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.
Croatia Airlines transported its millionth passenger of 2016 on the 15th of July on a flight from Dubrovnik to Zagreb. Suzana Brenko was the millionth passenger and was presented with gifts from the national airline.
This landmark was reached a full twelve days ahead of last year and even ahead of 2012 when Croatia Airlines had its best ever year. According to a statement from the airline passenger numbers this year are up 2 percent on the same period from 2015.
Don’t think about drinking the tap water in Croatia, unless you want to get diarrhoea, claims the British newspaper The Daily Mail. In a recent article on travel section of The Daily Mail website the newspaper insists that the Croatia is one of the countries that you shouldn’t drink the tap water. This information seems to contradict almost of all the competent institutions on the quality of water, from the European Union to the United Nations, as well as a plethora of independent sources. In an article entitled “From Spain and France to Russia and Croatia: Countries in Europe where you can drink tap water - and the places you really shouldn't,” The Daily Mail states that all of the tap water in Eastern Europe, including Croatia is not safe to drink.
Regardless of the fact that The Daily Mail is known to exaggerate the truth the fact that it is one of the most popular newspapers in Great Britain will certainly not help the tourism industry. The Daily Mail recently printed a photo of the world famous bridge in Mostar advertising holidays to Dubrovnik. However to claim that Croatian tap water isn’t safe to drink seems to pushed the bar of stupidity even higher. Not only is Croatian water completely safe to drink it is also one of the cleanest in the world. In fact Croatia has the third largest source of water in Europe per capita. And it isn’t only the tap water that is sparkling clean; the Adriatic is also one of the cleanest in the world. According to the annual European Environment Agency report, the sea bathing water quality at Croatian beaches was rated as one of the best in Europe.
And as the website for the non-profit organization Revolve Water states “Croatia is still one of the only countries in Europe to have a supply of good tap water for drinking.” Our advice is to ignore The Daily Mail and continue to enjoy one of the cleanest drinking waters in the world, in Croatia.
When summer storms in Dubrovnik hit they hit hard! Although the weather in Dubrovnik today is fine and sunny it was a different story of Friday and Saturday when torrential rain, gale force winds and rolling thunder washed over the city.
The LMT Studio brilliantly caught the moment when the storm was at its height over the historic city of Dubrovnik in a time-lapse film entitled “Storm on the way.” The short film really shows the power of these recent storms as it explodes over the Adriatic Sea.
Check out the video!
“One thing that we can definitely confirm is that Robin Hood will come to Dubrovnik, in January and February next year we will see Robin Hood on the Stradun,” commented the Mayor of Dubrovnik, Andro Vlahusic, at a press conference. Dubrovnik is fast becoming the most desirable film location in Europe with the new Leonardo DiCaprio produced Robin Hood movie being the fifth major international production in the past few years.
The HBO mega-serial Game of Thrones opened interest in Dubrovnik when the second season was filmed in location in and around the historic city. It can be argued that Game of Thrones was the initiator for all the film crews that followed. “We have had the most watched television serial of all time, Game of Thrones, which picked up twelve awards recently; more than 200 million people will see this serial, great promotion for Dubrovnik. The most popular serial of all time, and we are the host,” empathised the mayor.
Bollywood followed, and the blockbuster “Fan” with the biggest name in the Bollywood world, Shah Rukh Khan, opened up a new market. When you already have the most popular serial of all time and the top star of Bollywood is there any way to improve your rating? The answer was the prevalent movie franchise in the world, Star Wars. In March this year the stone facades of Dubrovnik were transformed into a galaxy far, far away as sections of the latest episode of Star Wars were filmed. “Star Wars will have its world premiere on the 17th of December 2017 and once again Dubrovnik will be in the spotlight,” added Vlahusic.
And just to add a cherry on the top of the Dubrovnik film cake the History Channel brought the world of the Templars to the city with their follow-up to the critically acclaimed “Vikings” entitled “Knightfall.” The Bay of Pile directly under the ancient walls was the locations for this ten-part serial. “Last week the filming of the new History Channel serial “Knightfall,” following the journeys of the Templar knights and King Richard the Lionheart, was largely filmed right here,” commented the mayor.
And now Dubrovnik is on the verge of its most expensive and most star-studded movie ever. Produced by Leonardo DiCaprio and starring a handful of Oscar winners the production of the blockbuster is expected to be filmed in January and February next year. “One thing that we can definitely confirm is that Robin Hood will come to Dubrovnik, in January and February next year we will see Robin Hood on the Stradun,” concluded Vlahusic. Adding that it will be the biggest film production in Dubrovnik, and the “significantly more expensive than the Star Wars filming.” He also confirmed that more than a hundred people will be involved in the production and that the directors of the latest version of Robin Hood stayed in Dubrovnik last week.
It is rumored that Dubrovnik will be the location for Nottingham Castle; however exact dates of filming and locations have yet to be confirmed. It is known that Oscar winner Jamie Foxx has the role of Little John and that the lead role of Robin Hood will be played by Welsh actor Taron Egerton, famous for his role in Kingsman: The Secret Service. His partner, Maid Marion, will be played by Irish actress Eve Hewson, who is the daughter of Bono from U2. Robin Hood: Origins will be directed by Otto Bathurst.
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.
- 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.
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.