Tuesday, 16 July 2019
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

Until a few years ago Croatia was perceived only as part of the global information technology (IT) market, but now it is a well known fact that country has also had an IT production. According to data from the Croatian Bureau of Statistics there are around 12,600 employees in the IT industry in Croatia or one percent of the total number of employed people in the country.

Croatia's software export has doubled in the last five years. Only in 2015 this export jumped in figures to 501 million Kunas. If this growth trend continues, the country's software export will rise to half a billion Euros in 2017, whilst for 2020 is expected to exceed one billion Euros. Furthermore, the world's IT giants have started to enter into the Croatian market such as the Indian company Infosys which opened its branch office in Karlovac and IBM which announced the opening of the Client Innovation Centre in Zagreb and the future employment of 500 people in 2017. So far these companies are not planning to open software production or IT research and development in the IT sector in Croatia but direct their investments towards sales support and potential users.

''A significant increase in consumption on the domestic IT market in 2015 is mostly the result of increased sales of smartphones and a growth in value of the server market primarily due to the arrival of the supercomputer Bura in Rijeka and to a lesser extent thanks to the growth in the delivery of IT services and software applications'', said Ana Papez, the regional director of the research consultancy IDC for the region of Southeast Europe.

She also added that an increase in value of rendered services, expansion of the capacity in the segment of data centres, digitalisation of business, the growing use of mobile applications and "big data" analytics as well as broader use of advanced technology such as the Internet of Things (IoT) would represent a point of further maturation of the Croatian IT market in the future.

The seventh annual Dubrovnik Foreign Circle (DFC) second hand sale started today in the Lazareti complex just outside of the eastern entrance to the Old City of Dubrovnik. A wide array of clothes, for women, men and children, are on offer in the sale as well as household goods.

The second hand sale, which is being organised in partnership with the Lazareti Art Workshop, always has a humanitarian character and this year the beneficiary will be for “Dva Skalina” an association for children with special needs. The DFC plans to raise funds to assist in purchasing an outdoor wheelchair swing.

Get yourselves along to the second hand sale this weekend in Lazareti until 6.00pm and tomorrow from 11.00am to 5.00pm.

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The seventh annual Dubrovnik Foreign Circle (DFC) second hand sale will be held this weekend, the 1st and 2nd of October, in the Lazareti complex just outside of the eastern entrance to the Old City of Dubrovnik.

The second hand sale, which is being organised in partnership with the Lazareti Art Workshop, always has a humanitarian character and this year the beneficiary will be for “Dva Skalina” an association for children with special needs. The DFC plans to raise funds to assist in purchasing an outdoor wheelchair swing.

As the DFC said in a statement “We accept adult, children and baby winter and/or summer clothing, shoes, accessories (jewellery, hats, bags etc.), household items (dishes, glasses, vases, paintings, small appliances etc.) As always, items must be in good condition and working order.”

The Dubrovnik Foreign Circle’s mission and vision is to actively serve the community by providing services that contribute to the health and vitality of the greater Dubrovnik Region. The organization’s goal is to provide friendship and understanding between its members and the Dubrovnik community at large by organizing cultural and social events. The Dubrovnik Foreign Circle engages in fundraising activities for the benefit of its community projects.

Come long this weekend and support this worthy cause.

According to a report from the World Economic Forum (WEF) for 2016/2017 the Swiss economy is still the most competitive in the world, while Croatia improved its position from the last year’s 77th to the 74th on the list which includes 138 countries.

This year’s list shows that Croatia made improvements in 6 out of 12 areas taken into consideration by WEF experts such as macroeconomic environment, higher education, goods market efficiency, labour market efficiency, market size, and business sophistication.

The National Competitiveness Council (NVK) of Croatia expressed satisfaction with the fact that Croatia rose from the 77th to the 74th place on the World Economy Forum (WEF) Global Competitiveness Ranking, but warned that this was just a modest improvement insufficient to successfully attract investments that would lead to higher living standards.

In addition, Ivica Mudrinic, the chairman of the NVK emphasized that positive effects could be felt only if Croatia improved its position to the 50th or the 40th place on the WEF list.
On the other hand, Croatia’s rankings have remained the same in terms of institutions and infrastructure but worsened in health and primary education, development of financial markets, technological readiness, and innovations.

A survey that was carried out among business people shows that the greatest difficulties in doing business in Croatia are inefficient administration, tax rates and regulations, as well as political instability and corruption.

At a gala party in the Klarisa restaurant The Dubrovnik Times officially marked its tenth birthday last night. The Dubrovnik Times is the first English language newspaper in the Republic of Croatia and the evening to mark the first decade was a special night for the editor Mark Thomas.

- We have printed over 1.5 million over the ten years, hundreds of thousands of articles, thousands of emails, and countless journeys around the county. And is certainly has been a journey – commented Mark Thomas.

The evening was attended by the Mayor of the Dubrovnik-Neretva County, Nikola Dobroslavić, the Mayor of Dubrovnik, Andro Vlahušić, the member of the board of Hanza Media, Ana Hanžeković, and the editor of Dubrovacki Vjesnik, Jadran Kapor.

- We have made a pause in the city council meeting just to attend this event and just to show how important it is to us all – commented Vlahušić, adding that Dubrovnik will achieve 3.6 million overnight stays and deserves the title of tourism champion.

Ivana Smilovic, a journalist from The Dubrovnik Times, presented the birthday party evening and a raffle was held to raise funds for a humanitarian cause. The band "Unique Dubrovnik" brought an international touch with their interpretation of pop songs.  

Check out our photo gallery of our special night





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According to a guest reviews analysis carried out by the company Hotels.com, nineteen hotels from Croatia were awarded with ''Loved by Guests Awards 2016'' gold award.

The awards for the Hotels.com "Loved by Guest" campaign were based on authentic and trusted reviews, written by guests who have actually stayed in the hotels.

After analyzing 20 million authentic reviews from guests all around the world, more than 2,700 hotels from 94 countries were classified as extraordinary and were assigned the highest gold award of Hotels.com, with ratings of 4.7 out of 5 or higher.

The Croatian cities which won the "Loved by Guests" award are:

1. Dubrovnik - 8 hotels
2. Split - 4 hotels
3. Zagreb - 2 hotels
4. Rovinj - 2 hotels
5. Hvar - 2 hotels
6. Zadar - 1 hotel.

Among Croatian hotels, nineteen of them received a gold ‘’Loved by Guests Awards 2016’’ award as part of the best hotels by Hotel.com. Here are the top 10:

1. Hotel Esplanade - Zagreb
2. Bellevue Hotel - Dubrovnik
3. Hilton Imperial - Dubrovnik
4. Valamar Dubrovnik President Hotel -Dubrovnik
5. Hotel More - Dubrovnik
6. Falkensteiner Hotel & Spa Iadera - Zadar
7. Hotel Lone - Rovinj
8. Hotel Adriatic - Rovinj
9. Celenga Apartments - Dubrovnik
10. Doubletree by Hilton – Zagreb

The world's first modular desk called Deskbloks, which is currently in the prototype phase, has begun to collect funds for the beginning of mass production. 

The idea for the Deskbloks was created on the basis of a modular phone from 2013 when Stjepan, an IT engineer and the founder of the Deskbloks, decided to build a modular housing for his computer that could be exchanged and upgraded in the future without buying a new one. However, at first his idea came across many obstacles, but while he was playing a dice game he came up with the idea for a desk which would be consisted of blocks (modules) and could be, complying with users' wishes, exchanged, added and upgraded.

The young innovative IT engineer also wanted to make some things easier for himself and for future users who would use this desk in their offices, at home or the like. Thus began a development of the blocks which comprise built-in USB ports, built-in USB speakers, as well as a block with a built-in wireless charger for mobile devices.

Also great attention was given to the organization of cables because the desk was originally designed to be used for PCs and laptops, which contain a large number of cables.

The desk is made of high quality Croatian oak, which is as wood for furniture pretty massive, firm and resistant to various temperatures and conditions that users could come across. Due to oak as the main wooden material, the desk is very heavy thus ordinary Deskblocks composed of ten modules can withstand pressures up to five times greater than its own weight.

So far this innovative desk has been produced only in Slavonia, but by the end of the campaign and raising funds from other investors, the production of all Deskbloks elements will continue in Slavonia, mainly in Ilok. Apart from Croatia, the targeted market for the Deskbloks are other EU countries as well as world markets.

A news conference held on past Thursday, announced that the 26th ISTO (International Social Tourism Organization) World Congress will take place in Zagreb from the 18th to 21st of October 2016.

The ISTO 2016 World Congress is a direct continuation of the previous one held in Sao Paulo. It represents the continuation of an initiative that was launched with a goal of promoting the World Organization which together with its members works on improving social tourism.

''Driving Tourism through Inclusion'', the title of this year's congress, will focus on the latest trends of social, solidarity-based, responsible and inclusive tourism, with an emphasis on social policy as a driver of growth for domestic tourism.

The conference will be organized by the International Social Tourism Organization (ISTO) in cooperation with Croatian partners, including the City of Zagreb, the Croatian Ministry of Tourism, the Ministry of Social Policy and Youth, the Croatian Chamber of Commerce, the Croatian Tourism Board, the Croatian Holiday and Hostel Federation, and many others.
The congress is intended for workers in the tourism industry, hotel and hospitality facilities, public authorities, trade unions, social organizations, universities and all those who are interested in social, solidarity and responsible tourism.

For the first time the ISTO World Congress will be held in Croatia and is expected to attract approximately 200 participants from all around the world.

The Voice of Dubrovnik


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