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.
Last year was certainly a year to remember for the Dubrovnik-Neretva County with almost 2.3 million tourists holidaying in Croatia’s southernmost county. According to figures just released by the Dubrovnik-Neretva County Tourist Board there were 2.285 million tourist arrivals in 2019, which represents a healthy 11 percent increase over 2018.
The hotel industry in the county are looking back on a successful 2019 as tourist arrivals were up a whopping 15 percent on 2018 with 1.15 million tourists choosing to stay in a hotel. In fact, the hotels throughout the county saw 8.9 million overnight stays last year.
And the importance of private villas, camps and apartments shouldn’t be overlooked as last year 818,198 tourists stayed in private accommodation in the county. This form of accommodation is certainly one area that has shown significant growth over the past five years and is still growing.
Most tourists came from the United Kingdom, the United States, Germany, France, Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Croatia goes to the polling stations on Sunday to vote for the future President and skiing could well have an effect on the final outcome. According to reports in the media up to 70,000 eligible voters will be out of the country this weekend and unable to vote as they will be on their winter skiing holidays. Reports show that of the 70,000 skiers only just over 5,000 have actually registered to vote out of the country, meaning the voting booths will be 65,000 short.
In fact, over 110,000 Croatians will be on the skiing slopes this weekend, although from that number there are children who are not eligible to actually vote. This information comes from travel agencies on the number of winter travel breaks they have sold, although the number could be higher as it obviously doesn’t include holidaymakers who have made their own arrangements.
The Presidential election looks like being a very close fought affair with both candidates, the incumbent president Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic, and the SDP candidate, Zoran Milanovic, neck and neck in the polls. Milanovic won the first round of voting back on the 22nd of December and is hoping to make that slim lead decisive in Sunday’s second round.
70,000 missing votes could well prove important to the final result as in the last Presidential elections in Croatia five years ago the difference between Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic and Ivo Josipovic was only 32,509 votes.
One of the most popular low cost airlines in the world has announced that they will increase their seat capacity to Dubrovnik this summer. easyJet will operate the Airbus A321neo aircraft on their flights from London Gatwick to Dubrovnik, and this new aircraft has a maximum capacity of 235 seats.
The Airbus will be deployed once a week on the London to Dubrovnik route and will significantly raise the number of passengers the budget airline will bring to the city. Flights with the larger planes will begin on the 5th of May this year. The airline has also announced a number of new routes to Croatia this summer.
Just over 61 million vehicles passed along Croatia’s highways in 2019 and paid a record breaking 3 billion Kuna in tolls. According to fresh data from Croatian Highways revenue from road tolls on motorways and on the Rijeka to Zagreb motorway amounted to 3 billion Kuna, the most ever collected in the history of the company.
According to the first data for 2019, a total of 61,565,203 vehicles used the motorways operated by Croatian Highways. The most profitable stretch of motorway in Croatia is the section Bregana – Zagreb – Lipovac which brought in 992 million Kuna. And the most profitable month was August when 475 million Kuna was collected.
The race to be the next Croatian President is entering its final stage with the second round of elections to be held this Sunday the 5th of January.
The SDP candidate, Zoran Milanovic, enters the second round of voting with a slight advantage over the current President and HDZ candidate, Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic. With only three days left the two presidential candidates are campaigning hard hoping to collect the floating votes from the first round.
These are the seventh presidential elections since the first direct ones were held in 1992.
In what will surely be a very close finish every vote will be vital as the difference between the two leading candidates was tight in the first round. Milanovic won the first round with 29.55 percent of the vote, whilst Grabar-Kitarovic winning 26.65 percent. The third placed candidate from the first round, Miroslav Skoro, won 24.43 percent of the votes, meaning that his voters could be crucial for the second round of voting this Sunday. And as Skoro has already announced that he will not give his support for either of the leading candidates the fate of his supporters is hanging in the balance.
According to the eVisitor tourist check-in and check-out system, not including nautical tourists, Dubrovnik achieved record tourist results in 2019. From the 1st of January to the 31st of December 2019, 1,443,971 tourists arrived in Dubrovnik, which is a 13 percent more than in 2018 and 4,375,987 overnight stays were achieved which is 6 percent more than last year.
Of the total number of tourists from the 1st of January to the 31st of December 2019, 814,985 were guests who stayed in one of the fifty Dubrovnik hotels, an increase of 18 percent in hotel accommodation compared to 2018, and recorded 2,320,481 overnight stays, or more than 6 percent when compared with last year.
480,046 guests stayed in private accommodation during 2019, an increase of 10 percent compared to 2018, and recorded 1,593,287 overnight stays, which is 8 percent more than the previous year.
The top-list of countries from which tourists came to Dubrovnik in 2019 was traditionally led by guests from the United Kingdom, the USA, Germany, France, Spain, Croatia, Ireland, Australia, Italy and Canada.
According to the eVisitor tourist check-in and check-out system, 3,364 guests were welcomed in Dubrovnik for the New Year festivities in 2019, with the largest number of guests coming from Bosnia and Hercegovina, Croatia, the USA, Germany, Japan, Austria, Slovenia, Singapore, Italy and the United Kingdom.
Throughout December 2019, tourist results were approximately at the level of the previous year, with 23,966 tourist arrivals, which generated 46,451 overnight stays. In December, most guests were from Croatia, Germany, Bosnia and Hercegovina, Singapore, the United States, Japan, Korea, the United Kingdom, China and Albania.
Croatia Public Holidays for 2020
Plan ahead to make sure when you know when Croatians are enjoying a public holiday
1 January - New Year's Day
6 January - Epiphany
13 April - Easter Monday
1 May - Labour Day
30 May - Statehood Day
11 June - Corpus Christi
22 June - Anti-Fascist Resistance Day
5 August - Victory and Homeland Thanksgiving Day
15 August - Assumption Day
8 October - Independence Day
1 November - All Saints' Day
18 November - Remembrance Day
25 December - Christmas Day
26 December - St Stephen's Day
The New Year is here, in fact the new decade, and its time to make those New Year’s resolutions. After stuffing yourself over the festive period losing weight might well be near the top of the list, and as we move into a new greener future it’s time to put the planet at the top of the list.
Many of you, just like us, will have a longer list of failed New Year’s resolutions from previous years than successfully completed ones. So we have scanned the web to bring you the complete list of the top ten most searched, trending and generally talked about resolutions for 2020. Is your resolution on the list or do you have one to add, let us know.
And if you are currently sticking to resolution good luck!
The Top Ten 2020 New Year Resolutions
1. Walk More
Get out into the fresh air and exercise! It only takes 30 minutes of walking a day to get in shape. Lose that office slouch and get out in nature.
2. Lose Weight
A common resolution, normally top of the list, and one of the hardest to successfully follow. You know that getting in shape and cutting down on the calories is good for your health and overall well-being but talking and doing is tough. Keep your aims realistic (maybe making the first resolution will help you).
“Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all” – Helen Keller. Don’t walk the well-trodden path in 2020 but roll up your trousers and step into the mud.
4. Quit smoking
You’ve moved from burning ash to vaping, now take the full step and give up smoking completely.
An hour a week can make a difference. Find a good cause, and today that can be online, and jump in and help them.
6. Lift your heads from the screen
Leave your smartphone at home and lift your head from the flashing blue screen. We have all become slaves to our smart devices, they control us more than we them. If you need your phone for work then turn it off out of office hours.
7. Save more money or spend less money
Saving more or spending less, that is the question. Whichever you aim on doing, or whether you aim on doing them both, you aren’t going to succeed without a clear plan, nothing will be achieved without first setting out your goals on a piece of paper.
8. Use less plastic
You don’t have to be the next Greta but we can all do our part to cut down on the plastic. It’s the single-use plastic that is a huge problem, so just saying no to a plastic bag or straw will help.
9. Take up a new hobby or pastime
This is always on the top ten list and again is one of the most failed resolutions. Why not dip your toes in gently by finding a hobby that is less demanding or time consuming?
10. Eat your greens
Not only will you lose weight but you’ll also seriously improve your health. You don’t have to go full vegan or even vegetarian but try a few days a week without meat and just go for the fruit and veg options.