Thursday, 21 November 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

According to the Croatian government PR statement on the 23rd of November the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanjahu contacted the Greek Prime Minister and the Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic asking for an air assistance in fighting forest fires that broke out in northern and central Israel.

The lack of rain and very dry and strong easterly winds spread the fires across the central and northern part of Israel. Dozens of houses were destroyed or damaged but there are no dead or injured. Local meteorologists forecast that the dry and windy weather will continue for several days.

In a statement released by the Netanyahu's office said that Croatian and Greek Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic and Alexis Tsipras "immediately respond" to his request "and promised to send planes as soon as possible".

At the proposal of Damir Krsticevic, the Croatian Minister of Defence and with the consent of the Croatian president Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic, the government decided to help Israel out by sending two Canadair CL-415 planes which are part of the Croatian Air Forces fleet.

The current Miss Croatia, Angelica Zacchigna, was the centre of attention in Dubrovnik today as she was the star of a photo shoot on the historic streets. The reason for the photo shot was to show off the dress that Angelica will wear on the 26th of November when she appears in the Miss World competition in Washington.

And the Miss World pageant will have a touch of Dubrovnik as the dress she wore today was designed by Džemila Dilberović.

Angelica became Miss Croatia in June this year and now hopes to win the main title in the US this month. Her photo shoot in Dubrovnik today certainly proved an added attraction for the numerous tourists in the city.

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Famous Croatian cellists Luka Sulic and Stjepan Hauser, known by the name 2CELLOS have published a new amazing cover of the song 'The Show Must Go On' by one and only Queen. They have chosen the date carefully, to pay tribute to Freddie Mercury, who has passed away 25 years ago. 

- For the first time we worked on a Queen song. We did it to celebrate one of the greatest artists ever: Freddie we've been missing you for 25 years! – wrote 2CELLOS on their official Facebook page. The video was filmed in Zagreb. 

It's quite touching to listen this cover, especially on this day. What to say then ''Inside my heart is breaking, my make up may be flaking, but my smile still stays on''...

The Christmas decorations in the Old City of Dubrovnik are looking better than ever and tomorrow they will get a new attraction. The advent candles have been installed on the Small Onofrio Fountain at the end of the Stradun and give a special festive feel.

The first candle on the advent decoration will be lit this Sunday and then every Sunday until Christmas.

advent candle

Dubrovnik is so beautiful that you could just throw your camera in the air and get a good video! Jokes aside, almost every day Youtube gets filled with Dubrovnik videos, showing the beautiful Old City and more. One of them caught our eye – 1 minute video that shows its beauty. From the cable car to Lokrum, video is full of shots of the Old City, sea and Lokrum with rabitts and peacocks. Short and simple but still – enchating!

 

Does Cruise Ship Tourism hinder or enhance a destination? This September when we were staying in the Lapad area of Dubrovnik, we would venture out onto our balcony, count the number of cruise ships and then make a decision whether we would go into the Old City or not! More often than not there were more than three ships berthed below us.

When we visited the Old City to walk the walls it was at 8am in the morning and when we took a guided tour it was after 4.00pm. By 10am after walking the walls dense crowds were making their way in as we were trying to make our way out and vice versa at 4pm.

A week later we took our first cruise - a Repositioning Cruise from Balboa in Spain to Colon in Panama and had shore visits to Lisbon in Portugal and the Island of St Maarten. Both places relied on the tourist dollar, especially St Maarten, and Dubrovnik does as well. But! Is there a limit? When does the tourist dollar become detrimental to the locality, if at all? St Maarten has the biggest cruise port in the Caribbean and tourism is their number one industry, the island would suffer deeply without it. Lisbon is different it is the capital and Portugal’s major industry is the wood industry and it’s related off shoots such as cork and paper. Lisbon does not get the cruise numbers that Dubrovnik experiences.

Two days after we left Dubrovnik over 7,000 passengers were expected to dock and all of them would no doubt end up in the Old City. Two million tourists visit Dubrovnik each year – one million by cruise ship and one million staying at least one night.

There are two types of cruise passengers. Those who enjoy cruising as a safe, ordered way to travel the world, and others who will use cruising as a way of stopping off at different ports in a view of coming back and spending longer in that destination at some later date.

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There are two points of views from the locals, those who welcome the cruise passengers as they are involved in the hospitality industry and those who live in the Old City where personal space and privacy is an issue. A report from 2013 states that the average cruise passenger spends $50 USD per day in Dubrovnik, where as the traveller who bases themselves in Dubrovnik can spend up to 3 times that amount. What is more beneficial to Dubrovnik is of course the longer term traveller whose dollar is spread widely throughout with accommodation being the greater expenditure, followed by meals, entrance fees, etc.

We understand that the quality of life within the city has diminished for the locals. They know that their accommodation is sought after by foreigners who are willing to pay more than 7,000 Euros per square metre for the privilege of being inside the City Walls. It costs more for deliveries, food and groceries costs are higher in the Old City and there are diminishing numbers attending the local primary school. Locals are fed up with their photos being taken hanging out the washing, people peering in their windows or watching them doing their every day chores.

Even travellers are boycotting Dubrovnik and the Old City because of the crowds. We did, but we staggered our visiting times.

What impact do these large numbers have on the physical environment? 7,000 people traipsing over the Old City Walls, through the museums and down the Stradun and into the Churches –how long will it be before any damage is irreparable.

We love Dubrovnik as a destination; there is so much to offer the traveller from the wines of the Pelješac Peninsular to the local food and good restaurants, the islands, the history, the people and the culture. We want the beauty of Dubrovnik to be there for our grand children and their children.

Could there be a solution? Is there a way of limiting the numbers of cruise ships on a daily basis? What about a two-night limitation where cruise passengers can spend more time visiting areas outside the Old City, creating an economic solution for more to reap the benefits?

We are 50/50. We can see the pros and cons of both sides. Cruise ship tourism is essential for cities to thrive and for the residents to enjoy a better standard of living but it is at a cost! If you wish to read more about our experiences in Dubrovnik and other destinations please check out www.totraveltoo.com

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Who are the TO TRAVEL TOO team
Jane Dempster-Smith
Co-Founder, Flashpacker, Travel Guru
Over the past four decades, Jane’s passion for travel has taken her to over 44 countries. She has lived and worked in Australia, UK and Singapore. With extensive experience in all aspects of travel from airport ground staff to air hostessing, retail, corporate and group travel, she has flown in two seaters, hot air balloons and even the Concorde. Jane offers her skills to baby boomers who want to change their lives; to travel light and travel far.

Duncan Dempster-Smith
Co-Founder, Flashpacker, Philosopher
Having travelled for both business and leisure, Duncan has lived in Malta, UK, Hong Kong, Australia and Singapore. In his past life he held senior roles with global multinationals in manufacturing, distribution and sales. In 2013 he embraced a life change based on the philosophy: ‘chase time not money’. His ambition is to support fellow baby-boomers who want to fly the empty nest – and see the world.

Well this is something you don’t see every day, wilds boars in Dubrovnik. The photo, of what appears to be a family of wild boars, was published on the Facebook page “Live from the Streets of Dubrovnik” this morning.

Whilst wild boars are not unusual in the countryside surrounding Dubrovnik the sight of them on the main road into Dubrovnik is rare.

wild boars dbk

Dubrovnik has many people visiting it all the time and every one of them has an interesting story. Some we discover and some stay yet undiscovered – just like this with the interesting car parked in Dubrovnik that was sent by one of our readers. 

Car is full of stickers, letters and words that we can't really understand, but it's easy to recognize the flag on the hood – South Korea. Also, there is a sign saying ''Seoul –> Morrocco'', so we can only guess that the car and its owner have been on the journey of the lifetime. We wish them a safe trip, wherever they're going next!

The Voice of Dubrovnik

THE VOICE OF DUBROVNIK


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