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.
Korean Airlines has been granted approval by the Ministry of Transport to operate five flights a week to Croatia this year. The airlines currently only operates charter flights to Zagreb but this latest decision gives them the opportunity to introduce a regular scheduled connection.
Although the permission has been granted it is still unsure as to whether Korean Airlines will actually take up the offer. Speaking to the specialised website EX-YU Aviation the airline commented that "The Balkan region is an important market for Korean Air, and we are currently considering various possibilities to expand our destination network there."
Zagreb is already the most served destination in Korean Air's European summer charter program, followed by Oslo, Glasgow and Marseille.
And as Croatia is trying to expand the tourist season from the traditional summer months into the winter and spring the introduction of flights from South Korea could seriously aid this development. Korean tourists tend to arrive in Croatia outside of the normal tourist season and then travel the whole country, from Zagreb to Dubrovnik. Last year, 444.132 Korean holidaymakers visited Croatia, representing an increase of 20.2 percent on 2016.
The traditional Ston Day of Strawberries was held today in the centre of the Old City of Dubrovnik.
Organised by the Dubrovnik Tourist Board and the City of Dubrovnik delicious strawberries from Ston, a region famous for its sweet strawberries, were on sale in front of the St. Blaise Church this morning and they were quickly sold out.
Punnets of strawberries were on sale at promotional prices all produced by small family businesses from Ston and a brass band made sure that the atmosphere was cheerful. With the blazing Sunday and plenty of tourists in the historic Old City it was a hugely successful morning.
Check out our photo gallery by Ivana Smilovic.
Who needs Photoshop when you have a bag of crisps and an imagination. This photo certainly caught our attention on Instagram after a visitor to Dubrovnik used a crisp bag to recreate the Argentinian football legend Lionel Messi.
It is almost spooky how well the bottom half of the Messi face fits and when you consider that the top half of the face is a woman’s face it makes it even more like Twilight Zone. Well done for the creativity, even though it spooked us out a little.
Stand up paddle boarding is one of the up and coming water sports in Dubrovnik. Just you and the Adriatic Sea to keep you company it is easy to see why this particular hobby is catching on. Although the board can set you back a few thousand Euros you can also find beginners level ones for a few hundred. And the stillness of the Adriatic in Croatia makes it a perfect body of water to paddle on, although beware of the winds and currents.
There are a few beaches that rent out stand-up paddle boards in Dubrovnik and prices range from 100 Kuna for an hour. The renter will supply you with the board, oar and offer ideas on to where is a cool place to explore.
Stand up paddle surfing and stand up paddle boarding is an offshoot of surfing that originated in Hawaii. Unlike traditional surfing where the rider sits until a wave comes, stand up paddle boarders stand on their boards and use a paddle to propel themselves through the water. The sport was documented in a 2013 report that identified it as the outdoor sporting activity with the most first-time participants in the United States that year.
Of course one of the drawbacks of stand up paddle boarding is actually lugging your board around the world with you. There are two types of board, a fixed epoxy board and an inflatable one, but even the inflatable one will take up too much space in your luggage. So you’ll need to find a local company to rent one from.
Dubrovnik Stand Up Board agencies
Stand Up Paddle Boarding Croatia - http://standup-paddleboarding-croatia.com/#
Adventure Dubrovnik - https://www.adventuredubrovnik.com/package/sup-rentals/
Now you can taste the Croatian wine that is rumoured to be served at the Royal Wedding. The Croatian wine, Traminac 2015, from Iločki Podrumi is reported to have been chosen by Prince Harry and Meghan Markle as one of the wine to mark their special day on the 19th of May. This very same wine was served at Queen Elizabeth II coronation 65 years ago. And to help the royal couple fans get in the festive spirit the specialised Croatian wine company “Wine and More” is offering the very same wine on their website.
According to the company Traminac 2015 is the superior quality dry white wine with a very unique and distinctive taste and smell. The grape produces aromatic and very floral wines, which makes it easily recognizable right from the moment when you pour the wine in a glass: it announces itself with sensual aromas of roses, honey and raisins. This noble wine has a rich, complex, harmonious and sweet taste.
In fact, Traminac and the Ilok Cellars have a long standing relationship with the British Royal Family. It is the first and only Croatian wine, on the official royal wine list. And not only was it served on the Queen’s Coronation but also when Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall visited Croatia in 2016 they were presented with a rare 1947 vintage by the President of Croatia. And also back in 2011 a 2007 Traminac was sent to the Royal Court as a gift for the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton.
Apparently Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have selected a selected berry harvest Traminac from 2015 which is an exclusive limited line and an award winner at the 2016 Decanter World Wide Awards.
After Hilton and Sheraton Dubrovnik could well see another world hotel brand name, Four Seasons.
The investors into the future Kupari resort project in Zupa have announced that their partner in the development will be Four Seasons. Avenue Group, who successfully bid for a 99-year concession for the former military resort of Kupari, had initially made a deal with Marriot Ritz-Carlton, however they pulled out of the deal and left the project hanging in the balance.
The government then threatened to take away the concession as no work had actually been completed on the site for two years. But with the announcement of a new partner the government have softened their stance and given new deadlines for the future hotel and accommodation units to be completed.
Four Seasons had previously announced a more intensive entry into the Croatian market after they started work on a resort on the island of Hvar. Avenue Group will invest around 100 million Euros into the Kupari resort project.
Zupa, a region just south of Dubrovnik, is still today, 25 years after the Homeland War ended, still feeling the effects of the war. The largest hotel resort in Zupa, Kupari, is still destroyed from the war, Hotel Zupa remains a shell and the Hotel Plat resort is waiting for development.
However, in spite of the fact that the region has less hotel rooms that in the late 1980’s there are some green shots of recovery. The Orlando Hotel which was burnt out in the war has been redeveloped as a Sheraton and Hotel Mlini has been fully rebuilt. But one of the main reasons for the increase in guests to the region over the past few years has been through private incentive.
Airbnb, booking.com and other online accommodation agencies have given the apartment owners the chance to open up to a much larger market. This is clearly seen from the early tourist figures for Zupa for the first part of this year. Just over 18,000 foreign tourists visited Zupa in the first three months of this year and achieved 54,905 overnight stays. In comparison with last year this is a huge 25 percent increase in the number of overnight stays, and much of this is due to private renters.
In April, according to figures from the Zupa Tourist Board, there were 9,437 registered guests in Zupa, or a 15 percent increase, with the majority of tourists coming from Germany, the United Kingdom, Croatia and Spain.
Uber has increased its taxi prices in all major Croatian cities ahead of the tourist season. Zagreb, Dubrovnik, Split, Rijeka and Zadar will all see increases in fares.
“With the approach of the tourist season, when millions of foreign tourists will visit Croatia, and almost three years after entering the Croatian market, we are traditionally preparing for the price adjustments in all the coastal cities, and, starting with this year, in Zagreb as well. We do this, among other reasons, to keep up with the general price flow on the entire market, but also to contribute to our goal to offer our customers an even better service with newer vehicles, and enable our partner-drivers higher profits,” the press release said.
However, many have argued that the app is simply looking to make extra profits on the backs of foreign tourists to Croatia. With millions of tourists holidaying on the Dalmatian coast this summer Uber is sure to have an increase in passengers and with the increase in prices a roll-on profit increase.
“The changes we are implementing will improve the quality of service in Croatia so that all vehicles will be seven years old at most. We will further tighten our requirements for drivers with lower average scores, which will guarantee even safer and more comfortable rides. Because all these reasons we will raise the price of our services,” the release said.