Tuesday, 27 October 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.

Email: mark.thomas@dubrovnik-times.com

 

After record-breaking results at the peek of the tourist season and the achievement of three million arrivals for the first time in history, Dubrovnik as a leading Croatian tourist brand continues to record excellent tourist traffic – even in November. This month our city hit a record of 1,704 arrivals, six times more than in 2015 and 3347 overnight stays, which is four times more than last year. Last weekend majority of guests were from Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, USA, Korea, Japan, Singapore, Malaysia, Taiwan and the United Kingdom – who all enjoyed the festive decoration of Dubrovnik and lovely atmosphere of Dubrovnik Winter Festival.

- Dubrovnik Winter Festival was initiated and became a recognizable brand of Dubrovnik in the winter, with excellent results of the arrivals from the region but also guests from distant markets. We are proud that in addition to millions of summer photos by which Dubrovnik has been recognized in the world, now there is one winter, magic, vivid Dubrovnik – said Vlaho Margaretic, Head of the Department for entrepreneurship, tourism and sea.

It's easy to see that Dubrovnik is getting different during the winter. Dubrovnik Winter Festival has made one of the most beautiful towns in the world attractive to tourists even when you can't swim or sunbathe. Because Dubrovnik is much more than just sea and the sun – Dubrovnik is beautiful at any season.

Be careful when driving on the roads of the Dubrovnik – Neretva County. Figures just in from the police show that just last week there were an incredible seventeen road traffic accidents, in other words over two a day. Ten of the accidents were material damage and the other seven unfortunately included injured drivers.

A police action last week saw 410 drivers fined. From this number 189 were speeding offences, 58 for illegal parking, 43 for drivers not wearing a seat belt and 7 for drinking and driving.

In the past sixteen years the wealth of Croatian citizens has increased by almost 160 percent, according to data from the Credit Suisse Bank.

The bank's Global Wealth Report states that the average assets of the adult Croatian population is $22,303, whilst in 2000 this amount was $8,623. The total wealth of citizens of Croatia is estimated at almost $80 billion.

As far as countries in the region are concerned, the richest are Slovenians with an average wealth of $57,376 or an increase of 70.94 percent from the beginning of this century. Bosnia and Herzegovina has also recorded an increase of 190 percent in comparison to 2000. The average wealth in this country is $11,384.

On the other hand, Montenegro has recorded strong growth in wealth of 453 percent or $18,778 per capita. The average wealth in Serbia is $6,906, whilst in Macedonia it is $9,646.

One of European countries with the largest growth of almost 310 percent in wealth is the Czech Republic. This once poor country now it has wealth of $48,357 per capita.

The 2016 Dubrovnik Winter is in full swing, with more guests and more festive stands than ever before, the whole city looks like a set from a Christmas fairy tale. And whilst there are more international flights landing at Dubrovnik this winter, in total fourteen connections, there is obviously still work to be done in order to increase the number of foreign tourists who can get to experience a different face of the city. A reader of the Dubrovnik Times, Eileen Nelson from the UK, has been in touch with us regarding the difficulties of flying to the city through these winter months.

Nelson first came to Dubrovnik in 2009 and, as she says “fell in love with the city,” and since then has been numerous times with her husband to Dubrovnik. After seeing the photos and articles of Dubrovnik, and its ever growing Winter Festival, she expressed a desire to see the city out of the main summer season. That’s when the problems began.

“I have had difficulty finding flights in December, NONE at all from Manchester and I have not found any from London where we can return home before Christmas Day,” commented Nelson. Adding that she has been in May and October in the past but would love to visit more out of the summer season. In fact she has already booked three week for June next year, but after seeing the images of the Christmas decorations had tried to visit through the winter. “We would love to see the city in winter when there are (probably) less crowds but mainly to see the city decorated for Christmas,” concluded Nelson.

Even though the flight connections have been somewhat improved for this winter I seems clear that foreign tourists are more than willing to arrive in the colder months. With an ever improving Winter Festival the next move should be to attract more airlines to fly outside of the summer months, a battle that has been going on for many years.

Despite the torrential rain that hit Dubrovnik over the weekend an international rugby sevens tournament was held on Saturday. Eighty players from five clubs took part in the tournament, including the host club from Dubrovnik, Invictus Dubrovnik.

Rugby is relatively new to Dubrovnik but this attractive and fast paced form of the game, rugby sevens, will only help to motivate even more interest. Clubs from Bosnia and Herzegovina and Montenegro took part in the tournament on Saturday.

Rugby Club Invictus Dubrovnik was formed only six months ago but has already grown and for this tournament the trainer had a challenge as interest was high. And with three wins out of four the Dubrovnik club finished second behind the club Herceg from Mostar. In third position was Arsenal from Tivat, in fourth Ploce and in fifth Metkovic.

The trainer of Invictus, Petra Drušković, added that whilst the conditions were challenging the team played well but of course there is still plenty of room for improvement.

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The record breaking 2016 season has launched an avalanche of new investments in Croatia's tourism. More than 4.3 billion Kunas will be invested in the reconstruction of old hotels and the construction of new ones from Dubrovnik to Istria but also in the Croatian capital.

Tourism companies to invest in the Croatian tourism industry have announced that many hotels will be opened in 2017, whilst some bigger project are due for 2018. One of the largest projects is the construction of the new Park Hotel in Rovinj in Istria, an investment worth around 600 million Kunas. The Adris Group will invest in the project which was recently declared as a project of strategic interest for Croatia.

On the other hand, Liburnia Riviera Hotels will build Remisens Hotel Giorgio II in Icici near Opatija; the tourist company Jadran JSC has announced the recontruction of the Hotel Esplanade in Crikvenica, whilst the Jadranka Group will build Eco Golf Resort Matalda on the island of Cres after the government declared the expansion of the Mali Losinj Airport as a strategic project.

The Turkish Dogus Group will build the first Hyatt hotel in Croatia and on the Adriatic coast in the city of Zadar, whilst in Tucepi in the Split-Dalmatia County, the global travel company TUI plans to enter the Croatian market with its new luxury brand TUI Blue. The brand will include the renovated Jadran Hotel, which is part of the Bluesun Hotel Group.
The Avenue Group is to invest in one of the largest investments in the Croatian tourism industry - the Kupari resort near Dubrovnik.

In early 2017, Zagreb will get the four-star Le Premier Hotel, whose construction is being finished in the centre of the city.

Every week our resident "Style Guru" will be scanning the streets of Dubrovnik for the latest and greatest in fashion.

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The Dubrovnik Tourist Board of “A City for all seasons,” could well be changed to “A swimming City for all seasons.” With only 27 days left until Christmas Day these brave swimmers dived in the Adriatic Sea today.

The sea temperature today reached highs of only 19 degrees but that didn’t seem to bother these local swimmers who had the iconic Banje Beach, overlooking the Old City of Dubrovnik, rather unsurprisingly to themselves.

Whilst summer sea temperatures in Dubrovnik often reach 25 degrees, and warmer, the winter temperatures drop down to 14 degrees.

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