Saturday, 25 May 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.


Croatians seem to more than happy with the ruling party and will continue to support them in the upcoming European elections in May, at least according to the latest poll. The European parliament has carried out a poll on Friday and it reveals that of the 12 seats up for grabs in the EU parliament half are predicted to go to the Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) with the other six divided between the opposition parties.

These latest projections show that HDZ would win just over 30 percent of the votes, meaning six seats in the new assembly, followed by SDP with around 19 percent of votes assuring them three MEP seats.

It is expected that the remaining three seats will be divided amongst the other opposition parties, with the populist party Zivi Zid (Human Shield) on course to win their first ever European seat. Zivi Zid has long since campaigned that Croatia should leave the European Union, as well as leaving NATO.

In spite of a number of political gaffs in recent time the support of HDZ remains strong and they should, if the predictions are correct, keep their stronghold on Croatian MEP seats.

In May, candidates across Europe will compete for seats in the new 705-seat assembly, downsized from the current 751 due to United Kingdom's pending exit from the European Union. The upcoming removal of UK's 73 seats resulted in a new apportionment for the remaining 27 EU member countries, with Croatia's quota increased from 11 to 12 MEPs.

At exactly 8.30pm tonight the iconic Dubrovnik City Walls went into darkness as the Earth Hour 2019 action was marked in the city. For an hour the lights around the city walls were turned off to mark the World Wide Fund for Nature global initiative “Earth Hour” which this year is being held under the slogan “#Connect2Earth”

Earth Hour started as a lights-out event in Sydney in 2007. It has grown in stature over the years, as more than 180 countries and territories are now involved. More than 17,900 landmarks and monuments turned their lights off during last year’s event.

minceta with lights on 2019

Before the lights went out - Photo Mark Thomas 

The summer is approaching and it’s time to make your vacation plans. Whilst the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Dubrovnik is a magnet for tourists there are plenty of other interesting and attractive sights to see just an hour’s drive from the city centre.

Here is a list of our top six Dubrovnik day-trip ideas all within an hour’s drive of the ancient city.

An earthquake, with the epicentre in the vicinity of Sinj, rumbled through Dalmatia last night and was felt in the wider Split region.

The earthquake epicentre was 13 km northwest of Sinj and 31 km north of Split at a depth of two kilometres and the magnitude was 4.2 on the Richter Scale.

The Geophysical Department of the Zagreb Faculty of Science and Mathematics commented that “On March 30, 2019, the seismological services of the Seismological Service recorded a strong earthquake with the epicentre at Donji Muci 16 km west of Sinj.” No injuries or material damage has been reported.

Today at exactly 8.30pm lights will go off all over Croatia to mark Earth Hour 2019. Earth Hour started as a lights-out event in Sydney in 2007. It has grown in stature over the years, as more than 180 countries and territories are now involved. More than 17,900 landmarks and monuments turned their lights off during last year’s event.

This year's action, the largest global initiative in the world, is held under the slogan "#Connect2Earth". Today at 8.30pm to 9.30pm lights will be turned off all over the world to mark this day organised by World Wide Fund for Nature.

"Croatia has readily responded to the Planet Earth Plan and more than 80 cities on Saturday will darken their centres and recognizable landmarks at 20:30 for 60 minutes," commented Petra Boic Petrač from WWF Adria. Adding that "From the walls of Dubrovnik, the entire Makarska Riviera, the Diocletian Palace in Split and the coast front of Sibenik, the Arena in Pula, Osijek Fortress to the Zagreb Cathedral, tomorrow's many iconic world sights from the Eiffel Tower, London Tower Bridge, the Colosseum in Rome and the Egyptian pyramids will all be in darkness for an hour."

“That will be 40 Kunas please,” smiled the friendly waiter as he handed me the coffee bill. “You forgot to add their coffees,” I pointed to two friends who had joined our table, “so that’s 4 coffees.” He smiled back “That’s the bill for all four coffees.” Sitting on the middle of the Stradun and only paying ten Kunas for a cup of caffeine was something new. I would normally pay the same amount for a coffee to go at the petrol station. “Every morning until 9.00am we have a special offer for locals,” he added.

It was well before 9.00am and the early morning is probably my favourite part of the day in Dubrovnik. Watching the city wake up and stretch its arms wide with a big yawn is certainly entertaining. The delivery trucks rushing along the Stradun full of all sorts of products, from water to cement, and the pigeons diving out of their way. The pupils running to school, although spotting a pupil inside the walls is about as rare as seeing a dolphin in the Adriatic. Watching the mothers-in-law shuffle around the green market, or should I say what’s actually left of the green market, as they verbally wrestle with the sellers, its street theatre.

“All the world’s a stage and all the men and women merely players,” well Mr. Shakespeare never has that phrase been truer than in the green market.

The “coffee club”, of which everyone in Dubrovnik is a member, sitting in their favourite café bar sipping at their macchiato and puffing away like a chimney in winter. And as the tourist season is slowly but surely starting there were a few sprinklings of foreign accents echoing in the air, and these groups of Asians got me thinking.

We are less than a month from Easter, meaning we are less than a month away from the tourist season starting. Are we ready? Probably the best answer would be that we are never really ready.

Without importing workers Dubrovnik couldn't function 

All I have been hearing for the past weeks is director’s moaning that they can’t find staff. That’s mean I know that summer is approaching, not when I hear the swallow’s cry from the stone façades but when I hear a director complaining that all the workers have disappeared. And as Slavonia slowly turns into a green Sahara with everyone fleeing to Ireland and Germany, employers are casting their nets further afield. From Serbia, Macedonia, Ukraine and far beyond.

And as they look further afield a whole new set of problems arise. Firstly, language. There are more than a few cases of staff that work in shops and bars in Dubrovnik who don’t know more than a handful of Croatian. Not so helpful if you’re trying to buy of jeans in Sub City and you don’t speak Ukrainian. Second, culture.

With such a mix of nationalities it will be hard to maintain one of the things that sets Dubrovnik apart as a destination, its culture. It is complex and complicated, but it is extremely important. I have nothing against us importing thousands of foreign workers every season, for without them Dubrovnik couldn’t function, we simply don’t have enough people, enough bodies, to do all the jobs that need to be done.

And then there is the “rent syndrome.” Where younger generations don’t see the point in actually getting an education because they see their future as renting out their apartment to tourists and them sitting on the beach whilst the money rolls in. A dangerous and unfortunate situation for any society, we will end up with the lost generation. So this “lost generation” don’t, or to be honest can’t, work in the front line of the city’s tourism industry meaning that we are reliant on imports.

So watching the city awaken that morning I was also struck by the poor demographic situation that Croatia is suffering. Dubrovnik is insulated from the realities that are happening all over the rest of the country, we are in a bubble. Almost 3,000 foreign workers poured into Dubrovnik last season and there is no evidence to suggest that that number will be lower this summer. We both need each other, we both rely on each other, we have a joint destiny.         

There can be no doubt that the Croatian tourism industry is vitally important to the overall economic welfare of the country, with almost a quarter of the GDP coming directly or indirectly from tourism. Data just released by the central bank reflect just how important it is with the country earning an impressive €10.1 billion in revenues in 2018 from tourism.

In 2108 revenue from tourism in Croatia was €10.1 billion which is an increase over 2017 of around 6.5 percent, when revenues amounted to €9.5 billion.

"Last year, tourism revenue earned from foreign visitors was over €10 billion for the first time ever. When income from domestic tourists are added, the revenues were €12 billion, which is an excellent result," commented the Minister of Tourism, Gari Cappelli, in a statement.

Every chief interested in successful business development will ask a question sooner or later "How to make the work of the employees more productive?" A good chief knows that to make the company successful, it's necessary to pay a lot of attention to its employees, constantly encouraging them.

All theories of motivation say that financial incentive is a necessary but insufficient condition for qualitative work made by the employees. To create a favorable moral climate in the team, the employers resort to the socio-psychological motivation of employees. Jobsora offers you the most common non-financial ways of motivation.

Social and moral support

The desire to get chief and colleagues’ approval for the work well done, recognition and respect are important for both beginners and experienced employees. Any chief's assessment - oral or written gratitude, diploma, award, publications in the press on behalf of the company are simple and important ways to estimate the importance and significance of the work done by the employee.

The companies have often a clear regulation of remuneration for the work done well. But a competent chief feels his or her employees and applies "random rewards", encouraging employees for non-standard decisions or intermediate achievements. Even if such an award is given to the employee during the corporate events and is presented in the form of a facetious diploma, maintaining the employee's interest is being achieved.

Support your employees at a critical moment of their lives. It’s not only a manifestation of care and attention in human relations but also an element of social motivation that will affect future work.

Creating a feedback system

The importance of feedback is obvious: it helps to share information about the current work of each employee, acts as a self-check and helps to reveal the new needs of employees quickly.

The chief must decide how to turn direct contacts with each employee into the system and quickly identify the need for training courses or seminars, for example.

Providing more independence for the employees

The practice of individual working conditions is important when taking into account the characteristics of different types of temperaments. Thus, the conditions of strict regulation contribute to greater productivity of phlegmatic and melancholic people but act on sanguine and choleric in the opposite way.

Employers stipulate alternative and flexible schedules of work, free choice of work pace and rhythm, individual choice of the duration of the work operations cycle and many other variations.

Creating opportunities for professional and career growth

Promotion is a key requirement to achieve the effect of a satisfied employee for especially proactive, responsible and ambitious employees. If you weren't able to see the management skills, hiring a specialist, soon he or she shows them in the work and it's important to find the way how to apply them rationally. After all, you can lose the active employees if you don't give them the opportunity to make their own decisions relating to their work. Employees' promotion is key to success.

Development of employees' creativity

Spend a little bit of working time for employees' favorite activities. It's proven that this increases employee's productivity. After all, they are being bored doing the same work without having the possibility of changing operations. Corporate culture, comfortable working space, room for resting help to solve this simple problem partially. A happy employee works better.

People tend to show interest when they are interested. A competent chief always remembers this and shows a genuine interest in his or her employees in the form of a complex of material, psychological and social incentives. And, in most cases, it's a non-financial incentive that provides a large profit to the company because the employee tries his or her best to do the work qualitatively.

Search for qualified employees and see the job offers at, or

The Voice of Dubrovnik


Find us on Facebook


Subscribe to our Newsletter