Friday, 01 December 2023
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.


The data on average salaries (total average of all personal incomes, not median salary) for the third quarter of 2023 has been released. On a national level, compared to the same period last year, salaries increased by 13.9 percent, making the average net salary amount to 1,153 euros. The average net salaries of employees in different counties ranged from a low of 1,006 euros in Virovitica-Podravina County to 1,343 euros in the City of Zagreb.

According to the Croatian Bureau of Statistics, the average Croatian net salary in the third quarter increased by 13.9 percent, reaching 1,153 euros. Unsurprisingly, Zagreb citizens had the highest average salary, significantly exceeding the national average at 1,343 euros. This marks a 12.9 percent increase compared to the same period last year, which is among the lower growth rates, as reported by tportal.

Most counties had an average salary lower than 1,100 euros, with six of them below 1,050 euros. Slightly higher averages were observed in the Zagreb metropolitan area and coastal Croatia, while lower averages were noted in northern and eastern Croatia.

Interestingly, some less-developed counties had higher average salaries than more developed ones. For instance, in Istria County, immediately behind the City of Zagreb in terms of development, the average salary is 1,098 euros, while in the less developed Karlovac County, it is 1,131 euros.


After a video surfaced on Tuesday showing a vehicle going in the opposite direction on the Pelješac Bridge, the relevant Ston Police Station reviewed the surveillance footage of the Croatian Roads and determined that on November 27th around 8:30 PM, a 38-year-old Ukrainian citizen was driving the vehicle, traveling from Split to Dubrovnik.

It was also established that the aforementioned driver, upon reaching the end of the bridge, made a U-turn on the road, which is prohibited by traffic signs. Due to the traffic violations committed, a mandatory misdemeanour order was issued to the Ukrainian citizen.


The most attractive Advent program in the Neretva Valley, named "Advent Metković," brings numerous free concerts, theatrical performances, and exhibitions, along with dance workshops and an attractive ice rink in the beautiful surroundings of City Park.

The magical holiday event "Advent Metković" will take place from December 2 to 31, 2023, at three locations in the centre of Metković – City Park, City Cultural Centre, and King Tomislav Square. The "Christmas fairy tale" will commence this weekend with the traditional decoration of the Christmas tree and the lighting of the first Advent candle. It will feature numerous concerts, DJ sessions, theatrical performances, exhibitions, an ice rink, Christmas cottages, a Christmas market, and children's activities, lasting until New Year's Eve.

Concerts, Christmas cottages, and the ice rink in City Park

Starting from December 8, City Park will be transformed into a small "Christmas town" this year. In addition to charming wooden cottages offering various culinary delights, visitors can enjoy a large ice rink and a covered concert stage, turning the park into a secure haven for all ages and the main artery of the magical Metković Advent.

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Soul Fingers - Photo PR

The musical and entertainment program in the park will be rich and diverse to ensure that all visitors find something to dance and delight in. Headliners include the beloved Zoster from Mostar, the famous Soul Fingers, and the well-known Croatian reggae band Brain Holidays from Zagreb.

brain holidays

Brain Holidays - Photo PR

The program will open with the Neretva multi-instrumentalist Elvis Sršen and his Funk Blasters, and the hearts of the audience will be captured by Mostar singer-songwriter Ivo Jurić, as well as Ivan Vidović, Hypnotic Band, The String Breakers, Malter Ego, Grupa Vox, Mr. Groove, and others. On days without concerts in City Park, DJs will entertain the audience, preparing themed nights such as rock & blues, 80s and 90s, MTV hits, Disco Fever, etc. A new feature is that the stage and dance floor will be covered, allowing concerts to be held even in case of unfavorable weather conditions.

elvis sršenfunkblasters

Elvis Sršen and his Funk Blasters - Photo PR


Shows and classical concerts at the City Cultural Centre

In addition to the program in City Park, this year's Advent in Metković includes various events at two more locations in the city. The City Cultural Centre Metković will host traditional Christmas concerts by the City Music of Metković, the Cultural and Artistic Society Metković, the Elementary Music School Metković, the Mandolin Orchestra of the Cultural and Artistic Society Metković, and choir concerts. Concerts by guitarist Srđan Bulat and pianist Ivana Jelača will also be held. The City Cultural Centre will host three plays: the Gavella Theater, Kerempuh, and the Croatian National Theatre will perform the comedy "Decorator," the Small MAK will present the play "Face," and Frama Metković will present the play "Marriage Regulations." The GKS Gallery will host an exhibition of paintings by Stanislava-Stanka Mijić, and the Branch of the Croatian Heritage Foundation in Metković will organize the presentation of the book by fra Domagoj Volarević and Domagoj Runje, titled "Split Evangelist."

Saint Nicholas, Christmas Market, and dance workshops in the square

On King Tomislav Square, there will be special programs on Sundays with the lighting of Advent candles. This year, the traditional Christmas market "Towards a Sweet Christmas" is also on the agenda. The youngest visitors to King Tomislav Square will meet St. Nicholas, who will prepare gifts for them this year as well. Additionally, they can enjoy dance workshops with Santa Claus, led by Dado Čokolado.

Advent Metković is the perfect place for creating beautiful family memories, meeting old friends and making new ones, and filling your heart with warmth and joy during the holiday season. Join us from December 2 to 31, 2023, to create a magical and unforgettable Advent in Metković. See you there!

The organizers of Advent Metković are the City of Metković, the Institution for Culture and Sports Metković, and the Tourist Board of the City of Metković, with the support of the Dubrovnik-Neretva County and the Tourist Board of the Dubrovnik-Neretva County.

For all the latest information about Advent in Metković, visit the official website and social media.


The Croatian Tourist Board is actively participating in the IBTM World congress fair held in Barcelona from November 28 to 30. This event stands out as one of the most significant trade fairs in Europe and worldwide, serving as a platform where the Croatian Tourist Board consistently showcases Croatia's conference and incentive offerings.

"IBTM represents a central meeting point for international supply and demand in MICE tourism, making it crucial to promote Croatia in such a prestigious setting. Our country has robust foundations for further developing MICE tourism, contributing to Croatia's status as a year-round destination. The high satisfaction levels of the business clientele, along with the increasing organization of business events across Croatia, demonstrate our effective utilization of the potentials of MICE tourism," stated Kristjan Staničić, Director of the Croatian Tourist Board.

He added that in 2023, there has been a notable recovery in the business travel industry, with Croatia ranking 33rd in the world, according to the International Congress and Convention Association.


The first day of the fair witnessed a significant number of inquiries and interest in Croatia as an ideal and safe destination for hosting congress events. The highest interest came from partners organizing smaller to medium-sized business gatherings, particularly incentive trips.

Regarding Croatian destinations, the most significant interest was expressed for locations associated with Croatian airports with the highest number of international flight routes in the pre and post seasons. While Zagreb is an appealing option for professional conferences, partners are increasingly inquiring about Split or Hvar as incentive destinations, and Dubrovnik, as Croatia's most renowned destination, draws interest for all types of business meetings.

In addition to the Croatian Tourist Board, 19 domestic co-exhibitors, including the tourist boards of cities such as Zagreb, Dubrovnik, Šibenik, and Opatija, as well as various hotel companies and travel agencies, are participating in the fair. This marks a record level of interest from Croatian co-exhibitors for IBTM this year.

Apart from individual meetings with domestic and international partners and special destination presentations for various buyer groups, the Croatian booth, in collaboration with the Croatian Chamber of Economy, offers a tasting of premium local wines and authentic gastronomic specialties.

Ryanair, the largest and fastest-growing European and Croatian airline, announced on November 29, 2023, its new base at the Ruder Boskovic Airport starting April '24, with 2 Boeing 8-200 "Gamechanger" aircraft (a $200 million investment), creating up to 500 local jobs (including 60 highly paid positions for pilots and cabin crew).

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Dubrovnik becomes Ryanair's third Croatian base, alongside the longstanding base in Zadar and the recently opened base in Zagreb, further expanding Ryanair's presence in Croatia with 18 exciting routes for summer '24 to Dubrovnik, including 16 new routes to major cities such as Berlin, Brussels, Helsinki, London, Milan, Paris, Rome, Stockholm, and Wroclaw, as well as increased frequencies on popular routes to Dublin and Vienna.

Ryanair's schedule for Dubrovnik - summer 2024 includes:

- Two based "Gamechanger" Boeing 8-200 aircraft (a $200 million investment in Dubrovnik), offering +4% higher capacity, burning -16% less fuel, and reducing noise emissions by -40%

- 18 routes, including 16 new ones – Berlin, Brussels, Helsinki, London, Milan, Paris, Rome, Stockholm, and Wroclaw

- Increased frequencies on existing routes Dublin and Vienna

- Year-round operation to Dubrovnik

- Over 600 thousand passengers in the first 12 months

- Over 500 new local jobs (including 60 high-paying jobs for pilots and cabin crew)

Since the pandemic, Ryanair has invested over $800 million in Croatia, opening its new aviation base in Dubrovnik (two aircraft) and three aircraft based in Zagreb and Zadar. Ryanair also offers flights to four more Croatian airports – Osijek, Pula, Rijeka, and Split. With the addition of Ryanair's new base in Dubrovnik from April '24, Ryanair will continue to provide the lowest ticket prices in Europe and greater connectivity for Croatian citizens and visitors through environmentally friendly Boeing 8-200 aircraft, offering +4% higher capacity, burning -16% less fuel, and reducing noise emissions by -40% - fostering valuable inbound tourist and business opportunities in the picturesque coastal city of Dubrovnik.

Ryanair is the only major European airline that significantly increased traffic after COVID, especially in Croatia, where Ryanair will increase traffic to about 4 million annual passengers (a traffic increase of +450% compared to pre-COVID), in line with its plans to grow to 300 million passengers annually by 2034 while Ryanair takes delivery of an additional 400 aircraft (including 300 Boeing MAX-10 aircraft).

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To celebrate the launch of Ryanair's new base for summer '24 in Dubrovnik, the airline offers prices starting from 29.99 euros one way, available for booking only on the Ryanair app/website.

Speaking from Dubrovnik, Ryanair's Chief Commercial Officer, Jason McGuinness, said: "As the largest and fastest-growing European and Croatian airline, Ryanair is pleased to announce our new base in Dubrovnik for summer '24 with 2 Boeing 8-200 'Gamechanger' aircraft, complementing our existing bases in Zagreb and Zadar. This represents an additional investment of $200 million (total of $800 million in 3 bases) in Croatia, creating over 60 highly paid jobs for pilots and cabin crew, simultaneously supporting over 500 local jobs in Dubrovnik by enabling year-round tourism and connectivity.

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Ryanair's base with Boeing 8-200 'Gamechanger' in Dubrovnik will significantly increase Croatia's connectivity in an environmentally sustainable way, expanding our offering from the current 2 routes to/from Dubrovnik to 18 routes, including exciting new connections with some of the largest European cities such as Berlin, Brussels, Helsinki, London, Milan, Paris, Rome, Stockholm, and Wroclaw.

As the fastest-growing airline in Europe and Croatia, supported by our revolutionary order of 300 Boeing MAX-10 aircraft, Ryanair is in the best position to support Croatia's recovery and growth after COVID, providing the lowest European prices and unparalleled choices to our Croatian citizens and visitors from summer '24 onward."

The Chief Executive Officer of Dubrovnik Airport Ltd., Viktor Sober, stated: "We are pleased to announce that Ryanair will open its new base at Ruder Boskovic Airport with an initial plan to base two of its aircraft, which will start operating in early April 2024. During the summer of '24/25, Ryanair will connect Ruder Boskovic Airport with 18 European destinations and 3 destinations in winter '24/25. This partnership between Ryanair and our airport will result in better connectivity, more flights in the summer season, and much-desired winter routes, connecting Dubrovnik with European destinations. Through this partnership, Ruder Boskovic Airport will be better connected than ever before, further developing Dubrovnik as a tourist and city break destination."


In a bid to enhance connectivity between Dubrovnik and global destinations, Ruđer Bošković Airport has announced the launch of a new direct route to Gothenburg, set to commence in the Spring of 2024.

The initiative aims to bolster the airport's network, facilitating seamless travel between Dubrovnik and various international hubs. The newly established route, connecting Gothenburg Landvetter Airport and Dubrovnik, is poised to provide travelers with convenient and direct access to the picturesque Croatian city.

Partnering in this venture is Norwegian Air Shuttle, a renowned airline known for its commitment to providing efficient and comfortable air travel experiences. The collaboration is expected to contribute to the accessibility of Dubrovnik as a sought-after destination, catering to the increasing demand for direct connections.

The commencement of this direct route signifies Dubrovnik Airport's ongoing efforts to expand its portfolio of direct lines, fostering stronger links between Dubrovnik and key cities worldwide. The introduction of the Gothenburg-Dubrovnik route is anticipated to meet the travel needs of passengers seeking direct and efficient travel options.

For further details and booking information, interested travelers can visit the dedicated link. As Dubrovnik Airport continues to position itself as a prominent international gateway, this latest addition marks a significant step in providing enhanced accessibility and convenience for travelers visiting or departing from the enchanting city of Dubrovnik.

In a statement on Tuesday, Prime Minister Andrej Plenković announced that Croatia is currently leading the European Union (EU) in GDP growth for the third quarter, affirming the government's sound decisions in times of crises.

According to the initial assessment from the State Bureau of Statistics, Croatia's GDP has experienced a real growth of 2.8% in the third quarter of this year compared to the same quarter in 2022. The government's press release highlighted that this marks the 11th consecutive quarter with a positive GDP growth rate.

"The strength of the economic recovery post-pandemic is evident from the fact that the GDP in the third quarter of this year is realistically 13% higher than in the pre-pandemic third quarter of 2019," emphasized the government. They added that the most significant contributors to GDP growth were the continued rise in household consumption by three percent and the accelerating growth of investments in fixed capital, reaching 6.1%.

According to seasonally adjusted data from the State Bureau of Statistics, the Croatian economy grew by 3% on an annual basis and 0.3% on a quarterly basis in the third quarter. Eurostat has already released data on the movement of seasonally adjusted GDP growth rates in the third quarter for 23 EU member states, with Croatia leading with a growth rate of three percent. Cyprus follows, with its economy growing by 2.2% in the third quarter compared to the same quarter last year, and then Romania with 2.1%.

"Compared to current data for 23 EU member states, Croatia records the highest growth rate in the EU in the third quarter of this year. Croatian entrepreneurs and workers, along with the government's strong interventions in the face of numerous crises aimed at preserving social cohesion, have contributed to this," stated Prime Minister Andrej Plenković.


In an eagerly awaited move, Ryanair is set to make a significant impact on Dubrovnik's aviation landscape. The airline has scheduled a press conference at Dubrovnik Airport today, November 29th, to unveil its plans for an expansive operation to Dubrovnik.

Last summer, Ryanair operated just two routes from Dubrovnik, with a total of 7 weekly departures to Dublin (4 weekly flights) and Vienna (3 weekly flights). The upcoming press conference suggests a departure from this modest schedule, indicating that the airline is gearing up to promote a more extensive range of routes and substantially increase flight frequencies.

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Dubrovnik set to be third Croatian base for Ryanair  Photo Canva

This strategic move is considered crucial for Dubrovnik, which has been striving to recover from the impacts of the pandemic. The airport currently handles 81 to 87% of the passenger traffic it experienced in 2019, lagging significantly behind both the European and Croatian averages. Even the neighbouring Split has managed to surpass 100% of its 2019 passenger numbers. Ryanair's commitment to expanding its operations from Dubrovnik is expected to play a pivotal role in revitalizing the region's air travel.

15 routes from Dubrovnik with Ryanair 

Unofficial sources suggest that Ryanair is poised to establish its third base in Croatia, following Zagreb and seasonal Zadar. The airline is rumoured to launch an impressive array of 13 routes from Dubrovnik starting from the end of March. The destinations include Beauvais, Bergamo, Berlin, Karlsruhe, Krakow, London Stansted, Memmingen, Manchester, Poznan, Rome FCO, Stockholm Arlanda, Weeze, and Wroclaw.

This ambitious move positions Ryanair to operate a total of 15 routes from Dubrovnik, potentially amassing 52 weekly flights. In addition to the summer schedule, Ryanair's winter plans include two weekly flights to London, Dublin, and Vienna.

Dubrovnik Airport stands to benefit significantly from this expansion, as Ryanair's extensive route network, large aircraft fleet, and a targeted 95% load factor are anticipated to drive a substantial increase in passenger numbers. The move is viewed as a strategic and commendable initiative by Dubrovnik Airport, signalling a positive step towards reinvigorating tourism and business travel in the region.

Ryanair currently maintains a strong presence in Croatia, serving cities such as Pula, Rijeka, Split, and Osijek, with bases in Zagreb and Zadar. The airline's regional operations also extend to Nis, Banja Luka, and Podgorica.

Planned routes to Dubrovnik with Ryanair in 2024

  • Beauvais
  • Bergamo
  • Berlin
  • Karlsruhe
  • Krakow
  • London Stansted
  • Mammingen
  • Manchester
  • Poznan
  • Rim FCO
  • Stockholm Arlandu
  • Weeze
  • Wroclaw

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