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.
Croatia’s unemployment levels have reached record lows. In July the rate of unemployment in the country fell again and the current level is an all-time low of 8.6 percent. In July, according to data from the State Statistics Bureau, there were 1.45 million people in employment which is 16,400 more than in June.
In fact, June this year saw the unemployment rate reach a record low of 8.8 percent only to be beaten the next month and now stands at 8.6 percent.
The latest drop in unemployment, with a total of more than 136,000 people out of work, represents a month-on-month drop of 1.6 percent, and a year-on-year drop of 19.9 percent.
There are a few major factors that have contributed to this recent fall. Firstly, the boom in the tourism industry has seen many Croatians for the continental regions migrate to the coastline to find employment. It is also important to mention that hundreds of thousands of people have left the country in search of better economic futures in other European Union members, such as Germany, Sweden and France.
The August heat wave doesn’t look like coming to an end any time soon. So far there hasn’t been a day in Dubrovnik in August that have seen temperatures drop below thirty degrees and the warm spell is predicted to continue until the end of the month.
Yesterday the city was its normal summer vibrant self.
Check out our photo gallery from the city
Oprah Winfrey enjoyed a stroll around the historic Old City of Dubrovnik this afternoon soaking up the sights and chatting with friends. The TV legend arrived in Dubrovnik on a luxury yacht two days ago and has enjoying the Adriatic sunshine on-board the yacht of Italian businessman Giancarlo Giammetti, who is also the lifetime partner of fashion mogul Valentino Garavani.
Oprah takes a stroll in Dubrovnik - Photo Instagram @urbantheoryinteriordesign
Winfey (64) was spotted walking along the main street through the ancient city this afternoon before boarding a waiting speedboat to whisk her back to the yacht. The iconic fashion designer, Diane Von Fürstenberg (71) who was celebrated in the 70s with the so-called wrap dress, was also in the group and along with Oprah Winfrey waved at the small crowd that collected in the Old City harbour.
“She was smiling and seemed very happy and waved at the people but not with her hand but with her dog’s paw which was a really cute touch,” an eye-witness told The Dubrovnik Times.
Oprah Winfrey waves goodbye to Dubrovnik - Photos Ivana Smilovic ©The Dubrovnik Times
One half of the popular duo 2Cellos, Stjepan Hauser, is rumoured to have found his other half in the stunning Croatia presenter and model Fani Stipkovic. According to reports the pair have become more than friends and have been spotted together on numerous occasions.
The heartthrob Croatian cello player and the blonde bombshell arrived together for the funeral of Oliver Dragojevic in Vela Luka and since then have been seeing more and more of each other.
A few days ago, the duo also spent a night at a restaurant in the centre of Pula in Istria, and the photograph was published on an official profile of the restaurant whose staff wanted to boast of hosting two well-known media personalities.
Is Fani the new love of Stjepan's life? - Photo Instagram
The popular phrase “There is no business like show business” could quite easily in Croatia be transformed into “there is now business like football.” The Croatian national football team and their stunning exploits at the 2018 World Cup in Russia won the country millions upon millions of new fans and admirers. The promotion for the country, especially as a destination for tourism, was priceless.
And the Dubrovnik Tourist Board have been quick to jump on the back of this wave of positivity and have presented the Dubrovnik tourism offer in Moscow. During the World Cup the tourist board ran a series of online campaigns to raise awareness of the city and to connect with the football team. And they have now taken it one stage further and have organised a presentation in the Russian capital.
Dubrovnik presnted in Moscow - Photo Dubrovnik Tourist Board
Organized by the Croatian Tourist Board's representative office in Moscow, the Croatian Embassy in Moscow and the Dubrovnik Tourist Board, Dubrovnik's presentation was held at the Embassy of the Republic of Croatia in Moscow on Tuesday, August 21.
Sandra Milovčević, from the Dubrovnik Tourist Board, met with Russian travel agents and journalists and highlighted the tourist offer of Dubrovnik as well as events throughout the year, with a special emphasis on the Good Food Festival at the end of October and the Dubrovnik Winter Festival in December. The workshop was attended by 40 Russian travel agents and representatives of the Russian media. As part of the presentation, there was also a prize game for participants, for which the Dubrovnik Sun Gardens provided a free three-day stay for two persons. The lucky winner was Russian travel journalist Olga Grišina.
In 2017, Dubrovnik visited 9,336 tourists, who achieved 47,754 overnight stays. From the beginning of this year to mid-August, Dubrovnik was visited by 5,499 Russian tourists, who realized 25,968 overnight stays.
And the Dubrovnik Tourist Board commented that “After the fantastic success of the Croatian football team and the presentation of Dubrovnik in Moscow, we expect a significant increase in the arrival of Russian tourists to Dubrovnik and Croatia.”
However, the one rather large fly in the ointment is that Russia tourists still require a visa to visit Croatia. And as the process for taking a Croatian visa in Russia is still rather complicated and slow many potential tourists obtain a Schengen visa from another European Union country. This, of course, is a missed opportunity for Croatia to earn extra finances from the cost of visas.
Proof that the Croatian coastline doesn’t offer guests only sun, sea and sand was highlighted on the Instagram profile of the iconic fashion designer Diane Von Fürstenberg, who has been sailing the Adriatic in the company of friends, including Oprah Winfrey, these days.
In the company of these “cruise” friends the designer has been enjoying mountain hiking on one Croatian island and has been sharing with enthusiasm photos of the pristine Croatian nature and landscapes. She also shared a photo of the turquoise Adriatic Sea and marvelled at how crystal clear it is.
Climb every mountain - Photo Instagram
Diane Von Fürstenberg (71) is a fashion designer who was celebrated in the 70s with the so-called wrap dress. This now cult dress hangs in every women’s wardrobe and has keep its trendy status over the years, and has made Diane Von Fürstenberg one of the most influential creators of the last century.
These days, in Los Angeles, an exhibition entitled 'Journey of a Dress' will open, which will showcase the development of a piece of clothing with pictures of the most significant moments, including a legendary dress that appeared on the front page of Newsweek in 1976.
The clothes from her DVF line are worn by well-known women all over the world - from the Duchess of Cambridge, to American actress Gwyneth Paltrow and Jessica Albea to singer Madonna and Jennifer Lopez.
It's a wrap
On this day, the 21st of August, 2003 one of the greatest international friends and supporters of Dubrovnik sadly died. Kathy Wilkes, who was described by The Guardian as a “bold academic forging philosophical links with eastern Europe,” was an English philosopher and academic who played an important part in rebuilding the education systems of former Communist countries after 1990.
Wilkes dedicated part of her life to helping Dubrovnik in its darkest days during the bombardment in the Homeland War in the early 1990s. Her love affair with the city started back in the 1980s when she attended academic meetings at the Inter-University Centre in Dubrovnik. She later went on to become one of the chairs of the IUC executive committee, and ran a series of economics and political science seminars.
Throughout the terrible bombings of the historic Old City of Dubrovnik by Yugoslav forces in 1991 she remained in the city. She helped organise medical supplies for the sieged city and did her upmost to spread the world to the world of the human suffering that was occurring in Dubrovnik. Kathy Wilkes was made an honorary citizen of Dubrovnik as a mark of respect for her courage. She was also made an honorary member of the Croatian army.
Kathleen Vaughan Wilkes, philosopher, born June 23 1946; died August 21 2003
A freelance journalist threw a bucket load of faeces at the entrance of the government building in the centre of the Croatian capital Zagreb today. The journalist, Iva Anzulovic, was apparently protesting against a lack of real fight against crime and corruption in the country, according to a post on her Facebook page.
Anzulovic was escorted from the scene by the police. And it turns out that this isn’t the first time that she has carried out this kind of protest. On the 8th of August she did exactly the same thing in front of the building of the State Prosecutor, as act that was reported as a misdemeanour.
"I will throw faeces at anyone who has been proven a criminal in journalists' articles. Starting today, nobody that has been proven to have behaved criminally by a reporter will feel safe in public - and this goes for institutions as well - because they will never know when, where, or how I might throw faeces at them," she said.