Monday, 22 July 2024
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.


After a record year in 2015 this year has also started on the right foot for Zagreb Airport. January this year was the best January for Zagreb Airport since it started operations 54 years ago. In total Zagreb Airport handled 156,947 passengers in the first month of this year, an increase of 4.2 percent compared to the same month from 2015. According to information from the specialised website EX-YU Aviation this was the 23rd month in a row that Zagreb Airport has experienced a growth in passenger numbers.

Although the number of flights through Zagreb Airport in January 2016 was slightly down on 2015, by around 2 percent, passenger figures rose. This is an indicator that flights to the Croatian capital had a higher capacity percentage. Also the reintroduction of flights by the LOT from Warsaw assisted in pumping up the numbers.

Construction work on the new Zagreb Airport is well underway and due to be completed by 2017. The construction of the new Zagreb Airport is an investment worth 331 million Euros. The new terminal will spread over 65,000 square metres. Once opened the new Zagreb Airport will attract even more international airlines to the capital.

zagreb new airport

Visualization of new Zagreb Airport planned to open in 2017

With the lowering of the flag of St. Blaise and a service at noon today in the Church of St. Blaise in the centre of Dubrovnik the 1044th Festivity of St. Blaise officially ended. The closing ceremony traditionally takes place on the first Sunday after the Day of St. Blaise.

However the completion of the religious aspect of the festivities doesn’t mean that the end of the events connected to St. Blasie has ended, indeed 2016 has been declared as the Year of St. Blaise. Throughout the whole year there will be events dedicated to Dubrovnik’s patron saint.

The film world really has fallen in love with Croatia. After Dubrovnik was chosen to be one of the main locations for the Game of Thrones serial, and the news that the eighth episode of Star Wars will be partly filmed in Dubrovnik, comes news that a new film starring Eric Roberts will be filmed in Croatia.

“Someone Dies Tonight,” is an action-thriller that is due to start filming in Croatia next month, and the star is the brother of Julia Roberts, Hollywood actor Eric Roberts. The film production Dream Team Pictures, based in Germany, and Mind Films International, from India, will jointly produce the film.

According to reports the filming will take place in Eastern Croatia, in the Osijek County, and will last till May. The film is due to be released in 2017 and the film also features the cast of Maik van Epple, Jenny Paris, Claudiu Raymond, Roni Lepej, Nina Stern, Angelo Borer, Vjekoslav Jankovic, Vjekoslav Katusin, Igor Mihalj, Alen Borbas and Costas Mandylor.

Finally some good news regarding the Croatian economy, the European Commission have stated that their outlook for Croatia’s growth in 2016 is a rise of 2.1 percent. The EC had previously estimated that Croatia’s growth this year would be 1.4 percent but this week revised that figure to 2.1 percent.

“Growth likely decelerated in the fourth quarter, but all in all, Croatia’s economy is expected to have expanded by 1.8% in 2015. Benefiting from the strong momentum gathered in the second half of 2015, the recovery is forecast to gain ground in 2016,” the EC said in their report.

One of the main reasons for this promising financial forecast for 2016 was domestic demand accompanied by continued investments driven by EU funds, meaning that GDP is expected to grow by 2.1 percent this year.

However the European Commission warned that the high public and private debt in Croatia was holding back the economy. In 2014 the debt to GDP ratio in Croatia was 85.1 percent, that figure rose in 2015 to 86 percent, whilst the forecast for 2016 is for this figure to reach 87.4 percent.

While most of Europe is under snow, ice, floods or freezing clouds Dubrovnik is bathing in warm, winter sunshine. The cold northerly winds that blew last week in Dubrovnik slowly ceased and then out came the sunshine.

Whilst this weekend was full of sunshine and temperatures soaring up to the high teens don’t pack your umbrella away just yet as the forecast for next week is for rain and cooler temperatures.

Check out our photo gallery by Tonci Plazibat from Saturday morning in the Old City.


The day I’ve been waiting for has finally arrived. It took seventeen years to come around, but patience is a virtue, and I have been very virtuous. To be honest I never thought that the day would actually arrive; I was the most surprised person in the country when it did arrive. Yes the day has arrived that Croatia has a Prime Minister who speaks worse Croatian than I do.

Well that’s probably being a little hard on Mr. Tim, let’s say that our levels are on a par, it is just that I have a Dubrovnik accent, or I should say an English/Dubrovnik accent. I wonder if there is space in Tim's Team for another speaker of broken Croatian....over here Mr. Tim.

I don’t know about you but I can understand Tim perfectly when he delivers speeches. The media has been falling over themselves to poke fun at his errors and misuse of words, even the strange accent, but for me he is as clear as a bell. I can even hear the Canadian twang behind the Croatian, I’m loving it. And according to his Wikipedia site Mr. Tim and I have something else in common, “He is the first non-partisan Croatian Prime Minister,” I mean the non-partisan part of that sentence by the way.

How successful can a “non-partisan” be in politics, it will be a tough and rough ride for Mr. Tim because the odds are definitely not in his favour.

I have been scratching my head to try and remember a successful “independent” politician, whilst there are a few the vast majority were voted for in an election, unlike Mr. Tim, and then they mostly never reached any political heights. Although I believe that at certain George Washington was elected as president of the US whilst not being affiliated with any political party. Although you also have to consider that Washington was the first president, and people actually voted for him, so that’s not really helpful in motivating our Croatian/Canadian.

But wait there is another example closer to home. The current President of Kosovo, Atifete Jahjaga, I believe is also an independent, although she again was voted for and even had some kind of political background. Oh, Mr. Tim I am really trying to make this easier for you, but to no avail.

Maybe it is just a trend to want Canadian leaders; they seem to be En Vogue after Justin Trudeau stormed into power as the new Canadian Prime Minister. Fresh and full of ideas, Trudeau was asked early on why he had chosen a gender-equal, 15 men and 15 women, in his cabinet. His answer stopped the reporter dead in his tracks, “because its 2015.”

Even one of the oldest and most important institutions in England, the Bank of England, has a Canadian on the top position. Does anybody else see a pattern forming here? Since it was established in 1694 the Bank of England has always appointed an Englishman in the role of Governor. But now two years before Mr. Tim got hold of the tiller in Croatia the Bank of England appointed the first foreign Governor, the Canadian Mark Carney. Is this a silent Canadian plot to slowly rule the world? Mark Carney became the first non-Briton to be appointed to the post, but also made a commitment to the Prime Minister to take up British citizenship.

But wait Tim has an economic background and so does the Governor, is this a plot to conquer the world through financial control. The Canadians have already tried to control the world through music. Everything started well when the Quebec born mega star Celine Dion hit the radio waves of the world. But that plan went quickly downhill when the Ontario born Justin Beiber wiggled onto the scene. They even tried to conquer the world through drama. And once again the plan was on course when Donald Sutherland filled our movie screens, the plan started to get shaky when Michael J. Fox was added into the mix and was completely flushed down the toilet when Keanu Reeves sped across our screens. The even tried dominating with sport, which worked fine when they played their own sport of ice-hockey and they had the legendary Wayne Gretzky whacking the puck at 200 Mph and scoring goals for fun. But yet again there was to be a “hole in the dam” his name was Ben Johnson. He also moved at 200 Mph at the 1998 Summer Olympics, but that was thanks to a drug cocktail. He later lost the gold medal and was the shame of Canada.

I am presuming that Mr. Tim can’t sing, doesn’t act and isn’t a drug he must be part of a financial Canadian army. I am off to learn the words to “O, Canada, Our home and native land.” Just in case!

Mercedes have arrived in Dubrovnik in style. Some of the latest models of this luxury car were presented tonight in the heart of the Old City along the Stradun.

Mercedes have opened their “Global Training Program” in Dubrovnik, an event that will last until April. Every week sales staff from all over the world will arrive in Dubrovnik for a five-day training course on the newest models. In total around 15,000 Mercedes staff will arrive in Dubrovnik to complete the training. This is an annual event for Mercedes and with Dubrovnik as the host this year the German car manufacturer will add extra tourist figures as well as bring international publicity.

Tonight was a spectacular night on the Stradun as some of the latest models were on display.

Check out our photo gallery by Tonci Plazibat

Look darling I think that’s.......?

Dubrovnik has been a magnet for celebrities over the centuries. Kings and queens, Hollywood A-liners, world leaders, sports heroes and top of the chart singers have all graced the Stradun.  And although it recent years the numbers of stars that have visited Dubrovnik has blossomed the city has a long history of celebrity guests.

Elisabeth Taylor and Richard Burton spent a romantic stay in the city in the 60’s, Sophie Lauren dropped by and many Kings and Queens have enjoyed the crystal clear Adriatic Sea. More recently Michael Douglas, Catharine Zeta Jones, Goldie Hawn, Kurt Russell, Richard Gere, Nick Nolte, Tom Cruise, Sir Roger Moore, Tina Turner...the list goes on and on.

One of the biggest names in recent years was Beyonce who drifted into town. She sailed into town on Eric Clapton’s yacht with her boyfriend Jayz and they spent the afternoon having fun on jet skis. And the diva Gloria Gaynor spent a "working" holiday in the city and performed to a packed audience.


Bastian Schweinsteiger mets the Dubrovnik mayor 

The world of fashion also enjoyed the view on the Stradun as mega designer Giorgio Armani inspected the shopping in the Old City possibly looking for inspiration for his next collection. An old favourite of Dubrovnik is Bernie Eccelstone who often drops the anchor of his mega-yacht in front of the old city. After being introduced to the city by his former wife Slavica, Bernie has become a firm fan of Dubrovnik. And the A-list Hollywood stars are choosing Dubrovnik as their summer hideaway.


Roman Abramovich goes for a strollon the Stradun 

Michael Fassbender spent a few days sailing around the Adriatic Sea, Francis Ford Coppola was in town, born again star Mickey Rourke met the masses and Richard Gere admired the architecture and Ashley Judd even filmed a new series in the streets. FC Bayern Munich goalkeeper Manuel Neuer enjoyed the views from the cable car and Jon Bon Jovi spent a family holiday in Cavtat. We have already seen Roman Abramovich, Bernie Eccelstone (again), the famous designer Valentino, Sarah Ferguson and the world cup winning footballer Bastian Schweinsteiger.

Keep your eyes never know who you will bump into in Dubrovnik.


Bernie Ecclestone and his wife leaving the Old City 


Sir Roger Moore

ferguson ecclestone6 180714

Sarah, Duchess of York

The Voice of Dubrovnik


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