Sunday, 25 August 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

As part of the main Dubrovnik swimming pool, located in Gruz, the former hotel Stadion has stood empty and in desperate need of investment for the past few decades. Finally, in a new investment project from the City of Dubrovnik, the hotel will be rebuilt and the new project also includes a museum.

The contract for the reconstruction of the ex-hotel Stadion between the City of Dubrovnik as the client and the company Texo Molior d.o.o. as a contractor, was signed last week, ensuring the implementation of this 18.3 million Kuna investment in sports infrastructure, with a deadline of 15 months from the date of commissioning.

“This building has been completely out of function for the last 30 years and is located in the heart of the city,” commented the Mayor of Dubrovnik, Mato Frankovic.

The new future hotel/hostel will also include a museum to the leading sport in the city, water polo. “I believe that after the works we will get a building that will represent water polo and swimming in Dubrovnik. After the renovation of the building, Dubrovnik will receive its first Water Polo Museum,” said Mayor Frankovic.

He added that the City of Dubrovnik is continuing to invest into sports infrastructure, citing resolved relations with Excelsa Real Estate, a cable car owner, as a key. - "What we will collect from the cable car will be invested in sports infrastructure," he said.

In a bold move Germany plans to pass a law banning the use of plastic bags, commented the German Environment Minister Svenja Schulze on Sunday. "My ministry will ban plastic bags in its own way," Svenja Schulze said, however she didn’t yet give any details as to when the deadline for this ban would be.

Germany would be the first country in the European Union to completely ban plastic bags when this move goes through. Although with such an influential member of the EU planning this move other countries could well follow suit. Croatia would certainly do well to follow the lead of Germany and to ban the use of plastic bags.

The European Union will ban certain disposable “single use” plastic products, such as straws, plastic forks and knives, in 2021, but has allowed a transitional period for other plastic products.

 

Dubrovnik Airport was the 134th busiest airport in Europe in the first six months of 2019. Airports Council International (ACI) have released figures for the top 200 busiest airports across Europe from the beginning of the year until the end of June and four Croatian airports feature.

Zagreb Airport is unsurprisingly the busiest airport in Croatia and finished in 116th position on the ACI rankings list. The capital’s airport handled 1.5 million passengers in the first six months of this year on 19,206 airplanes.

Split Airport was the second busiest airport in Croatia, and finished in 131st place on the rankings list, just a few spots ahead of Dubrovnik. And then Zadar Airport made up the Croatian contingent on the ACI list placing in 184th position.

The EU market maintained steady growth during the first six months of this year, with passenger traffic performance holding steady between 4.5 percent to 5 percent on a month-by-month basis over the period. Although Croatia was one of the shining stars in Europe, along with Austria, as Croatia saw the second biggest growth at 10.5 percent, second only to Austria with a massive 20 percent growth.

Conversely, Bulgaria (-2.5%) and Sweden (-4.1%) reported passenger traffic declining while growth was flat in neighbouring Denmark (+0.3%). Belgium, the Netherlands, Slovenia and the UK significantly underperformed the EU average – with the latter further slowing down in June (+0.9%).

Peter Andre (46) is enjoying a working holiday in Croatia as he films on the island of Brac for the British TV morning show “Lorraine.”

This popular TV celebrity is learning all about Croatian cuisine as he films a cooking show featuring Croatian specialities such as lamb under the bell, grilled fish and some traditional cakes from the Croatian islands.

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Andre, who sprung to fame in 1995 with the hit pop song Mysterious Girl, was joined on this Croatian break by his two children, Junior and Princess and they have all been enjoying the Adriatic Sea as a family.

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The Lorraine show, is broadcast on ITV and has an estimated viewership of 2 to 3 million a day, making it the most popular morning show in the UK.

Andre's family vacation is being followed heavily by the UK press, which will only help add to the promotion of Croatia in this important tourist market.

From the tenth year in a row the cycling ultramarathon from Vukovar to Knin and then onto Dubrovnik came to an end at the end of the week when 35 cyclists arrived in Dubrovnik after seven days of cycling in the intense August heat.

The cycling ultramarathon is organised by the Slavonski Brod Bicyclist Association and takes place every year in honour of causalities and fatalities of the Homeland War. From the 3rd of August of the 9th of August, in seven stages these mainly recreational cyclists ride on average 150 kilometres and pass through cities that were badly affected in the Homeland War.

The aim of the project is to promote cycling as a healthy way of life, to promote Slavonia, Slavonski Brod, Brod-Posavina County, but also Croatia as a cycle-tourism destination.

The oldest rider in this year’s ultramarathon was 74 years-old, whilst the youngest was only 14.

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Total deposits with Croatian commercial banks reached HRK 290 billion at the end of June 2019, thus continuing their growth month-on-month and year-on-year, according to data provided by the Croatian National Bank (HNB) on Wednesday.

Total deposits rose by 2.2 billion kuna or 0.8% in June compared to May and their growth was by 14.3 billion or 5.2% as against the end of June 2018.

This growth is on the back of the rise in bank demand deposits, which include funds in current and giro accounts and banks' obligations arising from kuna payment instruments issued and which reached a record high level of HRK 96.4 billion in the nominal terms, accounting for a third (33%) of total deposits. On the other hand, total savings and time deposits mildly declined, -0.33% on the month and -0.2% on the year.

 

American Airlines have announced that from next year flights to Dubrovnik will be upgraded to daily flights.

After a 28-year break American Airlines connected Croatia and the US this year with direct flights from Philadelphia to Dubrovnik originally with three flights a week. Due to demand from passengers the largest American airline later decided to add an additional weekly flight in September, bringing the number of non-stop flights to four a week. However, it would seem that the airline sees further potential and will from 2020 make these operations weekly.

On Thursday the Vice President of Network and Schedule Planning for American Airlines, Vasu Raja, stated in an interview for the popular American travel website thepointsguy.com that “the carrier will return to Dubrovnik on a daily basis from Philadelphia in 2020, expanding service from just several weekly flights.”

Although the 2020 American flight schedule has yet to be officially released it would appear from this statement that Dubrovnik can expect daily flights from Philadelphia next season. There is no indication as to when the flights would start operating, although it can be assumed that it will similar as this year, the beginning of June.

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Scenes as first American Airlines flight lands at Dubrovnik Airport this year - Photo Bozo Radic

 

 

When the flights were announced last year the vice president of Philadelphia operations for American Airlines, Jim Moses, stated that “Dubrovnik has been a place of interest for several years. It has grown in popularity among U.S. travellers, but remained unserved by U.S. airlines. American Airlines saw an opportunity to fill that gap.”

American tourists are the second most numerous in Dubrovnik this season. According to information from the Dubrovnik Tourist Board there has been a boom in the number of US travellers visiting Dubrovnik. Since the beginning of the year to the end of July just over 90,000 Americans visited the city which is a massive 17 percent increase over the same period form last year. And they have achieved a whopping 252,517 overnight stays, again an increase of 17 percent when compared with the same period from 2018.

The Pelješac Bridge is slowly but surely surfacing on these hot summer days, with the Chinese builders constructing the bridge faster than expected.

Already above the sea surface, one can see the constructions that will carry the future pillars of the bridge. The new Pelješac Bridge is the largest investment in recent Croatian history, worth 2.08 billion Kuna, and it is on course to be completed in the next two years. In the first year, the Chinese company China Road and Bridge Corporation (CRBC) were able to complete 25 percent of the bridge work.

Nearly 400 Chinese workers are involved in the project and according to some local reports they are even working at night in order to finish the bridge ahead of schedule. Already 148 pilots for the bridge have been completed.

The Voice of Dubrovnik

THE VOICE OF DUBROVNIK


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