Wednesday, 19 September 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.

Email: mark.thomas@dubrovnik-times.com

At the International Tourism Film Festival held in the Maldives this week the Zagreb and Dubrovnik tourism promotional films once again proved to be hits in the promotional film and tourism business.

The competition included more than 200 promo films from 15 countries and 46 of them were nominated for the prestigious award. Only ten promo films were awarded as the best tourism promotional films and among them were films promoting popular the Croatian destinations of Dubrovnik and Zagreb.

The promotional film ‘’Dubrovnik and Time’’ of the Dubrovnik Tourist Board, produced by Balduci Film from Zagreb and filmed last year, once again stood out among tourism promo films from all over the world and won ‘’The Best Cognitive Film’’ award which was the 9th international award in a row for this film.

‘’Dubrovnik and Time’’ has achieved a great success since it was released, winning a second place out of 1,500 films at the ITB Berlin, the world’s leading travel trade show; a bronze medal at the New York Festivals Television & Film Awards, as the only representative from Croatia; a second place at the Tourfilm Riga Festival and two awards at the Finisterra Festival in Portugal. Recently at the Baku International Film Tourism Festival in Azerbaijan ‘’Dubrovnik and Time’’won the best promotional film award among more than 400 promo films from 71 countries. Also at the FilmAT-Film, Art and Tourism Festival in Lubin, Poland ‘’Dubrovnik and Time’’ won ‘’The best 5 minutes promotional film’’ award.

The other Croatian winner at the International Tourism Film Festival in the Maldives was ‘’Color Your Christmas with Zagreb’’ by Marko Vrdoljak, which won ‘’The Best Unique Tourist Site film’’ award.

According to a survey of quality service carried out by Heraklea from the 13th of May till the 15th of June, among the six countries in the region of the former Yugoslavia, Croatia placed as the second behind Slovenia.

In order to find the best in the region the mystery shopping agency Heraklea in cooperation with mystery shopping agencies in the region, carried out a survey on the five basic elements of quality service known as GUEST (Greet, Understand, Explain, Suggest, Thanks) i.e. greeting customers, identifying customers' needs or desires, product knowledge, offering additional products and thanking for a visit.

The survey included Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Serbia and Macedonia. Mystery shoppers visited around 800 different facilities such as banks, petrol stations, retail stores, supermarkets, car dealerships, tourist and hospitality objects and other services.

This year Croatia positioned itself in second place among the five other countries following Slovenia with a total score of 81 percent and the best quality service in the region. Slovenia took the top place in the categories of “thanks” and offering additional products, while in the category of product knowledge it shared first place with Croatia.

Considering the fact that greeting is the first contact with customers or guests then it is even more significant that Croatia came top in this category.

In the category of greeting customers Croatia took the first place with a score of 87 percent whilst in the category of identifying customers needs and desires Macedonia scored the best.

According to the final results of the survey, Slovenia is the leading country in the region with the best quality service (81%). Croatia achieved above average results of 79 percent which is a significant improvement by 8 per cent in comparison with 2015. Croatia was followed by Serbia (68%), Macedonia and Bosnia and Herzegovina (66% both) and Montenegro with only 63 percent.

Dubrovnik has a new fountain! Actually, it has a replica of Onofrio's fountain made by 2,500 empty Coca-Cola bottles. After making Coca-Cola bottles with the image of Dubrovnik on them, this project connects Dubrovnik and Coca-Cola even more. The idea is that citizens and tourists colour the bottles and make the fountain creative and artistic.

The Mayor of Dubrovnik, Andro Vlahusic said that Dubrovnik is currently in the process of 'hyper branding'.

- If you think about a drink, you think about Coca-Cola, if you think about a hero, you think about Robin Hood, if you think about an airline, you think about Turkish airlines, if you think about a football club, you think about Real Madrid – said the mayor, alluding that Dubrovnik has it all. He thanked Coca-Cola for recognizing the value of Dubrovnik.

Jaksa Maganic, the sales manager for this region, Coca - Cola HBC Croatia, said that this is the new idea that should connect Dubrovnik and Coca-Cola even more.

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- We've decided to connect with cultural heritage and that is Onofrio's fountain – said Maganić and added that the fountain, like Coca-Cola means – summer refreshment.

Everybody can colour the bottles in the Lazareti complex from 10 am to 2 pm from the 20th of July to the 15th of August and the 10 best bottles will be rewarded. One of those then will even get the honour to be printed on Coca-Cola bottles in 2017.

Gaella Gottwald, associate of the City of Dubrovnik and a freelance artist will be in charge for the artistic section of this promotion and she said that this project really suits the vision of Lazareti.

- Who knows where your bottle will end up! – concluded Gottwald before revealing the replica of Onofrio's fountain made from coke bottles.

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Frequent collaborators and guests of the Dubrovnik Summer Festival, Slovene National Theatre Maribor Ballet, this time with orchestral accompaniment of the Dubrovnik Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Simon Krečič, will perform Debussy's Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun choreographed by Edward Clug, as a world premiere, and Shchedrin’s Carmen, choreographed by Valentina Turcu. Three performances are on 15, 16 and 17 July on the Island of Lokrum.

During last ten years Edward Clug, attracted the attention of international audience for its distinctive choreographic style and as an artistic director he successfully positioned the Ballet Ensemble of SNG Maribor on the global map. On the suggestion of Festival artistic director Mladen Tarbuk Clug stages the world premiere of the Faun with two dancers in a “natural surroundings, under a starry sky, surrounded by a shimmering sea of Lokrum. This play embodies the images of hunting, in which male – hunter - dreams of his female - prey”. In the end, he catches her and lays her down on the stone bed that is still warm from the late afternoon sun. Gay Žmavc plays the role of Faun, and his nymph is Tetiana Svetlična. Costumes are designed by Leo Kulaš, set design by Edward Clug and lighting design by Tomaž Premzl.

Valentina Turcu, one of the most creative and versatile dance artists in Slovenia, is well familiar to Festival audience. Her Carmen, premiered in the National Theatre in Maribor in 2014, will for the first time be performed with orchestra performing live. Carmen is one of the most original and most successful works of Russian composer Rodion Shchedrin created in 1967 and was dedicated to his wife, Soviet prima ballerina and star of the Bolshoi Theatre, Maya Plisetskaya. Choreography of Valentina Turcu focuses on sensual dance magnetism that emanates from the erotic power of libido of the “decadent” protagonists Carmen. The libretto is based on the basic premise of the plot - erotic power of women, freedom of sexual experimentation and the impossibility of its “integration” in love triangle consisting of Carmen (Catarina de Meneses), Don José (Anton Bogov) and Escamillo (Sergiu Moga). Unique aura of performance is visually complemented by magical costumes of the world-famous artist Michal Negrin.

New Lokrum stage is located in the ruins of the Benedictine monastery and the realization of this production would not have been possible without the support and donation of the Lokrum Nature Reserve, and without sponsorship contribution of the HEP.

Boat ride to Lokrum is included in the ticket price. Ships take off from the Old City port at 20:30 and 20:45. Tickets are available at the box office in the ground floor of the Festival Palace (Od Sigurate 1) and in Luža Bell Tower.

Faun

After weeks of soaring temperatures, endless blue skies and baking sunshine the heavens opened up over Dubrovnik today and cooled off the stone facades and some tourists!

The storm hit at around 13.00 this afternoon and was over in a flash fifteen minutes later. Whilst most tourists ran for shelter under shop canopies a few took the advantage to cool off in the pouring rain. And even a group of younger guests entertained the sheltering crowds with an impromptu dance performance, singing and dancing in the Dubrovnik rain.

Check out our video

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The Dubrovnik Times and Gulliver Travel have teamed up this summer season to offer you some great travel prizes! Stay tuned to The Dubrovnik Times and win with Gulliver Travel!

Easy to enter all we need is your creativity!

This week we are offering you the chance to win two tickets for the excellent Gulliver Travel excursion “Scenic Train Ride Through Konavle Valley.” For more info on this excursion follow this link. It is a great chance to get up close and personal with the fine wines of the Konavle region.

Simply add #gulliverwine to your travel, wine and gastronomy photos and the best photo, as decided by our jury, will win two tickets to explore the beauties of Konavle, the culture, the traditions, the nature and of course the glorious wines. Use your imagination and win with The Dubrovnik Times and Gulliver Travel!

#gulliverwine on your photos on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. Don’t forget to make them public! The competition opens on the 15th of July and will close on the 22nd of July at midnight.

Good luck!

konavle train advert

Introducing wonderful items made by Croatians, is the slogan of a new boutique that opened its doors in Dubrovnik last night. Kawa is located just outside of the historic Old City walls on the east gate, Ploce, and in a spacious store offers a breath of fresh air on the Dubrovnik souvenir scene. Small is beautiful, and in Kawa the emphasis is on “small-batch” design products with a Croatian signature.

From souvenirs, clothing, children’s clothes and toys, shoes, bags and even craft beers, Kawa is only two-minutes from the centre of the Old City and offers guests to Dubrovnik the chance to find an authentic memento of their time in Croatia.

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Beach Blues

Sep 19, 2018

I don’t go to the beach. It’s not that I don’t want to; I just can’t find the time. Trying to run a private business tied to the summer season in Dubrovnik can be pretty exhausting. There are no days off and stress levels are such that even when you find the time to do something like that, you simply don’t feel like it. This is why I am doomed to walk the earth six months out of a year with those ridiculous t-shirt tan lines where your torso is left pale while your arms and head are Caribbean-bronzed. It’s not flattering at all.

There is one more reason for my lack of beach enthusiasm. My grandparents on my mother’s side used to live on one of the islands of the local archipelago and I spent my summers there growing up. This meant the entire island was my playground. My cousins and I could always find a perfect spot away from the crowds regardless of whether we wanted to go swimming, cliff diving, snorkelling, or anything else we might think of. Every day was a beach day. So, you could say I’m just a tad bit spoilt when it comes to everybody’s favourite summertime activity. Trying to find a spot to lay down my towel in the middle of an overcrowded city beach among hundreds of sweating people and screaming children is not my idea of a good time. No, I’m used to a completely different experience.

We would make our way barefoot through the village and the nearby woods, trying to avoid sharp rocks along the footpath. After about 15 minutes of walking, beyond a flimsy old hand railing, a breath taking sight of sea cliffs descending down into a small rocky cove would make us pause for just a second, before racing to an old staircase leading all the way down to the cove. There, huge rocks which tore away from the cliff centuries ago formed natural sun bathing platforms, small pools of sea water, and underwater pits and crevices perfect for exploring while snorkelling. When entering the water I would be facing a dark blue vastness disappearing on the horizon. Behind me, tall cliffs lined with crooked cypress trees. Dancing around them, swooping swallows and swifts. Underneath the surface of the sea, silence. The kind of silence that is hard to bear for a human. A perfect place to simply float, suspended on the calm waters, facing the skies. Content and peaceful.

It makes a regular beach with an overpriced bar and plastic sun beds for hire look pretty drab if you ask me. I’m hoping to go back to my favourite island one of these days, as it’s been too long since I last visited. After all, isn’t that how life works? The moment you start appreciating things you took for granted as a child, you find they’ve become distant and scarce, and all you are left with is a yearning to go back in time and re-live those perfect moments.


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Bozidar Jukic 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.
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