Tuesday, 16 April 2024
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

In the Neretva Valley, the earliest ever harvest of strawberries has begun. They have been planted across a total of forty hectares, and by the end of June, it is planned to harvest around 800 tons of fruits, reports HRT.

"The harvest this year is 10 to 15 days earlier, and the price of this year's Neretva strawberries is three and a half euros," revealed producer Gradimir Šešelj.

"We have started with the harvest, picking good fruits, and we will offer them to all chains in Croatia, while there is a large production in European countries such as Greece and Spain. If the weather continues to be nice, I think we will surpass them with our product because it is sweet, fresh, and will win over buyers," he said.

He added that finding workers is proving to be a significant problem.

"Strawberry picking is specific and very strenuous work. We have some workers, but considering the production, I think I will have to request additional labour," said Šešelj.

Tourists have been warned their trips will cost more this year, with countries across Europe increasing their visitor taxes. Travel insurance experts have revealed the cost of tourist fees, with some cities charging €15 a night, per person.

Holidaymakers have been warned their trips abroad will cost more this year, as countries across Europe look set to increase tourist taxes. Travel insurance experts at Quotezone have researched the cost of tourist fees for countries across the continent.

Many countries have raised their fees for tourists this year, with visitors to Paris paying up to €14.95 a night, and a 5% charge on room fees in Berlin. Venice has introduced a trial for visitors to pay a €5 entry fee to the city during daytime hours, including additional costs for anyone staying in the city overnight. Manchester has introduced a tourist tax of £1 per night for visitors, which has been successful in funding street maintenance.

Tourists are being encouraged to incorporate additional costs into their holiday budget ahead of their spring and summer trips, to avoid being out of pocket.

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Photo - Canva

Travel insurance expert at Quotezone.co.uk, Tiffany Mealiff said: “The new and increasing tourist fees across Europe allow cities to fund measures to attract more holidaymakers, support the local infrastructure and businesses, as well as preventing the damages from over-tourism. If you’re taking a trip to any city in Europe this year, you must be aware of the potential additional costs to your holiday. Tourism taxes range anywhere between less than €1 to almost €15 and can be per person per night. Many fees are based on the hotel rating or the type of accommodation, and charges vary from city to city depending on whether individuals are charged each night or for the whole trip.”


Tourist tax charges across top tourist spots:

Venice

Tourists visiting Venice for the day will have to pay a €5 entry fee to enter the city between the hours of 8.30am and 4.00pm. The scheme is currently going through a trial period, but it is expected to come fully into force in 2025. Currently anyone staying overnight in Venice on holiday is charged a fee between €1 - €5 within the accommodation price.

Manchester

The UK city introduced a £1 per room, per night tourist tax across 73 hotels in order to fund measures to attract more tourists. The scheme has currently raised over £2 million within a year to pay for street cleaning and marketing campaigns.

Barcelona

A recent increase to the existing tourist fee sees visitors now paying €3.25 for those staying in official accommodation. This has risen from €2.75.

Lisbon

The Portuguese capital enforces a €2 fee for every night tourists stay; this is only applied for a maximum of seven nights, per person.

Athens

Tourist tax in Athens varies depending on the hotel category and the time of year. The Greek government introduced the Climate Crisis Resilience Fee to charge tourists anywhere from €0.50 - €10 per room, per night.

Dubrovnik

Visitors to Dubrovnik must pay €2.65 per person, per night throughout April to September. The Croatian government reduced this fee to €1.85 for the rest of the year.

Paris

The French government charges visitors a tourist tax depending on the type of accommodation. The most expensive charge is €14.95 for a stay in palaces, and €0.65 at one or two star campsites. Those staying in a typical four-star hotel are charged €8.13.

Prague

For visitors to Prague, tourist tax has increased from 21 to 50 CZK each day (€0.82 to €1.97 based on current rates). The tax on visitors has been used as a tool to compensate costs associated with tourism and increase the overall income of the city.

Budapest

Tourists staying in Budapest are charged an additional 4% each night, which is calculated based on the price of the room. Hungary only enforces a tourist fee in the capital city.

Berlin

Berlin increased their city tax recently - tourists must now pay 5% of the room price, excluding VAT and service fees.

In a bid to showcase the rich cultural heritage and scenic beauty of Dubrovnik, the Dubrovnik Tourist Board has launched a special initiative offering complimentary guided tours to foreign workers employed in the city.

These guided tours, designed to provide an immersive experience of Dubrovnik's charm, are available every Wednesday and Saturday at 5:00 pm until May 4th, 2024. The initiative aims to provide an opportunity for foreign workers to explore the iconic landmarks and hidden gems of Dubrovnik, enhancing their understanding and appreciation of the city's cultural significance.

Dubrovnik Tourist Board Offers Free Guided Tours to Foreign Workers 1

Photo - TZ Dubrovnik 

The inaugural tour, held yesterday, received rave reviews from participants, with many expressing delight at the opportunity to delve into Dubrovnik's rich history and breath-taking scenery. And on the tour were ten people from The Philippines, one from Kosovo and one from Albanian.

Foreign workers interested in joining these guided tours are encouraged to register by sending their name via email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. With limited spaces available, interested individuals are advised to secure their spot promptly to avoid missing out on this unique opportunity.

 

Dubrovnik has garnered special recognition in the esteemed pages of Smithsonian Magazine, coinciding with the 45th anniversary of its UNESCO World Heritage status, with a partnership with the Dubrovnik Tourist Board

Renowned for its well-preserved medieval architecture, picturesque Old City, and rich cultural heritage, Dubrovnik stands as a shining gem on the Adriatic coast. Its inclusion in Smithsonian Magazine serves as a testament to its enduring appeal and global significance.

Dubrovnik Celebrates Prestigious Recognition in Smithsonian Magazine on 45th UNESCO Anniversary 1

Photo - TZ Dubrovnik

As Dubrovnik marks four and a half decades since its designation as a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1979, this latest accolade from Smithsonian Magazine adds another chapter to its illustrious history. The city's remarkable architectural ensemble, encompassing landmarks such as the iconic City Walls, the majestic Rector's Palace, and the stunning St. Blaise Church, continues to captivate visitors from around the world.

Smithsonian magazine is a monthly publication issued by the Smithsonian Institution, the world's largest museum and research complex located in Washington, D.C., United States. The magazine covers a wide range of topics, including science, history, art, culture, and travel, drawing upon the expertise and collections of the Smithsonian Institution. It features in-depth articles, stunning photography, and insightful commentary, making it a trusted source of knowledge and inspiration for readers interested in exploring the world's wonders and mysteries. With a rich legacy dating back to its founding in 1970, Smithsonian magazine has established itself as a premier publication renowned for its commitment to excellence in storytelling and education.

In a ground-breaking archaeological excavation at the site "Gomila" in Zakotorac on the Pelješac Peninsula, the Dubrovnik Museums team has uncovered yet another remarkable find—a Greek-Illyrian helmet. The discovery, made in one of the dry stone additions to the graves and believed to be of votive significance, promises to shed new light on the burial practices of Illyrian communities during the latter half of the last millennium BC.

Led by Dr. Domagoj Perkić, Head of the Archaeological Museum, the Dubrovnik Museums team, including assistant curators Paula Knego and Vicenco Pijerov, have been actively involved in the excavations. Their collaborative efforts with archaeologists from other institutions, such as Hrvoje Potrebica, Marko Dizdar, Borut Križ, Marta Kalebota, Miona Miliša, Miroslav Vuković, Mirna Šandrić, and with the assistance of Ivan Pamić, have been instrumental in this significant discovery.

Exciting Discovery Greek Illyrian Helmet Unearthed in Pelješac by Dubrovnik Museums Team

The find not only enriches our understanding of ancient burial rituals but also elevates the importance of the Pelješac region as a key archaeological site along the eastern Adriatic coast. This discovery adds to the already impressive array of artefacts uncovered during the excavation, including jewellery, clothing, and other grave offerings.

The research is being conducted in close coordination with the Centre for Prehistoric Research, alongside archaeologists from the Department of Archaeology at the Faculty of Philosophy in Zagreb, the Institute of Archaeology, and the Dubrovnik Museums. Collaboration extends further to include colleagues from the City Museum in Korčula, the Dolenjska Museum in Novo Mesto, Slovenia, and the Academy of Fine Arts in Split.

Exciting Discovery Greek Illyrian Helmet Unearthed in Pelješac by Dubrovnik Museums Team 1

All Photos - Dubrovnik Museums 

As the excavation progresses, anticipation builds for further revelations that will undoubtedly enrich our understanding of the ancient civilizations that once thrived in the region. The Dubrovnik Museums team remains committed to unravelling the mysteries of the past and sharing their findings with the world.

In the Great Council Hall of the City of Dubrovnik, a coordination meeting of stakeholders in tourism on the topic of the winter season and the upcoming pre-season was held organized by Dubrovnik Airport Ruđer Bošković, in collaboration with the City of Dubrovnik and the Dubrovnik Tourist Board.

During this occasion, the Mayor congratulated Dubrovnik Airport for bringing in Ryanair and establishing a number of new direct routes to Dubrovnik. This resulted in an increase of up to 40 percent more tourists in this period compared to last year.

International Star to Perform in Dubrovnik for New Year

"The planes are full, and I congratulate you on that brave decision because it has a positive effect not only on Dubrovnik tourism but also for tourism throughout our region, from Konavle to the Dubrovnik Riviera. We are actively preparing for the winter season with our programs, especially for the New Year's Eve celebration. I believe that on June 1st, we will announce the name of an international star who will perform on Stradun for the New Year's Eve celebration. We are in the final stages of negotiations, and we will have an international star in combination with a local star," said Mayor Franković.

Winter Flights to Dubrovnik at Last

The Director of Dubrovnik Airport Ruđer Bošković, Viktor Šober, announced that negotiations with airlines that should connect Dubrovnik with global destinations during the winter will continue this month. Ryanair will connect Dubrovnik with Vienna, Dublin, and London through direct routes. Croatia Airlines will fly to Frankfurt, Turkish to Istanbul twice immediately, and Easyjet should fly to London until November, with ongoing negotiations to extend this route into the winter of the next season. Lot Polish will connect Warsaw and Dubrovnik twice together, Vueling Dubrovnik and Barcelona, also twice together, and the Freebird charter program will continue. Negotiations are also underway for several other routes, and the goal is announced that by 2025/2026, Dubrovnik will be connected with 11 international routes during the winter season.

Over 20,000 Flight Operations to Dubrovnik This Year

"In this season, we expect a growth of 25 to 27 percent. Regarding the number of operations, we expect a significant increase this year. That number should be over 20,000. We notice that carriers are using larger aircraft with many more seats. Our main markets are now the United Kingdom, France, Germany, and Spain. Our main destination is London, from where we achieve 13 percent of traffic. Our largest and most important partner is EasyJet, which accounts for a quarter of traffic, and next year it could be Ryanair," Šober also said and emphasized that the focus is on additional connections with the United States, which they are also working on.

The Director of the Dubrovnik Tourist Board, Miroslav Drašković, reported on activities and events during the winter season, such as Lumiart, which is growing into a strong festival. He also highlighted marketing campaigns aimed at the Korean and Japanese markets.

Studenac, Croatia’s largest retailer by number of stores, and Cemex Hrvatska, the local unit of a top global cement producer, celebrated the successful completion of a one-year mentoring program for women.

Research shows that men in business receive informal support and mentoring more frequently than women, and are more involved in professional networks. The program attempted to address these imbalances by making women aware of their strengths, and providing opportunities to exchange experiences and expand their network of contacts.

Mentors from each company worked on professional skills and personal development with women from the other organization. While Cemex Hrvatska operates in a traditionally male-dominated industry and has just 18% women employees, over the past year it has increased the share of women in management to 44%. At Studenac 70% of managers are women.

“As a woman, I’ve benefitted from several mentors during my career, so I was glad to have the opportunity to give back during this program,” said Tatjana Jukić, director of human resources at Studenac. “The project is already helping both of our companies to become more inclusive workplaces, and I’m convinced that these positive results will multiply.”

During the year, two participants in the program at Studenac moved to managerial positions, two were promoted and two more are scheduled for promotion this month. One Cemex mentee was included in a succession plan and another received a promotion after the project ended. Participant self-assessments of skills and self-confidence increased over the course of the program.

"In addition to the subjective feelings, the measurable results of the mentoring program also confirm the progress of our mentees,” said Mirela Kotarac, human resources director at Cemex Hrvatska. “Individual meetings, workshops and practical day-to-day mentoring enabled the participants from both organizations to recognize their potential and overcome the challenges they face on their professional development pathway. In addition, this program has enriched the work culture of our companies, promoting diversity and inclusiveness.”

Other initiatives by Studenac to promote inclusiveness include KodiraONA, a coding competition for women run by Studenac Digital, the retailer’s center of excellence for innovation. The program is now in its second year.

During the upcoming summer flying season, Croatia will be connected with 517 unique routes in domestic and international traffic, as initial data collected by the Croatian Tourist Board from Croatian airports indicate. Accordingly, compared to last year's summer flight schedule, a double-digit increase in the number of passenger aircraft operations is expected.

"The significant increase in the number of unique airline routes is the best indicator that Croatia continues to firmly hold its position as a safe and attractive tourist destination. Numerous airlines have recognized the increased demand for Croatian destinations, which is why they have expanded their programs, and we are particularly pleased with the increasing number of connections with distant markets that are increasingly contributing to the overall results of Croatian tourism," said Kristjan Staničić, Director of the Croatian Tourist Board, adding that air transport is extremely important in connecting Croatia with the world, especially the southernmost part of Croatia with the most important source markets.

Overall, almost all airports expect an increase in traffic, with the largest number of passenger aircraft operations planned for Zagreb Airport, Split Airport, and Dubrovnik Airport. In terms of source markets, the largest number of passenger aircraft operations is planned for Germany, the UK, Italy, France, and Poland.

During the summer flying season, direct connections between Croatia and 41 foreign countries are expected, mostly from Europe, while connections with destinations on other continents are planned, for example, for Canada, Qatar, the USA, and the UAE.

A special feature is the return of direct air links between Croatia and South Korea on the Zagreb-Seoul route from mid-May to the end of October, operated by the Korean carrier T'way Air. In addition, a new route between Croatia and Saudi Arabia has been announced, which, according to plans of Dubrovnik Airport, should be operated by Flynas, flying between Riyadh and Dubrovnik from mid-June to the end of August.

Furthermore, Croatia will be directly connected with 133 foreign cities, three cities more than during last year's summer flight schedule. Individual airports with the most planned operations to Croatia are Frankfurt/Main - Frankfurt Airport, Vienna - Vienna International, Munich - Franz Josef Strauss, and Amsterdam Airport Schiphol.

The Voice of Dubrovnik

THE VOICE OF DUBROVNIK


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