As 2017 came to an end so the final figures for Dubrovnik Airport were revealed. The airport in Cilipi cemented its position as the third busiest airport in Croatia with a record breaking year handling over 2.3 million passengers.
Last year was the first time in history that Dubrovnik Airport had handled over 2 million passengers, mainly thanks to a strong summer season. In fact, in terms of passenger numbers last year only one month, March, was down on 2016. By far the busiest months for the southernmost airport in Croatia were July and August when almost a million passengers passed through.
This is in sharp contrast to the winter months where the airport, and Dubrovnik in general, is still struggling to attract tourists. In January 2017 only just over 19,000 passengers used the airport and in February this number had climbed slightly to almost 23,000. However even the bleaker winter months showed an increase in guests compared to 2016, and the airport finished the year strongly with November (+40.4 percent) and December (+20.5 percent) showing drastic improvements.
This year, if indicators are to be believed, should be even more successful for the airport with many international airlines introducing new flights. This will not doubt be boosted by the fact that Easyjet has announced that they will increase operations to Dubrovnik by a huge 30 percent. The British low-cost carrier is already the second most frequent airline landing at Dubrovnik Airport, after the Croatian national carrier, Croatia Airlines, and this strong increase could see the airport break the 2.5 million mark in 2018.
Thomson Airways and Norwegian Air Shuttle have also announced an increase in operations to the city by 20 percent for 2018.
The fourth Dubrovnik Winter Festival came to an end last night with a concert by the Dubrovnik band The Bourbons in the Gundulic Square.
The Gundulic Square seemed a fitting end to the festival as the festive houses in the square have provided the best atmosphere this year. The organisers of the Dubrovnik Winter Festival commented that “This year's festival brought to life some new locations, bringing them the spirit of Advent and the holidays.” The highlight of the festival was the New Year celebrations on the Stradun when up to 15,000 people welcomed in 2018.
Check out the gallery of last night by Tonci Plazibat
The globally popular Croatia cello duo, 2Cellos, have released their latest video and it is titanic in more ways than one. A cover version of the theme tune to the 1997 Oscar award winning movie, starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet, "My Heart Will Go On."
This stunning new 2Cellos video is one of their most complex ever, featuring Luka Šulić and Stjepan Hauser in underwater scenes.
Already the video, which was released on the 5th of January, has been watched by over 200,000 fans on YouTube.
The echoing Celine Dion classic is the latest result of the 2Cellos co-operation with the London Symphony Orchestra.
Check out the 2Cellos in their Titanic new video below
Dubrovnik will have even more flights from the UK for this summer season with news that British Airways will increase flights for this year.
Operations between London Gatwick and Dubrovnik will be increased with BA adding an extra three flights a week to the 2018 summer schedule. In 2017 the flagship British carrier operated a total of nine flights a week to Dubrovnik from London and this year the airport in Cilipi can expected BA to touchdown 12 times a week.
Apart from Wednesdays and Sundays British Airways will now operate two daily flights from Gatwick to Dubrovnik, which will also help to cover the shortfall left by the collapse of Monarch Airlines.
The summer schedule comes into force from the 25th of May and lasts until the 28th of September, basically the height of the summer season in Dubrovnik. Tickets are already available for purchase online and a single ticket starts at only 79 Euros.
Zagreb is among the most expensive cities in the world when it comes to the cost of living, according to an estimate published by Numbeo.
Numbeo is the world’s largest database of user-contributed data about cities and countries worldwide. It provides current and timely information on world living conditions including cost of living, housing indicators, health care, traffic, crime and pollution.
And their latest data shows that the cost of living for a four-member family in Zagreb amounts to staggering 14,585.10 Kunas a month without rent, whilst for a single person it is 4,292.99 Kunas without rent.
Zagreb’s cost of living index is 56,77 percent and is 43,23 percent lower than in New York, which is the most expensive city in the world.
Among 525 world cities, according to Numbeo, the Croatian capital ranks as the 317th on the list of the most expensive cities on the planet.
The border crossings of northern Croatia are extremely busy as thousands of Croatians make their way to the ski slopes of Europe.
Skiing package vacations are almost sold out in all the major travel agencies in Croatia with Austria and Italy the two most popular winter destinations followed by France. Whilst for shorter weekend breaks Slovenia and Herzegovina are also popular.
Estimates suggest that up to 200,000 Croatians will hit the slopes this winter with family holidays the most sought after.
Atlas Travel Agency have reported that demanded is up by 10 percent on last year and that they have sold all their winter ski packages for this year. Whilst the Kompas Agency has reported a huge 20 percent increase in demand over last winter. With the snow in Europe clean and fresh and temperatures just perfect for skiing the ski season could well last into early Spring.
Advent in Zagreb has grown incredibly over the past few years, with more and more guests, more attractions and for the third year in a row an award as the leading Christmas market in Europe. And this year looks like being just as successful as ever.
Busy Christmas market in the Croatian capital - Photo - Zagreb Tourist Board
Figures released by the Zagreb Tourist Board show that from the 1st of December to the 31st of December 2017 a massive 110,707 tourists visited the Croatian capital achieving almost 200,000 overnight stays. The most numerous tourists, in terms of nationality, were from neighbouring Italy, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Austria, Slovenia and Germany.
The simple fact that Austrians, with their varied and traditional Christmas markets, have chosen Zagreb as a destination for the festive season shows the attraction of the Advent in Zagreb. “We are from Graz and we heard about the large ice-skating rink and the hundreds of festive stands and atmosphere,” explained a group of young Austrian tourists to The Dubrovnik Times in the Croatian capital.
A sea of festibe lights - Photo - Zagreb Tourist Board
But it wasn’t only neighbouring countries that decided to drop into Zagreb for advent, thanks to an opening of flights from more distant destinations there were also tourist from the United States, Canada, Australia and South Korea. Speaking to the Croatian newspaper Vecernji the Director of the Dubrovnik Tourist Board, Martina Bienenfeld, commented that she expects revenue from the advent season to exceed 500 million Kuna. The festivities in the capital come to an end this weekend with the conclusion on Sunday the 7th of January.
All good things come to an end – Dubrovnik Winter Festival will end on Saturday, January 6th with the concert by the Dubrovnik band ‘The Bourbons’ at Gundulic Square.
Otherwise, the Dubrovnik Winter Festival leadership points out that the current festival included some new locations, bringing all of them the spirit of Advent and the holidays.
The Teddy Bear park, placed at Park Pile, was there for the youngest. The programs were coordinated by Dijana Sinanovic and Zrinka Japuncic on behalf of the Lazareti dance studio and the Le Petit Festival du Theater. The winter atmosphere was also felt at the Bay of Lapad, which was the site of numerous large and small programs in the coordination of the Administrative Department for Education, Sport, Social Welfare and Civil Society. The Advent Train and Ice Skating Rink have additionally complemented the winter offer and the humanitarian concert Rokcek - Tribute to Alan bands will also be remembered for a long time as the memorial to the Dubrovnik musician Alan Lasic, that passed away this year.
The Sunday Advent Afternoons in Mokosica was particularly vivid and cheerful, and the vocal groups concerts, especially when singing traditional Kolenda, delighted the locals and their guests every weekend all around the City. The programs included Dubrovnik musicians: Valetudo, Dubrovnik Accoustic Session, Maja Grgic, Igor Vlahusic and Zeljko Barav, and DJs - Petra, Lane, Djivo and Maha.
One of the highlights of this year's Winter Festival was certainly the Dubrovnik Christmas Concert.