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 top three top 3 non-EU recipient countries of Croatian citizenship in 2016 were Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia and Chile. In new data released by the European Union organisation, Eurostat, on the number of citizenships handed out to people from non-EU countries Croatia is most favourable towards its direct neighbours, and rather surprisingly a South American country.
A total of 1,516 people from Bosnia and Herzgovina were granted with Croatian citizenship in 2016, followed by 734 from Serbia and 175 from Chile. Croatia granted citizenship to 3,703 non-EU citizens in 2016, which means that Croatia is way down the list of EU members granting citizenship. Italy was the top citizenship-granting country in the EU (20% of new citizenships granted), followed by Spain and the United Kingdom (both 15%), France (12%) and Germany (11%).
In 2016 the European Union members granted just over 863,000 new citizenships, with Morocco receiving the most, in total 101,295.
The roads of Croatia will soon have cameras installed that will be able to detect if drivers are using their mobile phones. In fact, the static speed cameras and surveillance cameras that are already installed all over Croatia will be upgraded with new software that has the ability to recognise if drivers are on their phones.
Drivers caught using their smartphones whilst under the control of a car will be fined and the fine will automatically be sent to their home addresses. Australia was one of the first countries in the world to introduce this kind of camera and it has proved extremely successful.
According to reports in the Australian media in one five-hour test 270 people were caught illegally using their phones, and in another test on a busy highway a further 1,000 drivers were caught over a nine-hour period.
“Is it always this foggy in Dubrovnik?” commented a tourist from England as the sun struggled to break through the sand choked skies of Dubrovnik. Yes, sand choked!
Dubrovnik and the entire region is under a thick blanket of sand from the Sahara, which every now and again gets dumped on the city when it rains.
The forecast predicts that Wednesday will be the last day of this “peasouper” and the city and nature can get back to normal. While most tourists coming to Dubrovnik expected to see sandy beaches they’ll have to live with sandy skies for now.
Check out the sandy skies of Dubrovnik video
Game of Thrones, Star Wars, Robin Hood and Bollywood have all used the beauty of Croatia as a backdrop for their productions, so why not an advert. An Indian company have recently filmed a television advert for soap in and around Split.
The ad was apparently recorded last autumn in Croatia and is currently being shown on Indian TV, and as it has a tourist feel it will not only help advertise the product but also Croatia.
The mega popular Indian model, Priyanka Bhardwaj, features in the advert and she can be seen posing in the waterfalls of the National Park of Krk as well as in the Diocletian Palace in Split. This new Bollywood style advert should help attract even more tourists from India to Croatia this year.
There is a new public bus in town and no it has nothing to do with a county in England. This Kent bus is apparently on trails at the moment in Dubrovnik and is running the line from Mokosica to the Old City.
It appears to be catching a few passengers out as it isn’t the traditional Dubrovnik orange bus that have become a symbol of the city’s public transport. Presumably if Libertas, the public bus company, plan on purchasing a few of these buses they be painted orange.
Don’t wash your car just yet. The south winds that have brought large quantities of sand from the Sahara will be blowing for at least another two days. The rains loaded down with sand from the dust clouds have caused cars and buildings in the Dubrovnik region to have a new “sandy” colour.
The gale force southerly winds have not only brought with them sands from the desserts of Libya but also rising temperatures. Yesterday was the hottest day on record for Dubrovnik in April as highs reached an amazing 30.2 degrees Celsius. But don’t reach for the hosepipe just yet as more dirty rain is predicted for tonight and tomorrow morning, wait until Wednesday before washing the car.
Here is the map showing the movement of the Sahara sand through the atmosphere from the last few days.
Not only has Croatia seen record numbers of passengers through airports at the start of 2018 but it would appear that the camping tourism industry is also having a booming start. From the beginning of this year until the 11th of April there were 19,097 campers in Croatia, which is an incredible 26 percent increase over the same period from 2017.
Germans were the most numerous, followed by Austrians, Slovenians and British campers.
"As we can see with our arrivals and overnight stays in the first four months, we have achieved great figures, and the indicators for the rest of the season are very good. A lot of facilities are open for the whole year, more and more campsites open on the continent as well as increasingly smaller family camps,” commented a spokesperson for the Croatian Camping Association.
One of the most concerning problems that faces Croatia today is certainly the population decline that has reached new heights over the past few years. According to new reports the most vulnerable group are the 25 to 45 year-old demographic who look to other European Union members, such as Germany, Ireland and Sweden, as destinations for migration.
The Department of History of the Croatian Catholic University have carried out a research, using a sample of 1,200 respondents, who have migrated to Germany in the past three years. This survey reveals that 79 percent of Croatian immigrants are “extremely happy” with their new life in Germany, and over 88 percent don’t regret leaving Croatia.
It is estimated that around 250,000 Croatians have left the country in the past few years and the country faces a serious decline in population.
The largest number of Croatians leave for “better economic conditions abroad” and a lack of employment at home. Regionally, the greatest tendency for migration is shown by respondents from Zagreb and Central Croatia, Slavonia and Baranja, which is also in line with the data of the Central Bureau of Statistics.
And worrying only 15 percent of the respondents in the new survey commented that they planned to return to Croatia in the future.