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.
Every cloud has a silver lining. The changeable weather over the past week in Dubrovnik certainly has some advantages, and one of them appeared this morning, a glorious rainbow.
This stunning photo was sent to us by a reader and shows the colourful rainbow over the Port of Dubrovnik.
The forecast for the weekend is for more unsettled weather with rain and overcast skies predicted.
The Ministry of the Interior has submitted to the public debate a new draft law for foreign nationals that includes a new model for the regulating of work visas for foreign nationals.
The new proposal would abolish the need for a quota system for work visas for foreign nationals. The current quota system for visas has received many negative comments from employers in Croatia. It is seen as being too restrictive and as tourism grows, and indeed a large number of young Croatians leave the country to find employment in other EU member states, the necessity for a workforce grows every season. This new draft law puts forward the proposal that the employment system for foreigners is made simpler and would abolish any quota system.
However, until this new law comes into effect the Minister of Tourism has sent a proposal to the government to increase the number of work visas for foreigners for next year to 30,000. In 2019 around 21,000 work visas for foreigners were issued in the tourism sector alone.
An earthquake rolled through the Dubrovnik region early this morning with the epicentre near the island of Mljet.
The Seismological Service have reported that the earthquake measured 4.4 degrees on the Richter Scale and that the epicentre in the middle of the Adriatic Sea around 39 kilometres west of Dubrovnik near the island of Mljet.
The earthquake hit at around 2.30 this morning and no material damage has been reported.
Whilst it is not uncommon to see a wild board roaming in the countryside in Konvale, to see a whole pack in the middle of a built up residential area is slightly unusual.
This pack of wild boar were spotted in Cilipi yesterday afternoon, quite possibly on the hunt for food. As winter draws ever closer the boar come down from the hills looking for easy pickings in populated areas. And this pack yesterday almost caused a traffic jam.
Talk of a spin-off of Game of Thrones has been buzzing ever since the final episode of the most popular TV series ever came to a fiery conclusion. Would it be a prequel, a sequel or something completely different?
The franchise looked to be on rocky ground after a planned show The Long Night starring Naomi Watts was cancelled before it was even off the ground. But a prequel series, entitled House of the Dragon, has been given the green light by HBO and a 10-episode series will be produced.
House of the Dragon is based on George R.R Martin’s novel Fire and Blood.
Cast of Game of Thrones on location in Dubrovnik - Photo Tonci Plazibat
And now that the show has been commissioned the rumours as to the locations are spreading like wildfire through social media. Dubrovnik was without doubt one of the most iconic locations for Game of Thrones. The ancient city was the centre of the whole series as King’s Landing and a variety of other locations around the city were used. From season two until the finale and season eight Dubrovnik was seen by millions and millions of fans worldwide and this has led to a whole industry of travel tours and souvenir shops in Dubrovnik.
HBO have yet to reveal a release date for the new show but it is expected at the end of 2020 or in 2021. And similarly no cast names have been released, understandingly the production details are being kept top secret. The HBO President of Programming, Casey Bloys, stated on Twitter that “"The Game of Thrones universe is so rich with stories. We look forward to exploring the origins of House Targaryen and the earlier days of Westeros.”
Game of Thrones filming in Dubrovnik - Photo Niksa Duper
It has however been confirmed that Ryan Condal will oversee the whole House of the Dragon’s project and that director Miguel Sapochnik will work with Condal. Sapochnik will also direct the pilot. And it is also believed that House of Dragon will be based some three hundred years before the Game of Thrones storyline.
And as Dubrovnik, and indeed the whole of Croatia, were so popular with the whole Game of Thrones cast and crew it would seem that there is a good chance that we will once again see a major production. Speaking to Jutarnji List Mia Pećina Draskovic from the Zagreb Film Office stated that “We have no information on where and when the series will be shot. We believe that they are very likely to be able to come to Croatia again because they have been here for many years and are very happy with their cooperation and locations. However, we do not have any additional information at this time.”
Property prices across Croatia are continuing to grow with latest figures showing that this year they have risen by 6.5 percent. The popular website, Njuskalo, have carried out a survey on the 163,000 properties on offer on their website and the results show that prices aren’t slowing down, with the most expensive real estate in Croatia in Dubrovnik. According to the survey apartment prices across Croatia have risen by 8 percent his year, and house prices by just over four percent.
And even though prices are on the increase it would seem that interest is still extremely high, as the website have reported that just last month nearly 12.5 million visitors clicked on the site.
Zagreb is one of the hottest locations in Croatia at the moment with the average price per metre squared over 2,000 Euros for the first time ever. In October the average asking price for apartments was 2,080 Euros per metre squared, which represents a rise of almost 8 percent over the year.
All major cities in Croatia have seen property prices increase, especially along the coastline, with Dubrovnik once again having the highest prices in the whole country. In October the average asking price for an apartment was a huge 3,926 Euros per metre squared, or almost double the price of the capital, whilst the asking price for a house in Dubrovnik was 4,711 Euros.
Dubrovnik Airport had an incredible end to the summer season with a massive 22 percent increase in passenger numbers through October. Croatia’s southernmost airport had by far the biggest increase in passenger numbers of any of the airport’s in the country.
A grand total of 299,532 passengers passed through the airport last month meaning a 22.7 percent increase over the same month from last year. In comparison Zagreb Airport handled 330,000 passengers, which was a 4 percent increase over last year, and Split Airport saw a 9.7 percent increase with 247,000 passengers.
From the beginning of this year until the end of October Dubrovnik Airport handled 2.8 million passengers, which represents a 12.6 percent increase over 2018, and is on course to handle 3 million passengers for the first time ever. Already this year an extra 315,000 passengers have used the airport compared to 2018.
Ryanair could once again open flights to Osijek after terminating them in 2017. The low-cost airline closed flights to this Slavonian airport in 2017 due to the inability of the airport to pay the subsidies, but it would appear from an article in Vecernji List that these important flights could reopen in 2020.
According to the newspaper the Minister of Tourism, Gari Cappelli, has held talks with representatives of the Ryanair at the World Tourism Market in London and has expressed his belief that a solution could be found.
According to the daily Vecernji List, the Ministry of Tourism and the Croatian National Tourist Board are in talks with Ryanair to establish a direct line with Osijek from several European cities next year, namely from June to September.
The Minister of Tourism, Gary Cappelli, said that the agreements with the Osijek Airport and the counties of the five Slavonian counties were following, which should also financially assist in the realization of the return of Ryanair to Osijek, which would certainly assist tourism in the whole region. So far Ryanair have yet to issue a statement.