Friday, 19 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 first edition of the MedCruise Awards took place on June 25th, 2019 in Genoa, and Dubrovnik picked up one of the major awards.

The MedCruise Awards brings together MedCruise members and associate members as well as their partners, local authorities, Cruise Line executives and international press representatives at the first edition of the MedCruise Awards.

The MedCruise Awards integrated several categories with different juries composed by cruise industry experts, where some prizes were given based on jury members’ opinion and others based on facts.

The prizes were given by the Board of Directors members of MedCruise and its President.

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MedCruise President highlighted the importance of the initiative like this event to strengthen cooperation among the players in the industry and recognise the companies, organisations and individuals who are work harder to promote the sustainable growth of the cruise activities in the Mediterranean and its adjoining seas.

“I would like to congratulate all the winners and thank all MedCruise members, associate members, cruise line executives and international press representatives for taking part of the election process and supporting this great event as well as the Board of Directors members of MedCruise for their commitment to the organisation of this great event”, said the President of MedCruise, Díaz Pastor.

And the Port of Dubrovnik won the prestigious award of Best port in the Adriatic Sea region.

 

In the Dubrovnik Museum of Modern Art, on the 4th of July, a large exhibition on all three floors of the museum entitled “Modern and Contemporary Art: an exhibition from the collection of the Dubrovnik Art Gallery” opened to the public.

And on Friday the 12th of July a rather special tour of the exhibition was given to artists whose works were exhibited at the exhibition as well as expert leadership through the exhibition.

The exhibition Modern and Contemporary Art: an exhibition from the collection of Art Gallery Dubrovnik presents a selection from the gallery’s collection that today counts over 2,700 works of art, covering the period from the late 19th century to the present. The three floors of the Villa Banac, one of the most beautiful buildings of Croatian modern architecture, are packed with works of art that include reflections of Impressionism, Expressionistic and Coloristic tendencies, abstract expression of the organic and geometric type of the fifties and sixties, postmodern painting tendencies of the eighties and art of expanded media that includes photography, video, and performing arts.

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This exhibition is an opportunity for numerous domestic and foreign guests, who visit Dubrovnik in large numbers to visit and discover the quality and stylish pluralism of modern and contemporary art represented in the collection of the Dubrovnik Museum of Modern Art.

The exhibition is open every day, expect Mondays, from 9 am to 8 pm.

With the height of the summer season upon us you might be looking for a vacation apartment on the Adriatic coastline. According to a survey carried out by the popular Croatian website Njuskalo the average price of an apartment in Croatia is currently 67 Euros per night.

Depending on your destination in Croatia you can probably expect to pay anything from a budget friendly 25 Euros a night to around 100 Euros a night in Dubrovnik. And whilst the majority of tourists book their summer apartment using sites such as booking.com or Airbnb the Croatian Njuskalo is picking up more interest from foreign guests, mostly from Germany, Slovenia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Austria.

The average daily rental price of a tourist apartment in Croatia when all of the various offers are taken into account in 67 Euros, which is 4 Euros more than last year. According to the data the average rental price of the tourist apartment outside of the main season is 46 Euros, or 31 percent cheaper than in the summer.

Unsurprisingly the highest apartment rental prices are in Dubrovnik and in Central Dalmatia. The website’s data shows that their offer of summer apartments in the wider Dubrovnik region sees an average price of 77 Euros in the main season. Although as the site has a relatively small amount of apartments for rent in Dubrovnik this average price is lower than expected. In reality the average price of an apartment in Dubrovnik is closer to 100 Euros per day.

Works on finally closing the main rubbish landfill site in Dubrovnik after years of lost time due to poor organisation and political wranglings. G.T Trade from Split have started on the first phase of the closure of the Grabovica municipal waste landfill site, and are working in accordance to a contract signed in May this year.

This 12 million Kuna investment in the first phase is the first precondition for the total closure of the landfill site by the end of 2020, for which the City of Dubrovnik will partially use funds from the environmental protection and energy efficiency budget.

After the closure of Grabovica, the municipal waste will be transported to another location where a county waste management centre will be constructed. However, the future site of this new centre has yet to be published.

One half of the world famous musical duo the 2Cellos is having a well-earned break in his hometown of Dubrovnik. Luka Šulić is on a family holiday in Dubrovnik and making the most of the crystal, clear Adriatic Sea and splashing around with his son Val.
Luka, who along with Stjepan Hauser make up the 2Cellos, uploaded a photo of the sea fun with his son onto his Instagram account and it soon went viral. And yes the beach where he swum was named Šulić, clearing showing that Luka has strong family roots in Dubrovnik, even his comment on the photo confirmed this “At Šulić beach in Dubrovnik #family #roots #vacay”

Recently Luka and his wife Tamara Zagoranski celebrated the arrival of the second child, Hana.

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If you are sailing these days on the southern Adriatic coast you might witness a man swimming from island to island followed by a gaggle of children and their parents.

The Croatian teacher, blogger, journalist, foodie, Domagoj Jakopovic, after the tragic loss of his 12-year-old son Roko started a great project named RokOtok. Domagoj, known as RibaFish, had planned to visit all 50 populated Croatian islands with his son. After his loss he started the project by himself trying to point out how important and precious time spent with our children is.

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RibaFish’s goal is swim to all 50 populated Croatian islands, every summer 17 of them. The project will last for three summers. This summer, during 30 days he will swim 92 kilometres. His adventure started on the 6th of July on Lapad Beach.

By now RibaFish has already reached the islands Kolocep, Sipan, Lopud and Mljet. On his way there is a lots of followers, and it seems that their number is increasing in every port he arrives.

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After swimming Ribafish is talking to children and their parents about how valuable is simply spending time with each other. He talks about ecology, and also trying to stimulate the adventurous spirit in kids to explore the world around us.

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5 percent inspiration and 95 percent perspiration, if you want to succeed that’s roughly the measure you need to use. And this week we caught up with a young lady from Dubrovnik who followed this golden rule to produce a rather ingenious product. By observing the situation around her she had a light bulb moment, the Hello Dubrovnik hand fan.

Ana Matušić is the brains behind this Dubrovnik idea and by chatting to her we saw not only how the fan came to life but the sheer determination you need to run a small business in Croatia “Once I really decide to do something then there is no giving up and no stopping. It’s like having tunnel vision. Whatever comes from the outside doesn’t alter my course,” said Ana with a smile.

How did you come up with the idea of the fan? It seems such a simple idea but I’m sure it wasn’t so easy to realise.

Two years ago when I was on a Croatian island it was just incredibly hot almost 40 degrees. And at that time there was a huge forest fire in Split and as I was on the island of Vis all the ash and smoke was blowing directly towards us. I was sitting in a café bar and looking at all the people around me who were wafting and waving everything and anything, from menus to mobile phones, just to keep the smoke and the heat out of their faces. That was my light bulb moment.

I thought what if I made a hand fan and put adverts on it, its practical and useful. So I came back home and immediately told my family about the idea and they were very supportive. At times when I felt like giving up on the idea they would always push me and motivate me to finish it.

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Ana in her hometown - Photo Ivan Vuka Vukovic

  

Ideas are 5 percent; realization is 95 percent. How long did it take you from having the idea to actually making the hand fan?

It probably took me around 5 months, not too long really. But I would say that I managed to finish it so quickly because I have a very determined approach. Once I really decide to do something then there is no giving up and no stopping. It’s like having tunnel vision. Whatever comes from the outside doesn’t alter my course. I think I probably got this characteristic from my grandmother or my mother. I was always taught as a young child that when you are dedicated to something then be dedicated and make sure you finish it.

I also am a passionate person, and when I find something to do that I love then I throw myself completely into the project. I eat, sleep and dream about the idea.

There were days in the process that I was working 12 to 14 hours a day, and then I would go to bed and continue to think about how to make it happen. Brainstorming whilst sleeping. In fact, I got the name for the company and the fan in the middle of the night and immediately phone my friend in Zagreb who has a marketing company. As soon as I said the name Hello Dubrovnik he stopped me and said that’s the one. Often the first idea is the best idea.

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The Croatian President, Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic, with a Hello Dubrovnik hand fan - Photo Vedran Levi

What advice would you give to either like-minded entrepreneurs in Croatia?

Apart from being completely determined and dedicated you need to surround yourself with experts. Always have a person you can call to give you advice and a push in the right direction. But also believe in yourself and your own abilities. When I was making the fan I was constantly on the phone with people in various industries, from the marketing world to printers. I finished a PR and Marketing university in Zagreb so I even called my old professors for some advice. I also worked on myself by attending different seminars and congresses just to upgrade my knowledge.

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Dubrovnik hand fan - Photo Miho Skvrce 

 

You mentioned you finished PR and marketing, tell us something about your background

I was born and bred in Dubrovnik and then finished university in Zagreb. In fact, I have a good work ethic as I have been working since I was 16 years-old. I always found something to do, mainly summer jobs. After finishing university, I came back to Dubrovnik and started working in a company in the film industry. And then with all the money I had saved doing the summer jobs, and then the full-time job I decided to go to Canada, to Toronto, where I lived for a year. I wasn’t a holiday. I wanted to work. I knew nobody there really. But the experience I gained there was priceless. I basically wanted to put myself into the fire and see how I reacted. Of course there were tough times but I learned so many lessons.

What would you say is the biggest lesson you learned in Canada?

How to be independent. I found my abilities and I learned how to take care of myself. Living in Dubrovnik, which is a really small city, it is really easy to be narrow-minded but if you expand yourself, if you go and explore the you will discover amazing things. I got a whole new mind-set on working. In just three weeks I found a job and completely threw myself 100 percent into the work. The pride of accomplishing something lives with me today.

Once you got the idea of the fan what were some of the main difficult bumps along the road before it was actually on the market?

As I have mentioned I have a background in marketing so that certainly helped. So the side of marketing wasn’t so tricky. My main issue was to design adverts that would actually fit and look good on an odd shaped fan. I sat down with my graphic designer and we spent hours and hours working out the best design. And then the next difficult step was the print shop. I wanted quality in first place, so just finding the right printers took me weeks. Finally, I found one in Zagreb and they really did a great job. Of course I didn’t leave anything to chance.

So I jumped on a plane and went to Zagreb where I spent days and days, from 8:00 am to 8:00 pm, at the printers to get everything just the way I wanted. If you want to get something done in Croatia, you have to be persistent. Many, many people just give up. At the moment when you feel like giving up you have to dig deep and find more energy. Distribution of the fans also need lots of thinking out. To cover all the main points of the city and not just the Old City. The hand fan is free of charge and I would urge your readers to take then and use them.

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Keeping cool in the Dubrovnik summer - Photo Ivan Vuka Vukovic 

Fancy sitting next to the window, or maybe you need an aisle seat to stretch your legs out a little, from now on if you want to book your seat ahead of time on a Croatia Airlines flight you going to have a pay a little more.

Croatia Airlines have started charging passengers who want to choose where to sit on a plane. If you choose to sit in an exit row, or the ones with the slightly larger leg space, you’ll be charged an extra 15 Euros. If you want to sit in the first two economy rows, the so called priority seating, then a charge of 12 Euro will be added. And for all other seats in the plane a flat fee of 10 Euros will apply.

Passengers who do not select a seat when booking will be automatically assigned one at check-in free of charge. 

The Voice of Dubrovnik

THE VOICE OF DUBROVNIK


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