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.
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!
Excellent news for Croatia comes from Lonely Planet, one of the leading global travel platforms and specialized travel media. To celebrate their 50th anniversary, Lonely Planet has released a list of the 50 best global destinations in five categories, and Croatia has secured its place in the category of the top 10 countries to visit in the coming year.
"The choice by Lonely Planet confirms Croatia's status as one of the highest-quality and most beautiful world countries, whose global visibility is increasing. Natural heritage, rich culture, the friendliness of the people, and strong drivers of progress in various aspects of tourism are the cornerstone of our offer, which is becoming increasingly recognizable year-round. I believe that our numerous guests have already experienced the attractiveness of Croatia's tourist offer and the dedication of the entire Croatian tourism sector, while future visitors will be convinced of it," said Kristjan Staničić, Director of the Croatian Tourist Board, emphasizing the importance of sustainability in development and the promotion of sustainable tourism because we are seeing more and more travellers following ecological trends.
Lonely Planet described Croatia as a country with a beautiful sun-kissed coastline, numerous islands and islets, challenging mountains, and historic cities. The description also highlighted Croatia's entry into the Schengen area, the opening of the Pelješac Bridge, and other infrastructure projects, which are just a few of the synonyms for our beautiful country that have placed Croatia among the best countries.
It's worth noting that alongside Croatia, other countries such as Mongolia, India, Morocco, Chile, Mexico, and others have also earned a spot on the list. In addition to the list of the best countries, Lonely Planet has also published lists of the best global destinations in categories for the best sustainable destination, best city, best region, and destinations with the best value for money.
Lika's Sustainable Path: Embracing Eco-Tourism
Lika, nestled in the heart of Croatia, is renowned for iconic attractions like the Plitvice Lakes and the birthplace of Nikola Tesla. Yet, it's also quietly undergoing a transformation, steering toward responsible resource management and a commitment to sustainable tourism.
One of its sustainability champions is Mrs. Helena Bogdanić, who tends to her family farm along the pristine Gacka River. Embracing eco-friendly farming practices, she cultivates fruit trees and herbs in harmony with nature, offering visitors a serene retreat in the lush landscape.
The "Ivan Vlainić" family farm specializes in traditional brandy production, emphasizing quality over quantity. Visitors increasingly value small batches of premium homemade products, honoring tradition and ecological coexistence. Meanwhile, guardians of the Grabovača Cave Park are preserving nature within the park as if it were their own. They aim to attract visitors who appreciate nature's worth, balancing increasing demand with the need for sustainability.
Though Lika remains relatively undiscovered by the masses, sustainability is essential in preserving its pristine beauty amid rising interest. These efforts underscore the region's dedication to sustainable practices, safeguarding its natural treasures for future generations.
Mali Lošinj: A Beacon of Sustainability
While global consciousness about sustainability and ecological practices is on the rise, Mali Lošinj has been ahead of the curve, leading the charge for a greener, more eco-conscious future. This pristine island, lovingly known as the "Island of Vitality," has been recognized as an environmentally responsible destination since 2016. It consistently surpasses 111 rigorous criteria across seven vital categories, from effective destination management to preserving the environment, ensuring socio-economic sustainability, and safeguarding the island's natural beauty.
As a climatic health resort, Mali Lošinj boasts an abundance of aromatic plants and more than 2,800 hours of annual sunshine, providing a rejuvenating atmosphere. The fragrance of pine, lavender, and countless indigenous plant species lightens the spirit and has attracted visitors for generations.
Education in Mali Lošinj instills ecological awareness from an early age, with kindergartens and schools promoting responsible behavior and sustainability. High school students contribute to heritage preservation and the island's economic development through maritime agriculture programs.
The island successfully combines responsible tourism with environmental sustainability. Regular surveys demonstrate high visitor and local satisfaction, emphasizing the effectiveness of this approach.
Mali Lošinj extends its sustainable ethos to wildlife conservation, where the Plavi svijet organization safeguards dolphins and endangered turtles through eco-conscious excursions. The island's rich history is also a testament to sustainability, exemplified by the eco-friendly construction of the Museum of Apoxyomenos.
Mali Lošinj proves that sustainability is not solely about grand gestures but also involves smaller initiatives, such as waste separation for vacation home owners. Continually monitoring its environmental impact, the island strives to minimize the resources consumed by visitors, setting a commendable example of responsible, sustainable living.
For more information on Croatia visit the Croatian National Tourist Board website – HERE