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.
Croatians can travel to 169 different countries in the world without a visa making the passport the 16th strongest and the highest ranking since 2006. According to the 2018 Passport Index, which is published by Henley & Partners consultancy firm the Croatian passport is now listed in 16th position up from 21st position from last year.
The global passport ranking system uses various indicators to create this annual list with the most important being the number of countries a passport holder can travel to without needing a visa.
This year’s list was topped by Singapore and Japan whose citizens can travel to 189 countries without requiring a visa. In second spot was Germany with 188 visa-free destinations, whilst the third position was shared by seven countries, France, Finland, Sweden, Spain, Denmark, South Korea and Italy.
Croatia finished in healthy 16th position which is the highest ranking in the twelve years that the passport rankings have been complied.
“We are defending people and homes, the situation on the ground is very bad,” commented the Chief of the County Fire Brigade, Stjepan Simović, direct from Orebić.
The catastrophic forest fire that started at around 8 o’clock this morning is still burning in Orebić, and now the Croatian Army are on the scene to assist in the fire fight and the control of the evacuation of citizens.
A gale force northerly wind is making the situation extremely hazardous and simply controlling the fires is proving challenging. The front line of the fire is believed to be around 10 kilometres in length and as we understand the fire is spreading in two directions. The main road to Orebic is closed and campsites have been evacuated of tourists.
One ship, two helicopters, an airplane, and over fifty members of the Croatian army have joined in the fight, which has every fire fighting force in the county involved. The strong northerly wind is making it difficult for the planes to have any effect and the helicopters are fighting cross winds and the fire spreads quickly.
The road from Orebić to Dubrovnik is still closed for all traffic and as Simović pointed out the firefighters and the citizens of Orebić can expect a long and uncertain night.
A forest fire broke out this morning in the town of Orebic on the Peljesac Peninsular and due to strong northerly winds quickly covered a large area of woodland. The strong winds and the inaccessible terrain have made it difficult for the firefighters to extinguish.
- All firefighters from Peljesac came to assist as well as firefighters from the island of Korcula. The fire spread to houses but we stopped it in time, and now it is spreading up the hill, we should be careful because the situation is not simple at all – said the head of the Dubrovnik Fire Brigade, Stjepan Simović.
Two firefighting planes came to help but due to the high winds were forced to leave the area.
Guests from the campsite Nevio have had to be evacuated and the main road is closed due to fires on the roadside.
And the best football player in the world is…Luka Modrić. At a gala ceremony in London last night the Croatian captain and Real Madrid general Luka Modrić won the FIFA world’s best male player. Modrić (33) beat Cristiano Ronaldo and Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah to the award and this is the first time that a Croatian player has collected this prestigious FIFA award.
It has been incredible season for Modrić, he won the Champions League with Real Madrid and then took Croatia to the 2018 World Cup Finals in Russia where they won the silver medal.
"This award is not just mine. It is my team-mates from Real Madrid and Croatia. Without my coaches, I would not have won this and without my family I would not be the player I am today," commented Modrić at the ceremony.
What a difference a day makes! As predicted the weather took a turn for the worse today as the clouds closed in and the sun was blocked completely.
Temperatures plummeted to the low twenties and spots of rain are falling all over the county. The summer has been put on hold in Dubrovnik and the bad weather is predicted to last for around three days. These photos show the power of the clouds as they collected ominously over the city and the Adriatic.
A strong north wind is blowing and the days of relaxing on the beach are over. At least for the meantime.
The Ministry of Tourism has released a package of laws in the public debate that will directly address the activities of the tourist board system. After more than two decades, this huge system will undergo significant changes, and the intention is to make new laws more effective and to encourage smaller tourist communities to join together in accordance with common interests.
The task of tourist boards will no longer be just advertising and promotion, but they will have to develop products and create new motives for the arrival of guests. Ultimately, the concept of destination management should come to life, as this will be the principle of system reorganization.
Tourist boards that spend more than 30 percent of their income on wages are to be abolished and will no longer be chaired by the mayor or the head of the local self-government unit.
The Croatia government is set to spend a whopping 40 million Kunas, or around 5.3 million Euros, on updating and renovating of the fleet of cars used by the various state institutions. The framework for leasing a number of cars for a period of 60 months for 23 state institutions will cost the tax payer a healthy 40 million.
According to the Croatian newspaper Vecernji List the government is looking to procure 188 lower middle class cars, 69 middle class vehicles, and nine high-class class cars. There are also six SUV’s, three light-duty combo vehicles, four light-duty vehicles, seven vans and three combined vehicles for eight passengers.
The vehicles are to be procured for 14 different ministries, from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to the Ministry of Health. However, it isn’t only the ministers and ministries that are forking out for new vehicles, various other state institutions, from the National Geodetic Administration, the National Hydro Meteorological Institute, the State Metrology Institute and the Central Bureau of Statistics are also list on the list of institutions that will renew their fleet.
The prestigious World Meteorological Organisation’s 2019 calendar will feature two stunning photos from Croatia. This calendar is one of the most sought after as it features glorious weather and climate photos from all over the world.
And this year WMO received over 1,000 photos for their 2019 calendar which has the theme “The Sun, The Earth and The Weather.”
From the shortlist of 75 finalists two Croatians have found themselves in the final version of the calendar, which was chosen by the public voting online.
Ana Ricov and her “Vortex on Sea,” and Danijel Palčić with his “Shelf Cloud” have made it onto the final calendar and feature two breath-taking Croatia weather landscapes.