Wednesday, 18 September 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

‘’US nationals crossing the Atlantic should require additional travel documents as long as citizens from five EU countries (Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Poland and Romania) are kept from entering America without a visa'', the European Parliament said after a mini plenary session held on the 2nd of March 2017.

However, things have improved significantly in the last two months. According to the latest press release from the European Commission, the Commission has decided not to suspend visa waivers for Canadians and the US citizens.

The EU Commission explained that due to the significant progress achieved during the last year and the positive momentum of ongoing work, they considered that the temporary suspension of visa waivers for nationals of Canada and the United States would be counterproductive. The Commission also emphasized that the suspension would not serve the main goal of achieving visa-free travel for all EU citizens to these two countries.

On this occasion, Dimitris Avramopoulos, the EU Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship commented, ‘’Our goal is and remains to obtain full visa reciprocity with both Canada and the US. Our continued engagement and patient diplomatic contacts over the past year have brought tangible results already with Canada, and we are committed to proceeding in the same way with the United States. Dialogue with our strategic partners is the right way forward and we are on the right track’’.

According to the data of E-visitor system, Dubrovnik has achieved record tourism results for the first months of this year! From January 1st to April 30th 2017, 147 096 tourists stayed in Dubrovnik, which is an increase of 21 percent compared to the same period last year. There were 425 287 overnight stays, or 28 percent more than last year. In the first four months the most numerous visitors were from Croatia, UK, USA, France, Austria, Germany, Korea, Spain, Finland and Japan.

In this period, the highest number of arrivals was generated at hotel facilities (113 695), which is an increase of 11 percent, but private accommodation also improved (23 387 arrivals) and that is a huge increase of 75 percent compared to the same period last year. There were 311 977 overnight stays in hotels (17 percent more) and in private accommodation 80 766 (67 percent more).

April 2017 was the best April ever in Dubrovnik! Only during this month there were 87 145 arrivals, which is 45 percent more than in April 2016. Also, there were 271 210 overnight stays, or 56 percent more than 2016. UK guests were the more numerous, followed by tourists from USA, Austria, France, Germany, Croatia, Spain, Finland, Korea and Ireland.

According to the traditional analysis of camping prices in Europe, published every year by ADAC from Germany, the price of camping in Croatian camps remains very competitive and amounts to 39,60 Euros on average (for one night, two adults+one child, including related expenses).

Therefore, on the ADAC list Croatia placed as the 6th in terms of camp expensiveness, following Switzerland and Italy (45,39 Euros) and Denmark, the Netherlands, and Spain (39,89 Euros) which are more expensive than camps in the Republic of Croatia.

''This analysis shows that camps in France are cheaper than our campsites with a camping price of 36,55 Euros. On the other hand, Germany as a country with more than 33 percent of German guests in our camps, is among the cheapest ones with a camping price of 28,54 Euros. Italy has risen its camping prices by 4,8 percent, Spain by 2,8 percent, whilst the prices of camping in France remained the same as in the previous year'', explained Croatian Camping Union (KUH).

In addition, an analysis for 2016 shows that a camping price in Croatian campsites was 38,16 percent, which indicates an increase by 3,8 percent in 2017.

A few days ago a world popular aircraft Douglas DC-6B from the Red Bull fleet landed at Dubrovnik Airport.

Manufactured in Douglas, Santa Monica, in 1958, the plane was sold to the state owned Yugoslavian airline JAT. The president of the former Yugoslavia Josip Broz Tito ordered a luxury model for himself and his celebrity guests. In 1975, Tito sold the plane to Zambia’s head of state Kenneth Kaunda who also used the DC-6B as a luxury airliner – until he left her abandoned outside Lusaka airport.

In 2000, Red Bull bought the plane in Africa and flew her to Austria to her new base in Salzburg. Restoration began the following year and after thousands of hours of work, the DC-6B plane left the workshop in all her glory three years later.

Nowadays Douglas DC-6B is part of the so-called ‘’Hangar 7’’ in Salzburg which is not a hangar in a traditional sense but a multifunctional building with a collection of 25 historical airplanes, helicopters and Formula One racing cars. It is open for visitors, whilst some of the aircraft regularly perform at various air shows around the world.

Croatia is a country well known for its maritime and tourism industry, and when these two combine, a result is an interesting tourist offer.

In 2013, Croatia got its first boat hotel or simply botel, which is one of its kind on the whole of the Mediterranean. This charming and unique boat hotel is situated in the centre of the largest Croatian port - Rijeka.

After more than 70 years of navigation, the moored boat ''Marina'' was moved from its homeport on the island of Losinj to the port of Rijeka and was redecorated into the botel. Apart from the unique accommodation onboard Marina with 35 cabins and 112 beds with private bathrooms, there is also a restaurant with traditional Croatian cuisine and Mediterranean specialties as well as a charming coffee & wine bar.

It is interesting to note that a memorial room on the bridge, the former space that was restored, is available for guests on sightseeing, as well as the exhibition of a large number of items such as various drafts, diaries, and similar documents from the last century used during Marina's voyages.   
The Marina Botel was built in Frederikshavn, Denmark in 1936. Her godmother at launching was the Swedish princess, after whom she got her first name Kronprinsessan Ingrid. She was a very modern boat at the time, and she used to sail between the ports in Scandinavia.

In 1955, the new owner had changed her name into Christofer Pohlem, whilst in 1963 her next owner named her Marina. In 1969, the boat was purchased by the Croatian maritime company Losinjska plovidba. Marina had regularly sailed in the Adriatic between Zadar and Venice until 2005, when she became an attraction in Mali Losinj. In 2013, she was renovated into a botel in Rijeka with an investment of 2 million Euros.

 

botel2

                  Photo by http://www.botel-marina.com

Exactly 450 years ago, on May 2nd 1567, Marin Drzic died. He’s considered to be the finest Croatian Renaissance playwright and prose writer. Drzic's works cover many fields: lyric poetry, pastorals, political letters and pamphlets, as well as comedies.  He died in Venice and was buried in the Basilica of St. John and Paul.

As he was born in Dubrovnik, he is especially appreciated in our city. To mark this special day, concert dedicated to Marin Drzic will be held at the Art Gallery Dubrovnik terrace. This concert is organized jointly by three Dubrovnik culture institutions: Art Gallery Dubrovnik, House of Marin Drzic and Dubrovnik Symphony Orchestra. Start of the concert will be at 9 pm and the entrance is free.

String Chamber Choir of Dubrovnik Symphony Orchestra conducted by Delo Jusic, Plazarius ensemble and vocal group Kase will perform on this concert. This special event will include renaissance music from Drzic’s time and many more surprises.

''He has the charisma of Elvis'', or ''He is one of the greatest stars in the world'', are just some of the commentaries of critics in newspapers such as The Washington Post and The New York Times about a brilliant Dutch violinist and conductor André Rieu.

After a series of concerts in South America, Australia and Western Europe, the founder of the mega popular Johann Strauss Orchestra will visit Croatia for the first time this June.

In his rich career, Rieu has sold more than 40 million albums, whilst around 600,000 fans watch his performances annually. An interesting fact about Rieu is that he has had the largest private orchestra in the world. He is a worldwide attraction, and so far, more than his 30 albums ended up being the No 1 on world charts.  

The fact that Rieu is the world calibre musician confirms data that his live open-air concert from Maastricht in 2015 was shown live in 460 British cinemas, and exceeded a million pounds of earnings at the box office on the first day of screening. This way he surpassed cinema concerts of the mega popular bands such as One Direction and Take That. Rieu has definitely shown that he is truly one of the greatest stars of today.

‘’The King of the Waltz’’ or ‘’Mel Gibson of the violin’’, as people nicknamed him,  has been happily married for 40 years, he has two sons and five grandchildren, and apart from his family, he is most proud of his 300-year old Stradivari violin, which is one of only 400 Stradivari violins in the world.

André Rieu and his orchestra will hold a concert at the Zagreb Arena on the 15th of June.

Travel+Leisure, a travel magazine based in New York City, recently published a list of 16 best beach cities in Europe and one of them is Dubrovnik!

- Some travelers want to have it all — rich cultural experiences, fine dining, upscale shopping — and lazy hours spent sunning, swimming, or strolling along the beach. Many of Europe’s finest cities aren’t just popular for their art museums or raging nightlife scenes: They’re also home to some of the most beautiful beaches on Earth – it’s explained in the article.

The Travel+Leisure team gathered up and took a close look of the European cities that travelers loved the most, according to their World’s Best Awards survey. They discovered that many of the cities have knockout beaches.

Our beautiful city is on the 11th place of the list, especially because of Banje Beach.

- One of the best beaches in all of Croatia, Dubrovnik’s popular Banje Beach is close to the city’s Old Town, and boasts plenty of beach clubs – it’s said in the article.

The first three cities on the list are Barcelona, San Sebastian and Istanbul.

The Voice of Dubrovnik

THE VOICE OF DUBROVNIK


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