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.
With its crystal clear seas, unspoilt nature and thousands of islands there are plenty of reasons why the Croatian Adriatic coastline is a magnet for nautical tourism, and incredibly 40 percent of the world’s yacht charter fleet is in Croatia.
The Secretary of State from the Ministry of Tourism, Tonci Glavina, commented for Croatian radio and Television (HRT) that “As many as 40 percent of the charter fleet in the world is in Croatia. We are the most interesting nautical destination in the world. We are working systematically to increase numbers, but we also need to think about the sustainability and future of this tourism.”
Although the figures are impressive Croatia is actually seeing a slight drop in nautical tourist numbers this year. “The drop is relatively small, between 3 and 4 percent when compared with last year. We have built ourselves as a destination and I expect we will have a really good August and postseason,” added Glavina.
The Dubrovnik - Neretva Police Department have confirmed that an illegal immigrant was caught today at the main Dubrovnik Bus Station.
According to the reports the Algerian national was found hidden under a truck bearing Montenegro number plates and arriving from the same country.
The man was spotted hiding under the truck at 11:55am. He has now been taken into custody and once his identity has been established a prosecution process will begin.
The official website of the British Government has today released more information for UK citizens living in the European Union.
The new article, which headlines with “The UK will be leaving the EU on the 31st of October 2019” outlines the efforts being made by the UK government to protect the rights of UK citizens living and working in the EU after a no-deal Brexit.
It also states clearly that the UK has already committed itself to protecting the rights of all EU citizens currently living in the UK, and expects other EU member states to follow suit and reciprocate these measures. Whilst some EU members have already stated that they will follow the UK’s lead other EU members have yet to respond or in fact give reassurances of their future plans.
Here is the latest article from the UK government, updated today the 8th of August 2019
UK nationals in the EU after Brexit
The UK will be leaving the EU on 31 October 2019.
The government takes citizens’ rights extremely seriously. The UK has committed that the rights of EU citizens living and working in the UK will be protected in any Brexit scenario.
Protecting the rights of UK nationals in the EU is an absolute priority for this government, but the UK cannot protect the rights of UK nationals unilaterally. The government welcomes those commitments already given by all Member States to protecting UK nationals if there is no deal. We continue to encourage Member States to provide the same reassurances to UK Nationals in the EU that we have provided to EU citizens in the UK. We are urging Member States to communicate their detailed plans to UK Nationals as soon as possible.
It remains the government’s preference to leave with a deal. If there is a deal, free movement rights will continue to apply to you as a UK national during the implementation period. This means that you will be able to live in an EU country, enjoying broadly the same rights to healthcare, benefits and pensions as at present.
Every week through the height of summer we are hitting the streets of Dubrovnik to discover what you, our visitors, think about the city as a tourist destination. This week we caught up with a young traveller from China who was visiting Dubrovnik for the first time, Jian Genuj from Shanghai
What are your impressions of Dubrovnik?
The Adriatic Sea is absolutely perfect, it is so clean and clear, really amazing. We love just watching the sea and the views. However, I haven’t been in the sea as I don’t know how to swim.
What do you think about the prices in Dubrovnik?
I think when compared to the prices in China that Dubrovnik is a little more expensive, not much, but yes a little more expensive.
Was it complicated to get to Dubrovnik from China?
Yes, a little, we came through Italy and the flights were not so easy. We are on a tour of Europe so we expected to travel a lot and spend time at airports.
Where are you staying in Dubrovnik? And do you think that the price of accommodation is reasonable?
We are staying in a hostel and the prices are competitive, it isn’t too expensive.
What are your opinions on the restaurants and café bars?
I don’t really have an opinion as we haven’t been to a restaurant or café bar. We cook everything ourselves in our hostel. We go to the shops every day and buy everything we need, meat, bread and vegetables and then cook ourselves. I would say that the price of vegetables in Dubrovnik, even though we buy them in the farmer’s market, is twice as much as it is in China.
The organizing committee of the boat marathon Lađa met yesterday in Opuzen City Hall, and the meeting discussed the final preparations for this year's 22nd Lađa Marathon on the Neretva River.
Traditionally every year in the second weekend of August, more than 300 competitors in 30 traditional, wooden lađa boats, race a course of 22.5 km on the Neretva River. These wide canoe type boats were used as the main method of transport centuries ago.
This year’s race will be held on the 10th of August and 30 teams have entered the race, there are 21 teams from the Neretva region, 8 teams from other regions of Croatia and one from Bosnia and Herzegovina. Each rowing crew consists of 10 rowers, a drummer and a cox, or oarsmen. The Ladje used for the race must be wooden, of a traditional shape and must oblige the official competition rules regarding their dimensions.
At the meeting yesterday, which was attended by the County Prefect Nikola Dobroslavic, it was pointed out that more boats were entered for the race this year than they were last year, and preparations are nearing completion.
Dobroslavic emphasized that the Lađa Marathon is a great tradition that promotes the rich Neretva heritage and commended the Neretva Lađa Association for the activities carried out, and in particular for the preparation and organization of the Marathon itself.
On this very day 30 exactly thirty years ago the first national airline in Croatia was founded. Croatia Airlines' story began on August 7, 1989, with Zagreb Airlines d.d. (Zagal), an airline company. Zagal started operating in December of the same year providing a postal service, and on July 23, 1990 changed its name to Croatia Airlines d.d. and became a national airline for the transportation of passengers, goods and mail.
Croatia Airlines' first commercial flight took place on May 5, 1991 from Zagreb to Split, while connecting Croatia to the world began on April 5, 1992, the first international flight from Zagreb to Frankfurt.
From the first flight to the end of February this year, the company's aircraft totalled 589,500 flights and carried more than 38,240,000 passengers. Of these, 11,407,500 passengers were recorded on internal flights, 24,014,500 on international flights and 2,818,000 on non-scheduled (charter) flights. During the upcoming tourist season, Croatia Airlines flights will fly into 38 destinations in 24 countries.
Croatia’s path towards adopting the Euro as the official currency is growing pace with the European Central bank revealing that they would carry out stress tests of five leading Croatian banks. This is basically the next step for the country’s aim to join the euro zone after the letter of intent to join the euro zone was sent from Zagreb to Brussels last months.
According to an article on Reuters the five Croatian banks that will be unfžder the magnifiying glass are Zagrebacka banka, Privredna banka Zagreb, Erste & Steiermärkische Bank, OTP banka Hrvatska and Hrvatska postanska banka. It is expected that the full results of these stress tests will be known by May of next year. Interestingly only one of these five banks is actually Croatian owned, Hrvatska postanska banka.
Reuters reported that “Croatia last month submitted a formal bid to join the European Exchange Rate Mechanism (ERM-2), an early stage on the path to membership of the euro currency."
Croatia sent a letter of intent to join the euro zone, and therefore adopt the Euro as the official currency, on the 4th of July.
And it seems that the public will not be asked their opinion in the form of a public referendum. The Prime Minister of Croatia, Andrej Plenkovic, has already made his feelings clear on this point when he stated that the public have already decided when they voted to join the European family back in 2012 when almost 67 percent voted to enter.
In fact, Croatia's EU membership does oblige it to eventually join the euro zone, as such the country plans to join the European Monetary System, the pathway to euro adoption. It is rumoured that the earliest date that Croatians could be paying in Euros rather than Kunas is 2023.
The most popular car brands in Croatia so far this year are Volkswagen, Opel and Renault, although Audis, BMWS and even Porches are on the wanted list.
From the beginning of the year until the end of July 44,368 new cars were sold in Croatia, which is a small growth of almost 1 percent when compared with last year. And the most popular brands are Volkswagen, who have sold 5,440 new vehicles have been sold this year, followed by Opel with 4,519, Renault with 4,309, Skoda with 4.014 and Dacia with 2,789.
And also at the high-end of the car market 68 new Porsches have been sold, 1,130 Audis, 987 BMWs and 863 Mercedes were sold.
The best-selling model this year has been the Skoda Octavia, followed by the Renault Clio, the Volkswagen Golf, the Opel Corsa and the Suzuki Vitara.
And diesel models are much less popular than last year, 61 percent of all vehicles sold this year have been petrol models, 35.5 percent diesel, hybrids just over 2 percent and only 0.2 percent electric cars.