Friday, 10 July 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.

Email: mark.thomas@dubrovnik-times.com

Doesn’t time fly when you are having fun, well put another way doesn’t time fly full stop! By the time you have read this column we will have already celebrated the tenth anniversary of The Dubrovnik Times. Where did those ten years go? It seems like only yesterday that the idea to make such a project started and here we are celebrating a decade of issues.

I was trying to do some maths, never my strong subject, to write a short article for a national newspaper. We have printed over 1.5 million over the ten years, hundreds of thousands of articles, thousands of emails, and countless journeys around the county. And is certainly has been a journey. Someone much cleverer than me once said that “Life is a journey, not a destination,” how true.

And it is exactly the journey that has been so amazing. The people I have been fortunate enough to meet along the way, to interview, write about or just chat over a coffee with. What is the definition of wealth, it certainly isn’t monetary, no its memories. And I have been lucky to make some memories to last a lifetime. Of all the things that I have achieved in Croatia I would probably have to say that getting The Dubrovnik Times up and running is the one that I am most proud of. I am, or so I am told, a local patriot. So given the fact that this newspaper is the longest running and oldest English language newspaper in the Republic of Croatia, and the fact that it was started in Dubrovnik, makes me even prouder. Whatever happens in the future, and let’s face it the newspaper business is about as stable as a newborn deer on an ice rink, nobody will ever be able to take away the fact that I helped start the first newspaper.

And when I say helped it’s because the secret to any success is teamwork. No man is an island. None of this would have been possible without some really great people who have been dedicated, professional and hardworking. This celebration of ten years is in fact a celebration of teamwork. When a group of people are all pulling in the same direction for a common goal life is easy. All you need is a couple of bad apples and the whole fruit bowl rots, whether by luck or by judgement I have avoided bad apples.

It hasn’t all been plain sailing, far from it; we have had numerous bumps along the journey that have thrown us off course. But life would be extremely boring if it was easy! It’s the fights that make us stronger; like the song goes what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger. To be fair it isn’t particularly hard to promote Dubrovnik. I would have had a much, much harder job if I was living in Chernobyl. You can pretty much throw a camera in the air and get a great photo, and here are so many interesting characters that the words just fall onto the pages by themselves. It also helps if you love the job you do, and that’s where I am lucky again.

And then there is the readership. An international readership that never ceases to amaze me, that once again highlights the pull of Dubrovnik. We regularly receive messages from all the continents and I still get a thrill reading them, the genuine love for this city always pulls at my heart strings. The meaning of the word Libertas shines through in almost every mail. Sure we get plenty of critical mail as well, I would be worried if we didn’t, but the vast majority is positive, that’s just the effect that Dubrovnik has on people. I remember one just the other day when we were discussing the cruise ship industry, which is often a bone of contention, and it read - It is difficult to fall out of love with Dubrovnik you just can't, I have been when the cruise ship passengers disembarked, I just go to old town at different times but that doesn't stop me loving the old town! And this is the emotion that this amazing city generates.

So thank you all once again, although this may sound like a farewell speech it isn’t, we will be here for many years to come, well as long as we are wanted. Cheers to The Dubrovnik Times!

A two-day traditional 10th Croatian Festival of jams and marmalades opened this morning in the heart of the Old City of Dubrovnik in front of the St. Blaise Church. The festival is being organised by the Dubrovnik Association Desa in cooperation with the Croatian Chamber of Commerce.

Indigenous gastronomic products are represented with 28 exhibitors from all over the region at this festival which will be open again tomorrow from 9.00am to 5.00pm.

The festival aims to promote small producers and the richness and diversity of cultural heritage from different regions with not only differing products, but also national costumes.

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Until a few years ago Croatia was perceived only as part of the global information technology (IT) market, but now it is a well known fact that country has also had an IT production. According to data from the Croatian Bureau of Statistics there are around 12,600 employees in the IT industry in Croatia or one percent of the total number of employed people in the country.

Croatia's software export has doubled in the last five years. Only in 2015 this export jumped in figures to 501 million Kunas. If this growth trend continues, the country's software export will rise to half a billion Euros in 2017, whilst for 2020 is expected to exceed one billion Euros. Furthermore, the world's IT giants have started to enter into the Croatian market such as the Indian company Infosys which opened its branch office in Karlovac and IBM which announced the opening of the Client Innovation Centre in Zagreb and the future employment of 500 people in 2017. So far these companies are not planning to open software production or IT research and development in the IT sector in Croatia but direct their investments towards sales support and potential users.

''A significant increase in consumption on the domestic IT market in 2015 is mostly the result of increased sales of smartphones and a growth in value of the server market primarily due to the arrival of the supercomputer Bura in Rijeka and to a lesser extent thanks to the growth in the delivery of IT services and software applications'', said Ana Papez, the regional director of the research consultancy IDC for the region of Southeast Europe.

She also added that an increase in value of rendered services, expansion of the capacity in the segment of data centres, digitalisation of business, the growing use of mobile applications and "big data" analytics as well as broader use of advanced technology such as the Internet of Things (IoT) would represent a point of further maturation of the Croatian IT market in the future.

The seventh annual Dubrovnik Foreign Circle (DFC) second hand sale started today in the Lazareti complex just outside of the eastern entrance to the Old City of Dubrovnik. A wide array of clothes, for women, men and children, are on offer in the sale as well as household goods.

The second hand sale, which is being organised in partnership with the Lazareti Art Workshop, always has a humanitarian character and this year the beneficiary will be for “Dva Skalina” an association for children with special needs. The DFC plans to raise funds to assist in purchasing an outdoor wheelchair swing.

Get yourselves along to the second hand sale this weekend in Lazareti until 6.00pm and tomorrow from 11.00am to 5.00pm.

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The seventh annual Dubrovnik Foreign Circle (DFC) second hand sale will be held this weekend, the 1st and 2nd of October, in the Lazareti complex just outside of the eastern entrance to the Old City of Dubrovnik.

The second hand sale, which is being organised in partnership with the Lazareti Art Workshop, always has a humanitarian character and this year the beneficiary will be for “Dva Skalina” an association for children with special needs. The DFC plans to raise funds to assist in purchasing an outdoor wheelchair swing.

As the DFC said in a statement “We accept adult, children and baby winter and/or summer clothing, shoes, accessories (jewellery, hats, bags etc.), household items (dishes, glasses, vases, paintings, small appliances etc.) As always, items must be in good condition and working order.”

The Dubrovnik Foreign Circle’s mission and vision is to actively serve the community by providing services that contribute to the health and vitality of the greater Dubrovnik Region. The organization’s goal is to provide friendship and understanding between its members and the Dubrovnik community at large by organizing cultural and social events. The Dubrovnik Foreign Circle engages in fundraising activities for the benefit of its community projects.

Come long this weekend and support this worthy cause.

According to a report from the World Economic Forum (WEF) for 2016/2017 the Swiss economy is still the most competitive in the world, while Croatia improved its position from the last year’s 77th to the 74th on the list which includes 138 countries.

This year’s list shows that Croatia made improvements in 6 out of 12 areas taken into consideration by WEF experts such as macroeconomic environment, higher education, goods market efficiency, labour market efficiency, market size, and business sophistication.

The National Competitiveness Council (NVK) of Croatia expressed satisfaction with the fact that Croatia rose from the 77th to the 74th place on the World Economy Forum (WEF) Global Competitiveness Ranking, but warned that this was just a modest improvement insufficient to successfully attract investments that would lead to higher living standards.

In addition, Ivica Mudrinic, the chairman of the NVK emphasized that positive effects could be felt only if Croatia improved its position to the 50th or the 40th place on the WEF list.
On the other hand, Croatia’s rankings have remained the same in terms of institutions and infrastructure but worsened in health and primary education, development of financial markets, technological readiness, and innovations.

A survey that was carried out among business people shows that the greatest difficulties in doing business in Croatia are inefficient administration, tax rates and regulations, as well as political instability and corruption.

At a gala party in the Klarisa restaurant The Dubrovnik Times officially marked its tenth birthday last night. The Dubrovnik Times is the first English language newspaper in the Republic of Croatia and the evening to mark the first decade was a special night for the editor Mark Thomas.

- We have printed over 1.5 million over the ten years, hundreds of thousands of articles, thousands of emails, and countless journeys around the county. And is certainly has been a journey – commented Mark Thomas.

The evening was attended by the Mayor of the Dubrovnik-Neretva County, Nikola Dobroslavić, the Mayor of Dubrovnik, Andro Vlahušić, the member of the board of Hanza Media, Ana Hanžeković, and the editor of Dubrovacki Vjesnik, Jadran Kapor.

- We have made a pause in the city council meeting just to attend this event and just to show how important it is to us all – commented Vlahušić, adding that Dubrovnik will achieve 3.6 million overnight stays and deserves the title of tourism champion.

Ivana Smilovic, a journalist from The Dubrovnik Times, presented the birthday party evening and a raffle was held to raise funds for a humanitarian cause. The band "Unique Dubrovnik" brought an international touch with their interpretation of pop songs.  

Check out our photo gallery of our special night

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According to a guest reviews analysis carried out by the company Hotels.com, nineteen hotels from Croatia were awarded with ''Loved by Guests Awards 2016'' gold award.

The awards for the Hotels.com "Loved by Guest" campaign were based on authentic and trusted reviews, written by guests who have actually stayed in the hotels.

After analyzing 20 million authentic reviews from guests all around the world, more than 2,700 hotels from 94 countries were classified as extraordinary and were assigned the highest gold award of Hotels.com, with ratings of 4.7 out of 5 or higher.

The Croatian cities which won the "Loved by Guests" award are:


1. Dubrovnik - 8 hotels
2. Split - 4 hotels
3. Zagreb - 2 hotels
4. Rovinj - 2 hotels
5. Hvar - 2 hotels
6. Zadar - 1 hotel.

Among Croatian hotels, nineteen of them received a gold ‘’Loved by Guests Awards 2016’’ award as part of the best hotels by Hotel.com. Here are the top 10:

1. Hotel Esplanade - Zagreb
2. Bellevue Hotel - Dubrovnik
3. Hilton Imperial - Dubrovnik
4. Valamar Dubrovnik President Hotel -Dubrovnik
5. Hotel More - Dubrovnik
6. Falkensteiner Hotel & Spa Iadera - Zadar
7. Hotel Lone - Rovinj
8. Hotel Adriatic - Rovinj
9. Celenga Apartments - Dubrovnik
10. Doubletree by Hilton – Zagreb

The Voice of Dubrovnik

THE VOICE OF DUBROVNIK


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