Sunday, 21 July 2019
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.

Email: mark.thomas@dubrovnik-times.com

Hollywood star Salma Hayek is on her way to Dubrovnik to film for her latest movie, the sci-fi romantic comedy, Bliss!

Filming will begin next week in Split and then the whole cast and crew will move onto the Dubrovnik region. Hayek stars alongside Owen Wilson in Bliss, directed by Mike Cahill.

The Hollywood actress isn’t a stranger to Croatia, in fact, Salma Hayek was in Croatia only a few months ago working on Hitman 2 or The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard which she filmed with Samuel L. Jackson and Ryan Reynolds in Istria.

UPI.com is reporting that “Production began this week in Los Angeles and Croatia on Bliss, Amazon's new sci-fi drama and romance starring Salma Hayek and Owen Wilson.”

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Salma Hayek in Istria - Photo Instagram 

"Mike Cahill is a brilliant storyteller gifted by a unique ability to craft the truly high-concept idea in a deeply soulful way that resonates with audiences. As a real fan of all his work, I am delighted that we can provide this opportunity for him to take his vision further than ever before. We know our global customers will be excited to see what Mike and his team -- Salma Hayek, Owen Wilson, and this fabulous cast and crew -- can do with such complex, yet real characters in such an imaginative and thrilling world. It will blow people's minds, I am sure," Ted Hope, co-head of movies at Amazon Studios, said in a statement.

It is rumoured that Hayek will arrive in Dubrovnik at the end of the week.

 

Fresh after winning the 2019 Wimbledon Grand Slam Championship Novak Djokovic has been enjoying a well-earned break on the Croatian coastline.

Djokovic (32), the number 1 tennis player in the world, is a fan of the Adriatic coast and this time he is cruising with his family in the Korcula region. He is quoted as saying that the Croatian coast is the most beautiful in the world. “I have visited many countries, but somehow I feel the best, it is the same language and for me the same culture,” commented Djokovic.

And the Instagram account of his wife, Jelena, is slowly filling with snaps of the family holiday.

 

The Croatian capital could well soon receive another direct flight connection with Russia. Azur Air, the Russian air carrier, applied for flight permits between Moscow and Zagreb and have received confirmation, reports EX-YU Aviation.

It is believed that Azur Air plan to operate flights between Vnokovo Airport to Croatia once a week, although there is as yet no official news from the Russian company on any plans.

Compared to its Russian counterpart, Aeroflot, Azur Air is a relatively small airline with a fleet of 30 planes. And if they do decide to fly between the Russian capital and the Croatian capital they will face competition from Aeroflot who currently operate a daily service on the line.

 

Is Dubrovnik on your travel bucket list? More and more people are compiling bucket lists of world destinations, but where exactly do people around the globe aspire to visit the most? And is Dubrovnik on their bucket list.

The popular travel website Big 7 have followed on from their survey on the sexiest nations on the planet they have now produced a list entitled Top 50 Bucket List Destinations in the World.

They asked their 1.5 million social audience which destinations across the planet would feature on people’s bucket lists.

Unsurprisingly, countries with naturally beautiful scenery or world-famous landmarks came out on top. 22 percent of the top bucket list destinations have white sandy beaches, while 52 percent are an iconic city. The average number of destinations on a bucket list is 11, with people hoping to visit at least seven of those places during the lifetime.

And Big 7 Travel wrote that “People were also more likely to add a destination to their list if they had seen it on social media – our study found that 33 percent of people research holiday destinations via their Instagram feed.”

The only Croatian destination to feature on the list was Dubrovnik, which came in at a very healthy 12th position, just behind New York and one place ahead of Edinburgh.

TOP 10 BUCKET LIST DESTINATIONS 2019:

10th. Bora Bora, French Polynesia
9th. Dubai, UAE
8th. Cape Town, South Africa
7th. Paris, France
6th. The Maldives
5th. Sydney, Australia
4th. Marrakech, Morocco
3rd. Kerry, Ireland
2nd. New Orleans, USA
1st. Bali, Indonesia

If you are going to make a promo video for your destination, then you could do a lot worse than tear out a page of the Istrian Tourist Board marketing plan. Their latest video has everything a top marketing video should have and all crammed into less than a minute.

With the slogan “Experience Life as It Should Be,” the new video highlights many of the main destinations of Istria as well as giving viewers a small bite-sized taste of the culture, history and gastronomy.

10/10 to the Istrian Tourist Board for this latest offering.

Check out the video below

 

 

Croatian citizens and companies once again showed their solidarity and responded to UNICEF Croatia's appeal to save the children of Yemen, raising HRK 1.4 million so far with donations by 10,278 citizens and 1,620 companies, UNICEF said on Thursday.

We thank from the heart all those who responded with their donations to UNICEF's appeal in such a short time to help secure humanitarian aid for the children of Yemen, who are growing up in the biggest humanitarian crisis in the world, UNICEF Representative in Croatia Regina M. Castillo said.

There are currently 1.8 million acutely undernourished children in Yemen and 360,000 are under five years of age are in an immediate life threatening situation due to acute undernourishment.

UNICEF and partners have engaged more than 14,000 volunteers to assist parents so that their children can come to a health institution for treatment. Despite all the effort, the need is still huge and the funds raised in Croatia will be of great assistance.

Citizens and companies can still make a contribution by visiting and making a donation at the following web address: https://www.unicef.hr/spasite-zivote-djece-jemena/.

 

Tourism in Dubrovnik is dying. It is the worst ever season. Next year will be terrible. The bubble has burst. The end is near! Wrong, rubbish, not true, massive exaggeration, codswallop and just no! The doom merchants are circling like vultures over a dead carcass waiting for Dubrovnik to fall.

They will be circling for a long time.

Pretty much ever since I arrived here I have been hearing the same stories of a dying tourism industry. And yet every year they are proved wrong. And they will be wrong again. The end is far from close, what we are seeing is completely normal, it’s called market correction. It happens in every industry, in every country in the world, and has done since the beginning of time.

“I have been renting my apartment for 120 Euros a night for the past four years and this year I have dropped it to 100 Euros,” said a friend who works in the tourism business. “It is normal, what we were living in before were abnormal times, where the market was growing and still finding its feet, now with an influx of new apartments the market has changed, that’s what makes the world go around,” he added with a smile. He is right.

Supply and demand is what drives any market, in absolutely any business, so why should Dubrovnik tourism be any different? People who have been renting out garages, converted shops, corridors and even in one situation I saw, a flight of steps, to tourists and expecting to sell them for ridiculous figures are inevitably failing. Quality apartments, with a high level of service and sold at a reasonable rate are still busy. Market forces at work. “You can fool all the people some of the time and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time,” once wrote Abraham Lincoln.

The cream is rising to the top and the sour milk is being flushed down the toilet

I had the pleasure to meet a CEO of a leading American travel agency a few months back and he said “If renting is your main form of income then you are already skating on thin ice.” Far too many people see renting as a main form of income and not as an added bonus. “It should be seen as a supplement. Realistically the tourism industry in Dubrovnik will reach a peak, and after that peak it will fall slowly until the market decides what the level is, there is no need for panic or pessimism. You have a world class product that will always be attractive to travellers, always and forever,” he concluded.

Of course realism and level thinking doesn’t make for good headlines. You are far more likely to open an article entitled “The Death of Dubrovnik,” than you are to click “Tourism in Dubrovnik experiencing market correction.” Yes, we may receive less tourists next year. My reaction is – I hope so. You can’t complain about overtourism in one sentence and then moan that there isn’t enough people to fill your apartments in the other.

For too long tourism has been measured by numbers, sorry, the wrong numbers. It isn’t a case of just pouring more and more people into the already limited Old City. If we have 2 million tourists spending X this year in the city. Surely it would make more sense if we had 1 million next year spending 2X. And as the whole destination would be less crowded the tourists are more likely to have time, space and indeed the will to stop and spend more money.

I have said it before, it’s the Fiats and Ferrari formula. Sell one Ferrari and you have the same profit margin as selling 10 Fiats (if not more). Dubrovnik could, and indeed should, be a Ferrari destination. Forget quantity, concentrate on quality. If the numbers drop off but the profits rise, then you are reaching a goal.

And if that means that the sub-standard apartments, the lousy restaurants, the grumpy travel agents and the embarrassingly poor hotels fail, well quite frankly that’s an added bonus. Honestly in many ways these pitiable objects should be thanking their lucky stars that they have been in the position to earn with a bad product for so many years and now hold their tongues.

There is no need to ring the alarm bells, to run to the hills and shout “the end if nigh,” it is a time for a reality check. There is no good and bad luck. As the Israeli businessman Eliyahu M. Goldratt once said “Good luck is when opportunity meets preparation, while bad luck is when lack of preparation meets reality.”

The average net salary earning per person in Croatia in May amounted to HRK 6,476, stated the State Bureau of Statistics (CBS) announced on Friday.

Compared to April, the average paid net salary for May was 0.1 percent higher.

The highest average monthly net earnings per person is in the production of refined petroleum products in the amount of HRK 16,117, while the lowest wage of 4,251 Kunas is paid in the building industry and the gardening industry.

According to CBS data, the median net salary for May was 5,590 Kuna. The average monthly gross salary for May was 8,794 Kuna, which is 0.1 percent more than in the previous month.

The CBS data show that the average net hourly rate paid in May was 35.68 Kuna.

The Voice of Dubrovnik

THE VOICE OF DUBROVNIK


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