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.
A book "Croatian natural resources - protection and responsible development" will be presented on the 30th of November at the Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts.
For the first time in one place Croatia will have a list of all its natural resources, so far underutilized in the development of the country. It is a comprehensive ''inventory'' of national treasures with proposals for the protection of Croatian natural resources as well as their rational utilization.
According to some estimates only the value of agricultural and forest resources in Croatia is around $17 billion. This study comprises energy, drinking and surface waters, metal and non metal raw materials, forests and forest land, agriculture and agricultural land, transport, digital and energy infrastructure as well as proposals for the rational management of natural resources.
Here is the list of the most important natural resources in Croatia:
1. Forests and forest land cover around 2,6 million hectares with wood stocks of around 552 million cubic meters and with 11 million cubic meters of new wood stocks each year. Forest resources are worth $6,9 billion.
2. Agricultural land covers 2,96 million hectares, whilst 90 percent of this area is cultivable. Unfortunately, less than 50 percent of land is being cultivated. The value of the agricultural land in Croatia is about $10,13 billion.
3. Croatia has 1246 islands on which only 6 percent of land is fertile, whilst their share in the Croatian economy is only 5 to 7 percent. The Croatian islands are geographically divided into 79 islands, 525 islets and 642 rocks and reefs.
4. Drinking and surface waters are the great wealth of the country which is by quality and quantity among the best in Europe and in the world. Croatia has placed as the 5th in Europe and the 42nd in the world by its water richness.
Krka National Park
5. Transport, digital and energy infrastructure includes data analysis on highways (1273km), railways (2100km), waterways (804km), the eletric power network (18,500km) and fibre optic cables (13,000km).
6. Croatia has significant hydrocarbon reserves. The country spends twice as much primary energy than it produces. Promising areas for the discovery of new stocks are the Panonian Basin, Dinarides, northern, central and southern Adriatic.
7. Thanks to the energy of wind as an important resource Croatia has twelve windmills worth 315 million Euros.
8. The sun as an energy resource is of national interest. If the country used more benefits of the solar energy, there would be 30,000 new job openings.
9. There are 450 species of fish in the Adriatic sea. Consumption of fish is around 10 kg per capita a year. The value of purchased and sold fish in 2012 was 302 milion Kunas. Catch and fish farming varies around 70,000 tonnes annually.
We're sexy and we know it! Dubrovnik has been placed on a list of the best-looking world cities by the UK newspaper The Independent. “It’s no surprise the southern Croatian city of Dubrovnik has been used as the backdrop of countless film and TV shoots, including Game of Thrones (it doubles as King’s Landing, fact fans),” opens the article on Dubrovnik on the website of the UK publication.
In an article entitled “From Boston to Reykjavik: These are the world’s best-looking cities,” beautiful world destinations are highlighted, including Lisbon, Panama City and Stockholm.
“Its UNESCO-protected historic core is fabulously photogenic, with a Venetian warren of cobbled streets and stone buildings. Walk along the city walls for the best views over the red rooftops and out towards the Adriatic,” concludes the short article. More great publicity for Dubrovnik in the most important tourism market for the city, and with more British airlines adding flights for 2017 we can expect a further growth in British tourists next year.
The Croatian Chamber of Commerce (HGK) estimates that Croatia lacks 300 chimney-sweepers and many areas do not have an organized chimney-sweep service which should be improved by adopting the regulations on the performance of chimney sweeping.
''Many areas in Croatia do not have an organized chimney-sweep service due to the lack of professional operatives. Our estimates show that we need at least 300 chimney-sweeps for a complete and quality service'', said Dejan Loncaric, the president of the chimney-sweepers group in the HGK. He also added that due to the lack of chimney-sweepers some of the basic tasks of local governments and chimney-sweeping subjects are limited, such as the quality of fire protection, poison protection, environmental protection and energy savings.
Loncaric emphasizes that the basic requirements should be met in order to include the chimney-sweepers group more actively in the training and employment of chimney-sweepers. He also stands for a unique educational model with an advanced technical literature and offers cooperation to the Ministry of Science and Education in making school programs for chimney-sweepers.
The Croatian Chamber of Commerce (HGK) considers it necessary to adopt the regulations on the perfomance of chimney sweeping which would be valid for the whole of Croatia.
It seems like Montenegro is a perfect place to visit this winter and it's just a short drive away from Dubrovnik. The events of the next couple of months were presented today at a press conference held by the National Tourism Organisation of Montenegro as well as the local tourist organizations of Bar, Budva, Herceg Novi, Tivat, Podgorica and Zabljak in Hotel Kompas in Dubrovnik.
When it comes to the New Year's program all of these cities offer open-air celebrations in with regional celebrities.
Budva is not only an attractive location during the summer but also offers a great winter program. Most of its hotels will be open during these winter months and the New Year's celebration will be held on the main square, just as it has been for the past 18 years. The first of January brings traditional concerts of classical music.
- Big musical names and nice weather – we have enough reasons to invite you and we will try our best to be good hosts – said Tijana Kotarac from the Budva Tourist Board.
- Tivat will host its first ever open-air New Year's celebration, so it's sort of a ''pilot project'' for us – explained Dejana Stjepcevic from the Tivat Tourist Board. She added that there will be festive stands, just like in Dubrovnik, that will offer traditional food. Also, for this special time of year, there are special discounts – 15-20 percent in hotel accomodation. Tivat also offers great regional musical stars, such as well known cellist Ana Rucner, who will play on 1st of January.
Herceg Novi, a town just a step away from Dubrovnik, has a rich winter programme too. New Year's can even be celebrated on two locations! One will offer electronic music and the other will be more traditional.
- Children will also have their celebration during the day – explained Ana Stanisic from the Tourist Board of Herceg Novi.
Also, there is a traditional celebration ''Mimosa holiday'', which will be celebrated for the 48th time. It starts in the last week of January and will coninue during February. It has a lot of different events, such as carnival and the new things as the ''French day'', ''Belgrade day'' and ''Picigin day''.
Bar will have it's ''Bar New Year's happening'' with pop, rock, folk and etno music.
- We've prepared special arrangaments – private accomodations will be from around five euros per night and hotels from 30 euros per night – said Nikoleta Nikcevic from the Bar Tourist Board.
The capital of Montenegro Podgorica also has a lot to offer.
- If you are not sure if you should go north or south, we are the perfect choice for you – said Vesna Dedic from the Podgorica Tourist Board, alluding to the town's central location.
Events there will start on the 19th of December with Podgorica Day when the Christmas tree will be decorated and also the New Year's bazaar opens with traditional products, souvenirs and such.
When it comes to winter tourism, Montenegro has a lot to offer.
Vanja Calovic from the Zabljak Tourist Board said that for the winter season she would recommend Durmitor – the mountains of untouched beauty. With the National Park, there are also 2 ski resorts that will be ready to start working with the first snow. With ''normal'' skiing, there is also night and nordic skiing that you could try. A new attraction on Zabljak is a sports centre where basketball, handball and bowling can be enjoyed during the cold, winter months.
The General manager of Hotel Bianca Resort Nemanja Kuljic represented Kolasin, a small touristic town with the beautiful mountain – Bjelasica and a great ski resort.
- Two hours drive from Dubrovnik there is the Ski center Vucje, located in Niksic and ready for the winter season. It offers skiing schools, ski dance festival, snowboard cup and much more – explained Zdravko Bajic, the representative of the centre.
Montenegro really has a lot to choose from this winter – the only problem will be what to choose.
According to data from the National Bureau of Statistics (DSZ) in the first nine months of this year sea ports in Croatia achieved growth of 6 to 9 percent in comparison to the same period last year.
The Croatian sea ports recorded 271,500 ships' arrivals and 27 million passengers, whilst with 13,3 million tonnes of goods they were in red i.e. recorded a minus of 9 percent.
Similar trends in the sea ports in Croatia continued in this year's September with 11 percent more ships than in the same month last year or 39,000 ships, whilst an increase of 14 percent was achieved with a little more than 3.7 million passengers. However, turnover of goods in September in the sea ports was 1,1 million tonnes of goods which was a 35 percent drop compared to the same month last year.
The DSZ data on turnover in selected sea ports show that this September only the port of Split recorded an increase in freight traffic of 3.6 percent or 169,400 tonnes of goods. The other four ports - Omisalj, Bakar, Ploce and Rijeka - had a drop in traffic of goods in comparison to last year's September, ranging from about 12 percent in the port of Rijeka to about 56 percent in the port of Omisalj.
As far as passenger traffic is concerned, the port of Split recorded the highest number of passengers in September - 556,800 or 9.3 percent more in comparison to previous September. Split is followed by the port of Dubrovnik with 421,500 passengers or an increase by 32 percent and the port of Pula (with the port of Brijuni and Fazana) with 128,100 passengers or an increase of 68 percent.
International passenger traffic in most seaports declined in comparison to last year's September.
Dubrovnik is a magnet for bloggers and travel writers. Year after year the volume of interest has been turned up to near maximum. This week The Dubrovnik Times caught up with April Martin who writes an intriguing blog entitled “April Everyday.” She recently spent time in Dubrovnik and wrote a handful of articles about her adventures. From the island of Lokrum to the iconic Old City Walls, April pretty much let her feet do the walking and her keyboard do the talking.
First impressions count, what flashed through your mind as you entered the Old City of Dubrovnik for the first time?
I was just in awe of the city. I'd done a little research before we left, but seeing it for myself in real life was amazing. Walking through Pile Gate for the first time and seeing the old buildings, hearing the sounds and even how well restored it was. I couldn't wait to start exploring all of the little streets and alleyways leading around the city.
You mentioned that you had done some research on the city before you arrived, had this prepared you for being “up close and personal” with the historic city?
I'd wanted to visit Dubrovnik for a while and after seeing so many things online about it decided that we just had to go this year. I'd done a little bit of research before we left on things to do and places to eat and my parents had visited a few years ago while on a cruise and absolutely loved it so I'd heard so many great things about it before we left. It was so much more amazing than I had imagined it to be! The food was incredible and there was just so much to see and do around the area and I just couldn't get over the colour of the sea! I just wanted to dive right in. I definitely wasn't prepared for the hills though!
As a world traveller how would you compare Dubrovnik with other European destinations that you have visited?
I feel like Dubrovnik was so full of history in comparison to some of the other places that we've visited throughout Europe. Knowing that the walls were initially built around the 13th century was amazing and reading about the history of the city and how it's survived and been rebuilt after so many wars and natural disasters is just incredible. I also loved that although it was a city, it had a very small town feel to it and everything was within walking distance around the Old City which was great!
If you could only take three items in your rucksack what would they be?
I definitely couldn't go anywhere without my camera. I love to take photos of pretty much everything and I always enjoy looking back through my blog at trips that we've been on and remembering all the little details too. I'd be so lost without it! I'd also be sure to take a really good pair of shoes! I always want to see the most of the place that I'm visiting and I've had so many situations with sore shoes to know now to always carry a good pair of shoes. I'll always carry a second pair in my day bag while walking around too, just in case! And of course, a phone with internet. I can't go anywhere without checking Google Maps when I'm out exploring somewhere new or finding little secret places to explore. It's always so handy. And I absolutely love Instagram too, so I always have to update that while we're out exploring too!
Which part of your trip to Dubrovnik will you remember with a smile of your face?
I think watching the sunset over Dubrovnik from Mount Srd was just amazing. We sat up there for a few hours just watching the city, the tourists and the boats out on the water and it was just so peaceful up there. It was definitely one of our favourite moments from the trip.
What will be your lasting memories of Dubrovnik?
Walking along the Old City Walls was incredible and seeing the contrast of the orange roofs against the bright blue sea of the Adriatic with the mountains in the distance was one of my favourite views. Watching the sunset over Dubrovnik at Mount Srd was stunning too, and even on our last day even though everything was closed because of a storm, we loved sitting at the Old Port with all the stray cats watching the waves crashing along the pier for a good few hours. It was such an incredible city and we absolutely loved our time there! I can't wait to explore more of Croatia!
Keep in touch with the adventures of April Martin
Dubrovnik will have a new flight connection from the UK for 2017. The British airline, Thomson Airways, have announced that they will operate a weekly flight from Doncaster/Sheffield Airport to Dubrovnik from the 4th of May.
The flights will operate every Thursday to Dubrovnik until the 10th of August 2017. Prices start at around £250 for a return ticket and are already available to purchase online at the airline’s website and the flight time is around 3 hours.