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 millionth passenger to travel through Zagreb Airport was greeted today, a full 13 days earlier than in 2017. Mrs. Višnja Mrazovac, who was travelling on a direct flight from Zagreb to Dubai with Emirates, became the millionth passenger through the capital’s airport.
"I did not really expect this, I'm really surprised. I just read yesterday that they were expecting the millionth passenger through the Frano Tuđman Airport, but I could not even imagine that I would be me. We often travel with Emirates, we can hardly wait to use these charters,” commented Mrazovac. She was presented with gifts by Huseyin Bahadir Bedir, a member of the Board of the Zagreb International Airport and Predrag Popovic, Emirates Sales Director for Croatia and Slovenia.
The millionth passenger revealed that she had travelled to Duabi with her husband because her son works there and as she received a return ticket with Emirates to Dubai she will have the opportunity to travel again soon.
Zagreb’s INmusic Festival has been recognised by the prestigious New Musical Express (NME) magazine as one of the twelve most popular festivals in the world. This British publication placed the Zagreb festival alongside the Isle of Wight Festival, the Coachella in California and Portugal’s NOS Alive as a leading event on the festival calendar.
“A quarter of UK festival prices and no scrimping on the bill. Plus, INMusic is set across three islands in the middle of Lake Jarun in Zagreb – one island for the festival, two for camping – so it’s like an island holiday, a city break and a mother-fluffing rock’n’roll monsterfest all in one,” writes NME about the INmusic festival.
At this year’s festival, which will be held from the 25th to the 27th of June, the leading artists are Queens Of The Stone Age, Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, David Byrne and Alice In Chains.
Established in 2006, INmusic traditionally takes place over the third weekend in June and largely presents internationally renowned performers of indie rock and electronic music.
Fourteen different embassies in Croatia have called for more support with the fight against homophobia, transphobia and biphobia. Today, the 17th of May, is International Day against these three phobias and the Canadian Embassy invited other embassies in Zagreb to mark the day, and including Chile who are the co-chairs of the Equal Rights Coalition, twelve other embassies arrived.
The main purpose of the May 17 mobilisations is to raise awareness of violence, discrimination, and repression of LGBT communities worldwide, which in turn provides an opportunity to take action and engage in dialogue with the media, policymakers, public opinion, and wider civil society. One of the stated goals of May 17 is to create an event that can be visible at a global level without needing to conform to a specific type of action. This decentralized approach is needed due to the diversity of social, religious, cultural, and political contexts in which rights violations occur.
This year’s global theme is Alliance for Solidarity, and will focus on the need for solidarity among various minorities, as one group cannot ensure their rights if another group’s rights are neglected or violated.
The embassies of Canada and Chile, co-chairs of the Equal Rights Coalition, called on the diplomatic community in Croatia to celebrate the Day, and 12 embassies in Croatia accepted the invitation, joining forces with Rainbow Families, a Croatian NGO which provides support for LGBTQ couples and individuals.
The number of Chinese tourists visiting Croatia is increasing year-on-year and figures just released by the Croatian National Tourist Board there has been a 40 percent increase this year.
The Croatian National Tourist Board (HTZ) is currently representing Croatia's tourist offer at the ITB China business fair, which is being held in Shanghai from the 16th to the 18th of May.
The Croatian offer is part of the large European Travel Commission booth, where 19 European companies, including the Zagreb City Tourist Board, are presenting their offer. The Croatian Information Desk and ETC stand was visited by Croatian National Tourist Board Director, Kristjan Staničić, who met with representatives of the Chinese tourism sector, including representatives of the Global Tourism Economy Forum (GTEF). GTEF is a leading international platform aimed at promoting the sustainable development of the global tourism industry with an emphasis on China.
"China for Croatian tourism is a strategically important market where our country, because of its extremely rich cultural and historical heritage, gastronomy and preserved nature, is recognized as Europe's top tourist destination. With a view to attracting Chinese visitors more intensively, we have decided to strengthen the promotional presence in this large market through organizing business workshops, performing at fairs, and also through the opening of the HTZ representative office in Shanghai. Partner feedback is extremely positive, we expect further growth, especially in the pre and post season, when Chinese tourists usually make their trips to Dubrovnik, Zagreb and Split, "said Staničić, adding that it is necessary to simplify the visa regime in this market, and to introduce direct flights between Croatian and Chinese destinations.
Obtaining a visa to travel to Croatia can take up to one month for Chinese tourists. Therefore, most are bypassing this prolonged system and taking a Schengen visa from France or the United Kingdom which they can receive in 48 hours. This multi-entry visa means they need to stop in either Paris or London on their way to Croatia. This poor bureaucracy is costing Croatian much needed finance as well as being bad promotion for Croatian tourism. Wang Shuai, a Chinese travel expert told The Dubrovnik Times “It can take at least one month to get a visa for Croatia. This is why most Chinese tourists take Schengen visa from France or the UK as these visas are ready in only 48 hours. Of course this means that the tourist has to travel through Paris or London because of their visa. If Croatia could speed up this visa process it would be very helpful.”
After the success of the filming of Game of Thrones, Star Wars and the upcoming release of Robin Hood, Dubrovnik could soon be the backdrop for a new Hollywood production.
Dubrovnik has been a magnet for the movie industry for the past five years, mainly on the back of the HBO serial Game of Thrones which has filmed seven seasons in the city, and now the “Adriatic Hollywood” looks set to be back on the screen with a new serial.
“Dubrovnik is open for co-operation with the film industry and we have currently creating a new set of regulations for filming in the city,” said the Mayor of Dubrovnik, Mato Franković, to The Dubrovnik Times.
“We are currently in talks with a young and successful film producer from Hollywood who last year won an Emmy Award who is interested in filming a serial in Dubrovnik in which the city would be backdrop,” added Franković.
However, when asked for the name of the future serial and producer the Mayor played his cards close to his chest and kept both a secret, at least for now.
One of the most famous bloggers in the world, Julie Sariñana, known as Sincerely Jules on Instagram, is currently in Dubrovnik and filling her social media with photos of the city. With almost five million followers on Instagram Sincerely Jules is an important online influencer and her photos have already collected tens of thousands of like and comments.
She has used Hotel Excelsior as the backdrop for her photos in Dubrovnik. In fact, Julie is one of the most successful travel and fashion bloggers in the world and has managed to turn her hobby into a business empire. Her promotion of Dubrovnik will also open up the city to a whole new market.
Croatia is looking to Israel for help defending its borders with drones. The Ministry of Agriculture has signed a contract with Aeronautics from Israel worth 4.87 million Euros for the procurement of specialised drones to monitor the Adriatic Sea for illegal fishing.
Six unmanned aerial vehicles or UAV’s will be purchased by Croatia as well as a complete logistics system in a deal that will be jointly financed by the European Union.
Agriculture Minister Tomislav Tolusic said at the signing ceremony that the system would be used to monitor legal and illegal fishing activities in the Adriatic Sea. It will also be used to monitor the entry of foreign fishing boats into Croatian territorial waters.
"About 60 percent of the time the system will be used by the Agriculture Ministry to monitor fishing activities, while the rest of the time it will be used by the Defence Ministry for search and rescue," Tolusic said. The drones will be delivered in November this year.
Croatians just find it too hard to leave their parents’ home, finally leaving the nest in their early thirties. According to new statistics released by the European Union data service, Eurostat, Croatians leave the family home the second latest in Europe, only the Maltese stay at home longer.
In the European Union, over one young adult out of four aged 25 to 34 were still living with their parents in 2016. Across the EU, this share ranged from less than 10% in the Nordic Member States – Denmark (3.8%), Finland (4.3%) and Sweden (6.0%) – to about half in Croatia (58.7%), Slovakia (55.5%), Greece (55.0%), Malta (51.5%) and Italy (48.9%).
Young adults in Sweden leave the family nest the earliest at around 21 years-old, followed by Denmark at 21.4 years-old and Finland at 21.9 years-old.
At the opposite end of the scale, young adults in Malta and Croatia remained the longest in the parental household. They left home at an average age of 32.2 and 31.9 respectively. Young adults in Slovakia (30.8 years), Italy (30.1 years), Greece (29.4 years), Spain (29.3 years), Portugal (29.2 years) and Bulgaria (28.9 years) also left the parental home at a later stage.