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.
The Shelter for Abandoned Animals in Dubrovnik has this week received a Decision from the Ministry of Agriculture of the Republic of Croatia, determining that it meets all prescribed conditions for operation. With this, the City of Dubrovnik has fulfilled its legal obligation to establish a public institution of this type in its area and resolved the long-standing communal problem of stray animals.
The new city animal shelter in Grabovica has already received its first dogs; 34 of them were relocated from Žarkovica to appropriate conditions where they will receive comprehensive care. According to the Ministry's decision, the Shelter for Abandoned Animals in Dubrovnik can accommodate 74 dogs. In addition to spaces for housing dogs and cats in modular facilities, areas for isolation or quarantine for animals have been provided. Five modular facilities are designated for staff and administration, including an office, clinic, reception, examination and care of animals, food storage, and other ancillary spaces.
A year and a half ago, the City of Dubrovnik initiated the Adopt Žarkovica project with the aim of addressing the urgent and long-standing problem of stray dogs and other animals. In an unregistered shelter under inadequate conditions, more than 260 animals were living, many of which were sick and injured. With the significant commitment of project manager Ana Ivelja, the current temporary director of the shelter, and the assistance of the Pobjeda association, the Prijatelji shelter from Čakovec, the Friends of Animals association, as well as the support of the international organization Network for Animals, all dogs were treated and taken care of, and the project has been successfully completed.
In collaboration with municipal companies, the City of Dubrovnik will completely clean the space in Žarkovica, after which this valuable area in the buffer zone of the historic core will be landscaped with 6,000 new seedlings.
The increasing presence of an imported workforce in Croatia is evident in the regularly published Focus Week by HUP's chief economist, Hrvoje Stojić, through the clear indication of the number of residence and work permits. In the first ten months of this year, 147,301 permits were issued to foreign nationals, a staggering 39 percent increase compared to last year, with two-thirds related to work in the construction and tourism sectors. The total number of work permits for the entire year could reach 170-175 thousand.
Estimates suggest that currently, 80 to 100 thousand foreign workers are employed in Croatia, accounting for five to six percent of the total workforce this year. "Given the solid economic growth and continuous tension in the labour market, it is expected that the total number of work permits next year will exceed 200,000," notes Stojić.
HUP has concrete proposals to facilitate or "accelerate" the employment of an increasing number of foreign workers. At the top of the list is expanding the list of deficit occupations for which a labour market test is not required. Additionally, they propose extending the duration of residence and work permits from one to two or three years and from 6 to 9 months for seasonal workers. They also advocate for simplifying certain administrative procedures in issuing work permits. "We recommend eliminating the obligation to take double fingerprints from foreign workers, who extend the duration of residence and work permits, especially considering that this obligation is questionable from the standpoint of the EU Visa Code. Significant improvement would also be the digitization of the process of delivering residence and work permit decisions by the police station," the analysis states.
Demographic trends clearly indicate that in the coming years, the demand for foreign labour will inevitably increase, emphasizing the urgency of a quality immigration policy. Governor of the Bank of Croatia, Boris Vujčić recently estimated that Croatia could lose 400,000 people of working age over the next 20 years, calling for the need to devise both natal and immigration policies. "We need to agree on what we want," he said.
Thanks to stronger immigration and increased economic activity, HUP expects employment to grow by 2.7 percent this year. The analysis shows that in October, the highest growth rate was recorded in the IT sector, up 8.3 percent year-on-year, followed by tourism (+4.8 percent) and the real estate sector (+4.4 percent).
According to information gathered by the Croatian Tourist Board from Croatian airports, Croatia will be directly connected to 28 countries during the winter flight schedule. The largest number of direct airline routes will connect Croatia with Germany, Poland, Austria, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom. In addition to European countries, Croatia will also have direct connections to destinations on other continents, such as the United Arab Emirates and Qatar.
"I am extremely pleased that we expect more than 150 unique airlines this winter season, compared to 118 last year during the same period. The importance of air traffic for Croatian tourism is undeniable, especially when it comes to connecting Croatia with key source markets outside the summer season. By introducing new airlines and a greater number of direct flights covering major European capitals, we make our destinations closer and more attractive to numerous guests," said Kristjan Staničić, the director of the Croatian Tourist Board, adding that quality air connectivity is one of the fundamental prerequisites for the further development and positioning of Croatia as an attractive year-round destination.
The foreign cities with the strongest planned connectivity are Frankfurt, Munich, Vienna, Amsterdam, and London, with direct connections expected from 69 foreign cities throughout the entire winter flight season. Taking into account available data and announcements, Zagreb Airport is expected to have the most air operations (65 percent), followed by Split Airport and Zadar Airport with an equal share of 12 percent.
Looking at airlines, it is planned that 27 different carriers will fly on routes to Croatia, with Croatia Airlines, Ryanair, Trade Air, and Lufthansa planning the most operations during the winter flight schedule.
The last Friday in November or as it is globally known, Black Friday, or the day of big discounts when stores prepare special offers for customers is upon us and Croatians are expected to spend 72 million euros in the sales.
Retailers across the county have been bombarding consumers with advertisements for discounts for some time, and many online retailers introduced a "pre-Black Friday." And also a whole host of retailers decided to go one step further and offer a week of discounts in “Black Week.”
According to estimates from the Croatian Chamber of Economy (HGK), Croatians will spend 10 percent more money on Black Friday this year than last year. Data from the Tax Administration provided shows that last year's Black Friday 3.96 million invoices were issued in retail, 11 percent more than on the same day in 2021, and their value was 493 million, which is 16 percent more than the previous year.
Considering macroeconomic indicators, Croatians could spend 10 percent more this year, according to HGK, or around 72 million euros.
Last year the highest demand was for clothing and footwear, technology, and cosmetic products.
In the first nine months of 2023, the Dubrovnik Bus Station, as reported by Libertas Dubrovnik, recorded 63,402 arrivals and departures of buses. Comparing this with the first nine months of 2022, when there were 40,319 bus arrivals and departures, a noticeable strong growth trend is evident in this segment of operations.
In public urban and suburban transport during the same period, there was an increase of 12.04% in transported passengers.
Croatia Airlines has prepared a special Black Friday offer, allowing passengers to enjoy a 30% discount on airfare for all flights.
The exclusive offer is available from November 24 to 30, 2023, and is valid for travel between January 9 and March 31, 2024.
To take advantage of the 30% discount, customers can use the promo code 'FLYDAY' when purchasing tickets through the Croatia Airlines website or app. The discount applies to the ticket price, while airport fees and other charges are payable in full.
There may be only just over a month until Christmas but the temperatures in Dubrovnik today felt more like August than November.
After a few days of unsettled weather the clouds cleared today and the sunshine poured down with temperatures reaching a pleasant 23 degrees. And this photo from a car in the sunhsine indicated just how warm it was in Dubrovnik today.
The jumpers were swapped for T-shirts and sunbathing was the order of the day. However, this looks like just being a break in the rain and clouds as the rest of the week looks like more unsettled weather with highs in the mid-teens.
Last night, based on a report from a local fisherman, the Lastovo Archipelago Nature Park discovered an invasive visitor – the blue crab (Latin: Callinectes sapidus).
The detection of four blue crabs in a floating net raises an alarm about the possibility of the presence of this invasive species within the Lastovo Archipelago Nature Park. Of the three surviving specimens, two are females and one is a male. Until now, recorded specimens have not been part of the Lastovo archipelago ecosystem, indicating the possibility that these crabs, entangled in a net not owned by local fishermen, drifted from other areas.
The presence of blue crabs in the Adriatic Sea, which normally inhabit the Atlantic Ocean, raises concerns among fishermen, shellfish farmers, and ecologists. Blue crabs are most commonly found at the mouth of the Neretva River in Croatia, preferring brackish water and muddy bottoms. They have a tendency to reproduce rapidly and consume local shellfish, especially mussels, which can disrupt the natural balance.
Although this is an isolated case, the staff of the Lastovo Archipelago Nature Park appeals to all visitors and the local population to immediately report any sightings to the Public Institution 'Lastovo Archipelago Nature Park,' as stated in their post on their Facebook page.