Wednesday, 20 September 2017

The popular Swedish furniture store IKEA has opened the doors to a delivery centre in Split this week. Located in the busy shopping centre, City Centre One, this newly opened delivery centre will make it easier for customers to receive and order IKEA goods.

But before you get too excited this isn’t actually another IKEA superstore in Croatia this is basically a pick-up point. Customers who order from the IKEA in Zagreb or online will now be able to pick up their goods at the Split delivery centre.

Along with Rijeka and Split, IKEA plans to open several more delivery centres in the region in the upcoming period.

delivery centre split


First of all, products must be ordered via the IKEA online store or purchased in the IKEA Zagreb department store, and customers can then choose the product pick-up option at the delivery centre in Split. After delivering the goods to the delivery centre, the buyer receives a message that the goods are ready for takeover and can be picked up over the next three days.

"By opening our delivery centre in Split, we are moving closer to achieving our goal of bringing IKEA products and solutions closer to our customers and saving them time and money. We are currently focusing on shoppers and we have recently opened the first delivery centre in Rijeka, and now in Split. We are currently reviewing other options in different parts of Croatia and exploring ways to make our offer more accessible to most citizens in Croatia. This also includes improving the delivery cost from the delivery centre to our customer’s homes," said Suzana Rumbak Baretic, the logistics manager of IKEA Zagreb's department store.

ikea split delivery centre

The Vice-President of the National assembly of the Republic of Korea, Park Joo Sun, arrived for an official visit in Dubrovnik today. He met with the Dubrovnik – Neretva County Mayor, Nikola Dobroslavic, and the Mayor of Dubrovnik, Mato Frankovic, and was interested in developing stronger relations in the field of tourism.

As Dobroslavić said, at the meeting, there was a desire from both sides to establish direct flights between South Korea and Dubrovnik.

The Vice President of the National assembly of the Republic of Korea Park Joo Sun

- The number of Korean tourists in Dubrovnik is increasing and we are very happy that both sides want this to continue. The delegation from Korea expressed the desire for more Croatian citizens to visit Korea. We talked about the possibility of partnering the county with one of the regions or cities in Korea - said the Dobroslavic.

Mayor Frankovic pointed out that he was extremely pleased with the visit, and in particular the fact that more than 30,000 guests from Korea have visited Dubrovnik so far this year.
- This figure is on the rise. We need to have a better deal with Korea because obviously the potential of this market is extremely high - Frankovic said.

The Vice President of the National assembly of the Republic of Korea Park Joo Sun in croatia

The Association of the Friends of Dubrovnik's Antiquities symbolically handed over to the City of Dubrovnik the bridge on the Pile gate yesterday. The bridge has undergone complex and extensive renovation works and is now shining in its former glory.

This iconic Dubrovnik bridge, which is crossed by millions of people every year, is the main entrance into the historic UNESCO World Heritage Site. And the president of the association, Niko Kapetanic, commented that “Everything started at the beginning of this century, when we at the association made a far-reaching decision. It was shown that the two main entrances into the city, on Pile and Ploce, needed renovation and rebuilding. This meant removing the asphalt, restoring all the three bridges, which were proven to be unstable, and to repair all other parts.”

niko kapentanic

Mato Frankovic (left) and Niko Kapetanic talk to the press 


On behalf of the City of Dubrovnik the Mayor, Mato Frankovic, and Deputy Mayor, Jelka Tepsic, attended the handing over ceremony. “This is an exceptionally significant day, this bridge has once again been symbolically returned to the city and to the citizens,” commented Frankovic.

new pile bridge

Dubrovnik is once again the “leader” of real estate prices in Croatia. Latest results from the property website shows that throughout the country property prices rose in the month of August compared to July. Figures show that property prices across the whole of Croatia have risen by 5 percent by the beginning of this year.

And Dubrovnik has the most expensive real estate in Croatia with the average price per metre squared costing 3.796 Euros according to Crozilla. This August price for Dubrovnik is the same as it was in July.

The capital, Zagreb, saw an increase in house prices in August, 0.8 percent, compared to July making the average price per metre squared 1,698 Euros. The only Croatian city on the Adriatic that saw a drop in property prices was Split were average prices are now 2,270, considerably lower than Dubrovnik.

Game of Thrones, Star Wars, Robin Hood and Mamma Mia move over Tom Hanks is coming to film in Croatia. The Hollywood A-liner is expected to come to Croatia in the spring of next year to begin recording on the multimillion dollar budget movie Black Money Games directed by Adam Wright.

According to reports the production will be based on the island of Hvar and Tom Hanks will play in the leading role of this $50 million project. Dubrovnik was nearly the location of this latest Croatian movie blockbuster as the production visited Hvar and Dubrovnik before deciding on the Croatian island of Hvar.

black money games

Tom Hanks and Katarina Radivojević to star on Croatian island of Hvar


The main producer is Joe Tufaro of Gold Star Films, whose last three films starred Halle Berry, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Christopher Walken. Croatia will find itself in the film not only as a location but also through significant events in the film. And the film will also star Serbian actress Katarina Radivojević.

Apart from Croatia Black Money Games will also be filmed in Bratislava, Belgrade, Paris and on Cyprus. The plot is a sleuthing action of chasing black money from Eastern Europe to treasured islands on the Adriatic Sea. One female special prosecutor, played by Radivojević, stands up to the thugs and arms dealers, but is soon pitted against the corrupt officials and oligarchs.

It is believed that Hvar will play the treasure island where black money is discovered. Filming of Black Money Games is rumoured to begin this autumn and a release date has been set for August 2018.

One of the world's most prestigious car races in the world the World Rally Championship (WRC) is very likely to be held in Croatia in 2019.

The WRC promoter and the International Automotive Federation (FIA) have given the green light to Croatia thus by the end of this year the organizers will learn the exact date of the Croatia Rally.

The World Rally Championship attracts more than 700 million spectators annually as well as 1,350 accredited reporters producing more than 12,000 hours of the WRC TV program, which is broadcast in 155 countries around the globe.

The WRC's calendar has 13 races scheduled for this season, and 14 races for the next. The plan is to increase the number of rallies to 16 by 2020.

world rally 2019


As far as Croatia is concerned, it was given the green light by the WRC for 2018, however, Turkey was faster in obtaining all the necessary permits and state guarantees thus signed a contract with the WRC promoter for the end of September 2018.

After that, Croatia was offered the term in July 2018, but it was not acceptable due to the high tourist season and traffic jams. The Croatian organizers expressed their wish to organize the WRC in April, May, at the beginning of June or by the end of September or even in October.

With the approval of the Pula mayor, they have envisaged the start of the rally in the ancient Pula Arena, and the finish in Porec. The race would last for four days and cover almost 1,000 kilometres throughout the entire Istria and parts of Kvarner, not excluding the islands of Cres and Losinj.

The first ever WRC in Croatia would certainly start in Istria and Kvarner, whilst the organizers wish to ''move'' the WRC all around the country every few years. The Tourist Board of the Sibenik-Knin County has already expressed its interest in the WRC, whilst organizers wish to bring the WRC also to the Slavonian cities of Vukovar, Vinkovci and Osijek.

According to data from other WRC races in the world, it has been proven that this project is of exceptional importance and benefit to the Republic of Croatia. Some estimates say that the generated consumption would amount to 22 million Euros. The direct profit for the state, only through the VAT, would amount to at least 4 million Euros, whilst the indirect profit of the whole project through media effects is estimated at soaring 41 million Euros!
The WRC official data for Portugal is almost beyond comprehension. Last year more than 900,000 spectators watched the WRC race live, out of which foreigners accounted for 50 percent. The direct impact on the Portuguese economy was 67,6 million Euros, whilst the indirect effects amounted to 61,7 million Euros. In terms of tourism, Portugal realizes more than 1,5 million overnight stays annually only from the WRC.

Many Croatia’s state institutions such as the Croatian President, the Prime Minister, the Ministry of Tourism and the Croatian Olympic Committee have recognized the importance of this global sports event and expressed their support both to the WRC and to the Croatia Rally organizers.

Will the last person to leave Croatia please turn the lights out! Croatia is getting smaller, and no I don’t mean physically, it population is shrinking faster than a man’s private regions in a cold Adriatic Sea.

The exodus that was forecast when Croatia became a full member of the European Union in July 2013 seems to be coming true. Droves and droves of people are leaving in search of a brighter future in richer EU members. Germany, Ireland and Sweden are the leading destinations for Croatian ex-pats. The devastating statistics show that since the last census in 2011, more than 200,000 people emigrated from Croatia, out of which 30 percent from Slavonia, or 70,000 people.

The black statistics of the country's foreign migrations show that around 57,000 people moved to Germany, whilst 80,000 people immigrated to Ireland.

And to make matters worse, as if the figures weren’t bad enough already, the majority of people that are leaving are young, well-educated professionals, exactly the kind of people that Croatia needs to help build a stronger and healthier future. Young doctors, young businesspeople, entrepreneurs, scientists, dentists, teachers, lawyers have all been attracted to the brighter lights of Berlin and Dublin.

This exodus of the talented youth, tomorrow’s backbone, is a clear picture that that something has to be done, as opposed to the current strategy of burying our heads in the sand collectively and hoping for the best. Even the Croatian President came out this week to criticize the government for not doing enough to protect our tomorrow and to create employment opportunities.

But it isn’t only the youth “escaping” that is putting pressure on the population. Year after year more people die in Croatia than they are born! Basically we aren’t producing enough babies. In 2015 almost 17,000 more people died than were born. In fact in the last five years, less than 232,000 people were born, and more than 300,000 died. The negative natural increase is around 71,000 people, which means that in this short period of time, in terms of demographic monitoring, a city of the size of Zadar has disappeared. Yes, that’s right in the last five years we lost Zadar! Or put another way almost two Dubrovnik’s has disappeared off the map.

Whichever way you look at it it’s not pleasant reading. Combine the exodus of the youth to the EU in search of jobs and the differential between the people born and dead and there is an acceleration on the depopulation of Croatia.

When tourists have asked me how many people live in Croatia I have generally answered 4.5 million, because I was using data that I learnt when I first arrived here 19 years ago. That figure is clearly not correct. Even though analyses and comparisons as well as unofficial and official data count 4 million or even 4,2 million people in Croatia, demographers are warning that the Croatian population has already fallen below this number and that today, considering the massive migratory wave, Croatia's population has shrunk to less than 4 million people. That’s right my figure was out by half a million. Shocking! And there doesn’t seem to be an easy fix to these challenges.

On a micro scale just look at the problems the Old City of Dubrovnik faced and still faces with depopulation. In 1961 around 5,500 people lived inside the city walls. Forty years later this number had halved to around 2,700 in 2001. I would agree that the main reasons for this halving are the Homeland War, the birth of new residential areas around in the city, in Lapad and Babin Kuk and so on. But then five years later and the Old City population halves again. So in 2006 around 1,200 people lived in the city. With no wars and very little new development the population halves again. Today the figure is probably less than 800 and maybe less than 700. This alarming situation is quite possibly a mini example of the situation on a country wide level. And just as nothing was really done by the local authorities in Dubrovnik to stop this negative trend, apart from the normal huffing and puffing, the same could be said today for the government, although they don’t even really seem to be huffing or puffing too much. Maybe they aren’t alarmed; maybe they want a smaller population. Until they realise that they are probably earning less money through taxes, but then they’ll dream up a new tax to raise money for the people left.

But the fact that young and well-educated people are leaving bothers me. I can understand why. Everyone has to do what they think is best to support their family, or future family. You can’t blame young people for leaving. Quite the opposite, the blame lies fairly and squarely at the door of the government who are seemingly clueless at finding a way to convince them their future is here. We, the tax payers, spend billions of putting these children and young adults through our education system and then Germany and Sweden reap the rewards and bolster their own GDPs. Now is the time to act!

It has been one of the driest summers on record in Dubrovnik, 2017 will be remembered as the long, hot summer. But that period of extreme heat and humidity was broken this morning when the heavens opened and Dubrovnik felt rain for the first time in a long time. Over the past three months only around 3 litres of rain had fallen on Dubrovnik, or as weather forecasters say “almost zero.”

This prolonged period of dry weather has delighted millions of tourists to the country but at the same time proved challenging for the fire brigades as forest fires broke out all along the coastline. In fact Dubrovnik saw records tumble with the hottest ever July day recorded.

But before you break out your winter clothes and umbrellas this current wet weather won’t last. Predictions are that from Tuesday the sunshine will again return and that the rest of next week will see temperatures in the high twenties. And the long range forecasts shows a warm and pleasant rest of September and October.

So for now you might want to check out our ideas for a rainy day in Dubrovnik 

You might want to avoid the historic centre of Dubrovnik today over 7,000 cruise ship passengers have arrived this morning on five mega cruise ships. Today is in fact one of the busiest days in September for cruise ships in the city. And because of the rain and generally poor weather we can expect thousands of these passengers to descend on the Old City.

The largest cruise ship in Dubrovnik today is Norwegian Star with over 2,400 passengers onboard. The roads are already busy this morning and police are monitoring the main junctions around the city with traffic lights turned off presumably in an attempt to help traffic flow quicker. In total in September around 120,000 cruise passengers are expected to disembark on 84 cruise ships.

According to readers of the popular tourist guide Rough Guides, Croatia is among the Top 20 most beautiful countries in the world.

The readers voted Scotland the most beautiful country in the world praising its wonderful nature with countless wild beaches and deep lakes as well as a rich cultural heritage which includes many castles, some of which are among the most beautiful in the world.

Among the twenty world countries on the Rough Guides list, Croatia and neighbouring Slovenia have also found their place.

The Top 20 most beautiful countries in the world according to the selection of the Rough Guides readers are:

1. Scotland
2. Canada
3. New Zealand
4. Italy
5. The Republic of South Africa
6. Indonesia
7. England
8. Iceland
9. The US
10. Wales
11. Slovenia
12. Mexico
13. India
14. Finland
15. Switzerland
16. Peru
17. Norway
18. Ireland
19. Croatia
20. Vietnam

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The Voice of Dubrovnik


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