Friday, 22 February 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

What a lovely start to the weekend in Dubrovnik with bucket loads of sunshine and rising temperatures. Highs today, and in fact tomorrow, are expected to reach a balmy 15 degrees and the forecast for all of next week is for more sunshine and blue skies.

Locals and the handful of tourists who are in the city made the most of the sunny Saturday and enjoyed strolls through the ancient Old City.

Check out the photo gallery from Tonči Plazibat

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walking in february sunhsine in dubrovnik croatia

 

2019 will be a challenging year for one of the most important businesses in Croatia, the tourism industry, according to the Minister of Tourism, Gari Cappelli. Although he stated that expectations are positive this year the increase in competition, including from traditional destinations that have suffered in recent years, such as Greece and Turkey, means that the quality of the tourism industry must be raised to compete.

Minister Cappelli said that after two years of tourist traffic growth of almost 20 percent, they can no longer expect such a high growth, and this year the country can expect a slight growth of between 1 and 3 percent compared to last year.

The Ministry of Tourism’s plan for this year is to continue activities that contribute to the strengthening of all-year tourism with an emphasis on the continental regions of Croatia, and its goal is to reach new consumers as well as strengthen the position of Croatia as an attractive tourist destination and far-reaching markets such as China, Korea, India, Australia and Americans.

“Some markets which have fallen are returning, lowering prices to bring back guests, which is quite understandable, but Croatia is recognizable, has its comparative advantages and the results are already good at the start of this year, but we find ourselves in one of the most successful tourist regions in the world, the Mediterranean, which is extremely competitive and all the players in the market must adapt to make year-round tourism to be successful. Croatia is doing this," commented Minister Cappelli in an interview with HINA.

He added that Croatia should concentrate not on mass tourism but to produce a quality product that will stand out on the crowded tourism market.

"We will continue to cooperate with stakeholders in the tourist system, analyse common challenges, listen to the needs, monitor trends and assessments for the future of tourism in the world, and as a result we will embark on the process of realizing a new strategy, for which we call for tenders at the end of the year," concluded Cappelli.

“Morning is an important time of day, because how you spend your morning can often tell you what kind of day you are going to have,” said the American novelist Daniel Handler. Are you a morning person? Do you leap out of bed as the cockerel clears his throat at the crack of dawn or do you prefer to hit the snooze button and spend another 15 minutes in your warm bed? Do you rise and go to sleep to the pattern of the sun? Rise and shine, it’s the early bird that catches the worm.

“Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise” - Benjamin Franklin. Apparently the most successful businesspeople are early risers. From Bill Gates to Mark Zuckerberg and Virgin’s Sir Richard Branson, all love to get up extremely early in the day. Setting your alarm clock for an hour or two earlier might also help you climb up the career ladder. Studies have shown that employees perform with more concentration and focus in the morning.

I have to admit that my bed is a difficult place to leave in the morning. In fact, my sleep pattern tends to be connected to the seasons, well to be more precise the sun. In the black of winter I avoid jumping out of bed before 7.00am but in the bright glow of summer then I quite enjoy rolling out of bed at 6.00am. And my biggest pleasure of the day is a cup of coffee in bed. Yes, every morning for the past 35 years I have had a cup of coffee in bed, wherever I am in the world I’ll always have a mug of caffeine in bed, my ten minutes of morning zen. It’s like my guilty pleasure and quite possibly something that I adopted from my mother. I simply can’t imagine life without this early morning ritual.

And as I’ve gotten older so my sleeping patterns have changed. Like most when I was at school I hated leaving the warm grip of my bed and would have to set two alarms to blast me out of bed. But then my mother-in-law gets up so early that the moon is still shining. Maybe she is a vampire (sorry).

But I still can’t really understand this sleeping in the afternoon, the popular fjaka or siesta. I can kind of understand why people catch a nap in the afternoon when it’s the height of summer and the sun drains you of all energy. But why people crash on the couch in the winter is still beyond me. Don’t get me wrong I have tried to nap in the afternoon, and sometimes in summer I still will, but never in the winter. If 7 hours of sleep a day is enough for the human body why do we need to top it up with an hour in the afternoon, especially in the winter.

Famously Margaret Thatcher when she was Prime Minister would insist of having only 4 hours of sleep a night, so that she could spend more time “running the country.”

My wife quite regularly reminds of a so called “quiet time” that seems to be non-existent now. A time in the afternoon, from 2 to 4 when children weren’t supposed to play outside or make lots of noise so that the whole neighbourhood could nap. In fact, I even remember this time when I first arrived 20 years ago. This quiet time has died somewhat. Of course it could be due to the fact that children are all playing on their mobile phones or computers these days rather than kicking a football around or making a camp in the trees. There’s no need for quiet time when the next generation is fixated to starring at a screen, in fact they are having their own quiet time.

To be honest I have never been much of a night owl, even when I was younger. My body clock switches off somewhere after The News. Which means getting up early is a breeze. I love watching the sunrise, even more than the sunset. There is something spiritual about the break of a new day. “It is well to be up before daybreak, for such habits contribute to health, wealth, and wisdom” – Aristotle. And he is right.   

According to a new study carried out by the Ministry of Health the most commonly used drug in Croatia is cannabis and at least one if five Croatians have used drugs at some point in their lives.

"In 2017, a total of 7,157 people were treated for drug abuse by the health care system, or slightly up by 0.7 percent, from 2016," commented Tomislav Dublibic, a senior official in the Ministry of Heath when presenting the findings. Programmes to treat addiction in long time users involved 957 patients in 2017, which was 24 percent up from 2016.

The night sky in Župa glowed red last night as a forest fire broke out at around 9.00pm. The fire, which occurred in grassland above the village of Soline, burned for around an hour before the 31 firefighters, who were on the scene quickly, extinguished it.

According to information from the Dubrovnik Fire Brigade the fire broke out in low grassland and no homes were at danger.

The cause of the fire is not yet known, however as it was close to a busy road the possibility of a driver throwing a cigarette butt out of the window can’t be ignored. 

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Croatia’s industry finished 2018 on a low note as industrial output was one of the lowest across the whole of the European Union, according to Eurostat.

Across the whole of the European Union industrial output dropped by 2.7 percent, and one of the biggest losers was Croatia. In December 2018 Croatia saw a 6.6 percent drop in industrial output compared to the same month from 2017. Inside the European Union only Spain and Ireland experienced bigger drops in December 2018.

On the other side of the coin Denmark with a massive 14.3 percent increase, Hungary with a 5.8 percent increase and Estonia with a 5.7 percent increase were the biggest winners.

Industrial production figures published by Eurostat are used to measure changes in the volume of output of the industrial sector, which includes all manufacturing, mining, and utilities.

One of the largest and most prestigious department stores in the UK is either preparing for Brexit by showing their geographical ignorance or is in serious need of an atlas, Google maps or Wikipedia. Dubrovnik has once again inspired a brand, this time a designer swimsuit which is sure to be a hit this summer across the beaches of Europe, however the marketing is more than a little disappointing.

Selfridges have advertised a new line of swimwear designed by one of the UK’s leading bikini creators, Heidi Klein, and have made rather an embarrassing mistake with the description of one particular swimsuit. Named “Dubrovnik lace-up striped swimsuit,” (yes, even swimsuits are being named after Dubrovnik now) the swimsuit looks stylish and classic. But the description leads a lot to be desired as Selfridges clearly state that Dubrovnik, and not Zagreb, is the capital of Croatia.

Here is the description from the Selfridges website in full on the Dubrovnik lace-up stripped swimsuit - As the name suggests, Croatia’s capital inspires the maritime mood of Heidi Klein’s Dubrovnik swimsuit. A classic combination of nautical stripes explores life on the ocean waves in a softly textured, super-lightweight fabric. Neat lace-up details at the reverse are signatures of the label and ones that bring playfulness to the sea-faring look. Grab one of this summer’s basket bags and it’s all aboard the jet ski.

And as the Dubrovnik inspired swimsuit, which will probably be all the rage this summer on the beaches, will set you back a whopping £220.00 you would have thought the marketing department would have enough left over to invest in an atlas…globe…or just an internet connection and Wikipedia.

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And yes we did check if Selfridges deliver to Croatia, to the real capital Zagreb and to Dubrovnik 660 kilometres from the actual capital. And they stated that delivery to Croatia is possible, let’s just hope their delivery department is better at geography than the marketing one. Delivery to Croatia takes around 4 days and “here are no import taxes, duties or charges when shipping to the European Union. You will never have to pay any additional fees when your order arrives.” Another text that might need attention after Brexit.

The first ever IKEA delivery centre opened in Dubrovnik today. Located in the Spiona Centre in Župa, on the second floor, the new delivery centre will make it easier for IKEA customers to collect their goods. The Swedish furniture and home furnishings chain has a mega store on the outskirts of Zagreb as well as other delivery centres dotted around the country.

The Dubrovnik IKEA officially opened for business today and from now on IKEA customers in the wider Dubrovnik region will be able to order online, or in fact directly at the store in Zagreb, and have their order delivered to Dubrovnik. The delivery cost of an order up to 30 Kilos is 39.00 Kuna and up to 1 ton 99.00 Kuna. Once ordered online the delivery takes around 3 to 4 days to arrive in Dubrovnik and customers will receive an email and SMS that their items have reached Dubrovnik. Or IKEA will deliver directly to your door for 299.00 Kuna.

ikea dubrovnik centre

The IKEA delivery centre in Dubrovnik is open on weekdays from middy to 8.00pm and on Saturdays from 8.00am to 4.00pm and is closed on Sundays.

And with so many private apartments in the wider Dubrovnik region that rent to foreign tourists throughout the summer this is a great opportunity to furnish your apartment at reasonable prices.

“Through the opening of delivery centre in Dubrovnik, IKEA wants to additionally approach its products and solutions to the customers in Croatia and enable them savings. The delivery centres at the coast, in Rijeka and Split, followed by the one in Osijek, were opened earlier. IKEA continues now to explore the ways through which it can make its offer even more accessible to the many people in Croatia,” stated IKEA to The Dubrovnik Times.

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new ikea delivery centre in dubrovnik opens

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