Thursday, 16 September 2021
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

According to the Dubrovnik Fire Brigade, a forest fire broke out between Majkovi and Dubravica in the Dubrovačko Primorje region due to a lightning strike. A dry storm passed over the wider Dubrovnik region this afternoon, and this very storm started the forest fire.

Members of Dubrovnik Fire Brigade and the Dubrovačko primorje Fire Brigade were quickly on the scene to fight the spread of the fire.

Screenshot 271

 

 

The Hungarian low-cost airline, Wizz Air, will introduce vaccination obligation for all the company's flight and cabin staff from December this year. Wizz Air operates flights to Dubrovnik from three European destinations, Vienna, Rome and Warsaw.

Following the moves of other airlines in Europe and the world, Wizz Air has decided to introduce a mandatory vaccination rule for all cabin and flight crew members. In this way, the company wants to achieve greater safety on its flights and prevent the potential spread of infection among the crew, which is constantly changing due to the dense flight schedule of this low-cost carrier.

The company also wants to avoid the additional costs that arise when one of the crew members ends up in self-isolation or is positive, where the person is unable to do their job, with, of course, operational problems.

József Váradi, chief executive of Wizz Air Group, said: “At Wizz Air, our number one priority is the health and safety of our passengers and employees.”

And Wizz Air isn’t the only company to introduce compulsory vaccinations, the same obligation has been introduced by the Swiss Air and the German Lufthansa. Wizz Air flight and cabin crew who are unable to receive the vaccine for medical reasons must prove this with medical documentation, and the company will continue to provide free rapid and/or PCR testing.

 

Amazon, one of the five largest technology companies in the world, after two years of preparation, has formally started opening an office in Zagreb. To begin with, Amazon are looking for 15 employees, and unofficially it is mentioned that the final number of employees could rise to 50. Although this company is best known in our Croatia as an online retailer, and the largest in the world, it is much better known in the IT industry for cloud services, reports Jutarnji List.

More or less all digital services today, from Netflix, Spotify, Gmail, Outlook to e-Citizens, are located in the cloud, i:e on particularly strong computers, so-called servers, located in special buildings - data centres, which are accessed via the internet. Amazon was the first company in the world to offer cloud services. Not directly to end users, but to companies like Netflix, whose entire service runs from Amazon's cloud.

Two years ago, Amazon, through its subsidiary A100 Row Inc. opened in Croatia the company Amazon Data Services Zagreb Ltd. Last year, the company generated 1.75 million Kuna in turnover, mostly internally, according to business units within Amazon.

At the same time, in October, Amazon expanded its business in Croatia through online shopping. They assigned the work of local and regional distribution of their packages to Croatian Post and thus covered that part of the business. Now the technology giant, which is next to Apple, Facebook, Google and Microsoft, has decided to strengthen its cloud business in Croatia.

First, in February, it leased servers for 'caching', basically connecting Zagreb directly to its cloud infrastructure. They then stated that they could offer customers, like Netflix, 14 percent faster data transfer to users. In the second step, Zagreb is now developing a team that would deal with the design and implementation of large cloud projects on a global level.

That is why, among the 15 advertised positions in Zagreb, Amazon is not looking for developers or e-commerce specialists, but a whole range of experts who would deal with the design and maintenance of cloud infrastructure. The list includes technicians, electricians and other experts for the design and maintenance of the infrastructure on which today's Internet rests. The conditions set by Amazon are a university degree and seven years of experience in the industry.

It is known that in Croatia both Microsoft and Google have their 'caching' servers. The industry comments that Amazon has started working more actively in Croatia for a number of reasons.

The first reason is experts. In addition, Croatia has been the global headquarters of the American company Emerson Electric for the design and development of data centres for more than a decade, and the so-called modular data centres used by Facebook were designed, built and delivered to that company from Croatia. The business was later inherited by the American company Vertiv, which built a data centre factory in Zagreb in April.

The industry also states that a number of companies in Croatia have announced or built data centres according to world standards, meaning at least Tier 3 categories, as stated by PCK, HT, A1 and Altus IT. The latter was taken over exactly a year ago by the world's largest data centre service provider, the American Digital Realty.

 

Just as the tourist season in Dubrovnik was better than expected so was the celebrity season. From Hollywood A liners, rock stars and super models, well a whole bunch of Victoria Secret models. We had a break from not only tourism last year but also the glitterati.

So what does a celebrity endorsement mean? And does Dubrovnik really need the extra publicity?

Without doubt one of the greatest motivators for tourism in Dubrovnik over the past period has been Game of Thrones. Would I personally travel to a country because it had been the digitally altered backdrop of a mythical city in a series that was purely fantasy? Obviously not. However, the power, loyalty and recognition that the series had was fascinating.

I was once talking to a young waiter in Central Park, New York and when he asked me where I was from and I said Dubrovnik he looked at me with a blank expression. I then saw his brain whirl and he blurted “King’s Landing…you live in King’s Landing.”

At first I was angry that he knew Dubrovnik only as the set of a TV show, but then I thought it’s better that he knows of us than has never heard of us. He just might come here to see the Red Keep or the Walk of Shame and then the history and culture just might interest him. We should just think of GOT as a key that might open the doors of a younger generation. And the same is true of celebrity endorsement. And I use the word endorsement on purpose.

If the rich and famous wanted to hide they would

Now there are clearly a few myths about the rich and famous, one is that they hate the press, untrue (well, in 90 percent of the cases). Very often the celebs will let the press know where and when they will be. “She’ll be on her balcony from 3:00 to 3:15pm today,” was one phone call I received about a diva singer a few years ago.

And if they don’t call the press directly they’ll fill their social media with photos, basically saying “I’m here come and get me.” It’s just a game and both sides are playing. If they really wanted to be incognito, then they would. I know of two mega Hollywood stars who were in Dubrovnik this summer and demanded complete privacy, and yes they got it.

So why do celebrities mean so much for a destination? Firstly, they do. In the same way that I wouldn’t visit the set of a TV show I also wouldn’t go somewhere just because the rich and famous go there, but that’s me. There are, however, millions and millions not in my camp.

So, every time a celeb is spotted and snapped in Dubrovnik I receive a plethora of messages from the UK, “look who’s in your city,” with an attached article from The Daily Mail or The Express. So there is another positive, it’s free publicity, and not only free publicity but positive publicity. Afghanistan is getting plenty of publicity at the moment, but not the kind it wants.

Is there any such thing as bad publicity? 

A full-page advert in The Daily Mail will probably cost you around £50,000. Dubrovnik has featured half a dozen times in the last two months, two English footballers, Harrison Ford, Sir Bob Geldof, Demi Moore, Michael Jordan, as well as a handful of reality stars. That all adds up financially. And they weren’t writing anything negative. Fame is attractive and enticing. By far the most read articles on my English language website this summer have featured celebrities. Like it or not, fame sells.

I have been in the situation quite a few times when a tourist has said to me that “Yes, Dubrovnik first really caught our eye when we saw that Tom Cruise had been here.” The name Tom Cruise isn’t important, but the fact was that a celebrity had caused them to come to Dubrovnik. Sometimes this is because of the endorsement, “If Beyoncé goes there it must be great,” and sometimes it's just because Dubrovnik was featured in the New York Times as Richard Gere was on the Stradun. Whichever, it’s a win/win situation.

Again, would I go to an island in Greece just because it is a celebrity magnet, hell no! But does that mean the shine of celebrities should be hidden in Dubrovnik, hell no! Just like my waiter friend in Central Park, the key is making people aware, what they do with that knowledge is up to them. 

Read more Englishman in Dubrovnik…well, if you really want to      

 

Dubrovnik is a photographer’s dream, let’s face it you can throw a camera in the air and capture a stunning photo. And every day Instagram is filled to overflowing point with some absolutely blasting images of the pearl of the Adriatic.

We have selected this week our top five “Hello September” photos from Instagram. Check out our top five inspiring Dubrovnik Instagram photos from last week and keep sending us your own photos and videos of the region. We just love your feedback!

And don't forget to follow our Instagram page

 

The superyacht of Premier League Tottenham FC has sailed back into Dubrovnik. The impressive 68-metre long yacht is owned by British businessman Joe Lewis (83) the majority share owner of Tottenham FC. And as Lewis uses the mega yacht as his floating office there is a good chance that the billionaire is on board.

Lewis, who is reported to have a net worth of £4.33 billion, made the majority of his fortune on the stock exchange is believed to have spent around 113 million on the superyacht Aviva. It is reported that he owns over 85 percent of the London football club. And apart from his passion for football he also has a love for fine art and his collection contains works by Picasso, Matisse, Freud and Bacon.

Aviva was in Dubrovnik in July, clearly Lewis enjoys the Croatian Adriatic. And although he spends a lot of time on board his actual address is in the Bahamas.

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In the last 24 hours, 816 new cases of Covid-19 virus infection were recorded, and the number of active cases in Croatia today is 4,156.

Unfortunately, over the past 24 hours a further six people passed away in Croatia.

There are currently 457 people in hospital, of which 57 are on ventilators.

There are currently 8,107 people in self-isolation. To date, a total of 2,573,737 people have been tested, of which 9,658 in the last 24 hours.

Since February 25, 2020, when the first case of infection was recorded in Croatia, a total of 376,417 people have been infected with the new coronavirus, of which 8,355 have died, a total of 363,906 people have recovered, of which 597 recovered in the last 24 hours.

 

Croatia’s economic bounce back from the Covid pandemic seems to be well on track. And the Minister of Finance, Zdravko Maric, stated on Thursday that the country’s gross domestic product could grow by seven percent this year. The early prediction was that Croatia’s GDP would climb by 5 percent this year, which was an impressive prediction, however seven percent is even more imposing.

From the beginning of the year until the end of August tax revenue climbed slightly over 2020 by 0.7 percent, but the real boost was seen with value added tax where a growth of more than four percent was recorded. There is no doubt that this increase in VAT collections is connected directly and indirectly to the tourism season, highlighting just how important tourism is to the health of the economics of the nation.

Croatia's economic output rose by a real 16.1 percent year-on-year in the second quarter of 2021, the statistical office said last week. This is compared to a more than eight percent drop last year.

 

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