Friday, 22 November 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.


The Dubrovnik-Neretva County Tourist Board is currently taking part in one of the world's largest travel fairs, the World Travel Market in London, which is held from the 4th to the 6th of November in the ExCel London showroom.

The Dubrovnik-Neretva County Tourist Board is a co-exhibitor at the booth of the Croatian National Tourist Board. A number of British journalists are expected to visit and a number of business meetings have been agreed in advance.

On the first day of the fair at the Croatian booth a "Cheese & Wine Meetup" was held organized by the Croatian National Tourist Board and the Croatian Chamber of Economy. On this occasion, all partners of the co-exhibitors were able to taste top Croatian wines and cheeses.


The WTM London is being held for the 40th time this year, with over 50,000 tourism professionals visiting it each year.

In the first ten months, over 303,131 Britons visited the Dubrovnik-Neretva County with 1,571,115 overnight stays, which is 6 percent more in arrivals or 3 percent more in overnight stays than in 2018, which is why the British are in the top spot of visitors to the Dubrovnik-Neretva County for many years.


Not even the bad weather at the start of the season, the fear that Greece and Turkey would dump prices or the negative publicity seemed to have had any effect on the tourism season in Dubrovnik. Fears of this summer being a disaster have been proved to be unfounded. It has been a year to remember.

Figures just released by the Dubrovnik Tourist Board show that from the beginning of 2019 until the end of October the number of international tourists visiting the city rose by 13 percent on last year. And last year was a record breaking year.

In total 1.372 million tourists choose Dubrovnik as their vacation destination in 2019 and achieved 4.24 million overnight stays. As has been the case for the past decade British tourists were by far the most numerous this year, followed by Americans, Germans and French. 196,331 Brits holidayed in Dubrovnik this year, followed by 155,655 Americans and 99,148 Germans.

Croatia Airlines' losses in the first nine months of 2019 stood at 48.4 million kuna (€6.5m). Although net profits in Q3 2019 alone totalled 41 million kuna (€5.5m) the profits generated in Q2 and Q3 did not cover the losses generated in the winter months of Q1 2019, with total operating loss over the first nine months of 2019 amounting to 30.4 million kuna (€4m).

Operating revenues in said period were up 1.4% on the year, while the passenger turnover was the same as in the first nine months of 2018.

In the first nine months of this year, Croatia Airlines transported 1,701,571 passengers, with 2% more passengers flown internationally. Domestically, the number of passengers decreased from the first nine months of 2018.

During this year's summer season, the airline's planes flew to eight Croatian and 30 international destinations in 24 countries. The company operated direct flights between Zagreb and 24 destinations in 22 European countries.


“I don’t even think we have a word for that in Croatian,” said my wife as she racked her brain, “no, I’m sure there isn’t a word, and in fact I’ve never heard of that word in English before,” are you sure that actually exists. It is not a fictional word; it was born in the mid 1800’s. Yes, for the past two weeks I have been a househusband. I have had cleaning duties, ironing, washing clothes, cooking, basically all the household chores, running the home.

As the tourist season has come to an end, even though the sunshine just didn’t seem to want to stop shining, my workload has dropped considerably. It actually feels strange, I had got used to waking at 5.30 every day and immediately start typing, before ending my day at 9-ish as the sun set. And just as the tourist season ended as it always does, like a light switch being flicked off, so my alarm stopped ringing at the crack of the day. Leaving me spinning without a direction. In fact, it was a much needed break, I only wish that I could have more gently transitioned from on to off.

I learned household jobs from a very early age. And who insisted I did so, my mother. This saying that women control three corners of the home is completely true. And the mother also makes it very easy for their son’s future wives, or very challenging indeed.



In the UK, which is a considerably more liberal society than Croatia, these jobs in the home aren’t dealt out depending on your sex. There is much more of a culture of self-sufficiency. You basically reach the age of adulthood and are expected to now get on with your life. This really forces you to think for yourself, look after yourself and of course manage all the household chores for yourself.

University life means freedom, an entry into being an adult and on the path of finding a career. You are developing as your own person, and are proving that you can look after yourself. But that’s the UK, that’s not the life in Croatia. You have, pretty much through the middle of Europe, this “butter/olive oil” divide. The north/south divide. The Anglo Saxon/Catholic divide. And this divide is strong. It is a cultural divide as wide as the Grand Canyon.

The butter spreaders in the north scratch their heads when they see the olive oil sprinklers in the south living together as one family under one roof. Whereas the olive oil bread dippers around the Mediterranean think it horrific that offspring would be forced to find their own path in the world without the constant guidance of the heads of the family. Europe might have an east/west divide but the north/south one is considerably more pronounced.

People may shout in the south that “it’s a financial question” that our sons and daughters stay at home. Not true. In the more affluent olive oil countries you’ll see the same metal reinforcement bars jutting up from buildings. Those four metal bars in each corner of the house that are a hope that a male child will be born and another level will be added to the top of the house. And on the flip side you can go to a poorer butter eating country and you see freshly hatched adults being kicked out of the family nest. To be living with your parents over the age of 21 is seen as failure, and you’ll hear people mention it in whisper, “oh no, poor Jack, he still lives in his parent’s house.” It is almost seen as bringing shame on the family. Whilst the exact opposite is down south. I remember when we first arrived to live in Dubrovnik and decided to stay with my mother-in-law for a few months before we could find an apartment. When we finally found one and left my wife’s family home I was greeted with comments like “What happened, did you have an argument?”

No, I had just learned life in a butter loving country. Mr front door, my freedom. After so long living in an olive oil country I understand the whole living under one roof policy, but I still don’t agree with it. So I am off to finish the housework and finish dinner before my wife comes home.                 

A total of 3.76 million Croatian citizens have accounts in banks or in savings banks, according to data provided by the Financial Agency (Fina), the leading Croatian provider of financial and electronic services, on Thursday, 31 October when World Savings Day is observed.

According to the information collected on 30 October, there were a total of 10,571,699 accounts opened in banks and other financial institutions, which was by 3.5% fewer than in the corresponding period of 2018.

Of that number, as many ass 7.815 million were transaction accounts. The remaining 2.756 million refer to savings accounts.

According to data collected in mid-2019 by the national bank, total financial assets reached HRK 487 billion, 14 billion more than at the end of 2018.

The biggest rise was registered in deposits in pension insurance funds, as well as in shares and investment funds.


One of the most popular and influential social media platforms in the world has decided to ban all political advertising worldwide. "While internet advertising is incredibly powerful and very effective for commercial advertisers, that power brings significant risks to politics," stated the CEO of Twitter, Jack Dorsey.

There has been pressure on social media platforms to regulate their political advertising, especially after Brexit and the Trump Presidential campaign.

Twitter has now reacted to this and shown that that are ahead of their competitors, such as Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest.

Twitter’s political advertising ban will begin on the 22nd of November.

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg clearly has no plans to end the lucrative business of political advertising as he recently commented that “In a democracy, I don't think it's right for private companies to censor politicians or the news."


As many as 85 percent of Croatians invest in savings, setting aside on average 469 kuna every month (€63), which is 41 kuna (€5.5) less than in 2018, showed a recent survey on saving in Croatia.

The survey, commissioned by the Erste Group and conducted by the IMAS pollster, shows that as many as 83% of those polled show that the main motive for saving is to have a financial backup for contingencies, and 18% save for their senior age.

More than two in five Croatians (43%) have a classic savings account, 16% have life insurances and nine percent (9%) a housing savings account. A mere 5% of those polled say they have opted for investment funds, shares and bonds as a saving model, four percent invest in real estate, and three percent use voluntary pension insurance schemes.

The survey shows that 15% of the respondents say they have managed to save more in the last two-three years than before, 62% say their saved amount is the same as before, while every fifth respondent (20%) says their saving in the past few years is smaller than before.

The younger the saver, the more money saved monthly

Broken down by age, the age cohort between 15 and 29 years puts aside the highest monthly amount, an average 587 kuna.

Broken down by gender, men put aside more, 551 kuna monthly, which is HRK 162 more than women's average monthly savings.

Of citizens in Croatia's neighbourhood, Austrians seem the most frugal, with their average monthly savings totalling €259.

Slovaks are second, with €111, and Czechs put aside 105 euros per month.

Expressed in euros, the average monthly savings in Croatia are €63, and Hungarians put aside €65.

In Romania, this monthly amount is €57 and in Serbia €40.


This October is one to remember in Dubrovnik with exceptionally warm and stable weather. The calendar might say October, well nearly November, but the weather is shouting June!

Once again the sun shone, the beaches filled with swimmers and tourists took the opportunity to bathe in the golden sunshine before heading back to colder climes.

The beach in Kupari, in Zupa, was just like a scene from the summer today, but without the huge crowds although the car park was surprisingly busy.

desserted beach 2019 zupa

beach kupari 2019 late late october



swimming in zupa in the autumn sunshine 2019

crystal clear adriatic sea in zupa dubrovnik

busy parking in kupari dubrovnik

The Voice of Dubrovnik


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