Saturday, 22 February 2020
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.


On February 1, the Ministry of the Sea, Transport and Infrastructure of the Republic of Croatia issued a call for funding for the project “Reconstruction and Extension of the Lapad Coast, II, III and IV. construction phase.” The financing for this key capital project will be 85 percent covered from funds from the European Union and 15 percent from the state budget.

In view of the fact that building permits were obtained for the first and second phases of works, the actual works on the reconstruction of the Lapad coast is planned as early as October this year.

batala new road project 2020

The Lapad Coast Reconstruction and Extension Project was developed by Geoproming d.o.o. from Metkovic and is divided into four phases, with Phase I referring to the Port of Batala. The Administrative Department for Construction and Project Management of the City of Dubrovnik is responsible for II, III. and IV. phase related to the road from Port Batala to the INA petrol station and include the reconstruction and extension of the pavement, parking and greenery.

lapad new road 2020

The project documentation includes construction and traffic solutions, storm water drainage with rainwater treatment, a project of a new water supply system, electric power system with public lighting and telecommunication system.

And the Croatian government is fully behind the Lapad project. At the recent government session held in the City of Dubrovnik support was shown for the reconstruction project.


Creativity is the key to marketing and this billboard advert in Zagreb certainly shows some thinking outside of the box. Croatia’s last message to Britain on leaving the European Union with Brexit was indeed “Good Riddance,” however it was a little bit lost in translation and context.

Irena Andrassy, the Croatian EU Ambassador, told her British counterpart, Sir Tim Barrow, “Thank you, goodbye and good riddance.” The message was allegedly made as a joke, and lost a little in translation, was the final message from the EU to the UK as Brexit came into force and the UK left the union after with 27 members.

Sir Tim, at least according to reports, took the remark in good humour and the Finacial Times reported that “The Brits saw the funny side and understood how it was meant.”

And now one institution has taken this gaffe to a new level by making a billboard advert from the line “Good Riddance.” The American Institute in Zagreb are the culprits of the humorous marketing idea which features not only the infamous quote but also a rather unflattering photo of the Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, and the line “Rid yourself of bad English,” as an advert for their English language courses.

The Croatian capital’s airport, and the busiest airport in the country, has started 2020 in fine style with a solid increase in passenger numbers. In January this year just over 203,000 passengers travelled through Zagreb Airport, representing a 6.2 percent increase over the same month from last year.

One of the major factors of this boost in passenger numbers was the fact that Croatia is currently holding the rotating presidency of the Council of the European Union. Meaning a large number of politicians and their staff have been flying in and out of Zagreb to attend meetings and conferences. And indeed this will no doubt led to an increase in passenger numbers over the coming months.

Speaking to “Future Airport” magazine the general manager of Zagreb Airport, Huseying Bahadir Bedir, commented that “We expect this trend to continue in 2020. Since the opening of the new passenger terminal, we have achieved significant results in overall traffic, such as an increase in passenger numbers, the number of destinations, new carrier, cargo traffic, an increase in the number of employees, as well as new shops and sales outlets that have been opened. With our strategies and strong focus on future development, we expect even better results in the years to come.”


A strong storm with gale force northerly winds that has swept across the whole of Dalmatia is creating traffic problems. The afternoon flight from Dubrovnik to Zagreb has been cancelled, and according to the first forecasts, the evening flight from Zagreb will not land at Dubrovnik Airport.

Tomorrow the storm is expected to weaken and thus normalize air, sea and road traffic.

For passengers who were scheduled to depart for Zagreb in the afternoon, a bus transfer to Split was organized from where they should continue their flight to Zagreb.


Thanks to the humanitarian action “Un toit par toi” (One Roof Thanks to You) which was organised in 1994 by the Jesuit priest Xavier Griffe of the Belgian city of Liège, thirty thousand roof tiles were procured to cover several single-family homes in the village of Gruda in the middle of Konavle. These roofs, and family homes, were destroyed or badly damaged during the Homeland War.

On that occasion, a team from Belgium also filmed documentary material of all the houses burning and destroyed in Gruda.

“We once again thank priest Griffe for his humanitarian and moral assistance and video,” commented the Municipality of Konavle today and uploaded the video of the damage to homes in Konavle.


Croatia has an entry into the European Tree of the year for 2020 with one the largest and oldest ginkgo tree in the country. The competition for the European Tree of 2020 started on February 1, 2020 and will run until February 29, 2020.

Among the sixteen candidates for this year's European Tree 2020 competition, the Republic of Croatia will be represented by the famous ginkgo tree from Daruvar, the winner of the 2019 Croatian Tree National Competition.

The ginkgo tree in Daruvar is the largest and oldest in Croatia and also the second oldest in Europe. With its lush canopy and trunk span of more than seven meters, this tree enjoys protection under the Nature Conservation Act in the category of park architecture monuments. This male species of the tree in Daruvar is nicknamed Adam and in “his” shadow grows a female specimen of a ginkgo tree named Eve. 

Public voting through the website began on Saturday, 01 February 2020 at 00:00. And you can vote for your two favourite trees from one email address by February 29, 2020 at 00:00. The winner of the competition will be announced in Brussels on March 17, 2020 at a ceremony marking the tenth anniversary of the start of the competition.

The aim of the competition is to promote biodiversity and natural resources across the European Union. However, the competition seeks to promote individual trees and their stories as natural monuments in the same way that UNESCO promotes World Heritage.

For the first time in over a year Dubrovnik Airport has experienced a decrease in passenger numbers when compared to the same month from the previous year. After a year of constant growth in 2019 which saw the airport add an additional 300,000 passengers on an annual basis this January saw a drop of over 26 percent when compared with January 2019.

The passenger figures from last year, and indeed every previous year, highlight the seasonality of the southernmost airport in Croatia. During the height of the tourist season the airport regularly handles between 300,000 to half a million passengers a month. Whilst for the majority of the winter months, the off season, this number drops significantly to between 20,000 and 40,000.

In January 2020 a total of 19,338 passengers passed through Dubrovnik Airport, down from January 2019 when 26,323 passengers used the airport. The vast majority of these passengers are on the internal flight with Croatia Airlines to Zagreb, and one factor for the drop is bad weather conditions. The airport’s location and runway orientation makes landing in strong northerly winds virtually impossible. Meaning that airplanes sometimes get diverted to Split during the winter when the strong winds are more prevalent.


More than half of children admitted to sleeping with cell phones, according to an annual survey on the use of modern technology among young people.

A Childwise report found that children were getting mobile phones at an earlier age, and now most have their own phone as early as seven years old, reports the BBC.

The average time children between the ages of seven and 16 spend on their mobile phones daily is three hours and 20 minutes.

Scientist Simon Leggett says cell phones can "dominate children's lives." Given that phones are so often on hand as "private and personal technology," Leggett says it can make it difficult for parents to restrict their children from using them.

young girl with mobile phone 2020

Majority of children sleep with their phones 

The survey included 2,200 children in the UK between the ages of five and 16 and showed how important the role of cell phones is in the lives of young people. 57 percent of them kept their cell phones by the bed all the time, and 44 percent said they felt very uncomfortable if they had no telephone signal. Of those, 42 percent said they never detached from the mobile phone and never shut it down.

Facebook not popular with younger generations

And the phones of more than 70 percent of children are connected to the Internet.

Cell phones are also a major entrance to a child’s internet journey, whether they use it to chat, watch entertainment or get information. Young people listen to music on their cell phones much more often than on the radio. YouTube remains dominant and is used daily by 61 percent of children.

Snapchat, Instagram and this year’s rising star Tik Tok and WhatsApp are used regularly, but Facebook is not among the top ten apps in this age group.

"The moment when a child has his or her own cell phone can be a challenge for parents to monitor what the child is looking at on the internet because it is such a private technology because they are literally holding it to themselves," commented Leggett.


The Voice of Dubrovnik


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