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.
Adriatic SeaChange held their first event in their program for digital nomads in Dubrovnik last weekend. The Dubrovnik based agency, which specialises in offering relocation, accommodation and lifestyle services for remote workers and digital nomads worldwide, have organised a five-month long program of events for digital nomads in the region and the first event, Gems of Vardia, proved a great success.
“We really wanted to highlight to our nomads the traditional values and authentic experiences from the region,” stated Barbara Lucic-Loncaric, one of the co-founders of Adriatic SeaChange.
Tucked away in the foothills of Župa is the Gems of Vardia, and the international group of nomads got up close and personal with this charming vineyard and olive oil production. Not only did they learn about the production of two of the most traditional products of the region, olive oil and wine, but they also got the opportunity to taste some wines and olive oil.
“To see so many smiling faces as I explained the history of producing wine and olive oil showed me that the tour of my vineyard and olive grove was well received by the group,” said the owner of Gems of Vardia, Ivica Vlasic.
On this first event of the summer a wide range of digital nomads from all over the world, from the US, the UK, Australia, Ecuador and the UK, attended and needless to say their social media accounts and travel blogs were filled with their experiences, videos and photos of the day.
Planes and passengers are slowly but surely returning to Split Airport, where ten thousand passengers are expected this weekend, to which should be added another 27 thousand passengers at the city port.
Around 80 planes with ten thousand passengers will be departing and arriving at Split Airport this weekend as the season slowly grows.
Passenger traffic is good, with travellers from all over the world are arriving, and by the end of June they expect connections with direct flights from 24 countries and 70 destinations directly. "We expect that, based on more countries opening in July and August, that the season will develop well and our plans will be realised,” commented the spokesperson of Split Airport.
And Split Airport isn’t the only transport point doing well, the Port of Split also had a very busy weekend with 27,000 passengers arriving and more than 8,000 vehicles.
“Some people think football is a matter of life and death. I assure you, it's much more serious than that,” once said the legendary Liverpool FC manager, Bill Shankly.
I get the feeling that every major football tournament recently has featured a match between Croatia and England. It’s like some dark force is against me. Of course, as ever, this leaves me in a no-win situation. In fact, no-win, or in other words a draw, is the only winning result for me.
Sunday is D-Day! 15:00 is “high noon.” Wembley is the “colosseum.”
The Three Lions versus Vatreni! Maybe as not so many fans are allowed in the stadium due to corona they’ll be less pressure and less hype than normal. Although I doubt it. For these derbies I usually turn off my mobile and discount myself from the rest of the world, it seems to be the safest option. I guess I could watch the game from the top of Sniježnica.
According to the betting shops England are the favourites to win, but betting on the result would just make it even more stressful for me. There could be another solution. Maybe we should make a deal before the game.
Croatia already finished in the silver medal position in the last World Cup so don’t really need the sporting success as much as England. The last time we won anything worth winning was in 1966! However, Croatia does need the British tourists, especially Dubrovnik. So let’s make a deal, Croatia let England win and in return Croatia gets removed placed on the green list. That could be a win/win situation (only joking).
To be honest I’m not that excited about this upcoming championship. It could be because of the lack of atmosphere in the stadium or the fact that there seem more important things in the world right now, I don’t know, but I’m certainly not in football fever. Or it could be the fact that the tournament is spread out over 11 different countries, in my opinion that is a bad, bad idea. The then UEFA President, Michel Platini, said in 2012 that the tournament was to be hosted in several nations as a "romantic" one-off event to celebrate the 60th “birthday.” The same man who was banned from football administration for conflict of interests and taking millions of Euros in bribes in 2015. From romance to corruption in only a few years. So thanks to this fraudulent Frenchman this year’s tournament is all over the place, well that’s French organisation for you, there’s even games in that famous European capital, Baku! As the famous Eurovision terms states “Nul Points” for Platini!
But let’s look closer to home, apart from the possible sporting achievements what else could we look forward to? It looks like tourists will be able to follow their national teams in cafés and restaurants as surely the government will hear the calls from business owners for extended opening hours. In many ways this championship could help save these front line businesses, and as the Germans seem to be the most numerous tourists in the country at the moment let’s hope they can get to the finals. We will sell more beer than October Fest!
Remember the buzz around the last World Cup. The red and white squares everywhere, the centre of Zagreb packed as the team had their welcome home and the general positivity that washed over the nation.
Remember those scenes of Kolinda in the rain with Putin and Macron. All that seems a distant memory, but it was literally three years ago. 2020 might have been a year but it felt like a decade. And this is the first major world sporting event since those crazy days in Moscow, Nizhny Novgorod and Kaliningrad.
It is seriously looking like this year’s Summer Olympics will be an embarrassment for the hosts, so let’s hope that this footballing event isn’t a disaster for Europe. My money, and I am not a betting man, is on the Germans to win this year, so roll on Dubrovnik October fest!
And as the former England striker Gary Linekar famously said “Football is a simple game; 22 men chase a ball for 90 minutes and at the end, the Germans win.”
Read more Englishman in Dubrovnik…well, if you really want to
The entire Croatian Adriatic coastline, all seven counties, was removed from the Slovenian "red" list of epidemiologically less safe areas on Thursday, which will ease the conditions under which Slovenian tourists will be able to return home after their vacation.
In addition to the Croatian Adriatic, Germany and the Czech Republic have been removed from the red list, and the government's decision will take effect on Saturday and will last until June 20, when it will be updated again, the Slovenian government announced after the regular session.
Switzerland, the Vatican, Austrian Tyrol, Cyprus, Luxembourg, Poland, Slovakia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, and Montenegro were also removed from the red list, while the Portuguese Azores were added to the red list.
A person coming from such an area can enter Slovenia without being sent to quarantine at home if he submits proof that he has been in an area that is not on the red or dark red list for at least five days without entering, the Slovenian government said. Practically, this means that hotel bills, residence certificates, will be valid as proof of residence, as was the case last year at the time of the epidemic.
This first major cruise ship of the season will dock today in Dubrovnik. The mega cruise ship MSC Orchestra will arrive in the Port of Gruz today as the cruise ship season opens.
The cruise ship industry, understandably, was one of the worst hit industries in tourism and news that the first ship will arrive in the city will be met with caution from one side and optimism from the other.
Whilst cruise ship companies have prescribed special protocols for their guests upon arrival at the destination, and the ships limited capacity to about 50 percent, the very thought of spending a longer period of time in a confined space with a large number of people would have a lot of people scrambling for the exits. And it is predicted that the cruise ship industry will be the last to recover from the effects of the pandemic.
So clearly the first visit of a large cruise ship in Dubrovnik will cause waves. The City of Dubrovnik has stated that they have taken all necessary safety measures to make sure that both guests and citizens are safe.
The road to recovery for the cruise ship industry will be long and arduous one.
In the last 24 hours, 184 new cases of coronavirus infection have been registered in Croatia, and the share of newly infected in the number of tested is 3.39 percent, the Minister of Health, Vili Beroš, reported at a Government session on Thursday.
Speaking about the current situation related to coronavirus, Beros said that the number of infected and hospitalized is falling, 482 people are in hospital, and 48 are on ventilators. Hospitals are gradually reducing their capacity to care for Covid patients and adapting to normal activities and work.
Thus, Dubrava Hospital in Zagreb, as the central point for admission and treatment of Covid patients, started operating on Monday in the polyclinic, day hospital and non-invasive diagnostics, and further normalization of work of that clinical hospital is underway, the minister said.
He also reported that 40.8 percent of the adult population in Croatia has been vaccinated against Covid so far, and more than 616,000 citizens with two doses.
Mobile vaccination teams will visit county areas and stay in smaller towns according to an agreed schedule. This approach, the minister pointed out, is oriented towards rural areas, and the idea is to meet the needs of residents of smaller settlements, far from health care institutions, and reach the doorstep.
"The epidemiological picture is getting better, but it must not blind us. Covid-19 emphasizes how interdependent we all are in successfully fighting the virus, how important it is that we all work together to recover as quickly as possible. The vaccine is the only way to strengthen the immunity and collective security of all citizens,” said Beroš.
No one is safe until we are all safe
He once again called on all citizens, who have not yet, to apply for vaccinations. "No one is safe until we are all safe," he said of the pandemic.
Deputy Prime Minister, Davor Božinović, stated that we are approaching the expiration of the current measures, and that the Headquarters is intensively preparing a decision on the modality of extending these measures until 1 July. "This is the date when the regulations on digital certification at the EU level are expected to enter into force," Bozinovic reminded.
He also noted that the European Parliament yesterday adopted the regulations on the digital certificate, and reached an agreement according to which the members could not impose additional travel restrictions for the holders of these certificates. The Croatian national system has shown full functionality, more than 110,000 citizens have taken their certificate in just nine days, checks are being carried out at border crossings without difficulties and delays, Bozinovic said.
He also stated that about 10,000 EU Covid certificates issued to citizens of Poland, the Czech Republic, Greece, Denmark, Bulgaria, Latvia and Croatia have been successfully validated so far, thus confirming full interoperability between member states.
The World Health Organization, says Bozinovic, has invited Croatia to present the development, implementation and results of Croatia's national system for issuing EU digital Covid certificates.
In the Dubrovnik-Neretva County, no new cases of coronavirus infection have been recorded in the last 24 hours. Three people made a full recovery - one from Ploče and Opuzen and one person who does not have a residence in the county.
In the last 24 hours, 322 samples were processed, and since the beginning of the pandemic, a total of 77,869 samples have been analysed.
Three people tested positive for coronavirus are currently hospitalized in the Dubrovnik General Hospital.
There are 164 people in self-isolation, and no violation of the self-isolation measure has been recorded in the last 24 hours.
Over a million users have so far visited the interactive map of Croatia croatiacovid-19.info created by the Croatian Tourism Association (CTA) which shows information on the epidemiological situation in our country by counties and islands.
"The presentation of Croatia by counties has already been accepted by the German Robert Koch Institute, which is very important for the success of the tourist season, motivating tourist workers and the population of the counties to behave responsibly,” stated CTA.
In the last seven days, the map was mostly viewed by users from Germany, followed by the Netherlands, Croatia, Austria, Italy and the Czech Republic, and according to it, Istria and the islands of Rab, Cres, Losinj, Brac, Korcula and Vis have the status of green parts.
The Dubrovnik-Neretva County is yellow on the map, but is also on the verge of turning green. The total number of newly notified Covid-19 cases per 100,000 population in the Dubrovnik-Neretva County over the past 14 days is 26, and over the last 7 days that has fallen to 15. The upper limit to turn green on the map is 25 cases per 100,000 people, meaning that the Dubrovnik-Neretva County will soon be green. The total number of active Covid-19 cases is only 18 across the whole county. Whilst the island of Korcula is green, as there have been zero cases over the past 14 days.