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 could well be the part of the Schengen region by 2018 commented the Foreign Minister Miro Kovac at a meeting to mark the anniversary of Croatia accession into the European Union.
It is believed that negotiations over the Schengen entry could be completed by the end of this year and the full implementation of the agreement on Croatian borders could take affect by 2018.
Croatia became a full member of the European Union on the 1st of July 2013 and is slowly entering into all of the European institutions and regulations. Of the 28 current members of the EU 22 are part of the “open border” Schengen region.
"After that, we will get new leaderships in those two fundamental countries on the European continent. I think it's possible that Croatia will join the Schengen Area from 2018 on," commented Kovac in reference to the elections due to be held in Germany and France.
Nikola Brzica, the assistant of the Croatian Minister of Defence and Robert Hranj, the director of the General Staff of the Croatian Armed Forces, had a meeting with a senior military delegation of China, headed by Cui Changjun, the assistant director of the General Political Department of the Central Military Commission of the Chinese People's Liberation Army on the 29th of June 2016.
Mr Brzica emphasized that the Republic of Croatia as a permanent member of the UN, NATO and the European Union was an active participant in building the world peace and security and was committed to the development of strong partnerships and relations with countries of common values and interests. Confirming the good and friendly bilateral relations, the two delegations also underlined that there was room for intensified defence and economy co-operation.
The Chinese delegation also visited the Croatian Defence Academy "Dr FranjoTudman", where they were briefed on the history, the organisation, tasks, study programmes and the military education exercised by the Academy and the studying and living conditions provided.
In the WorldStar competition organized by the World Packaging Organization (WPO) among 293 entries from 35 countries around the world, the Croatian creative agency Portofolio by Studio Grozic have won the 2016 WorldStar Award for excellence of its potato chip packaging for Franck on the 26th of May, in Budapest, Hungary.
This competition gives an opportunity for winning the worldwide recognition but can only be accessed by brands which have already won one of the national or regional awards for packaging, and which are also members of the WPO.
The awarded packaging for Cipi Cips Country has already won the Cropack 2015 award for the best design so this international award represents the crown of all previous awards.
Franck's Cipi Cips Country comes in three flavours: salt, bacon and smoked cheese and is very popular among Croats of all ages. All graphics on the Cipi Cips packets are hand drawn and of high quality print which were used to emphasize a traditional look, a domestic origin and a top quality of the potato which this product is made from.
The winning packaging is a result of the joint work of Adria Snack Company and the Croatian creative agency Portofolio by Studio Grozic. For the past eleven years this creative agency has successfully developed a number of the world renowned brands such as Sergio Tacchini, Stefanel, Audi, Illy coffee and Pikenz.
The WorldStar Award was founded in 1970 and as World Packaging Organization (WPO) emphasizes, a special attention is paid to packaging that demonstrates creativeness, innovation, eco-friendliness, aesthetic appeal, easy way of production etc. This year, a total of 194prizes were awarded in categories of food and beverages, health and beauty, household goods, luxury products, electronics, transport packaging etc.
With the Dubrovnik Summer Festival right around the corner, press conference was held today on the terrace of Hotel Hilton Imperial.
The speakers were: Mayor of Dubrovnik Andro Vlahusic, Deputy County Mayor Davorko Obuljen, artistic director Mladen Tarbuk, theatre programme director Mani Gotovac and Paulina Njiric, executive director counsel.
Andro Vlahusic said that he is delighted to be the part of Dubrovnik Summer Festival eight years in a row, while the Festival is celebrating its 67 year.
- The purpose of art is to be different and that's not an easy thing to do for 67 years – said the Mayor and also thanked all the creators that combine creativity and freedom into masterpieces.
Davorko Obuljen congratulated the organizers and all of the artist as well.
- I had a chance to take a look at the programme and I can just say that we can't wait it to begin.
Artistic director Mladen Tarbuk first said thanks to all the citizens and tourists for their fidelity.
- I'm happy to see that art still runs in the veins of Dubrovnik – added Tarbuk and said that the programme was planned last year. He talked about two lines of programme: North and South. North is presented by Shakespeare, with Othello and also the music programme. South, or the Mediterenian is coming to this Festival from Spanish speaking area. There will be ballet on Lokrum which consist mostly of great opera Carmen.
There will also be small piano festival that brings the audience some of the most famous pianist today. It's interesting that Dubrovnik Summer Festival is spreading, so it will be held at Konavle and Cavtat too.
Theatre programme director Mani Gotovac said that this Festival has 'the ghost, the breath, the dream of the Latin American art', on which they worked really hard and that will be seen on the Opening, 11th of June.
- For me, Dubrovnik Summer Festival is like Arboretum, peace in todays noise – said Gotovac.
She talked about Othello, saying that it will be performed on fort of Lovrijenac and it will have the motif of manipulators who appeared and also about 'Kafetarija' or 'Coffe bar', a show well known to the locals that is making a come back this year. She emphasized that this will not be the same show from before.
Paulina Njiric said thanks to everybody and added that money isn't everything so she wants to thank all the supporters.
Dubrovnik Summer Festival will have its opening at 11th of June and in 47 days it will show more than 70 theatre, music, ballet, folklore and other performances on nearly 20 different venues. See the programme here.
Andro Vlahusic and Mani Gotovac
Andro Vlahusic, Mani Gotovac and Mladen Tarbuk
Paulina Njiric and Davorko Obuljen
Cara McLeay is a beautiful blogger who has recently visited Dubrovnik and absolutely fell in love with it. Her website, A Fashion Love Affair started in 2011 as a place for Cara to share her inspirations and love for fashion, travel and everything in between. She has been a real hit on Instagram with her Dubrovnik photos. For The Dubrovnik Times she shared some details about blog, fashion and especially her impressions about Dubrovnik.
What does your blog mean to you?
My website started as a hobby that allowed me to enter into the fashion world after working in marketing. I soon decided I wanted to work in fashion, and continued to grow my blog while working as a Fashion Buyer at Secret Location in Vancouver. My passion grew into a business, and now I am lucky enough to call A Fashion Love Affair my passion and full time job! It is a dream come true and means the world to me.
Are you surprised with the number of followers you get every day?
Social media was a game changer in the blogging world, and I am so grateful for each and every follower I get each day, they are the reason I am able to pursue my dream job!
What is the secret of having a well visited blog?
Consistency is a big one, and making sure that you are proud of everything you put up and share. And taking risks!
How important is the fashion for you?
It is everything! I absolutely love fashion and believe that what we put on each day can help us feel confident & beautiful. I know that there are many things that go on in the world today that are so important to know and learn about, but I do know that feeling wonderful inside & out is very important for everyone, too - It is the little things that can bring so much joy.
How long it takes you to get ready?
I love looking natural - so for me in terms of beauty, I like to wear mascara & blush, and I can curl my hair in about 6 minutes - Sometimes picking an outfit can take a little time, but generally I can be ready between 15-20 minutes.
Do you plan your clothing combinations according to the destination?
Absolutely! The weather is also a huge factor - Packing for New York Fashion Week in January, for example, is very different than packing for Croatia in the summer. I always make sure to do my research before travelling to check the weather and to know a little bit about the country itself. I also love to shop everywhere I go, I always love the fashion in different places and it makes for a wonderful souvenir to bring something back that you can wear again and again from that place.
Why did you decide to come to Dubrovnik?
I have heard so many amazing things about Dubrovnik, and I absolutely love the mix of history and beautiful beaches - It is my dream city!
How was your Dubrovnik experience?
Absolutely amazing - Dubrovnik is breathtaking - We drove in and got to see the Old Town from above which was just beautiful, and we just kept getting amazed at every turn - The water, the beaches, the city, it is all so stunning!
What's your favorite thing about Dubrovnik?
I absolutely loved swimming in the Adriatic, actually - the turquoise waters are just glorious! I also watched the sunset from high up on the the Old Town wall, and that was magical as well.
What to wear in Dubrovnik?
Dubrovnik has so much to do, and we walked a lot, especially when we visited the Old Town. It was also very hot out, so I opted for easy comfortable sundresses & tie up sandals that were perfect for exploring in the day but were dressy enough to work for dinner as well.
Did you like the style that you saw around the streets?
Yes! Everyone looked chic yet comfortable, which is my favourite look.
What are your future plans?
Next we head to Split and then are going back to Italy (where we began our trip) to visit Rome and then fly back to Canada. I will be back though very soon, I absolutely loved my visit!
According to Martina Bienenfeld, the director of the Zagreb Tourist Board, the Croatian capital has definitely found its place among the world tourist destinations. Only last year over a million tourists visited Zagreb and the numbers are constantly growing. She added that this significant growth is a result of the continuing joint work of the Zagreb tourism industry, the Croatian Ministry of Tourism and the city of Zagreb. Thanks to numerous events Zagreb has become a year-round tourist destination which does not depend only on the summer season.
Statistical data show that 337,300 tourists visited Zagreb in the first five months this year (an increase by 6% in comparison to 2015) and over 625,000 overnight stays were achieved which is an increase of 12% over the same period last year. The most numerous guests were from the South Korea followed by guests from Germany, USA, Italy and Bosnia and Herzegovina.
This summer the Zagreb Summer Tour 2016, the campaign organized by the Zagreb Tourist Board, offers plenty of interesting events for all visitors and guests; concerts, exhibitions, film and street shows, etc. Also the European Universities Games will be held this July in Zagreb and around 5,000 young contesters from 45 European countries and 250 universities are expected in the Croatian capital.
''We have also launched a promotional video on YouTube presenting all events that distinguish Zagreb from other cities and capitals and so far we have had over 2 million clicks'', added Bienenfeld.
Apart from the cultural and entertainment events, a very important role in the development of Zagreb as a year-round destination is definitely congress tourism. Last year 233 business events were held in Zagreb and already 115 in the first five months of this year. According to data published by ICCA (International Congress and Convention Association) among 373 cities Zagreb has positioned itself as the 64th on that list. This only indicates that Zagreb has become an important destination on the map of the world congress tourism.
As far as accommodation is concerned, Zagreb has 53 hotels, 45 hostels and 1,707 apartments and rooms, a total of 14,466 beds available.
''The Zagreb Tourist Board supports the work of hoteliers, hostellers as well as private renters through our activities. The market law regulates demand and offer so we are pleased to see that the tourism industry has recognized new trends and with its diversified offer has enriched the Zagreb tourist scene'', concluded Bienenfeld.
As a part of the International Opera Arias Festival Tino Pattiera, Dubrovnik Symphony Orchestra will have the concert Cielo e mar in front of the Rector's Palace tonight at 9.30 pm.
Symbolic title of the concert that means sky and the sea shows the theme that connects the pieces that will be performed at the concert. It's all happening at the open space, close to the sea, and the aria 'Cielo e mar' from opera La Gioconda will be played too. It's worth to mention that Tino Pattiera at a peek of his career played a part of Enzo in La Gioconda of A. Ponchielli over hundred times. Other musical works that celebrate the nature in some way will be played too, so the program consists of opera arias and overtures from this operas:
Cosi fan tutte (W.A. Mozart), Rusalka (A. Dvorak), Lovci na bisere (G. Bizet), Tosca (G. Puccini), La Gioconda (A. Ponchielli), Lakmé (L. Delibes), Aida i La Traviata (G. Verdi).
The orchestra will be conducted by the maestro Noam Zur, while the solist will be soprano Liana Aleksanyan from Armenia, mezzosoprano Marisa Martins from Spain, American tenor Hugh Smith and Romanian baritone Ionut Pascu who delighted the audience at the Festival opening.
According to data from the Croatian eVisitor system the first weekend of July in terms of tourism industry was extremelly busy. From the 1st till the 4th of July 371,602 tourists arrived in the country and recorded 1,706,840 overnight stays. On Saturday July the 2nd, a total of 589,015 overnight stays was achieved. On the same day the occupancy rate of hotels in the country was 79.5 percent, camp sites 50.2 percent and 39.3 percent in private accommodation.
The most numerous guests were from Slovenia, Germany, the Czech Republic, Poland and Austria. As far as Croatian destinations are concerned, the most visited were tourist destinations in Istria - Rovinj, Poreč, Medulin and Umag. Dubrovnik was the third most visited last weekend among these Istrian gems.
''Even though we are just at the beginning of the month the first weekend results indicate that we have entered into the main part of our tourist season. The Croatian tourist sector is facing a period of the biggest number of tourist arrivals and overnight stays and is expecting the best tourist results and traffic for this year'', commented Ratomir Ivcic, the director of the Croatian Tourist Board. He also said that he was very satisfied with the results achieved in the first six months of 2016 which showed that Croatia was affirming itself as a tourist destination worth visiting in the off season period.
Statistical figures from the Central Bureau of Statistics (DSZ) have also confirmed the great start the country had to the season. 1.35 million tourists arrived in the period from January till April 2016 which is an increase by 6,1 per cent.