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.
A cleaning action of the seabed in the bay of Mali Zaton was organised today with the support of the Dubrovnik Diving Club and the City of Dubrovnik and the Dubrovnik Tourist Board.
These cleaning operations are held most often in the spring to clear up the sea waters before the swim season, but they are equally beneficial during September and October as they contribute to the preservation of the cleanliness of the underwater life and biodiversity.
The divers pulled out car and truck tires, pieces of chairs and all kinds of ironworks, cluttered ropes and broken pieces of metal. Well done to the volunteers for this eco-friendly action.
In the first ten months of this year the borough of Župa, directly south of Dubrovnik, achieved 135,796 tourist arrivals and 543,379 overnight stays.
This southern borough is home to the brand name Sheraton Riviera hotel, one of only two brand name hotels in the region along with Hilton. And this very hotel has proved to be an important attraction for international tourists, especially from the UK. In fact, tourists from the UK have been the most numerous in Župa this year, 6 percent more than last year.
The biggest rise in tourists in Župa this season has been from the Polish market with an incredible 36 percent increase. And it total the borough has seen a seven percent increase in tourist arrivals when compared with 2017.
Jakša Diklić from Konavle, a member of the Triathlon Club Dubrovnik, is the winner of the first edition of Dubrovnik Triathlon, which brought around 150 competitors from all over the world.
Diklić was the first passed the post in the Olympic category section, in which competitors had the task of sailing 1,500 metres, a 40 kilometre bike ride and a 10 kilometre run. Competitors in the sprint category had half the task first 750 metres of swimming, then a 20 kilometre swim and a 5 kilometre run.
Diklic celebrated with a time of 2 hours, 10 minutes and 23 seconds, second was Luka Čupić from Montenegro and third was Loic Donnart from France. Whilst in the women’s race the fastest competitor was Leni Fafangel from Slovenia, Jelena Tomašević from Montenegro came in second and Hannah Grant from the United Kingdom finished third.
Dragan Jovanović from Montenegro won the spirit category, second was Joerg Fink from Austria, and third was Ben Ospalak from Great Britain. Jovanović finished in a time of 1 hour, 6 minutes and 3 seconds.
In the women's sprit competition, the fastest was Austrian Apollonia Fischer with a time of 1 hour 18 minutes and 17 seconds. Silver was won by Lucy Anderson from Great Britain and bronze by Zorana Medarić from Slovenia.
Croatian airports are on course to break the 10 million passenger mark this year as the country’s nine commercial airports are recorded outstanding results. Across the country the number of passengers using Croatian airports is expected to grow by 10 percent on 2017 and will break the 10 million mark.
"The significant rise in passenger numbers at Croatian airports has been influenced by GDP growth in countries that visitors are coming from, as well as numerous other factors, including safety. Travellers want to go on holiday to places where they feel safe", commented the President of the Air Transport Association board at the Croatian Chamber of Economy, Tonči Peović.
Zagreb airport will once again lead the country in terms of passenger number with an estimated 3.4 million passengers expected in 2018, whilst Split is close behind with 3 million passengers. Spilt has seen an impressive growth in passenger numbers over the past few years as the airport attracts more new airlines and the city becomes more attractive to tourists.
Dubrovnik Airport will be the third busiest airport in Croatia is 2018 with passenger number expected to rise by 10 percent this year.
"Such dynamic growth in traffic brings with it new challenges in terms of airport capacity. Given that traffic is expected to double within the next seven years, it is necessary to define the maximum capacity at Croatian airports and begin preparations to move some airports to new locations, so as to allow for their undisturbed development in the decades to come" concluded Peović,
The speed of the Croatian judicial system is notoriously slow, bogged down under a mountain of cases the courts aren’t renowned for their efficiency. And new data shows that as many as 1.25 million new court cases are opened every year in Croatia and create a huge backlog.
The Supreme Court President, Djuro Sessa, completed a report on the country’s judiciary system and it shows that the number of new cases in 2017 actually fell, although they still reached over 1.2 million, and that the courts were more efficient in 2017 compared to previous years.
When you bear in mind that Croatia has a population of around 4.2 million and over 1.2 million new cases were brought in one year it highlights the problems the court system has.
"In late 2017 there were 9 percent fewer pending cases in Croatia's courts than in 2016, when the number of pending cases was nearly 509,000," said Sessa.
He said that the situation with court cases involving land registers, which accounted for a large number of complaints, had improved considerably, with the time courts take to solve such cases having been shortened to 32 days on average.
The biggest ever military exercise in Croatia is currently underway. “Velebit 18 – Joint Force” is the title of an exercise that started on Saturday and will continue uninterrupted for 72 hours at 11 different locations.
The Croatian President, Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic, opened the military exercise along with the Minister of Defence, and commented praised the military for "good preparedness and ambition in testing the capabilities of the army's active and reserve components."
"This command, which leads joint operations of the army branches in real time, in an exercise that has not happened since the Homeland War, demonstrates a high level of competence and understanding of the most modern principles of military doctrine," said the Minister of Defence. Adding that the exercise involves around 5,500 soldiers.
Dubrovnik rocked to the sounds of The Beatles last night as the British Days in Dubrovnik event ended with a bang on the Stradun. All the classics from the Fab Four brought hundreds to the city, with these timeless classics finding an audience willing to join in and created a magical evening.
“Wow, this is so cool. I can’t believe how good these guys are. This night has really made our vacations,” commented Paula Jones from the USA.
Twist and Shout
The British Days in Dubrovnik, which was organised by the British Embassy in Croatia and the City of Dubrovnik, created a diverse and entertaining program from the 10th to the 12th of October with the centrepiece being a 1964 Route master double-decker parked directly in front of the Old City of Dubrovnik. The connections between the UK and Dubrovnik were celebrated in a three-day event that brought educational programs, art, cinema, children’s games, sport and a pub quiz. And last night was the turn of music to take the stage, and it was a finale to remember.
We all live in a Yellow Submarine
Hundreds of locals and tourists joined together in a common love of The Beatles as the stone facades echoed to the sounds of Lennon and McCartney.
“I have danced tonight for the first time in a long time, brings back memories of my youth,” commented Colin from Essex. Adding “A huge thank you to Dubrovnik for this great concert…what a night out!”
Fans from Dubrovnik with the "Fab Four"
The Beatles Revival Band from Rijeka, four extremely talented musicians, turned back the years and the memories followed. Hard Day’s Night, Sergeant Peppers Lonely Heart Club Band and Hey Jude as the big finish saw the band play for two hours solid.
“The public were just incredible, we know that The Beatles hits are songs without borders but this was just a crazy night, we loved it and love Dubrovnik,” commented the band after a concert to remember.
Dubrovnik art has hit the streets of London with the opening of an exhibition from Deša Vlahutin in the Old Brompton Gallery. Organised by the MA Gallery in London the exhibition features five sculptures from this academically educated sculptor in a cycle inspired entitled “Fibonacci Fragments.” Inspired by the Fibonacci series, a mathematical formula called the divine measure of the whole world.
The opening of the exhibition was attended by Daria Chernenko, head of the Russian department at Bonhams auction house, Anthony Fawcett, a British writer, critic and former personal assistant of John Lennon and Yoko Ono, pianist and composer Vessey Tchakarov, mathematician Mark Walters and the Croatian Ambassador to the United Kingdom.
The exhibition is open until October 17, so if you travel to London, make sure to stop at the Old Brompton Gallery.