Tuesday, 21 May 2024
Mark Thomas

Mark Thomas

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.

Email: mark.thomas@dubrovnik-times.com

Apart from rescuing lost and injured tourists, hikers, climbers and all of those who properly equipped or completely unequipped set sails (read, feet) on discovering Croatia's natural beauties, the Croatian Mountain Rescue Service (HGSS) has once more confirmed their title ''The Communicator of the Year''.

Whilst others pour their money, often state budget money, into hiring a whole army of PR experts, two of the HGSS members Christian Nikolic and Jadran Kapovic administrate the HGSS social media profiles by themselves.

The HGSS posts are informative but with an obvious dose of sharp cynicism. ''It is very simple – we are part of the people. This kind of communication common people understands much better than dull notices or technical announcements. People in Croatia are swamped with unclear messages every day, however, ambiguity in our work (search and rescue) leads to victims, both material and personal. Besides, we have succeeded in want we wanted; we attracted people's attention, provide them with a clear message and they took us seriously'', explained members of the Croatian Mountain Rescue Service (HGSS) last year.

hgss flip flops

Over the past few days HGSS tweeted several informative-humorous messages such as the sign with a crossed out flip flops with an additional message ''Dear tourists, NO means NO'', alluding to mountaineering amateurs who decide to explore mountain tops wearing inadequate clothes and beach shoes.

A month ago after a successful rescue of two tourists from the Czech Republic who climbed a medieval fortress while a strong northern wind ‘bura’ blew, HGSS posted ''Dear tourists, we told you. Google bura. It is not a joke!''
Considering the extreme heat over the past few days, they also advised tourists on their profile by writing, ''Dear tourists, it’ll be extremely hot in Cro next week, mainland especially. Hydrate! Drinking alcohol isn’t hydrating. It's getting drunk!''

Recently HGSS referred to the global bizarre trend known as Cheeky Exploits, which implies taking a photo of one's naked background. ''Dear tourists, before you set off on Cheeky Exploits, please check where you stand. You do not want us to find you with your pants down''.

The summer is well and truly sweltering in Dubrovnik this year. Over the past ten days the city has seen constant temperatures in the mid thirties and spotting a cloud in the sky has proved impossible.

Today the midday temperature in Dubrovnik reached a mercury-breaking 36 degrees and if you were looking to cool off in the Adriatic Sea think again.

The temperature of the Adriatic Sea in Dubrovnik reached an incredible 26.5 degrees! In other words the sea in Dubrovnik was warmer than the air temperature in London (21 degrees), Paris (21 degrees), Vienna (28 degrees) and Kyiv (26 degrees).

One of the hottest topics in Dubrovnik was again under the spotlight today as the Mayor of Dubrovnik, Mato Franković, visited the beach in the Bay of Lapad to meet with representatives of the investors.

During the tour the mayor was personally assured that the final works on preparing the beach facilities are under way and that the grand opening of the new beach area is imminent.

The representatives of the investor met with the mayor and explained the horticultural layout that is currently being implemented in one of the areas within the beach area. It was also announced that at the end of the main season tens of olive trees older than 30 years-old will be planted which will give a new dimension to the overall layout of the entire area.

lapad beach inside

Restaurant nearly ready for business

A technical inspection by the City of Dubrovnik was held on Tuesday, July 11th. The investor was ordered to complete the process of obtaining the necessary approvals and documentation that the investor is obliged to obtain as soon as possible. Then a technical review will be repeated and access to the usage permit will be made in order to make the beach accessible to citizens and tourists.

"The beach in the Lapad bay is three times bigger than the previous one and I am convinced that it will enrich the overall offer of bathing and recreational facilities and ensure the quality of Dubrovnik’s tourist product," said Mayor Mato Frankovic, adding that the new beach will be fully open to citizens and visitors. Entrance to the beach will be free of charge.

"I expect all concession holders to behave in accordance with the issued permits and concessions, and that they in no way obstruct the rights and freedoms of citizens of the City of Dubrovnik," the mayor said on this occasion.

lapad beach ready

Guests at the four-star Hotel Kompas in Dubrovnik had a rather rude awakening this morning as a fire broke out in a machine room meaning they had to be evacuated.

Three fire engines, with eleven fire-fighters were on the scene quickly as the fire was noticed at 7.55 in the engine room on the outside perimeter of the hotel.

Ten minutes after the alarm was raised the fire brigade was on the scene and the fire was extinguished within 15 minutes. Due to the large amount of smoke from the fire guests were evacuated for their safety. It is believed that the fire broke out in the electrical installations.

hotel kompas fire

Tourist and hotel companies always compete to provide their guests with the best and quality service. Nowadays it means the use of advanced and innovative technological solutions.

Last year the Croatian hotel company Arena Hospitality Group introduced a unique ''digital key'' service, which, through specially developed mobile application, enables opening of electronic locks in hotel rooms and apartments with smart phones.

This year the company has launched a new ''handy'' service for guests. Upon arrival at one of the Arena Hospitality Group hotels, a mobile device on a special ''docking'' (charging) station will be at guests' disposal in their rooms and apartments. The mobile device offers several options free of charge such as unlimited international and local calls, internet access, destination tour guide, the phone number of the reception on a speed dial and information on emergency services.

The mobile device comes with a ''handy'' operating system as a custom version of Android that enables customizing of language settings in accordance to guests' preferences.

The Arena Hospitality Group company implemented this service with the Tink Labs Limited company from Hong Kong and their branch office in London. After the implementation of the new service in the hotels Park Plaza Arena and Park Plaza Histria in Pula, by the end of 2017, the same service is to be introduced in eight hotels of the Group in Germany and Hungary.

The 68th Dubrovnik Summer Festival hit the ground running last night with a spectacular performance of Carmina Burana. After the grand opening of the festival on Monday the Carla Orff piece Carmina Burana in front of the St. Blaise Church in the heart of the Old City of Dubrovnik.

Carmina Burana croatia

The Zagreb Philharmonic Orchestra, the Dubrovnik Symphony Orchestra and the Academic Choir Ivan Goran Kovačić, all under the direction of conductor Ivan Josip Skender, lit up the Dubrovnik night sky with a moving and atmospheric performance that was completely sold out.

The international team of musicians consisted of Owen Willets, the Austrian coloratura soprano Nicola Proksch and baritone Nikola Mijailović.

The concert was also enjoyed by the executive director of the IMF, Christine Lagarde.

Carmina Burana dubrovnik summer festival

Carmina Burana imf director

According to data from Eurostat, the most popular destination of EU citizens in 2015 was the Canaries with 94 million overnight stays, followed by the French region Île-de-France including Paris, with 76.8 million overnight stays.

Furthermore, the Spanish Catalonia placed as the third with 75.5 million overnights, whilst the Croatian coast was in the very high fourth place with 68.1 million overnight stays realized in 2015.

Croatia’s Adriatic left many attractive destinations behind such as the Spanish tourist pearl the Balearic islands, the Italian region Veneto including Venice, the land of corridas and flamenco-Andalusia, the French regions of Provence-Alps-Côte d'Azur and Rhone Alps as well as the British capital of London with its surroundings, Tuscany and many others.

However, Sanja Cizmar, the analyst from the HDCZ consultancy company warns that this comparison was not quite relevant because it compared regions that could not be compared in terms of tourist products and services.

‘’What are the points of interest of a summer resort on the Adriatic and let us say, Paris? Even a comparison with the Canaries is not relevant because there the tourist season last almost a year thanks to the favourable climate. Nevertheless, it is a positive thing that we positioned very high on this list. In addition, Europe is a large receptive market and it is better for us to be mentioned along the most successful tourist destinations in Europe. For example, we were side by side of Catalonia, with which we can compare and which is globally recognized as a successful tourist destination’’, commented Cizmar.

The Eurostat data also showed that EU citizens achieved almost 90 percent of all overnights in EU countries. As far as other world destinations are concerned, in 2015 the most desirable destinations to EU citizens were the US where they realized 14 percent overnight stays and Turkey with 10.4 overnights stays realized by EU citizens. However, this list would look quite different today because due to terrorism attacks, tourist interest in Turkey has declined heavily over the past few years.

The cruise ship Celebrity Constellation dropped anchor in the Port of Dubrovnik yesterday as part of a cruise from Malta to Venice with around 2,000 gay passengers on board. This is the seventh time that this same sex cruise ship has berthed in Dubrovnik and what seemed like a sensation seven years ago has now become a common event.

The floating hotel Celebrity Constellation sailed into the city with more than 2,000 gay men from around the world and immediately upon arrival the passengers made their way to the historic core of Dubrovnik. Although some of them preferred to stay onboard and soak up the summer rays by the pool with little or no clothing.

gay dubrovnik

- We watched the Gay Pride Weekend in London, and we were sorry we were not able to attend, but it's important we love it. Love has no limits! – commented Nick and Andrew as they went for a guided tour of the city.

The 300 metre-long Celebrity Constellation is cruising from Malta to Venice and for the 2,000 passengers onboard there are around 1,000 members of staff to make sure that the cruise is luxurious. In summer the cruise ship is in the Mediterranean and in the winter months of the year it heads to destinations in the Caribbean, the Bahamas, the Middle East and Asia.

The Voice of Dubrovnik


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