Tuesday, 16 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

The Dubrovnik Cable car could well open again to visitors from the 1st of July. The cable car, one of the most popular tourist attractions in the city, has hung silent with its doors firmly closed since the 25th of April this year, but now it seems that after almost 2 and a half months of lost business the cable could start operating again soon.

The cable car was forced to close on the 25th of April after the Customs Administration closed the cable car for non-payment of concession fees. However, it appears from exclusive news from RTL television that this legal and financial loggerhead has reached a successful conclusion. RTL reports that the case between the City of Dubrovnik and Excelsa Real Estate, the company that owns and operates the cable car, could be coming to an end.

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The owners have paid their financial obligations to the Republic of Croatia and an agreement with the City of Dubrovnik is almost complete. A part of the 45 million Kuna debt for unpaid concession fees has apparently now been settled by Excelsa Real Estate opening the door for future negotiations.

This means that the cable car could well be operational again at the beginning of July, although there is still no official statement. The next step is for the City of Dubrovnik and Excelsa Real Estate to agree a new future concession agreement, with the Mayor of Dubrovnik, Mato Frabkovic, commenting for RTL that an offer for a future concession for the cable car is ready and waiting.

Dubrovnik has lost one of its winter flight connections as the Spanish national carrier, Iberia, have announced that they will discontinue flights between Dubrovnik and Madrid through the winter. Iberia had flown twice a week throughout the winter of 2018/2019 and were a valuable transport link for the city as the tourism industry worked on extending the summer season into the cooler months. The specialised website EX-YU Aviation broke the news that Iberia will stop these winter flights this year and concentrate on seasonal summer routes.

Dubrovnik’s loss is Zagreb’s gain as Iberia will upgrade its winter service to the Croatian capital this year, with an additional weekly flight, meaning three operations between Madrid and Zagreb a week. Iberia have also announced a serious increase in the number of passengers it will bring to Croatia this year, with extra flights and added destinations. EX-YU Aviation reports that “This summer, the Spanish flag carrier has significantly increased its operations to Croatia, with the airline boosting capacity by 44.6 percent compared to 2018, offering up to 204.586 seats between the two countries.”

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And the airline itself is running various campaigns through social media to raise awareness about these new Croatian flights. “At Iberia we love us some Croatia, and we've added summer flights to Dubrovnik, Split, & Zagreb,” writes Iberia.

But the loss of direct winter connections, especially with a flagship airline and a major European capital, is certainly a blow for the hopes of all year round tourism.

Croatian President, Kolinda Grabar Kitarovic, is seemingly in the front running to be the next European Commission President. According to reports in the Belgian daily newspaper Le Soir, two high ranking Croatian politicians are possible candidates for the top job in European politics, the Croatian President and the Prime Minister, Andrej Plenkovic.

European Socialists and Liberals strongly oppose the candidacy of German Democrat Christian Manfred Weber for the European Commission's president, but agree that it belongs to the European People's Party (EPP), which is now seeking new candidates, and among those undeclared candidates are both Kolinda Grabar Kitarović and Andrej Plenković, reports Jutarnji List.

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The article in the Le Soir newspaper is written by a prominent journalist, Jurek Kuczkiewicz, and confirms news from unspecified sources that the EPP is looking for a new candidate who could get broader support. The name of Kolinda Grabar Kitarovic keeps coming up, “a Head of State, with solid ministerial experience, who was also assistant to the Secretary General of NATO.”

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Although it is unlikely that one of the Croatians could get the position of the President of the Commission, the fact that two Croatian candidates are mentioned can be interpreted as an expression of trust in the newest member of the EU.

After the European elections, the European People’s Party and Social Democrats remain the strongest parties in the European Parliament, but no longer have the majority and have to form a coalition with other pro-European parties, such as the liberal and greens.

The European People's Party currently holds three of the four highest positions - from its ranks are the President of the Commission, the European Council and the Parliament, while the High Representative for Foreign and Security Policy has been assigned to the Social Democrats.

Now, however, the situation has changed, and the European People's Party is seeking only the seat of the European Commission's presidency, while they are willing to concede the other top positions to other parties.

The rich diplomatic corps in Dubrovnik was increased as Ante Stojan was appointed as the Honorary Consul of the Russian Federation to Dubrovnik. Dubrovnik already has over a dozen honorary consuls and the addition of such a large and important nation will only add to the diplomatic representation in the city.

Russian Ambassador to Croatia, Anvar Azimov, attended the opening ceremony, and stressed that Russia and Croatia have an annual trade of around $ 2 billion and that between 130 and 150 thousand tourists from Russia come to Croatia every year.

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The opening ceremony was attended by Zdravko Bušić, the State Secretary at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and European Affairs, who announced the arrival Russia's President Vladimir Putin in 2020.

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The Mayor of the City of Dubrovnik, Mato Frankovic, welcomed the opening of the Consulate and said that this year there were 17 prime ministers from all over the world in Dubrovnik and that he expects Vladimir Putin to visit our city during his stay in Croatia. The opening ceremony was also attended by the President of the City Council of the City of Dubrovnik, Marko Potrebica and the Parliamentary Representative, Sanja Putica.

Tennis came to the cobbled streets of the Old City of Dubrovnik yesterday as the final stages of the International Tennis tournament, the Dubrovnik Bowl where decided. The sixth Dubrovnik Dub Bowl this year brought together more than 150 contestants from 63 countries, six of them the first time in the tournament.

With a host of children from all over the world, some home-grown stars of the future are also participating including the son of Croatian tennis player Goran Ivanišević.

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“Today, tennis tournaments are all the same, but the Dubrovnik Dub Bowl is a place where children can learn tolerance, fair play and respecting differences. That is why we try and make a various different programs every day, and today is my favourite part, tennis on the streets of the Old City of Dubrovnik”, commented the director of the Dubrovnik Bowl Pasko Barovic.

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After a friendly match of tennis, the draw of the main part of the tournament in Sponza Palace followed. The main part of the tournament starts today and ends with awards and medals on Sunday, June 23rd.

 

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The ninth Ana in the City Festival will be held tomorrow, but you’ll need to get up well before the crack of dawn to enjoy this magical concert. On top of the Srd Mountain, starting at 5:00 am, Ana rucner will begin a concert to welcome in the first sunrise of summer 2019. Special buses have been organised to take spectators to the top of the hill.

“I respect the colour of the sunrise, the audience, the atmosphere and the music as the sun rises over Dubrovnik for the first day of summer. Every day is like one life,” commented Rucner.

Traditionally, for the ninth year in a row, on the first day of the summer, on the 21st of June at 5 am, the festival Ana in the City with Ana Rucner will be held. And in addition to the wonderful sounds of Ana's cello accompanied by pianist Darko Domitrović, visitors will also be able to enjoy the great repertoire of our prominent soprano Sandra Bagaric. Every year this magnificent experience attracts an increasing number of visitors, who enjoy the first sunrise of summer. However, this year the experience will be doubled as on the same day at 8 pm on the Sunset Beach Dubrovnik Ana Rucner will also mark the setting of the first summer sun with a performance.

Dubrovnik's public transport company Libertas will lay on two buses that will drive visitors to Bosanka at four o'clock in the morning from two locations. The first bus leaves at 4 am from Pile and will drive directly to Bosanka, and the other bus leaves at 4 am from the main bus station and will stop at bus stops along the way.

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On the occasion of World Music Day, which is marked on the 21st of June, a rich variety of musical events will be held at various locations around the city of Dubrovnik.

Traditionally, for the ninth year in a row, on the first day of the summer, on the 21st of June at 5 am, the festival Ana in the City with Ana Rucner will be held. And in addition to the wonderful sounds of Ana's cello accompanied by pianist Darko Domitrović, visitors will also be able to enjoy the great repertoire of our prominent soprano Sandra Bagaric. Every year this magnificent experience attracts an increasing number of visitors, who enjoy the first sunrise of summer. However, this year the experience will be doubled as on the same day at 8 pm on the Sunset Beach Dubrovnik Ana Rucner will also mark the setting of the first summer sun with a performance.

Dubrovnik's public transport company Libertas will lay on two buses that will drive visitors to Bosanka at four o'clock in the morning from two locations. The first bus leaves at 4 am from Pile and will drive directly to Bosanka, and the other bus leaves at 4 am from the main bus station and will stop at bus stops along the way.

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At 11 am in front of the church of St. Blaise a concert will be held by the mixed choir Libertas, and in their repertoire they have prepared many popular evergreens. This concert is organized by the Dubrovnik Tourist Board together with the City of Dubrovnik.

The last musical treat is organised by the Dubrovnik Tourist Board in cooperation with the Dubrovnik Symphony Orchestra, the City of Dubrovnik and the Midsummer Scene Festival, which begins on the World Music Day, on the 21st of June, is organizing a musical spectacle for the citizens and guests of Dubrovnik in front of the church of St. Blaise. The concert will begin at 9:00 pm and the Dubrovnik Symphony Orchestra will be directed by Indonesian conductor, a firm favourite of Dubrovnik audiences, Noorman Widjaja, while Matej Meštrović will play as the soloist, without doubt the most versatile artist on the Croatian cultural scene.

Entrance to all these musical events is free of charge.

 

As part of an official stay in Croatia, the delegation of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs of the People's Republic of China, led by Minister Han Changf, visited Ston on Tuesday afternoon.

The Croatian Minister of Agriculture, Tomislav Tolušić, hosted the Chinese guests, and during their visit to this picturesque town the delegation visited the salt pans in Ston and learned about the rich history of the production of salt that dates back to the time of the Republic of Dubrovnik.

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They also visited another of Ston’s main attractions, the oyster beds in the bay of Ston. Mato Franusic hosted the Chinese delegation in Ston and explained to them the characteristics of oysters from Ston, which are recognised around the world.

The Chinese Ambassador to Croatia Xu Erwen accompanied Minister Changfou. After the official program, Minister Tolušić commented to reporters that "Our guests today were very impressed with the Ston salt pans and oysters. The visit to Ston was put together on the eve of the trip of the Chinese Minister to Italy, agriculture and aquaculture are something that is extremely interesting to the Chinese, and in these segments Croatia has shown great potential and growth over the last few years. We can use this area for further promotion of Croatia and possible export.”

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