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 Croatian tourism industry has reached a landmark this week, from the beginning of this year until the 28th of September more than 100 million overnight stays were recorded. According to a statement from the Croatian National Tourist Board the country reached this figure a full month earlier than last year.
The data was collected by the eVisitor electronic registry system, which includes statistics about overnight stays in hotels, marinas, and other facilities.
The Croatian Minister of Tourism commented that this figure was reached thanks to work on attracting guests to the country outside of the usual tourist season, the shoulder seasons. However, whilst work has been done to increase the number of flights to Croatia outside of the main summer months it is also clear that much more work needs to be done on creating an all-year round product. It is also important to point out that the most important factor of the tourism industry should be income and work on this work also needs to be done.
Over 18 million tourists have visited the country this year, with the most numerous coming from Germany, Slovenia, Austria, Poland and the Czech Republic.
Is September the new August in Dubrovnik? Judging by the number of international tourists in the historic Old City of Dubrovnik yesterday it would seem that the season isn’t slowly down at all.
Thousands of guests crowded onto the stone streets of the city, a mixture of cruise ship passengers and tourists, and the café bars and restaurants were as busy as they have been through the height of the season.
With more flights this October expected than ever before at Dubrovnik Airport it seems safe to say that the tourist season will continue for at least another month, and with the warmer weather returning to the region October could well be a great time to visit.
Check out our video from yesterday
“It wasn’t what I really expected to see whilst walking my dog in a public park,” commented a reader of The Dubrovnik Times as she came across a “wild camper” this morning in Dubrovnik. These tourists had found a shady spot in the middle of the Gradac Park in Dubrovnik and were enjoying an early morning coffee.
Camping in a public park, in fact camping outside of regulated camps, is against the law in Croatia. But these happy campers seemed oblivious and enjoyed a free overnight stay in the city.
Europe House Dubrovnik, a Dubrovnik based association, is organizing the celebration of the European Day of Languages for the fifth year in a row. The program has been prepared in cooperation with a number of educational institutions, cultural associations and honorary consulates. Participants, mostly children and young people, will read, recite, sing and perform short plays - all in various languages. Tourists, no matter what country they come from, can join, and say some words or sing in their mother tongues, as well.
In the heart of the Old City of Dubrovnik, in front of the St. Blaise Church, a celebration of European languages will be held tomorrow starting at 10.30.
The celebration of European linguistic diversity is the first activity in this year's program of Europe House Dubrovnik within the Time to Move campaign, a Europe wide collection of events for young people, organized every October by the Eurodesk platform, aiming to inform young people about various mobility opportunities.
As the knowledge of foreign languages contributes enormously to professional opportunities of young people in tourism, which is the main local economy, Europe House Dubrovnik and its partners mark with the program Let's Celebrate European (Linguistic) Diversity also the World Tourism Day (September 27).
Europski dom Dubrovnik / Europe House Dubrovnik (EHD) was founded in March 1995 as a non-profit, non-party and non-governmental association. The founding goals were to affirm the concept of European unification, to inform Croatian citizens, especially young people, on the progress of European integration, to foster their understanding, tolerance and dialogue with the citizens of other states, and to promote Croatia through cooperation with foreign governmental and non-governmental organizations.
EHD organizes educational workshops, lectures, exhibitions, round tables, media campaigns, celebrations for Europe Day, international seminars and conferences. Besides releasing its own publications, EHD also collects and distributes publications on various aspects of European integration, in several European languages.
Association's activities are mostly youth-oriented. One of EHD's current programmes is therefore Regional Youth Info Centre. But the doors of Europe House Dubrovnik are open to foreign visitors of Dubrovnik, too, as the association organizes every summer free-of-charge mini courses of Croatian language. More information about the courses, which, after four seasons, became the landmark of the association situated in an easy-to-find environment of Nikole Tesle Street in Dubrovnik, you can find here.
Almost 80 percent of Croatians hold and use a credit card and the number of payment cards used by the end of last year was 8.9 million, according to data released at an international congress on credit cards.
Contactless cards are on the rise in the country with almost 24 percent of all payments cards now the “wave and pay” option.
Around 3.38 million Croatians - or 79 percent of all citizens - have at least one payment card. Around 52 percent of card-holders only have debit cards, and on average there are 2.5 cards per user issued.
The value of transactions paid for by cards also continues to grow. In 2017 there were more than 430 million card payments registered in the country, worth in total 148.4 billion kuna (€20 billion). The number of transactions rose by 8.4 percent compared to 2016, while their value rose 6.8 percent.
There were also close to 5,000 ATMs installed in the country in 2017, and around 120,000 card payment machines.
An uncertain, difficult and dramatic night is waiting for more than 300 firefighters who have been fighting for the catastrophic fires in Orebić on Pelješac for the past 13 hours.
Fires are still burning on the hills above Orebić, around five kilometres from the town, although they are not threatening property or people at this moment. The gale force winds have subsided slightly although the mountainous terrain is making it difficult to fight the fires.
Most firefighters are located on the outskirts of the fires, providing protection for housing and residents.
"Nothing is over; the fire is active but for now it is not endangering settlements. All borders of the fires are under control. We are ready for a dramatic night, as things now stand, there is a possibility of more strong winds until tomorrow night, "explained the Chief of the Orebić Fire Brigade Nikša Nogalo.
Nogalo also pointed out that firefighting units of from all over Dalmatia, from Zadar, Sibenik, Split and Dubrovnik and almost all the units of the Dubrovnik-Neretva County, as well as all volunteer fire fighters are involved in the action. As well as members of the Croatian Mountain Rescue Service, the Red Cross and numerous civilian volunteers.
"It's not time to look for causes, it's time to rescue the houses and the people. Several residential buildings have been damaged and fields have been damaged, we will know the full extent of the damages later,” Nogalo added.
"We have chosen Croatia because of the reputation that Zagreb has as a location with good software developers and the moderate cost of labour," commented Carl Lundstrom on announcing the opening of an office for Cenrabit in Zagreb.
Carl Lundstrom is best known as the co-founder of Pirate Bay as well as other tech companies.
Centrabit, a Swiss based company, is a Bitcoin Trader application, which Lundstrom claims is the fastest and most secure trader of Bitcoins in the world.
Four years after founding their company in Switzerland, the start-up is now expanding by opening an office in Zagreb, which is looking to hire several C++ programmers, who will be able to choose later on whether they want to be based in Zagreb or move to Centrabit's headquarters near Zurich in Switzerland.
The cause of the catastrophic fire on Pelješac is most likely to have started from a spark from an overhead power cable. It seems that the gale force northerly winds blew over an electrical pylon in the early morning hours of today and the sparks caused thee forest fire to ignite.
There are still more than 300 firefighters around the town of Orebić who have beeeen joined by 50 soldiers from the Croatian army. in the field that are holding fire. Because of the fires that burned on the end of the Pelješac Peninsular, the Deputy Prime Minister and the Defence Minister Damir Krstičević has urgently convened a meeting of the County Fire Department of the Dubrovnik Neretva County, which will take place tomorrow at 8.00 am in Orebic.