Monday, 01 June 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

The Greek airline, Aegean Airlines, has announced it will restart flights to Dubrovnik from the 2nd of July. Aegean airlines will connect Dubrovnik with Athens four times a week from early July and has also stated that it will resume its Zagreb and Split connections.

Aegean is just the latest of a number of international airlines who have released their new flights schedule for summer 2020 to Croatia, with Ryanair and easyJet both announcing new flight dates.

The Greek airline has already reinstalled domestic flights through both Greece and Crete, and is slowly planning to restart European flights.

 

We are trying to keep your spirits up with some beautiful Dubrovnik photos from Instagram this week.

Check out our top five spirit lifting Dubrovnik Instagram photos from last week and keep sending us your own photos and videos of the region.

 

After being under lockdown for almost three months due to the Covid-19 pandemic people took advantage of the glorious sunshine and the ever warmer Adriatic to escape to Dubrovnik’s green oasis – the island of Lokrum today. The specially reduced prices and free tickets only succeeded in attracting even more people to the beautiful island and with boats running every hour they were leaving the Old City harbour today packed, as packed as they could be with the Covid-19 safety regulations.

people waiting for ferry to lokrum today

Busy boats for Lokrum today - Photo Mark Thomas 

Normally at this time of the year, early summer season, the boats to Lokrum would be full of tourists, but in these Covid-19 times the citizens have the early summer for themselves, and they are certainly making the most of it. As one local who was waiting for the Lokrum ferry commented with a smile “Dubrovnik is now great for the soul, although maybe not so much for the pocket, but don’t worry we’ll survive just fine.” 

 

We have been waiting since the 10th of March, a full 74 days, for this news! Today, the 23rd of May 2020 is the first time since the Covid-19 pandemic began in Croatia that there are no new cases of the virus in the country over the past 24 hours. Let’s repeat that – zero cases. For the past almost three months we have been bringing you the worrying news, on a daily basis, of the number of new cases not only in Croatia but on our local level in the Dubrovnik – Neretva County. And although Dubrovnik has been corona-free for more than two weeks we have been waiting patiently to bring you this news. And yes we are not out of the woods yet, a second wave might well come, but this time Croatia will be even more prepared. We are just going to repeat that one more time – NO NEW CASES OF COVID-19 IN CROATIA!

In the last 24 hours, no case of coronavirus infection has been recorded in Croatia, so the total number of people who have contracted the virus in Croatia remains at remains 2,243, the National Civil Protection Headquarters announced today. This is the first time since March 10 that no new cases have been reported.

So far, 60,864 people have been tested, of which 953 in the last 24 hours. There are six patients on ventilators, and the total number of deaths due to Covid-19 in Croatia remains at 99.

“Today we are looking forward to the number for which we all responsible. ZERO! Thank you to everyone! - announced the Minister of Health, Vili Beroš, on his Facebook profile.

It is still called upon to adhere to all the measures and instructions adopted so far, because by acting responsibly we can reduce the spread of coronavirus infection.

But for now please allow us a slight smile and a high five (or rather a high elbow) for this news.

We would also like to take this opportunity to sincerely thank the Civil Protection Directorate for all their brilliant guidance and expertise, the front line workers who have worked tirelessly and selflessly, the thousands of people who have given up their time for free as volunteers, the emergency services and of course you, the public who have followed the regulations to the letter of the law.

 

“Thank you all and stay responsible,” were the words of the Health Minister this week as the new cases of Covid-19 plummeted to almost zero. I think it’s safe to say that the worst is behind us. Life is getting back to some kind of normal. Its probably only a matter of time before we declare ourselves a corona-free country. And I think that we can be proud.

Starting from the top and the government handed power quickly over to the experts, to the contact tracing apparoch that proved vital, to the swift and strict regulations that locked down the country and to all of us who actually obeyed the advice. The daily press conferences, that are now a thing of the past, conveyed the message without trying to sugarcoat it and in a calm and competent manner. As another Englishman living in Dubrovnik (yes, I am not the only one) commented “What a great job, and super communication all the way, ending in a nice thank you. Impressive.”

And it is clear from the praise that we are getting from all over the world that our efforts didn’t go unnoticed. Maybe we should get the whole team from the Civil Protection Directorate to run the country from now on. Apolitical, composed and rational with a clear and understandable message. Let’s face it if the Croatian Minister of Health, Vili Beros, was English he would be Sir Vili by now! Clearly the key was handing over total control to the experts.

And that is the frustrating thing. Why, oh why does Croatia function like a Swiss clock in troubled times and yet in times of peace it goes back to being a Mickey Mouse watch? “If Croatia as a whole could behave like this in normal times then I would be living in Switerzerland,” said one friend. He isn’t wrong.

It must be something in the DNA. If nothing’s wrong then we’ll find something to break. If everything is going smoothly then we’ll make some waves. And, true to form, as the Covid-19 pandemic was dying out the politics and disorder reared their ugly head.

Personally, I am going to miss the dignified approach. It is obvious that if you give the wider public a reasoned and regulated attitude that makes sense that they will follow you. For two months they followed with determination and discipline, and the results were world beating. We shouldn’t underestimate our achievement. Far from it we should use it as a foundation to build upon. If we don’t learn from this unprecented period then we only have ourselves to blame. If we can’t look back in five or ten years time from now and say, “that experience made us stronger and as a result we implanted the following measures,” then we would have failed.

One of the greatest political leaders of all time, Sir Winston Churchill, once famousily said that “the success of a nation can be judged by how you educate your younger generations and how you look after your older ones.” Croatia has just successfully looked after all generations in a fight against an invisible enemy. If that doesn’t give us hope and belief of a brighter tomorrow then nothing will.

The Minister of Culture, Nina Obuljen Koržinek, announced at the press conference of the National Civil Protection Headquarters on Friday that the new phase of easing measures for cultural events will start on Monday.

"Croatia is one of the first countries in the EU to start issuing recommendations and gradually opening up the cultural sector," said Obuljen Korzinek, announcing the fourth phase of easing measures.

"We will revise the recommendations for professional cultural events. The largest number of inquiries we receive is regarding events that bring together a large number of people, more than 500. We cannot make unique instructions for that. It is suggested that organizers contact the Ministry for such events," the Minister said.

 

A new meeting was held in the city administration on Friday on the topic of launching international flights to Dubrovnik in the 2020 season.

At the meeting, the parameters of the marketing campaign launched by airlines, which will be jointly implemented by the City of Dubrovnik, the Dubrovnik Tourist Board and Dubrovnik Airport, were elaborated and agreed upon. All in order to encourage airlines to introduce flights to Dubrovnik, which along with all its attractive factors, has also imposed itself as an epidemiologically safe tourist destination.

All efforts of those involved are focused on mid-June, as the European Union's borders are scheduled to open on 15 June, creating the preconditions for the re-establishment of scheduled international air traffic.

The criteria for co-financing marketing campaigns of airlines will be presented at the session of the Dubrovnik Tourist Board, which should take place next week.

 

One of the largest dance music festivals in south-east Europe, Ultra Europe in Split, has been cancelled for 2020 and postponed to July next year.

“We have to inform you with heavy hearts that the eighth edition of the ULTRA Europe festival, which was due to take place from the 10th to the 12th of July 2020 at the Park Mladeži stadium in Split, is postponed until the 9th to the 11th of July 2021, due to a Covid-19 pandemic,” stated the organisers for Slobodna Dalmacija.

The current health crisis we are in is unprecedented and for us there is no higher priority than the health, safety and physical well-being of all our fans, as well as all those involved in the production and organization of the festival, added the organisers.

 

 

The information will soon be published on all their channels, and media around the world will receive a press release in English and Croatian.

The organisers added that “Purchased tickets for this year's edition will be valid for ULTRA Europe 2021 or ULTRA Europe 2022, depending on your choice, and as an additional benefit, we have provided the amount of €20 that will be added to the festival bracelets for the selected edition. This amount can be used for food, drink or purchase in the official ULTRA store. In addition, we have made it possible to change the name for those who want to leave their tickets to someone else.”

“For all those who do not want to use the already purchased ticket for one of the next two festival editions or the possibility of exchange, we have provided a refund. More information about the selection or replacement of purchased tickets, as well as refunds will be sent to all ticket holders via email,” concluded the organisers.

The Voice of Dubrovnik

THE VOICE OF DUBROVNIK


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