Friday, 21 September 2018
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 island of Mljet is truly paradise on earth. The eighth largest island in Croatia has been mentioned as one of the most beautiful islands in the world numerous times, so it doesn't surprise us that it's an inspiration to many visitors that come there.

Zdronu, a Slovenian company that takes videos with drones and a 4K camera has recently published an amazing 4K video that truly shows the beauties of Mljet. This 2 minute video is captivating and inviting, so don't miss it. And don't miss visiting Mljet!

“This year the Dubrovnik Winter Festival will be bigger and better than ever,” commented the Mayor of Dubrovnik, Andro Vlahusic, at a press conference to highlight the festival. From the 18th of November to the 28th of February Dubrovnik the Dubrovnik Winter Festival will bring events, colours and music to the city with a whole host of surprises in the pipeline. “The Winter Festival is the best way of connecting the attractions that the city offers in the off-season,” added the mayor.

brochure winter festival 2016

One of the main problems for Dubrovnik’s winter tourism has always been the lack of international flights. However this winter there will be more flights than ever before landing at Dubrovnik Airport, a total of fourteen weekly international flights to five destinations and nineteen flights to the capital Zagreb. This is a considerable improvement on last winter when only three international flights arrived from two destinations. The deputy director of Dubrovnik Airport, Frano Luetic, commented that he is extremely surprised with the growth of passenger numbers so far this season, “We have seen an unbelievable 16 percent increase in passenger numbers through the airport since the beginning of the year and a massive 18 percent increase in June.” With the introduction of new winter flights, with companies such as Turkish Airlines, British Airways and Vueling all lined up, the Dubrovnik Winter Festival will be an attraction for tourists.

According to, the councillor for tourism and entrepreneurship, last year’s winter festival already had a positive impact on the city off-season tourism business. “Last year we saw an increase of 16 percent in the number of tourists in the city over the winter period compared with 2015.”

vlaho margaretic winter

Vlaho Margaretic

He added that this year’s festival would be similar in concept to last years but with a number of surprises. And once again there will be stands on the Stradun offering food, drinks and winter souvenirs. In total there will be sixteen stands on the Stradun and another seventeen around the Onofrio Fountain at the entrance to the Stradun, including one info point.

The city will once again have the festive lights, including the golden Teddy Bear, which was such a hit on social media last winter. And this year from the St. Blaise Church to the Dubrovnik Cathedral there will be a new lighting display. Tall wooden posts will hold angels in a mark to the spiritual side of Christmas. With live music every Friday and part nights every Saturday throughout the Dubrovnik Winter Festival it should prove even more successful than last year.

winter festival christmas angles

Check out the stunning video for the Dubrovnik Winter Festival

Croatia Airlines transported its millionth passenger of 2016 on the 15th of July on a flight from Dubrovnik to Zagreb. Suzana Brenko was the millionth passenger and was presented with gifts from the national airline.

This landmark was reached a full twelve days ahead of last year and even ahead of 2012 when Croatia Airlines had its best ever year. According to a statement from the airline passenger numbers this year are up 2 percent on the same period from 2015.

Don’t think about drinking the tap water in Croatia, unless you want to get diarrhoea, claims the British newspaper The Daily Mail. In a recent article on travel section of The Daily Mail website the newspaper insists that the Croatia is one of the countries that you shouldn’t drink the tap water. This information seems to contradict almost of all the competent institutions on the quality of water, from the European Union to the United Nations, as well as a plethora of independent sources. In an article entitled “From Spain and France to Russia and Croatia: Countries in Europe where you can drink tap water - and the places you really shouldn't,” The Daily Mail states that all of the tap water in Eastern Europe, including Croatia is not safe to drink.

Regardless of the fact that The Daily Mail is known to exaggerate the truth the fact that it is one of the most popular newspapers in Great Britain will certainly not help the tourism industry. The Daily Mail recently printed a photo of the world famous bridge in Mostar advertising holidays to Dubrovnik. However to claim that Croatian tap water isn’t safe to drink seems to pushed the bar of stupidity even higher. Not only is Croatian water completely safe to drink it is also one of the cleanest in the world. In fact Croatia has the third largest source of water in Europe per capita. And it isn’t only the tap water that is sparkling clean; the Adriatic is also one of the cleanest in the world. According to the annual European Environment Agency report, the sea bathing water quality at Croatian beaches was rated as one of the best in Europe.

And as the website for the non-profit organization Revolve Water states “Croatia is still one of the only countries in Europe to have a supply of good tap water for drinking.” Our advice is to ignore The Daily Mail and continue to enjoy one of the cleanest drinking waters in the world, in Croatia.

When summer storms in Dubrovnik hit they hit hard! Although the weather in Dubrovnik today is fine and sunny it was a different story of Friday and Saturday when torrential rain, gale force winds and rolling thunder washed over the city.

The LMT Studio brilliantly caught the moment when the storm was at its height over the historic city of Dubrovnik in a time-lapse film entitled “Storm on the way.” The short film really shows the power of these recent storms as it explodes over the Adriatic Sea.

Check out the video!

“One thing that we can definitely confirm is that Robin Hood will come to Dubrovnik, in January and February next year we will see Robin Hood on the Stradun,” commented the Mayor of Dubrovnik, Andro Vlahusic, at a press conference. Dubrovnik is fast becoming the most desirable film location in Europe with the new Leonardo DiCaprio produced Robin Hood movie being the fifth major international production in the past few years.

The HBO mega-serial Game of Thrones opened interest in Dubrovnik when the second season was filmed in location in and around the historic city. It can be argued that Game of Thrones was the initiator for all the film crews that followed. “We have had the most watched television serial of all time, Game of Thrones, which picked up twelve awards recently; more than 200 million people will see this serial, great promotion for Dubrovnik. The most popular serial of all time, and we are the host,” empathised the mayor.

Bollywood followed, and the blockbuster “Fan” with the biggest name in the Bollywood world, Shah Rukh Khan, opened up a new market. When you already have the most popular serial of all time and the top star of Bollywood is there any way to improve your rating? The answer was the prevalent movie franchise in the world, Star Wars. In March this year the stone facades of Dubrovnik were transformed into a galaxy far, far away as sections of the latest episode of Star Wars were filmed. “Star Wars will have its world premiere on the 17th of December 2017 and once again Dubrovnik will be in the spotlight,” added Vlahusic.

And just to add a cherry on the top of the Dubrovnik film cake the History Channel brought the world of the Templars to the city with their follow-up to the critically acclaimed “Vikings” entitled “Knightfall.” The Bay of Pile directly under the ancient walls was the locations for this ten-part serial. “Last week the filming of the new History Channel serial “Knightfall,” following the journeys of the Templar knights and King Richard the Lionheart, was largely filmed right here,” commented the mayor.

And now Dubrovnik is on the verge of its most expensive and most star-studded movie ever. Produced by Leonardo DiCaprio and starring a handful of Oscar winners the production of the blockbuster is expected to be filmed in January and February next year. “One thing that we can definitely confirm is that Robin Hood will come to Dubrovnik, in January and February next year we will see Robin Hood on the Stradun,” concluded Vlahusic. Adding that it will be the biggest film production in Dubrovnik, and the “significantly more expensive than the Star Wars filming.” He also confirmed that more than a hundred people will be involved in the production and that the directors of the latest version of Robin Hood stayed in Dubrovnik last week.

It is rumored that Dubrovnik will be the location for Nottingham Castle; however exact dates of filming and locations have yet to be confirmed. It is known that Oscar winner Jamie Foxx has the role of Little John and that the lead role of Robin Hood will be played by Welsh actor Taron Egerton, famous for his role in Kingsman: The Secret Service. His partner, Maid Marion, will be played by Irish actress Eve Hewson, who is the daughter of Bono from U2. Robin Hood: Origins will be directed by Otto Bathurst.

At the International Tourism Film Festival held in the Maldives this week the Zagreb and Dubrovnik tourism promotional films once again proved to be hits in the promotional film and tourism business.

The competition included more than 200 promo films from 15 countries and 46 of them were nominated for the prestigious award. Only ten promo films were awarded as the best tourism promotional films and among them were films promoting popular the Croatian destinations of Dubrovnik and Zagreb.

The promotional film ‘’Dubrovnik and Time’’ of the Dubrovnik Tourist Board, produced by Balduci Film from Zagreb and filmed last year, once again stood out among tourism promo films from all over the world and won ‘’The Best Cognitive Film’’ award which was the 9th international award in a row for this film.

‘’Dubrovnik and Time’’ has achieved a great success since it was released, winning a second place out of 1,500 films at the ITB Berlin, the world’s leading travel trade show; a bronze medal at the New York Festivals Television & Film Awards, as the only representative from Croatia; a second place at the Tourfilm Riga Festival and two awards at the Finisterra Festival in Portugal. Recently at the Baku International Film Tourism Festival in Azerbaijan ‘’Dubrovnik and Time’’won the best promotional film award among more than 400 promo films from 71 countries. Also at the FilmAT-Film, Art and Tourism Festival in Lubin, Poland ‘’Dubrovnik and Time’’ won ‘’The best 5 minutes promotional film’’ award.

The other Croatian winner at the International Tourism Film Festival in the Maldives was ‘’Color Your Christmas with Zagreb’’ by Marko Vrdoljak, which won ‘’The Best Unique Tourist Site film’’ award.

According to a survey of quality service carried out by Heraklea from the 13th of May till the 15th of June, among the six countries in the region of the former Yugoslavia, Croatia placed as the second behind Slovenia.

In order to find the best in the region the mystery shopping agency Heraklea in cooperation with mystery shopping agencies in the region, carried out a survey on the five basic elements of quality service known as GUEST (Greet, Understand, Explain, Suggest, Thanks) i.e. greeting customers, identifying customers' needs or desires, product knowledge, offering additional products and thanking for a visit.

The survey included Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Serbia and Macedonia. Mystery shoppers visited around 800 different facilities such as banks, petrol stations, retail stores, supermarkets, car dealerships, tourist and hospitality objects and other services.

This year Croatia positioned itself in second place among the five other countries following Slovenia with a total score of 81 percent and the best quality service in the region. Slovenia took the top place in the categories of “thanks” and offering additional products, while in the category of product knowledge it shared first place with Croatia.

Considering the fact that greeting is the first contact with customers or guests then it is even more significant that Croatia came top in this category.

In the category of greeting customers Croatia took the first place with a score of 87 percent whilst in the category of identifying customers needs and desires Macedonia scored the best.

According to the final results of the survey, Slovenia is the leading country in the region with the best quality service (81%). Croatia achieved above average results of 79 percent which is a significant improvement by 8 per cent in comparison with 2015. Croatia was followed by Serbia (68%), Macedonia and Bosnia and Herzegovina (66% both) and Montenegro with only 63 percent.

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