Wednesday, 13 November 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.


It is well known that Croatia is a country of coffee lovers. From the never-ending coffee with friends in a pavement café bar, to a blast of caffeine from a coffee-to-go and the strong kick of Turkish coffee in the morning to wake up, Croatians are coffee addicts.

85 percent of Croatians drink at least one coffee a day, whilst a massive 60 percent consume more than one cup a day. And coffee drinkers have moved with the times. Twenty years ago instant coffee, such as Nescafe, was unheard of in Croatia but now this quick coffee fix is the second most drunk behind Turkish coffee. According to a new survey 70 percent of coffee drinkers like Turkish coffee or expresso the most. With coffee-to-go and coffee from vending machines the least popular.

But it seems that the actual taste of coffee isn’t the main reason why Croatians sip their cappuccino, in fact it is the least important. The main reason that Croatians gulp down coffee is habit, with 41 percent of people asked saying that habit was the main reason. Habit was followed by socialising and to wake up.


This week the gastronomic academy “Majstor Kuhar” founded by Croatian famous chef and academician Branko Ognjenović was opened and with his young team they presented program of the academy. After many years in world of gastronomy chef Branko has announced his active retirement where he plans to dedicate his time mostly to humanitarian work in the charity “Udruga Renato – Chefs Without Borders.”

A team of experts led by Sabina Jalšić, chef Dario Lido (Branko's successor) and Nenad Bratković master of nutrition will lead the academy’s programs. Branko will still be active in each segment of the academy as a lecturer in master class workshops but the young force that have been with Branko since the very start will take over implementing the academy’s goals.


Over 150 friends, chef colleagues, business associates and media representatives came to show their support of the new academy equipped with state-of-the-art technology which will allow lecturers to share information online and enable online courses. Students of the academy will be given the certificate “MAJSTOR KUHAR” upon finishing the seminar. The main mission of the academy is to empower the working market with skilled labour, to reduce the deficit with education and increase the competency in the market, it is the first such academy on the Croatian market that offers professional training in gastronomy.


The premises in which the academy is located is an educational venue equipped with up to date interactive equipment for interactive education on topics such as cookery and nutrition, as well as adapting it to people with special needs, gastro diseases but also organizing master classes. The academy has announced collaboration with other guests from world of gastronomy and enology.


The Social Democratic Party (SDP) parliamentary group has submitted to the parliament amendments to the Act on Sustainable Waste Management proposing that plastic bags and single-use plastic products be banned as of the middle of 2020 already instead of as of 2021, as regulated by an EU directive.

This would lessen the negative impact of plastic products on the environment and human health and contribute to the establishment of a circular economy, the SDP said.

Social Democrat Mihael Zmajlovic told a news conference that the ban on single-use plastic products would significantly contribute to reducing the amount of waste and help Croatia become a clean country which lives predominantly off tourism.


The list of international film and TV productions filmed in Dubrovnik continues to grow with news that Orlando Bloom will film in the city. As we reported back in July this year the second season of the series “Carnival Row” will be filmed in Dubrovnik starring Orlando Bloom and Cara Delevingne.

The second season of 'Carnival Row' has not only been officially confirmed, but will be filmed in Dubrovnik. The first season was filmed in Prague.

No filming dates have yet been announced although it is rumoured that filming will start this year.



The ailing national airline of Croatia has received a much need financial injection from the government to the tune of 13.5 million Euros. Croatia Airlines, which has been teetering on the edge of bankruptcy for years, will receive in total 33.7 million Euro from the state coffers in order to stabilise the company before recapitalisation.

Although Croatia Airlines has a monopoly of the few internal routes inside the country it struggles to compete with larger European airlines and this combined with questionable management has led to the airline needing constant handouts from the government.

According to the specialised website, EX-YU Aviation, the state cash is required as “financial projections for the next two years showed that Croatia Airlines would be unable to do the repair and overhaul of two aircraft engines without the support of the government, pay its debt to Croatian suppliers and finance other necessary investments.”

The airline is in the process of looking for a new owner and the first steps of the privatisation process have already begun.


Even though the final episode crashed onto the screens back in the middle of May this year the Game of Thrones bandwagon is still rolling on and bringing with it international publicity for Dubrovnik. For seven of the eight seasons Dubrovnik played King’s Landing in the HBO serial and over that period attracted fans and indeed media attention by the bucket load.

Although exact figures on the number of tourists who have visited Dubrovnik due to the serial is difficult to measure one factor gives a pretty good indication, the explosive rise in the number of American guests. Even though direct flights from the US to Dubrovnik only started this summer season, tourists from the US have been the second most numerous in the city for the past few years. A great deal of this interest is down to Game of Thrones.




The latest Game of Thrones media blast comes from the popular American PBS NewsHour with a program entitled “'Game of Thrones' lives on in Medieval Croatian city.”

“HBO's blockbuster series, "Game of Thrones," broke records for Emmy nominations and wins before it ended this year. But in the small Croatian city of Dubrovnik, the series lives on. It was the backdrop for much of the fantasy thriller, helping its tourism numbers to explode. But some say the swashbuckling series has been a double-edged sword,” commented PBS on the video that was broadcast across America yesterday.

The show features various tourists on the streets of the ancient Old City of Dubrovnik as well as one of the leading tour guides in the city, Ivan Vukovic, who runs Game of Thrones themed tours. "Croatia, this is was like one of the things I was looking forward to the most. Literally the Game of Thrones tour," commented one fan. 

Check out the latest Dubrovnik Game of Thrones video

If you thought Dubrovnik was only sunshine and blue skies, think again. When it rains it really, really rains. And the thousands of stone steps in the ancient Old City centre only act as a waterfall for the torrential rain, turning the city into an array of white-water.

This graphic video was shot by the popular Dubrovnik tour guide, Ivan Vukovic, a couple of days ago and highlights the “monsoon” weather in the city.

Check out this stunning Dubrovnik waterfall!


The US abolished visas for the Polish on Friday, President Donald Trump announced, with only four other EU member states, including Croatia, remaining in visa regime with the US.

Trump announced last month that he expects a visa to be lifted for Poland in the next few weeks, meaning that its citizens will not need a visa to travel to the US for up to 90 days, whether business or tourist.

Croatia, Bulgaria, Romania and Cyprus are the only remaining EU member states that do not enjoy the principle of reciprocity between the EU and the US and their nationals are unequal to nationals of other EU member states.

Brussels has tried to influence the resolution of the problem faster in order for these countries to enter the WWP, but they must first meet the basic requirement and reduce the percentage of rejected visa applications to less than three percent. Although this percentage is falling for Croatia, in 2017 it was still 5.1 percent.


The Voice of Dubrovnik


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