Sunday, 21 October 2018
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.


The rumbles of an earthquake were felt in Dubrovnik this morning between 10.30 and 10.40. The epicentre of the earthquake was around 100 kilometres northwest of Dubrovnik in a city in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Nevesinja, which is around 60 kilometres south of Sarajevo.

The epicentre of the earthquake measured 4.3 of the Richter scale. And the quake was felt in Dubrovnik, although there was no material damage.

At the Days of Croatian Tourism event held on the island of Brac last week, a tourist voucher the so called “Cro Card” designed by the consulting company Horwath HTL was presented to the public.

It is predicted that with the introduction of the tourist voucher or the “Cro Card” an amount of about two to four billion Kunas of direct net income will be generated, whilst the tourist sector could directly or indirectly provide almost 21,000 new job openings.
During the year employers would pay a certain amount of money to their employees for the expenses on the domestic tourism and hospitality services in order to reduce dependence of the Croatian tourist industry solely on foreign guests and to encourage stronger consumption of Croats on the domestic field.

''Our analysis predicted three possible scenarios, with a maximum amount of up to 10,000 Kunas which employers would ''pay'' into special cards for their employees. Fifty percent of that amount would be intended for accommodation expenses, 30 percent for hospitality services and the rest for tourist and cultural attractions'', explained Sinisa Topalovic, the director of the Horwath HTL adding that his company calculated that the idea of a tourist voucher should generate between 150 and 600 million Euros of new investments within a period of three to six years.

The Cro Card is also intended to encourage more consumption on the continent thus the coastal Croatia region would be excluded from this application during the peak season.
''Apart for the tourism industry and Croatian workers this project would be worthwhile to employers because through these payments they could achieve tax deductions in the amount of 25 percent up to 100 percent of the amount paid'', concluded Topalovic.

Yet another warm and sunny weekend in Dubrovnik as the Indian Summer in the city continues.

This weekend temperatures were in the low twenties and tourists and locals enjoyed the warm sunshine. The forecast for the next few days is for more sunshine and temperatures around twenty degrees.

Check out the photo gallery of a sunny Sunday by Zeljko Tutnjevic.

sundaz sunshine 10

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Dubrovnik Airport is on course for a record breaking year, with figures just in from the first nine months of 2016 showing excellent results. From the beginning of January until the end of September Dubrovnik Airport handled an amazing 1.743 million passengers.

After the capital Zagreb, which has handled 2.12 million passengers, and Split, through which 2.05 million passengers have travelled, Dubrovnik is the third busiest airport in the country this year.

These figures for the first three quarters of 2016 is a huge 15.6 percent increase over the same period from last year.

The long traffic jams and tailbacks at the border crossing between Dubrovnik and Trebinje could soon be solved. According to a report in the Sarajevo Times the outdated border will be completely overhauled with a new modern border crossing in the pipeline.

It has been announced by the Bosnia and Herzegovinian authorities that the new border crossing will have several lanes and even a lane just for trade. The border crossing at Ivanica is a huge problem during the summer months as, due to its poor organisation, traffic is often backed up for hours.

“There will be several lanes for entrance and exit, with all necessary premises for officials of the Border Police and other inspection services. The border crossing will be entirely compliant with the standards of the European Union,” commented the spokesman of the Indirect Taxation Authority Ratko Kovačević. It is reported that an international tender to carry out the works will be announced this week.

And with the possible solution of the Bosnian border in the planning stage the Croatian border is also expected to get a facelift. It is expected that the Croatian border control will be reconstructed this winter in preparation for the next summer season. With both borders upgraded the hours-long delays should be a thing of the past.

The 2Cellos have been filming their latest video in Dubrovnik. The popular cellist duo Stjepan Hauser and Luka Sulic, aka 2Cellos, filmed on the Lovrijenac Fortress with spectacular views over the island of Lokrum and the Old City of Dubrovnik.

“It's good to be back in Dubrovnik!” wrote the 2Cellos today on their Facebook page. Even though there is no official announcement of a new video the photo of the duo on the terrace of this historic fortress, along with their instruments and costumes, it is believed that the 2Cellos were filming a new video. And as the duo were in the location of one of the most famous Game of Thrones locations it could well be that a Game of Thrones version is in the pipeline.

Game of Thrones looks certain to bypass Dubrovnik in season seven. The HBO series has already started filming in Northern Ireland and Seville in Spain but Dubrovnik is still off the radar for this year. It would seem that Kings Landing is not needed in the penultimate season of Game of Thrones.

There were already rumours earlier in the year that the writers hadn’t included Dubrovnik in season seven as the plot changed from, Winter is Coming, to Winter is Here, and colder, darker locations were required for filming. “Now that winter has arrived on Game of Thrones, executive producers David Benioff and D.B. Weiss felt that the storylines of the next season would be better served by starting production a little later than usual, when the weather is changing,” HBO programming president Casey Bloys says.

In past seasons Dubrovnik welcomed the cast and crew of Game of Thrones in August or September, but as this year comes to an end there is still no sign of HBO. However Dubrovnik was also not rumoured to be a location at all in season six, but the crews did turn up for a few days to shoot some scenes near the Old City. So although for the time being it looks like the city is indeed to “warm” for winter the possibility of HBO turning up still can’t be written off.

In season six the Spanish city of Girona stood in as Kings Landing in the serial, however HBO have confirmed that they will not be returning to Girona at all in season seven. It has also been confirmed that season seven will be seven episodes in length compared to the normal ten episodes. And it would seem from information that most of the locations for season seven are in Spain, Northern Ireland and Iceland.

filming locations game of thrones

Filming locations for the Game of Thrones in Dubrovnik - Dubrovnik Tourist Board 

Swimming in the rain, just swimming in the rain! Yes, swimming in the rain, not singing in the rain, although we were singing as well. “Uncle Marky we are wet anyway so what does it matter if it is raining,” said Millie as she dived into another wave.

The last of the summer guests have just gone home, it’s been yet another busy summer season. My “baby” sister and my niece, my soft spot, Millie were the final chorus in this year’s summer song. And what a way to finish, a crescendo.

How a nine-year old girl can wrap a whole family around her little finger is fascinating. We pretty much did what she wanted when she wanted, although nobody minded, far from it. And yes we went swimming, and yes it was raining. But for Millie the sea was like a bath, a warm bath. She crashed through the waves and had the whole beach to herself.

The culture clash was interesting to observe. Here she was running up and down the beach whilst on the promenade behind us parents had wrapped up their children like it was a polar winter. Swimming suits versus thermal underwear. And at home she ran around barefoot with all the doors open, no fear of any draft from Miss Millie.

Now she is getting “older” she is no longer a little baby. The questions came thick and fast, many of them tricky to answer. She has a very open view of the world, she is the product of a different surrounding. Race, creed, colour and religion, or maybe I should say differences in all of these, are completely normal for Millie. She has even already been to a gay wedding. “Have you got a boyfriend,” asked my wife. “No,” she Millie with a cute smile. To which my sister asked in a flash, “Well maybe she has a girlfriend.” I could see the confused look on my wife’s face. “Yes, Boba, love is blind,” added Millie. “We don’t differentiate between people, it’s what’s inside that is important,” added my sister. I was having flash backs to my childhood and my upbringing. A liberal view on life.

Moments like this were broken up with funnier times, more awkward times. “When will I get fluff on my fufu,” she asked once. Just to fill you in “fufu” is her word for...well...ladies parts. How do you start to answer that? She is getting older. Gone are the days when she was happy watching Mickey Mouse, now we had Nickelodeon on at every possibility.

Brainwashing! I was going mad watching teenage programs featuring all the angst and insecurities of the pimpled part of growing up. But she was happy, letting out a chuckle every minute.

How refreshing it is to be young. I was accused of being nostalgic, and yes I admit it, I was. Although everything seems so much more complicated today, in these instant times there doesn’t seem to be any time. She was two-screening most of the time. Yes, two-screening, watching Nickelodeon with one eye and surfing Youtube on her iPad with the other eye. This was multitasking taken to another level. I soon lost my nostalgia. It seemed like all too much hard work.

“What do you want to eat tonight,” I asked her. “I don’t like Japanese or Chinese or Indian,” she replied. Thank God because we don’t have a great choice of those cuisines, I thought to myself. I was thinking of a pizza. She has a Dubrovnik memory based around food and shopping. As she has been here many times before she has learnt to navigate via ice-cream shops and shops. “Shall we go to the Stradun this morning,” I asked. “Oh yes then I can have an ice-cream in Dolce Vita and have a look in the Christmas shop,” she replied. She hasn’t been for a year but remembers her “important” spots. “Where shall we go for lunch then,” now I was intrigued. “How about the fish restaurant in the harbour,” she answered. “Haha, you are like a mini Tripadvisor,” I replied automatically. “What’s that an app,” she answered. I basically followed her around the city; she seemed to know where she was going. And yes we had an ice-cream, bought a Christmas souvenir and of course had a fish feast in Lokanda.

The week flew by, and then Millie flew home. After taking them to the airport I slumped down into the couch, hit the remote control and was greeted by SpongeBob on Nickelodeon.

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