Tuesday, 21 May 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.

Email: mark.thomas@dubrovnik-times.com

The Dubrovnik Tourist Board successfully participated in the Balkan Roadshow 2024 in Asia, organized with the support of Miki Reps, one of the most significant tour operators from the Far East. This roadshow is part of a series that initially covered Japan, Korea, and Hong Kong, markets that were leading as source markets to Croatia and Dubrovnik before the COVID-19 pandemic. However, except for Korea, these markets are recovering the slowest, partly due to the still limited number of flights to Europe compared to the pre-pandemic period.


From April 22nd to 26th, the roadshow brought together key stakeholders and professionals in the tourism industry in Tokyo, Seoul, and Hong Kong. In collaboration with partners such as Intours, Plitvice Lakes National Park, Tourist Boards of Zagreb, Ljubljana, and Čakovec, Miroslav Drašković, the Director of the Dubrovnik Tourist Board, presented the diverse tourist offer of Dubrovnik. "This event provided an exceptional platform for connecting with key professionals in the tourism industry in the Asian region, especially interesting due to the large markets that still prefer package tours by tour operators. Although stays are not long, they are the longest in Dubrovnik. It is important for us to ensure arrivals in Dubrovnik throughout the year, including autumn and winter months. Participation in this roadshow is considered crucial, and we plan to continue such engagement in the future," said Miroslav Drašković.

During the presentations, about 90 participants gained insight into a wide range of tourist offerings, including UNESCO World Heritage sites, adventure travel opportunities, diverse accommodation options, gastronomic experiences, and cultural charms. The event highlighted the growing interest in Balkan tourism among Asian markets. After each presentation in the three cities, three stays were awarded at the Dubrovnik Palace Hotel, Rixos Premium Hotel, and Lero Hotel.

The series of presentations will continue in the fall in the markets of Indonesia, Taiwan, the Philippines, and Malaysia. All these markets are year-round, and the promotion of Dubrovnik's tourist offer will particularly emphasize travel from November 1st to May 1st. Additionally, direct flights from Korea to Zagreb will start in June, further stimulating tourism activities from that area.

In a milestone achievement for Croatian football star Luka Modrić, Real Madrid announced on Friday night that he has now become the third-highest foreign appearance-maker in the club's illustrious history.

The 38-year-old, also the captain of the Croatian national team, solidified his position during Real Madrid's 1-0 away victory against Real Sociedad.

With this match, Modrić's tally reaches an impressive 527 appearances for the "Royal Club," placing him on par with the legendary Brazilian player Roberto Carlos.

Modrić now follows only Marcelo, the Brazilian full-back with 546 appearances, and Karim Benzema, the French forward with a staggering 648 matches under his belt.

If the morning indicates the day, Croatia is in for an excellent tourist season. Since the beginning of the year, we have recorded around 1.8 million arrivals and 5 million overnight stays, which is 6 percent more arrivals and 3 percent more overnight stays compared to last year, reports HRT.

The majority of guests were domestic, followed by Germans, Slovenians, and Austrians, with a remarkable 34 percent increase in Polish visitors. Direct flights from Warsaw to Split were introduced earlier than usual.

As part of the promotion of the Warsaw - Split air route by the Polish national carrier LOT, leading Polish tour operators, agents, tourism journalists, and bloggers spent several days in Dalmatia. The Split-Dalmatia County is extremely popular among Poles.


"The greatest advantage is the language, similar to our own, and we feel safe and at home," emphasized Izabela Grelowska, a tourism journalist from Interia.pl.

Last year, Polish guests in Croatia achieved almost 7 million overnight stays and are at the top of tourist statistics.

"Croatia is one of the favorite destinations for Poles. Last year we had over a million passengers, and as an airline, we see that Poles still want to travel," said Michał Fijoł, President of the LOT Management Board.

"According to Tomas research, Poles are mostly looking for sun and sea, but right after that are natural beauties; they love national parks, being in nature, and active holidays," says Kristjan Staničić, Director of the Croatian National Tourist Board.

In competition among 70 regions and cities of the European Union, the City of Zagreb has been awarded the gold prize for the European Capital of Inclusion and Diversity for 2024, in the category of cities with a population exceeding 50,000, presented by Helena Dalli, the European Commissioner for Equality.

The award was accepted on behalf of the City of Zagreb by Lora Vidović, the Head of the City Office for Social Protection, Health, Veterans, and Persons with Disabilities, as announced on Friday by the Mayor's Office.

Zagreb is the only city from Croatia that made it to the final selection, competing for the title with cities from seven European countries: Italy, Greece, Poland, Portugal, Slovenia, Spain, and Sweden.

"We see this recognition not only as an accolade but also as our commitment as the City Administration to continue developing the values of equality and non-discrimination," said Vidović.


This morning, Deputy Mayor of Dubrovnik, Jelka Tepšić, opened Du Motion on Stradun, a two-day event culminating in tomorrow's half-marathon.

Deputy Tepšić welcomed all the runners who this year come from as many as 50 countries worldwide and thanked the event organizers for expecting 2700 participants.

Today, the race along the 1940-metre-long Dubrovnik walls is taking place, followed by the Children's Race Orlando for Dubrovnik preschoolers and younger elementary school students.

Tomorrow, Sunday, is reserved for the months-in-advance sold-out, most international Croatian race, the Dubrovnik 21K, which will be run this year on a slightly modified route, and the Dubrovnik 5K citizens' charity race, with a thousand participants running for ten-year-old Marko Akrap.

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The Admiral Grand Hotel in Slano opened its doors to the first tourists of the year this week, and Hotel Osmine opened a couple of weeks ago, so now both hotels in the region of Dubrovačko Primorje are available to tourists.

"So far, we can be extremely satisfied with the tourist results in the first four months, as well as in the previous part of April. Since the beginning of the year, 576 guests have stayed in the Dubrovnik Riviera area, generating 2,802 overnight stays, which is 6 percent more arrivals and 28 percent more overnight stays than in the same period last year. In April, there were 447 arrivals and 2,154 overnight stays, which is 7 percent more arrivals and 47 percent more overnight stays than in the same period in April 2023. Looking at accommodation segments, hotels recorded 1,263 overnight stays in the previous part of April, which is 37 percent more than last year in the same period, while family accommodation recorded 418 overnight stays, which is 60 percent more than in the same period in April 2023. The most numerous tourists so far this season have come from France, the United Kingdom, Germany, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Croatia," emphasized the Dubrovačko Primorje Tourist Board.


The Mayor of Dubrovnik, Mato Franković, presented contracts for sports programs for people with disabilities and children with developmental difficulties for the City of Dubrovnik in 2024 to representatives of seven Dubrovnik sports clubs today.

According to the submitted programs, contracts totalling €96,442.00 were awarded to them, representing an increase of €32,000 compared to the previous year.

"Every year, we see an increasing number of interested clubs, and in this way, the City encourages clubs to work with people with disabilities and children with difficulties, thus involving them in club activities and participation in available competitions. By providing equal opportunities for everyone, as a society, we demonstrate our maturity. This is something we definitely need to continue building on. It is especially important to provide equal opportunities for children with special needs, allowing them to join a sport within their capabilities and achieve good and quality results," said Mayor Franković on this occasion.

This year, the following clubs applied with their programs to the public call: Dubrovnik Tennis Club, Dubrovnik Athletic Club, Dubrovnik Judo Club 1966, Jug Swimming Club, Libertas Table Tennis Club, Fortitudo Judo Club, and Shark Taekwon-do Club. The allocated funds co-finance activities such as training of professional staff, procurement of sports equipment, professional work, and competition programs for athletes with disabilities, as well as support for promising young athletes with disabilities.

It is worth reminding that the City of Dubrovnik was the first city in the Republic of Croatia to allocate a separate item in its budget for sports programs for people with disabilities, a commitment that has grown significantly since 2022.

Through co-financing such programs, the City of Dubrovnik aims to encourage the involvement of people with disabilities in sports and to influence the improvement of the quality of life of children and young people with disabilities by implementing sports training and competition programs in sports clubs.

The State Electoral Commission (DIP) has published a consolidated list of valid lists on its website, marking the beginning of the official electoral campaign for the European elections, which will take place on June 9th.

Twenty-five lists will compete for twelve seats in the European Parliament, including 23 party lists and two independent lists, as reported by Hina. Compared to the 2019 elections, there are fewer lists and candidates; back then, 33 lists and 396 candidates competed for voters' favour. All of them can officially present themselves to voters for 44 days, until midnight on Friday, June 7th, when a two-day electoral silence begins.

Participants in the European elections are not allowed to spend more than 530,891 euros on campaigning per list. Apart from their own resources, campaigns can be financed through donations. Physical persons can donate up to 3981 euros to a political party or an independent list, while legal entities can donate up to 26,544 euros.

The State Electoral Commission (DIP) reminds that in the European elections on June 9th, citizens of other EU member states residing in Croatia also have the right to vote and be candidates. If they exercise this right in Croatia, citizens of other EU member states cannot do so in their home country or in another EU member state in the same elections.

The elections in June will be the fourth European elections for Croatia. The first was held on April 14, 2013, before the official accession to the EU on July 1st of that year. Twelve representatives were elected then, but their mandate lasted only a year because regular European elections were held the following year, in 2014. The last European elections were held in May 2019.

The Voice of Dubrovnik


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