Friday, 23 February 2024
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.


The Croatian tourist industry is not heading towards mass tourism, but integral development, sustainability and quality, which is why there is growing demand for Croatia, Tourism Minister Gari Cappelli told Hina in an interview. "This year we expect a 7% increase in tourism turnover over 2017 and tourism investment to increase to nearly a billion euros. This will certainly further improve service quality, in which we have been making progress every year, especially with regard to high-category hotel accommodation," Cappelli said. He said that Croatia was becoming increasingly interesting to investors, so that about 40 new or newly-renovated hotels were expected to open this year, much like last year.

The minister noted that tourism was having a great impact on the economy as a whole, as indicated by the latest report by Standard and Poor's ratings agency, which upgraded the country's credit rating, and last year's article in The Financial Times which ranked Croatia seventh among destinations with the highest potential for tourism investment.

Speaking of booking for this year, Cappelli said that early booking and high early occupancy was yet another proof of how popular Croatia was as a destination. "We are improving our position in the world, including in remote markets from where more and more tourists are coming and where we have been increasing our promotional activities, especially in Japan, China, South Korea, the United Arab Emirates and elsewhere. These markets are offering the biggest opportunities for tourism turnover growth, which is why this year we are planning to open HTZ (Croatian Tourist Board) offices in Shanghai, Seoul and Los Angeles, and possibly a consulate in Abu Dhabi, as the first step towards opening an office."

Cappelli said he also saw possibilities for further tourist trade increases and development of year-round tourism in this year's expansion of flight services to Croatia, thanks to which tourist trade was increasing already in the pre-peak season and the airports recorded increases in the number of passengers of about 20 percent in the first months of this year compared with last year.

 "We are following the trends and are trying to stay abreast, and I should say, immodestly perhaps, that we are leaders in some aspects. Our eVisitor system has been globally recognised as a technological innovation for more effective monitoring of tourist numbers, for which we have received an award from the World Tourism Organisation," the minister said.

Asked if, considering the excellent announcements from world markets, he expected the problem of over tourism, Cappelli said that Croatia was developing its tourist industry on the principles of sustainability. "We are planning and developing selective forms of tourism based on full quality and destination management involving all stakeholders," he said, citing gastronomic tourism, cycling tourism, health tourism and nautical tourism. "We are encouraging tourism businesses financially and logistically to innovate their services by creating additional attractions that will draw in visitors all year round," he added.

For the first time in ten years, the Tourism Ministry, in cooperation with the sector, has embarked on thoroughly changing the three key laws governing tourist boards, tourist tax and membership fees with a view to developing the tourist industry, professionalising the system and giving greater importance and autonomy to local government.

Cappelli says that these changes are not cosmetic but seek to ensure an effective legal framework for all those concerned. In this context he recalled that Croatia had launched an initiative to establish a Tourism Fund at EU level. "It may sound unbelievable, but tourism does not have its working body within the European Commission, unlike 20 or so other sectors, and therefore it is not directly financed," he said.

The Fund would provide finance for tourism infrastructure, small and medium enterprises in the tourist sector, and training. "We have already received support from many EU members for this and we expect a large number of member states to sign the declaration to this end. We have also received an encouragement in a recent recommendation from the European Parliament to open a financial line for tourism in the next multiannual financial framework," Cappelli said.


Could the renowned Deep Purple guitarist, Roger Glover, be performing a free concert in Dubrovnik this summer. It might sound like an incredible story but it might just come true.

The Dubrovnik musician, Ibrica Jusić, was recently introduced to the Deep Purple legend in Switzerland and took the opportunity to invite Glover to Dubrovnik this summer, reports Jutarnji List.

“I talked about our future musical collaboration,” commented Jusić. Adding that all real musicians speak a unique language and understand each other no matter what music genre they prefer.

“I used the opportunity to propose to my new acquaintance to come to Croatia in the summer and to see all the beauties of our country, and I have invited him to visit me in Dubrovnik, on my steps, on which I will perform for the fifty-fourth time in a row,” said the Dubrovnik musician.

And so the locals and tourists to Dubrovnik might have a surprise this summer. “The whole story was very interesting to him,” concluded Jusič. Could we see the Deep Purple legend actually performing on the streets of the Old City this summer? It would certainly make a special memory for guests in the city at that time.

Local content production is an important topic that will be discussed at New Europe Market, which will be held in Dubrovnik from June 11-14 and which will once again bring together leading TV experts, managers and board members of TV companies, broadcasters from the entire region, as well as producers and other media professionals.

For some critics and market followers, it seems that the ever-growing local production is winning new viewers and keeping old ones better than the other forms of production. Can local production on Pay TVs be the new benchmark and a sign of quality?

The panel entitled “How to make a great local production?” will gather renowned production experts for a discussion, which will be moderated by Ivana Miković, Deputy General Manager of the Radio Television of Serbia.

How does the entire process of production look like from the perspective of producers? What are they doing to keep viewers interested in their content? How to increase the quality of the content? This will be explained by Kim Moses, Executive Producer at Sander/Moses Productions, Lars Lundström, screenwriter and producer at Nice Drama, Nebojša Taraba, Creative Director at Drugi plan, Taliah Shahar, Head of International Operations at United Studios of Israel, and Paula Cohen McHarg, Senior Sales Manager for CEE, CIS, Africa, Middle East, Greece and Turkey at Keshet International.

“As the television business becomes more global, NEM is the best place for the industry to explore and tap into the burgeoning CEE region”, said Taliah Shahar, Head of International Operations at United Studios of Israel, adding that “in a time when the global TV platform is gaining momentum, the need for great local drama increases, as viewers still want to see their lives and unique experiences reflected on screen.”

Thoughts of the person behind the hit series Humans

Diverse content, interesting and innovative production, local topics... Can Pay TVs really increase their viewership with new, refreshed, and original local content?

An answer to this question will be given by Lars Lundström, one of the most famous and most esteemed Scandinavian producers and screenwriters, and the executive producer of the British series Humans, which is a remake of his Sci-Fi hit Real Humans. He is also known for his work on the series Tusenbröder and Wallander, and he revealed to us how to make a local drama production that will attract global attention:

“I believe it is all about creating its own unique universe and not shying away from the very local aspects of it. All great storytelling is in fact local, even stories like Star Trek. I’m very happy and honoured to attend NEM’s panel on “How to make a great local production” at the ever so significant NEM’s conference.”

lars nem 2018

The opinion that local productions are always in a way closer to viewers than foreign ones is shared by Nebojša Taraba, Creative Director at the Drugi plan production company and the producer of Novine, a series that has just achieved – thanks to NEM 2016 – international success and global distribution.

“Already confirmed experiences of some big Pay TV systems, such as HBO, have shown that local original productions are generally better received and have more viewers than even the biggest global hit series such as Game of Thrones. A win-win situation for all involved is the one where a particular local content with a well-chosen topic attracts global interest.”

NEM you don't want to miss!

At NEM 2018 professionals will have an opportunity to exchange business ideas, meet other people from the TV industry, absorb and share knowledge, as well as relax in one of the most beautiful Mediterranean locations – Dubrovnik. Create your account and find the best option for yourself on the conference's official website:

This summer season hasn’t even started in Dubrovnik and already various international airlines are announcing new flights and new destinations for 2019.

The latest company to release information is TUI Airways, and they have announced three new operations to Croatia from the UK with two flying into Dubrovnik. In 2019 TUI will operate flights from Cardiff to Dubrovnik and Leeds/Bradford to Dubrovnik.

These new flights will fly once a week, every Thursday, from the 2nd of May to the 26th of September. And then TUI will also connect Pula in Istria with Bradford Airport, again once a week, from the 4th of May to the 28th of September.

According to data just released by the Croatian Employment Service there are currently 174, 415 people unemployed in the country.

At the end of March this year there were 177,973 unemployed people registered in the Croatian Employment Service, which is 6.7 percent or 12.787 persons less than in the previous month, and a huge 20.6 percent or 46.095 persons less than compared to the end of March in 2017.

One of the main reasons for this massive drop in unemployment is the fact that around 200,000 Croatians have left the country, mainly from the region of Slavonia, looking for employment in other European Union members, mainly Ireland, Sweden and Germany.

If you were planning on catching the Dubrovnik Cable Car to the top of the 432 metre Srđ Mountain overlooking the city tomorrow, think again.

Due to routine maintenance the Dubrovnik Cable Car will be closed all day tomorrow, the 11th of April.

The cable car, which costs 140 Kuna for an adult return ticket, is normally open in April from 9.00am till 8.00pm and then in May until 9.00pm.


After the famous Walk of Shame scene in the fifth season of HBO’s Game of Thrones many fans of the series have tried to recreate the same walk down the steps in Dubrovnik, however few have done it quite as dramatically as this latest offering.

When Queen Cersei walked down the steps in the finale of season five in her walk of shame this scene turned into one of the most iconic in the whole of the Game of Thrones. Perhaps the most iconic scene in Cersei’s penance occurs on Dubrovnik’s Jesuit steps and on these very stone steps thousands of fans of the series take a selfie.

Jim Joquico, a fashion and fitness guru, took the challenge much more professionally and recreated his own stunning version of the walk of shame.


Dubai-based flydubai’s first flight touched down today in Dubrovnik. On board the flight there was a delegation of representatives from the airline together with members of the media and social media. The delegation was met by the State Secretary of the Ministry of Tourism of Mr. Tonči Glavina, the Managing Director of Dubrovnik Airport, Frano Luetić, the airlines’ representative in Croatia, Predrag Popovic and the Country Manager, Austria and Croatia for Emirates Martin Gross. On arrival, the inaugural flight was met with a traditional water cannon salute.

flydubai will operate Dubrovnik as a seasonal summer route, offering four flights a week between 10 April and 25 October 2018. Jeyhun Efendi, Senior Vice President Commercial Operations (UAE, Middle East, Europe & CIS) at flydubai, said: “flydubai is the first airline to offer passengers convenient, direct flights from Dubai to Dubrovnik. Our new service reflects flydubai’s commitment to open up 71 previously underserved markets on our network of more than 90 destinations. We offer affordable travel options in both Business and Economy Classes together with an enjoyable experience on board our young fleet of Boeing 737 aircraft.”

flydubai dubrovnik airport rr

“Opening this new route is an exciting and significant development for Emirates, flydubai, Croatia and the UAE. Not only can travellers in this region can take a flight with flydubai from Dubrovnik and connect seamlessly in Dubai to an exciting range of Emirates’ destinations, but we will also bring in more tourists to Croatia from Dubai and beyond, boosting the economy and extending business relations,” said Martin Gross, Country Manager, Croatia and Austria, Emirates.

Frano Luetić, Managing Director of Dubrovnik Airport, commented on the inaugural: “We welcome the launch of flydubai flights from Dubai to Dubrovnik. This is a significant milestone both for our airport and the entire Dubrovnik region. Connectivity is of paramount importance in today's global world and this new route will make Dubrovnik more accessible for tourists from the Middle East, Asia and Australia and contribute to the further development of the region’s tourism sector.”


The Voice of Dubrovnik


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