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.
The President of the Republic of Croatia, Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović, marks the third year of her four-year mandate today. And she has taken to her official Facebook profile to commemorate the day and to promise more work to solve one of the main problems that faces Croatia today.
“On this day three years ago I started the mandate of the President of the Republic of Croatia. In this honourable duty I work in the interest of all Croatian citizens, both at home and overseas,” started the President on her Facebook profile.
She then went onto tackle the problem of Croatians leaving the country to find a brighter future in other European Union members. “By the end of the mandate, in cooperation with the Government of the Republic of Croatia, we will do all we can to stop the emigration of the youth and reverse the negative demographic trends. We will also work to allow the citizens with blocked bank accounts to start with a new beginning and the divisions of the past turn into a togetherness for a better future,” commented the President.
The future of the former military resort of Kupari is under question as the State Property Minister, Goran Maric, has expressed doubts as to the seriousness of the investor.
The state owned resort, which includes a number of hotels, has been looking for fresh investment since the Homeland War. Two and a half years ago a Russian investor, Sergej Gljadelkin, the owner of the Avenue Group won the concession to redevelop the tourism properties, however no actual construction work had even been started and now the minister believes the whole project has stopped.
"It is hard to expect a continuation of the project," commented the minister disappointed with the Russian investor Avenue Group. “The investor has not carried out the conditions or fulfilled any of the obligations. We'll do the analysis, but I think it's hard to expect a continuation of the project to continue,” added the minister.
"It is hard to expect a continuation of the project," - Minister Maric
Avenue Group had announced big plans for the Kupari project, with 100 million Euros expected to be spent and brand name hotel chains mentioned as possible partners. However, movement has been extremely slow with only some clean-up of the site and documentation carried out. And this slow process has annoyed the minister, “If we break contracts it will be due to the investor not fulfilling obligations, they have proposed changes to the conditions that we don’t agree with.”
The majority owner of Avenue Group is the Russian billionaire Sergej Gljadelkin, the owner of more than twenty companies worldwide. Avenue Holdings operates in France, Austria and Switzerland and the main activity if construction and recycling. It is estimated that the annual revenues of the umbrella company are around $500 million.
Sergej Gljadelkin started his business career in Russia where his company built commercial and residential properties. Although he was connected to a few construction scandals in Russia he successfully managed to stay out of the press limelight. He is generally a private person and the early parts of his career, and how he amassed his first millions, are almost impossible to uncover. Over the years he has continued this shadowy relationship with the media and hardly ever gives interviews or even statements.
The digital revolution has been shaping the face of tourism in Croatia for a few years, travel apps, online flight reservations, TripAdvisor, Airbnb, the list goes on and on. And last year was the first year ever that individual tourist outnumbered tourists in organised travel arrangements.
In 2017 the share of tourists who came under their own organisation, and not with the assistance of a travel agency, was almost 64 percent, whilst out of the 86 million overnight stays recorded last year 66 percent were made by individuals.
Travel agencies around the world have been feeling the pinch for years as they basically only cater for older travellers, with the younger generations preferring to book their vacations in a more digital way.
According to evidence from the Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS) the number of tourists who booked their accommodation on an individual basis was 11.1 million in 2017. This figure is an increase of 17.4 percent over 2016 as the digital revolution picks up speed and classic travel agencies become rarer.
And this revolution has also meant that the hoteliers and accommodations owners are better off financially, instead of paying travel agencies a commission they are paying “micropayments” to online booking agencies.
The good news story of the day and being in the right place at the right time. Could there be a more romantic place to propose than in the middle of the Stradun in the heart of the Old City of Dubrovnik.
And, hats off, the future groom did everything by the book. Step 1 – open the box – Step 2 – kneel down on one knee – Step three – pop the question – Step four – slide on the ring. And by her reaction we can only presume that she said “yes.” With a round of applause from passers-by and a hug and a kiss this young couple will remember the Stradun and this overcast Sunday afternoon for the rest of their lives.
We wish the couple all the best for the future and another hats off to the talented photographer, Tonci Plazibat, for catching the moment for eternity.
We live it. You will love it. The picturesque town of Ston, north of Dubrovnik, has a new promo video that will certainly attract even more tourists to visit.
With its ancient walls, salt pans, oysters and incredible nature Ston is already a popular daytrip spot for guests to Dubrovnik and this new video, produced by “FK Fotographos 2017,” brings a fresh look to Ston.
Located at the very beginning of the Pelješac peninsula Ston is the home of medieval defence walls that stretch for an impressive 5 kilometres.
Check out this stunning video and put Ston on your wish list for 2018
Holiday photos…holiday photos…holiday photos…WOW!! Surfing through the #Dubrovnik section of Instagram we are normally greeted with hundreds of photos of cocktails, cats and canoes but once in a while something jumps out and whacks us over the head like a creative hammer.
These amazing oil paintings of Dubrovnik were created by Changseok Lim from South Korea. We just love his images of Dubrovnik and decided to catch up with him and find out what his inspirations were.
When did you travel to Dubrovnik and what were your first impressions of the city?
I traveled to Czech, Croatia, Hungary and Austria in October 2017 and my first impression of Dubrovnik is that it was so 'bright'. We came to Dubrovnik after visiting Prague where we stayed for a week. Dubrovnik was a bright and shiny city unlike Prague. We stayed in Dubrovnik for a couple of days. The sunset I watched from the rampart was very impressive, and alleys I walked along were so interesting and amusing. Stores were new to us, and people working there look different. We however found a lot of us in them. I have happy memories of Placa Street (Stradun) where I ran to buy my companions ice creams before they melted.
How did you decide which parts of Dubrovnik to paint and how long did it take to create your art?
The side streets in Dubrovnik felt unfamiliar on the one hand and friendly on the other. Walking in the alleys I encountered interesting or impressing scenes, and I would then draw sketches with a pen. Some drawings were completed on the spot, and others were painted in oils being infused with inspiration from the scenes after coming back to Korea. It took roughly a week to a month to finish my painting depending on the picture.
Apart from on Instagram, or online, do you display your art anywhere else?
I upload my works mainly onto Instagram, and otherwise give exhibitions at galleries. I have held private and group exhibitions, about 20 to 25 times, respectively, most of which were held in Korea, although some were held in Beijing and Hong Kong. In the years to come I would like to have many exhibitions abroad as well as in Korea.
What memories will you take with you from Dubrovnik?
What I remember most about Dubrovnik is a feeling of warmth. I still remember the streets shining brightly and buildings giving off delicate hues and will never forget the impression which the side streets alleys had on me and the sunset which I watched walking around the Dubrovnik City Walls.
What is the process that you go through to create your art? Do you take a photo and then use that or do you sit in position until you finish?
It is usually the inspiration from objects/subjects that leads me to the canvas. Firstly, I organize the feelings and emotions in my head and then make a sketch composing my painting. Sometimes I complete paintings on the spot and sometimes I don't due to the lack of time. In the case that I bring unfinished works, I take photos of scenes at times to complete them later. I think it is very important that a painting has a flow of emotion on the canvas.
Follow this talented artist on his Instagram profile - https://www.instagram.com/tjrckd1/
Croatian hospitality businesses are looking to Serbia to fill much needed positions in tourism this summer. Estimates by the Serbian media suggest that between 2,500 and 3,000 Serbians will cross the border this summer to work in the cafes, restaurants and hotels along the Dalmatian coastline.
The tourism and hospitality industry of Croatia has been suffering from a lack of workforce for a few years and recently employers have been widening their search to include neighbouring countries. And this year they have started the search for seasonal workers much earlier than usual. According to reports newspapers adverts have already been published in Serbian publications offering seasonal jobs.
Between 2,500 and 3,000 Serbian waiters, cooks, cleaners and drivers could well be working along the Dalmatian coast this summer and the newspaper ads already published suggest that their salary will be at least 1,000 Euros a month.
The arctic cold front that was expected to hit Dubrovnik this weekend quite clearly didn’t arrive yet. Warm sunshine and blue skies bathed Dubrovnik in spring like temperatures and locals and tourists made the most of the pleasant weather in the historic core of the city.
The cold weather is still on the way and temperatures are expected to drop drastically at the beginning of next week. But in the meantime, while most of Europe freezes, Dubrovnik is basking in golden sunshine.
Check out the photo gallery from Tonci Plazibat