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 tourist boards of the cities of Dubrovnik and Zagreb participated in the prestigious Tourism Expo Japan in Osaka.
Tourism Expo Japan, organized by the Japan Association of Travel Agents (JATA), is one of the most important international events in the tourism industry, bringing together tourism entities from around the world.
JATA, as the leading tourism organization in Japan, sets high standards for the promotion and development of international travel. The expo in Osaka featured around 70 countries with over 1000 exhibitors.
The tourist boards of the cities of Dubrovnik and Zagreb presented their tourism offerings to representatives of the tourism industry from Japan, as well as showcasing their rich cultural heritage, impressive historical landmarks, and natural beauty.
The Japanese market is of exceptional importance for both Dubrovnik and Zagreb, as well as for Croatia, and this participation continues the efforts aimed at Asian markets, particularly targeting tourists traveling in the pre and post-seasons, who have a significant impact on positioning Dubrovnik and Zagreb as year-round destinations.
The most popular destinations in Croatia to visit are Dubrovnik and Plitvice Lakes, and the most common reasons for travel are cultural factors such as landmarks, museums, as well as natural heritage, especially those protected by UNESCO.
Is Dubrovnik pet friendly? No, if you are a foreign tourist with a pet please don't come to Dubrovnik, or to the south of Croatia at all! Sorry, but we aren’t.
I have written countless times about this subject but every now and again some situation rears its ugly head and I find myself banging away at the keyboard again.
“This is incredible; what century are you living in?” commented a German tourist.
Let’s start at the beginning.
So although Župa Dubrovačka boasts of having the best beaches in the region, the slogan says “Beach Paradise”, there isn’t one that is a pet friendly beach. You might think that odd, well if you live in Berlin, London or Barcelona, if you live in the south of Croatia then that is perfectly normal.
So some good friends of mine from the UK where on one of these beaches with their dog. They almost had the beach to themselves. The long beach had one other couple and one couple from Germany with their dog. They pretty much had the beach to themselves. They walked on the sand, threw balls for the dogs and generally relaxed. Until! “Excuse me but you’ll have to leave the beach with your dogs,” ordered a policeman.
Yes, two police officers were standing on the beach wall and telling them to vacate the beach because the beach wasn’t pet friendly.
My first thought when I heard this story was what a waste of public money sending the police out on this matter. The second thought, who called the police? The answer seemed obvious, the German tourists also had a dog, so the local couple who were 200 metres away were the likely complainers.
I don’t really blame them. Would I do that? No!
However, the beach is marked as not for dogs, even though it was almost empty. The problem is not with this couple but with the fact that the local borough council haven’t already designated a pet friendly beach.
I guess I shouldn’t be surprised. Dubrovnik, with many (many) more tourists only has one pet friendly beach. And every time I say that sentence to my friends in the UK they look at me in shock. The German tourists on the beach were just as responsible dog owners as my friends, but were told to leave.
“Being told to leave a beach by a police officer because I have a dog…that is just…well, I am lost for words,” he uttered. There isn’t such a thing as a bad dog, just bad owners. Or rather irresponsible owners.
It isn’t only dog friendly beaches were we are lacking behind. Finding accommodation for your pet in Dubrovnik is, to say the least, challenging.
I did some research.
On one of the most popular accommodation platforms, booking.com, only 13 percent of the listed accommodation units in the city are pet friendly. In fact, that was more than I imagined. I then went to more civilised German destinations. Berlin, a massive 44 percent is dog friendly, Frankfurt an amazing 60 percent and the winner Munich with 61 percent. That probably gives you some insight as the why the German tourists had travelled back in time to the Middle Ages.
Even our biggest competitors on the Mediterranean have a better percentage than us.
22 percent of accommodation on booking.com in Barcelona allows pets, while 28 percent of Venice is open to our furry friends. Even one of the countries with the worst record on animal rights in Europe has a more pet friendly approach than us. 18 percent of hotels in Tirana welcome pets.
Here is the comment of one tourists that hits the nail on the head “Dubrovnik is definitively not pet friendly. The beaches where pets are allowed are small, dirty and without sunshade. In the hotels you pay for dogs but you can only leave them in the room. Inside restaurants or bars they are not allowed. When you travel with a dog it's better to go to Italy or Greece.” I agree.
If I didn’t live here I would never in a million years bring a dog on holiday here. And I doubt this German dog loving couple will be coming back any time soon.
Read more Englishman in Dubrovnik…well, if you really want to
About the author
Mark Thomas (aka Englez u Dubrovniku) is the editor of The Dubrovnik Times. He was born and educated in the UK and moved to live in Dubrovnik in 1998. He works across a whole range of media, from a daily radio show to TV and in print. Thomas is fluent in Croatian and this column is available in Croatia on the website – Dubrovnik Vjesnik
Households in the EU paid the highest prices for gas and electricity in the first half of the year since Eurostat began publishing data, and Croatia was among the countries with the lowest prices, significantly below the European average.
The average price of electricity for households in the EU increased by 14.2 percent in the first half of the year compared to the same period last year, reaching 28.9 euros per 100 kilowatt-hours, as calculated by Eurostat.
In the second half of 2022, it had risen by 19.8 percent.
The average price of gas, on the other hand, in the period from January to June was 37.7 percent higher than in the same period last year, amounting to 11.87 euros per 100 kilowatt-hours.
In the second half of last year, it increased by just over 45 percent.
The prices of both energy sources are at their highest level since Eurostat began publishing data, the report states, noting that the price increase this year reflects a strong rise in the price of natural gas in the context of reduced imports from Russia and the search for other suppliers.
Governments have established mechanisms to alleviate the pressure of high bills on consumers, resorting, among other things, to subsidies, statisticians remind us.
Reflecting state support measures, the share of taxes and levies in gas and electricity consumption bills has decreased again, according to Eurostat. It decreased from 23 to 19 percent in electricity bills and from 27 to 19 percent in gas prices, the Eurostat report shows.
Governments have, however, begun to reduce support, which has also affected prices, statisticians note.
The Netherlands suspended tax breaks and doubled fees for electricity, so household electricity bills, expressed in the national currency, were 10 times higher than in the same period last year, the largest increase in the EU.
A significant increase in electricity prices, expressed in the national currency, was also recorded in Lithuania, by 88 percent, Romania, by 77 percent, and Latvia, by 74 percent compared to the same period last year.
On the other hand, the price of electricity for households in Spain decreased the most, by 41 percent. Denmark follows with a 16 percent drop in prices.
In Croatia, households paid an average of 14.8 euros for 100 kilowatt-hours of electricity in the first half of the year when all fees are included, which is 9.3 percent higher than in the same period last year. In the second half of 2022, it had increased by 12.6 percent.
Close to Croatia is Malta, with a price of 100 kilowatt-hours for households in the first half of the year slightly less than 13 euros.
The lowest average prices, expressed in euros, were paid by households in Bulgaria and Hungary, 11.4 euros and 11.6 euros per 100 kilowatt-hours, respectively.
The highest prices, expressed in euros, were paid by Dutch and Belgian households, 47.5 euros and 43.5 euros per 100 kilowatt-hours, respectively. Romania and Germany are also close, with an average cost of 42 euros and 41.3 euros, according to Eurostat.
In the first half of the year, gas was more expensive for households in 20 EU countries than in the same period last year, according to Eurostat.
Croatia is in a group of three countries with slightly lower prices, expressed in the national currency, by 0.6 to 0.5 percent, along with Italy and Estonia.
Prices remained at the level of the first half of last year in Lithuania.
Gas prices for households increased the most in Latvia and Romania, where prices more than doubled. In Austria and the Netherlands, they were twice as high, and in Ireland, they increased by 73 percent.
Croatia is also in the group of countries with the lowest average gas prices for households in the first half of the year, at 4.1 euros per 100 kilowatt-hours. It was only lower in Hungary, where it amounted to 3.4 euros.
The most expensive gas was paid by households in the Netherlands and Sweden, where it cost 24.8 and 21.9 euros, according to Eurostat data.
From midweek until the weekend in Dubrovnik there are around nine thousand tourists, which is three percent less than this time last year.
According to the eVisitor system data for tourist arrivals and departures, the most numerous guests were from the United Kingdom, the United States, France, Croatia, and Germany.
Dubrovnik, in collaboration with the International Association of Airport Executives (IAAE), hosted the 27th Annual North America/Central Europe Airport Issues Conference this week. The conference welcomed a diverse audience, including airport CEOs representing the United States, Central and Eastern Europe, airline executives, US government officials, as well as professionals in airport planning, business development, marketing, and international affairs.
Viktor Šober, the General Manager of Dubrovnik Airport, expressed his satisfaction with the event, emphasizing its dedication to current developments in air travel. The conference featured a range of thought-provoking panel discussions, with notable focus on topics like seasonality and operational capacities, which hold particular relevance for Dubrovnik Airport. Additionally, discussions encompassed the ongoing crisis in Ukraine and the prospects for post-Covid recovery in the aviation industry.
It's worth noting that Dubrovnik stands out as the sole Croatian city offering nonstop flights to the United States, thanks to United Airlines, which operates seasonal services from New York's Newark Airport. Moreover, Dubrovnik holds the distinction of being the only city in the former Yugoslavia served by a US carrier. United Airlines has already confirmed its return to Dubrovnik for the fourth consecutive season in 2024.
The Croatian National Bank (HNB) has begun publishing an informative list of bank offerings for consumer deposits on its website.
The list contains essential information about non-purpose savings, which consumers most commonly use, enabling a comparison of offerings from all credit institutions, including the interest rates. The published data cover the current offerings for non-purpose savings in euros, US dollars, and Swiss francs. The list will be updated based on data regularly provided by the banks.
Interest rates apply to savings amounts of 1000 EUR for euro savings, 1000 USD for US dollar savings, or 1000 CHF for Swiss franc savings.
The offer for savers at banks can be checked by selecting other available criteria in the dropdown menus of the informative list, which is prepared based on data that credit institutions provide to the Croatian National Bank.
On this Sunday, October 29th, at 3 o'clock in the morning, the time will move one hour backwards to 2 o'clock due to the start of winter time. This change is in accordance with the regulation passed by the Government of the Republic of Croatia last year, which determines the winter and summer timekeeping until the year 2026.
Despite the ongoing debate about introducing a unified time system at the EU level and eliminating the practice of "changing the clocks," a decision to abolish daylight saving time and winter time has not yet been made.
Although a significant majority of 4.8 million survey participants in the EU expressed their desire to end the practice of changing the clocks in a 2018 public opinion survey, and the European Commission subsequently proposed it, the change has not yet occurred.
At the end of 2022, there were speculations that Sweden, during its presidency of the European Union, might prioritize this issue. However, there are currently no indications that this will happen. Sweden has listed its priorities as security, competitiveness, green and energy transitions, democratic values, and the rule of law. One of the key reasons why there is no consensus on ending the practice of changing the clocks in the EU is the disagreement among member states on whether to stay on permanent winter time or summer time.
Just how patient are you? We would probably all like to think that we have the patience of a saint, but the reality is usually different. However, if you want to take up this hobby then you are going to need perseverance and patience in bucket loads.
If whilst walking around the Cavtat peninsula you come across some stacks of rocks and pebbles seeming stuck together with superglue, then this man is to blame. And no, he didn’t used super glue just incredible concentration.
The act of stacking stones, often done for various purposes such as creating cairns or rock balancing sculptures, is commonly known as "rock stacking" or "stone stacking." It is an artistic and sometimes spiritual practice where individuals balance and arrange stones in a way that creates a visually pleasing or meaningful composition. Stone stacking is seen in various cultures and can serve as a form of meditation, a trail marker, or simply an art form.
We say well done to this man for brightening up this Cavtat walk!