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.
“Oh, I’ve got another follower on Instagram, and I’m not sure who he is,” said the teenage girl with a voice like she’d just won the lottery. I looked on with a mixture of disbelief and confusion. The generation gap had never been wider.
If you were born after the beginning of the millennium then your smart phone is basically an extension of your body, the 101st organ. Take a smart phone from a teenager and they are lost in space and time. They date, play, flirt, watch video and TV and interact on this new organ. It also acts as their brain’s external memory and Google as their God to ask questions. Smart phone (although dumb phones might be a better name) have slowly but surely robbed children and teenagers of a huge part of growing up. Creativity, action and exercise. In the era when I grew up it was a problem for my parents to keep me at home. Now it seems that it is a problem to get children to go outside.
These recent games in the Old City, where street played against street in games that they used to play as children started me thinking. What will these games look like in thirty years’ time? Will today’s generation all sit around on the stone steps and reminisce when they used to play Pokémon Go?
The summer holidays used to be an open-air dream for children. I would basically leave my house with sandwiches when the sun rose and arrive home as the sun set. Of course I’d come back with a graze or two on my knees, a bruise on my elbow and a few insect bites (even a sheep bite once) but also with a smile on my face, a hole in my stomach and a need to hit my pillow and sleep until the next day’s adventures. We’d build camps, cook over fires (yes, sometimes they went wrong), play sports and games and make-up loads of new games. We’d “borrow” some fruit picked directly off the trees for a snack. It was an active childhood. And don’t forget we could never phone home as we didn’t have a mobile. Or come to think of it a computer, PlayStation or any other gaming device.
We’d be together, interacting together, playing together and later (much later) falling in (first) love. And this social interaction and indeed need to play games brought with it creation. Active creation, creative and logical minds. There is a reason why Lego was the most popular toy for decades, children used their minds and parents saw the benefits. Lego has been replaced by an app on a phone. Of course, it wasn’t perfect but compared with playtime today it was utopia. This seems to have turned a full circle. Now you have the situation where children are actually wasting their time watching other people play video games on their smart phones.
The generations have gone from being outside and creating new games from what they found around them to sitting on the couch watching other people play! From incredibly active to unbelievably passive, with a capital P! And what will the children of the future do then? What is the next step of passivity? Will smart phone watch other people play and then bring the “highlights” to the children?
Likes and followers are the new badges of merit. What we used to call the “star of the class” because he or she was the fittest, the strongest or indeed the tallest, is now called an influencer. And these so called influencers are worshipped like Gods. Whilst at the same time making money from their disciples, or sheep. And sheep don’t ask questions. They don’t ask why. Future minds are being taught to follow and not to lead.
Who will then ask the tough questions of the leaders of tomorrow? Who will ask why? Who will dare to question the influencers or the wolves? A sheep can’t question a wolf. Nelson Mandela rightly said “the youth of today are the leaders of tomorrow.”
Global travel site Big 7 Travel has released their list of the 50 Most Popular Destinations for Post-Lockdown Travel. Looking at the results of surveys sent to their 1.5 audience on social media and trending holiday locations on Google Search in the past 30 days, Big 7 Travel saw that there’s a clear trend in post-lockdown getaways: remote islands, peaceful countryside breaks and tropical paradise beaches.
“While there are a few major cities on the list, the majority of people are favouring quieter areas with plenty of space for social distancing, with countries that quickly contained the virus proving popular,” wrote Big 7 Travel.
And Dubrovnik also finished high on the list, in 27 position, and was the only Croatian destination to feature on the travel list.
And the top ten destinations for post-lockdown travel were -
9th. Hawaii, USA
8th. Kerry, Ireland
7th. Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming, USA
6th. Koh Tao, Thailand
5th. Palawan, Philippines
4th. The Algarve, Portugal
3rd. Positano, Amalfi Coast, Italy
2nd. South Island, New Zealand
1st. Santorini, Greece
Ljubljana and Dubrovnik are again connected by direct flights, with the first charter plane landing at Dubrovnik Airport yesterday.
The Ljubljana plane, carrying 76 passengers, organised by the Slovenian travel agency Palma Travel is the first of a range of special charter flights connecting Dubrovnik with Slovenia. Every Thursday, up until the 18th of October, this Slovenian charter plane will land in Dubrovnik, meaning that passengers should stay at least a week in the Dubrovnik region.
An Airbus 319 aircraft with 180 seats is planned for next Thursday, and a press trip of Slovenian journalists is also in the pipeline, organized jointly by the Dubrovnik Tourist Board and Palma travel.
The Interior Minister and head of the National Civil Protection Headquarters, Davor Bozinovic, on Thursday referred to the possibility of sanctioning those who do not respect the measure of wearing a mask, saying that "it is not a point to punish someone, but a point to change behaviour".
Regarding the obligatory wearing of a mask and the proposal of the Zagreb Headquarters to introduce the obligation to wear it in shopping malls, he says that this should be considered, but it is certain that epidemiologists will point out the justification of these measures given the mode of infection. He went onto say that he is not sure that there has been a larger increase in infections in shopping malls and stores, but wherever a mask can be worn, it certainly does not hurt.
However, wearing a facemask on public transport in Croatia is now an obligation.
"The point is not in restrictive behaviours, but for all people to accept the recommendations as an integral part of life that will last until we solve this situation with either a vaccine or a medicine, we have to get used to that life," Bozinovic told N1.
Regarding mandatory self-isolation for all who come from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Kosovo and Northern Macedonia, he said that new infections came from those countries and that is why they decided on such measures. He added, however, that there are "personal reasons or of a humanitarian nature, even if it is a justified urgent business reason, for which one does not have to isolate oneself".
Although Croatia has recorded 95 new infections in the last 24 hours, the second largest number in a single day since the coronavirus appeared in Croatia, Bozinovic said "measures will not be as strict as before".
"The whole of Europe is opening up with certain measures. We are now, in this situation, making decisions and measures that will no longer last as long as they did in the first phase. We are ready to change decisions on a daily basis. In the first phase, it was easier to just close everything. and now we need to be more structured,” the minister concluded.
The National Headquarters confirmed today that there have been 95 new cases of Covid-19 recorded across Croatia in the past 24 hours, the second highest number of new cases since the pandemic began.
A total of 2,483 people have been infected with Covid-19 in Croatia since the pandemic first hit.
One newly ill person is from Brod-Posavina County, one from Šibenik-Knin County, one from Virovitica-Podravina County, one from Split-Dalmatia County and one from Varaždin County, two newly ill people are from the Istria County, two from Sisak-Moslavina County, five newly ill persons are from Zadar County, seven from Zagreb County, nine from Primorje-Gorski Kotar County, 25 newly ill persons are from the City of Zagreb, and 40 newly ill persons are from Osijek-Baranja County.
There are currently no patients on a respirator, and 42 people are being treated in hospital.
So far, 74,657 people have been tested, of which 919 were tested in the last 24 hours.
There have been no new cases of Covid-19 infection in the Dubrovnik-Neretva County, and all samples previously sent for analysis have been processed. Since the beginning of the pandemic a total of 3,604 samples have been sent to Zagreb for analysis.
In the Dubrovnik-Neretva County, there are currently 48 people in self-isolation and no patients in the Dubrovnik General Hospital.
The headquarters of the Civil Protection of the County continues to appeal to citizens to adhere to all prescribed measures by the Croatian Institute of Public Health and the Civil Protection Headquarters of the Republic of Croatia.
The Polish airline LOT has announced 13 new flight connections to Croatia for this summer, with flights to Zadar, Split and Dubrovnik.
The company previously announced the return of lines from Warsaw to Zadar, Split and Dubrovnik, but now it has announced a completely new set of lines that have not been in operation before, reports Croatian Aviation.
The new flights to Dubrovnik are the Wroclaw - Dubrovnik starting on July 4 and running once a week. And Gdansk – Dubrovnik, again once a week starting from July 7 and Krakow – Dubrovnik, once a week, every Friday, from July 3. And making up the quartet of new Polish destinations is a new flight connection from Poznan – Dubrovnik, once a week, every Saturday, from July 5.
The new flights from LOT to Split include Lublin, Katowice, Poznan and Gdansk with flights starting on July 3. And to Zadar LOT will fly from Gdansk, Szczecin, Rzeszow, Krakow and Bydgoszcz, with all flights landing once a week.
In 2020, online gambling is more popular than ever before and is set to continue to grow at a record rate in Europe. Statistics show that more of us are using online platforms to gamble than ever, as the ease of access for consumers continues to catapult gambling profits into the stratosphere. The numbers suggest that the industry will continue to grow faster than ever before in the coming years. The question is, how did it happen?
How online gambling exploded in popularity
The development of technology has eradicated the need to leave the house in order to gamble, and this ease of access has been a gamechanger for the profits of the gambling industry. Gone are the days when a gambler would have to visit a casino to place a bet on sports or a casino game. Now, it only takes a tap on a smartphone or a click on a laptop to place a bet.
The options available to gamblers in the present day are also more plentiful than ever. Traditional casino games like poker, blackjack and roulette are available on most betting websites, and sports betting on football and other games is very profitable. Many iGaming websites, such as https://games.paddypower.com/c/jackpot-king, now have a wide range of arcade-style, themed video slots, which have attracted the attention of a host of consumers that might never have considered gambling previously.
No signs of slowing down
According to European Gaming and Betting Association data available at https://www.egba.eu/eu-market/#:~:text=The%20EU%20online%20gambling%20market,%E2%82%AC29.3%20billion%20in%202022., the EU online gambling market is expected to rise from €22.2 billion in 2018 to €29.3 billion in 2022. That market is growing by 10% every single year and is showing absolutely no signs of slowing down. In fact, in 2018 the EU held a 49.2% share of the overall global online gambling market. This means that almost half of the money spent gambling online across the whole planet was in EU states. Europe has rapidly established itself as the biggest online gambling hub in the world, taking advantage of the regulations in place in some states in the USA.
The power of sports betting
Photo - Unsplash
Casino games and arcade-style games are very popular at the moment, but sports betting has been the real money-maker for major betting companies recently. Football is perhaps the most important cultural phenomenon on the planet, with Croatia's Football Federation website offering fans a wealth of information at https://hns-cff.hr/en/, and many fans have taken to betting on games to further the excitement. Sports betting reportedly accounts for as much as 42.5% of gross gaming revenue, dwarfing the worth of casino games (32.4%) and poker (5%). Football’s influence is here to stay, and sports like tennis and boxing are also the subject of thousands of bets every day.
Online gambling has taken hold in Europe like nowhere else and is rapidly becoming one of the fastest-growing industries around. It is now so easy to bet that many consumers that historically might not have considered gambling are getting involved. With sports betting and online casinos both becoming more and more profitable, it is easy to see how online gambling has become such a huge deal in recent years.