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.
Croatia has been ranked as the 15 most ecological friendly country in the world. According to a report compiled by the Yale University Croatia is listed in 15th out of 180 countries in the Environmental Performance Index.
The best ranked country on the list was Finland, followed by Iceland and Sweden. The Environmental Performance Index ranks countries performance on environmental issues. The study looks at health care, water quality, air quality, water resources, forests and energy amongst others.
Croatia was awarded 86.98 points, whilst Finland at the top of the list had 90.68. All of the countries in the top ten were European with New Zealand ranked in 11th and Australia in 13th position. Yale University commented that whilst progress has been made in some areas, such as access to drinking water, there is still much room for improvement. One of the biggest problems was seen as air pollution, especially in countries undergoing an economic boom.
Somalia, Eritrea, Madagascar and Niger were placed at the bottom of the list. In fact the lower reaches of the Environmental Performance Index was dominated by countries from Africa and Asia. The lowest placed European country was Bosnia and Herzegovina in 121st place with only 63.28 points.
The number of tourists to Croatia in 2015 choosing to stay in an Airbnb rental property increased by a massive 122 percent compared to 2014. Airbnb has exploded on the rental accommodation scene, outgrowing many of the other traditional platforms for tourist accommodation. This very explosion has arrived on Croatian shores and last year saw the number of guests using Airbnb rise by an impressive 122 percent.
And of course it isn’t only the number of guests that has risen, as of January 2016 there were around 51,000 rental units listed on the Croatian Airbnb website. This is an increase of 81 percent compared to the same period from 2014.
The Airbnb platform is believed to be worth $24 billion and has around 2 million accommodation units for rent around the world. According to a statement from the company the average Airbnb renter earns around $5,000 a year from their service.
The Force is indeed coming to Dubrovnik! Rumours were flying around yesterday that the eighth episode of Star Wars was planned to be partly recorded in Dubrovnik. And now The Dubrovnik Times can confirm that the rumours are actually TRUE.
The website makingstarwars.net quoted yesterday that “A few different people have dropped this same piece of news that Star Wars: Episode VIII will film in an interesting location. The location was used for HBO’s Game of Thrones as the King’s Landing locations. Apparently the location is really pleasant at which to shoot and offers tax breaks and incentives to new productions. The gist: Star Wars: Episode VIII will film in Dubrovnik, Croatia later in the year.”
And The Dubrovnik Times has learned from more than one reliable inside source that the rumours are true, Star Wars will indeed be filmed in Dubrovnik this year. The City of Dubrovnik and the Mayor of Dubrovnik met with the film producers at the end of 2015 and, according to our source, the city can look forward to being the host of yet another major film production.
The British low cost airline easyJet had a record year with flights to Dubrovnik last year. The airline flew from various European destinations to Dubrovnik and transported 189,328 passengers to and from the city. This was a massive increase of 16.3 percent on 2014 and with the introduction of an additional flight from Bristol Airport and Toulouse to Dubrovnik planned for this summer season the increase this year could be just as impressive.
Apart from the Croatian national carrier, Croatia Airlines, easyJet handled the second most number of passengers to Dubrovnik Airport last year. Croatia Airlines handled 383,464 passengers which was certainly helped with their daily flights throughout the winter months from Dubrovnik to Zagreb.
Looking for your dream home by the seaside, why not try Dubrovnik. The New York Times real estate section have released an article about Dubrovnik property business and if you have 2.5 million Euros burning a hole in your back pocket then they have found the perfect property for you.
“This three-bedroom two-bath villa, built in 1910 on Lapad Bay, part of the Adriatic Sea, is about a 30-minute walk from Dubrovnik’s Old Town,” opens the article in the New York Times advertising a luxurious villa in Dubrovnik on the market at a cool $2.73 million. Adding that “The 2,325-square-foot two-story stone home is on the Lapad Peninsula, one of the most expensive areas in Dubrovnik.”
With the property market in Dubrovnik still relatively stagnant after the boom years from 2005 to 2008 this article might help to attract interest again. Dubrovnik has been a popular holiday home destination for the British, Germans and the Irish, but these markets have slowly dried up as property prices rose and the global financial crisis struck. Real estate prices in Dubrovnik are still the most expensive in Croatia, with the average price of an apartment around 3,200 Euros per metre squared. The days of foreign buyers looking for a good financial investment have long gone and now real estate agents are marketing Dubrovnik a lifestyle choice. Speaking to the New York Times Tim Coulson the owner of First Property Croatia said that “Price expectation from vendors has become more realistic, but many are still unrealistic.”
“Croatia joined the European Union in 2013, which has made it easier for Europeans to buy property. But the volume of sales is still very low compared with the peak years, agents say,” writes the New York Times. And whilst it is the case that EU citizens can purchase property easier in Croatia it is still complicated for people who live outside of the EU to navigate the paperwork.
Croatia is no longer considered as a corrupt country according to Transparency International. In a corruption ranking of 168 countries Croatia finished in 50th position meaning that it is out of the rang of countries considered by Transparency International as corrupt.
The president of Transparency International Croatia, Davorka Budimir, said in a press conference today that “Headway in the fight against corruption is finally visible in Croatia as well.” She added that Croatia has improved its position on the world rankings by three points to 51 points, which just puts it in the position of less corrupt countries.
The average points index for countries inside the European Union is 67 points which goes to show that Croatia still has work to do in its fight against corruption. However the average world ranking is 43 points showing that the work done until now has had some effect.
The least corrupt countries for 2015 were Denmark with 81 points, Finland with 90 points and New Zealand with 88 points. Whilst the most corrupt were North Korea and Somalia both with only 8 points.
Budimir concluded that “Corruption directly threatens citizens’ human rights and their equality in achieving their own interests, it destroys the morality and structure of society and prevents the development of free enterprise. Corruption tends to permeate all segments of society and therefore represents the biggest threat to Croatia’s economic, social and political development.”
Dubrovnik is one of the most photographed cities in the world and it is easy to see why. International media, Facebook, Twitter and millions of Instagram photos are filled every year. Here is our list of the top five sights that need to be snapped whilst in Dubrovnik and the region.
Take a three minute trip on the cable car and you’ll be at the top of the Srđ Mountain, 432 metres above the city, the view is 360° and breathtaking at any time of the day.
The 1.9 kilometres of the ancient city walls offer so many differing views, the crystal clear Adriatic Sea to one side and the terracotta rooftops on the other.
Hard to miss, the Dubrovnik Bridge gives you a panorama over the port of Dubrovnik and the Ombla River. There is plenty of parking, toilets and a cafe bar...take your time and your camera.
The southernmost region of Croatia and renowned for its natural beauty, Konavle has a stunning coastline and sheer mountains, and the picturesque town of Cavtat is picture postcard stuff.
A quaint village on the shores of the Adriatic in Župa, Mlini translates as mills in English and the remnants of the old mill stones can still be seen in a charming park area.
On this day, the 27th of January 1416, the Republic of Dubrovnik banned the slave trade. At a meeting of the Grand Chamber of the Republic of Dubrovnik on the 27th of January 1416 a total of 75 councillors of 78 in the council voted to ban slavery in the Republic. The very next day the vote and the decision came into effect and slavery was banned.
The decision stated that "none of our nationals or foreigners, and everyone who considers himself or herself from Dubrovnik, can in any way or under any pretext to buy or sell slaves or female servant or be a mediator in such trade.” With this decision the Republic of Dubrovnik was among the first countries in Europe and in the world to ban the buying and selling of slaves.
For example Great Britain banned the trading of slaves 391 years later, and the USA banned the slave trade 450 years after Dubrovnik on the 18th of December 1865.