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.
In around 20 days, more precisely the 18th of September, the Ston Wall Marathon will be held for the 9th time. This is a unique sports and tourism event which was made by few athletes enthusiasts, who run the Ston walls, the longest preserved defensive wall in Europe. With the support of the Association of Friends of Dubrovnik Antiques, the Tourist board of Ston and the Dubrovnik-Neretva County, the marathon has grown into an exclusive event in a special setting including marathon runners from around the world.
While passing along the famous Ston wall and further along the coast, the main feature of the race is unforgettable view of the islands of the Southern Adriatic.
In order to experience the history and beautiful views of unspoiled nature close to everyone, two shorter races are organized as well, one of 15 kilometers and another of four. Applications are in progress. For more info visit the official page.
Although the last weekend in August is behind us there is no sign that the sunshine is leaving. The weather forecast for this week is for unbroken blue skies and plenty of sunshine with highs all week to be in the low thirties. The forecast for September also looks promising with every chance of an Indian Summer.
According to the specialised metrological website AccuWeather.com the Dubrovnik region could have a long and warm autumn. They have forecast a “Surges of warmth from Africa and the Mediterranean will be frequent throughout the season, leading to above-normal temperatures across southern Spain, southern and central Italy and the southern Balkans.”
This week’s weather forecast shows constant sunshine and temperatures in the low thirties. The current sea temperature in Dubrovnik is 24 degrees.
The popular swimwear brand “Lemonaki” from Chile has chosen Dubrovnik as the ideal background for their latest photo shoot. The iconic Banje Beach, the Dubrovnik Old City Walls and the five-star Radisson Blu resort all feature as locations for this South American brand.
And not only does Croatia feature in the background, it also features in the foreground. The gorgeous Croatian model Helena Ivancic was chosen as the face and body of “Lemonaki” for their 2017 Summer Collection.
In fact even the swimwear brand has a Croatian touch as the Chilean based company is owned by Andrea and Milena Bakulic, sisters of Croatian descent. Since the company was launched it has grown to be one of the leading swimwear companies in Chile and Brazil.
Helena Ivancic poses on the Dubrovnik City Walls - Photo Instagram
According to data from the Croatian Financial Agency (FINA) in 2015 a total of 3,933 entrepreneurs run businesses on the 51 Croatian islands or 2.7 percent more compared to 2014. The total island revenue achieved in 2015 was 9.7 billion Kunas, or 9.9 percent more in comparison to the previous year. The number of employees recorded an increase of 4.5 percent i.e. 20,364 workers were employed in the island economy.
The largest number of entrepreneurs was registered on the most populated Croatian island Krk. The town of Krk and six municipalities had a total of 783 registered businesses with 4,844 employees. The entrepreneurs from Krk achieved a revenue of 1.3 billion Kunas or 13.2 percent share in total revenue of all islands.
The island of Krk was followed by the island Brac in the Split-Dalmatia County which had 581 registered enterprises with 2,566 employees. The Croatian island Korcula in the Dubrovnik-Neretva County placed as third on this list with 323 registered entrepreneurs who employed 1,921 workers.
The largest Croatian island of Cres had the largest number of employees in ratio to the number of entrepreneurs. In 2015 Cres had 92 registered businesses with 1,480 employees, or on average 16.1 employees per entrepreneur. The island of Cres accounted for 6 percent of the total revenue of all islands.
The average monthly net salary in the Croatian island economy in 2015 amounted to 4,763 Kunas or 5.1 percent less than the average monthly net salary paid by the state level enterprises which was 5,019 Kunas.
The highest salary of 5,903 Kunas was paid by entrepreneurs on the island of Hvar, whilst the lowest one was paid on the island of Korcula in the amount of 4,406 Kunas.
As far as the type of business is concerned, the tourist industry was the most lucrative in 2015 with 2.4 billion Kunas of revenue, which accounted for a 24.5 percent share of the total revenues.
The second most lucrative business was retail trade and wholesale (2.1 billion Kunas), followed by the manufacturing industry (1.29 billion Kunas), the construction industry (1.26 billion Kunas), whilst agriculture and fishing achieved 677.2 million Kunas of revenue in 2015.
Twenty-three traffic cameras were mounted along the Croatian roads last year and they have been photographing anyone who drives above the speed limit during the day and at night. Two months ago the Karlovac Police Department installed eight new cameras in the Karlovac region. This city followed the example of other Croatian cities such as Osijek, Zagreb and Rijeka which had had 15 traffic cameras installed along their roads last year.
''We are very satisfied so far, these traffic cameras have had a preventive effect. For example, in the Aleja Bolonja in Zagreb which has two installed camera devices drivers respect the speed limit, they tend to drive carefully thus wild drivers cannot be seen on the roads any more'', said Miron Huljak from the Ministry of Internal Affairs.
Last year the total cost of mounting traffic cameras along the Croatian roads was 5 million Kunas. Since then, in the area under the jurisdiction of the Osijek-Baranja Police Department almost 8,000 fines were issued, whilst the Primorje-Gorje Police Department issued almost 30,000 fines. The Police Department in the city of Zagreb fined almost 45,000 drivers. As the minimum fine was 1,000 Kunas, the state earned at least 83 million Kunas by fining drivers at these locations only.
''Fortunately, or should I say, unfortunately, the traffic cameras provide lots of money for our budget which is then used for buying new devices'', added Huljak.
As yet the Dubrovnik County doesn’t have fixed speed cameras on any roads, however it is only a matter of time before similar cameras start popping up.
For centuries Croatia has been known for its maritime tradition and its shipbuilding industry which has always been competitive on the markets due to its quality and price. As Croatia wanted to attract investment projects with modern technologies and innovations, a project of building ships for export was launched in 2010.
According to the newspaper Jutarnji list, this month two aluminium catamarans that had been built at the NCP shipyard in Sibenik were delivered to the international aquaculture market.
One of the catamarans is 13.75 meters long, whilst the other one is 15-metre long ship, which is the second of this type ever produced in Croatia. Until now, such ships were only produced at Chinese shipyards. The cost of the shorter catamaran was 630,000 Euros, whilst the cost for the larger ship was around 1.3 million Euros.
By the end of this August, two more ships will be exported; a catamaran produced by the NCP shipyard, whilst the other one is a service vessel constructed by the shipyard company Tehnomont from Pula. The catamaran has already been sold to Iceland, whilst the ship from Tehnomont worth more than 3 million Euros will be exported to Norway.
According to the words of Ana Zajc, the senior project consultant at CroNoMar, the main goal of this consultancy company is to connect Croatian and Norwegian companies, identify market needs and facilitate access to new markets in order to strengthen the competitiveness and export potential of Croatian entrepreneurs. She also emphasized that 54 catamarans were built in the last five years worth around 45 million Euros.
''Thanks to the quality of our products and competitiveness in relation to other producers, this project is continuing. Regardless of the type of a ship and its purpose, every ship and every contract are specific and negotiated in accordance with the requirements of the end customer”, explained Ana Zajc.
The Mayor of Dubrovnik, Andro Vlahusic, received the Dubrovnik water polo players who played in the Croatian water polo team and won the silver medal at the Olympic Games in Rio.
With the inevitable celebratory glass of champagne and congratulations on winning the silver medal the Mayor handed out gifts to the players.
He thanked them all once again for being such great ambassadors for their city and for their club. Five players from the Dubrovnik water polo club “Jug” were included in the Croatian national team.
The latest issue of the influential French daily newspaper Le Figaro in its weekly supplement Le Figaro Magazine published a large report on 11 pages about the beauties of the Kvarner islands - Losinj, Cres and Susak.
The reportage was written by a long time reporter Jean-Louis Tremblais and one of the best French photographers Eric Martin. Last year this duo was rewarded with the traditional award Zlatna penkala/grand prix by the Croatian Tourist Board for the best written material and the best published reportage about Sinjska Alka.
This year's reportage of the French duo titled ''Losinj and Cres, the archipelago of the Golden Fleece'' has emphasized stunning beauties of the Kvarner islands. Fascinated by the beauty of the islands, this journalistic duo compared them to a pearl necklace that adorns the bay of Kvarner. In the richly illustrated reportage they have also recommended places to stay in, restaurants with indigenous gastronomic delicacies and activities that should be on visitor's ''must do'' list. The French journalists have also recommended a visit to the recently opened the Museum of Apoxyomenos.
Le Figaro Magazine is one of the most influential magazines in France with a circulation of more than 400,000 copies and 2 million readers.
However, some of the French influential media were also fascinated by the Croatian islands. A report about the island of Losinj was recently published in the cult magazine Telerama Sortir. In an article ''Happy as Apoxyomenos'' theFrench journalist Isabelle Alvaresse announced the return of the famous sculpture on its island.
This weekly magazine from Paris has a circulation of 230,000 copies, the average readership of the printed edition is around 1 million readers, whilst the average readership of the online edition is around 3 million readers. Surely, great tourist promotion for Croatia.