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.
On marking the fourth anniversary of Croatia's full membership in the European Union, the Croatian Chamber of Commerce (HGK) and the EU Commission Representation in Croatia, are organizing a conference ‘’Towards the fifth year of Croatia’s membership in the European Union’’ in the Crystal Hall of the Westin Hotel in Zagreb on the 5th of July 2017.
''Since the 1st of July 2013, Croatia is being part of a unique European market. The fact that the value of exports to the EU in 2016 was twice as high as in 2013 and that this growth was significantly higher than the growth of total exports to all other countries clearly indicates that this is not just another formal status. In addition, we have to continue using the resources of the EU Structural and Investment Funds more intensively in order to further encourage economic growth'', explained Luka Burilovic, the president of the Croatian Chamber of Commerce (HGK).
Burilovic also added that the aim of the conference is to discuss the key obstacles through a joint dialogue in order to enable the country to take full advantage of all opportunities that the EU membership provides in the years to come.
The conference will be held under the high patronage of the Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic, with the participation of many distinguished guests from the Croatian Government and the EU Commission.
According to the E-visitor system, Dubrovnik has achieved record tourism results in the first six months of this year! From 1st of January to June 30th 2017, there were 441 044 tourists in Dubrovnik, which is 20 percent more than in the same period of 2016. There were 1,393,194 overnight stays, or 19 percent more than last year. In the first six months, the largest number of tourists came from United Kingdom, USA, Germany, France, Croatia, Spain, Austria, Sweden, Finland and South Korea.
In this period, there were 279 821 guests in hotel accommodation, which is an increase of 8 percent compared to the same period last year, and 861 899 overnight stays or 9 percent than last year. In the hotel accommodation the most numerous guests were from United Kingdom, USA, France, Germany, Croatia, Austria, Spain, Sweden, Finland and South Korea.
In the private accommodation there were 118 245 arrivals or 42 percent more than in the same period last year and 399 482 overnight stays, which is 35 percent more than in 2016. The largest number of tourists in private accommodation were from United Kingdom, USA, Germany, France, Croatia, Canada, Australia, Sweden, Finland, and Spain.
This June was the best tourist June in Dubrovnik! Only in this, previous month of 2017 there were 165 390 arrivals, 21 percent more than in the same month last year and 560 465 overnight stays, which is 18 percent more than in 2016. Most numerous guests in June were tourists fromUnited Kingdom, followed by tourists from the United States, Germany, France, Sweden, Australia, Finland, Spain, Ireland and Croatia.
At the moment, there are 19,166 tourists in Dubrovnik, which is almost the same number of tourists on the same date last year, and most guests are from United Kingdom, USA, Germany, Norway, Sweden, Australia, France, Finland, Spain and Ireland.
The Dubrovnik – Neretva County is on the verge of a record season with a massive increase in the number of guests compared to last year. This positive trend has been ongoing for several years but over the past couple of years the numbers of tourists has increased significantly.
According to details from the Dubrovnik – Neretva County Tourist Board there have been almost 640,000 tourists in the county in the first half of 2017. And the number of overnight stays in the county for the first six months of the years was 2.3 million, or a huge 21 percent increase over the same period from last year.
In June this year, 266,012 tourist arrival were recorded, which is 20 percent more than in June 2016, and statistics show that there were 1.09 million overnights in that month, which is an 18 percent increase over last year.
The largest number of overnight stays were made by tourists from the United Kingdom, Croatia, Germany, the United States of America, France, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Poland. In the first six months of 2016 there were 97,000 British tourists in the Dubrovnik County which a healthy 35 percent increase over the same period from last year.
The summer weekends in Dubrovnik are traditionally a time of turnover, tourists come and go, planes land and take-off, the season is in full flow.
Today the centre of the ancient Old City there was a constant stream of fresh tourists arriving and along with that a parade of suitcases and bags.
Check out our suitcase Sunday special photo gallery
The Croatian manufacture Malo & Slatko, known for its handmade chocolates, has been awarded by the prestigious international association The Academy of Chocolate.
The latest competition and tasting of chocolate was held in London in May 2017. Almost 190 of the world's best artisan chocolate and quality chocolate producers from 37 countries around the globe participated at this event.
The manufacture Malo & Slatko from Croatia received a bronze award for its TAMAN Milk 35 Coconut, Lemon and Lemongrass chocolate among the world's best chocolate makers and their chocolates.
''This award means a lot to us. To be among the world's best chocolate producers, those who inspired us to start this business, it is a great honour'', commented Stiv Kahlina, a chocolate producer and the author of the award-winning chocolate.
Since 2006, the Academy of Chocolate Association has awarded ''The Academy of Chocolate Awards'' for the best chocolates in the world. The Awards attract entries from producers all over the world and recognise some of the world's finest chocolates. They are judged by the Academy of Chocolate and by a panel of international journalists, chefs, pastry chefs and experts in chocolate and food. The judges pay particular attention to the appearance, depth of aroma, flavour, length and complexity of the chocolate.
It is carnival time in Cavtat! The first weekend in July in Cavtat is always a blaze of colours and sounds as the carnival comes to town. With costumes and music the carnival passed along the main promenade in Cavtat last night and the entertainment continued well on into the early morning hours.
Organised by the Tourist Board of Konavle, the Association “Mame” from Cavtat and the Carnival Association of Dominali the summer is a time for celebration in Cavtat. After a carnival parade passed through the centre of Cavtat the fun continued with a concert from the decks of the ship St. Ivan docked in the harbour.
For those of you who didn’t have the opportunity to chance the carnival last night don’t worry there will be a repeat performance tonight at 8.30pm.
A photo exhibition entitled “From Illyria to Elsinore” by British artist Bari Goddard opened in the atrium of the Sponza Palace in Dubrovnik last night. The exhibition, which is being held as part of the Midsummer Scene, showcases images from 'Hamlet' and 'Twelfth Night' as well as scenes of Dubrovnik inspired by the plays of Marin Drzic.
The director of the Dubrovnik Tourist Board, Romana Vlašić, commented that Dubrovnik and the UK are traditionally connected and that the majority of tourists in the city are from Great Britain. “Around a fifth of all tourists in Dubrovnik are from the UK and this cultural connection between Bari Goddard and the Midsummer Festival in Dubrovnik is another great bonus for Dubrovnik,” commented Vlašić.
The Honorary Consul of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the editor of The Dubrovnik Times, Mark Thomas, had the honor of opening the exhibition which will remain open in Sponza Palace until July 7th.
The Croatian Prime Minister, Andrej Plenković, met with the Mayor of Dubrovnik, Mato Franković, and the Dubrovnik-Neretva County Mayor, Nikola Dobroslavić, this week. The meeting took place as Plenković was opening the Dubrovnik Forum 2017 in the Hotel Dubrovnik Palace. During the meeting the problems and challenges facing the region were discussed.
“The mayor and county mayor informed me of the key economic, development, traffic and tourism topics in the region. The Government of the Republic of Croatia has a special affinity for this area due to the poor traffic connections. For years, the need for construction of the Peljesac Bridge has been invoked, and now we have come to the stage that this project will be realized in the next few years. The bridge is key to form good connections with the south of Croatia with the rest of the country,” commented Plenković. Adding that the tourism figures for this season in the Dubrovnik region were very encouraging.
“We understand the problems that come with a large number of tourists coming from cruise ships, especially as this is a UNESCO world heritage site and requires a more streamlined flow of guests,” emphasized the Prime Minister.
When asked about the problem of a lack of workforce in Dubrovnik in the tourism sector, the city is still missing around 2,000 workers, the Prime Minister concluded that even though there has been a record drop in the number of unemployed people in the country Croatia still lacks a workforce for the tourism industry.
“This year, we have increased the quota for the import of foreign workers in deficit professions,” commented Plenković. When asked whether the golf project on the Srđ Mountain should be reduced from 310 to 100 hectares, Plenkovic replied that this was a matter for local authorities, but that it was in the interest of the country to avoid legal disputes and to provide investors with a stable and secure investment climate in Croatia.