Sunday, 12 July 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.


The Scottish rock legend, Rod Stewart, was spotted yesterday strolling down the main street of the Old City of Dubrovnik. Sir Rod, who played a mega concert in Zagreb in 2018, enjoyed an evening meal in the historic core and then soaked up the sights and architecture.



And Stewart (75) made the most of this family break with his wife Penny Lancaster (49) and their two children. They all appeared in very high spirits and not even a brief summer shower dampened their mood as Stewart had a large umbrella on hand. They certainly saw a unique Dubrovnik, without the normal tourist crowds and cruise ship passengers.

It is believed that Rod Stewart and his family arrived in Dubrovnik on the mega yacht of the richest New Zealander, Graeme Richard Hart. The 116-metre-long Ulysses is currently at anchor near the Port of Dubrovnik.


The British leisure airline, Jet2, is introducing numerous routes from the UK to Dubrovnik, Split and Pula, reports Croatian Aviation.

Following the decision to abolish the mandatory 14-day self-isolation upon arrival in the UK from Croatia, the company has confirmed the launch of its seasonal lines with which many British tourists come on holiday to Croatia.

From mid-July, Jet2 will launch as many as 12 direct lines from Great Britain to Dubrovnik, Split and Pula. Certain routes have been canceled, while the number of weekly flights has been reduced for all routes.

The flights to Dubrovnik from the UK are from Birmingham, once a week, from the 18th of July, from London, once a week, again from the 18th of July. And then from Manchester, three times a week, from the 16th of July, and from Newcastle, once a week, from the 19th of July.

Jet2 will also connect Split to Leeds, East Midlands, Birmingham, London and Manchester. And Pula with Birmingham, Leeds and Manchester.


This week we caught up with one of the most influential, and quite possibly one of the most hard-working, online names today. Described as an influencer, TV host, model and socialite, Hofit Golan is certainly at the top of her profession, followed by millions on social media, the darling of the red carpet and has recently picked up the lifestyle influencer of the year award. Golan recently visited Dubrovnik and Korcula, after being invited by the Croatian National Tourist Board and the Dubrovnik Tourist Board, and her updates on Instagram spread the word on the region during these challenging times for tourism. Sitting in the five-star Hotel Hilton Imperial Dubrovnik we found out just what makes this Israeli born influencer work so hard and just what is the secret of her success. Today she calls London home, but really she is a citizen of the world, and after weeks of being cooped up at home she just couldn’t wait to spread her wings again.

hofit golan pool

Is this your first time to Dubrovnik, and what are your impressions?

Yes, I have been to Croatia a few times before but this is my first visit to Dubrovnik. I think this is one of the most beautiful cities I have ever seen. I can’t understand why it isn’t really more on the travel scene. We were walking through the stone streets of this medieval city and we were looking at the architecture. Not only is it so incredibly beautiful but it is so clean. The streets were glowing. It feels like brand new stone everywhere. I said to my friend that it feels like we are in Las Vegas in a replica of Dubrovnik. It almost seems too perfect to be real. I can’t name one city in the world where it is as clean as Dubrovnik. It looks like a film set. I actually saw some guys cleaning the streets and said “What are you cleaning? It is spotless already.” The sounds of the birds and the sunsets…wow! I don’t think I’ve seen such a glorious sunset in my life. And the food is excellent, very Mediterranean. And because there aren’t many tourists we have had the opportunity to meet and talk with lots of locals. I know we are seeing Dubrovnik in a unique time, and this is a special treat. I will always remember this city and this beautiful region.

golan hofit dubrovnik 2020


Your social media is full of exotic destinations; it seems like you are constantly travelling

For nine years I was the face of Fashion TV and I travelled extensively with my TV show. I would normally be travelling to a new country every three of four days. In December, January and February I was in Miami five times, the Bahamas twice, the Dominican Republic, New York, LA, Milan, Paris, Moscow, Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Ghana, Maldives and probably I have forgotten a few countries along the way. My smart phone is my office.

hofit golan hilton


What do you believe are influencers roles in the travel industry, especially with the current situation?

I was probably one of the very first people you could describe as a travel influencer, as I started doing this 20 years ago, long before social media was ever born. I used to be the face of a travel show for MTV. Then I travelled with BBC and ITV. I even hosted the Australian version of “I’m a celebrity get me out of here.” In some ways today with social media everyone has a voice, but then the wrong people also have a voice. They are able to say things that aren’t checked, aren’t fact checked and there have no liable. Like any other power there must be responsibility. I don’t really see myself as an influencer, I have been travelling and reporting about my travels for 20 years. What drives me personally is that travelling has been my passion since the day I was born. In fact, I felt tortured whilst at school and university because I couldn’t move the way I wanted to. I didn’t like the schedule and the structure, I felt like a lion in a cage. That was until I was 19 and I broke free and haven’t stopped moving since. My sister is the same, she describes herself as a digital nomad. For me travel is an education a much deeper experience than just taking photos. In fact, I really don’t enjoy taking photos and posting on Instagram. For me travelling is like telling a story. I started from humble beginnings. I was born in Israel; my parents were both in the military, and often I was home alone whilst they were shipped off somewhere to fight. We really didn’t have freedom to travel when we were younger. Travelling has opened my eyes to different cultures.


How long did it take to build up such a large following on social media, you have 1.7 million followers on Instagram alone?

Sometimes I focus on social media and sometimes I don’t, I think the number of followers you have doesn’t really mean that much. I am still a little old school when it comes to media. I used to work really hard before social media came along to get noticed by journalists and photographers. I had no PR person and no publicist, so I was doing it all on my own without social media. This took a lot of perseverance and determination. To win the attention of old school media, to get in magazines, we had to work hard, we had to prove a reason why we deserve column inches. That time was fun to me. Today it’s much easier with social media, we are a beautiful person and you post a sexy photo and millions can see you, including the traditional media. Younger influencers don’t even think about the old school media, and why should they because they are their own media, they are speaking to their own audience. Again I’ll repeat whilst this is a great opportunity it also comes with responsibility. For whilst you might have a huge audience what are you actually saying to them, what is your message? You must be responsible to your followers. Are you inspiring them?


The Prime Minister and President of the HDZ, Andrej Plenković, arrived on stage to the song Eye of the Tiger blasting out and thanked the waiting crowd for the "great result and the great victory of the HDZ".

“First of all, I would like to thank all Croatian citizens, all those who went to the polls and cast their votes. Today, this result of the HDZ is not only great, but also binding. We have had a difficult mandate full of temptations, and the challenges ahead may be even greater. These challenges require responsibility, experience and knowledge,” said Plenković.

He added that “This kind of voter support is a huge obligation and we will take care of it all for the next four years. Today, Croatia needs a government of modern sovereignty. In recent years, we have placed HDZ on the part of the political spectrum to which Dr. Franjo Tudjman left. I want to thank everyone who worked on the election strategy. This result gives us the right to be happy tonight, to relax a little, but from tomorrow at 9 we will continue to work for Croatia.”


It wasn't only Croatian citizens that reside in Croatia who voted in yesterday’s General Election, thousands of voters who live all around the world also cast their ballot, from the US to Australia.

The Eleventh Constituency is a separate constituency for the election of parliamentary representatives elected by Croatian citizens who do not reside in the Republic of Croatia. They elect only three members, which is in line with the fact that there were 59 thousand voters on the 2016 census, and only 21 thousand of them went to the polls.

Diaspora votes are traditionally usually won by HDZ, and this election was no different. Croatian diaspora elected all three seats to HDZ members and HDZ saw a landslide of 64.86 percent of the vote. This was an even higher percentage than last election when HDZ won 62.72 percent of the vote.


Yesterday in the Dubrovnik-Neretva County, 3 new cases of Covid-19 infection were recorded.

These three new cases are a middle-aged male from the Župa region who was hospitalized, a younger female also from the Župa region, who is being treated at home, are is connected to the same gathering in Zagreb as the 7 new cases reported the day before yesterday, and a middle-aged male from Dubrovnik who is also hospitalized.

A total of 3 people were hospitalized in Dubrovnik General Hospital.

A total of 3,995 samples have been analysed since the beginning of the pandemic.

In the Dubrovnik-Neretva County, there are 107 people in self-isolation.


In the past 24 hours, 57 new cases of coronavirus infection were recorded, and the number of currently infected (active cases) in Croatia today is a total of 842, the National Headquarters announced.

Among them, 93 patients are in hospital, of which four are on a ventilator. Since February 25, 2020, when the first case of infection was recorded in Croatia, a total of 3,151 people have been infected with Covid-19 to date, of which 113 have unfortunately passed away and 2,196 have recovered.

There are currently 4,801 people in self-isolation. To date, a total of 85,410 people have been tested, of which 1,244 were tested in the last 24 hours, reports the National Staff.


In accordance with the regulation of the Civil Protection Headquarters of the Dubrovnik – Neretva County, the Dubrovnik Health Centre has established a Covid-19 practice.
The practice, in cooperation with Covid-19 practices from the Neretva area and the island of Korčula, will be responsible for coordinating the health care of tourists suspected of having Covid-19 in the Dubrovnik-Neretva County.

For tourists from the area of the City of Dubrovnik and the municipalities of Konavle, Župa Dubrovačka, Dubrovačko primorje, Ston and Janjina, the practice will also be responsible for taking swabs to diagnose Covid-19.

The surgery is located at Dr. Ante Starčevića 1, 20000 Dubrovnik, and will work every day (including Saturdays, Sundays and holidays) in two shifts from 07:00 am to 7:00 pm.

The telephone numbers of the Covid-19 surgeries are mobile: +385 99 52 91 888, tel: +385 20 64 16 13.

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(Source - The Dubrovnik Tourist Board) 


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