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.
On the occasion of International Youth Day, the 12th of August, a round table discussion was held in the Cultural Centre in Metković. The 12th of August was first designated International Youth Day by the UN General Assembly in 1999, and serves as an annual celebration of the role of young women and men as essential partners in change, and an opportunity to raise awareness of challenges and problems facing the world’s youth.
Since 2014 this important day has been marked in the Dubrovnik – Neretva County thanks to the Europe House Dubrovnik in co-operation with the Dubrovnik Neretva County.
Adriana Kremenjaš-Daničić addresses the audience - Photo by Mark Thomas
Every year since an event marking International Youth day has been held in a different city in the county and this year was the turn of Metković. Adriana Kremenjaš-Daničić, the president of Europe House Dubrovnik, opened the discussion and she was joined by Marko Kovačić, political sociology and expert in youth political participation from the Institute for Social Research in Zagreb and Cedo Vučković from the Dubrovnik – Neretva County.
Kremenjaš - Daničić opened the discussion by presenting the work of the County Youth Program and all the problems and challenges they have faced in this project. This document, when fully implemented, will determine the direction of youth work in the county over the next few years. One of the problems that has been raised by youth in the county is the challenge of finding employment in a profession aligned with their studies. Dubrovnik is a region dominated by tourism and therefore finding work in other professions is often impossible.
“If someone has studied politics, it is difficult for them to find a job for some time, and they often end up working for a travel agency or booking excursions. It would seem that in our county only occupations in tourism are important,” concluded Kremenjaš Daničić. Youbg people throughout the county have voiced opinions that the number of business zones and entrepreneurial incubators with special focus on non-touristic occupations should be increased.
Marko Kovačić of the Institute for Social Research pointed out that young people in the Dubrovnik-Neretva County accounted for 18.6 percent of the population and that they should not be ignored by government or local authorities. "The creation of the County Youth Program is a very positive step, but it is fascinating that none of the units of local self-government has done this until now, although it is obligatory to have such a program. Communicating with the youth of today must be done through social media channels, most notably at Instagram and Snapchat, and unfortunately none of the local government units are communicating on those platforms. Young people are often inert, but nevertheless, it is the duty of the state and each individual regional and local self-government unit to reach them, " concluded Kovačić.
Participants had a chance to enjoy the sights and sounds of the Neretva region - Photo by Mark Thomas
Valamar Riviera, the largest hotel and resort chain in Croatia, is set to invest a whopping 83 million Euros in 2019 with the largest project for next year being a campsite in Istria.
The Istra Sunny Camp in Funtana, located in western Istria, will be rebranded as the Istra Premium Camping Resort and will be completely revamped. Works are believed to be starting this autumn and a series of new facilities will be added to the current two-star camp, including an aqua park.
The company said they were among the first on the Mediterranean to invest in luxury camping, and added that after the re-development the camp at Funtana would be five-star rated, become one of the best camps in Europe, and would create about 200 jobs.
Dubrovnik is in for another warm and humid weekend with highs to reach 33 degrees. August has seen temperatures in the city in the mid-thirties with only a few spots of rain the whole month.
The weekend will open with a warm and sunny day on Saturday with only a few scattered clouds to spoil an otherwise blue sky, highs of Saturday are predicted to reach 32 degrees. And on Sunday the pleasant summer weather will continue with highs to hit 33 degrees and humidity levels to be around 55 percent.
The Adriatic Sea is particularly warm, this morning at 7.00 am the sea temperature was measured at 26.3 degrees and throughout the day it will climb over 27 degrees. A perfect weekend to spend on the beach in Dubrovnik.
Croatia's June 2018 industrial production jumped by 4.5 percent compared to May, posting the largest month-on-month growth of all 28 European Union member countries, according to data released by EU's statistics bureau Eurostat on Thursday.
The seasonally adjusted industrial production figures in June 2018 fell by 0.7 percent in the euro zone, and by 0.4 percent in the EU28 compared to the previous month.
Eurostat reported that the largest month-on-month drops were recorded in Ireland (8.9 percent), the Netherlands (1.3 percent) and Hungary (1.2 percent). The highest monthly increases were posted by Croatia (4.5 percent), Romania (1.7 percent), the Czech Republic, and Finland (1.5 percent each).
Compared with June 2017, industrial production increased by 2.5 percent in the euro zone and by 2.6 percent in the EU28.
"In the EU28, the decrease of 0.4 percent month-on-month is due to the fall in the production of capital goods by 2.0 percent, intermediate goods by 0.3 percent, durable consumer goods by 0.2 percent, and non-durable consumer goods by 0.1 percent. Meanwhile, the production of energy rose by 0.5 percent," Eurostat said.
Year-on-year, the seasonally adjusted industrial production rose by 2.6 percent in June 2018, posting the same growth rate as the month before.
Compared to June 2017, the biggest growth was recorded in Ireland (7.7 percent), Romania (7.0 percent), the Czech Republic (6.9 percent), and Poland (6.7 percent).
In Croatia, the year-on-year growth was 3.1 percent in June 2018, following a year-on-year 0.6 percent drop in May.
Drops in industrial production year-on-year in June were posted in Denmark (1.2 percent), Portugal (1.0 percent), and the Netherlands (0.2 percent).
Croatia is certainly on the radar of American tourists. So far this year 373,000 Americans have visited Croatia a massive 23 percent increase over the same period from last year. One of the most popular destinations is Dubrovnik, thanks in part to the serial Game of Thrones, however other Adriatic cities are also experiencing an American boom.
At the Las Vegas travel exhibition, Virtuoso Travel Week, currently being held the luxury travel agency Virtuoso has reported a 28 percent growth in demand for vacations in Croatia. In fact, Croatia is in the top ten fastest growing travel destinations.
“The US is a very important market for Croatian tourism, recording double-digit growth rates annually,” commented the Croatian National Tourist Board director Kristjan Stanicic.
The director of the Croatian National Tourist Board in New York, Ina Rodin, commented that Virtuoso put Croatia in its annual survey’s top ten destinations in three categories – fastest growing destinations, most popular destinations for millennials, and most popular international destinations.
They caught the hearts of a nation when they performed a Croatian classic folk song before the World Cup semi-final clash with England and are continuing to spread the love after being featured on a leading New Zealand TV network.
Klapa Samoana are an Auckland-based male vocal group who specialise in performing traditional Croatian folklore tunes. It might sound a little unusual, a group of Samoans from New Zealand singing in Croatian, but there is an explanation. Whilst at school the guys had a music teacher from Dubrovnik and he passed on the vibe and the emotion for Croatian music.
Watch the full video and discover how Klapa Samoana showed their love for Croatia
On the back of an impressive display at the 2018 World Cup in Russia Croatia have leapt up the new FIFA rankings. The Croatian national football team jumped up 16 places on the latest FIFA rankings and are now the fourth best team in world football.
For the first time in 16 years France are on the top of the list after winning the World Cup and in second place are Belgium. FIFA have recently changed the points system with which the rankings are calculated. "The new calculation system is based primarily on adding and subtracting points to the previous number of points instead of calculating the average score over a given time period. Points that are added or subtracted are determined by the relative strength of both rivals, including the expectation that better-ranking representations should achieve better results against lesser-placed teams, and emphasis is placed on the importance of the finals of big competitions, that is, a smaller importance on friendly matches," commented the Croatian Football Association.
Croatia's World Cup success in Russia brought a wave of joy across the country - Photo by Tomislav Kristo / CROPIX
Based on this new formula, France has moved six places to take first position, which they last held in 2002. Only three points behind France are semi-finalists of the World Cup, Belgium, followed by Brazil in third and Croatia in fourth. This new ranking for Croatia equals the best ever ranking of fourth which they held in June 2013.
England, who were beaten by Croatia in the World Cup semi-final, also climbed in the FIFA rankings by six places to finish in sixth position.
Germany and Argentina are among the major disappointments, Germany with their failure to get past the group stages in the World Cup dropped from first place down to 15th position. Whilst South American giants Argentina crashed to 11th position from 5th place.
The next FIFA rankings will be released on September 20th 2018.
Could Dubrovnik see direct flights from America in 2019? There are currently no airlines flying directly between the US and Dubrovnik, or even the US and Croatia, however in spite of this fact American tourists were in the top five most numerous last year.
Over the past few years there have been numerous attempts to tempt an American airline to operate flights to Dubrovnik but so far these have proved unsuccessful. The world’s largest airline, American Airlines, has confirmed that it is introducing a number of flights to Eastern Europe for 2019 and one could well be Dubrovnik. Reports have surfaced that American Airlines is in contact with Dubrovnik airport about the possibility of introducing a direct service from Philadelphia to Dubrovnik as a seasonal service for 2019.
"We’ve so far been really excited by Prague and Budapest. Their performance has been pretty amazing, some of our best flying in continental Europe. So that may actually compel us to go fly more things in Eastern Europe next year," commented Vasu Raja the American Airlines Vice President for Planning.