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.
After recording a drop in passenger numbers in July the Croatian capital’s airport once again got back on track in August. During one of the busiest of the year Zagreb Airport handled just over 376,000 passengers, which is a small increase of 0.9 percent over the same month from 2018.
From the beginning of the year until the end of August 2.27 million passengers have travelled through the capital’s airport, which is an increase of 2.4 percent on last year. In real terms meaning that an extra 52,847 passengers have used Zagreb Airport.
Tourism is certainly an important industry in Croatia and accounts for around 17 percent of the country’s GDP, but whilst it may seem that Croatian tourism is one of the market leaders in Europe latest data shows a different story.
In a breakdown of the overnight stays that tourists make throughout the European Union it is more than clear that the traditional holiday destinations still rule the roost. In 2017 Spain was the EU leader in terms of overnight stays, with 15 percent of all stays in the European Union. The second European tourist powerhouse, France, received 13.8 percent of the share, followed by the UK with 13.6 percent.
Compare these figures from the larger EU countries with Croatia’s share of the total number of overnight stays in the EU at only 2.7 percent and the difference is considerable. However, the populations of these major EU destinations must also be taken into account and subsequently the amount of hotel and private accommodation they actually have on offer.
Interestingly Greece, one of the most established Mediterranean holiday spots has only 3.5 percent of the share of overnight stays. Italy makes up 13.4 percent, Germany 12.8 percent and Austria 3.9 percent.
August was certainly a busy month tourists in the Dubrovnik – Neretva County with an increase in tourist numbers of 4 percent over August 2018.
There were 445,646 tourist arrivals in the Dubrovnik-Neretva County during August. And in the busiest month of the year 2.18 million overnight stays were achieved throughout the county, which is 1 percent more than last August.
Since the beginning of the year 1.7 million tourists arrived in the Dubrovnik – Neretva County and almost 7 million overnight stays were achieved.
The most numerous guests in the county were from the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Poland, the United States and Slovenia.
Since the beginning of the year 2.6 million overnight stays were in hotels and 3 million in private accommodation, highlighting the importance of private apartments and villas for the county’s tourism industry.
Quite clearly Roman Abramovich, or more precisely his mega yacht Eclipse, loves Dubrovnik and Cavtat, as after four days ago he and his mega yacht are still here. The second largest yacht in the world owned by the Russian oligarch dropped anchor in the Bay of Cavtat on the last day of August and over the past few days the mega yacht hasn’t moved an inch.
The owner of Chelsea FC hasn’t been spotted, either in Cavtat or Dubrovnik, and it is still unsure whether the multi-billionaire is onboard. Eclipse is certainly proving an attraction, a floating attraction, as many small vessels and fishing boats have been approaching the 163-metre-long yacht to get a better view and even a few snaps for the holiday album.
Although Eclipse is owned by Abramovich it is also reported that the yacht is available for charter, but you’ll need extremely deep pockets as it costs an incredible 3 million Euros a week.
Apparently Eclipse has a special device to stop people taking photos of the yacht which is supposed to disable cameras with a direct laser beam.
All photos - Mark Thomas
One of the icons of Dubrovnik sport, the water polo club Jug, is celebrating an incredible 95th anniversary. On the 28th of June 1924, at Porporela in Dubrovnik, water polo club Jug played their first official match.
And to mark this major birthday the club will organize a replay of this match on the 5th of September. Jug is by far the most successful sporting club in the wider Dubrovnik region and they even started their long history with a win. 95 years ago Jug defeated the Penatur water polo club 3 – 0 in their first ever match. Times may have changed a great deal in Dubrovnik since those early days, but one thing has remained constant, Jug keeps on winning trophies.
"Jug is celebrating its celebrating its 95th birthday, and to joke, they say that we are like wine - the older we are, the better we get. For years, the club has been creating new generations of young athletes, instilling in them a sporting and combative spirit, but at the same time preparing them for the future and the years ahead, and proudly watching them grow into the adult world,” commented the President of Jug, Tomislav Dumancic.
The special match to mark the big birthday will be held on the 5th of September at Porpoela, where it all started all those years ago.
And this is how it all started - Photo Jug
The height of the main tourist season in Dubrovnik is behind us and the results are coming in thick and fast. In more ways than one it has been a record breaking year for Dubrovnik’s tourism industry.
From the beginning of the year until the end of August a grand total of 1.05 million tourists visited Dubrovnik, an increase of a huge 14 percent compared to the same period from last year.
And subsequently the number of overnights stays in Dubrovnik also rose in the first eight months of 2019 with 3.23 million achieved, an increase of 6 percent over last year.
Since the beginning of the year, the majority of guests, in terms of nationality came from the United Kingdom, the United States, France, Germany, Spain, Croatia, Italy, Australia, Ireland and Finland.
The number of American tourists is certainly on the rise, this is a trend that has been continuing for a few years, and this year the number of US tourists is up by 16 percent on last year, putting Americans right behind the British. And with the introduction of direct flights with American Airlines from Philadelphia, and the possibility of new flights from Chicago in 2021 this number will only continue to rise. And if it does then Americans could soon be the most numerous guests in Dubrovnik, taking first position that the Brits have held for around a decade.
During August, one of the peak months for Dubrovnik’s tourism industry, 236,375 tourists arrived in the city and 817,667 overnights were achieved, according to data from the Dubrovnik Tourist Board. And in fact August was a record breaking month, as on the 12th of August 28,554 tourists stayed in the hotels, villas, and private apartments of the city, which is the most ever number of guests recorded staying in Dubrovnik on one day.
The three millionth overnight stay in Dubrovnik this year was realized on the 21st of August, a full seven days earlier than in 2018, and the one millionth tourist arrival occurred on the 24th of August, three weeks earlier than last year.
Work has begun on repairing the stone streets of Dubrovnik in one of the most well-trodden areas of the historic Old City. An area of around 300 metres squared directly in front of the St. Blaise Church in the very heart of the city core is having the ancient stone slabs repaired.
Repairing any building or construction inside this UNESCO World Heritage Site is a long and arduous process. The stone pavement will be repaired after the careful removal of the existing stones in order to preserve as many undamaged stones as possible. It is estimated that only around 15 percent of the stones will be new ones.
The value of the investment is 845,312.00 (VAT included), and the estimated duration of the works is 90 calendar days.
The start of the work was originally planned for the 15th of September, but was brought forward by the City of Dubrovnik, along with the contractor, a full two weeks in order to ensure that this part of the public square is fully prepared for this year’s Dubrovnik Winter Festival.
The works are being coordinated by the Institute for the Restoration of Dubrovnik, which, based on the recommendation of the Conservation Department, included the restoration of the stones in front of the St. Blaise Church in their 2019 reconstruction program.
Looking for a tasty burger this September, why not try the Zagreb Burger Festival. The Zagreb Burger Festival is a dynamic eleven-day gastronomic program, accompanied by attractive music events that always attracts interest from local and foreign visitors. This popular festival will be held this year in Zagreb's Strossmayer Square from the 12th of September to the 22nd of September.
The festival always welcomes all lovers of delicious and juicy burgers, and this year the latest trends in making many of your favourite delicacies will be presented by some twenty burger masters from Zagreb, Rijeka, Osijek and Ljubljana.
And if you are a vegetarian this isn’t a “meat only” festival, far from it. Vegetarians will have the chance to taste some speciality burgers. Gastro competitions are also prepared as well as a selection of the best burger masters with additional fun and games for children.
The festival will be open from Monday to Thursday from 12am to 11pm, Fridays and Saturdays from 11am to 1am, and Sundays from 11am to 11pm. Admission to the Zagreb Burger Festival is free of charge and you can find more information on the website burgerfestival.hr