Friday, 21 July 2017

The United States government will finance construction of a helicopter-landing site in front of four Croatian hospitals.

At the initiative of its government to participate financially in improving the quality of health care services in Croatia, the US Embassy addressed to the Croatian Ministry of Health six month ago.

This initiative was followed by a request for Croatia to support the realization of the project by co-financing part of the costs, i.e. to pay the VAT and costs of external monitoring of the polygon construction.

The US government will co-finance the project with $450,000, whilst Croatia will participate with 1 million Kunas approved by the Croatian government. According to the words of the Health Minister Milan Kujundzic, the money was already envisaged and provided by this year's state budget.

Therefore, Zagreb's Nova bolnica KB Dubrava, KBC Osijek and two general hospitals in Slavonski Brod and Karlovac will get new helicopter landing sites and significantly improve the quality of their health care services.

In addition, as part of the construction of the helicopter landing sites, special emphasis will be put on ensuring conditions for night landing.

“Hello I am speaking to Mark Thomas,” came the voice down the phone. I had noticed that it was a foreign number calling so I was in English mode. “My name is Bruno and I am a journalist for the BBC,” he continued.

It was those last three letters that really grabbed my attention. The mother of all broadcasters, the God of the media (sorry CNN) is on the phone...should I bow? The BBC, or as the English lovingly call it Auntie Beeb, is more than an institution in the UK, it has more creditability than the government and more coverage than Coca-Cola, literally everyone consumes it. A recent survey showed that 75 percent of Brits use the BBC, in one of its many forms, as their main source of news. Or in other words 45 million people use it, watch it, listen to it or read it every day.

“We are in Dubrovnik doing a story about tourism and it has been suggested that we talk to you,” continued the journalist. Of course I agreed, I mean how can you say no to your favourite Auntie. Apart from the wanting to talk about tourism I didn’t really have much more information, what would they ask?

Then from nowhere my mind played tricks on me – I hope they don’t ask me about the Lapad Beach! The reason for this is that this bloody beach has been plaguing me and filling my inbox over the past month. Every day I receive an email from an English tourist worried that the construction work will spoil their hard-earned holiday. I started to make up questions they could ask – “Are you surprised that beach still isn’t finished” – “No, I would be more surprised if it had been finished on time” – What makes you say that?” – “Experience.” Or maybe they would ask me about the new Marina Frapa - “Are you surprised that marina still isn’t finished” – “No, I would be more surprised if it had been finished on time” – What makes you say that?” – “Experience.” Yes, I pretty much had my lines ready for all situations.

We meet at the agreed location and at the agreed time and the picture became clearer. “I was here on holiday for two days with my partner last month and was surprised at the number of cruise ships in the city,” he started as the cameraman set up next to him. Ah, so it was the same question that city has been playing with since the beginning of time – cruise ships. They had done their research that’s for sure. They had comparisons with other Mediterranean destinations at the ready, exact passenger number and had obviously read a lot. “Is Dubrovnik being ruined by the cruise ships and the thousands of passengers?” came the first question. Blimey these guys were going straight for the jugular, no small talk here, straight to the heart of the problem. This was followed by “Should tourists start to avoid Dubrovnik and look to explore other parts of Croatia?” again straight as an arrow to the heart of the question. And as much as I started off wanting to defend the city and be as diplomatic as possible I realised that I can’t defend something that is killing Dubrovnik.

“When I was younger taking a cruise was a luxury thing to do, it was a status symbol and an elite way to see the world, those days are long gone. Now this is quite simply the lowest form of mass tourism, and mass tourism that rapes and pillages a destination (I thought of a Viking reference that was symbolic as boats were involved in both cases) and in the long term will suck the blood out of it and leave behind an empty shell,” I answered.

The journalist looked a little shocked, “well that’s an honest answer.” I nodded “You asked my opinion, that’s my opinion.” If there was anything positive to drain out of the situation believe me I would have tried. I was always try my hardest to find the good in people, to find the positive side of anything, but id something smells like a shit, looks like a shit then there is probably a good chance that it is a shit. I can’t see anything glamorous or luxury about being imprisoned in floating hotel along with thousands and thousands people. And right behind us as we were filming were three huge floating monstrosities, yes the journalists from the BBC had chosen their position very well.

“Cruise ship companies are still convincing plumbers from Torino and bus drivers from Liverpool that this is travelling in first class, this isn’t first class, business class or even economy class, this is cattle class, pack them in like sardines and use destinations as bus stops on a carousel that goes nowhere and sees nothing,” I concluded. “Thank you for your honesty,” the filming ended.

During the first six months of this year, the Croatian National Tourist Board carried out study tours for a total of 348 media representatives, of which 32 were bloggers.

Among them was a blogger from Dubai, Vivek Kukreti (blog http://incelinasheels.com/), who spent nine days visiting Croatian destinations with his girlfriend Nisha Celina, also blogger (blog http://incelinasheels.com/), and Sister Nadije Khan. Although the mentioned bloggers arrived in Croatia in their own arrangements, the Croatian National Tourist Board, in cooperation with National Park Plitvice Lakes, provided support. The blogger Vivek Kukreti has decided to purpose the girl Nisha at Plitvice Lakes, a protected pearl of Croatian tourism that this year attracts visitors from all over the world.

After the successful engagament and the applause from the visitors, the bloggers continued to browse around the park, after which they tried to run the "Pazi Medo" zip line in Rudopolj. During their stay in Croatia the bloggers also visited Zagreb, Dubrovnik, Split, Zadar, Makarska and other destinations and were simply delighted with their beauty.

-    Croatia is truly a beautiful country with extremely preserved nature. When we saw photos on Instagram's profile "Croatia fulloflife" we simply could not resist and decided to visit as many destinations as possible. We already know that we will certainly return to Croatia next year because we want to find out what we just did not get to see and experience - said bloggers from Dubai.

 

Plitvička jezera photo by Tomislav Lešćan

If there is one thing that you can bet your house on it is the fact that Dubrovnik will have warm summer. With average summer temperatures up in the low thirties and clouds as rare as a unicorn for at least five months (and most times longer) Dubrovnik is going to be gloriously hot. This is a city that gets on average over 2,600 hours of sunshine a year, compare that to London with around 1,600 hours or even Mexico City with 2,500 and you can see that summers are done properly here. Quite clearly June, July and August are the hottest months, in fact the record recorded lowest temperature for August was 14 degrees, however May and September can be just as warm.

Now whilst we all like a little sun on our backs and to soak up some vitamin D you also need to take some precautions. Of course sun cream, a sun hat and a bottle of water are a must, also avoiding the sun from midday to four in the afternoon is a good tip, but we have come up with some special Dubrovnik tricks to avoid sunstroke.

Top tips to stay cool in the Dubrovnik sunshine

Hydration and not dehydration – taking water onboard in the summer is a number one tool to keep your body cool. Drink 6 – 8 glasses a day minimum. And yes you can safely drink the tap water in Dubrovnik so no real need to buy expensive designer names, just refill an old bottle. If you need to refill your bottles in the Old City of Dubrovnik there are public fountains (Big Onofrio and Small Onofrio) at both ends of the Stradun. The water is safe to drink and is surprisingly cold. And before you were thinking “Well I’ll just have a glass of beer,” or “What about a coffee al fresco?” both caffeine and alcohol are dehydrating...sorry. Bottled water is available widely throughout the city and the price varies from small supermarkets to larger shopping centres.

drink water dubrovnik

Fresh fountain water

Hit the beaches – what better way to keep cool than to jump in the sea. The Adriatic Sea in Dubrovnik is one of the cleanest in the world, and although it isn’t really tidal it is affected by the winds and currents. In the summer the average sea temperature is around 25 degrees, so pretty much bath like. If you are looking for a more refreshing sea then go to the borough of Zupa and the village of Plat. Here the water from the hydroelectric power plant empties into the sea meaning temperatures are at least there degrees lower.

hit the beaches in dubrovnik

Life is a beach

Walk the walls in the cooler morning air – the number one attraction, both for locals and tourists, are the Dubrovnik City Walls. Stretching an impressive 1.9 kilometres the walls wrap and encircle the Old City like a ribbon around a present. A visit to Dubrovnik without walking around the walls is like going to the Louvre and avoiding Mona Lisa. However there is virtually no shade on the walls and with the sun baking down on you there is a good chance you will be the next sunstroke victim. Go early! The walls open at 8.00am from May until September; buy your ticket at 8.05am! It will take around two hours to walk the walls so you’ll be down before the sun can fry you. Take water with you (remember tip number one) and a hat.

dubrovnik city walls love

Catch the early morning flight to the walls 

Cool tip – the difference between the shade temperatures and direct sun temperatures can be up to twenty degrees – keep in the shade

Get underground – forget manufactured air-conditioning go with nature. In the Lapad area of Dubrovnik you’ll find Hotel More and directly underneath the hotel is bar in a natural underground cave, rather unsurprisingly named Cave Bar. Throughout the year the bar is pretty much at a constant temperature, around 15 degrees. Mingle with the stalagmites and stalactites and enjoy a fresh cocktail in comfortable and cool surroundings.

cave bar dubrovnik hotel more

Cave Bar at Hotel More

The City of Zagreb has reported on its official website that the Croatian capital is the sixth capital in the European Union when it comes to daily bicycle transport.

According to a survey carried out by Eurobarometer, the Danish capital of Copenhagen has the highest number of cyclists in a daily traffic (35%), followed by Amsterdam (32%), Berlin (13%), Ljubljana (12%), Helsinki (11%) and Zagreb with 10 percent of bicycle riders on its city roads.

Eurobarometer also points out that riding a bicycle to work or to attend daily chores is unevenly spread across the European Union. Therefore, almost a third of the Dutch go to work by bicycle or use it every day, whilst people on Cyprus, Malta or in Portugal have not adopted this practice yet.

''The city of Zagreb has been implementing planned programs with its systematic strategy in order to introduce bicycle traffic as much as possible in the traffic system and to popularize riding a bicycle as means of public transport. Apart from these programs, the city supports bicycle sports events and numerous associations that promote bicycles as means of public transport, sports and recreation'', explained the City Administration.

Nowadays Zagreb has more than 200,000 active cyclists, out of which 3,000 of them are passing daily by a bike counter called Bike Totem at Stjepan Radic Square.

''Our citizens have 562 bicycle parking spaces on public surfaces and more than 300 kilometres of bicycle lanes at their disposal. At the same time, every new road in the city is built with bicycle lanes as an integral part of the traffic infrastructure, thus Zagreb has become the first city to introduce separated traffic on its roadways'', commented the City Administration.

Finding accommodation in Dubrovnik in the middle of the summer months can prove tricky, and it seems that some guests are taking matters to the extreme. A 32-year-old Australian tourist was caught sleeping on a public bench on the morning of the 13th of July in the Pile area of the city.

Sleeping on a bench may be bad form but it isn’t against the law, however this tourist took it one stage too far as he was sleepy in the nude. The police were called and the young Australian tourist was arrested for disturbance of the peace, he was also in an “alcoholic state” according to the report. He was taken to the court where he was found guilty of disturbing the peace and fined.

Dubrovnik, as of last night, has a new attraction that is sure to interest locals and tourists. The Dubrovnik City Walls are the most popular attraction in the whole of the city with around a million visitors every year. They embrace the entire ancient city and are iconic. Now a part of these very walls is open to the public after 550 years.

The highest point of the defensive walls is the Minčeta Fortress. It is located on the north side of the walls and was named after the Menčetić family, who owned the ground the tower was built on.

Whilst visitors in the past have marvelled at the views over the terracotta roofs of the city from the top of the fortress now you can visit the renovated interior. After a two-year reconstruction period, which cost around 2.5 million Kuna, the interior of Minčeta is open as well as a part of the western walls.

minceta opens

Opening ceremony of Minceta Fortress 

Working in tourism is my choice. One of the perks of the job is meeting all manner of interesting people and being a part of their (hopefully lovely) holidays. When my guests are happy and thanking me for a wonderful time they've been having through my services it fills me with joy and makes my job way more rewarding than what the sheer financial consequence of it would suggest. Having said this and gotten it out of the way, the remainder of the text will not be about all the good people I get to meet. Quite the opposite.

Even though you will get to hear plenty of definitions of a “bad guest” out there, most of which are nothing more than a result of someone's frustration with his/her own inability to provide satisfactory service, make no mistake, there is such a thing as universally bad guests.

These are not people who got frustrated because of a bad day or those who made a mistake when booking and gave you the wrong details of their arrival time, or anything similar. These are people who are actively looking for a conflict with the service provider, are deliberately trying to degrade or insult those who are trying to provide the service, or are trying to defraud or lie in order to get a price cut or avoid paying for the service altogether. Through my career, I've seen pretty much all types. In fact, in a few of the jobs I've held, I was the go-to guy for all the problematic guests. It's not (just) because I look threatening, it's because I can stay calm while dealing with abuse. Staying calm is the key for most cases like this.

Talking about one's guests outside of the inner circle of professionals who are dealing with said guests is rightfully frowned upon within the tourism sector. It is never ok to make public anyone’s “dirty laundry”. This is why I am not going to mention any specific cases I've dealt with. So, why am I writing about this anyway? I guess, because it truly is somewhat of a taboo in professional circles and I’d like the public to know that every once in a while, the customer is indeed wrong.

Every year there are thousands of new tourism workers in Croatia. Some are on this path because they truly want to be, some are trying it out, and some think this is easy money and are drawn by few months of vacation during winter. To the latter I recommend quitting right away and finding another job. Tourism is neither easy nor will time off during winter make up for insanely long hours, stress, or missed birthdays, anniversaries, and time spent with family or friends. All the rest going into this have to know that sometimes when you work with people, you get to see them at their worst. It goes with the territory. It doesn't happen all that often in most positions within the industry. I don't deal with horror guests on a regular basis. In fact, I rarely do. However, when you do, the experience tends to stick with you. If you want to remain professional, you are often forced to swallow your pride and your rage and act opposite of your natural instincts. Is there a silver lining? Yes, of course. Remember the first paragraph... there are plenty of good people out there and it is a pleasure working with them.

Those seeking some sort of revenge for being mistreated will probably be disappointed. Often times nightmare guests will simply go away and you will never get an apology or admittance of bad treatment. This might seem unfair, but if you really need some sort of payback, remember, there is always a reason why someone is acting like an intolerable jerk, and it is never a nice one. Whatever makes someone a horrible person to deal with will undoubtedly hurt them in the long run. The only thing crucial to remember is not to let bad experiences change who you are and how you approach people. There must be some sort of professional separation between your work and you as a person. If I ever find out how to separate the two, I will be sure to let you all know.

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Bozidar Jukic, AKA The Restless Native, is a Dubrovnik local with too many interests to name them all, with writing being at the very top of the list. He is a lover of good food, music and film, and a firm believer in the healing power of laughter. His professional orientation is towards tourism and travel so it comes as no surprise he spends most of his time alongside Mrs. Jukic running their own local tour company. Their goal is helping travellers from all over the world get a more intimate experience of Dubrovnik and what it has to offer. To find out more about their work, visit their website or Facebook page.

www.insiderholidays.eu
www.facebook.com/insiderholidays

In May 2017, seasonally adjusted industrial production in the European Union increased by 1.2 percent on a monthly basis, whilst in the region of a single European currency this growth was 1.3 percent.

When it comes to Croatia, industrial production in May jumped by 2.4 percent after a significant decline in April by 1.9 percent.

Among the EU member countries, whose data are available to Eurostat, the highest increases in industrial production on a monthly basis were recorded in Lithuania (3,8%), Romania (3,5%) and the Czech Republic (3,3%), whilst the biggest decline recorded Portugal (-1%) and Malta (-0,9%).

In terms of product categories, the growth of the industrial production in the EU by 1,2 percent on a monthly basis was due to the production growth of capital goods (2%), durable consumer goods (1,8%), non-durable consumer goods (1%), energy production (0,7%) and intermediate goods (0,6%).

Furthermore, an increase by 1,3% in industrial production in the Eurozone in May 2017, compared with April 2017 was due to capital goods production rising by 2,3 percent, durable consumer goods production by 1,8 percent, non-durable consumer goods production by 1,2 percent, energy production by 0,9 percent, and intermediate goods production by 0,3 percent.

The industrial production in May on an annual basis increased both in the Eurozone and in the European Union by 4 percent. The highest growth rate recorded Romania (14,6%), followed by Estonia (12,6%), the Czech Republic (10,7%), Bulgaria (9,6%), Latvia (9,8%), and Slovenia (9,1%). However, Malta and Great Britain both recorded a decline by 0,7 percent.

As far as Croatia is concerned, the industrial production in May jumped by 3,3 percent in comparison to the same month last year. However, this April recorded a decline by 0,6 percent on an annual basis.

All product categories were responsible for the growth in the EU by 4 percent on an annual basis; the production of durable consumer goods rose by 6,8 percent, capital goods by 6,1 percent, intermediate goods by 4,9 percent, non-durable consumer goods by 2,4 percent, whilst the production of energy increased by 1,1 percent.

In addition, industrial production significantly grew in the Eurozone on an annual basis also by 4 percent; the production of durable consumer goods production increased by 7,5 percent, capital goods by 5,5 percent, intermediate goods by 3,8 percent, non-durable goods by 2,6 percent, whilst the production of energy recorded an increase by 2,2 percent.

We've all heard the excuse “No, officer honestly they fell off the back of a lorry.” Well in this case they actually did.

This morning bags of potatoes were scattered across a busy Dubrovnik road in near the petrol station. One lady was spotted helping herself to a huge bag of potatoes whilst the other two large bags were still in the middle of the road. Dubrovnik had a drive-through green grocer this morning.

fast food dubrovnik

Sunny

27°C

Dubrovnik

Sunny
Humidity: 61%
Wind: WSW at 17.70 km/h
Saturday
Sunny
25°C / 29°C
Sunday
Sunny
24°C / 30°C
Monday
Mostly sunny
24°C / 29°C
Tuesday
Thunderstorms
26°C / 28°C

The Voice of Dubrovnik

THE VOICE OF DUBROVNIK


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