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.
“Oh, that seems a little cheap,” said my wife as we pushed a trolley around the supermarket. She was, of course, looking at the wrong price, well at least the wrong price for now, the new Euro conversions that have appeared.
In about ten days the first phase of operation “Goodbye Kuna & Hello Euro” begins, when businesses have to display prices in two currencies. It is going to get confusing. And then just a few months later we’ll be folding shining new Euros into our wallets, and the Kuna will be burned to make electricity or shipped off to be exhibited in museums.
It will all happen rather rapidly, which is probably for the best.
Am I sad? Not at all. And the vast, vast majority of people I speak to can’t wait to wave goodbye to the Kuna. Clearly, from a country whose economy is heavily reliant on tourism any system that makes it easier for tourists to spend, and indeed spend more, should, and is being welcomed with open arms.
And just as importantly, there is the fact that Croatians, in general, have no affinity with the Kuna. It isn’t as if they are losing a dear, old friend.
“You, are looking at the wrong price,” I answered my wife. And this flip to the Euro is going to need a flip in our mind-sets. The price of washing powder looked unrealistically cheap to my wife because we have got used to dealing in much higher denominations. We buy things in hundreds and thousands. And now they cost single digits and tens. Everything immediately looks so much cheaper.
When a waiter asks you for 10 rather than 75 your brain calculates that as being heavily reduced. On the flip side I went to the ATM the other day and the banks have started to display withdraw amounts in the two currencies. Now, if you thought shopping gave you a positive shock on the cheapness of items, drawing money from an ATM makes you feel poor again. This is going to take some getting used to.
And on the other side of the coin we have the tourists coming every summer seeing prices in the hundreds and thinking they are expensive, they’ll have the opposite physiological switch.
“It would be easier if there was only one price,” said my wife, still grappling with what the future holds.
Croatia is sailing towards a future as a dedicated member of the EU. We have a Europhile Prime Minister who sees his future as the next EU Commissioner. He’ll be swapping his Zagreb address for a Brussels one in the near future. Just as Kolinda was drawn to the US, Plenković is fascinated by everything EU. We seem to be electing politicians who can’t wait to leave the country.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not against closer integration, in fact it is absolutely the right path for Croatia to take. Each country has its reasons, its rationale, for choosing a future. And in my opinion Croatia being sucked into the EU, like becoming the 17th German state, isn’t a bad thing as it brings with it the one things that this region needs – stability.
Why do you think there are more Croatians living outside of the country than in it? Because of the insecurity, uncertainty and political and social fluctuations.
So bring on the Euro, let’s become the 20th country (well slightly more if you add Montenegro into the mix) to use the European single currency, start using the second strongest currency in the world, and abolish exchange offices.
The last chapter in the life of exchange offices seems to be a desperate move to make as much money as possible whilst they still can. I had the unfortunate experience of having to use one the other day and even had the lady behind the counter publically apologising to me for the terrible exchange rate. “I’m sorry, but we’ve been given this fixed rate from Zagreb, and it is really bad,” she said whilst handing over the money with a look of embarrassment. Note to self – don’t use exchange offices anymore.
“Maybe I should start thinking in pounds then,” said my wife. Yes, she had a point. She has spent a long time in the UK and knows the value of the pound and it is relatively close to the value of a euro.
It is going to take time to adjust, of that there is no doubt. But adjust we must. And believe me next summer will see a take-off in revenues from tourism. But until then let’s enjoy the last days of the Kuna.
Read more Englishman in Dubrovnik…well, if you really want to
Speed cameras, or fixed housings in which these cameras can be placed, came into the focus of the media and the public in 2019. In that first wave of installation, these housings were in a total of 122 locations on Croatian roads. About three years later, the number of locations has almost tripled.
According to the latest list that the portal Gorica.info received from the Ministry of the Interior, the number of locations is now 324, reports N1.
That's about fifty locations more than six months ago when this list was last published. At that time, there were 270 locations with fixed speed monitoring devices on Croatian roads.
And in the Dubrovnik-Neretva County there is a total of 17 speed cameras dotted around.
Here is a full list of their locations
ZATON DOLI; on the D8 at the intersection with the D414,
PLOČE, Plinjanska near kbr. 45; D8
DUBROVNIK, near Sinjska street on D8
GRUDA (Municipality of Konavle); street Grude bb; D8
METKOVIĆ, Splitska street near road no. 25
DUBROVNIK, Čajkovići, Čajkovići Street, near Kbr. 3
OREBIĆ (Municipality of Orebić), Bana Josipa Jelačića Street near Kbr. 60; D414.
KUPARI (Municipality of Župa Dubrovačka), Blato Street near Kbr. 18; D8.
PLAT (Municipality of Župa Dubrovačka), street Plat near kbr. 5; D8
DUBROVNIK, Ulica Pera Bakića near Kbr. 19
METKOVIĆ, Zrinjske i Frankopana Street near Kbr. 125/1; D62
CAVTAT, street Put od Cavtat near Kbr. 26a, ŽC 6239
ZVEKOVICA, street Put Uskoplja near the road 44, ŽC 6239
MOKOŠICA (Dubrovnik), Uz Adriatica cesta street near Kbr. 10
ROŽAT (Dubrovnik), street Rožat Gornji, near road no. 76
DRAČE (Municipality of Janjina), Drače Street, D414
Works on the Lapad coast project, the installation phase of the reinforced concrete elements of the coastal wall has begun. First, a horizontal element is being installed on the previously constructed reinforced concrete piles, a total of 131 of them, and then the vertical elements are hung on the horizontal elements. All works are carried out in accordance with the technical solution, and everything according to the newly determined geology of the soil and with regard to the very specific design solution, which as such had to meet the conditions of the environmental impact study.
Let us remind you that the 70 million Kuna capital investment for the reconstruction and expansion of the Lapad coast is the largest road infrastructure project in the city since the construction of the "boulevard" in Lapad. Traffic regulation will be changed from a one-way street to a two-way street, a new coastal structure, communal infrastructure, a promenade with greenery and a bicycle path will be built, the level of traffic safety and the quality of public city transport will be increased.
The Dubrovnik bus station has joined the growing family of bus stations that, in addition to their standard services, also provide services for sharing, using, and reading books either while waiting or while traveling.
The concept is simple: all the books displayed on the shelves are free and open and users of the station services can take, read, enjoy them or take them with them without having to return them. Passengers will also be able to leave the book on the shelf and leave the pleasure of reading to someone else.
The Dubrovnik Tourist Board and the Representative Office of the Croatian Tourist Board in the USA jointly participated and presented the Croatian tourist offer and the offer of the city of Dubrovnik at one of the most significant tourist events on the American continent, Virtuoso Travel Week, which gathers representatives of the most influential tourist entities specializing in luxury and experiential travel.
Virtuoso Travel Week took place from August 13 to 19 and brought together 5,000 top luxury travel professionals, travel consultants and intermediaries, representatives of hotels and resorts, airlines, cruise companies, travel agencies, tour operators and tourist boards from around 100 countries, and over 180,000 meetings were held.
The Dubrovnik Tourist Board presented the tourist offer of Dubrovnik at numerous meetings with representatives of tourist entities specializing in luxury travel from the USA, Canada, Latin America, Australia and New Zealand, and Europe.
At a meeting with the management of Virtuoso, the director of the Dubrovnik Tourist Board, Miro Drašković, agreed that the tourist board will become one of the 2,200 prestigious partners of Virtuoso. Virtuoso represents a network of the best American travel agencies specializing in luxury travel, whose main goal is to offer clients carefully planned and unforgettable trips, which counts more than 20,000 consultants worldwide and includes more than 2,200 partners, including top hotels and resorts, tour operators, airlines and agencies.
American tourists are constantly in second place in terms of the number of tourists in Dubrovnik, and United Airlines connects Dubrovnik with the USA with a direct flight from Newark four times a week, the USA market is extremely important for Dubrovnik, and it is very important to maintain visibility and targeted promotion of Dubrovnik as desirable tourist destinations.
One of the most iconic and indeed most hardworking, cultural institutions in Dubrovnik is the award winning Dubrovnik Symphony Orchestra (DSO). And this year the orchestra celebrates its 97th anniversary. As an essential part of the rich and diverse cultural heritage of Dubrovnik and Croatia, the orchestra continues to perform in the unique ambiances of its city. It presents the musical repertoire and inexhaustible source of quality cultural events to citizens and visitors in spaces such as the atrium of the Rector’s Palace, city churches, and squares. In addition, DSO regularly performs with well-known local and internationally renowned artists, interpreting works by classical music masters in Dubrovnik and on their tours around the world.
I can clearly remember a few years ago one world renowned American saxophone player saying to me “imagine a city with only 45,000 citizens that has a full-time, professional symphony orchestra!” He then listed off a whole range of US cities much, much larger than Dubrovnik that don’t have an orchestra. That is how much importance is placed on culture in the pearl of the Adriatic.
Regular festivals throughout the year
Although Dubrovnik is filled with cultural events throughout the year, most of the programs take place in the summer, during the high season. However, Dubrovnik Symphony Orchestra recognized the need for a quality music program, so in 2017 it introduced a music festival called the Dubrovnik Music Spring. The orchestra has a busy annual schedule. Concerts, festivals, musical cycles, you name it this ever busy orchestra is forever entertaining locals and tourists. And one festival that has really found itself on the map of the cultural calendar is the Dubrovnik Musical Spring! This festival is now traditional in the city and people come from far and wide to attend.
In April and May, citizens and indeed guests to the city have the opportunity to enjoy carefully selected programs that take place at several locations in Dubrovnik, including educational concerts for the youngest audience. In recent years, the orchestra has hosted more than 30 renowned artists, soloists, and conductors, emphasizing the importance of music and its traditions in Dubrovnik.
Contact and ticket infromation for all concerts
Address - Ulica sv. Dominika 9, Dubrovnik
Tel.: +385 (0) 20 417 110
At the 22nd session of the Tourist Board of the Dubrovnik-Neretva County Tourist Board, held on August 19, 2022, Mr. Julijo Srgota was elected as the new director of the Dubrovnik-Neretva County Tourist Board for a 4-year term.
In the first half of the year, there were 58 foreign ships in Croatian Adriatic, which made 240 round trips, on which there were 189,000 passengers, significantly more than in the same period last year, according to data from the Croatian Bureau of Statistics.
For the sake of comparison, last year due to strong pandemic travel restrictions for cruise ships there were only 15, with around eight thousand passengers.
The passengers who came on these ships in the first half of 2022, 189 thousand of them, stayed in Croatia for a total of 466 days, which is 423 days more than in the same period in 2021.
Despite large increases and the return of cruise ships to the Adriatic, in the first part of 2022 the results from the record, pre-pandemic year 2019 have not yet been reached, because then, compared to the same time in 2022, there were about 12 percent more cruises by foreign ships, and passengers on them by about 54 percent more.
Most cruises by foreign ships in the first half of 2022, or 46 percent of the total number, as in previous years, were in the waters of the Dubrovnik-Neretva County, followed by 31 percent in Split-Dalmatia County, while the remaining 23.4 percent of total trips were made in Zadar, Primorje-Gorski Kotar and Istria counties and Šibenik-Knin.
Dubrovnik was once again the most visited port of foreign cruise ships, followed by Split, Zadar, Hvar and Korčula, Šibenik and Rovinj.