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.
A news conference held on past Thursday, announced that the 26th ISTO (International Social Tourism Organization) World Congress will take place in Zagreb from the 18th to 21st of October 2016.
The ISTO 2016 World Congress is a direct continuation of the previous one held in Sao Paulo. It represents the continuation of an initiative that was launched with a goal of promoting the World Organization which together with its members works on improving social tourism.
''Driving Tourism through Inclusion'', the title of this year's congress, will focus on the latest trends of social, solidarity-based, responsible and inclusive tourism, with an emphasis on social policy as a driver of growth for domestic tourism.
The conference will be organized by the International Social Tourism Organization (ISTO) in cooperation with Croatian partners, including the City of Zagreb, the Croatian Ministry of Tourism, the Ministry of Social Policy and Youth, the Croatian Chamber of Commerce, the Croatian Tourism Board, the Croatian Holiday and Hostel Federation, and many others.
The congress is intended for workers in the tourism industry, hotel and hospitality facilities, public authorities, trade unions, social organizations, universities and all those who are interested in social, solidarity and responsible tourism.
For the first time the ISTO World Congress will be held in Croatia and is expected to attract approximately 200 participants from all around the world.
Even though there is already a whole array of tourist facilities with high quality offer in Croatia, foreign markets still do not perceive Croatia as a destination for luxury tourism.
However, it is not at all easy for such facilities to operate in Croatia, due to high seasonality and poor airline connections with markets such as the United States and the United Kingdom, which are markets with a large number of potential guests. Branding of the luxury offer and repositioning on the market are the main goals of the Luxury Hotels Group, founded this spring within the Croatian Chamber of Commerce (HGK).
The US market is particularly interesting, not only because of its size (one-fifth of 320 million US inhabitants travel abroad), but also because American guests are especially fond of destinations with a rich cultural and historical heritage.
Around 11 million Americans visit Europe every year, in Croatia there were around 300,000 last year. By the beginning of this September this year, there were around 266,000 American tourists in Croatia.
However, the Americans still do not believe that Croatia has luxury hotels, thus one of the goals of the Luxury Hotels Group in cooperation with the Croatian Tourist Board is to convince them to the contrary.
The Group has currently had 16 hotels with a unique offer (gourmet, wine, heritage, boutique hotels, castle) such as Vestibul Palace Hotel in Split, Meneghetti in Bale, San Rocco in Brtonigla, hotels Kazbek and The Pucic Palace in Dubrovnik, hotels Bevanda and Navis in Opatija, Life Palace Heritage Hotel in Sibenik, a castle hotel Martinis Marchi Heritage in Maslinica on the island of Solta and Hotel Bastion in Zadar.
‘’Our goal is performance of all our group members under a common brand, in order to strengthen our performance on foreign markets. Among other things, we particularly target markets such as the USA and Great Britain, which is why we have teamed up with the Croatian Tourist Board and their branch offices on these markets. We have already received the first results of our cooperation. After our promoting activities some new potential partners i.e experts for luxury travel expressed their interest to work with Croatia”, said Antonia Urlic from the Luxury Hotels Group.
‘’So far we have had hotels mainly along the coast, but we would really like to see hotels on the continent in our group. We want to promote luxury offer of the whole Croatia’’, concluded Urlic.
Promotional film of the Dubrovnik Tourist Board 'Dubrovnik and Time' won two new awards on the Zagreb Tourfilm Festival. In category The best Croatian film up to 7 minutes it has won the first place and the third place in international competition of the best film up to 7 minutes too. Romana Vlasic, director of the Dubrovnik Tourist Board collected the awards.
After Berlin, New York, Riga, Sesimbra, Baku, Lubin, Los Angeles, Portugal, Maldivi it was time for Zagreb. That means that 'Dubrovnik and Time' has won the total of 12 awards.
At the festival more than 300 films applied in several categories and 124 were chosen for the competition.. By rewarding Croatian films Zagreb Tourfilm Festival encourages the promotion of Croatian tourism - through tourist films.
Promotional movie Dubrovnik and Time keeps getting prestigious awards at specialized festivals and the next ones to attend are in Portugal and Split.
On Sunday, the 25th of September, the 17th edition of the Terry Fox Run which was organized at the Lake Jarun in Zagreb brought together a record breaking number of 7,000 participants.
In honor of Terry Fox’s legacy in his fight against cancer, annual charity jogging /walking/cycling event, known as Marathon of Hope with the motto of “Working together to outrun cancer” takes place every year in order to raise funds for the fight against this deadly disease. This year funds raised at the Lake Jarun event will be donated to the Rudjer Boskovic Institute in Zagreb for cancer research and cytostatic drugs.
The supporters of this year's Terry Fox Run were the Terry Fox Foundation, the Canadian Embassy, the Croatian League Against Cancer, Esplanade Zagreb Hotel, Media Val, Zagrebački holding and the Croatian Ministry of Health.
Terry Fox was a Canadian athlete, humanitarian, and cancer research activist. In 1980, with one leg having been amputated, he embarked on a cross-Canada run to raise money for treatment and awareness for cancer research. Although the spread of his cancer eventually forced him to end his quest after 143 days and 5,373 kilometers, and ultimately cost him his life, his efforts resulted in a lasting, worldwide legacy.
In his memory, the Fox family launched a run to raise money for the fight against cancer, which is held every year in Canada and over 60 countries across the world, including Croatia.
Within the programme of its Europe Direct Dubrovnik Information Centre and in cooperation with educational institutions and cultural associations, as well as the Albanian consulate, the French consulate, the Hungarian consulate, and the Spanish consulate in Dubrovnik, Europe House Dubrovnik organized the European Day of Languages celebration on the 26th of September in front of St. Blaise Church.
An entertaining and educational programme marked this morning in the Old City. Primary and secondary school pupils, college students, representatives of associations, foreign nationals living in Dubrovnik and tourist guides were all partaking in the event, presented by the “Englishman in Dubrovnik,” Mark Thomas. At the same time, the Europe House Dubrovnik's young wandering librarians were selling second hand books in foreign languages in front of the Sponza Palace.
The European Day of Languages initiative was launched by the Council of Europe in 2001 in order to encourage multilingualism and multiculturalism in Europe. Through various events in all European countries, citizens' attention is being drawn to the importance of language learning for better intercultural understanding, at all ages, through formal and informal education. Europe House Dubrovnik is celebrating the European Day of Languages for the third year in a row. Last year's celebration was voted the most innovative event of the 2015 European Day of Languages on the European Day of Languages official website.
Dubrovnik Aquathlon is coming to town! This first multisport event in Dubrovnik will be held on 2nd of October at 5 pm. Contestants will have the chance to enjoy an attractive swimming route right in front of the Old Port and will be running to Saint Jacob and back, which will be even more special with the Dubrovnik sunset over the City Walls.
The swimming part includes two 500 meter laps and the running route is Ploce > St. Jacob > Villa Sheherezade > St. Jacob > Ploce and is 5 kilometers long.
The swimming route
Club Dubrovnik Triathlon is an organizer and it was made because of the increase in multisport events in the region and in Croatia. They proudly say that every day they have more and more members.
Multisport events also attract tourists in and out of the season, because nowadays many people seek for active sport events when they travel. Not only athletes, but also ordinary people – the whole family goes to the races, just like friends, couples and even retirees!
Dubrovnik Aquathlon is for everybody because they can choose their own pace. The aim is to participate, enjoy and finish it!
Irish singer and activist Bob Geldof strolled along the Stradun in the heart of the historic Old City of Dubrovnik this afternoon. Geldof is widely recognised for his activism, especially anti-poverty efforts concerning Africa.
He arrived in Dubrovnik on an MSC cruise ship a few days ago and it is believed he then transferred to a private yacht to continue his Adriatic cruise. Geldof seemed relaxed strolling along the main street, although when asked by a fan for a “selfie” he refused adding that “there are too many people around.”
Bob Geldof gets snapped by a fan on the Stradun
Swiss Belper choir and Croatian ensemble Camerata Zagreb continue their successful international cooperation. After they've filled the concert hall Menuhin Forum in Bern three occasions and enchanted the audience, they will perform soon in Croatia with their brilliant concert story "Journey to Venice" in Dubrovnik on Tuesday, 27th of September at 9 pm in the Rector's Palace.
The program, which includes the most beautiful works from the world of classical music all to the unforgettable evergreens in an excellent rich interpretations ensures exceptional artistic pleasure.
Soloists are soprano and the prima donna of the Zagreb National Theatre Adela Golac Rilovic and mezzo-soprano Vedrana Zrnic under the leadership of the professor Mathias Behrends and concert master Kahriman.
The concert is held under the auspices of the Swiss Embassy in the Republic of Croatia, Croatia Bus and Rotary Club Zagreb Metropolitan, in cooperation with the Dubrovnik Symphony Orchestra.
Except the concert, this is also a significant cultural and professional exchange of experience, but also an opportunity to meet and make new friends, what gave the project itself another beautiful dimension. The focus is always on good and quality performance, but also the joint creation, the development of new ideas and mutual influence.