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 increasing presence of an imported workforce in Croatia is evident in the regularly published Focus Week by HUP's chief economist, Hrvoje Stojić, through the clear indication of the number of residence and work permits. In the first ten months of this year, 147,301 permits were issued to foreign nationals, a staggering 39 percent increase compared to last year, with two-thirds related to work in the construction and tourism sectors. The total number of work permits for the entire year could reach 170-175 thousand.
Estimates suggest that currently, 80 to 100 thousand foreign workers are employed in Croatia, accounting for five to six percent of the total workforce this year. "Given the solid economic growth and continuous tension in the labour market, it is expected that the total number of work permits next year will exceed 200,000," notes Stojić.
HUP has concrete proposals to facilitate or "accelerate" the employment of an increasing number of foreign workers. At the top of the list is expanding the list of deficit occupations for which a labour market test is not required. Additionally, they propose extending the duration of residence and work permits from one to two or three years and from 6 to 9 months for seasonal workers. They also advocate for simplifying certain administrative procedures in issuing work permits. "We recommend eliminating the obligation to take double fingerprints from foreign workers, who extend the duration of residence and work permits, especially considering that this obligation is questionable from the standpoint of the EU Visa Code. Significant improvement would also be the digitization of the process of delivering residence and work permit decisions by the police station," the analysis states.
Demographic trends clearly indicate that in the coming years, the demand for foreign labour will inevitably increase, emphasizing the urgency of a quality immigration policy. Governor of the Bank of Croatia, Boris Vujčić recently estimated that Croatia could lose 400,000 people of working age over the next 20 years, calling for the need to devise both natal and immigration policies. "We need to agree on what we want," he said.
Thanks to stronger immigration and increased economic activity, HUP expects employment to grow by 2.7 percent this year. The analysis shows that in October, the highest growth rate was recorded in the IT sector, up 8.3 percent year-on-year, followed by tourism (+4.8 percent) and the real estate sector (+4.4 percent).
According to information gathered by the Croatian Tourist Board from Croatian airports, Croatia will be directly connected to 28 countries during the winter flight schedule. The largest number of direct airline routes will connect Croatia with Germany, Poland, Austria, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom. In addition to European countries, Croatia will also have direct connections to destinations on other continents, such as the United Arab Emirates and Qatar.
"I am extremely pleased that we expect more than 150 unique airlines this winter season, compared to 118 last year during the same period. The importance of air traffic for Croatian tourism is undeniable, especially when it comes to connecting Croatia with key source markets outside the summer season. By introducing new airlines and a greater number of direct flights covering major European capitals, we make our destinations closer and more attractive to numerous guests," said Kristjan Staničić, the director of the Croatian Tourist Board, adding that quality air connectivity is one of the fundamental prerequisites for the further development and positioning of Croatia as an attractive year-round destination.
The foreign cities with the strongest planned connectivity are Frankfurt, Munich, Vienna, Amsterdam, and London, with direct connections expected from 69 foreign cities throughout the entire winter flight season. Taking into account available data and announcements, Zagreb Airport is expected to have the most air operations (65 percent), followed by Split Airport and Zadar Airport with an equal share of 12 percent.
Looking at airlines, it is planned that 27 different carriers will fly on routes to Croatia, with Croatia Airlines, Ryanair, Trade Air, and Lufthansa planning the most operations during the winter flight schedule.
The last Friday in November or as it is globally known, Black Friday, or the day of big discounts when stores prepare special offers for customers is upon us and Croatians are expected to spend 72 million euros in the sales.
Retailers across the county have been bombarding consumers with advertisements for discounts for some time, and many online retailers introduced a "pre-Black Friday." And also a whole host of retailers decided to go one step further and offer a week of discounts in “Black Week.”
According to estimates from the Croatian Chamber of Economy (HGK), Croatians will spend 10 percent more money on Black Friday this year than last year. Data from the Tax Administration provided shows that last year's Black Friday 3.96 million invoices were issued in retail, 11 percent more than on the same day in 2021, and their value was 493 million, which is 16 percent more than the previous year.
Considering macroeconomic indicators, Croatians could spend 10 percent more this year, according to HGK, or around 72 million euros.
Last year the highest demand was for clothing and footwear, technology, and cosmetic products.
In the first nine months of 2023, the Dubrovnik Bus Station, as reported by Libertas Dubrovnik, recorded 63,402 arrivals and departures of buses. Comparing this with the first nine months of 2022, when there were 40,319 bus arrivals and departures, a noticeable strong growth trend is evident in this segment of operations.
In public urban and suburban transport during the same period, there was an increase of 12.04% in transported passengers.
Croatia Airlines has prepared a special Black Friday offer, allowing passengers to enjoy a 30% discount on airfare for all flights.
The exclusive offer is available from November 24 to 30, 2023, and is valid for travel between January 9 and March 31, 2024.
To take advantage of the 30% discount, customers can use the promo code 'FLYDAY' when purchasing tickets through the Croatia Airlines website or app. The discount applies to the ticket price, while airport fees and other charges are payable in full.
There may be only just over a month until Christmas but the temperatures in Dubrovnik today felt more like August than November.
After a few days of unsettled weather the clouds cleared today and the sunshine poured down with temperatures reaching a pleasant 23 degrees. And this photo from a car in the sunhsine indicated just how warm it was in Dubrovnik today.
The jumpers were swapped for T-shirts and sunbathing was the order of the day. However, this looks like just being a break in the rain and clouds as the rest of the week looks like more unsettled weather with highs in the mid-teens.
Last night, based on a report from a local fisherman, the Lastovo Archipelago Nature Park discovered an invasive visitor – the blue crab (Latin: Callinectes sapidus).
The detection of four blue crabs in a floating net raises an alarm about the possibility of the presence of this invasive species within the Lastovo Archipelago Nature Park. Of the three surviving specimens, two are females and one is a male. Until now, recorded specimens have not been part of the Lastovo archipelago ecosystem, indicating the possibility that these crabs, entangled in a net not owned by local fishermen, drifted from other areas.
The presence of blue crabs in the Adriatic Sea, which normally inhabit the Atlantic Ocean, raises concerns among fishermen, shellfish farmers, and ecologists. Blue crabs are most commonly found at the mouth of the Neretva River in Croatia, preferring brackish water and muddy bottoms. They have a tendency to reproduce rapidly and consume local shellfish, especially mussels, which can disrupt the natural balance.
Although this is an isolated case, the staff of the Lastovo Archipelago Nature Park appeals to all visitors and the local population to immediately report any sightings to the Public Institution 'Lastovo Archipelago Nature Park,' as stated in their post on their Facebook page.
HarperCollins UK’s One More Chapter has signed a new two-book deal with Eva Glyn, the author of The Olive Grove and The Island of Secrets. Publisher Charlotte Ledger acquired World All Language rights from Eva Glyn, with the first book, The Dubrovnik Book Club, scheduled to publish in March 2024. Glyn’s second book under contract, The Island Hopping Library, will follow in summer 2024.
An escapist and emotional novel with a cosy mystery element, The Dubrovnik Book Club is perfect for fans of Victoria Hislop and The Durrells. Newly arrived on the sun-drenched shores of Croatia, Claire Thomson’s life is about to change forever when she starts working at a local bookshop. With her cousin Vedran, employee Luna and Karmela, a professor, they form an unlikely book club. But when their first book club pick – an engrossing cosy crime – inspires them to embark upon an investigation that is close to the group’s heart, they quickly learn the value of keeping their new-found friends close as lives and stories begin to entwine…
Although she considers herself Welsh, Eva Glyn is happily settled in Cornwall with her husband of more than twenty-five years. Glyn’s writing is inspired by beautiful places and the stories they hide. While her passion is to travel, she finds inspiration can strike just as well at home or abroad. Glyn has written several books creating a realistic portrayal of Croatian life and The Dubrovnik Book Club is her fifth novel with One More Chapter.
Glyn said: ‘I am delighted to be setting two completely new books in Croatia, especially as it is the only European destination to be included in Lonely Planet's top ten countries to travel to in 2024. I can't wait to work with the team at One More Chapter to take more readers there.’
Ledger added: ‘It’s such a joy to continue publishing Eva’s heartwarming books set in beautiful Croatia. Every time she comes to me with an idea I immediately want to grab my passport and head to the airport! We are so excited to bring her books to new readers at home and around the world.’