Thursday, 28 October 2021
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.


Great news for Croatia comes from America. Croatia has been recognized as one of the world's top destinations, taking an excellent ninth place in the list of 20 best destinations chosen by readers of the popular American magazine specializing in travel Condé Nast Traveler, or as part of the prestigious Condé Nast Travelers '2021 Readers' Choice Award.

The list is led by Portugal, New Zealand, Japan, Morocco, Sri Lanka, Italy, Iceland and Greece, followed by Croatia and Turkey, Norway, Maldives, Kenya, Ireland, Israel, Australia, Switzerland, Indonesia, Botswana and the Philippines.

"The news that the readers of Condé Nast Traveler have recognized Croatia as one of the most popular countries in the world makes us extremely happy. This is a confirmation of the exceptional reputation of our country among American travel enthusiasts who perceive Croatia as a quality, attractive and safe destination, " said Ina Rodin, director of the CNTB Representation in the US market, adding that this recognition is a great motivation for further positioning Croatia as one of the most popular destinations of Americans.


Let’s add that the Readers ’Choice Awards represent the longest-running and most prestigious recognition of excellence in the travel industry, and are awarded based on the votes of more than 800,000 Condé Nast Traveler readers who submitted responses and ratings based on experience gained while traveling around the world.

"Our country is recording a continuous growth of recognition in the American market, but also in demand. This is confirmed by the tourist turnover realized so far this year, in which American tourists achieved a growth of 454 percent in arrivals and 304 percent in overnight stays compared to the same period last year. We expect the continuation of positive trends in the coming years, during which we will continue to position Croatia as a desirable European tourist destination," said Kristjan Staničić, director of the Croatian National Tourist Board.

Looking for a day-out this weekend? Why not spend the day on the glorious island of Mljet! The Mljet National Park invites the public to their Open Day on Sunday, October 10.

Enjoy the beautiful nature of the island of Mljet through the rich program that the Mljet National Park has prepared this year. The Mljet National Park is the only National Park in the Dubrovnik-Neretva County.

Get to know this magical island through free kayak, bicycle and hiking tours to various locations in the Mljet National Park from 10:00am to 17:00pm.

The tours start from Pomena and Vrbovica, and to participate in the mentioned tours, you need to register by e-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. by Friday, October 8, by 12 noon.

The second part of the day is reserved for an entertainment and music program where in front of the Hotel Odisej in Pomena from 6:00pm there will be a gastro corner with a concert by the popular Dubrovnik rock band Valetudo. Admission to the concert as well as food tasting are also free of charge.


The competition for the Croatian Tree of the Year includes a gigantic oak tree from the village of Majkovi which is belived to be around 700 years old. This impressive oak was nominated for this national competition by Antun Krlajević, who wrote –

“Legend has it that the tree grew in the place where the fairy and a local man fell in love, and as she could not stay among the people, she turned into an oak seed and grew so that she could be close to her love.”

However, he added that the oak faces an uncertain future “The oak is the subject of a location and construction permit through which a water pipe will be laid and will be demolished, according to the website of the Public Institution for Management of Protected Areas of Dubrovnik-Neretva County. But the head councillor of the region, Nikola Knežić, denies the claim that the tree will be demolished.” Let’s hope that the mighty oak is indeed saved.

The winner of the Croatian Tree of the Year will be announced on the 15th of October.

Spanish Prime Minister, Pedro Sanchez arrived in Zagreb, today. This is the first time in three decades of Croatian independence that a Spanish Prime Minister has visited Croatia.

He met with Prime Minister Andrej Plenković, and with the Speaker of Parliament.

At the press conference after the meeting, Plenković thanked Sanchez for his visit to Croatia. "I am glad that today's meeting was meaningful and of high quality," he said, adding that they discussed strengthening relations between the two countries.

"A few weeks ago, Croatia was included in the cooperation MED 9, 9 EU members that are in the Mediterranean and this forum will serve to improve cooperation in a number of areas, especially key global issues - illegal migration, climate change and a number of security and development issues." he added.


Plenković says he is looking forward to cooperating with Spain in the tourism industry, which is very important to that country as well.

"Croatia and Spain have an exchange of about a billion euros. We think it’s good, but we had oscillations during the COVID crisis. Today, we discussed how to improve cooperation, how to make our private sectors cooperate as well as possible," said the Prime Minister.

They also talked about the EU enlargement process. Plenković says that Sanchez knows the situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina and other countries in the region very well.

Plenković also said that Sanchez invited him to visit Madrid.

And Pedro Sanchez thanked the Croatian Prime Minister for the invitation and warm welcome. He said next year will be the anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations that are only improving over time.


The term bootylicious was first used in 1994, while selfie was in 2002 - what word was first used in your birth year?


The team at online language learning platform Preply have used data available from Merriam Webster to delve into the English language back to the 1950s to discover when these words and phrases were first used in print. 


The research found that loungewear was first used in 1957 and detox in 1973. Text message was in 1977 while phone sex was in 1892. More recent additions include sexting in 2005, manspreading in 2014 and cancel culture in 2016. 


With over 5,400 new words created every year, these are the ones that managed to catch on in everyday culture. 

Take a look at what word was created in your birth year below:



Credit: Preply

Daniele Saccardi of Preply says: “It’s really interesting to see the first print usage of some of these words and phrases that are used in everyday conversation today.


“Many new words or phrases are created by adding a prefix of or suffix to an existing one, which we can see through examples such as sexting, foodie and selfie.


“Language is constantly growing and evolving to fit in with modern society, and we can see that through this research, especially as technology becomes more apparent in our lives.”


New words are often created by a lexiconnoisseur (a person who creates words) however, authors and writers can also be credited. William Shakespeare, one of the most widely recognised playwrights in history invented 1,700 words in his lifetime, including lonely, uncomfortable, elbow and hostile


Here’s how new words are created:

  • Blending - merging two or more words together e.g. Paralympics

  • Clippings - shortening existing words e.g. Sci-Fi

  • Compounding - Adding two words together to create a new meaning  e.g. spray tan

  • Affixation - Adding prefixes or suffixes to an existing word e.g. sizeism

  • Conversion - turning nouns into verbs e.g. adulting 

The direct flight connection from the US to Croatia, or rather New York to Dubrovnik, with United Airlines has proved so popular this year that the company have announced that it will be continued in 2022, reports EX-YU Aviation.

The last flight from Newark to Croatia’s southernmost airport landed last week and immediately the airline announced that in 2022 the first flight would take-off on the 27th of May. Next year United Airlines will connect Dubrovnik to New York four times a week, on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays, and the flight schedule has been extended until the 26th of October.


And as the US State Department recently announced that Croatia would be, from December, on the visa-free list this transatlantic route could prove popular with passengers flying in the opposite direction. United Airlines, along with their competitors Delta, introduced flights from the US this year for the first time and at one point in the summer American tourists were the most numerous in the city. And Croatia was clearly not only a reachable destination but also an open one as at no time through the pandemic were borders closed to Americans. In fact, Croatia was one of the only European countries open for business, due to the fact that although Croatia is a full member of the European Union it isn’t yet in the Schengen open border system. This meant that whilst the vast majority of the EU, the Schengen countries, closed their borders unitedly, Croatia was outside of this ban.

And this fact wasn’t lost on United’s Chief Commercial Officer, Andrew Nocella, who stated that “the Dubrovnik service was launched in response to Croatia maintaining open borders for American citizens and residents throughout the coronavirus pandemic, and has performed strongly as a result.” And he added that “And those new markets are actually, some of our top performing city fares, because Croatia and Greece in particular, made it clear to the world that they were open for business. And in fact, our customers responded to it immediately, and our new flights degrees did incredibly well.”

And the General Manager of Dubrovnik Airport, Frano Luetić, stated that “Flights from the US performed well above our expectations. These incoming tourists stay in Dubrovnik, which serves as a base for them to explore other places - nearby islands and Dalmatia, Montenegro and Bosnia and Herzegovina.”

According to the data for the system for registration and deregistration of tourists eVisitor, in Dubrovnik in September 103,224 tourist arrivals and 380,103 overnight stays were realised.

These figures are, somewhat unsurprisingly, a huge increase on the same month from last year. In fact, there were 394 percent more in tourist arrivals and 335 percent more overnight stays compared to September last year. Compared to the record year of 2019, 64 percent of tourist traffic in overnight stays was realized in September.

In September there were 98,693 foreign tourists in Dubrovnik and 4,531 domestic tourists.

Most guests who stayed in Dubrovnik during September were from the United Kingdom, the USA, Germany, France, Russia, the Netherlands, Poland, Croatia, Spain and Belgium.

Currently, 8,262 tourists are staying in Dubrovnik, and most of them are from the United Kingdom, the USA, Germany, France, Croatia, the Netherlands, Ireland, Russia, Spain and Poland.

In September 2021, Dubrovnik Airport was connected to about 50 international destinations with about 40 airlines, and from October 4 it will be connected to about 40 international destinations with about 30 airlines. British Airways, EasyJet, TUI Airways and have the largest number of announced flights. Russia's Aeroflot continues to operate in October, twice a week, while the Dutch KLM will operate five times a week throughout October.


“In family life, love is the oil that eases friction, the cement that binds closer together, and the music that brings harmony,” once said Friedrich Nietzsche. It has been an emotional week in the Thomas household, a week of reuniting.

One of the toughest sides of a global pandemic is the separation. Yes, we’ve been able to keep in touch virtually, but physical contact can’t be replaced with a Zoom call. But finally after almost two years I felt the embrace of my mother again. Tears of joy and relief. Absence makes the heart grow fonder.

It was a journey, or rather a holiday, that we’ve been planning for a long time. We had missed too many family celebrations over the last two years.

“I’m more than a little nervous about travelling alone,” said my mother on the eve of her journey. Yes, apart from travelling in a pandemic my mother was also coming to Dubrovnik alone as my father had sadly died just before Covid reared its ugly head. It made me think about the billions of other families that had been divided due to the virus.

We had, of course, planned a busy week in Dubrovnik with my mum. In many ways it was strange for her to be out and about in society again. “I can’t remember the last time I saw so many people,” was a phrase that we’d hear a lot over the week. After almost two years at home Dubrovnik probably felt like New York for her. And as she hadn’t been here for over five years everything looked new for her.

Of course we jumped through all the hoops that travelling at this time brings. And ended up spending more on the PCR tests than the actual flights! When she arrived it looked like she had more weight in paperwork than luggage. And just to highlight the absurdity of travel, when she returned home she had to take another test of day two after arrival. But this could be done via post! “What’s stopping you doing the test on another person, or even a dog?” was my question.

From the far reaches of Konavle to the glorious Baćina lakes in the north, we travelled the length and breadth of our county. 24 hours a day together for seven wonderful and unforgettable days.

And clearly I am not the only member of our family with a love for the written word. “This is for you,” said my mum as she dug into her luggage. My father had started an autobiography before he fell ill. It had remained an unfinished piece. However, my mum had been busy over the past two years and had finished the last chapter in his name. Not only had she finished it but she had found a publisher, who had edited and laid out the book. She then had it printed in enough copies to hand out to all the family. Now if seeing your mother after so long isn’t enough of a shock, then receiving a book that your late father had written, and had been completed by your mother, was a shock to the bone (more tears). In these days of blogs, vlogs and posts, there is still nothing as permanent and tactile as an actual book. The pen is indeed mightier than the sword.



We reminisced, we joked, we debated, we ate and drank (thank you Dingač) and above all we laughed. It was so nice to see my mother laughing again after the past period, and it was even nicer to be the one laughing with her. As we plan to have a big family Christmas all together in England this year the final goodbye wasn’t as tearful as it could have been.

“See you in a couple of months,” I said with a smile as she made her way through the airport. And clearly this made the goodbye easier for her. Quality time with our families is something that should never be taken for granted, because time moves so fast. Cherish those moments, as I will cherish that week in the Dubrovnik sunshine with my mother.   

Read more Englishman in Dubrovnik…well, if you really want to      



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