Tuesday, 16 July 2019
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.

Email: mark.thomas@dubrovnik-times.com

The island of Lokrum disappeared in a blanket of fog this afternoon.

These rather strange weather conditions brought thick fog down over the Adriatic Sea and completely covered the island of Lokrum from the Old City of Dubrovnik. As warm sunshine blazed down this micro-climate around the island was wierd to see. 

lokrum fog 2

Photo Barbara Gate 

Croatia Air Traffic Control (HKZP) has received the Single European Sky 2017 award at the World Air Traffic Management Congress which was held in Madrid, Spain from the 7th to the 9th of March.

On this occasion, the European Commission awarded five projects that help modernise EU Air Traffic Management (ATM), whilst the winners were chosen among 36 applications from 35 world countries.

Croatia Air Traffic Control (HKZP) received the EU Commission’s award for the multinational project called the South-East Axis Free Route Airspace (SEAFRA).

SEAFRA is the first cross-border application of 24-hour free route airspace in Europe. The project brings together four countries: Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina, which are part of the Functional Airspace Block (FAB), with Serbia and Montenegro, which are not part of any FAB initiative. By doing so SEAFRA provides a concrete example of how this type of cooperation is possible and can benefit all stakeholders. The idea of such large-scale free route airspace was initiated to improve safety and efficiency, as well as environmental protection by reducing fuel consumption.

‘’This award is a great recognition of our project which we have implemented with our partners SMATSA and BHANSA from neighbouring countries. This project was the first to introduce free route airspace in Europe in the area of four countries – Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia and Montenegro. Apart from exceptional reduction of fuel consumption for air carriers, we have also significantly reduced CO2 and NOx emissions’’, emphasized Dragan Bilac, the director of HKZP.

Furthermore, EUROCONTROL’s Network Manager and high-level representatives from five air navigation service providers will present the Free Route Airspace (FRA) concept and provide real examples of implementation over Central and South East Europe.

Apart from four SEFRA countries, the FRA project would also encompass air spaces of Austria and Slovenia (SAXFRA). This project will significantly improve services for air carriers considering the fact that large part of European air traffic passes just over these six countries on the way from north-western Europe to the Middle East.

In terms of tourism, Croatia is best known for its coastal destinations; however, the continental ones do not lag behind them anymore. The popular Art&Spa centre in the Hrvatsko Zagorje region is one of them.

In the first two months of 2017, the Croatian spa centre Terme Tuhelj recorded around 20,000 overnight stays and placed on the TOP 10 most visited destinations in Croatia in that period. This positive trend is expected to continue in the rest of the year with encouraging indicators from both foreign and domestic tourists.

Noting that the tourist season at Terme Tuhelj lasts throughout the whole year, from the spa centre point out that they are very satisfied with the achieved results in the first two months of 2017 which put them side by side with popular Croatia's destinations such as Dubrovnik, Opatija, Rovinj, Umag, Split, Porec, Zadar, and Zagreb, which placed as the first on the list in terms of tourist traffic.

''Out of the total number of 20,400 overnight stays, most were realized by domestic guests (12,100), mainly in hotels and other accommodation spa centre facilities. Thus, we are among the TOP 10 destinations in Croatia in terms of hotel tourist traffic in the first two months of 2017'', Terme Tuhelj presented data from the eVisitor system.

Thanks to the increased activities on foreign markets for this year, apart from an increase in arrivals and overnight stays of domestic tourists, Terme Tuhelj expects growth from foreign markets as well. Furthermore, apart from the investment in the development of spa services and in education of employees, Terme Tuhelj has been working on the improvement of their congress offer, which has resulted in the continuous increase in the number of congresses and business guests.

''Bearing in mind that experiences and emotions are among the most important topics in tourism, this year we are also planning investments with emphasis on pools with thermal water in order to popularize natural wellness'', said Terme Tuhelj.

Yesterday marked a sad day in Dubrovnik's long history – for on the 20th of March 1970 the city's tramway was abolished. For almost sixty years the tramway was an important link and an iconic feature on the streets of the city. People still remember the Dubrovnik tramway with fondness, yes it was the most comfortable or even the fastest way of travel but it certainly had style and character.

dubrovnik tram

In fact speed was one of the reasons why the tramway was abolished all those years ago, but the main reason was profitability. In a modern era trams were seen as somehow old-fashioned and not in pace with modern life.

It would be fair to say that this is not the case, many major cities have reintroduced trams, such as London, to reduce traffic problems. And trams are also an attraction in themselves, a visit to San Francisco just wouldn’t be the same without a ride on the tram.

From December 1910 the tramway tirelessly served Dubrovnik and its citizens. Until one fateful day, the 7th of March, when a tram derailed and crashed into the Pile park area just outside of the Old City, this signalled the final nail in the coffin for trams in Dubrovnik. Fourteen people were injured and there was one fatality on that day, although it could be argued that there were two fatalities – the end of the tramway in the city.

By meeting with representatives of the Croatian community in the Swedish capital of Stockholm the president of Croatia Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic began her five-day visit to the Scandinavian country on the 20th of March.

According to the latest data between 35,000 and 40,000 Croats emigrated to Sweden in the last century whether as economic migrants, political migrants or fleeing from the war zone in 1990s.

At the meeting with the Croatian community Grabar-Kitarovic emphasized the poor demographic situation in the homeland by saying that Croatia was ''ageing and dying'' and needed people, referring to returnees from the Diaspora. She also added that Croatia had to provide returnees the standard of living they now have in Sweden. "It is up to us to ensure your return, your integration in the homeland and the fullness of life you have in Sweden."

The Croatian president begins the official part of her visit on the 21st of March. She is to meet with King Gustaf XVI and Queen Silvia, the Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lovfen, the Parliament Speaker Urban Ahlin, and the Minister of Defence Peter Hultqvist.

During the five-day visit Grabar-Kitarovic will also visit the Swedish telecom giant Ericsson, the owner of the ICT company Ericsson Nikola Tesla in Croatia.

The Dubrovnik Tourist Board in collaboration with the City of Dubrovnik will organize the first occasional sale of flowers and plants this year on Saturday, the 25th of March from 7.30 am until 4 pm in the Luj Soletic Park in Gruz.

On this occasion locals and their guests can buy seedlings at affordable prices. Locals can then arrange their gardens and balconies to make the city even more beautiful. All of the flowers and plants at this sale will be offered at promotional prices.

The Association of Croatian Wineries at the Croatian Chamber of Commerce (HGK) participated at the latest international trade fair for wines and spirits in Dusseldorf, Germany from the 19th to the 21st of March.

At the largest trade fair Prowein 2017 thirteen wineries from Croatia presented their wines such as Badel 1862, Vina Belje, Kutjevo, Zlatan otok, Lagradi, Dingac Skaramuca, Feravino, Kraljevski vinogradi, Kronos, Krauthaker, Vina Terra madre, Veralda, and Apimel.

''This fair is very important for the Croatian winemaking as an opportunity for Croatian wines to be presented to a professional audience in Germany, but also to the rest of the world. However, the fair is highly important for the further improvement of the image of Croatian wines ''Vina Croatia-vina mosaica'' as well as of the Croatian brand itself, which enables significant positioning of Croatian wines in the world. At this fair winemakers are free to talk to various buyers about distribution of their wines to the EU common market, but also to some other demanding world markets such as Russia, the US, Canada, China and Japan'', explained Igor Barbaric, the secretary of the Association of Croatian Wineries at the HGK.

Furthermore, Ljiljana Vajda-Mlinacek, the marketing and tourism director at Belje, emphasized that Prowein was one of the most important places in the world for presentation of wine, ''This fair gathers all the major world producers, traders and distributors of wine''.

Otherwise, some data show that Croatia exported wine worth 1,8 million Euros to the demanding German market in 2016. Therefore, in terms of exports Germany was the second export market, after Bosnia and Herzegovina. In the same period, Croatia imported wine from Germany worth 1,92 million Euros that made this country the fourth import market for Croatia. An overall analysis showed that imports of wine from Germany decreased by 9 percent in 2016 in comparison to the previous year, whilst exports recorded an increase by 8 percent, which was an indicator of strengthening and importance of exports to this demanding market.

Mismatching or eye-catching socks are today being worn all around the world to raise awareness about inclusion with reference to people with Down Syndrome.

World Down Syndrome Day, which falls annually on 21 March, is this year celebrating with the campaign titled #lotsofsocks. As you can see we got in the action in Dubrovnik with these odd British flag socks.

socks 2


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