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.
After the successful filming of the globally popular TV series “Game of Thrones” and the eighth episode of “Star Wars” once again Dubrovnik has an opportunity to confirm itself as a well known destination for international movie and TV industry.
Over the last ten days a casting call for extras in “Knightfall” has been put out and setting up the scenes for shooting a new series has already begun. “Knightfall” is an upcoming American historical fiction drama television series which recounts the fall, persecution and burning at the stake of The Templar Knights and will be filmed for the History Channel.
A producer of the project is the famous American actor Jeremy Renner one of the leading characters in the actual movie spectacle Captain America: Civil war.
According to some announcements the series will have ten episodes and there are some speculations that Jeremny Renner apart from his producer role might play one of the roles in the series.
In recent years History Channel has become famous for its historical drama television series Vikings.
The Art Heritage of the Pejacevic family is a title of a guest exhibition of the Art Museum from Osijek was opened on Sunday at the Rector's Palace in Dubrovnik.
The exhibition presents works of distinguished artists such as a baroque painter from Vienna J. G. Weickert, an English portrait painter A. Ossani, a sculptor from Hungary J. Engel, artists from the Austro-Hungarian art circles Móro Than and Franz Pinter as well as the Croatian painter J. F. Mücke. The Croatian modern art is also represented in this exhibition through the art works of Vlaho Bukovac, Mencije Clement Crncic and Nasta Rojc.
The noble family Pejacevic had a number of rich art collections in their castles in Croatia and abroad. These works were continuously collected since the beginning of the 18th century when the family arrived and settled in Slavonia and Srijem till the Second World War. Nowadays these art works are mostly a part of the holdings of galleries and museums in Croatia and in part they belong to private owners. By their quality and quantity these art collections make the most significant part of the art heritage of eastern Croatia.
The authors of this exhibition are Jasminka Najcer Sabljak a doctor of science and an art curator in the Museum of Art and Silvija Lučevnjak a professor and a director of the Homeland museum in Našice.
The exhibition will remain open until the 10th of July in the Rector's Palace in Dubrovnik.
Mr Anton Kliman the Croatian minister of tourism met with Li Jinzao the president of the China National Tourism Administration (CNTA) on Monday to discuss cooperation between Croatia and the People's Republic of China, cooperation as a part of the China +16 initiative as well as the possibility of boosting tourism relations between these two countries. The meeting was held in the Croatian Ministry of Tourism and this is the first time that such a high level Chinese tourism delegation has visited Croatia.
Mr Jinzao as a president of the biggest and the most important government body that covers the tourist sector in China, travels to Europe every year and he chose Croatia, the Czech Republic and the Russian Federation for his annual tour this year which only confirms that the relationship with Croatia regarding tourism has become very important for the PR of China.
On this occasion Mr Jinzao saw the sights of Zagreb and will open an exhibition at the Lisinski concert hall on Tuesday, the 7th of June. One of the topics of the meeting to be discussed is the possibility of organising a meeting of several ministers of tourism this fall in Croatia as a part of the China +16 initiative.
Growth predictions of this emissive tourist market show that China will achieve 160 million travels a year by 2018. Chinese tourists mostly prefer organised tours and when they travel to Europe they like to visit more than one destination, i.e. six to eight.
However, the trend of lowering the number of destinations is visible and now they opt for tours that include one or two countries. The most important motive for travelling is sightseeing followed by gastronomy and shopping.
According to the data more than 203,000 arrivals and 269,000 overnights were realized by tourists from China, Chinese province of Taiwan and Chinese administrations, regions of Hong Kong and Macao in 2015 which is an increase of 36% in arrivals and 37% in overnight stays in comparison with 2014.
Six months of full occupancy is a business dream for many companies in the Croatian tourism industry but that dream has come true for the mini cruise ships in the Adriatic that have achieved cabin occupancy of 180 days this year which is an incredible success.
According to the newspaper Slobodna Dalmacija from the period from mid-April till the end of October the fleet of 140 mini cruise ships that operate in the Croatian Adriatic are almost completely booked solid. Since their season begun they have been hosting new groups of tourists every week coming from all over the world. The great majority of them come from Germany, Australia, New Zealand and Africa.
It is probably no wonder that 65 new ships were built in the last decade and this type of nautical tourism have been booming in the Adriatic in the last two years. Last year ten new mini cruisers set sail and this year five more have been built in Croatian shipyards. In the last two years private owners have invested an incredible 23 million Euros in the construction of around 15 new mini cruisers, this is a business that is booming.
The biggest name in the Bollywood film industry Shah Rukh Khan, believed to be worth an estimated $600 million, filmed sections of his latest blockbuster “Fan” in the streets of Dubrovnik. The film was released on the 15th of April this year and received rave reviews and took over $9 million in its first ten days.
Sections of the film were filmed on location in Dubrovnik, with the old harbour, the Stradun and even a chase over the rooftops of the historic Old City featuring. Now a clip of some deleted scenes of the filming in Dubrovnik has emerged and give an insight into the filming.
Firstly we see Shah Rukh Khan studying a Dubrovnik city map produced by the Dubrovnik Tourist Board, then we see him ordering an ice-cream on the Stradun before heading into the popular cafe bar Cele on the Stradun for a change of outfit.
Fan was filmed in May of 2015 in Dubrovnik and the filming lasted for around ten days. After the success of Game of Thrones and the recently recorded Star Wars in the city the Bollywood blockbuster will surely open Dubrovnik to another market.
It was a busy Saturday for weddings in Dubrovnik. At least five weddings were held in the historic Old City of Dubrovnik with flags of all nations flying along the stone streets.
Among the wedding ceremonies was an interesting one from Australia, yes that is a long way to come to tie the knot. The groom’s family had Croatian roots but the bride’s family knew little of their wedding surroundings. Standing on the steps of the St. Blaise Church the wedding party looked overjoyed and pleased that they had chosen a great day to say their vows in Dubrovnik.
Dubrovnik is proving a very popular destination for weddings from all over the world. According to information from a local wedding planner more than eighty foreign weddings were performed in the city last year.
The Croatian music and wedding traditions were greeted with open arms by the bride and her party. We wish the newlyweds all the best, and we are sure they will remember their Dubrovnik wedding for the rest of their lives.
Croatia has found a new tourism market, Iran. From the 8th of July the Iranian airline, Qeshm Airlines, will operate weekly flights to the Croatian capital Zagreb.
In total Qeshm Airlines will fly eleven charter flights between Tehran and Zagreb this summer.
Qeshm Airlines has a fleet on sixteen aircraft and manly operates in the Persian Gulf and many internal flights inside Iran. The flights to Croatia will land every Friday until the 16th of September.
With the international community lifting sanctions in January this year Iran is now an attractive destination for investment and tourism. As well as flights to Zagreb the airline is also in negotiations with Bosnia and Herzegovina regarding direct links to Sarajevo for 2017.
The iconic Banje Beach is the place to be this weekend. The summer has been stuttering to start but finally the sun has broken through the clouds over the past few days and temperatures in the mid twenties are the norm.
Banje Beach, with glorious views over the Old City of Dubrovnik and the island of Lokrum, has been full with swimmer and sunbathers for the past few weeks. This weekend, with its endless blue skies, all of the Dubrovnik beaches should be just as busy.