Monday, 19 August 2019
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

Croatian citizens and companies once again showed their solidarity and responded to UNICEF Croatia's appeal to save the children of Yemen, raising HRK 1.4 million so far with donations by 10,278 citizens and 1,620 companies, UNICEF said on Thursday.

We thank from the heart all those who responded with their donations to UNICEF's appeal in such a short time to help secure humanitarian aid for the children of Yemen, who are growing up in the biggest humanitarian crisis in the world, UNICEF Representative in Croatia Regina M. Castillo said.

There are currently 1.8 million acutely undernourished children in Yemen and 360,000 are under five years of age are in an immediate life threatening situation due to acute undernourishment.

UNICEF and partners have engaged more than 14,000 volunteers to assist parents so that their children can come to a health institution for treatment. Despite all the effort, the need is still huge and the funds raised in Croatia will be of great assistance.

Citizens and companies can still make a contribution by visiting and making a donation at the following web address: https://www.unicef.hr/spasite-zivote-djece-jemena/.

 

Tourism in Dubrovnik is dying. It is the worst ever season. Next year will be terrible. The bubble has burst. The end is near! Wrong, rubbish, not true, massive exaggeration, codswallop and just no! The doom merchants are circling like vultures over a dead carcass waiting for Dubrovnik to fall.

They will be circling for a long time.

Pretty much ever since I arrived here I have been hearing the same stories of a dying tourism industry. And yet every year they are proved wrong. And they will be wrong again. The end is far from close, what we are seeing is completely normal, it’s called market correction. It happens in every industry, in every country in the world, and has done since the beginning of time.

“I have been renting my apartment for 120 Euros a night for the past four years and this year I have dropped it to 100 Euros,” said a friend who works in the tourism business. “It is normal, what we were living in before were abnormal times, where the market was growing and still finding its feet, now with an influx of new apartments the market has changed, that’s what makes the world go around,” he added with a smile. He is right.

Supply and demand is what drives any market, in absolutely any business, so why should Dubrovnik tourism be any different? People who have been renting out garages, converted shops, corridors and even in one situation I saw, a flight of steps, to tourists and expecting to sell them for ridiculous figures are inevitably failing. Quality apartments, with a high level of service and sold at a reasonable rate are still busy. Market forces at work. “You can fool all the people some of the time and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time,” once wrote Abraham Lincoln.

The cream is rising to the top and the sour milk is being flushed down the toilet

I had the pleasure to meet a CEO of a leading American travel agency a few months back and he said “If renting is your main form of income then you are already skating on thin ice.” Far too many people see renting as a main form of income and not as an added bonus. “It should be seen as a supplement. Realistically the tourism industry in Dubrovnik will reach a peak, and after that peak it will fall slowly until the market decides what the level is, there is no need for panic or pessimism. You have a world class product that will always be attractive to travellers, always and forever,” he concluded.

Of course realism and level thinking doesn’t make for good headlines. You are far more likely to open an article entitled “The Death of Dubrovnik,” than you are to click “Tourism in Dubrovnik experiencing market correction.” Yes, we may receive less tourists next year. My reaction is – I hope so. You can’t complain about overtourism in one sentence and then moan that there isn’t enough people to fill your apartments in the other.

For too long tourism has been measured by numbers, sorry, the wrong numbers. It isn’t a case of just pouring more and more people into the already limited Old City. If we have 2 million tourists spending X this year in the city. Surely it would make more sense if we had 1 million next year spending 2X. And as the whole destination would be less crowded the tourists are more likely to have time, space and indeed the will to stop and spend more money.

I have said it before, it’s the Fiats and Ferrari formula. Sell one Ferrari and you have the same profit margin as selling 10 Fiats (if not more). Dubrovnik could, and indeed should, be a Ferrari destination. Forget quantity, concentrate on quality. If the numbers drop off but the profits rise, then you are reaching a goal.

And if that means that the sub-standard apartments, the lousy restaurants, the grumpy travel agents and the embarrassingly poor hotels fail, well quite frankly that’s an added bonus. Honestly in many ways these pitiable objects should be thanking their lucky stars that they have been in the position to earn with a bad product for so many years and now hold their tongues.

There is no need to ring the alarm bells, to run to the hills and shout “the end if nigh,” it is a time for a reality check. There is no good and bad luck. As the Israeli businessman Eliyahu M. Goldratt once said “Good luck is when opportunity meets preparation, while bad luck is when lack of preparation meets reality.”

The average net salary earning per person in Croatia in May amounted to HRK 6,476, stated the State Bureau of Statistics (CBS) announced on Friday.

Compared to April, the average paid net salary for May was 0.1 percent higher.

The highest average monthly net earnings per person is in the production of refined petroleum products in the amount of HRK 16,117, while the lowest wage of 4,251 Kunas is paid in the building industry and the gardening industry.

According to CBS data, the median net salary for May was 5,590 Kuna. The average monthly gross salary for May was 8,794 Kuna, which is 0.1 percent more than in the previous month.

The CBS data show that the average net hourly rate paid in May was 35.68 Kuna.

It is about to get hot again in Dubrovnik. After a period of unstable weather in Dubrovnik the heat is going to be turned up again with a heat wave to hit Dubrovnik next week.

After an extremely hot June that saw the region an indeed the whole of Europe in a heat wave Dubrovnik then saw a period of more unstable and even rainy weather with temperatures dropping in mid-July. However, from this weekend the summer is coming back in full force with temperatures back up in the low thirties, and next week will be even warmer.

Another heat wave over Europe is predicted for the end of July and Dubrovnik could well see temperatures in the high thirties. In the coming days, especially at the weekend, it is expected that the anti-cyclone activity in the southwest of the continent will be strengthened and warmer weather will follow.

The current sea temperature of the Adriatic in Dubrovnik is a warm 25.4 degrees. Its time to hit the beaches!

The State Bureau of Statistics have announced some fresh data on births and deaths in the Republic of Croatia from 2009 to 2018.

In 2018, the number of children born increased by 1.1 percent in comparison to the previous year, with 389 more children born than in 2017. The total number of births in 2018 was 37,109 children. And from this number 51.6 percent were boys and 48.4 percent girls.

At the other end of the scale the number of deaths in Croatia in 2018 was 52,706, which is 1.4 percent less than in 2017. Out of the total number of deaths in 2018, 25,964 or 49.3 percent were male and 26,742 or 50.7 percent were female.

The awards are rolling in for the Port of Dubrovnik this year. After being named as the best port in the Adriatic Sea region by MedCruise comes news of another prestigious recognition.

Dubrovnik has been named as the Top-Rated Eastern Mediterranean Cruise Destination for 2019 in the Cruise Critics Choice Destination Awards. And this is an extremely important award as it is based on passenger reviews and ratings. As Cruise Critic stated “Our awards are given exclusively on consumer ratings and reviews posted to the Cruise Critic website over the past year – so specifically first-hand feedback from cruisers themselves.” One of the users of Cruise Critic said about Dubrovnik "Most beautiful city! All I could keep saying was WOW! Walked the wall and rode the cable car.”

Cruise Critic is the world’s largest online cruise resource, great recognition for the Port of Dubrovnik.

 

Dubrovnik is the absolute king of social media in Croatia. By far the most traffic and interest of any Croatian destination on the web and social media is drummed up by Dubrovnik with nearly twice as much interest as the second Croatian city.

From the 10th of June until the 10th of July the online media reporting company Mediatoolkit ran a survey and analytics of Croatia on social media and the web. Their findings revealed that Croatia was mentioned 72,869 times, or 2,400 times a day on social media, which is a massive 222 percent increase over the same period from last year.

To put these figures into some context over the same time period one of Croatia’s competitors in the tourism industry, Italy, was also analysed and received around 7,500 mentions a day.

The majority of the mentions on social media came from the United States, the UK, Switzerland, Germany and Italy, with the vast majority of mentions, or 89 percent, written in a positive form. Many comments and posts talk about the natural beauty of Croatia and the sea as well as the islands and history. And by far the most used social media channel is Instagram.

Dubrovnik is the darling of the social media scene in Croatia with 12,759 mentions over the time period, followed by Split with 7,313 and Rovinj with 3,898. Of course a far few of the Dubrovnik mentions are connected with the popular HBO serial Game of Thrones, with King’s Landing mentioned around 4,000 times.

The beach on Donje Čelo on the island of Koločep is not suitable for swimming. The sea water on the beach had failed previous tests by the Institute of Public Health and on the 17th of July further tests were carried out.

The Environmental Inspection carried out further tests and inspections on the 17th of July on the sea water quality on the beach of Donje Čelo on Koločep and once again the sea water quality failed to meet the required levels.

Swimming on this beach has now been banned until further tests and carried out and the pollution problem is solved.

The Voice of Dubrovnik

THE VOICE OF DUBROVNIK


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