Wednesday, 22 August 2018
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.


It has been a bumper year for bloggers, journalists and trend-setters in Croatia. This summer Casey Owen Neistat went on a cruise along the Adriatic coast with his wife and released his video on the YouTube profile. After visiting Italy, the couple came to our shores. First they visited Opatija, and then they went towards Dalmatia. Cruising the Croatian islands they were thrilled with beautiful beaches they had only for themselves. The famous YouTuber thrilled audiences in Croatia when he attempted to pronounce the name of the place where he was based.

His video is full of stunning natural scenery, whilst he was especially delighted with the appearance of Croatian cities. The video has already been watched by more than half a million people. Although they lost their luggage, the Neistats didn't let anything to spoil their holiday. The video wasn't edited but realistically shows everything they encountered with on their cruise along the Adriatic coast.

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After the cruise, they rented a boat and started the adventure of a lifetime. They visited numerous stunning bays, filmed the beautiful coast and dived into the depths of clear blue sea water. The couple also entered into the famous Croatian cave ''Modra Spilja'' (the Blue Grotto or Blue Cave) located on the small island of Bisevo near the island of Vis. Their lifetime adventure ended in Dubrovnik.

Casey's posts on YouTube are regularly watched by over a million people daily. His YouTube channel is one of the most watched which can be seen from the fact that in a few months more than one million people subscribed to his profile. Casey's video certainly contributes to the promotion of the Croatian tourism around the world. Thank you Casey!

Sometimes my guests ask me whether Dubrovnik is a new destination. It's not. The city's tourism is well over a century old. During this time Dubrovnik has seen plenty of highs and lows as a holiday destination, surviving three wars and plenty of political turmoil. It was visited by celebrities, members of the international jet set, royalty. Today, it's becoming more popular than it ever was. In fact, Dubrovnik is so popular it faces the same problems shared by many other top holiday destinations - overcrowding, high prices of hospitality services, inflated property prices, lack of authenticity, to name a few.

Because of all this, people are starting to raise their voices against some of the negative effects tourism has on our daily lives. Sometimes, the sentiments are very much anti-tourism. Many people in Dubrovnik fall into one of two camps – one which looks down on tourism business as inherently bad for the local people and the local way of life, and the other which believes we should allow and promote anything that will make money. Of course, neither of the two extremes is the solution this city needs.

Generations of Dubrovnik people have worked hard to build this destination up, and that should be respected. On the other hand, it is impossible to run a successful destination without some negative effects on the local environment and way of life, especially in a small place like Dubrovnik. We are seeing more and more of the city turned to restaurants, souvenir shops, cafes, and so on. This is not in itself a bad thing, but once these businesses start eating away at the space once held by local stores and workshops which are either needed for the local population to be able to function, or are representatives of local culture worth preserving, then you have a problem.

Many of us choose fast profits over long term benefit. This is not only a result of individual greed, but fear as well. Let’s not forget Croatians have witnessed some pretty erratic changes in their society over the years. Only in my lifetime (I am 35) this country has gone from a communist, socialist society where everything was state owned, through a bloody war where all the institutions and laws broke down, to an independent democratic society with a market economy, to now being a member of the EU with all the new rules and regulations that come with being a part of one huge common market. All these changes brought forth shocks to the national economy and endangered people’s personal finances. In my lifetime, we have gone through three currencies and are waiting to adopt the fourth one – the Euro – if it survives long enough for us to adopt it. All this makes Croatians very determined about earning as much as possible when given a chance, because of the uncertainty they feel about the country’s financial health.

Fear makes people do silly things (Brexit, anyone?), but it is time to face our fears and stop the damage being done to Dubrovnik as a destination. It is time to realise the only local threat to us making money from tourism in the long run is trying to make money from it by all means necessary in the shortest period possible. Without imposing certain restrictions that will prevent harmful business practices, we might… we will do irreparable damage to our main source of income, but also to our community in general.

It is time to make peace with tourism and embrace the concept of sustainability. It is the only way we will be able to ensure this city remains as beautiful and as special as most of us remember it to be. If we have to sacrifice some of our projected profits to accomplish this, so be it.
Bozidar Jukic, AKA The Restless Native, is a Dubrovnik local with too many interests to name them all, with writing being at the very top of the list. He is a lover of good food, music and film, and a firm believer in the healing power of laughter. His professional orientation is towards tourism and travel so it comes as no surprise he spends most of his time alongside Mrs. Jukic running their own local tour company. Their goal is helping travellers from all over the world get a more intimate experience of Dubrovnik and what it has to offer. To find out more about their work, visit their website or Facebook page.

Ana Konjuh’s US Open dream is over in the quarterfinals. The 18-year-old tennis sensation from Dubrovnik has been beaten in the quarterfinals of this year’s US Open by the 24-year-old Czech player Karolina Pliskova. The number ten seed defeated Konjuh 6.2, 6.2 to book her place in the semi-finals.

Reaching the quarterfinals of this Grand Slam tournament is the greatest success of the young Konjuh’s career and the new points earned will mean that on Monday the Dubrovnik star will have risen to the 52nd top ranked player in the world, the highest ranked Croatian female player.

“I wasn’t at my best level today for sure, but she was just too good,” commented Konjuh. “Her serve is just too good. Today on the court, she found her rhythm and took the opportunities that I gave her,” she concluded.

Driving through beautiful natural scenery can be one of the most relaxing activities and a real therapy for travellers. Sometimes the journey itself is the destination.

According to the website “Dangerous Roads” two of the numerous Croatian roads found their place among the world's most spectacular roads. The Adriatic Highway also known as “Jadranska Magistrala” and D512 state road are among the best coastal roads in the world.
The world list included such gems as the Pacific Coast Highway (USA), Hana Highway (USA), Great Ocean Road (Australia), the Atlantic Ocean Road (Norway) and the Amalfi Coast Road (Italy).

About the popular Croatian roads the website writes as follows: ''D512 state road is one of the most beautiful roads on the Adriatic coastline of Croatia. The road is 30.6 km long and carries substantial tourist traffic in summers. This narrow, winding hill road starts in Makarska, one of the best tourist destinations on the Croatian coast and ends in the Road 62 near Vrgorac, a town in the Split-Dalmatia County''.

''The Adriatic Highway is an asphalted road in Croatia, along the eastern coast of the Adriatic Sea. The road, part of the European route E65, runs along the coast of Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Montenegro. A quick glance at the map, at its sheer drops and serpentine twists and turns, confirms that this is no hype. The road has a collection of serpentine twists and turns, leading to a hole in the crash barrier, the sea hundreds of feet below. The route has clear blue water to one side, and the view of islands in the distance. The Adriatic Highway has to be seen to be believed. It swoops down close to the shoreline before climbing high over cliff tops, often with nothing but a sheer drop on one side to the sea below''.

The British airline has released a short promo video highlighting the beauties of Dubrovnik in the summer time. In fact Dubrovnik has featured as a top destination for easyJet in their in-flight magazine along with this fascinating video.

easyJet brought the second highest number of tourists to Dubrovnik in 2015 and this year looks like breaking that record. The budget airline recently celebrated carrying their 1 millionth passenger to Croatia.

Check out this latest promo video for Dubrovnik.  

The Valamar Lacroma Dubrovnik Hotel won the two most prestigious tourism awards in the World Travel Awards in Sardinia on the 5th of September 2016 and thus confirmed its position as one of the leading resort hotels and business hotel in Croatia.

For the third year in a row the Valamar Lacroma hotel won the prestigious award for the leading business hotel, whilst in 2013 and 2015 it was voted the leading hotel in Croatia.
''The awards for the best hotel in Croatia and one of the best business hotels, where Valamar Lacroma Dubrovnik has achieved excellent results, are the best indicators of our continuous work on improving the quality of our service. These awards also represent the exceptional recognition and acknowledgement to all our employees for their great work. That is why the Valamar Lacroma Dubrovnik Hotel is always the first choice among conference hotels in Croatia'', emphasized Tea Pestotnik Prebeg, the manager of the Valamar Lacroma hotel.

The World Travel Awards have been awarded since 1993 and for the 23rd year in a row it gave praise and rewarded the world's achievements in the tourism sector. It has been praised by the newspaper The Wall Street Journal as the ''Travel's Industry Oscar''. The World Travel Awards cover a wide range of categories, whilst candidates are elected by professionals from the tourism industry thus it is truly a great honour to be nominated for this prestigious statuette.

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Valamar Lacroma Dubrovnik Hotel

Only couple of weeks after the first MTV Summerblast festival in Porec organizers announce that the next one will be even better and bigger – writes the website Glas Istre. This years festival welcomed big names of the electronic dance scene such as Afrojack, Steve Aoki, Lost Frequencies, Fedde Le Grand  and there were more than 10 thousand visitors from more than 17 countries of the world.

This is the first MTV festival and the organizers got the licence for next three years. They think that it will become one of the greatest music festivals in Europe. Combined with the most popular music platform they are planning to bring some of the biggest pop names such as Rihanna, Beyonce, Calvin Harris and Fifth Harmony, writes Glas Istre.

Instagram is really the biggest source of beautiful photos from Dubrovnik! The one that made it to the top photos today is really special. On the profile s_marga this young traveler has published a photo which shows her standing on the rooftop, accompanied with a great caption.

- Now everyone travels and you can hardly surprise anyone with your trips. People not gonna go wow if you go to Europe for your holidays. People go to same places, do same things according to guides, trip advisers, have same pictures and only few have different experiences because they dont plan when and what time visit all museums in the city but keep themselves open to adventures. I always wanted to live when our planet was unexplored when you can be the first person to step on the land, when places are still unnamed, undiscovered and untouched. When I was a kid I had a huge map on my wall with all the countries and their first conquerors and I was reading adventures of Armstrong, Captain Cook, Vasco da Gama, Columbus and Magellan and dreaming that one day I will discover something that will change the world and will make myself known. Do you think I still have a chance or everything is already discovered and found? – writes Margarita Samsonova on her Instagram profile that has over 38 thousand likes.

Then she describes how she took the photo, saying that she invaded the house of eldery Croatian man, because he had amazing balcony with a great view to the city. She adds that he didn't speak English but let them take pictures and the next thing he saw was her climbing his rooftop. We can only imagine his reaction and let's say – it was worth it.

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