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.
One of the most prominent guides for olive oil in the world, Flos Olei, has declared that the world's best olive this year is from the Croatian region of Istria.
This year’s guide included the top 500 olive growers from 59 countries, and featured 50 Istrian olive growers. This meant that there were more olive growers from Istria than the Italian region of Tuscany, which until this latest issue had been dominated the publication.
Many of the top olive oil producers in the world tussle to be included in the Flos Olei guide. In 2005 the region of Istria had only two olive producers in the guide, now eleven years later that number has grown to fifty.
The quality of Croatian olive oil has never been in doubt, however due to the relatively small quantities produced compared to other European countries Croatia has found it hard to break into foreign markets.
One of the most trusted travel guides in the world, Rough Guide, has published a list of the “10 most beautiful places in Europe,” and Croatia is number one! The popular website asked their readership, via their Facebook and Twitter accounts, to vote for the most beautiful place in Europe…and Croatia came in at the top spot.
“Consistently one of the most popular destinations on RoughGuides.com, it’s no surprise that Croatia featured heavily in our followers’ comments on the most beautiful places in Europe,” wrote Rough Guide.
The article even had a touch of Dubrovnik as a photo of the bay of Trsteno, along with the description, “From gorgeous islands like Hvar to little coves like this one below (Trsteno, Dubrovnik), Croatia has some serious Adriatic eye-candy.”
The full Rough Guide list was:
Darth Vader, Boba Fett and a Stormtrooper in Dubrovnik...has filming already started for the eighth episode of Star Wars in Dubrovnik? No, although many tourists to the city believed they were watching the first scenes as characters from the film wandered around Dubrovnik.
Our man on the spot, tourist guide Ivan Vukovic, captured the opportunity to have his photo taken with these fans of the movie just outside of the Dubrovnik City Walls.
These members of the Croatian Star Wars Fan Club dressed in the outfits of their heroes and caused a stir as they walked around Dubrovnik.
Star Wars fans dress as their heroes in Dubrovnik
On the last weekend before filming of Star Wars VIII begins in Dubrovnik the final touches are being made to the set on the main street, the Stradun. The ancient stone facades of the city have been transformed into a sci-fi set complete with flashing buttons and droid control panels.
Filming is set to begin on the 9th of March; however we understand that the first two days will be used as a dress rehearsal, with the real filming beginning of the 11th of March.
Speculation is rife on who will be appearing “on stage” in Dubrovnik, with one name, Mark Hamill, repeatedly mentioned. There is also a rumour floating around that Oscar award winning actor Benicio del Toro will be filming in Star Wars in Dubrovnik, we hasten to add that these are all rumours and that as yet the production team are keeping tight-lipped.
Check out our video on the set of Star Wars episode eight in Dubrovnik
There could well be an invasion of Russian tourists into Croatia this summer season. According to reports on the Russian news website balkanpro.ru the number of Russian travel operators who are organising deals to Croatia has increased by nearly 300 percent on 2015!
Several major Russian tour operators have shown an interest in dealing with Croatia, including Coral Travel, Natali Tours, Spektrum and the PAC Group. There will be regular flight operations between many Croatian cities, including Dubrovnik, this year. The Russian national airline Aeroflot and S7 airlines will fly directly from Moscow to Dubrovnik for most of the summer. There are even negotiations from another Russian airline, Red Wings, to fly every day to Dubrovnik from the Russian capital.
Last year, Croatia was visited by 113,000 Russians and if the news that the number of Russian travel operators have increased drastically is any guide that number could be much more for 2016.
In the opinion of Mr. Ruzicka, tourists could be and more. In this season, says Rajko Ruzicka, due to the redistribution of tourist flows in Europe, in Croatia has increased the number of reservations from Germany, Great Britain, Austria, Italy and others.
With just a under a week left until the filming of Star Wars VIII in Dubrovnik the final touches are being made to the set. The historic old city of Dubrovnik has been transformed into scenes from a galaxy far away, the latest facade to get the Star Wars make-over is the Great Onofrio Fountain. The fountain, which has only recently been renovated, now has a rather futuristic look to it.
Many of the buildings on the Stradun, the main street that runs through the centre of Dubrovnik, have new facades and even now have new window decorations. Again today the Stradun will be closed from 8pm until midnight whilst the final technical rehearsals are carried out.
The only thing missing is the actors that will appear in Dubrovnik. It had been previously rumoured that Mark Hamill, Luke Skywalker and Daisy Ridley, who stars as Rey, will appear in Dubrovnik, although Ridley has said in an interview for the BBC that she will not be filming in Dubrovnik. A landspeeder on rails has been spotted on the Stradun by a local media outlet giving more weight to the rumour that Skywalker will arrive.
Many other public spaces around Dubrovnik have now been prepared for filming, including the Dominican Monastery and the interior of the Rectors Palace. The terrible weather in Dubrovnik at the moment is proving a challenge for the production crew, heavy rains and gale force southerly winds have been battering the region for the past week.
Photos - Star Wars Dubrovnik
One of the most important tourism exhibitions in France open in Lyon. The Mahana tourism trade fair in the French city of Lyon today and will last until the 6th of March. The tourist board of the Dubrovnik-Neretva County is present at the fair and have jointly taken a stand with the tourist boards of Split, Zadar and Sibenik.
This is the seventh year in a row that the Dubrovnik-Neretva County has been present at this travel fair at which an estimated 300 exhibitors will be present and 35,000 people will visit.
French tourists have, for many years, been among the top three most numerous tourists in the county, and as the city is well connected with flights from French cities for this season that number could well grow.
In 2015 the Dubrovnik-Neretva County was visited by almost 110,000 tourists from France, who generated 440,000 overnight stays.
The Sheraton Dubrovnik Riviera is playing host this weekend to the third regional summit of the “300 Best” entrepreneurs in South East Europe. The congress of the “best of the best” starts today, the 4th of March, and continues until the 6th of March and will see business people from 13 European countries.
For this festival of entrepreneurship there will be various meetings, workshops, and networking opportunities at which leading businessmen and women will be able to exchange ideas and professional experiences. The overall goal is to promote the importance of entrepreneurship.
Various leading lights from the world of business in South East Europe will attend the three-day meeting including Branko Roglić, the owner of “ORBICO" group from Zagreb which has a annual turnover of one billion Euros, Dragoljub Vukadinovic, the president and creator of the Serbian company " METALAC" Gornji Milanovac, and Tanja Skaza, the owner and CEO of a very successful company from Slovenia " PLASTIKA SKAZA." The “300 Best” event will also be attended by Prof. dr. Reinhard Priebe from Germany, a former high ranking official of the European Commission.