Wednesday, 02 December 2020
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

With only around 20 percent of the number of tourists visiting Dubrovnik this year compared to 2019 clearly a number of businesses are feeling the pinch in the city. From bars to travel agencies, the whole spectrum of tourism and travel in the city is waiting for a brighter future.

And it clearly isn’t only the small business owners who suffered this Covid-19 affected summer season, one of the most popular tourist attractions in the city, the Dubrovnik Cable Car, had a challenging year.

The Dubrovnik panoramic cable car owned by Excelsa real estate, part of the Lukšić group, is used to long queues and thousands of tourists, not this year.

“The cable car will carry fewer passengers in the whole of 2020 than it did in October 2019, not to mention the months from the peak part of the 2019 season. We will adapt the winter work schedule of the cable car to the circumstances, for now the cable car is still working,” commented the director Anto Rusković for Dubrovacki Vjesnik.

 

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The most popular low-cost airline in the world, Ryanair, has drastically cut back flight connections to Croatia in its summer 2021 flight schedule. According to a report in Croatian Aviation the Irish carrier has completely dropped 15 flight connections to some many Croatian Adriatic destinations, with Split, Pula, Rijeka and Zadar all suffering.

Ryanair had Berlin-Pula and Vienna-Split routes on sale until the beginning of November, but they have been withdrawn from sale and it is currently not possible to buy tickets on these well-known Irish airlines for the summer flight schedule next year.
The company currently offers only one line to Rijeka Airport for the summer of 2021. This is the Frankfurt Hahn - Rijeka line, which also operated this summer season. In 2019, this airline operated from Frankfurt's main airport to Rijeka, which was a far better option for passengers than Hahn, 115 kilometres away.

There are currently no lines from London and Brussels to Rijeka on sale for the next summer season, while the long-standing line Stockholm - Rijeka was cancelled earlier.

Zadar Airport has seen a total of 11 international connections cut in the summer 2021 flight schedule. This cuts include - Aarhus - Zadar, Hamburg - Zadar, Maastricht - Zadar, Bremen - Zadar, Toulouse - Zadar, Riga - Zadar, Kaunas - Zadar, Liverpool - Zadar, Cork - Zadar, Dublin – Zadar and London - Zadar.

Most of these routes were supposed to start operating in the summer flight schedule this year but this did not happen for obvious reasons. Ryanair obviously has no plans to base aircraft in Zadar next year. It is even more surprising that there are no flights from Dublin and London to Zadar, these two lines did not operate this summer either, and in previous years this company had an excellent occupancy on these lines and ticket prices were often high, especially in the peak season.

 

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On Wednesday, the European Commission approved an investment of more than 150 million Euros from the European Regional Development Fund and the European Social Fund for the digitalisation of Croatia's education system.

The e-School project will establish an extensive IT infrastructure, provide state-of-the-art IT equipment, develop educational software and connect students and teachers in 1,166 public primary and secondary schools across the country.

This unique national network will improve teaching and learning conditions and make school management more efficient and transparent.

At the same time, students and teachers will benefit from targeted training to improve their e-skills, the Commission said.

The total cost of the project is more than 177 million euros, of which more than 150 million euros are European funds.

"Thanks to the cohesion policy, the Croatian education system will be able to take full advantage of the digital age and better prepare young people for their professional future. This project also contributes to increasing the sector's resilience during the coronavirus pandemic," said Cohesion Policy and Reform Commissioner Elisa Ferreira.

The project is based on a successful pilot phase, which has already helped move more than 150 Croatian schools to a new level of education. Under this project, each school will be connected to a single national CARNET network, data centres and other schools.

CARNET's regional hubs in Zagreb, Osijek, Rijeka and Split, as well as county hubs, will be upgraded.

Schools will receive computers, and each school will have an interactive classroom with an intelligent display and tablet computers for students and other equipment according to their needs.

 

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In the last 24 hours 3,251 new cases of Covid-19 virus infection were recorded and the number of active cases in Croatia today is 16,891. These new figures represent the worst day for new Covid-19 cases in Croatia since the pandemic began.

There are currently 1,878 people in hospital across the country and 205 people on ventilators. Unfortunately, over the last 24-hour period 38 people passed away due to the virus.

The City of Zagreb saw the highest number of new cases, with 604 recorded, followed by the Split-Dalmatia County with 439 new cases.

Since February 25, 2020, when the first case of infection was recorded in Croatia, a total of 90,715 people have been infected with the new coronavirus, of whom 1,151 have died, a total of 72,673 have recovered, of which 1,693 in the last 24 hours.

There are currently 39,937 people in self-isolation.

To date, a total of 640,781 people have been tested, of which 9,126 in the last 24 hours.

There are 826 people in self-isolation, and in the last 24 hours, one violation of the self-isolation measure was recorded.

 

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In the Dubrovnik-Neretva County, 53 new cases of coronavirus infection were recorded in the last 24 hours.

These new cases are 13 people from Dubrovnik, nine from the Župa dubrovačka, eight from Konavle, seven from Metković, three from Ploče, Blato and Vela Luka, two from Lastovo, one from the Dubrovacko primorje, Opuzen and Orebić, and two people who do not reside in area of the county.

A total of 34 males and 19 females were infected, and an epidemiological link was established for 31 of them.

Unfortunately, 1 more person (born in 1955) has passed away due to Covid-19 in Župa dubrovačka.

On a positive note 63 people throughout the county have made a full recovery - 23 from Dubrovnik, 16 from Metković, ten from Župa dubrovačka, four from Konavle and Opuzen, two from Ploče, one from Blato and Vela Luka and two people who do not reside in the county.

57 people tested positive for coronavirus are currently hospitalized in the Dubrovnik General Hospital. Ten patients require intensive care, three patients are on non-invasive ventilation, six are on invasive ventilation, and one person is on oxygen.

In the last 24 hours, 218 samples were processed, and since the beginning of the pandemic, a total of 22,675 samples have been analyzed.

There are 826 people in self-isolation, and in the last 24 hours, one violation of the self-isolation measure was recorded.

 

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Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Zdravko Maric said on Tuesday that the veto of Hungary and Poland on the European budget could not jeopardize the European recovery, while the projection of Croatian GDP growth in 2021 was still valid.

Asked about the veto imposed by Hungary and Poland on the adoption of the seven-year European budget and recovery plan and whether it could jeopardize the European recovery, Maric told reporters after the cabinet meeting that he personally thought it could not, and that such actions did not work. He believes, however, that this will be resolved quickly.

When asked by journalists to comment on the slowdown in the growth of the German economy, which can usually be reflected in Croatia, Maric said that the key determinant of the Croatian budget for next year was the readiness to respond to all challenges.

"If some things get complicated, the budget must respond clearly," he said, adding that the budget for this year could not have predicted a coronavirus pandemic at all, but that ways had been found to introduce measures to help the economy.

The current estimated growth rate of Croatia's GDP is five percent in 2021, Maric reminded.

"Depending on the further development of the situation, if things get a little better or a little worse, we will all have to adjust not only our projections but also our expectations," Maric said.

Given the re-closure of a good part of Europe, journalists asked Maric if he thought the growth estimate for next year would have to be adjusted downwards. "Not yet. The current projection is still valid," Maric said.

Marić stated that everyone, like Moody's and the European Commission, have approximately similar projections for Croatia and that the differences are not drastically large.

 

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In special circumstances due to the coronavirus pandemic, Vukovar will mark the 29th anniversary of the city's destruction in the Homeland War, whose defense was broken on November 18, 1991.

The city withstood 87 days of siege by the former JNA and Serb paramilitaries.

Vukovar was completely destroyed, about 7,000 Vukovar veterans and civilians were taken to prison camps, and about 22,000 non-Serbs were expelled from the city.

According to the data collected so far, 2,717 war veterans and civilians were killed or killed in the three-month aggression on Vukovar, and another 386 people are on the list of detainees and missing.

In memory of the victims, a Column of Remembrance will pass through the streets of Vukovar on Wednesday at 10.15 am. This year, due to epidemiological measures caused by the coronavirus pandemic, not nearly as many participants are expected as in previous years when tens of thousands of people would take part.

Prime Minister Andrej Plenković, along with Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Croatian Veterans, Tomo Medved, will be among those who will pay tribute to the victims of Vukovar this year with the Column of Remembrance, from the Vukovar Hospital to the Memorial Cemetery of Homeland War Victims.

Before the Column of Remembrance, in front of the National Memorial Hospital in Županijska Street, a short commemorative program will be held at 10 am. Upon arrival at the Memorial Cemetery of Homeland War Victims, state delegations will lay a wreath and light a candle, and a say a prayer for the deceased and missing.

 

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Real estate prices across Croatia have yet to feel the consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic with the asking price in the many Croatian cities slightly higher than 2019. The economic slowdown that caused chaos in the travel and tourism industry has yet to have any negative impact on the price of real estate.

According to a survey by the website Njuškalo the asking prices of real estate across the country was 6.6 percent higher in October this year compared to the same month from last year.

The capital seems resilient to both the pandemic and earthquake that struck earlier in the year, with the average asking price of an apartment in Zagreb 2147 Euros per metre squared. If this price is compared to the January price, when it was 2101 Euros, it can be seen that prices are steadily rising. House prices in Zagreb are on average 1357 Euros, which is 34 Euros more than the asking price in January.

Croatia’s second city, Split, was higher property prices than the capital, even though the gap is slowly closing. In October this year the average asking price of an apartment was 3016 Euros per metre squared.

Dubrovnik still has the most expensive real estate in Croatia, even though prices dropped slightly. In January the average asking price of a house was 4,433 Euros, whilst in October this had dropped to 4090 Euros. Whilst apartment prices in Dubrovnik were 3792 Euros in January and 3677 in October.

 

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