Wednesday, 28 October 2020
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.


The first holy mass on the island of Lokrum this year will be held on Sunday, June 3rd, which is the first Sunday after the celebration of the Blessed Virgin Mary Exhortation, which this year falls on the same day as the feast of the Corpus Christi.

The mass in front of the Chapel of the Annunciation will be held at 11.30 am and will be led by the Cathedral chaplain Don Marin Lucic. Departure by boat from the city harbour will be at 11:00 am. And in co-operation with the Lokrum Reserve the boats will be free of charge for all attending the mass.

During the summer months, every first Sunday in July, August and September at holy mass will be held at 11:30 am.

Croatia is searching for flight partners to operate from four long distant markets, the United States, China, Japan and South Korea. In an interview with the weekly magazine “Globus” the Croatian Minister of Tourism, Gari Cappelli, stated that “Our main aim is to improve the air connection to Croatia. We are particularly focusing on Japan, with which we recently signed a bilateral Air Service Agreement, but also China, South Korea and the United States, which all account for a growing number of tourists".

Flights between Zagreb and Tokyo are moving ever closer with negotiations between the Croatian Ministry of Transport and the Japanese authorities on the introduction of direct links. And South Korea and Croatia are also moving closer with an approval for Korean Air to fly on an annual basis. And with the explosion of interest in China as a tourist destination it seems only a matter of time before direct flights are seen. The search for an airline interested in flying between the US and Croatia continues and it is believed that talks are underway with a number of US airlines.

Croatians working abroad sent a massive 2.1 billion Euros back home last year to their families and friends. It is estimated that 340,000 Croatians have left the country in the past few years, with many of them going to Germany, Sweden and Ireland.

Now this new diaspora has become overnight one of the biggest “foreign” investors into Croatia. And there is no indication that this figure is slowing down, far from it, when compared with 2016 the amount paid was up by a healthy 120 million Euros, and it is believed that this figure will grow this year.

Whereas in the past these cash payments were often seen as a bonus or a gift now they are a means of survival for the remaining family members.

The Blue Flag is once again flying over the beach of the Hotel Valamar Dubrovnik President. In a ceremony held today the Blue Flag was raised for the 17th time. The Blue Flag is an internationally recognised ecological acknowledgment for the cleanliness beaches. This year the flag was raised by two loyal guests to the hotel, the Scottish couple Frances and Robert Craig, who have been visiting for more than twenty years.

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The beach of the Hotel Valamar Dubrovnik President once again this year fulfilled the demanding criteria that are prerequisites for this honourable acknowledgment, which are related to the complete beach arrangement and the security conditions at sea and on the beach itself. The blue flag on this beach has been raised since 2002.

Even though almost thirty percent of Croatians smoke the tobacco industry had a tough year in 2017.

According to figures just released by the Croatian Financial Agency (FINA) the tobacco industry finished last year with a net loss of 10 million Euros. This figure looks even worse when you consider that in 2016 these same businesses finished the year with a net profit of 2.2 million Euro.

There are three main tobacco companies in Croatia and altogether they employ around 700 workers. Last year’s loss was the first time the industry had seen a minus since 2008, when they also had a net loss of just over 10 million Euro.

This is not the reaction you would expect from a deer, a deer that clearly likes chocolate biscuits. A tourist from Bosnia and Herzegovina was on the island of Korcula when he spotted a young deer walking in the woods behind the beach.

Korcula is known for its natural beauty and wildlife but seeing a deer so close to the beach is unusual. The curious tourist approached the deer and at first it ran into the undergrowth but it reappeared from the woods and took the biscuits directly from the man’s hand.

Check out the video

Whilst Croatia struggles with losing upwards of 348,000 people to other European Union members it has been revealed by Eurostat that a massive 14 percent of Croatian aged between 20 and 64 live in another EU country.

The call from tourism companies that they are seriously understaffed this season has meant an ever increasing number of foreign workers are needed. Croatia’s domestic workforce is one of the smallest in the EU and this latest figures from Eurostat show that Croatia has the third highest percentage of workers living abroad.

The average on a European wide level was 3.8 percent, whilst Croatia has 14 percent.

The most mobile workers in the EU come from Romania, followed by Lithuanian, Croatia and Portugal. Whereas on the other side the least mobile are Germans, the British and the Swedish.

Including data from 2017, some 348,000 workers left Croatia altogether, some 60,000 of whom were highly educated.

If there was a prize for the biggest fan of The Dubrovnik Times, and in fact Dubrovnik in general, one Austrian man would be right up there in the running. Dietmar Gamerith has been to Dubrovnik an amazing 77 times, yes 77 times, and he is planning his 78th visit this autumn.

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Living and working in Graz, Austria, Dietmar has filled his 50 metres squared apartment with the front cover of The Dubrovnik Times, he has an amazing 278 copies on his walls and admits that he will have to “buy a bigger apartment” or “start putting them on the ceilings” to continue his collection. He likes The Dubrovnik Times so much that he even has a tattoo of our logo on his left arm.

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As he says “This is a very beautiful hobby. I have been following The Dubrovnik Times from the very beginning back in 2007 and have collected all the issues.” And his love affair with Dubrovnik doesn’t look like stopping any time soon. He hopes that in the next eight years he will reach the 100 visits to the city mark. That must be a record.

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The Voice of Dubrovnik


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