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.
After so many overcast and rainy days the sun has started to pour down on Dubrovnik over the past few days.
This weekend opened with rising temperatures and al fresco coffees. With temperatures up to 22 degrees and clear blue skies it is a great day to enjoy a stroll and quite clearly the Bay of Lapad was a magnet for locals and tourists. And the forecast for the coming week looks just as positive with summer seemingly waiting in the wings.
Check out the photo gallery from Niksa Duper
It has been an impressive start to the year for the Croatian capital’s airport with an increase in passenger numbers in March.
In fact, the airport registered its best ever March and first quarter months on record. 223,642 passengers travelled through Zagreb Airport in March, meaning an increase of a whopping 16 percent over march from 2017.
In the first three months of 2018 the airport handled 585,576 passengers, again a growth and this time by 13 percent. With many new flights and carriers expected this year at Zagreb Airport, including flight to Dublin, Athens and Toronto the positive start to 2018 will only get better.
Kill your speed as cameras are watching you. Eight speed cameras are due to be installed in the Dubrovnik – Neretva County on speeding hotspots. From Gruda in Konavle to Metkovic in the north of the county eight cameras will be installed, in fact eight camera housings will be installed, to check on driver’s speeds.
In the whole of Croatia there are 59 camera housings, but only 28 cameras. The Ministry of the Interior confirmed that the cameras are being constantly moved around the various housings, meaning that drivers never know if they are being filmed or not. And there are plans to purchase a further 21 cameras and 60 housings.
The eight locations in the Dubrovnik – Nerevta County have been selected by the Dubrovnik Police as areas that are especially notorious for crashes due to excessive speeds. It is not clear whether the same process of moving cameras around from housing to housing will also be carried out in Dubrovnik.
Drivers who exceed the speed limit by up to 10 km/h will face a 300 Kuna fine, whilst drivers who sped past at more than 10 km/h over the limit will have to pay 500 Kuna. It is expected that the cameras will be installed at the beginning of June.
Unemployment in the European Union fell slightly in February and stood at 8.5 percent. This is the lowest rate recorded in the euro area since December 2008. These figures are published by Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union. Eurostat estimates that 17.632 million men and women in the EU28, of whom 13.916 million in the euro area, were unemployed in February 2018.
Among the Member States, the lowest unemployment rates in February 2018 were recorded in the Czech Republic (2.4%), Germany and Malta (both 3.5%) as well as Hungary (3.7% in January 2018). The highest unemployment rates were observed in Greece (20.8% in December 2017) and Spain (16.1%).
And Croatia is highlighted in the new figures as the country saw one of the biggest drops in unemployment inside the EU. The largest decreases were registered in Cyprus (from 12.6% to 9.6%), Greece (from 23.4% to 20.8% between December 2016 and December 2017) and Croatia (from 12.0% to 9.6%). Of course one of the reasons for this drop in unemployment is the large number of Croatians who have moved to Germany, Ireland and Sweden looking for employment and a brighter future. It is estimated that around 200,000 Croatians have left in search of work in other European Union members.
March was a time for buying new cars in Croatia as sales increased by a massive 64 percent over February. Out of the total number of vehicles sold in the first three months, 51.2 percent were petrol, 46.9 percent diesel, while the proportion of electric and hybrid vehicles was negligible.
In March, 6,293 new cars were sold in Croatia, which is 64 percent or 2,453 more than in February, and 16 percent or 873 more cars than in March last year, according to data published on Thursday by Promocija Plus.
Sales also grew in the first three months, when 13,893 cars were sold or 27 percent or 2,963 more than in the same period last year.
The most popular brand in the first quarter was Volkswagen with 1,778 cars sold and a market share of 12.9 percent. Followed by Skoda with 1,539 units and 11,12 percent of the market, and Opel, which sold 1,462 cars and achieved 10.56 percent market share.
The best-selling model was the Skoda Octavia (935), followed by Opel Astra (554), Volkswagen Golf (526), Suzuki Vitara (486), Renault Clio (450).
The American fast food chain, McDonalds, is slowly spreading over Croatia. “We are negotiating with one shopping centre, but cannot accurately confirm when it will open,” commented McDonalds to the Croatian media.
The next restaurant to open in Croatia will be in Pula, and become the first McDonalds in the Istria region. The McDonalds McDrive should be opened in Pula, the largest city in Istria, by the end of this year.
“After the opening of another restaurant in Zadar at the end of March, McDonald's now has a total of 30 restaurants in Croatia, with new opening plans, including Pula. We are negotiating with one shopping centre, but we cannot accurately confirm when it will be open,” commented the fast food giant.
Dubrovnik has started the tourism year in fine form with a massive 20 percent increase in the numbers of guests in March. During March there were 47,498 tourist arrivals in the area of the Dubrovnik-Neretva County, which is 20 percent more than in March 2017 and 127,517 overnight stays, which is 19 percent more than in March 2017.
During the first three months of 2018 there were 81,296 tourist arrivals in the Dubrovnik-Neretva County with 230,278 overnight stays. Compared to 2017, arrivals increased by 13 percent and overnight stays by 7 percent.
The tourist season is upon us and once again the wild camping season has opened in Dubrovnik with tourists looking to save money on accommodation.
These happy campers pitched their tent in a well-known Dubrovnik public park, Gradac, and probably had a nice view of the Old City as they rolled out of their sleeping bags.
Even though there is clear signage stating that littering is not allowed, smoking is forbidden and there is no swimming for dogs in the fountain the sign writers obviously didn’t think about banning campers.