Monday, 19 August 2019
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

It is about to get hot again in Dubrovnik. After a period of unstable weather in Dubrovnik the heat is going to be turned up again with a heat wave to hit Dubrovnik next week.

After an extremely hot June that saw the region an indeed the whole of Europe in a heat wave Dubrovnik then saw a period of more unstable and even rainy weather with temperatures dropping in mid-July. However, from this weekend the summer is coming back in full force with temperatures back up in the low thirties, and next week will be even warmer.

Another heat wave over Europe is predicted for the end of July and Dubrovnik could well see temperatures in the high thirties. In the coming days, especially at the weekend, it is expected that the anti-cyclone activity in the southwest of the continent will be strengthened and warmer weather will follow.

The current sea temperature of the Adriatic in Dubrovnik is a warm 25.4 degrees. Its time to hit the beaches!

The State Bureau of Statistics have announced some fresh data on births and deaths in the Republic of Croatia from 2009 to 2018.

In 2018, the number of children born increased by 1.1 percent in comparison to the previous year, with 389 more children born than in 2017. The total number of births in 2018 was 37,109 children. And from this number 51.6 percent were boys and 48.4 percent girls.

At the other end of the scale the number of deaths in Croatia in 2018 was 52,706, which is 1.4 percent less than in 2017. Out of the total number of deaths in 2018, 25,964 or 49.3 percent were male and 26,742 or 50.7 percent were female.

The awards are rolling in for the Port of Dubrovnik this year. After being named as the best port in the Adriatic Sea region by MedCruise comes news of another prestigious recognition.

Dubrovnik has been named as the Top-Rated Eastern Mediterranean Cruise Destination for 2019 in the Cruise Critics Choice Destination Awards. And this is an extremely important award as it is based on passenger reviews and ratings. As Cruise Critic stated “Our awards are given exclusively on consumer ratings and reviews posted to the Cruise Critic website over the past year – so specifically first-hand feedback from cruisers themselves.” One of the users of Cruise Critic said about Dubrovnik "Most beautiful city! All I could keep saying was WOW! Walked the wall and rode the cable car.”

Cruise Critic is the world’s largest online cruise resource, great recognition for the Port of Dubrovnik.

 

Dubrovnik is the absolute king of social media in Croatia. By far the most traffic and interest of any Croatian destination on the web and social media is drummed up by Dubrovnik with nearly twice as much interest as the second Croatian city.

From the 10th of June until the 10th of July the online media reporting company Mediatoolkit ran a survey and analytics of Croatia on social media and the web. Their findings revealed that Croatia was mentioned 72,869 times, or 2,400 times a day on social media, which is a massive 222 percent increase over the same period from last year.

To put these figures into some context over the same time period one of Croatia’s competitors in the tourism industry, Italy, was also analysed and received around 7,500 mentions a day.

The majority of the mentions on social media came from the United States, the UK, Switzerland, Germany and Italy, with the vast majority of mentions, or 89 percent, written in a positive form. Many comments and posts talk about the natural beauty of Croatia and the sea as well as the islands and history. And by far the most used social media channel is Instagram.

Dubrovnik is the darling of the social media scene in Croatia with 12,759 mentions over the time period, followed by Split with 7,313 and Rovinj with 3,898. Of course a far few of the Dubrovnik mentions are connected with the popular HBO serial Game of Thrones, with King’s Landing mentioned around 4,000 times.

The beach on Donje Čelo on the island of Koločep is not suitable for swimming. The sea water on the beach had failed previous tests by the Institute of Public Health and on the 17th of July further tests were carried out.

The Environmental Inspection carried out further tests and inspections on the 17th of July on the sea water quality on the beach of Donje Čelo on Koločep and once again the sea water quality failed to meet the required levels.

Swimming on this beach has now been banned until further tests and carried out and the pollution problem is solved.

A therapy pool was built at the Dubrovnik General Hospital when the hospital was first constructed but unfortunately never actually fully completed. Now the pool will finally have a brighter future and will be put into function after the City of Dubrovnik and the Dubrovnik Hospital signed an agreement on financing the whole project.

The City of Dubrovnik will draw up project documentation on the basis of the agreement and provide funds, and the hospital will conduct the public procurement and sign a contract with the building contractor. Once finally completed the therapy pool will have various different functions, from physiotherapy to aquatic therapy, and will be have all the required facilities, such as changing rooms and toilets.

The Mayor of Dubrovnik also announced that he and the Dubrovnik General Hospital will address the issue of housing for doctors and medical staff.

 

Dubrovnik is a magnet for tourist is from all over the world, and 2019 is proving to be a record breaking year in more ways than one. On the 16th of July Dubrovnik reached a landmark, the two millionth overnight stay was reached and a full seven days earlier than 2018.

From the 1st of January to the 16th of July 697,096 tourists have arrived in the city which is a massive 19 percent increase compared with the previous year and 2 million overnight stays were recorded an increase of 8 percent over last year.

Since the beginning of the year most guests have come from the United Kingdom, USA, Germany, France, Croatia, Spain, Australia, Finland, Ireland and Canada.

"According to the announcements we expect stable growth of tourist traffic in the continuation of the main season, and also by the end of the year," commented the director of the Dubrovnik Tourist Board, Romana Vlašić.

The “catastrophic state of bookings" and greatly exaggerated news that Croatia is facing a poor tourist season has dominated the front pages for the past few weeks. This pessimist mood has washed over the country, however according to a report on the specialised financial website novac.hr there is no cause for panic.

It’s true we have heard stories of lower tourist numbers and a supposed bad tourist season for years. And there is always some excuse, such as bad weather, rising competition, high prices and lack of organisation. However, these bombastic headlines are as fleeting as an ice-cream in the August sunshine, and when the time comes to count the numbers and the financial benefits the headlines die down as the real figures show another year of growth.

And whilst around 17 percent of Croatia’s GDP comes directly or indirectly from the tourism industry, that also means that 83 percent comes from other businesses. With more than four-fifths of Croatia’s economic income coming from other sources the tourism industry is of course important, but a little reality is also needed.

Crisis, what crisis! 

And in spite of the predictions of a disastrous tourist season this year it is important to bear a few facts in mind before jumping to the wrong conclusions. Since 1995 Croatia’s tourism industry has pretty much recorded a growth in every year. Only twice, in 1999 due to the NATO bombings of Serbia, and then in 2009 thanks to the world recession, has the country actually seen a drop in tourism. And it has to be added that in 2009 the drop was only by 1.4 percent. This is clearly an industry that is very robust and strong and more than able to deal with bumps along the road.

And it isn’t only tourism numbers that have increased. More importantly revenue from tourism has also increased. Over the past 18 years’ revenue from tourism has increased by a massive 3.3 times, from 3 billion Euro in 2000 to 10 billion Euro in 2018.

And it’s the months outside of the main tourist season that are one of the driving forces for such growth. From 2013 to 2018 the number of overnight stays in Croatia jumped by 39 percent and the highest percentage increase in that period was achieved in the off-season.

So how is this year really progressing? According to data from the first six months of this year growth is continuing: tourist arrivals increased by six percent and overnight stays by three percent compared to the same period from last year. 

So why the panic?

According to the article in novac.hr the main reason for the scratching of heads and cries of “it’s a terrible season” is the fact that the number of apartments has exploded in recent years. Figures from the Croatian Tourist Board show that from 2016 to 2019 an extra 650,000 beds have been added. Over the same time period the number of beds in hotels increased by less than six thousand. And this is basically the crux of the matter. These extra beds in private accommodation aren’t filling as quickly as their owners would like. Is that a crisis? Do all the apartments have to be filled, should everyone who has a private apartment be secure in receiving a guaranteed income?

The Voice of Dubrovnik

THE VOICE OF DUBROVNIK


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