Saturday, 24 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.


After just a year of opening Zagreb Airport has collected an award as the most improved airport in Europe. At the Airport Service Quality Awards held by the Airports Council International Frano Tuđman Airport was named as Europe’s most improved airport for 2017.

This award is particularly important as it involves surveys from passengers though the airport and the new multi-million Euro airport in the Croatian capital obviously impressed passengers. On a worldwide level a total of 343 airports were included in the survey and the only other time that an airport in the region has won such recognitions was when Skopje in Macedonia was awarded for the best airport with under 2 million passengers.

The most improved airport in Latin America was Belo Horizonte, in North America it went to Cleveland and in Africa to Nairobi, whilst Ahmedabad won in Asia and Dubai in the Middle East.

With the arrival this morning of the cruise ship Viking Star the cruise ship season in Dubrovnik is now up and running. With just over 900 passengers on-board the Viking Star was launched in 2015.

And just as the ship arrived the overcast skies lifted and spring sunshine poured down on the city making sure that these first cruise ship passengers of the year had a day in Dubrovnik to remember.

The Port of Dubrovnik opens this season cruise seasons on the 17th of March with the arrival of a Viking Star with a total of 900 passengers. By the end of the year in Dubrovnik 489 cruise ships are expected with about 770,000 passengers.

2018 cruise ship season beginnings in dubrovnik 2018

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With the summer just around the corner and a bigger influx of foreign tourists expected in Dubrovnik than ever before private renters throughout the region are busily preparing for a hectic season. There are around 14,500 private beds in Dubrovnik, which when you compare that to a population of only around 40,000 shows just how many people use Airbnb, and Expedia to fill their household coffers.

So with so much competition how can you stand out from the crowd and make your Airbnb listing the most attractive.

Ten top tips to make your Airbnb listing number one 

1 – Be a Superhost - although this list is in no particular order becoming a Superhost would probably be in number one position anyway. Superhost status means that when potential guests filter down their choice of holiday accommodation they quite regularly only choose Superhosts. The become a Superhost you need to do some basic things correctly – respond to guests quickly, get good grades on price, location and cleanliness and host a certain number of guests.

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2 – Use Airbnb verified photos – you can spend time and money getting the perfect collection of photos from your sun washed apartment but there is a cheaper, and much more effective, way of highlighting your letting. Airbnb has its own photo service and its free! Simply apply online for a free photo session. And the added bonus is that you’ll have Airbnb verified photos which will raise your ranking.

3 – It’s all in the details – avoid any religious icons or pictures on the walls, you don’t want to upset your guests. Be artful yet discrete with your wall furnishings, don’t hang tacky “stock” photos but get creative. Guests are more likely to want relaxing and simple decorations than heavy “over the top” paintings.

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4 – Be honest – Airbnb is set up very much as a social media style booking agency, if you lie you’ll get found out very quickly. Bad news spreads faster than good news. If you are miles from the beach then don’t say “front line to the sea.” Be as honest as possible even if you think it will put off some guests. Basically highlight the good points but don’t avoid the traps.

5 – Get catchy with your title – with such a huge offer of accommodation units in Dubrovnik you are going to have to stand out from the crowd. All things equal, an Airbnb listing with the better, more attention grabbing title will a higher click through rate from the search results. Don’t be boring with something like, “Studio Apartment Dubrovnik.”

6 – Reviews are the key – without any reviews, if you have just started your Airbnb journey, it is hard to get noticed. However, once you start hosting and getting those guests through your doors hopefully the positive reviews will flood in. Begging for a review is never a good idea, you’ll just appear desperate and needy, so it’s all about offering a top service and keeping your fingers crossed. A little tip is too leave a review for each guest immediately after they have checked out. They will then get an alert that you have left them a review and are more likely to write one back. You’ll also need reviews to get that Superhost status.

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7 – Be price sensitive – be realistic with your pricing. Do research by looking at properties in your area and what they have to offer and fix your prices around those. Airbnb has its own pricing system, smart pricing, which will take all the parameters into account and suggest a price that is right for you. However, this price is often lower than it needs to be so although it pays to check out their recommendation it is also a good idea to do your own research. And a tip is to keep prices lower at the beginning until the reviews come in and then adjust according. Of course your prices need to reflect the time of year.

8 – Don’t be lazy with your description – the description is the key, don’t be lazy and write three sentence and on the other hand don’t write a novel. Accuracy is extremely important. The best method for writing a good description is to put yourself in the place of potential guests, what information would be important to you if you were travelling.

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9 – Answer those questions – you have to be responsive with all inquiries not matter how weird and wonderful the questions might be. And Airbnb will even rank you in accordance to your response rate, so don’t put it off till tomorrow. Don’t forget that Airbnb makes money when you make money so they want you to be quick with your replies and they want you to reply to all of your booking inquiries as fast as possible.

10 – Check out your calendarAirbnb will see how active you are on your own site, so be active! Make sure that your calendar is up-to-date and of course accurate. By just opening your Airbnb site every day you will slightly improve your overall rankings, for if you can’t be bothered to check your own site how can you expect guests to take a look. Click your app or site every day and watch your ranking improve. A busy host is a good sign for Airbnb.

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It would seem that the saying “your home is your castle” is true in Croatia. When it comes to home ownership Croatia is one of the leading countries in the 28 members of the European Union. Long-term renting, or even short-term, is not the norm when people are looking to solve their housing question, an amazing 90 percent of Croatians own their own home, which puts the country joint second in the EU after Romania at 97 percent.

Croatia is joint second on the new EU list with Lithuania. Whilst at the other end of the scale Germany has the lowest number of home owners, at only 50 percent, followed by Denmark, Austria and France.

And it isn’t only with nationals that home ownership in Croatia is popular. The survey by Eurostat shows that 82 percent of foreign national in Croatia are also home owners. This percentage is much higher than the EU average, at 30 percent, and again puts Croatia high on the EU list, third after Estonia and Lithuania.

A South Korean woman has died from a fatal fall at a tourist hotspot in Croatia, the government said Sunday. The woman in her 50s, whose name was kept private, fell off a cliff and into a lake at Plitvice Lakes National Park in central Croatia on Saturday (local time), according to the foreign ministry.

The victim, who was in Croatia for sightseeing, was moved to a hospital but later passed away. "It's presumed that the she fell after losing her footing due to the rain," a foreign ministry official said. "The local police are looking into the exact circumstances."

The Croatian Prime Minister, Andrej Plenkovic, visited Peljesac this Saturday and expressed his conviction that the complaints regarding the tender for the construction of the Peljesac Bridge will be solved quickly and that the project will continue according to the plans.

Plenkovic commented that he believes that the State Commission for Public Procurement will resolve the complaints related to the tender for the construction of the Peljesac Bridge. The future Pelješac Bridge project received a 357 million Euro grant from the European Union, however when the Chinese Company, China Road and Bridge Corporation won the public tender the other companies in the tender all launched appeals.

Croatian Roads had decided that the offer from the Chinese consortium was the most favourable for the first phase of the construction of the Peljesac Bridge with access roads, and that the European Commission will finance 85 percent of the project. However, the process was then placed on hold as the Italian, Turkish and Austrian construction companies that had placed bids for the Peljesac Bridge all lodged official complaints.

Speaking at an opening of a school on the Peljesac peninsular on Saturday the Prime Minster stated that “We are continuing with the project and I believe that we will implement it in accordance with the plan if not until the end of the mandate of this government, certainly at the beginning of the next mandate of the Croatian Parliament and Government and finally finalize the strategic issue for both Peljesac and Dubrovnik-Neretva County.” He added that with the new bridge the region would have a faster connection to the rest of the country and avoid the lengthy traffic jams that form when passing through Bosnia and Herzegovina.

This incredible video by Domenika Loncar was shot today from the ancient walls of the city of Dubrovnik and show the force of the sea crashing into the Bay of Pile. Gale force south winds have been blowing for a few days, and are forecast to continue until the middle of next week, and have brought with them high seas, rain and overcast skies.

Ferries were stopped from running today as the rough seas brought nautical transport to a standstill. Just a few weeks ago this normally calm bay was the scene of the last season of Game of Thrones, now it looks more like a scene from Titanic.

Quite clearly the name of Dubrovnik travels far and wide. This cutting from a Swedish newspaper was sent to us by a reader from Sweden who clearly has Dubrovnik roots as he commented “I am happy when I see Hallandsposten advertising my home city of Dubrovnik, good job Halmstad.”

This advert for Dubrovnik was featured in the daily Swedish newspaper Hallandsposten from Halmstad. And yes we translated the text for you, well Google did literally, “start the summer with a semester in May.”

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