Monday, 19 March 2018
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.


From distant Lapland, from Rovaniemi on the edge of the Arctic Circle, Santa Claus arrived in Dubrovnik this morning. Santa and his elf helpers are on a journey around the world and Dubrovnik was chosen as another stop along the way.

Santa Claus walked through the centre of the Old City of Dubrovnik and, of course, was the main attraction for locals and tourists who took the opportunity to have their photo taken with him and his loyal helpers.

This afternoon Santa will hold a thematic workshop from 15.00pm to 19.00pm in the Lazareti complex just outside of the Old City.

Welcome to Dubrovnik Father Christmas!

santa dubrovnik1

Croatia Airlines is among the safest airlines in the world according to research by international specialized Internet portal The research by the website awarded Croatia Airlines six stars out of a maximum of seven stars.

In total 407 international air carriers were analyzed and were allocated between one and seven points in terms of safety.

For the third consecutive year, Qantas was named the safest airline in the world and among the top twenty there are American Airlines, Emirates, Lufthansa, Swiss Air, Finnair, Hawaiian Airlines, Japan Airlines, KLM, United Airlines and Virgin Atlantic.

In compiling their assessments the experts from took a number of factors into account, such as the number of plane crashes, whether the staff were ever punished for endangering the safety of passengers, and if the airline has a certificate from the International Air Transport Association (IATA). 148 companies were awarded with the maximum number of stars, while more than 50 companies had three or fewer stars. The worst offenders were from Nepal, Indonesia and Suriname.

Most of the airlines that cooperate with Croatia Airlines were granted the maximum seven stars for safety, including Air Canada, British Airways and Alitalia. While on a par with Croatia’s national carrier were Air Serbia, Air France and Turkish Airlines.

The Croatian President, Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović, reached a new record today with 300,000 Facebook friends. “I can boast that I have 300,000 Facebook friends. Thank you for that!” wrote the President on her Facebook page. She becomes the most popular Croatian President on social media.

“We have the most beautiful president around the globe. Our pride of Croatia, we are proud of you,” commented one of her Facebook friends.

Directory of the tourist boards inside the Dubrovnik region



Dubrovnik-Neretva County Tourist Board

Address: Šipčina 2, 20000, Dubrovnik

Tel: + 385 (0)20 324 999 Fax: + 385 (0)20 324 224

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Dubrovnik Tourist Board

Address: Brsalje 5, 20000 Dubrovnik, Croatia

Tel: +385 (0)20 323-887

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Branch offices of Dubrovnik Tourist Board


Address: Obala S. Radića 32

Tel: +385 (0)20 417-983

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Župa Dubrovačka Tourist Board

Address: Šetalište dr. Franje Tuđmana 7, Srebreno, 20207 Mlini

Tel: +385 (0)20 486 254

Fax: +385 (0)20 487

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Konavle Tourist Board

Address: Zidine 6, 20210, Cavtat

Tel: +385 (0)20 479 025

Fax: +385 (0)20 478 025

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Ston Tourist Board

Address: Pelješki put 1, 20230, Ston

Tel: +385 (0)20 754 452

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Orebić Tourist Board

Address: Zrinsko-frankopanska 2, 20250, Orebić

Tel: +385 (0)20 713 718

Fax: +385 (0)20 714 001

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Vela Luka Tourist Board

Address: Obala 3 br. 19 20 270 Vela Luka

Tel: +385 (0)20 813 619

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Smokvica Tourist Board

Address: Brna b.b., 20272, Smokvica, Island of Korčula

Tel: +385 (0)20 832 255

Fax: +385 (0)20 832 188

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Lastovo Tourist Board

Address: Dolac 3, 20290, Lastovo

Tel: +385 (0)20 801-023

Fax: +385 (0)20 801-391

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Mljet Tourist Board

Address: Zabrježe 2, 20225, Babino Polje

Tel: +385 (0)20 746025

Fax: +385 (0)20 746 022

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Half dead like a half-zombie, sleepy like Snow White and with my ear-phones in my ears, my brain in “flight mode” I made my way to work. But shortly before I managed to turn off all of my brain activities, a guy with a bag and a map of Dubrovnik came to me and asked me a question. My first reaction was very informative and constructive: Eh? What?! Oh yes, I still had my ear-phones in my ears and Till Lindeman was about to mention the sentence “Du hast” for the 128th time in the song of the same title. I pulled out my ear-phones and was able to hear the guy who apparently was a tourist. First, I thought that I didn’t hear the commonly used “Excuse me, could you tell me” – part. No wonder, there wasn't any “Excuse me part” there was just a roughly asked question: “This!?” Yes, the word “This” can be very well used as a very useful interrogative question. I have to mention that his English was broken like a Scandinavian Glacier.

My English isn’t in such devastated condition, just somewhere halfway between Chernobyl and Fukushima. The guy was not alone. Besides the fact that he was very grumpy, very sleepy, brain-dead and without a plan, his nationality and my name were connected to each other. He was Italian. My name means “brown” in Italian and his nationality means: “I don't speak any English only Italian, chiaro?!” He showed me the location of the Tommy market in Gruž and at that point I knew that I had to tell him or show him the brutal truth. He and his friends would have to hike the whole way back from where they had come from because we were in Lapad near the football ground. No thank you, no grazie, no grazie mille, nothing. He just turned to his friends, looked expressionless like Kirsten Stewart and scratched his head with his fingers. How many times in a minute he repeated “Merda” or “Cazzo” after I left him I don't know but I think it was enough for a lifetime of a Galapagos giant turtle! The point of the story is the fact that Italian tourists usually don't speak English.

The French are able to speak it but they won't. A couple from France asked me once without any introduction:  “Vous-êtes d’ici?” (Are you from here?) ‘cause “tout le monde” speaks French. So if you just say two words in French they continue to speak with you like with a native speaker. I made the mistake so many times and said “Oui”. Dare to make a grammatical mistake while you’re speaking French and Robespierre will cut your head off with a guillotine! They will correct you immediately because your French must be perfect, sorry, not perfect - PARFAIT s’il vous plaît! In opposed to that, if a German tourist asks you something and you speak some German he ignores that and continues to speak English. They don’t force German but I think that is because of history.

Last time when the Germans forced German somewhere abroad the things went “a little bit in the wrong direction”. I must admit that I learned the easiest and best option for the people from Spanish-speaking countries. If they ask me something I just say: Yo no hablo español! Ear-phones - in, Till Lindemann - back, brain - good-bye! Amen!

Bruno Lucic 

Today at exactly 14:07pm an earthquake shook the Dubrovnik region. The epicentre is believed to have been 48 kilometres northeast of Dubrovnik. The quake of magnitude was 4.5 on the Richter scale and was recorded near Bileca in Bosnia and Herzegovina at a depth of 10 kilometres. Tremors from the earthquake were felt in Dubrovnik as well as in Bosnia and Herzegovina and Montenegro.

So far no material damage from the earthquake has been reported.

When you mention the slalom, your first association is probably a tourist resort in the Alps, possibly in the Dolomites. But a slalom in Dubrovnik? Hardly likely, unless you are surfing on the waves or bypassing the rows of restaurant tables inside the historic city centre. The flood of tables and chairs in front of restaurants, cafes, pizzerias and pastry shops has turned into a tsunami. According to statistics within the city walls there are, at least, a thousand tables and four times as many chairs. Barricades interfere, and sometimes almost block the flow of traffic in the already too narrow streets. This summer tables have sprung up like mushrooms from every corner, covering every street and square. At night, as the sun goes down, the same scene appears. Mountains of people eat and drink, the clink of cutlery and glasses, waiters who collide with passersby. The clear passages through the forest of tables are becoming more and more infrequent. The local population cannot often enter their own homes due to the “table forest.” Foreigners out for a stroll are pirouettes around the tables to get to the finish line. Happiness comes when the thousands of passengers from cruise ships sail away at night in Dubrovnik, otherwise the scrimmage throughout the evening would be unbearable.

The invasion of tables, which began five or six years ago, has reached its peak this summer. And it seems that it has finally been noticed by the city authorities who have agreed with restaurant owners an embargo on the increase on the number of "outdoor spaces" in the next three years. But no one is proposing the reduction of the current number of tables. The status quo is a compromise between the city and the restaurant owners, but it seems that the pedestrians have been forgotten. For the time being they will continue to slalom between the tables and street advertising. And only a few years outdoor tables were a rarity. Restaurants were for mostly eating inside, here and there on the terrace, and on the pavement was not exactly popular. Somehow, it was thought that space for walking should not be turned into open-air cafeteria. But somewhere along the way the rules changed. Now the tables have occupied the last remaining squares public areas. Now you can barely even see the pavement. Of course, only in summer, in the winter you have all the space you need because everything is closed. After all a ghost town has no need for “al fresco” dining.

Gabrijela Bijelic

The Dubrovnik Times caught up with the director of Hennes and Mauritz, or H & M, for Austria, Slovenia, Croatia and Serbia, Claudia Oszwald. Southern Croatia now has its first ever branch of this popular high-street brand with the opening of a shop inside the SUB City shopping centre in Zupa. In fact this is the 15th branch of H & M in Croatia, but the first in Dubrovnik. The opening of this new shop was attended by Oszwald who was impressed with the new store and shopping centre.

I can see from your CV that you are related to Dubrovnik. You were born on the 3rd of February which is the day that Dubrovnik celebrates its patron saint, St. Blaise.
I know that day was the celebration of Saint Blaise, but I did not know that he is the patron of Dubrovnik. That's great!

Is this your first time in Dubrovnik?
Thank God it's not! I've been here several times before. I'm speechless, it's incredibly beautiful, one of the most beautiful places that exists and it is a great privilege to be here for the opening of this branch. This also means that I will be able to visit the city more often. It's fantastic!

Many Austrian come to Croatia on vacation. What this the case for you as well?
I have been to Croatia twice on holiday. But since I have started working in the country I have had the opportunity to experience some fantastic places. Before I did not come so often, but since 2011 I am a regular guest here and I am thrilled with the country and its people. When we stopped in front of the shop I said: Finally we are in Dubrovnik!

hm dubrovnik

As "Country Manager" for H & M you enjoy great autonomy. What drove you to open a branch in the south of Croatia?
We have been present in Croatia since 2011. That was the year that we opened our first branch in Zagreb. H & M is very well received by our customers in the country. As you know, we then go step by step towards the expansion and have now expanded throughout all of Croatia. What we always lacked was the south of Croatia. Now we are naturally very happy that we have finally got the chance to be in the Dubrovnik area.

So you were already planning to open a store in Dubrovnik but just lacked the right space?
Exactly. For us it is very important to always have the best location. Regardless of whether it is in the city centre or in a mall, this can sometimes take a while, but you need to have patience.

What customers can expect from the Dubrovnik area?
I'm happy here; we can offer almost all our product range. So, there is fashion for men, women, teenagers and children. We offer clothing for the whole family, and there is a supply of jewellery. The local offer is almost complete.

Customers are given the opportunity to leave their old clothes in your branches and then get a discount for a new piece of clothing. Will this model of recycling be on offer here?
Of course. We are very proud because sustainability is a very important issue for H & M. The ability to offer our customers the opportunity that they can bring their old clothes and then receive a voucher for a discount is one aspect. Another aspect is that the question of what we do with that collected old goods? Recycle old clothes all over the world and make new products from recycled materials. Our aspiration is that of old clothes we can produce entirely new pieces of clothing. In our department we have a Jeans-department "Denim-Reborn", and there are products created from recycled products.

Is it important to quantify how much of the old goods people can bring? Are there any benchmarks?
No, all you can fit in a plastic bag which can be inserted into the appropriate box. Of course, if it comes with a whole container then it will be difficult, but as I said, all that can fit in a plastic bag. The customer can do this five or fifteen times, it does not matter.

How many fashion conscious are Croatians?
Croats are very fashionable. Croatian customers are great customers who have fashion preferences that are clearly oriented to what is new in fashion, but they are also conscious when it comes to quality and materials.

Most employees at H & M are women. What is the relationship of employees here in Croatia?
We don’t see any difference between the sexes; we are an equal opportunities employer. In Croatia we have around 400 employees.

Your career with H & M started as a shop assistant. Does the H & M employment ladder operate this successfully?
It's easy and it's always possible. If you're engaged, passionate in your work, if the work place acts properly then anything is possible. We are constantly looking for resources. We open hundreds of branches each year all over the world. In the fall we will open a new branch office in South Africa, the phones are constantly "hot".

What is your recipe for success for the future and current employees?
The recipe is hard to put my finger on.

Is it more a matter of luck or ability?
I think it is based on merit. It depends on how long someone has been employed and sometimes also depends on how brave you are. In H & M we sometimes get such challenges where you think, "Hmm...maybe it will not succeed," But, if you have the courage to make the first steps then you can succeed if you have the skills for it. Flexibility is of course also an important factor. I have always accepted the challenges that I have encountered.




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The Voice of Dubrovnik


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