Crowds A Thing Of The Past? Dubrovnik Will Finally Limit Cruisers

Lauren Simmonds

Has Dubrovnik finally got its cruise ship problem under proper control? It would appear so!

As Slobodna Dalmacija writes on the 1st of October, 2018, Dubrovnik has finally won the proverbial battle with the city’s unwanted and unbridled levels of cruise tourism. As of next year, the most desirable cruise destination not only in Croatia but on the Mediterranean, will make sure it allows in only two cruisers, both of which will bring in absolutely no more than 5,000 visitors to the ancient city.

”Contracts with the cruise companies have been signed for the next year so we’ll have a maximum of two cruisers per day throughout the week, from Monday to Sunday. Sometimes, there will be only one, sometimes two will arrive at one time, or one will come in the morning, and the other will arrive during the afternoon. We’ve been striving for this, and now we’ve achieved it,” a satisfied Dubrovnik Mayor Mato Franković stated, adding that a solution to Dubrovnik’s notorious traffic jam problem can still be found, and he is convinced that the liberalisation of the taxi market led to more than 1,000 taxi drivers in the City of Dubrovnik this summer season.

Mato Franković initially kicked off talks with the world’s largest cruise companies, assembled under the CLIA association. The problem of enormous crowds caused by the simultaneous entry of ships, and the impossible amount of seven cruisers at a time, from which as many as 10,000 passengers would suddenly disembark and descend upon Dubrovnik’s unprepared infrastructure, appears to have finally been solved.

The better scheduling of such cruise ships has already partially alleviated the problem this season, yet owing to its wild popularity, Croatia’s southernmost destination still succeeded in arriving to the forefront of the some of the world’s leading travel media outlets and portals as an undesirable destination because of the completely unsustainable crowding in its historical centre, Jutarnji list writes.

If one wants to look at the sheer amount of problems caused by this huge number of cruise ships entering Dubrovnik has actually caused, it’s enough to recall that UNESCO expressed its increasing concern over the situation, and even threatened to remove Dubrovnik’s prestigious title if something wasn’t done about the alarming situation. UNESCO’s experts calculated that there may be as many as 8,000 visitors in Dubrovnik’s delicate and ancient historic core at any one time, ans Dubrovnik’s city administration did eventually decide to cut that number.

 ”The key to the success of every destination is its management, and we’ve done that through contact with the world-leading CLIA group, which brings together all of the world’s leading cruise operators. We agreed on a better schedule for the arrival and the departure of cruise ships, and by doing so we’ve brought the historic core huge relief, and now there are no more negative images in the media with blocked entrances and a crowded Stradun.

Although this season we’ve seen an increase in the number of cruise tourists by 7 percent, the streets of the historic core haven’t been blocked up for the first time in the past ten years, particularly during those three days a week when most of the cruisers arrived. The solution to this problem was best attributed to the excellent coordination of the competent services,” Mato Franković recalled, adding that Dubrovnik is indeed able to receive more visitors from cruise ships, but the situation must be properly regulated. There are still days left free during the week in which no cruise ships arrive in the historic southern Dalmatian city.

”Everything we did with the “Respect the City” project led to the international media writing about Dubrovnik as a pioneer in the introduction of sustainable tourism. Over the past year, we’ve turned the story from negative to positive,” added Franković, who continues to receive calls from all over the world to talk about Dubrovnik’s positive example when it comes to properly managing tourism. He has recently spoken about Dubrovnik’s experiences and tourist crowding challenges in Seoul, South Korea, at the UNWTO conference.

In addition to the proper regulation and arrangement of cruise liner scheduling, Dubrovnik is set too try to avoid traffic jams through the introduction of a camera system which counts visitors when they enter the city’s historic core.

In addition, through the project “Respect the City”, an application for direct communication with tourists is being developed, which will advise them on the best time to visit the historic core, and by the end of next month, a calendar through which one will be able to view the estimated number of guests within the ancient walls will be presented.

By the end of this year, Dubrovnik will have accepted 440 passenger ships carrying approximately 740,000 passengers, a figure which is equal to three percent less ships than last year, but also equal to 5 percent more passengers. Additionally, the millionth passenger to arrive in Dubrovnik’s Port of Gruž was welcomed two days earlier than last year, Jutarnji list writes.


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