Monday, 17 February 2020
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.


The largest ever film production in Croatian history is set to be filmed in Dubrovnik in 2017 “Robin Hood: Origins.” Produced by Leonardo DiCaprio and starring a handful of Oscar winners the production of the blockbuster is expected to be filmed in January and February next year, according to an announcement made today by the Mayor of Dubrovnik, Andro Vlahusic. The mayor stated that “four or five Oscar winners will act in the film,” which will be produced by Lionsgate Films.

DiCaprio is the executive producer and Oscar winner Jamie Foxx, according to reports, will play Little John. Robin Hood will be played by Welsh actor Taron Egerton, famous for his role in Kingsman: The Secret Service and Maid Marion will be played by Irish actress Eve Hewson, who is the daughter of Bono from U2. Robin Hood: Origins will be directed by Otto Bathurst.

After the hit serial Game of Thrones, the latest episode of the Star Wars franchise, and the Bollywood blockbuster Fan, Dubrovnik will once again be in the limelight in this star-studded action movie. The City of Dubrovnik commented that they are already in talks with Lionsgate Films and that Robin Hood: Origins will surpass all previous productions in Dubrovnik, with tens of millions of dollars expected to be spent on this lavish production. The representatives of Lionsgate Films apparently commented that Dubrovnik is “the most desirable outdoor film location in the world.”

Robin Hood: Origins follows the return of Robin Hood fighting in the Crusades and finding that Sherwood Forest is rife with corruption. Robin Hood then forms a band of outlaws and sets about riding the forest of evil, a classic Robin Hood tale but with a twist.

As Dubrovnik is not blessed with typical English forestry we can only assume that the historic Old City will act as Nottingham Castle. However as Nottingham is miles away from the sea the speculation as to what role Dubrovnik will finally play can only be speculated. One thing is for certain the proposed film will have a knock-on effect to the city’s tourism industry. And if that effect is anything close to the Game of Thrones then Dubrovnik could soon find itself as a “must see” movie destination.

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Oscar winner Jamie Foxx to play Little John in Dubrovnik 

The travel planner ''Colours of Croatia – a memento of your visit'' is a new and unique tourist product on the market which aims to position itself as a part of the premium tourist souvenir offer.

This diary consists of a personal annual planner and a travel planner, as it contains pages like a list of locations to visit, a list of things to do or try in Croatia and a travel diary by date and location.

Turning the pages of this interesting souvenir diary actually represents a journey through Croatia from the southernmost region of the Dubrovnik-Neretva County to the eastern region of Slavonia. The most interesting and the most important Croatian sites are presented in this planner which also aims to encourage users’ interest in a particular location and invite them to explore it even further in order to learn more about the tourist locations in Croatia.

The identity of this product was designed by a combination of a rich colour palette, cubes as elements of the national identity and illustrations of certain specific locations. The colouring represents colours, tastes and scents of the Mediterranean and the continental Croatia whilst the planner itself represents Croatia through attractive photos and graphics in a modern and emotional way.

Guiding users on a journey through Croatia's most important locations all different “colours” that may be encountered along the way are presented in this diary - from the stunning nature, a remarkable cultural and historical heritage to gastronomy.

The travel organizer ''Colours of Croatia – a memento of your visit'' is designed for tourist's personal use or as a perfect holiday gift to someone who is only considering Croatia as a desirable destination worth a visit. This unique product and a souvenir is interesting not only to tourists but to all Croatian citizens who look for an attractive planner for personal use and to all of those who would like to learn more about Croatia.

Dubrovnik is a real heaven for solo traveles! That was confirmed in the article on the website Travel+Leisure where the town found its place on the list of the best places for women to travel solo.
- The beauty of solo travel is the ability to immerse yourself in the community and to stumble upon those moments of international connection organically on your own. But as a woman, fears—sometimes innate—over the silliest things can spin into overdrive, especially in a foreign environment – writes the author and adds that when considering a 'solo destinatinon', you should pick somewhere where you always wanted to go, but also where it's safe, easy to navigate and you'll have a lot of things to do.
So, it's not a surprise that Dubrovnik found its place on the list.
- The rise in Croatian tourism has improved the ease of travel, and the country’s low crime rating heightens the appeal. One look at the oceanfront medieval city of Dubrovnik, preserved by 6,365 feet of pristine walls, and all my worries vanished. The cobblestone streets guided me through artisanal shops and local eats, while a walk along the wall itself offered spectacular bird’s eye views of the Adriatic coastline. Other great solo activities: there’s a beach just a few minutes away from Old Town, with plenty of kayak and snorkeling tours offered along the way – it's written in the article.
This is not the first time that Dubrovnik was mentioned in this context. We'we published the similar article last month, when Dubrovnik was on a list of 18 places that every woman should visit by herself on the Refinery29.

See the amazing fireworks display from the opening of the 67th Dubrovnik Summer Festival from another angle, from a drone. The fireworks are one of the highlights of the opening ceremony and this year was no different. Barges loaded down with hundreds of fireworks were anchored just off the historic Old City of Dubrovnik and fired their payload into the night sky, it was a stunning show.

And now this recently released drone video from Boris Rabusic brings you even closer to the action. He flew a drone “up close and personal” to the fireworks and brought viewers an interesting new perspective.

Check out the 67th Dubrovnik Summer Festival fireworks display

According to data from the Croatian Bureau of Statistics (DZS), foreign flagged cruise ships realized 184 cruises in Croatia from January to May 2016. A total of 230,902 cruise ship passengers stayed for 446 days in the Republic of Croatia. They sojourned for two days on average.

In the structure of foreign cruise ships the largest percentage of them entered the Croatian territorial waters in the Dubrovnik-Neretva County (64.7%) and the Split-Dalmatia County (21.2%), a total of 85.9 percent. The remaining 14.1 percent of foreign cruise ships registered their first entry into Croatian territorial waters in four other counties: in the Zadar County (6.5%), in the Istria County (3.8%), in the Sibenik-Knin County (3.3%) and in the Primorje-Gorski kotar County (0.5%).

In comparison to the same period last year, the number of cruises has increased by 9.5 percent whilst the number of passengers who entered the Republic of Croatia in this on cruise ships increased by 18.5 percent. The total number of cruise ships sojourns over the same period from last year recorded an increase of 18.9 percent.

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Almost a million cruise ship passengers expected in Dubrovnik this year 

This summer the Tourist Board of the island of Mljet is organizing a real spectacle for its guests in a completely untypical way. While other destinations attract their visitors with music and parties till dawn, the Mljet Tourist Board has initiated the Eco Art Festival within Mljet cultural summer festival in order to enrich the tourist offer on the island. This festival is intended for ecology and fashion lovers who want to have fun through education and socializing. The main aim of the festival program is to motivate and increase the human awareness of preserving nature and the environment.

The Eco Art Festival will be organized in cooperation with the Croatian designer Milena Ulic, who is famous for her presentations at the international fashion events like Plitzs New York Fashion Week and Charlote Fashion Week. She is also known for her designer jewellery De Lena with which she sponsored VIMA Music Awards on several occasions.

The festival will encompass educational and entertainment events intended for domestic and foreign guests as well as for locals. Workshop program starts on the 21st of July in Saplunara, followed by workshops in Okuklje (25th July), Sobra (29th July), Polače (1st August) and Pomena (18th August).

Each workshop will be two hours and dedicated to ecology, environmental awareness and everyday habits through the manufacture of souvenirs from things washed ashore, ornaments and brooches from eco materials in order to preserve nature and the environment.

''As we live on one of the most beautiful islands, our intention is to encourage as many people as we can, both tourists and locals, to think about the importance of preserving nature and the environment. The festival will be held at five different locations and we plan to organize a charity fashion show at the last location on the 18th of August in Pomena. Fashion models will be wearing jewellery, clothes and brooches made by participants in our workshops'', said Andrea Anelic, the director of the Mljet Tourist Board.

She also added that she hoped this festival would become a tradition and would improve the tourist image of Mljet and enrich the cultural and social life of the local population. ''The tourist season is in a full swing and we are very satisfied with our results. In comparison to last year we have recorded an increase by 11 per cent in tourist arrivals and overnight stays'', concluded Anelic.

The winner of the first competition organised between Gulliver Travel and The Dubrovnik Times was presented with his prize last week. Craig Derrick won an excursion for two people to explore the “Famous Legends of Pelješac and Korčula.”

The competition was held with the hash tag #gulliverexplore and we received hundreds of entries. The winning photo was chosen by a jury from Gulliver Travel and in their own words, “it was a difficult task.” Derrick was presented with his prize by the editor of The Dubrovnik Times, Mark Thomas, and he also had a present for the staff of Gulliver Travel as he had kindly printed four versions of his winning photo.

Keep following The Dubrovnik Times for another competition with Gulliver Travel coming up in the near future. And well done to Craig for taking this glorious photo of the Old City walls of Dubrovnik.

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The winning photo

“You can live in a place for years and yet not know what is on your doorstep,” said the helmeted rider next to me. Yes, that’s right “helmeted rider,” and no I wasn’t astride a scooter or Harley Davidson. “I have lived here for seven years and never knew that this existed,” I replied. We were invited for a day of off-road fun in Zupa. Exploring the wilds of my adopted home on the back of an ATV.

“Are those like those quad bikes that we once rented on Mljet,” asked my wife when I proposed the adventure. “Yes, but that was years ago,” I replied. I knew where she was going with this line of questioning and was trying to block her path. Many, many years ago we rented a battered quad bike on Mljet hoping to explore the island. It was a mistake. The quad was about as stable as a rodeo horse and had the hidden ability to veer off in whichever direction it wanted without any prior notice to the drivers, in other words my wife and I. We spent twenty minutes trying to keep the rogue quad out of the undergrowth and out of the sea, and we had only got a couple of hundred metres up the road. Needless to say we gave up, returned the death machine and took two bicycles instead.

So quite clearly this distressing memory was still embedded in my wife’s memory. However when we arrived at the starting point for our Zupa safari it was immediately obvious that the world of quad bikes had moved forward considerably. These things were monsters, but monsters that could be controlled.

The group strapped on their helmets and like modern-day cowboys set out from the ranch for a day in the Wild West. Within a few minutes we were off-road, yeehaw cowboy! I felt a tap of the helmet, “is it going straight,” asked my wife sitting behind me. “As an arrow,” I should have added an Apache arrow just to keep up the cowboy theme. We were up close and personal with nature and it was exhilarating. I was humming the Easy Rider soundtrack “Born to be Wild” in my head...get your motor running, get out on the highway, looking for adventure, or whatever comes our way! The track, which was just about the same width as our monsters, led through farm land and untouched nature.

We then pooped out onto a road, then back onto another track, and before long we were climbing to the top of Srd Mountain. By the way you get a great view of Dubrovnik from a quad bike as you ride to the peak. We futuristic cowboys stopped for a break at the top, these horses are great they don’t need food or water. But we did. Onto the next stop, a light snack, prosciutto, cheese, bread, salad, and we were off again.

Now I was really getting into the cowboy mood, I felt confident and wanted to push my horse a little harder. So when we got out onto a long straight stretch of road I slowed down to let the metal horse in front of me to move away and give me some space. With enough room in front of me I opened up the monster to full volume whilst shouting Born to be Wild! Blimey! As we picked up speed rapidly I heard a voice in the wind from behind me, “slow down, what is wrong with you!” I tried to ignore it but as the countryside whistled past I was then greeted with a slap on the helmet and “if you don’t slow down I am getting off!” I wanted to ask how she was planning to jump off the quad monster at his speed but instead I harnessed my adrenaline and slowed down, still humming Born to be Wild. “That was fun,” I shouted. No answer.

On our way back we went a little “off-piste” to a track that we hadn’t followed before. We climbed up a small hill and in the middle of nowhere, literally, we came across a strange looking construction. “This is a water collection plant that was built in the early 1900’s by the Austro-Hungarian Empire,” explained out group leader. Fascinating. The water from a group of small natural springs had been directed into a central well system. It still had the Wasser markings clearly written in the decorative stonework. It looked like nobody had touched it since the Austrians shuffled back to the Alps. A little historical gem which was now an overgrown graveyard. From Ciro to this, those Austrians were certainly not lazy; I wonder if they would come back for a few centuries and fix all our other infrastructure problems.

“We spend all that money on travelling to tourist destinations and yet we don’t know the hidden diamonds we have within walking distance of our own homes,” concluded one of the cowboys. As John Wayne once said, yes we are keeping the cowboy theme, “Tomorrow hopes we have learned something from yesterday.”

The Voice of Dubrovnik


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