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 tourism industry in Croatia has always had the biggest impact on the recovery of the country's economy; however, this segment of the economy greatly depends on the economic health of Croatia's major trading partners. Therefore, it is interesting to note two opposing trends from Italy and Germany, the two biggest Croatian partners.
Germany has recorded highs in industrial production as well as a significant growth in manufacturing and construction. That could be a great opportunity for Croatia to boost export of raw materials and the production of spare parts to Germany, whilst the construction industry traditionally has positioned well on the German market thus domestic companies can expect new contracts.
In the first ten months of 2016 Croatia exported goods worth almost 9 billion Kunas to Germany and recorded an increase in export growth by 9 percent which is an indication of Germany's openness for Croatian products. The pace of export growth suggests that in 2017 Germany will be an even more important partner for the export business, much bigger than Slovenia which is the second largest export market for Croatia. However, the country imports from Germany twice as much as it exports to the German market.
As far as the other trading partners are concerned, Italy is still deeply affected by the crisis. The most recent data on unemployment in the European Union show that 11.4 percent of Italians are out of work, whilst 38.8 percent of young people are looking for a job.
However, the pessimism of Italian consumers hasn't affected Croatia so far. Data shows that the country's import on the Italian market in the first ten months of 2016 increased by 4 percent, i.e. Croatia exported goods worth 10 billion Kunas to Italy. However, if this crisis continues until the next summer season, the question is whether Croatia will still be able to count on 5.2 million overnight stays which Italian tourists achieved in Croatia in 2016.
The impact of the economy on the exports of Croatia is also shown by the rapid jump in exports to the market of the United States which increased by an incredible 60 percent in only a year. The base was low so the export value was only 2.6 billion Kunas, however, the United States is one of the few major countries to which Croatia exports more than it imports from. Due to the rapid growth of the US economy, it is time for Croatia to strengthen cooperation with one of the largest global players for international trade.
From Mlini to Kupari, Zupa brought some breathtaking snow views. This Dubrovnik muncipality is beautiful every day but with snow it really got a look of the 'winter wonderland'. Since snow is so rare in Dubrovnik it brought a great joy to people and inspiration to photographers.
Two years ago a beekeeper from Vinkovci came up with an idea to make an original souvenir of beeswax - a replica of the oldest European calendar. Recently he presented his new product to the public.
Goran Ferbezar, the beekeeper from Vinkovci in eastern Croatia made a vessel of beeswax, i.e. a replica of the Orion, the oldest Indo-European calendar. The thought that encouraged him to make this souvenir is an unused potential of the oldest settlement in Europe in the promotion of the Slavonian city. As he manufactures various beeswax products, he came up with an idea to create a replica of the Orion calendar.
Goran's friend who is a sculptor, helped him make a plaster model of the Orion vessel with engraved symbols which he used in making a rubber mould. ''I pour beeswax in this mould and create a beeswax replica. So far the reactions have been very positive; few companies from Vinkovci have already ordered my latest product. The Tourist Board of Vinkovci has also shown an interest in the beeswax replica as well as the City Museum which will include the replica in their offer of souvenirs'', explained Goran who has made 50 souvenirs in the last two months.
He also designed an attractive packaging for the replica with a short instructive explanation about Orion and the reason that makes this archaeological artefact such a remarkable finding.
The Orion vessel in Vinkovci was discovered by the archaeologist Aleksandar Durman at the site of the present-day Hotel Slavonia in 1978, however, he deciphered the meaning of the vessel symbols twenty years later.
After the examination of the vessel, Durman realized that engraved ornaments represented the constellations which dominated the night sky above Vinkovci.
The Orion vessel represents the oldest calendar in Europe which dates back to 2600 BC. The calendar is based on astral symbolism and was designed at the same time as the Sumerian and Egyptian calendars.
The Croatian national carrier Croatia Airlines has become the 54th member of the European Regions Airline Association (ERA), a non-profit trade association which represents almost 200 companies involved in European air transport, including airlines, airframe and engine manufacturers, airports, suppliers and service providers from all over Europe.
On this occasion Kresimir Kucko, the CEO of Croatia Airlines commented, ''We are pleased to become a member of ERA, such a reputable association. I believe that Croatia Airlines, as a regional leader in Southeast Europe, with its 28-year long experience will contribute to the successful operation of this organisation, which promotes healthy and safe European regional aviation market''. Kucko also added that membership in ERA would additionally improve the international reputation of the national carrier and open excellent opportunities to respond to the current business challenges.
''I'm looking forward to the future cooperation with all ERA members in our efforts to make air transport an even more important factor of the economic development and connection of the whole Europe”, said Kucko.
Simon McNamara, the ERA Director General expressed his satisfaction in welcoming Croatia Airlines as the newest ERA member. ''I’m very much looking forward to working with Croatia Airlines on many issues and challenges that affect European aviation. Croatia Airlines' decision to join ERA increases our influence on Europe’s regulatory bodies and adds further strength to our expanding airline membership'', commented McNamara.
Croatia Airlines is the second carrier from the former Yugoslavia to become a member of the association after Adria Airways. ERA assists with lobbying, campaign work and networking opportunities for its members.
Snow in Dubrovnik is something really unusual, even during the winter months. So today we got really carried away and caught up in this fairytale when we woke up with the snow falling down. Red roofs have turned white while the whole City got its winter coat on. Don't miss these magical photographs made by Tonci Plazibat.
The best way to capture the beauty of the snow in the historic Old City of Dubrovnik today was from a bird’s eye view. This amazing video was recorded today over the snow covered terracotta roof of the Old City by 2thesign and it truly is fantastic.
Check out this aerial view of Dubrovnik by 2thesign
It seems that there isn’t an area of the Dubrovnik region that hasn’t been affected by the winter snow.
These spectacular photos were sent to us from Nikon Photos and show the normally sun kissed Elaphite islands covered in a white blanket of snow. It is hard to imagine that these islands are bathing in + 30 degrees in the sunshine through the summer months, today they resembled a scene from the Alps.
The weather forecasters predict more snow on the way for the Dubrovnik region tonight, the Dubrovnik big freeze will continue for a few more days yet.
The whole Dubrovnik region awoke to a fresh blanket of white snow. And what to do when it snows – sledge of course! These children, and some bigger children, had fun sledging down a public street today. Dubrovnik is more used to baking hot temperatures in the mid thirties throughout the summer months, snow is rare.
So when you are more used to swimming in the Adriatic than speeding down a snow covered mountainside what do you use as a sledge – your mother’s baking tins of course. These children sped at breakneck speeds down this snow and ice covered road. Having fun in the Dubrovnik snow.
And if we are to believe the weather reports there is more snow on the way for Dubrovnik today, current temperatures are around 1 degree.