 5 litres of fluid a day, to stay out of direct sunlight between midday and 4 o'clock and to apply plenty of sun cream.
The number one tennis player in the world seems to have certainly had a vacation to remember in the south of Croatia. Novak Djokovic, fresh from lifting the cup in the Wimbledon Tennis Championships, took a family cruise around the island of south Croatia.
He spent a lot of his summer break on the small islands doted around Korcula, where he was spotted numerous times. Yesterday Djokovic and his wife arrived in the picturesque town of Cavtat, presumably to catch a flight home after his holidays.
Djokovic (32) is a huge fan of the Adriatic coast and is quoted as saying that the Croatian coast is the most beautiful in the world. “I have visited many countries, but somehow I feel the best, it is the same language and for me the same culture,” commented Djokovic.
Tourism Minister Gari Cappelli on Wednesday said that it was time for tax changes in tourism and recommended a VAT rate of 13% on food and beverage services to be part of the fourth round of the tax reform.
"I've been asking for that from day one," Cappelli told reporters ahead of a government meeting. He informed that he is calling for a VAT rate of 13% on all food and beverage services and added that it was time for that to occur in the fourth round of the tax reform.
Asked whether that would lead to lower prices, Cappelli said that VAT is not the only problem and that the entire tax reform needs to be observed. He said it was time for "tourism to feel an additional step in the fourth round" of the reform and that it was necessary to improve quality and increase wages to make tourism more competitive.
He recalled the recent reduction of VAT on food and accommodation for personnel who work outside their usual place of residence. "I think that it is time for an extra step, either through personal income or VAT, which would create the opportunity to increase wages and for tourism to start breathing in that segment," he said.
Asked to comment on some cases of "rudely high prices," Cappelli said that the state would not intervene in that but that these cases were not good.
"I'm reading about what is going on. Gone are the times when you could make easy money in a month or two. Tourism has become real business," he said.
Asked whether it was time to discourage apartment-style accommodation, he said 70% of apartments had 3 stars and that he would insist on a reclassification and for quality to be improved.
The Dubrovnik – Neretva County will be richer for two new port facilities as the Prefect of the County, Nikola Dobroslavic, presented the projects yesterday.
"We wanted to share with you and the public the fact that we have decided to finance two port infrastructure projects in our county worth 100 million Kuna,” commented Dobroslavic at the press conference yesterday. The first of the projects is the construction of a new passenger terminal in Vela Luka on the island of Korcula.
And the second the reconstruction and of the wave breaker in Korcula harbour. The Prefect of the County also mentioned that a few days ago he announced the plan to finance the reconstruction of the coastline in Donje Celo on the island of Kolocep. In a project worth 24 million Kuna.
Revenue from the traditional humanitarian "second hand" sale organised by the Dubrovnik Foreign Circle, which was held in April this year, will, as always, will be donated to local associations.
The total revenue of this year's sale amounted to an impressive 98,500 Kuna and that total will be divided between three societies: Two Stairs (Dva Skalina), which supports children with developmental difficulties and their families, Sweet Life (Slatki Zivot), helping children with diabetes, and SOS Dubrovnik Cats, a small association that takes care of cats and with their sterilization.
For the association of “Dva Skalina”, the Dubrovnik Foreign Circle are buying equipment for playgrounds tailored to children with special needs. For the society Slatki Zivot, the club of foreigners are financing the transport of members of the society to health/spa centre.
Over the past ten years the Dubrovnik Foreign Circle has donated an impressive 449,300 Kunas to various humanitarian organizations in Dubrovnik, a fact that all members of the club can be extremely proud of.
"We thank all the volunteers who participated in the "second hand sale" action, especially the young people from the Croatian Red Cross, and the management and staff of Hotel Park," commented the Dubrovnik Foreign Circle in a statement.
Cruise Lines International Association and the City of Dubrovnik signed a cooperation agreement yesterday agreeing on a joint innovative to preserve and protect the cultural heritage of Dubrovnik through responsible tourism management and to make Dubrovnik an example of sustainable tourism in the Adriatic and beyond.
The agreement was signed by the President and Director of CLIA, Kelly Craighead, and the Mayor of Dubrovnik, Mato Franković, and focuses on investments, cooperation and best practices in the long-term management of the destination for the benefit of residents and visitors.
“Dubrovnik is above all our home. We want to host visitors and share it in a way that protects and preserves it. We hope that this co-operation agreement will encourage all relevant stakeholders, including other destinations, to make tourism and the community sustainable via joint efforts,” commented Mayor Frankovic.