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.
Within the next month gangsters and mobsters will take over the main capital of Croatia but only on the big screen! Croatia has once again attracted the international film industry, but this time it will feature the city of Zagreb and not Dubrovnik.
From the 5th of November to the 2nd of December a BBC film crew will shoot the new series ''McMafia'', a TV drama about the Russian mafia in London starring James Norton.
The shooting will take place at some of the most popular locations in Zagreb such as the Palaca Dverce (as the HQ of the Russian mafia), the Mirogoj cemetery (as the big cemetery in Moscow), the St. Marko church in the Upper Town, Kamenita Vrata, the Strossmayer Square and in a number of streets in the city's centre.
The eight-part BBC drama is based on the bestseller of the Guardian's reputable journalist Misha Glenny about organized crime, whilst the main character, the British actor James Norton is best known for his roles in the British TV series ''Happy Valley'', ''Grantchester'' and ''War & Peace''.
The recently published World Bank report ''Doing business 2017: Equal Opportunity for All'' ranked Croatia in 43rd position among 190 countries which is slightly lower when compared to last year.
Croatia biggest failing was in the ''Starting a business'' category where it ranked as the 95th on the list (83rd last year) as well as in the ''Paying taxes'' category ranking 49th (38th last year).
On the other hand, the country made improvement in the ''Protecting minority investors'' category ranking as the 27th (29th last year), whilst in the ''Trading across borders'' it achieved solid results and remained at the same level as last year.
Croatia also improved in the "Resolving insolvency" category, ranking as the 54th (59th last year) and in the "Enforcing contracts" category, ranking as the 7th (10th last year).
However, the country was ranked worst in the "Dealing with construction permits" category in which it placed as the 128th (129th last year).
The ‘’Doing Business 2017’’ list was topped by New Zealand, followed by Denmark and Singapore, whilst Somalia placed as the worst on the World Bank’s list.
Among the countries in the region, Macedonia placed as the 10th, Slovenia as the 30th, Serbia 47th, Montenegro 51st and Bosnia and Herzegovina as the 81st.
The ‘’Doing Business 2017’’ report covered a twelve-month period including June 2016, showing that over three-fourths of 283 reforms undertaken in developing countries were carried out, and that a record 137 economies adopted key reforms which facilitate starting a small or medium business and doing business.
Apparently, every country is the best at something, at least that's what the website Information is beautiful claims.
They've made a special world map called 'International number ones', according to the data that they've collected from BBC, Reuters, The Economist, Forbes, The Guardian and others. It shows that every country is the best at something and it has funny and sad parts.
For example, France is the best when it comes to whiskey drinkers, Norway for pizza eaters, Colombia because of happiness, Tanzania for female workers and Singapore for healtiest people.
On the other hand, Togo is ''the best'' because of unhappines, China for jailed journalist, Honduras for murder and Georgia for homophobes.
And Croatia? Well, we're the best when it comes to liver and kidney transplants! We didn't expect that one, did you?
Check out the whole map, it's quite interesting!
Dubrovnik is the champion of Croatian tourism in 2016 and the best City Break destination – it was declared during the Days of Croatian tourism in Bol, Brac.
Dubrovnik hotels demonstrated their high quality by winning numerous awards, especially Villa Dubrovnik, which was declared the 'Hotel of the year'.
Vlaho Margaretic, head of the Office for entrepreneurship, tourism and the sea received the recognition in the name of City of Dubrovnik. This is the second time this year that Dubrovnik was declared the champion of the tourism, since it already got that title from the newspapers Vecernji list. Well done!
On Sunday the 30th of October the island of Lokrum will be free for everyone. The Lokrum Reserve have announced that this Sunday the island will open its doors to all visitors for free, which means that not only is entrance into the nature reserve free but also so are the ferries from the Old City harbour.
The weather forecast for this weekend predicts sunshine and temperatures in the mid twenties, in other words an ideal opportunity to visit Lokrum.
Catch a ferry from the Old City harbour
A few days ago the Croatian Inventors Association reported that at the British Invention Show (BIS), the UK's largest invention and innovation exhibition, held from the 19th to 22nd of October in London, six Croatian inventors and entrepreneurs won 11 medals.
Tomislav Bronzin, one of the Croatian inventors and the CEO of the Citus Company, won the main award of the show for his invention "C@N PersonRecog - Gender & Age Group Recognition Software". Apart from the main award, he also won a special certificate and a gold medal which made Bronzin the most successful exhibitor at this year’s British Invention Show.
Matej and Filip Bosnjak won a gold medal and a platinum one for their invention "A model for the welding of round objects". The invention was designed at the Technical school in Zagreb and produced by their family company E.T Industrijska Elektronika.
Gold medals were also won by Slobodan Rajic from the Telecor Zagreb Company for his ''Manhole anti-terrorist lock'' and by Tomislav Juratovac from the Pro-Hepro company for his ''Helloquent Wi-fi'' product.
Apart from medals and awards which were won in technology, a gold medal and a special award for design was won by the ''Nikel prive'' exclusive cosmetics made by the Priroda Lijeci company owned by Mirjana Brlecic, whilst Melita and Mira Mocan from the Cosmel Company received a special award and a gold medal for their ''Creamy poppy milk'' product.
The British Inventors Show (BIS) was at the Barbican Centre, in the heart of the City of London for years as a very important business event with numerous visitors and an international top-class jury.
According to a press release on the 25th of October, the IKEA Croatia company said that in the 2016 financial year (the 1st of September 2015 – the 31st of August 2016) it generated revenue of over 72 million Euros, which was an increase of almost 6 percent in comparison to the 2015 financial year.
"In the second year of operating we have achieved excellent sales results and launched online sales in order to be even more accessible to Croatian buyers," said Stefan Vanoverbeke, the director of the IKEA Croatia company and the regional director of IKEA South East Europe (SEE). He also added that IKEA Croatia would continue to develop and adapt its offer and services to its customers as well as to open a ‘’pick-up point’’ in Split in the next twelve months.
Of the total revenue during the second financial year the Department store of IKEA Croatia achieved 68.3 million Euros, whilst IKEA Food (restaurant/bistro/cafe/Swedish food shop) generated 3.5 million Euros.
Last year more than 1.6 million people visited the IKEA Zagreb store, whilst the IKEA.hr website had more than 5 million visitors.
On the other hand, in accordance with the IKEA’s global sustainability strategy ‘People and Planet Positive’’, the IKEA Zagreb department store has recycled 92 percent (950 tons) of their collected waste, whilst from the sale of recycled waste the profit was 174,000 Kunas.
Sustainability is also very important to Croatian customers thus the IKEA department store from Zagreb placed as the 5th in the world in terms of the number of sold solutions for a more sustainable life at home.
During the 2016 financial year IKEA Croatia with its sister company IKEA Centres launched a project Designer Outlet Croatia. It is designed as a fashion outlet next to the IKEA Zagreb department store which construction will start during 2017, whilst the opening is expected in 2018.
After the completion of the first phase of the project additional 400 new jobs are expected to be opened.
One of the most well-known and iconic hotels in Dubrovnik, the Hotel Excelsior, is on the verge of a major refurbishment. According to a statement the Hotel Excelsior will close its doors to the public on Monday the 31st of October when the reconstruction of the interior will begin.
Hotel Excelsior, which is part of the Adriatic Luxury Hotel group, will remain closed over the winter months whilst the works are carried out.
The last time work was done on the hotel was back in 2008 and this time, as is clear from the photos, it will be a significant investment. The redesigned hotel will be up and running for the 2017 summer season.
Check out the photo gallery of how the new Hotel Excelsior will look.