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 Hilton Imperial Dubrovnik will reopen its doors to the public today after a long period of major refurbishments. Over the last five months, the hotel has undergone a full refurbishment of existing bedrooms and suites, increasing the total capacity of accommodation to 149.
The communal areas including the Executive Lounge and Reception have also been updated to honour the hotel’s imperial history and glamorous reputation.
Mario Matkovic, the general manager at Hilton Imperial Dubrovnik, said: “The Hilton Imperial is considered one of Dubrovnik’s landmarks, with its striking façade featuring in many holiday-maker’s photos, especially when illuminated at night. We’ve preserved this iconic exterior while updating the interiors to reflect the hotel’s imperial heritage, bringing 19th century grandeur together with contemporary luxury and style.”
Citizens of most European countries believe they live better. The exceptions are Croatians, Greeks and Cypriots.
Croatia, along with Cyprus, Greece, Italy and Spain, has recorded a decline in the quality of life. In Croatia, Greece and Cyprus the “pleasure of living” declined in all the indicators measured by the European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions (Eurofound) from Dublin. The Foundation is a European Union agency whose role is to provide key stakeholders in the area of social policy information, knowledge and advice from comparative research.
The Foundation has been conducting the European Quality of Life (EQLS) for more than a year. Croatia was first included in the EQLS in 2007, and it is a little surprising that despite the crisis, the level of quality assessment for 2012 was relatively high, probably due to the expectations of early EU accession.
While in Sweden and Denmark more than 80 percent of citizens believe in a better future, only 55 percent of Croatians are optimistic. This is somewhat better than in Portugal and Slovakia, much better than in Italy and Greece where only 47 percent and 37 percent of respondents were optimistic.
According to the standard of living scale, only Bulgaria and Greece are behind Croatia. Croatians, along with the French, Greeks, Irish, Italians, Slovaks and Spanish, say that in 2016 they had even more difficulties in meeting their needs than they had before the crisis in 2007.
According to these indicators, the standard of living has improved most in Estonia. Only in five countries - Croatia, Austria, Greece, Italy and Luxembourg - the situation worsened, while in six countries there was no change.
In February 2018 Croatian airports recorded 229,000 passengers or 13.9 percent more than in the same month last year, according to data from the Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS).
The largest passenger turnover was realized by Zagreb Airport, with 170,000 passengers (10.0 percent increase compared to February 2017), followed by Split airport with 29,000 passengers (28.5 passenger increase compared to February 2017) and the airport of Dubrovnik with 24,000 passengers (an increase of 6.2 percent compared to February 2017).
The most significant international passenger traffic was made with German airports, 61,000 passengers, an increase of 17.7 percent over the same period last year. The total number of landings and take-offs at airports in February 2018 was 4,098, which is an increase of 11.5 percent compared to February 2017.
The Minister of the Interior, Davor Božinović, commented yesterday that Croatia would fulfil all the technical requirements laid out by the Schengen agreement by the end of this year. After meeting with the European Commission Božinović discussed several security issues, including border surveillance and the implementation of the European directive on the use of data from passenger records that is intended to prevent and detect terrorism and other serious forms of crime.
Božinović expects the proposal for a second reading, which was adopted by the Government yesterday, to be adopted in the Croatian Parliament. The directive was considered by the Minister as important for the common fight against terrorism, organized crime, money laundering and access to explosive devices in domestic work.
Croatia, which is known as a tourist country, has nine international airports to be put into the Schengen directive, the minister concluded. Božinović concluded that based on all the work done so far Croatia was in a good position to achieve a higher standard of citizen protection, but also to meet the Croatian Government's strategic goals such as Croatia's entry into the Schengen area by the end of this year.
The Croatian government this week gave its consent to the State Assets Ministry to sign with the Avenue Ulaganja investment company an annex to a contract on the Kupari 1 tourism development project, defining new deadlines for submissions of a letter of intent from the new hotel operator and physical planning data.
In March 2016, the government signed with the bidders Avenija Ulaganja and Avenue Osteuropa a contract the realisation of Kupari 1, a project estimated at over HRK 700 million. Under the contract, the investor was supposed to submit by September 2016 physical planning data to Zupa Dubrovacka Municipality and a contract signed with the hotel operator to the relevant ministry. Since the investor failed to comply with its obligations, project realisation has not even begun, said State Assets Minister Goran Maric.
Initially, Avenue Ulaganja planned for Kupari 1 a partnership with the Marriott hotel chain and the Ritz-Carlton brand, but the operator cancelled and the investor announced a letter of intent with a new operator.
The investor has agreed to all the changes and a contract was signed in early March, Maric said, adding that the annex provided for cancelling the contract if the investor failed to comply with the deadlines.
“If you rub his nose it’s good luck and it’s a sign that you’ll come back to Dubrovnik in the future,” is apparently the reason why thousands upon thousands of tourists grab this famous Dubrovnik playwright by the nose, well his statue, every year.
The statute of Marin Držić, famous for writing tragic comedies and often called Dubrovnik’s Shakespeare, used to be location in the Babin Kuk suburb of Dubrovnik but was replaced outside of the theatre bearing his name some years ago. And since his arrival in the heart of the Old City the “legend” or “myth” that rubbing his nose brings luck has been born. “I have never heard of this before, look at his nose it has turned yellow,” commented one local restaurant owner. Yes, this new myth seems to have arisen from nowhere.
And not only is his nose being rubbed but also tourists often jump in his lap for a selfie. We can find no evidence of where this legend actually appeared from, but any reason for tourists believing that they will visit Dubrovnik again can’t be a bad thing. Just don’t rub his nose too hard.
Even though the Adriatic is a refreshing 16 degrees Celsius it didn’t put off a few brave swimmers on the Banje Beach in Dubrovnik today.
With the summer around the corner this beach will be a magnet for tourists and locals in the warmer months, but today these few swimmers had the beach, and the stunning views, to themselves.
Check out our photo gallery from today
Chinese Southeast European Business Association (CSEBA), in cooperation with the premium event company Meritum komunikacije, the Silk Road Chamber of International Commerce (SRCIC), the City of Dubrovnik, the Ministry of Tourism of the Republic of Croatia, the Croatian National Tourist Board, and the Ministry of Sustainable Development and Tourism of Montenegro, is organizing the Silk Road Tourism Conference on April 24-26 at Sheraton Dubrovnik Riviera Hotel in Dubrovnik.
The Silk Road Tourism Conference is becoming the largest and most important business event that brings together top Chinese and regional businessmen in order to strengthen cooperation in tourism and other related industries. The importance and seriousness of this event confirms the fact that besides business representatives from Croatia and the region, this conference will be attended by top Chinese tour operators, International Chamber of Commerce of China which networks hundreds of chambers of commerce on the Silk Road, Chinese investors, and other stakeholders that follow tourism industry.
A clear indication of the interest of the Chinese business community in this region, among others, will be attendance of Wang Shuai, founder and CEO of iYat, China's largest nautical company that promotes high class tourist packages for the Chinese yachtsmen in the world with its 10.000 yachts. Precisely, Shuai is coming to Croatia to expand cooperation with local businessmen after he had seen nautical potential of our coast during his visit last year. Even though regional countries have a great interest in this gathering, it was Croatia who strategically “jumped” due to its geographical position and the power it has in the tourism segment.
Besides respected guests, Chinese and regional businessmen, we'll have the highest representatives of the Silk Road Chamber of International Commerce (SRCIC), an organization that connects hundreds of chambers of commerce on the Silk Road and whose CSEBA is a full member. This organisation is a business club which strengthens the exchange between Western countries and China with its targeted activities and it affects on the speeding up of business processes in order to strengthen investment, expand business and stimulate the arrival of Chinese tourists on the Adriatic. – says Mario Rendulić, the president of CSEBA, that showed with the investment of 30 million in Krapinske Toplice which options are „opened“ by strengthening the cooperation with Chinese businessmen.
CSEBA points out that the reason why they decided to organize such a high-profile business meeting was the success of the 1th Silk Road Tourism Workshop held in early February in Krapinske Toplice. They were also encouraged by the expected strong investment impulse and the fact that Chinese company China Road and Bridge Corporation (CRBC) has won the bid for the construction of the Pelješac Bridge.
A special emphasis of a three-day conference will be on nautical, health and cultural tourism topics. SRCIC will present their plans for Croatia and the region, while the Silk Road Fund, which will invest in several countries in our region, will as well present their work.
Tourism potentials and characteristics of Croatia are still relatively unknown in China. Croatian tourism sector should get well prepared for the reception of Chinese guests who differ in cultural specifics and the way they're using Chinese communication platforms that we should become familiar with. Tourist promotion in PR China requires great organizational and cost-effective efforts, that's why one of the goals of this gathering is to bring as many relevant Chinese partners as possible to Croatia and the region. It is important to note that a pre-contract about the recording of the first Chinese movie in Croatia will be signed during the conference. Programme of the Silk Road Tourism Conference may be found on the following link www.silkroad.com.hr