Saturday, 04 July 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.


Over the past 24 hours there have been no new recorded cases of Covid-19 in the Dubrovnik -. Neretva County, in fact the last time a case was detected was back on the 8th of May.

Testing continues across the county and on Friday 14 samples were sent for analysis to Zagreb and they have all been returned as negative. Of the total number of 118 positive cases of Covid-19 in the Dubrovnik – Neretva County only one person is still infected.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, 3,280 samples have been sent to Zagreb for analysis. As of today there is not a single person in self-isolation in the whole county.

The headquarters of the Civil Protection of the Dubrovnik – Neretva County continues to appeal to the citizens to adhere to all prescribed measures by the Croatian Institute of Public Health and the Civil Protection Headquarters of the Republic of Croatia.


According to an old Croatian saying, without suffering, there is no learning. The point of the saying, of course, is that we learn through being challenged. We don’t learn from what we can already do well. For far too many students, the act of writing an essay is an exercise in exquisite suffering. However, it doesn’t have to be. In today’s article, we’re going to explore the opinion essay, a relatively rare form of essay that often gives students a great deal of trouble as they struggle to balance traditional academic writing against the need to express an opinion in the paper. We’ll look at ten tips to help you write a better opinion essay so you can be prepared for your next opinion paper.

1. Know what an opinion essay is. An opinion essay states an opinion, but it isn’t simply an editorial in which you say only what you think. This type of essay requires you to present facts and evidence to support your point of view. You are explaining why your viewpoint is right but defending it like the conclusion to a research paper.

2. Develop your view on the subject before writing. Since an opinion essay requires you to have an opinion, it’s important to develop that opinion before you start writing. Why do you believe in your point of view? Be sure you can explain why you are right and can formulate your point of view clearly and effectively.

3. Do your research. It may seem obvious, but it’s important to research your topic before you write. You may find that reading other people’s opinions will change, shade, or shape your own point of view. The worst thing you can do is to write the entire essay only to discover at the end of that there are facts that completely change your opinion.

4. Don’t save your opinion for the end. The reader isn’t going to wait around for the end of your five-paragraph or five-page opinion essay to find out what you think. You need to be sure that your opinion is clearly stated at the beginning of the essay, in the thesis statement, so that the reader understands your perspective from the start. This will also help to ensure that every part of the essay works to support the thesis.

5. Begin with an attention-grabbing opening. Your essay should grab the reader’s attention from the first line. Be sure to start with a strong hook, such as a dramatic fact or statistic, or an anecdote, to draw the reader in and interest them in learning more. After all, if readers aren’t interested, they won’t listen to your opinion.

6. Never title your essay with a question. A wit once said that if you title your opinion essay with a question, the reader will always answer “no.” More accurately, readers will answer the question for themselves in terms of their own experience, and that will make them less open to your perspective and point of view.

7. Start with your strongest argument first. Your opinion essay should begin with the strongest and most convincing reason you are right and then work down to less important points. Readers want to know right away what the best argument is because, if they don’t believe it, the rest won’t convince them. Nobody likes to wait for the good stuff.

8. Try to use the active voice. Academic writing often causes writers to slip into passive-voice constructions. For a research paper, this isn’t as much of a problem as it is for an opinion essay. This is your opinion, so take ownership of it with the active voice.

9. Don’t be afraid of a little emotion. A research paper focuses entirely on facts, evidence, and reasoning, but an opinion essay has room for emotion. Tug at the reader’s heartstrings a little to show why your perspective is emotionally correct, not just logically correct.

10. Don’t be afraid of professional help. When all else fails, you can always pay someone to write essay sections or an entire opinion essay for you. Online writing services like WriteMyPaperHub have experts who can help you with any opinion paper you need written. Feel free to contact a professional writer for an expert’s opinion on the best way to approach your topic, develop a strong opinion about it, and support that opinion in writing.

By using these writing tips, you’ll be in a stronger position to produce a powerful opinion essay that will make a great case for your point of view. Mastering the art of opinion can be a challenge, but with the right approach and a little help, you, too, will soon be delivering exceptional opinion essays whenever your professor assigns you an opinion paper.


If you are reading this column and are living outside of Croatia then I would advise you to find a way of visiting this year, you have never see anything like this before and you will never see anything like this again in your lifetime again. Unprecedented times is the understatement of the century. I know that I use this line from Charles Dickens often but it really is “the best of times, the worst of times.”

With Dubrovnik almost completely devoid of any tourists whatsoever my wife and I decided take the time to explore, we headed north without a plan, without any accommodation booked and without a destination, as the Americans would say, “we went on a road trip.” It was one of those times when you just follow your nose and when you find somewhere you like you stop.

As we left Dubrovnik and drove up the coastline the first car we saw with foreign number plates was as we were passing Split on the motorway. We pushed on, until deciding to stop at Plitvice literally when we saw a sign on the motorway for the national park. It is a long, long time since I’ve been to the 16 chained lakes so why not. And clearly since the last time I have been there a whole host of new apartments, villas, camping, glamping and everything else in between has opened up. Like mushrooms after the rain they have sprung up to presumably deal with the demand. This year that demand has dried up. From the turning off the motorway to the lakes we saw two more foreign plated cars, and they were both Slovenians.

So carpe diem, we pulled into the national park. “We are seeing one of the best national parks in this part of Europe, pretty much on our own, and we got in at heavily reduced prices,” I said to my wife as we sailed out across the first lake. What seemed like a full team of staff were on duty and they had time to talk and give advice, it almost seemed like we were breaking their boredom by speaking to them. There were almost as many members of staff as visitors.

“For years they have been struggling with crowds and thinking of ways to reduce the number of guests and then along comes Covid-19 and overnight their problems are solved, well probably too solved,” I commented to my wife as we sat in front of Veliki Prštavac waterfall not having to barge through selfie-taking Koreans.

We easily found accommodation in the national park, again a heavy discount, and were greeted like long-lost family members. “We are so happy to see you, and were so surprised that you booked our chalet,” they said as the rakija of all flavours flowed. And this is the flip side of the coin. On the selfish side my wife and I had a fantastic road trip, and went from Gospic to Slunj, from hidden caves to wide open plains. And because there were no crowds at all we pretty much visited all the highlights in two days.

Not only that but we had the best seats at the restaurants, the best service ever and everyone was falling over themselves to give us a discount. However, on the other side of the coin, “We have rented three cars in the last six days,” said a rent-a-car with over 120 cars in his parking. “You are the only guests for lunch,” said a waiter, one of four waiters, at a leading restaurant in Lika, a restaurant that normally has booking weeks in advance. And “Normally we would guide around 5 to 6 thousand guests a week through these caves, but we actually counted yesterday and we are now welcoming a few hundred a week and they are all Croatians,” said the pleasant guide at the Barać Caves. And then I asked “Are you self-funding or do you have help from the state?” – “Our wages are paid for from tickets sales, so yes this year will be challenging,” he answered with a wry smile. That is the flip side of the coin.

However, if there is any way for you to get to Croatia this summer I would heartedly recommend it. Of course I don’t want you to have to spend two-weeks in quarantine when you get home, but if you can come and return normally then once again I’ll say that you will never, ever see Croatia like this again.     

According to data from the Croatian Bureau of Statistics, 2,241 tourist arrivals and 34,063 tourist overnight stays were realized in commercial accommodation in April 2020, which is 98.9% less than in April 2019. These disastrous figures are hardly surprising as Croatia has in the middle of the Covid-19 pandemic during that period, with strict safety measures and tough border controls. Clearly the massive decline is the result of measures introduced to protect citizens against the spread of coronavirus, which hit the European Union in March, and therefore caused a massive restriction in the movement of people.

According to data published on the website of the Croatian National Tourist Board, in May 2020 there were 94.8 percent fewer tourist arrivals and 90.7 percent fewer tourist nights compared to on May 2019. In the first five months of 2020, there were 80.5 percent fewer tourist arrivals and 75 percent fewer tourist overnight stays compared to the same period in 2019.

All these are worrying figures for a country that earns around 20 percent of its GDP from the tourism industry, and in many coastal cities that percentage is up around 70 percent. Croatia has by far the highest percentage of foreign exchange earnings from tourism (around 19 percent) in relation to GDP among other EU members, which indicates that the Croatian economy is highly dependent on tourism. But it isn’t only the front line of tourism that contributes to the overall GDP, there is a whole domino effect of other sectors such as retail. Annually the best months for Croatian retail with the largest turnover are July and August, when of course the height of the tourism season means tourists spending in shops.

Negative tourist trends are being recorded all over the world, and it is difficult to predict what kind of tourist results this year will end with. According to the World Tourism Organization, globally in the first three months of 2020 there were 22.4 percent fewer international tourist arrivals compared to the same period in 2019.


In another body blow for Croatia’s tourism industry the Canadian airline, Air Transat, has announced that they will be suspending all flight operations to Croatia for 2020. This will be the first time in five years that Zagreb and Canada will not have a direct flight connection, as last month Air Canada Rouge also announced that they were suspending flights to the Croatian capital, reports Ex-Yu Aviation.

According to reports the Canadian airline will be suspending 25 routes in Europe this year due to a drop off in travel because of the Covid-19 pandemic. Air Transat had planned to fly to Zagreb on June 2 and to fly twice a week, increasing to three times a week in the height of the summer season. Last year both Air Transat and Air Canada Rouge handled 65,486 passengers between Zagreb and Toronto. However, times have changed, especially in the travel market and Air Transat stated that “The market conditions of the global industry have been completely transformed.”


The majority of EU citizens believe that corruption is widespread in their country, and Croatia leads the way according to a new Eurobarometer survey.

The survey, published on Thursday and conducted from 6 to 19 December 2019, included 27,498 citizens in 28 member states. The overwhelming number of citizens said that their country had a problem with corruption, in fact out of the 28 member states 24 said that corruption was widespread in their country.

And the European leader was Croatia, where 97 percent of respondents think that corruption is widespread. Croatians are followed by Cyprus and Greece (95 percent), Spain and Portugal (94 percent), Lithuania (92 percent).

And at the other end of the scale was Finland where only 22 percent of respondents think that corruption is widespread, in Denmark 35 percent, Sweden 40 percent and the Netherlands 47 percent.

Respondents answered questions about the general perception of corruption, corruption in public institutions and the business sector, the effectiveness of government, the judiciary and institutions in tackling corruption, personal experiences with corruption in contacts with institutions and in public health.

In all member states, of which there were 28 in December last year, a total of 71 percent of respondents believe that corruption is widespread in their home countries, which is three percent more than in 2017. In Croatia, this percentage increased from 94 to 97 percent from 2013 to 2019. And 54 percent of respondents across Croatia believe they have been personally affected by corruption.


Freedom of movement and the resumption of tourist travel in the European Union should be implemented "gradually" and "cautiously" in order to prevent an increase in the number of people infected with coronavirus, the foreign ministers of the member states agreed on Thursday, reports N1.

Following a video conference on tourism on May 18, the ministers discussed, on Thursday, standards and measures to protect against the spread of coronavirus during the summer season.

"We agreed that it is necessary to gradually and carefully restore freedom of movement, bearing in mind the importance of tourism for the state's economy," Foreign and European Affairs Minister, Gordan Grlic Radman, told reporters after the meeting.

An important condition is that “the launch of tourism activities does not lead to an increase in the number of infected in the country of origin, transit and destination,” he added.



Ministers discussed deadlines and conditions for restricting movement, measures that countries plan to take to ensure safe travel and safe accommodation, and the mechanism to be used in the event of a new wave of pandemics.

Grlić Radman stated that 100,000 tourists have already entered Croatia. "Constant and clear communication with citizens is necessary" so that they get the necessary information, he said.

Asked by reporters whether a unified protocol of action had been agreed in the event of the spread of the infection, the minister just answered in the affirmative without details.

Earlier on Thursday, the European Commission recommended that border controls within the Schengen area be lifted by June 15th, and restrictions on travel to the EU for citizens of Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Montenegro, Northern Macedonia and Serbia by July 1st. "International travel is key to tourism and business, and for family and friends reconnecting," EU Commissioner for Home Affairs, Ylva Johansson, said.

The EU has also proposed to gradually open external borders to citizens of other third countries according to their epidemiological situation. "It will apply to all countries in a similar or better pandemic situation to the EU," Johansson added.

There have been no new cases of coronavirus in Croatia in the past 24 hours, and a total of 2,249 people have been infected with Covid-19 since the beginning of the epidemic, the Civil Protection Headquarters announced on Thursday.

So far, 69,606 people have been tested, of which 257 were tested in the last 24 hours. Seven people are in hospital while no patient is on a ventilator.

The total number of people who have made a full recovery is 2,132, and two patients have recovered in the last 24 hours. Of these, 828 were discharged from hospital, and 1,311 recovered at home.

A total of 106 people have died so far.


The Voice of Dubrovnik


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