Tuesday, 20 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.

Email: mark.thomas@dubrovnik-times.com

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

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Dubrovnik is certainly on the radar of tourists from South Korea. The numbers of Korean tourists visiting the city has been on the steady increase for the past decade, and as they prefer to travel outside of the main summer season this is a market that Dubrovnik, and in fact Croatia, needs to focus on.

As ever the lack of direct flights is proving a handbrake for seriously increasing interest. However, there could be some light at the end of the tunnel as Korean Air has expressed interest in operating direct flights to Croatia.

Speaking to the specialised website, EX-YU Aviation News, Korean Air commented that "The Balkan region, including Croatia and Serbia, is an important market for Korean Air, and we are currently considering various possibilities to expand our destination network there. We currently have a plan to operate five charter flights between Seoul Incheon Airport and Zagreb in May and June of this year, however, we do not have specific plans to launch a regular service in the short-term.”

And the Dubrovnik Airport realises that one of the most constructive way to boost the otherwise weak winter period is to encourage a South Korean airline to introduce flights. The new director of Dubrovnik Airport, Frano Luetić, commented last year that "This far-away market is the most important for Dubrovnik. Korean tourists are most plentiful during the winter months. It is very important for us to improve connectivity with Korea. It is a big market and we could attract even more tourists."

So with flights from Korean Air on the drawing board Dubrovnik could soon be in for a much needed influx of winter flights and winter tourists.

How do you get a wardrobe into a 16th century building? With the help of the fire brigade!

The popular museum, the Home of Marin Drzic, had a headache when they saw the size of the wardrobe they needed to get inside the first floor. Quite clearly it was too large to squeeze through the doors and up the stairs so they called in the help of the Dubrovnik Fire Brigade.

Check out the video of the wardrobe going through the window…so don’t see this every day!

“Oh, yes, I see you connect that to a mobile or tablet and then it plays music,” thoughtfully answered the young son of one of my friends as I showed him a photo of an old cassette. “Er, no, in fact mobiles and tablets weren’t even invented when this thing was at its most popular,” I answered trying to hold back the laughter.

He looked at me in disbelief, a look that of half shock and half mistrust. “So what is it then,” he quizzed. “It’s a cassette, you could listen to music and tape songs from the radio,” I came back. “Why didn’t you just download them,” he seemed even more lost. “For two reasons, firstly there was nothing to download them to, and secondly there was nowhere to download them from,” I was trying to explain that there was no internet and no modern devices to play them on. He still really didn’t understand. “We would put them into a cassette recorder and listen to the music,” I explained. “Why didn’t you just use Bluetooth?” was his answer. Different generations live different lives.

His children, and he is only ten years old, will look back at his tablets, mobile phones and Bluetooth with a look of horror, of course he doesn’t understand this yet, but don’t worry age comes to all of us. Different generations have different views of life.

The Dubrovnik adventure in Game of Thrones ended last week, the last cameras were packed up, the catering trucks rolled out of town and the actors posted Instagram photos sitting on departing planes. The eighth and final season of the most popular TV series ever broadcast left Dubrovnik for the last time, unless the rumours of a trilogy of films come true. There can be no doubt that the series has been mutually beneficial. HBO gained a unique location that featured as the crown jewel in the series, and Dubrovnik has earned not only a financial benefit but also priceless marketing.

Even though the final series has been “wrapped” in Dubrovnik the results won’t hit the smalls screens until 2019, meaning that the Game of Thrones effect will last for a good few years yet. The life of GOT in Dubrovnik is difficult to predict, could it roll on until the next big hit arrives or will it have a more lasting, if less concentrated, effect for the next decade. And it has been quite a ride for Dubrovnik. Love it or hate it, (and I know many of you don’t even watch it) the marketing pull of this series has been enormous.

On the final day of filming I bumped into a family taking photos of the set. It was quite clear that they weren’t from Dubrovnik so I jumped in to ask them a few questions. “Yes, we have come from Brazil to see Dubrovnik, or King’s Landing,” answered the young son with a huge grin across his face. They had flown half way around the globe to see King’s Landing. “So you came to see the final filming in Dubrovnik,” I quizzed them. “No, we didn’t even know they were filming,” they answered. It was quite clearly a bonus that the cast and crew were in town for this young family, or maybe they had the impression that Game of Thrones is constantly filming in the city. The look on the boy’s face as I explained that many of the main actors were in town was priceless. Like I said you just can’t buy this kind of promotion. At the same time the boy’s parents seemed less than enthralled with Game of Thrones and more interested in the architecture. For Dubrovnik it was a classic win/win situation. Different generations have different needs.

I for one will be sad to see the end of Game of Thrones in Dubrovnik, but in a few years another series or film will come along and the GOT bandwagon will be forgotten in the fog of the past. That’s what the future is – unpredictable. Who would have ever though the cassette would ever go out of fashion, or that video cassettes would be deemed useless or that records wouldn’t spin in our homes anymore. And in ten or twenty years most of what we use today, and term as modern technology, will again will waste sites and rubbish bins. But whilst the actual technology will be history the memories we have of them will be real.

My memories of Game of Thrones (and of cassettes) will stay with me forever. And my two young friend’s memories of Bluetooth and King’s Landing will stay with them. “Each generation imagines itself to be more intelligent than the one that went before it, and wiser than the one that comes after it,” once said the great George Orwell. Well said George!

The Dubrovnik-Neretva County Tourist Board is presenting the beauties of Dubrovnik at the Holiday World Exhibition in Prague, which is taking place from the 15th to 18th February at the Prague exhibition centre.

The first day of the fair is dedicated for tourism professionals only, while the rest of the three days are open to the public.

Approximately 30,000 visitors are expected to be present at the fair, and more than 45 countries from around the world, in 640 booths, are included in this year's fair. Also around 600 travel journalists and about 7,000 tourism professionals are expected to visit.

The Dubrovnik-Neretva County was visited by over 38,000 tourists from the Czech Republic in 2017, which was a 5 percent increase over the previous year.


‘’I don’t care that they stole my idea...I care that they don’t have any of their own’’, were the words of one of the greatest inventors of all times.

Nikola Tesla is well known for his numerous inventions without which the modern world could not exist in a way we know it today. He is an icon of the scientific world, who invented alternating current, wireless signal and energy transfer, electric motor, radio communication, remote control and many other things most people have never heard of and yet they are using them every day.

It seems that the famous inventor is an eternal inspiration for numerous films. According to the latest news from show business, a new film about Nikola Tesla is on the horizon.

After Nicholas Hoult interpreted Tesla in ‘’The Current War’’ and David Bowie in ‘’The Prestige’’, the main role of an innovator born in the Lika region in Croatia will be assigned to the American actor Ethan Hawke.

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Michael Almereyda, who will also direct the film, wrote the scenario for the film about Nikola Tesla. This biographic film will present the life and work of the famous inventor including his rivalry with Thomas Alva Edison and the construction of some of Tesla’s inventions.

The film preparations begin this spring, after which the filming will start in the northern part of the US state of New York.
It is interesting to note that the largest multimedia exhibition ever dedicated to this great man titled ‘’Nikola Tesla- Mind from the Future’’ was opened in Zagreb on the 25th of November 2017 and will remain open until the 20th of March 2018.

Looking to hide those tax-free millions, then don’t look to Croatia. The Tax Justice Network have released findings on the billions of private financial wealth that is hidden in tax havens around the world and Switzerland is the leading tax oasis with no questions asked.

There is an estimated 21,000 to 32,000 billions of dollars of private wealth in the world that is hid away in tax havens according to Tax Justice Network. And the world’s richest people look to Switzerland to avoid paying taxes. In fact, Tax Justice Network lists Switzerland as the most financially corrupt country in the world.

"Switzerland is the grandfather of tax havens in the world, one of the world's largest offshore financial centres and one of the largest jurisdictions for securing financial secrets," commented the network.

The second is America, the third is the Cayman Islands, followed by Hong Kong and Singapore.

Croatia is ranked in 79th position from the 112 countries surveyed in the report.




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