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.
Get your scarves and hats ready – an arctic front is just about to hit Dubrovnik. The mild winter that kept the city warm and dry over the festive period is about to come to an abrupt end. Highs today will reach 11 degrees in Dubrovnik as cold weather from Siberia will blow down over the whole region.
Weather forecasters have predicted that by the end of the week temperatures in Dubrovnik will drop below zero. Friday and Saturday are expected to be the coldest of the week with temperatures dropping down to minus one and two.
Via Dinarica is part of the prestige list of best trips 2017 by National Geographic Travel. That's the trek that traverses the Dinaric Alps, linking the peninsula from Postojna, Slovenia, south through Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Albania, Serbia, Kosovo, and Macedonia.
- Trekkers sleep in remote mountain shelters along the Adriatic Sea, atop the region’s highest peaks, and above the continent’s deepest gorge. But the path is also a cultural corridor, where thru-hikers, cyclists, horseback riders, paddlers, and day-trippers find themselves lost in old-world traditions uncovered after five decades of communism. During homestay layovers in nomadic shepherd settlements and isolated villages—along the popular three-day stretch from Albania’s Thethi National Park to the Kosovo border, for instance—you might find yourself drinking coffee cooked in a copper pot on an iron stove, with a hospitable farmer with work-worn fingers and a sun-creased face. What was once a contentious region has become the planet’s most exciting cross-border destination – writes National Geographic.
They recommend to visit Via Dinarica from January to mid-March for ski-touring and snowshoeing and from May to September for hiking and biking.
According to eVisitor system, New Year's celebration in Dubrovnik attended 4,838 guest, which is 9 percent more than last year. Most of the guests were Croatians, then guests from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Slovenia, Portugal, Albania, the United States, Austria, Italy, Spain and Germany.
Third Dubrovnik Winter Festival was a great success and the results for December 2016 really show that – Dubrovnik
achieved 18,154 tourist arrivals (26 percent more than the previous year), and 43399 overnight stays (27 percent more than 2015). In December, most guests were from Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Albania, the United States, Korea, Slovenia, the United Kingdom, Spain, Japan and Portugal.
According to statistics from the Dubrovnik Tourist Board, Dubrovnik achieved record-breaking results in 2016. From January 1st to December 31st of 2016 there was 1 013030 arrivals, for a total of 12 percent more arrivals than in 2015. During 2016 there was 3 481 513 overnight stays, an increase of 13 percent compared to 2015.
Top-list of countries from which the 2016 tourists arrived in Dubrovnik is led traditionally by guests from the United Kingdom, Germany, USA, France, Croatia, Spain, Sweden, Finland, Australia and Italy.
The system eVisitor doesn’t include nautical tourism which recorded 23,372 arrivals (13 percent less than in 2015) and 230,902 overnight stays (5 percent more than in 2015).
The total number of arrivals from in 2016 including nautical tourism is 1,036,402 and the number of overnight stays is
Political instability in the first half of 2016, a fast economic growth which exceeded all expectations, a record breaking tourist season and a decline of public debt for the first time after so many years, are all the important elements which marked Croatia in 2016.
At the beginning of 2016 several analysts estimated that the country’s economic growth would be 1,2 percent on average. However, the strong economic growth in the first nine months of 2016 made them revise the forecast up to 2,6 percent.
In the third quarter of 2016, GDP recorded an increase of 2,9 percent in comparison to the same period in 2015, i.e. a significant growth for the eight consecutive quarter. Since 2008 this was the fastest growth recorded due to the rising of personal consumption and a record breaking tourist season which once again proved to be the most important sector in the process of economic recovery.
Furthermore, the government also filled the budget by selling majority of the state shares in several companies, such as the Koncar Elektroindustrija company and the Imperial and Suncani Hvar hotels.
Since the budget had been filled well, the deficit was expected to be below the Maastricht criterion of 3 percent, for the first time since 2008.
However, the Standard & Poor’s rating agency as well as Fitch and Moody's, still keep Croatia's credit rating two grades below the investment level, but S&P believes that positive trends will continue in 2017 and that Croatia will exit the EU's excessive deficit procedure.
Both S&P and economic analysts noted that the second half of 2016 was marked by the recovery of political stability after the inauguration of the Andrej Plenkovic government.
"The year 2016 provided a good starting point for greater optimism as well as for the implementation of necessary reforms in 2017," said Zrinka Zivkovic Matijevic, the head of the Economic Research Department at the Raiffeisenbank Austria d.d. Zagreb.
The Rector's Palace, one of the most beautiful and impressive Dubrovnik monuments, got some not so flattering new decorations in 2017. During these festive days somebody got an idea to put some color on the wall of the Palace, so now there are some undefined scribbles. Also, plastic bottle ended up on the top of one of the pillars. This kind of disrespect is not so rare in Dubrovnik – last year somebody ''decorated'' St. Blasius statue and Franciscan Church with plastic bottles too.
Photo by Zeljko Tutnjevic
First of January almost went without any babies at Dubrovnik General Hospital – Lucija Markovina, whose parents come from Korcula, wasn't in a hurry! She came to this world at 11:44 pm and was visited by deputy mayor Zeljko Raguz today.
During the visit to the first baby in 2017 deputy Raguz said that this is one of his most beautiful and sweetest obligations.
- It's a good indication that we are at the almost the same number of children like in 2015. There were a little less than a thousand children born so we hope that next year we will surpass this magical number. City of Dubrovnik will continue to provide everything in his power to young parents, so their children can grow up safely in our city - said Raguz.
According to the Croatian Ministry of Tourism, on the first day of the 2017 the eVisitor system registered 60,210 tourists in Croatia, of whom 44,390 were foreigners.
The majority of foreign guests who were in Croatia during the Christmas and New Year period were Austrians followed by Italians, Slovenians, Germans, Hungarians as well as guests form Bosnia and Herzegovina, Switzerland, Serbia and the US.
More data from the eVisitor system show that 43,825 guests stayed in hotels, 983 in camps, whilst 8,295 guests stayed in private accommodation facilities.
The most popular Croatian destinations for New Year's Eve were Zagreb, Porec, Dubrovnik, Opatija, Mali Losinj, Umag, Split, Rovinj, Labin and Zadar.